Here are 10 NFL players who have major bust potential for the 2018 fantasy football seasons. They seem bound to underperform, based on their average draft position in standard leagues (on fantasypros.com).
1. Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans
Revisiting his stats (and film) from 2017 will have fantasy owners gawking at Watson’s playmaking abilities. He threw for 319.7 yards per start with 3.6 passing touchdowns. He also averaged 50.6 rushing yards per start with 0.2 rushing touchdowns. Those numbers are jarring, which is why he’s going to shoot to the top of draft boards. For now, he’s QB5 and 62nd overall (just one position behind Cam Newton, who is QB4 at 61st overall).
Watson’s upside is tremendous. But his mobility led to a torn ACL. That’s an occupational hazard for a mobile quarterback like Watson, whose elusiveness was staggering. He’s not getting drafted like a quarterback who is going to throw 57 touchdowns (which he would have done if he’d managed his average over a 16-game season). But he is getting drafted ahead of Drew Brees, a player who has eclipsed 4,000 passing yards for the last 12 seasons and has eclipsed 5,000 for five of the last 10 seasons. And people are betting on Watson after seeing him for just five games. They’re also betting on him amid a recovery from a major injury.
Watson is a star — but he’s a much bigger risk than people seem to think. If you take him high, be sure to secure a late quarterback like Phillip Rivers or Matt Ryan (both of whom are going roughly 60 picks later, if you’re looking for better value).
2. Jared Goff, QB, Rams
Another young quarterback getting too much hype.
I know Goff has one of the best arsenals in the NFL. I know he showed incredible development in his second year under Sean McVay. But check out his stats. Goff had 3,804 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also doesn’t run the ball.
Goff has developed to be a good quarterback, but has not developed to be a good fantasy quarterback. The distinction is important. So while the NFL hype machine gets folks on the Rams’ bandwagon (and that’s what the league wants because they’re trying to sell their brand in Los Angeles), Goff’s fantasy value is still modest. Let him continue to be QB16, which is probably an overestimation of his value.
10 Fantasy Football Sleepers for 2018 Season
3. Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings
ACL injuries are unforgiving — just ask Keenan Allen’s fantasy owners. Allen surged in the second half of the season but was wildly underwhelming from Week 1 to Week 10. He didn’t pop until Week 11 when he went off for over 40 points in in standard leagues.
For those interested in drafting Cook, who looked as promising as any rookie running back in 2017, an ACL injury should serve as a significant deterrent. It’s not that I don’t think Cook is talented. It’s not that I don’t think his offense will be high octane. But Cook is, on average, the 10th running back drafted at 15th overall. This year more than ever, owners seem to be gorging on running backs in early picks. Why not take a player who is already past his ACL injury: Keenan Allen (who is going 17th overall)? Why not take A.J. Green or Michael Thomas?
The first and second rounds are spots where owners can’t afford to miss. If Cook’s injury slows him and Latavius Murray poaches carries and touchdowns, then owners might sorely regret taking Cook with their second pick.