Top 5 Busts and Players to Avoid | 2018 Fantasy Football

by Nick Ercolano May 25, 2018

Top 5 Busts and Players to Avoid | 2018 Fantasy Football

Here are BDGE's Top-5 players to avoid, or more commonly known as BUSTS, in the fantasy football world. Their szn might not fall apart like Post Malone, but they're getting drafted just too zamn high right now.

Jared Goff - QB (LAR)

Current ADP: 87, QB10

Goff rode 3,809 yards, 28 touchdowns and 7 interceptions to a strong QB12 finish in 2017. You might say, wow, what a year, now it's time for another step up in 2018. The third year, right, that's when those tend to happen. Fake news.

The offense under new HC Sean McVay flourished last year, led by Goff. But he was the definition of a game manager if I've ever seen one. He takes what he can get, isn't asked to do much and gets the job done when he's supposed to. So, what exactly do I mean?

He takes what he can get and isn't asked to do much:

By this, I mean a few things. 1, He doesn't throw the ball downfield, it's not his style, it's not the style of his offense. His aDOT (per PFF) was 8.5, 24th among QBs in the NFL. Per PlayerProfiler, he was 20th in deep ball attempts, 18th in air yards, 19th in pass attempt distance, 21st in air yards per attempt and 26th in pressured completion %. He just doesn't throw the ball deep.

The big thing to take away is, yes the 28-7 TD:INT ratio is fantastic, but when you don't take many shots down the field, it's easy not to throw INTs. So 28 touchdowns are fluky too? Yeah, a little bit. There was NO QB in the NFL that had more easy throws to his weapons who took it for big chunk plays and TDs than Goff. Gurley was literally the number #1 RB in the NFL last year in yards after catch (among RBs that had more than 21 receptions), 12.6 YAC. Cooper Kupp was 5th highest among slot WRs in YAC, I went back and watched Watkins' touchdowns, apart from 1 really nice deep ball, almost all of his TDs, he made on his own. His 6% TD percentage which 1 is super high, was only behind Wentz, A-Rod and Wilson, true deep ball throwers, it's unsustainable imo.

Gets the job done when he's supposed to:Jared Goff 2017 Stats

These are his splits versus top-18 pass defenses and defenses outside of the top 12. There is literally a 10.5 point fantasy difference between the when he plays good defenses versus when he plays bad ones. And top 18 isn't even good, it's average! Per Fantasy Pros, Goff will have the 6th hardest schedule for fantasy QBs, not to mention Philly and @ Arizona are his fantasy playoff matchups.

He had 6 games of 225 passing yards or fewer... or 40% of his games.... aka a game manager. 

I think Goff is a guy who has a really nice floor, I'd be fine with him in 2QB leagues, but at QB10 I'd prefer Stafford, Big Ben maybe even Matt Ryan who is similar in that of a good floor with arguably more upside. It's nolikeek Goff exploded, he was QB12 last year, you're banking on another big step forward for him.

Derrick Henry - RB (TEN)

Current ADP: 28, RB16

This will be one of the more fun debates this off-szn. Henry or Lewis, Lewis or Henry. 

The Titans finally let go of what was holding them back, their coaching staff and DeMarco Murray. Signing former Rams OC, Matt LaFleur and former Patriots stud Dion Lewis.

Considering the money that Lewis received, 4-years, $20M ($11.5M GTD), you're an idiot if you think he's just a complementary back to Henry. Currently, Henry is being taken about 25 spots (28) earlier than Lewis (RB22, 51). Going based off his performance in 2017, he shouldn't be. 

Lewis was fantasy's RB17, Henry was RB30 in 0.5 PPR, RB37 in FPPG (> 10 games). Lewis ranked 2nd in the NFL in YPC (5.0), 2nd per PFF in tackles evaded/attempts, 1st overall in yards created/attempt per PlayerProfiler, t-4th in YAC (3.2), and despite being labeled as too small, over the last half of the 2017 szn, their last 8 games, only 9 running backs had more touches. 

