2017 Fantasy Football Busts

2017 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Busts: Stay Away

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Have you started your fantasy football research?

The 2017 fantasy football season is nearing and it is never too early to start prepping. A lot can and will happen between now and your fantasy draft, but now is the time to start doing your research.

There are various ways to a fantasy championship, and one certain method to get the title is to stay away from the fantasy busts.  A fantasy bust is a player who enters the season with high expectations (hype) but produces minimal results. Every season there are players that are busts and fantasy owners need to avoid them at all costs.

Let’s take a look at six wide receivers that you should stay away from in your upcoming fantasy football drafts.

2017 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Busts

Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots

While I don’t hate Brandin Cooks this season, I believe there is only one player that you can rely on in New England to give you consistent fantasy production and his name is Tom Brady.

In his past two seasons with the Saints, Cooks has seen no fewer than 117 targets in a season. He has strung together back to back years with 75+ receptions, 1,100+ receiving yards, and 8+ touchdowns. Now Cooks will have to compete with the likes of Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, newcomer Dwayne Allen. In addition, he will need to contend with the running back platoon of newcomer Rex Burkhead, Super Bowl hero James White and Dion Lewis.

Brady will spread the ball all over the field and he will take advantage of the weakest part of the defense. Cooks’ role will be inconsistent based on the Patriots’ game plans call weekly. Cooks will have weeks that he goes off for two touchdowns. In addition, I would venture to say we will also see a ton of games where he will have 30-70 yard weeks.

It is hard to disregard the possibility that Cooks might see a reduction in target share percentage in an offense that throws less, to begin with. Cooks was one of only three WR1’s last season that had a target share of under 20 percent. The margin for error was slim for Cooks last season, and it might be even slimmer this season.

I believe the move to New England actually limits Cooks’ fantasy outlook. I project a significant regression from his last two seasons with the Saints. Brandin Cooks has an ADP of #12 among Wide Receivers. It makes the decision to draft or pass on Cooks one of the hardest choices fantasy owners will have to make in their drafts. I would still rather take the likes of Doug Baldwin, Demaryius Thomas, or DeAndre Hopkins.

My 2017 Projection: 52 catches, 725 yards, 6 TDs

Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers

Keenan Allen has never lacked the ability to be a top flight receiver.  His propensity to injury has definitely affected his fantasy value significantly. Allen has had four season-ending injuries in five years.

Two years ago, Allen produced elite numbers over eight games before a lacerated kidney robbed him of a career year. In Week one last season, it was even more disappointing for the Chargers top receiver when he tore his ACL in Week 1.

Keenan Allen heads into this season having appeared in just 9-of-32 games over the past two seasons. When he is on the field, he is capable of posting WR2 numbers. The problem is his availability.  “The best ability is availability.”

When healthy, Allen served as Phillip Rivers’ clear number one receiver in past seasons. The combination of injuries, the emergence of Melvin Gordon and the fact that he will now have to compete for targets means a definitive drop in production.

He will no longer be the only talent for Philip Rivers to target downfield. Rivers had a banner season in 2016, including passing for the second-most touchdown passes of his career.  The Chargers have a talented receiving core which includes Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, first-round pick Mike Williams and two stud tight ends in Hunter Henry and reliable Antonio Gates.

Keenan Allen is being drafted in Round three in PPR, and Round four in standard leagues. I am concerned that the value is not there at the point in your fantasy drafts. The touchdown potential is a major concern due to the physical size of the receivers and the quality of the two tight ends. In addition, injury history matters. Keenan Allen is an injury prone player and history has a tendency of repeating itself.

I would not draft Keenan Allen to be any more than my third wide receiver or flex option. Yes, that probably means that I won’t have Keenan Allen on any of my fantasy teams. I am definitely fine with that. I will not have to look for a replacement to take over my WR2 when Allen goes down again with a season-ending injury.

My 2017 Projection: 41 catches, 625 yards, 5 TDs

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

Tyreek  Hill came out of nowhere to put up 593 yards and 6 touchdowns through the air and 267 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground last season. Hill is dynamic with the ball in his hands, but he scored nine touchdowns on just 85 offensive touches as a rookie. That level of production and volume will be difficult to sustain.

Hill is a strong, thickly-built 185-pound athlete, but he probably stands closer to 5 feet 8 than the 5-10 he is listed at. His real-life talent and big-play ability are undeniable,  but the potential for wear and tear on the Chiefs’ most dynamic offensive threat is real.

I think investing an early round pick on a gadget player is really dangerous. You know that defensive coordinators will game plan against Hill, and will sell out on all of those gadget plays. But after the release of Jerry Maclin, Hill will be forced on the field more often, and I think that gets troublesome for the Chiefs. Also, please keep in mind that Hill still has Alex Smith throwing him the football.

Hill is the classic boom/bust guy, where he can explode for a 60+ yard touchdown and put up some gaudy numbers, or simply fall flat with minimal production. The ceiling may be astronomical, but the floor is quite low. He has the some of the highest bust potential of anyone in fantasy football this season.

My 2017 Projection: 51 catches, 625 yards, 5 TDs; 20 carries, 135 yards 1 rushing touchdown; 1 return touchdown

Brandon Marshall, New York Giants

Brandon Marshall has found a new home with the New York Giants after signing a two-year deal following his release by the New York Jets.

Marshall looked done with the Jets and had a down year by his standards. The 33-year-old wide receiver has had fewer than 800 yards in two of the last three seasons. He might be running out of time to continue playing at his usual high level.

