We've been talking an awful lot about sleepers the last month, and we've mentioned some overvalued players in our over/under series, but in recent drafts a few names keep popping up that shouldn't be.
As important as it is to know who to draft and when, it's equally important to avoid fantasy landmines-- guys who will leave craters in your fantasy production.
Last season I caught all sorts of flak for my preseason article declaring Michael Turner a bust. He certainly didn't perform close to the second overall pick which is where he was being drafted. Being a bust is about not performing close to the value of where a player is picked. They need not be dreadful, just significantly under-performing their draft slot.
So below we have a list of some of this season's likely busts, based on current ADP. In other words, unless they really slip, you don't want them on your roster in 2010.
- DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR ~ Williams remains tethered to the top 10 RB listings based solely on his monster 2008 season. With Jonathan Stewart on the field, Williams is not likely to see those numbers again. 2008 was the exception, not the rule. He's currently going in the second round, but his likely output is 4th round. Stewart will likely perform as well and he's going in the 5th/6th rounds. Alternatives: Ryan Mathews, Shonne Green or Ryan Grant.
- CJ Spiller, RB, BUF ~ Spiller is a serious talent, but he's not an every down back, and he's being drafted ahead of his team's starter. If you can get him in the 8th round or later, you should find value, but if you're in a standard redraft league (not a keeper) then taking him in the 5th/6th rounds is likely to be a costly waste of a high draft pick. Alternatives: Felix Jones, Ahmad Bradshaw, Arian Foster, or here's a thought, Fred Jackson.
- Reggie Bush, RB, NOS ~ You pretty much know what you're going to get with Reggie; about a 35th place RB finish. Yet every season he's drafted around 10 spots and 6-10 rounds too early. This season he's going two picks after CJ Spiller above. He is a massive fantasy bust at this price. Alternatives: Felix Jones, Ahmad Bradshaw, Arian Foster, or Michael Bush
- DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI ~ There is no doubt that DJ has skills, but I believe last season we saw him at his best. Many are expecting him to get into the 80-100 reception range, but he's more TD dependent than most top receivers. His 63 receptions in 2009 is more likely his ceiling than his starting point. He is being overvalued and going a good 2 rounds earlier than his performance level, especially in PPR leagues. Alternatives: Greg Jennings, Marques Colston or either Steve Smith.
- Kenny Britt, WR, TEN ~ People are just in love with this kid despite the fact that he's done nothing to merit any of their faith. He's been so bad this summer that he's barely got a grasp on the WR3 slot, yet he's being drafted ahead of many WR1 players. According to the Nashville Tennessean, Titans coach Jeff Fisher threatened Friday to deactivate Britt on game days if he doesn't get his head on straight mentally.
"If I suspect there’s issues, he is not part of the 45 (-man roster)," said Fisher. "...If I suspect there would be a problem, we have other receivers I’ll play instead of Kenny." Alternatives: Bernard Berrian, Jabar Gaffney, Mohamed Massaquoi, Louis Murphy or either Mike Williams.
- Jets Defense ~ The Jets defense has been the consistent pick for D/ST taken in drafts, and as good as they are on the field, it doesn't translate to fantasy fortunes. They limit scoring but don't make a lot of big plays. And now they start the season without Darrelle Revis. But with or without Revis they are not one of the top 3 fantasy defenses. I currently have them ranked 4th, and they may still be generous. Alternatives: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings or Green Bay Packers.
And for you IDP players, here's a 6-pack just for you...
- Troy Polamalu, DB, PIT ~ I love Polamalu, and now he's insured his hair for a million dollars. You can't help but dig this guy. But for fantasy purposes, his image overrides his fantasy value. He's currently the 6th DB drafted in most leagues and in 10-12 team leagues he's not even worth drafting. In deeper leagues he's a DB3/4 at best. Alternatives: Our DB Rankings can give you a number of better options.
- Darrelle Revis, DB, NYJ ~ Let's forget for a moment that Revis isn't even planning on playing in 2010 at this point, even if he were his current ADP of 9th among DBs is sheer insanity. When I had him ranked he was just outside the top 30, now he's off the board. Like Polamalu above, people are paying for the name, not the fantasy production. See the rankings link above for alternatives. Update: Just hours after writing this Revis ended his hold-out, but nothing changes. He's still a major bust as a top 10 DB fantasy pick.
- Louis Delmas, DB, DET ~ This is more gut instinct than anything else, but I simply don't trust Delmas, and i think he'll be a bust this season. he may even give way to Aaron Spievey at some point if he can't stay healthy. I think there are safer picks to be had who will put up equal to or better numbers. Alternatives: Tanard Jackson, Antoine Winfield, Antoine Bethea, or my sleeper pick, Kenny Phillips.
- Brian Cushing, LB, HOU ~ I think Cushing is a stud, but in 2010 he's missing a quarter of the season to suspension for steriod use. So you only get 3 quarters of a season with a guy who's no longer pumped on steroids, and who will be out of sync with the team. As well, he also plays on the strong side which is the weakest for fantasy production. Cushing's numbers are more dependent on big plays than most LBs. For all these reasons I'm letting someone else pay his freight this season. Even if you really believe in him, he's still not worth a 13th round pick when there are still numerous LBs who can give you close to 100 solo tackles. Alternatives: Our LB Rankings can give you a number of better options.
- Ndamukong Suh, DL, DET ~ A boy named Suh is on the fantasy radar of every new IDP player who is as yet non-savvy in the ways of the game. He is currently the 12th defensive lineman being drafted and the first defensive tackles. Here are some reasons way Suh is a fantasy bust. 1) He plays tackle, not defensive end. Tackles rarely put up fantasy viable numbers. 2) He's a rookie, and rookie linemen rarely flourish in their first year, especially defensive tackles. 3) At his position with his team's defensive scheme, he will be lucky to put up 20 tackles and more than 3 sacks. Alternatives: Our DL Rankings can give you a number of better options.
- Dwight Freeney, DL, IND ~ I must be insane. This guy had 13.5 sacks last season. Second only to Jared Allen among linemen. This is true. Still Freeney only had half the fantasy points of Allen, primarily because he doesn't get many tackles. While Allen was the leagues top scoring DL, Freeney was 15th. He's being drafted a good 6 - 7 rounds earlier than he should be. He will likely get around 25 solo tackles and 9-10 sacks, if healthy. Alternatives: Aaron Kampman, Darnell Dockett, Robert Mathis or Justin Smith.