So, how does he fit in with the 24-year old, former 2nd round pick out of Alabama, heading into this 3rd szn. Well, tbh, I think we're going to see a near even touch split when all is said and done. Lewis should basically slip right into the role that DeMarco played last year and be much better at it... Murray was really bad. Lewis, is really good. Let's take a look at a few things here from 2017.Derrick Henry 2017 Stats

Few things to point out in this chart. The carry split is really close. Admittedly, I expect that to swing in Henry's favor in 2018. He should be the early-down bruiser. But that's kind of all I see Henry as, he owns the first two downs, MAYBE. Lewis is a plenty capable between-the-tackles runner on early downs. The passing game split is where things stand out. Murray accounted for 75% and 79% of their running back targets and receptions. Henry's been totally uninvolved in the passing game in his two years in Tennessee, as he was at Alabama too, had a total of 17 receptions over 3 years to go along with his 602 carries.... 2.7% of his touches were receptions in college. So, I don't think I need to make the point that Lewis should fill that slot indefinitely. And what's more exciting is the fact that last year, the Titan's backfield caught an NFL-low 50 passes. 14 running backs in alone passed that number last year. Matt LaFleur is coming over from LA and before that Atlanta that utilizes their RBs in the passing game HEAVILY, I'm talking Eddie Lacy heavy. I expect that number to increase a ton, giving plenty of upside to Lewis. The most interesting part of this chart I think is the GL and RZ carries. So, people are excited Henry is finally going to be the big scorer, the GL and TZ back... but he kind of was already last year. He led them in TZ and RZ carries, split the GL work, but was bad at that, converting just 1-of-6 for scores. Now, I'll be honest, I bet he sees way more than 6 GL rushes this year, maybe even double, which would put him amongst the NFL's top-8 in terms of volume down there, what if he's not successful again down there. He converts 4 of 12, which isn't even bad, you're looking at 8 touchdowns on the year instead of 5 maybe? So he's no longer RB37, maybe he's RB23 or 24, maybe. That certainly doesn't warrant him as a top-28 pick. 

My worry with Henry comes down to this. He's an early down bruiser who will get double-digit carries week in and week out, and should see a lot of GL work, but remember, Mariota is a runner too, so he naturally will take some of those looks also. Henry isn't involved in the passing game, so on days where he doesn't score, you're looking at 50-80 total scoreless yards with maybe a catch or two. If you look at his season last year, including the playoffs, he played in 18 games, he was completely boom-or-bust.. He was at 6.0+ ypc in 5-of-18, but 3.5 ypc or fewer in 9-of-18. He rushed for over 90 yards in 4-of-18, but less than 35 yards in 10-of-18, despite getting double-digit carries in 10-of-18.

Overall, I think people are projecting the carry split here to be way more favorable to Henry than it might be. I don't think Lewis is a workhorse here at all, he won't be. His 184 carries last year were a career-high by a LONG shot, and prior to 2017 which was his first 16-game szn, he was averaging just 7 game appearances a year for the 3 previous years. The Titans will be smart in how they use him and he should be super effective. In a vacuum, I might take Henry, but not at pick 28, and not 25 picks before Lewis.

Carlos Hyde - RB (CLV)

Current ADP: 52, RB26

This one is blatantly obvious, at least for anyone the remotely follows the NFL offszn. The Browns sign him to a 3-year, $15M contract, before the NFL Draft, then they go ahead and use a 2nd-round pick, 35th overall on Nick Chubb, an absolute beast out of Georgia. Had Barkley not been in this class and zominated the NFL Combine, Chubb would've been much more of a household name around draft time.
How do I see it playing out? They'll split work to start the year before Chubb eventually takes over.
Both of them will lose pretty much all passing work to Duke Johnson, who for the second szn in a row ranked among the league leaders in RB receptions. I'd say the upside for one of these guys would be good, considering Crowell caught like 40 balls a couple of years ago with Duke there, but again they'll be splitting early down pass-catching work. And that's what made Hyde so valuable in fantasy last year in SF under Shanahan's offense, and what will make Jerick McKinnon so valuable this year.
Again this is a more obvious pick, but I realize some of my audience, the people that watch this in August might not be as in tune with what's going on, so stay away from Hyde anywhere near this ADP. 

    These next two guys I talked about pretty extensively in my Top-10 Tight End Rankings video, so if you want to check that out you can.

