I really dislike the term "bust" in fantasy sports and prefer to
use "risky" as a more apt term for describing player value. Bust
is usually tossed around too loosely and has a connotation that a player is
completely useless for fantasy purposes. Besides, does an unpredictable injury
make a player a bust? Successful fantasy
football drafting is a so dependent on risk-reward evaluations. Without
being too cliché, you have to ask yourself if the juice is worth the squeeze.
Cam Newton, Carolina
Panthers: I love what he did last year, and Newton is a special player.
However, with a full offseason of preparation against him and an improved
defensive division, will Superman be closer to the Man of Steel or Clark Kent?
Carolina has not really improved their weaponry, and the majority of Newton's
passing yards came from playing catch-up. An improved defense could lead to
less aerial work for him. I wouldn't spend the 18th overall average selection
price to take that chance when there are so many awesome quarterbacks this
Carson Palmer, Oakland
Raiders: It has been too long since Palmer has produced meaningful,
consistent fantasy stats to warrant being the 14th QB off the board, on average.
He has to learn a West Coast system that dictates he has the ability to throw
on the run and display above-average mobility - two traits Palmer never has
been known for possessing. Oakland's receiving corps is talented but largely
unproven, and the offense will run through Darren
McFadden, if he remains healthy. I see more backup value in cheaper choices,
such as Matt Schaub, Josh
Freeman, Jay Cutler and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Don't mind turnovers? Fitz is a smarter choice than Palmer.
Trent Richardson, Cleveland
Browns: Yikes. A sixth-overall ADP is alarming and particularly inexplicable
for single-year fantasy forays. In a pass-happy league, on a team with a suspect
defense, an offense with a rookie quarterback, no one to speak of at wide
receiver, and playing in a strong defensive division, where are all of these
fantasy points going to come from to justify that high of a pick? He would
have to rush for 1,250 yards and score double-digit touchdowns to even enter
that conversation. It will happen someday, but not in 2012. I believe 900-1,000
is more realistic, and Richardson should feel fortunate to score more than
James Starks, Green
Bay Packers: Finally the full-time starter, Starks' face-value allure
is understandable. Looking deeper, it is hard to understand why he goes in
the early fifth round. Starks is an OK receiver and may not even own the third-down
duties; his blocking isn't doing him any favors to earn a three-down role,
but he may win it by default. Talent-wise, he is average, at best, as far
as NFL tailbacks go. Green Bay's offensive
line has gone through significant changes and is built for pass protection.
This wide-open O will not give Starks enough totes to matter more than a few
weeks all year.
Kevin Smith, Detroit
Lions: OK, I understand the attraction Smith being sneaky pick, but
an ADP of the eighth round turns sly into why. How Smith is going ahead of
Toby Gerhart, whose role is far
more likely to be rather extensive, is beyond my comprehension. Smith owners
need Jahvid Best and/or Mikel
Leshoure to fall to injury before the veteran sees notable time. While
either case isn't outlandish by any means, the situation calls for Smith being
a late-round flier instead of a midround folly.
Not worth a 3rd-round pick
Andre Johnson, Houston
Texans: When are people going to get it with this guy? He is so injury-prone
he was already hurt before camp even opened, and now he is missing
even more time with a new ailment. At 31 years old, in an offense that has
shifted toward an emphasized rushing attack, Johnson's best fantasy days are
behind him. AJ has struggled to find the end zone his entire career, too.
He was once the most dangerous wideout in the game, but it isn't 2009 anymore.
His third-round ADP is fueled by too much wishful thinking.
Michael Floyd, Arizona
Cardinals: The first-rounder shouldn't be on your fantasy radar as
anything more than a late blip. He is buried on the depth chart behind Andre
Roberts and Early Doucet.
Rookie receivers rarely contribute consequential fantasy production, and Arizona's
QB situation really puts a damper on the idea of significant Year 1 product
for the rook. I'm avoiding him in all single-year formats.
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia
Eagles: This one-trick pony is maddeningly frustrating to start, and
burning a late sixth- or early seventh-rounder on him essentially forces you
to start him every week no matter what. D-Jax is a dynamic deep threat and
can break open an NFL game at any time. Virtual
footballers are spending a fairly early pick on a receiver that failed to
top 50 receiving yards in seven of his 15 starts last year. I'd rather spend
that pick on a steadier player; consistency is imperative in head-to-head
fantasy setups. Jackson is a more valuable commodity in points races or distance-scoring
systems than in conventional fantasy molds.
Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit
Lions: I have addressed this before on KFFL.com,
but it is worth reiterating since Pettigrew's ADP is the ninth round, as the
ninth tight end off the board. His 2011 stats are facilitating this overvalued
placement. It isn't that Pettigrew can't live up to last year's numbers, rather
he will have a heck of a time meeting expectations if Jahvid
Best is healthy all (or even most) of the year. Most of Pettigrew's 83
receptions came because he was used as an extension of the running game, as
evidenced by his career-low 9.4 yards-per-reception average. He is a midrange
backup TE to me.
Jared Cook, Tennessee
Titans: Much like Pettigrew, I don't think Cook can live up to expectations
in relation to his average draft placement. Fantasy owners are opting for
the third-year pass-catcher in Round 9, on average, which lacks justification.
Sure, he could catch a lot of passes (65-70 is probably his ceiling), but
that won't matter much if defenses have no one else to worry about stopping.
Kenny Britt(le) is an injury and/or
suspension waiting to happen. When right, he is capable of scaring defenses.
Soon-to-be 29-year-old Nate Washington
and rookie Kendall Wright are
left to pick up the pieces in an offense that doesn't even have a defined
starting quarterback yet. Cook could be useful on occasion; he isn't ready
to be a TE1 yet.