Who are the biggest busts in fantasy football right now?

by Granola Jeremy ·

Each week, football players inevitably let down those who drafted or started them. With the draft fresh in mind and start-percentages clustered at their peak, it was easy to determine this weeks biggest fantasy busts from Week 1 by reviewing the advanced stats and metrics on PlayerProfiler.com.

Quarterback

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston completely derailed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hype train. Tampa Bay had the coach. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, Justin Watson and even Breshad Perriman and Cameron Brate were destined to lift Winston into a top-12 quarterback season. Unfortunately, Winston threw more touchdowns to the opposing defense. His 7.1 (No. 32) fantasy points were far off the mark and a reflection of his volatile, gunslinger style. Winston completed the game with 4 Danger Plays, 4 Interceptable Passes, (No.1), and a lackluster 35.7 True Passer Rating.

Today, Jameis Winston takes on the Carolina Panthers defense that held Jared Goff to 186 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. However, the Rams did put up 30 points and Malcolm Brown vultured two touchdowns from Todd Gurley. Thankfully for Winston, the Buccaneers don’t have the offensive line, defense or running back talent to let running backs run wild. Also of note are Winston’s 7 (No. 3) red zone attempts. If any Buccaneer can score, it will be through the air. The Panthers are 7-point favorites with a 50.5 point over/under. Winston will need to throw to keep them in the game and negative game-script will push him to do so. Granted, he is always a risk to throw 3-plus interceptions in a game, but he will be a upper-end quarterback two today.

Jared Goff

Speaking of Jared Goff‘s performance against the Panthers, he was the 27th-best quarterback of the week. Surrounded by talented receivers, pass-catching running backs and the league’s hot, young coach, Goff failed fantasy owners with 9.4 fantasy points. His 4 Inter-Ceptable passes tied Jameis Winston for first. But he also had 5 (No. 2) Danger Plays. and zero Money Throws. Even though Goff had the 7th-best Protection Rate and was 11th in attempts, he disappointed.


Check out Jared Goff on PlayerProfiler’s Weekly Rankings & Projections:


In Week 2, Goff will have a bounce-back game against the Saints. At home, they are 2.5-point favorites with a 53.5 over/under. Even with a 70-percent (No. 26) Protection Rate, Deshaun Watson was able to throw for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns agains the Saints. With a much better offensive line, competing against the high-powered Saints offense, Jared Goff is completely trustworthy in Week 2.

Aaron Rodgers

As of September 4th, Aaron Rodgers‘ ADP in high stakes drafts was 71. In regular leagues, Rodgers regularly went in the fourth or fifth rounds. Taking a quarterback that high is a big risk. Most in the fantasy community understand the cost of an earlier quarterback pick. But, Rodgers was set to regress in the touchdown department. He might be a top-five quarterback once again!

Well, not in his first game against the Chicago Bears stingy defense. They held him to just 203 yards, 1 touchdown and 8 rushing yards. With that being said, Aaron Rodgers still made 3 (No. 1) Money Throws and zero Danger Plays. Against a top defense, that was impressive. In Week 2, he doesn’t quite get a break from a top defense because he faces the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings held Matt Ryan and the Falcons to 12 points. But, they also gave up 304 passing yards and 2 passing touchdowns. If Matty Ice can do it on a bad day, Rodgers will be fine.

Cam Newton

Did Cam Newton even play against the Los Angeles Rams? His 5.4 (No. 35) fantasy points and 3 carries for -2 rushing yards feel like he was replaced in the first quarter. But he wasn’t. Instead, Newton let Christian McCaffrey lead the offense. Unlike McCaffrey, who was efficient and dynamic, Newton had poor judgement and lacked his Konami code. His 4 Inter-Ceptable passes and 5 Dangers Plays are very similar to Jared Goff and Jameis Winston‘s poor outings. But, unlike them, Newton had zero red zone attempts. Zero! He also made just one deep attempt. Without his rushing ability, he lacks upside. If he checks down every pass and cedes red zone duty to McCaffrey, Newton will be nothing but a middling to lower tier quarterback.

In Week 2, the Panthers should see plenty of positive game-script, leading to another McCaffrey-centric game. Cam Newton, whether injured or schemed out of deep passes and rushing, is an avoid.

Running Back

Sony Michel

Somehow, despite all of the love heading into the season, Sony Michel was not the Prince that was Promised. His 33.3-percent snap share was lackluster. But his 0.9 True YPC was abysmal. A 33 to 3 win feels like a Michel-friendly game. And he did garner 15 carries. That was good. But, he rushed for just 14 yards with zero receptions or touchdowns. His snap share, -7.5 O-Line blocking grade, and 0.9 True YPC are suspect.

