2022 Fantasy Football IDP Potential Busts

by Andrew Barton
Best 2022 Pre-NFL Draft Landing Spots

Welcome to my 2022 Fantasy Football IDP Potential Busts!

There is no worse feeling in fantasy football than drafting a player that ends up as a bust. As a Christian McCaffery owner in both 2020 and 2021, this pain cuts even deeper. While many are quick to label a poor offensive performance “bust” worthy, there are plenty of defensive players prime to disappoint in an IDP league this year.

Age, injury concerns, and more all come into the equation when trying to predict which players may fall off the dreaded cliff and fail to live up to their draft price. In a dynasty league, it may be best to adopt the Bill Belichick ideology of trading these players now, before it becomes too late. In a redraft format, managers should probably look elsewhere for production on the defensive side of the ball.

Given that most IDP leagues have their own unique scoring format, I used ESPN and Fantasy Pros default IDP settings as a reference when regarding players’ fantasy points.

That said, let’s look at some big names that I believe could end up busting this coming season.

2022 Fantasy Football IDP Potential Busts

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Trevon Diggs, CB, Dallas Cowboys

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When thinking of the Cowboys’ cornerback, the first thing that comes to mind is his league-leading 11 interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. Alongside 52 total tackles, Diggs finished last season as the ninth overall defensive back and second overall corner. Yet, if you can look past the impressive turnover numbers, it’s easy to see a player who was average at best.

In 2021, over 40% of his fantasy production came from interceptions or touchdowns. Conversely, 2021’s top-rated corner Kenny Moore II’s interception and touchdown numbers only accounted for 11% of his fantasy points. Not only was Diggs heavily reliant on picking off the quarterback, but he also struggled to defend out wide, often gambling and putting himself in a position to get beat. According to Pro-Football Focus, the Cowboy was targeted the 5th most times in the league, gave up 55 receptions (14th most allowed), and posted a middling 59.6 player grade.

Trevon Diggs is one of the most fun cornerbacks to watch given his instincts as a ballhawk. Unfortunately, for fantasy purposes banking on interceptions, every week is a recipe for disappointment. Drafting him as a top ten defensive back over more versatile safeties like Budda Baker or Micah Hyde is not recommended.

Robert Quinn, LB, Chicago Bears

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If this was 2013, Robert Quinn might be contending for a top ten linebacker ranking for the coming season. The reality is that this is 2022 and hoping his production from this last year will carry over is a risk I will not be taking.

Having finished second in sacks as well as producing 17 tackles for loss sounds promising for this coming season. Yet, all you have to do is widen your lens to realize the past few years have not been kind to the Bears' aging linebacker. From 2018-2020 his average ranking amongst linebackers was 83rd. His 2020 season was extremely forgettable as he could only muster 20 tackles and two sacks. A great 2021 season can’t mask years of struggle.

The biggest knock against Quinn has to be his unimpressive tackle totals. He hasn’t eclipsed fifty tackles since 2013 and despite 49 total tackles in 2021 he still ranked 253rd across the whole league. In total, you are looking at a player on the wrong side of thirty who hasn’t been consistently fantasy relevant for almost six years. Praying he will have a late-career resurgence is not wise.

Blake Martinez, LB, New York Giants

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This will likely be the most controversial addition to this list. For the better part of his career, Blake Martinez has been a tackling machine, averaging 148 total tackles a year before tearing his ACL in 2021. In my previous articles, I have been adamant about the importance of tackles in an IDP league, so having Martinez on the bust list likely seems sacrilegious. That ACL tear looms large and so does his lack of overall impact across the box score.

While he may put up great numbers in his solo and assisted tackle categories, Martinez has never been one to do much else. His career high in interceptions is one. He rarely gets after the quarterback and is average at best in coverage. If he isn’t chasing down ball carriers, his fantasy impact is marginal on a per-game basis.

Fantasy Pros currently ranks him 12th overall for the 2022 season. If he returns to his pre-injury form, I can understand ranking him among some of the best IDP players in the league. The problem is that it usually takes players a full season to regain their form after a serious knee injury. If Martinez was able to rush the passer like T.J. Watt or Micah Parsons, there may be less hesitation to keep him close to, if not, among the top 10. I would rather pass on the New York Giant and target players like Shaq Thompson who is ranked ten slots lower and will still likely break the 100-tackle threshold and throw in a few sacks.

Cam Heyward, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers

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It can be argued that in his age 32 season Cam Heyward had a career year. He set career highs in passes defended and total tackles. He also came close to matching his career highs in sacks and tackles for loss. In the end, he finished as the second-best IDP lineman behind only Aaron Donald. It seems like he is showing no signs of slowing down until you look at his fantasy production over the past few seasons and the pattern it follows.

In 2018 Heyward finished 27th in total fantasy points among defensive linemen. He followed that up with a great 2019 season where he vaulted all the way up to third. Then 2020 gave way to another disappointment as he dropped back down to 28th overall. Finally, in 2021 he regained his form and dominated with a 2nd place finish and career year. During this span, he played no fewer than 15 games in a season so missed time was not a factor. With Fantasy Pros listing Heyward as the fourth overall defensive lineman for 2022, I am hesitant to buy the hype.

To match his 2021 finish he will need to produce at least 75 tackles (he averages 56 since becoming a full-time starter), double-digit sacks (he has only done so twice in his career), and solid pass coverage numbers (he set a career-high in 2021) as well. All while staying healthy despite entering his 12th season.

Cam Heyward is an anchor for the Steelers' defense. His presence alone elevates the defensive front and his job is made easy with reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt alongside him. Regardless, ranking him as a top-five defensive lineman and a tier-one player at his position seems risky given his up and down track record over the past few years.

Final Thoughts

All the players mentioned above project as positive forces on their respective teams. They could produce strong seasons and be worth the asking price in an IDP draft. Yet, there are reasons to be cautious with each one. Some of them are battling father time or injuries. Others may be riding high on the best seasons of their careers. In my opinion, there is more than enough talent at each defensive position that safer alternatives can be easily found. Feel free to roll the dice on these guys, I’ll happily pass.

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