Most fantasy football fans are hard at work, reading recommendations, doing mock drafts, poring over last season’s stats and future projections, all for one purpose – trying to determine who will get me the most points. Players balance out a fair bit – not everyone on your roster will have a perfect game every time, but you want players who will consistently bring you enough points to stay on top of your league. There’s always an element of risk in any draft selection, and everyone has a different strategy. While some opt to select steady players who will be nearly guaranteed to put up a respectable amount of points, others are willing to gamble a bit on their selections in hopes of a high-risk, high-reward outcome.
When adding up the points, it quickly becomes evident that who you don’t pick is nearly as important as who you do pick. Picking a bust can jeopardize your team more than you would initially think – it could cause you to lose a superior player by drafting a bust too early. Once it becomes evident that your projected star is a useless dud, he has likely become essentially untradeable (unless you have some players in your league whose lack of knowledge can be manipulated – in that case, definitely try to trade your bust away and let him become someone else’s problem – there is no love in the league). A bust just takes up blank space in your line-up, and with many match ups going down to the wire, even a few points could make a difference between a win and a loss.
There will always be things that no one could possibly predict. The star of your team could get an injury two weeks into the season. A team could significantly change their strategy, or decide to split a position more than you had anticipated. You can’t entirely prevent a bust from infiltrating your roster, but you can do your best to limit the risks and increase your chances of sweet, sweet victory. Here’s a list of twenty players you probably shouldn't bank on when it comes down to draft day.
20 Trent Richardson – RB, Indianapolis Colts
19 Johnny Manziel – Qb, Cleveland Browns
18 Seattle Seahawks Defense
17 Zac Stacy – RB, St. Louis Rams
16 Darren McFadden – RB, Oakland Raiders
15 Chris Johnson – RB, New York Jets
14 Cordarrelle Patterson – WR, Minnesota Vikings
13 Marshawn Lynch – RB, Seattle Seahawks
12 Matt Ryan – QB, Atlanta Falcons
11 Ray Rice – RB, Baltimore Ravens
10 Maurice Jones-Drew – RB, Oakland Raiders
9 Knowshon Moreno – RB, Miami Dolphins
8 Tom Brady – QB, New England Patriots
7 Anquan Boldin – WR, San Francisco 49ers
6 Wes Welker – WR, Denver Broncos
5 Eric Decker – WR, New York Jets
4 Percy Harvin - WR, Seattle Seahawks
3 Frank Gore – RB, San Francisco 49ers
2 Reggie Bush - RB, Detroit Lions
1 Cam Newton - QB, Carolina Panthers
Last year, Newton finished as the number 3 quarterback in fantasy, so you should be scrambling to pick him up sooner rather than later, right? Maybe not. The trouble is his horrendous offseason. The Panthers lost their three top wide receivers, a solid left tackle, and Newton got injured. All these things raise a bit of worry, and should at least cause you to hesitate for quite some time before picking him. Newton’s ankle surgery went well and he’s slated to participate fully at training camp, so there’s a chance that his injury will have a minimal impact on his play this year.
The bigger issue, however, is his receivers – not only are they ones he has to learn to get accustomed to (a process that can be difficult)…they’re also not really that great. Summary – Newton still has his skill, but with a cast of average at best new replacements for other parts of the team, he’s probably a pick to shy away from – even if he served you well last year.
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