Todd Gurley

The football community was aware of the Rams appreciation of Malcolm Brown when they matched his offer from the Lions. But, no one expected Brown to out-touch Gurley 5-0 in the red zone. Even though Gurley’s 6.5 True YPC was 8th-best and he evaded 7 tackles, the Rams chose to protect him from injury in the red zone. Additionally, Gurley only garnered one target in the game. Yes, he was able to rush for 97 yards. But, his touchdown ceiling and opportunity share were his biggest weapons for fantasy football. His near 55-percent Opportunity Share and lack of any red zone touches should send red flags up everywhere.

Remember that Todd Gurley has arthritis in his knee. He’s injuries and arthritic knee are causing the Rams to protect him. While that protection could help them win a playoff game, it will only frustrate fantasy owners when he gets vultured all season.

Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones scored less than five fantasy points. Ouch. Albeit against a difficult opponent, but still. His 44.2-percent snap share was not what fantasy football fans wanted to see. Apparently the new coaching staff doesn’t think of Jones as a true workhorse either. Jamaal Williams continues to carve out a role from Jones’ opportunities. He still earned 13 carries and 1 target in the 10-3 victory over the Bears. So at least that is promising. But, he draws another difficult opponent against the Vikings. Until he separates himself from Williams and earns workhorse reps, he will be a bust for owners that drafted him high.

Devonta Freeman

Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith almost equally split snaps. Freeman had a 52.4-percent snap share, while Smith was on the field for 50.8-percent of snaps. Additionally, Freeman had zero red zone touches, only 2.4 True YPC and just 4.1 fantasy points. He was already a player to avoid in drafts because of injury and decline. But, he is fully involved in a split-backfield with Smith. Even without Tevin Coleman in town, Freeman can’t claim the lead-back role. Instead, he’s an injury-riddled, 27-year-old running back without juice.

Wide Receivers

Mike Evans

Two things were going against Mike Evans: Jameis Winston and illness. Winston, as noted above, was erratic and awful in Week 1. But, also bad for Evans was sickness. The Bucs held Evans out of Friday’s practice because of it and it possibly affected his play. Evans scored a whopping 4.8 fantasy points. Good enough for WR79. But not all hope is lost.

Almost a week removed and healthy, Evans should be ready to begin compiling once again. Provided Winston doesn’t throw touchdowns to the opposing defense, Evans will push his way back into top-12 production.

Davante Adams

In the first round of drafts, people drafted Davante Adams. Many even argued that he could outproduce DeAndre Hopkins. But, because Aaron Rodgers struggled, so did Adams. His 7.6 (No. 64) fantasy points put him well out of the talk for number one overall. However, Adams is playing against the Vikings and Xavier Rhodes this week. He’s found success time and time again in that matchup. Give him your faith again as a top option.

Stefon Diggs

Okay, keep in mind that Kirk Cousins only had 10 passes in their first game. Even Adam Thielen only received 3 targets, compared to Stefon Diggs 2 targets. However, Thielen got the touchdown and Diggs didn’t. In a game where they were game-scripted out of targets, Diggs was a lost cause if he didn’t happen to score. He didn’t, so he was another Week 1 fantasy bust.

In Week 2, the Vikings draw the Packers. While the over/under is only 46, the Packers are 2.5 favorites and the Vikings will need Kirk Cousins to throw. That bodes well for Diggs. However, Thielen continues to be the primary target in the Vikings offense and won’t let Diggs truly break free.

Anthony Miller & Geronimo Allison

Anthony Miller and Geronimo Allison vanished. While they weren’t early round picks like the other wide receivers on this list, they still were Week 1 fantasy busts because they didn’t score any points. At all. Miller earned one target and a 23.3-percent snap share. Allison, on the other hand, didn’t even earn a single target. They both were dreadful and likely tanked FLEX and WR3/WR4 spots everywhere. Because of their complete absences in their offenses, their current fantasy outlook is not promising anymore for 2019.

Tight Ends

O.J. Howard

Because of Jameis Winston, he took down O.J. Howard as well. Such is the life tethered to a boom-bust quarterback like Winston. Unfortunately for Howard, he also hurt his own fantasy performance with a fumble. At the 8-yard line no less. What’s nice is that Howard received 5 targets, including 1 in the red zone. Howard also posted a plus-14.8 Production Premium in Week 1. So he wasn’t completely a Week 1 fantasy bust. Honestly, without the fumble, his game would have been fine for a mid-round tight end. 4 receptions for 32 yards isn’t great. But it’s not awful.

Yes, there’s still so much more to be had if Winston can unlock Howard’s elite athleticism and downfield ability. Will that happen soon? Maybe. But, at least in the meantime we can assume the 4 receptions for 50 yards and a possible touchdown line for Howard.

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