First of all, let’s all make sure that we understand what qualifies as a bust. If someone were to say that Ricky Williams is not likely to be a big factor in fantasy thisseason, they wouldn’t really be calling a bust, more just spouting out common knowledge. The player has to be relevant and have a fairly large following of people who believe he will be somewhat studly this year in fantasy football.
Antonio Gates – I know a lot of fantasy players out there may think this is ridiculous, and even borderline sacrilegious. But I would invite that same person to make a couple of careful observations about Mr. Gates and his average draft position. In the four seasons (not the hotel) from ’04-’07 the 31 year-old averaged 79 catches with 993 yards receiving per season. In the past three seasons (that would make a horrible hotel name) from ’08 – ’10 Gates has averaged 63 catches for 881 receiving yards. I know that he only played 10 games in 2010, but that is just one part of my argument. How much longer can the 260lb 31 year-old keep those frail wheels of his healthy? The only thing that really even made Gates relevant last year was the fact that he did still manage 10 receiving TDs in just 10 games. That was also done on just 50 catches. Even Hall of Famer Cris Carter only had a catch/td ratio that high ONCE in his career. So does Antonio continue this 5/1 ratio and play relatively healthy all year-long? I have my doubts. Not to mention that you would likely be using a late third to mid fourth round pick to get him.
Arian Foster – Personally, I am not very low on this guy at all to be honest. I think that the 6’1 228lb. 25 year-old (barely) running back from the land of enchantment will be a stud once again. This is even more so the case in PPR leagues. His versatility and vertical down-field bursts are among the best in the game. But for the sake of argument, was he drafted nearly this high just one year ago? Nope. Is there anything to be said about his league leading 393 touches in 2010? Probably.
DeAngelo Williams – Why would anybody hate a time share? They are convenient, relatively affordable, and flexible locations all over the world. Sounds great right?! Well, not if we’re talking about backfield time shares in fantasy football, at least I think that’s what I was talking about? Even if he can stay healthy, does anyone really believe that he can even come close to his 1,515 yards and 18 rushing TDs in 2008 so long as “the daily show” is still in Carolina? I realize that he had that season when Stewart was there, but he was rookie then. Why on earth would Carolina still be holding on to these two beasts with so many other areas on their team that need improvement? Because they are using the 24 year-old 237lb. Stewart to protect the longevity of the 28 year-old, and somewhat smaller Williams. Based on the time share, there is no way that I would use a third or fourth round pick on either Williams or Stewart when LeGarrette Blount is going in the late fourth to fifth round. Heck, Shonn Greene could have just as productive of a year as Williams, and is going in late seventh to eighth round in many fantasy drafts.
Peyton Hillis - This battering ram of a running back rushed for 1,177 yards on 4.4 per rush in 2010. Keep in mind that in the first nine games Hillis averaged 4.8 per, while in the last seven games he averaged and entire yard less per carry. Cleveland is not one of the more formidable offenses in the NFL, so do you think teams are gonna load up in the box against the Browns? I think it would be naive to assume otherwise.
Michael Turner - This man is going to cost you a late first to early second round pick. Will he put up solid fantasy numbers this year? Yes, I would say that is very likely. But let’s be conscious of a few things before picking this guy so high in your drafts. In the first half of last year he averaged 4.5 yards per carry. He averaged just 3.7 in the second half. The additions of Jacquizz Rodgers to the backfield and Julio Jones to the Atlanta receiving corps tells me that the Falcons are making a concerted effort to stretch the field vertically more and throw the ball. Plus, Turner will be thirty around the time of the Super Bowl. That’s not a good age for running backs.
Michael Vick – We all know what Vick can do for you. His combination of speed and arm strength can light up the fantasy scoreboard as fast as anyone. But does anyone really think that the 31 year-old run heavy quarterback is going to stay healthy for 16 games? Considering that he is going to cost you a mid first to early second round pick, you really wanna take that chance with so many other monster studs still available?
Drew Brees - I am such a fan of this guy that putting him on this list almost makes my shoulder sore. Yeah, you remember the injury he had that would have ruined lesser men. I love ya Drew, but you cost a fantasy player a second round pick and had an alarming 31 turnovers in 2010. Yikes.
Ben Roethlisberger – Why draft this dirtbag in the seventh round if you can get Freeman or Eli a couple of rounds later?
Chad Ochocinco - So, I’m supposed to believe that this man who will be 34 when the post-season starts and can’t even spell eighty-five in spanish is gonna tear it up in New England because Randy Moss did? Chad has lost a step and doesn’t get nearly the kind of downfield separation that Moss did. He came from a relatively simple offense in Cincinnati, to one of the most complex offenses in the shortest possible off-season. You can also count on Welker to continue to grab most of the mid-range passes. I know, ochocinco was probably a better choice than ochenta y cinco in terms of jersey sales, but it’s still stupid.
Vincent Jackson – I think you can do better with your third round pick. From a DUI, to a holdout, to calf injury, this guy didn’t do much in 2010 to convince me that he’s as interested in his team as he is in himself. In 2009, He posted career highs in catches (68) yards (1,167) and touchdowns with nine. In that round there are more explosive players you can pick with better career highs than that.
Sidney Rice – Since I am so incredibly objective in my views, I thought I would throw him in here. His fantasy ranking really isn’t all that high this year anyways, but I still think there are better options for those of you who have picked him in the seventh round. As a Seahawks fan I still wouldn’t even consider this guy earlier than the ninth. He’s talented, but he has Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst competing for the starting QB position in Seattle. That looks even less impressive in text than it did in my head. Personally, I think third string quarterback Josh Portis is better than both of them. You never want to be able to say that about your 1 and 2 quarterbacks. But the truth isn’t something that is meant to feel good all the time.
Jeremy Maclin – I like him plenty, just not in 2011. He’s only 23, but in two seasons on one of the most prolific passing offenses, he has not reached 1,000 yards. So if he does not repeat the double-digit touchdown performance that he had last year, it’s hard to justify him being taken in the fourth round. He has dealt with a strange illness all off-season, so one has to wonder what level his strength will be in two weeks when he is expected to start in Philly’s regular season opener. There has been a great deal of attention placed in the way of grossly underpaid DeSean Jackson lately, and I expect that to carry on to the field as well. In other words, I have my doubts about Maclin catching that many touchdowns in this season.
Hakeem Nicks – Nicks is good, but late second to mid third round? No thanks, you can have him. I’ll take Larry Fitzgerald in the third or Miles Austin in the fourth. Before Romo got hurt, Austin was killing it. That should likely be the case in 2011. So many people assume that with Steve Smith now gone that Nicks is the one that is going take on all these extra numbers. He’ll take some of that I’m sure, but I also have to believe that Mario Manningham is going to get some extra looks as well. He goes about five rounds later than Nicks. Simply put, I don’t think that Nicks is FIVE rounds better of a fantasy player.
Feel free to let me know how I crazy I am for bashing some of these guys. Once again, thanks for reading and be active in your fantasy leagues!