2017 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Fantasy Football Bust: How to Spot One

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One of the keys to a successful Fantasy season is practice. Mock drafting is the best way to piece out your strategy and avoid panic picks. The guys here at Fantasy Six Pack have done a PPR mock draft to help everyone get ready for the Fantasy Football season.

Results of the F6P mock draft will be published shortly, so be sure to keep an eye out for that! Between now and the time we publish those results, some of the picks might look silly. The news comes hard and fast in the NFL, and sometimes it is hard to keep up when drafting over three weeks. One or two players from each mock team will likely bust. To make sure our readers don’t look as silly as we might, we’ll share some tips to help you avoid draft busts.

There are no sure-fire ways to predict a bust. It’s all about speculating what players will be given the opportunity and volume to be a consistent contributor. Injuries are a whole other story, one that I will get into later.

A bust isn’t necessarily someone who won’t be a useful fantasy player, but someone who won’t live up to their pre-season expectations. Picking a bust in the early rounds can tank an entire team, especially if it’s one of your first three picks. Outside of predicting freak injuries, there are a few signs that Fantasy Owners can look out for when trying to spot those crippling early round busts.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Rest of Season Rankings

How to Spot a Fantasy Football Bust

Limited Track Record of Success

One sign to look out for when trying to identify a bust is their track record of success. When drafting a Fantasy team, consistency is one of the first things you should look for in the early rounds. There have been many players (i.e.:  Thomas Rawls) who have been absolute studs for partial seasons and have failed to live up to expectations the following season.

Whether it be an easy schedule or an injury to their competition for touches, some players were put into positions where production of the same level would be difficult to replicate. This isn’t to say that all players with recent success won’t be able to repeat it, just look at David Johnson. However, there is risk in drafting someone who’s output is based on half a season of success. Warning signs in this category can be:

1) A difficult strength of schedule compared to the previous year
2) A returning teammate, new acquisition or rookie who can cut into the player’s touches
3) A completely unexpected breakout year that was not supported by their career performance to that point.

Injury Concerns

When drafting to avoid a bust due to injury, there are two types of risks you may want to avoid:

  1. Players who are always dealing with minor injuries.
  2. Players who are coming back from major injuries.

The Chronic Cases

These players always seem to come into some type of injury (i.e. Jordan Reed, Rob Gronkowski). With Gronk it seems he has a chronic case of season ending injuries, but when he’s healthy you know what you’re getting. Not to say these players will be busts, but there’s an increased risk that those minor ailments can turn into multi week injuries that can really hurt your team.

#TheReturn

The second category deals with players who are coming off a major injury with no indication as to how they’ll perform post recovery. All we can gauge from these situations is how the players handle OTA’s and practices, but getting back into game shape and previous Fantasy value can take time. This is especially true for players returning to a team with new coaches and new weapons to play alongside. For some players the transition back is seamless, but that’s not the case for everyone. If there are any indications that a player suffered a setback in rehab, it might be best to drop them on your draft board to avoid early season headaches.

Situational Factors

Uncertain Situations

So many things can change the fantasy situation a player finds himself in. Coaches can get fired, teammates can move on or a player can find himself on a whole new team. Drastic changes in a player’s situation can result in a disappointing season. A former number two or three receiver being thrust into a featured role will have a higher draft price but may not be capable of producing top flight numbers. An elite player not suited to being in a certain scheme will struggle as well, just look at DeMarco Murray’s season in Philadelphia.

Poor Team Situations

We’ve seen it a lot over the years. Players can have all the talent in the world, but it can be tough to produce within a poor offense. Running backs are more susceptible to this, as a poor overall offense can allow a defense to zero in on the backfield threat. Lamar Miller felt this in the 2017 season as defenses only needed to key in on him and DeAndre Hopkins with Brock Osweiler at the helm. Speaking of Osweiler, a poor QB can have a massive effect on other players’ Fantasy potential.

The Impact of Quarterbacks

As we learned last season, one of the most important factors in a wide receiver’s success is the person throwing them the ball. Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins had their value’s absolutely tanked by horrid QB play. Even if a receiver is one of the best in the league, a poor QB will always have an impact on his numbers. No WR is QB proof.

A new QB can also affect the existing members of the offense they move into. QB’s alter the amount of targets a receiver gets, the type of routes they’ll run and the types of passes they’ll expect to be catching. A new QB can also change the amount of touches a RB will get, for better or worse. Todd Gurley felt these effects last season, as he struggled to post his mediocre YPC as defenses were able to stack the box without having to worry about Case Keenum or Jared Goff beating them.

Time Share Concerns

The key to Fantasy Football production is volume. If a player isn’t getting consistent touches, it will be difficult to count on production week-in and week-out. That’s why workhorse running backs like, Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliot and David Johnson are so valuable.

A backfield partner can severely limit the production both backs. Just look at DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart a few years ago, or Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard for the last couple of seasons.

Throughout the off-season, keep an eye on camp reports for teams who will be using a running back by committee (RBBC) and drop those players down your draft boards accordingly.

Rookies

Everyone loves to jump on the rookie hype train. Everyone wants to be the genius who predicted the breakout of the next big star. It’s important to remember that players coming out of college have all the talent necessary to succeed in the NFL. However, the transition from the NCAA to the NFL is tough, and can take a season before players reach their full potential.

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Even the most highly regarded receivers (i.e. Sterling Shepard, Kevin White [again]) can struggle to adapt to the speed and nuances of the NFL. That’s not to say that rookies can’t make a fantasy impact, but it might be best to temper expectations.

These are all guidelines and there’s no sure fire way to determine if someone is going to be a bust. The only thing you can do is be diligent in your research and trust your gut. Good luck.

About Jonathan Chan

Winning fantasy leagues since 2004. Losing them for much longer. Follow Jonathan on twitter @jchan_811 and he'll be ready for all your questions!

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