4 bust candidates to AVOID in fantasy football this season

by Matthew Gajewski ·

With training camp beginning around the NFL, average draft position has solidified throughout the off-season. While finding sleepers remains important in fantasy drafts, avoiding bust candidates makes just as much of a difference.  With that said, here are a few players whose advanced stats and metrics make them bust candidates for 2019.

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

Finishing as fantasy’s QB8 overall, Drew Brees set the NFL record with a 74.4-percent completion percentage. However, he began to fade toward the end of the 2018 season. He failed to finish inside the top ten in any of his last five games. The ninth quarterback off the board in early best-ball leagues, his 103.2 ADP remains too rich.

In 2018, Brees lived off of efficiency. He recorded a 78.8-percent (No.1) True Completion Percentage, 114.0 (No.1) True Passer Rating and 8.7 (No.2) Adjusted Yards per Attempt. At first glance, these numbers have the look of a perennial every week starter. But his numbers declined toward the end of 2018, as he failed to reach a 70-percent completion percentage in four of his last five games.

Check out Drew Brees on PlayerProfiler’s “World Famous” Draft Kit:

This drop in efficiency does not mean Brees will disappoint in 2019. Many quarterbacks can offset poor efficiency through volume. But the Saints ranked 21st in pass plays per game in 2018. And their 46-percent run rate was the fifth-highest in all of football. They also return four of their five offensive linemen from a season ago. Second-round pick Erik McCoy projects to fill the void left by Max Unger‘s retirement. All this speaks to New Orleans leaning on the run again in 2019. Together, the early signs of decline and the projected low volume offense make Brees a risky fantasy asset in 2019. Pivoting to Konami Code quarterbacks like Cam Newton captures Brees’ ceiling, but also adds a higher floor.

Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos

Despite entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent, Phillip Lindsay broke out for 1,037 rushing yards on 192 carries in 2018. The Colorado product also excelled as a pass catcher, adding 35 catches for 241 yards. Even with the rookie year breakout, the Denver backfield looks to be headed for a committee in 2019. Lindsay currently comes off the board at pick 49.9, while Royce Freeman slides to 88.4.

Lindsay’s first question mark is his size. Standing 5-7, 184-pounds,  he doesn’t possess feature back size. And his small stature leaves him without any notable comps in the PlayerProfiler database. Conversely, Freeman stands 6-0, 229-pounds. Already suffering a severe wrist injury at the end of last year, Lindsay looks to carry the greater risk of injury.


Looking at PlayerProfiler efficiency metrics, Lindsay also appears bound for regression. Despite recording 4.9 (No. 7) True Yards per Carry, Lindsay only notched 0.98 (No. 45) Yards Created per Carry. He also struggled to force tackles with an 18.5-percent (No. 48) Juke Rate. Freeman bested Lindsay in both metrics with a 1.28 (No. 30) Yards Created per Carry and a 24.3-percent (No. 32) Juke Rate. As a pass catcher, Lindsay’s 35 catches easily bested Freeman’s 14. Freeman notched 79 career receptions at Oregon, however, showing the ability to work in all phases.

To make matters worse, Denver projects to struggle this season. Currently pegged for seven wins by FanDuel, game script should work against them in 2019. The offense also projects to run through Joe Flacco or incoming rookie Drew Lock. Coming off the board inside the top 50 picks, Lindsay remains a strong avoid in fantasy football.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Breaking out in his third NFL season, Tyler Boyd finished with 76 catches for 1,028 receiving yards and seven scores. Despite the breakout, a few factors point to a possible regression for Boyd.

The Bengals will change offenses this season under new head coach Zac Taylor. He reportedly utilizes condensed formations that put the slot receiver in more down-field route combinations. Boyd recorded a 9.9 (No. 73) Average Target Distance last season while working as an underneath receiver. Running a 4.58 (38th-percentile) 40-yard dash out of college, Boyd’s athleticism may not directly translate to a down-field role. He also struggled to create separation, logging 1.41 (No. 60) yards of Target Separation in 2018.

Tyler Boyd Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Boyd also looks like a touchdown regression candidate after securing 3.5 touchdowns above expectation. He recorded his seven scores on a mere 10 red zone targets (No.58), while playing 14 games. In comparison, A.J. Green saw 14 red zone targets despite playing in only nine games. Now also returning Tyler Eifert, Boyd looks like a distant third option in the red zone.

Looking at Cincinnati as a whole, FanDuel projects this team to finish with six wins. Already losing first-round pick Jonah Williams this off-season, Cincinnati looks like a team to fade in 2019. Currently coming off the board at pick 67.7, Boyd remains a trap player in the mid-rounds.

Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

Zach Ertz currently comes off fantasy draft boards between the second and third round. He’s coming off a career season with 1,163 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns on 116 catches. And while most consider him a lock to finish among the top three tight ends, Ertz actually looks like a potential bust in 2019.


Firstly, Ertz looks likely to see a decline in volume in 2019. Finishing with a 26.2-percent (No. 2) Target Share, Ertz’s 156 targets rank number one among tight ends over the last decade. The Eagles added DeSean Jackson in free agency, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round of the NFL Draft. With Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Dallas Goedert already on the team, Philly projects to spread the target share more equitably this season.

Goedert’s late-season breakout further lowered Ertz’s ceiling. Goedert was highly efficient while receiving a 54.7-percent snap share, evidenced by a 111.7 (No. 7) QB Rating When Targeted and a +21.5-percent (No. 6) Target Premium. Combined with Goedert’s breakout and Philly’s recent additions in the pass game, Ertz looks like a reach with his 25.6 ADP in early best-ball leagues.