    Zach Ertz - TE (PHI)

    Current ADP: 35, TE3

    This has nothing to do with Ertz as a player. He's one of the best in the league. And has been over the last 3 szns. From 2015 to 2017, he ranks 3rd overall in targets (328), 3rd in receptions (227) and 4th in receiving yards (2,493). However, the TD is what gets me. His target, reception and yardage totals have not changed whatsoever over the last 3 years. But his TD fluctuation has. He went from 2 in 2015 to 4 in 2016 to 8 in 2017. However, it's ot like he's getting more involved in the offese, he had nearly the exacty same RZ targts from 2016 to 2017, he just happened ot convert more, so you do't kow what you're getting. But the larger picture here is the TE status as a whole, and the fact that while Kelce and Ertz are going - actually wait look at this shit, this is per MFL10 which is a cash league and this is for the moth of May only - which is insane 

    I'd be shocked to actually see Kelce go before Gronk in any leagues, or Gronk going that late to start. The DRAFT App has Ertz at 31, Kelce at 24 ad Gronk at 20 which is more realistic. But my thing is, TDs per game - we know Gronk, Kelce and Ertz will all get the targets, the catches the yards, but Gronk is a career 0.75 TDs/game guy. Kelce has been at 0.36 and Ertz even lower at 0.33 over the L3 szns. Gronk doubles your chance of scoring. So it's more of a position-relevant argument here. Gronk is SO much more valuable the these two. Ad I made this point in my TE rankings video, while I know having a good tight end is nice, those 800 yards and 5 touchdowns you'll get from Ertz are nothing compared to... I mean look at the guys going next to himZach Ertz Fantasy Football 2018

    How could you not want the 15-touchdown, 100-catch, 1,500 total yard, 40-passing TD upside of Adams, Thielen, Mixon, Rodgers? I get that they're different positions but I don't think there's even a discussion to be had here.

    Hunter Henry, who's currently TE7, pick 71... has a 0.48 TD/game number, way higher than Ertz and Kelce. I'm serious, why do you want Ertz over Delanie Walker, who's also put up 800+ receivig yards in each of the past 3 szs, actually 4, and is a 0.35 TD/game guy, higher than Ertz?

    Jimmy Graham - TE (GB)

    Current ADP: 62, TE6

    In any sort of league that's not completely standard, this is an awful pick. Sure put him with Rodgers, but all he can do is catch TDs now, with a QB that doesn't throw to TEs in the endzone. He finished first overall in TE TDs last year with 10, while leading the entire NFL in RZ and 10Z targets. Even with that, he finished as TE5 in fantasy, that's extremely hard to do at a position where if you score TDs you're going to dominate. And you think he's going to lead the NFL in RZ and 10Z targets? Maybe, idk. But he was 9th in receptions, 17th in receiving yards, he offers little outside of scoring. Say he does have another monster scoring year, I still think you're drafting him at pretty much his ceiling. If he flames out like pretty much every GB TE ever, you've wasted a 5th rounder. 

    Again, I went more in depth on both of these TEs in my top-10 TE rankings video so if you want to check that out, it'll be linked in the description. 

    Wide Receivers

    I'll be honest, I'm having a hard time finding many WRs that I absolutely hate at their ADPs right now. Some guys that I don't love, that I'm not going to go in-depth with right now are Tyreek Hill at pick 26. They add Sammy Watkins to the mix on a monster contract, so they definitely plan to use him extensively, a new face at QB, a new OC who was their RB coach. Just some question marks there. T.Y. Hilton at pick 32 in bestball leagues is basically assuming Andrew Luck is back and healthy. It's almost June people, and he still hasn't thrown a football yet.... Brandin Cooks at 41 I do not like at all. I should have put him in here under Goff. I think something to talk about when it comes to Cooks that is being underplayed here is that yes, he's been excellent in fantasy in his 3 years, but his rookie year he was pretty much Brees' only legit playmaker, and last year, the Patriots got him prior to the Edelman injury. Had Edelman not gotten injured, 1. Cooks would not have seen his 114 targets, and who knows what kind of numbers he would've had, maybe the Pats viewed him as a better real-life piece than people did as a fantasy asset, and he was forced into that role which inflated his numbers and inflated what we think of him as a fantasy player heading into 2018. The Rams offense simply doesn't give Cooks the targets that he got in NE or NO and it's a muddy group of pass-catching to see who will emerge. Demaryius Thomas at pick 46 with Manny Sanders at 82 is a joke.

     

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