For the first time in a long time, Marshall won’t be the top option for his NFL team. He is still pretty good, with a lot of possession catches and some TDs but there is going to be a lot less consistency and upside. He will undoubtedly improve the Giants receiving corps and will go a long way to improve a unit that was ranked 27th out of 32 teams by Pro Football Focus.

Marshall will have plenty of competition for targets including Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard and rookie Even Engram. The Giants’ offense isn’t anywhere near explosive enough to support multiple Fantasy wide receivers.

In 2015, Marshall caught 109 of his 173 targets for 1,502 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdowns. Last season, he hauled in 59 of his 128 targets for 788 yards and three touchdowns. The downward trend is concerning as his potential workload in the coming season. There simply may not be over 100 targets for him on this roster.

While Marshall is basically a tight end, he is still an upgrade over WR3 Victor Cruz. Cruz caught one touchdown pass last season, producing 1.25 yards per route in 2016. Marshall generated 1.44 yards per route run for the Jets last season.

I believe the biggest benefactor of Marshall joining the Giants is Odell Beckham. Marshall should limit the number of help defenses can lend on Beckham in coverage, which even could have a trickle-down effect for Shepard and Engram as well.

Brandon Marshall will highly unlikely record a 1,000-yard season, but he will probably be better than he was last season. His early ADP is the No. 25 receiver off the board, which is too early. He is a low-end No.3 Fantasy receiver this season worth drafting in Round six or later.

My 2017 Projection: 55 catches, 775 yards, 6 TDs

Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

Davante Adams finally broke out in 2016 with career-bests in receptions (75), yards (997), yards-per-receptions (13.3) and touchdowns (12).

In 2016, the Packers possessed an impressive arsenal of targets for all-world quarterback Aaron Rodgers. They had the resurgent Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams at receiver alone. This season, they have added tight end Martellus Bennet to the passing mix. Also, they have added three rookie running backs to go along with wide receiver turned running back Ty Montgomery.

The addition of the versatility to their offense is obviously very welcomed.Whose production will be dipping now in 2017?  Bennett might take some of the shorter routes, including red zone targets. Randall Cobb is healthy again after being banged up for the majority of the season. I believe that Adams’ workload will be severely cut which will lead to a drop-off in touchdowns.

Although Adams had a fantastic 2016 season, he was still hampered by an unacceptable amount of drops as evidenced by his low catch rate of 61.9 percent.

Davante Adams’ current ADP is 3.10 and his success last season is commanding a higher draft pick. He is being drafted as the 16th wide receiver off the board. At that draft pick, you have to believe that he will once again put up double digit touchdowns and perform as a high-end WR2 to justify a third round selection.

For me, there is just too much risk in the third round to select Adams. He has never had over 50 receptions, 500 yards receiving or three touchdowns before last season. Davante Adams is a prime regression candidate. I would rather take my chances on guys like Michael Crabtree, Demaryius Thomas, and Doug Baldwin.

My 2017 Projection: 65 catches, 925 yards, 7 TDs

Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers

His playing during the 2016 season after returning from a torn ACL was proclaimed as a great return. Yet he quickly became the subject of lazy play and a focal point for poor offensive performances last season.

Panthers’ Quarterback Cam Newton won MVP without him and has struggled as a passer with him as the WR1. The Panthers added a variety of pass-catchers in the offseason who could take away targets, including rookies Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel.

Benjamin enjoyed a strong rookie season after the Panthers drafted him in the first round in 2014. He burst onto the scene with over 1,000-yards but he was plagued by hamstring issues the following offseason, which Rivera theorized were attributed to Benjamin’s poor conditioning and extra pounds.

Two years later, the issue has resurfaced again. This season has started no different entering OTAs with weight changes and even more scrutiny. He has definitely regressed from his amazing Rookie season. There are questions about his effort level, weak route running, and multiple drops, and the worst of it all, people are now questioning his commitment to the game.

Everyone can tell he was leaving a ton of potential on the field. His lack of concentration and commitment portrays itself in the very poor 50 percent catch rate.

Kelvin Benjamin has a lot to prove to himself, his coaches and teammates. Hopefully, the light comes on and he proves that he belongs in the NFL.

Kelvin Benjamin is on top of my “DO NOT DRAFT” list. I can not see making a commitment to this player on my fantasy team. His ADP is Round five and while the upside could be tremendous, I will never see it because he will not be on any of my teams.

My 2017 Projection:  55 catches, 800 yards, 7 TDs


2017 Fantasy Football Position Previews
QuarterbacksRunning BacksWide ReceiversTight Ends

For more F6P preseason coverage please visit our 2017 Draft Kit section.

About Dennis Sosic

Dennis Sosic is from Cleveland, Ohio and a HUGE sports fan including NFL and college football, MLB (GO TRIBE), NBA (GO CAVS!) and MMA. He is an avid Cleveland and Ohio State sports fan. He has been called a Sports Geek by friends and foes alike and that fits him perfectly. He has been competing in fantasy sports, mainly fantasy football and baseball for over 20 years. He participates in numerous fantasy football leagues annually and is the commish in his two biggest money leagues. Also, participates in up to four fantasy baseball leagues annually and is the commish in one league that has been competing for over 15 years. Dennis has won several leagues in each sport and is the team to beat in the league and everyone knows it. Dennis is also an avid DFS player in both football and baseball. Dennis is a student of all sports and normally calls out what the game announcers say before they say it. Coming soon....twitter account.

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