DLF’s 2017 Predictions: Fantasy Bust of the Year

Ken Kelly

Most rookie drafts are in the rearview mirror and the NFL Preseason is winding down. We’re all busy combing the news sites trying to keep abreast of all the important developments as we prepare for the best time of the year, the NFL season.  That can only mean one thing – it’s time for us to put a bow on those reams of off-season content with DLF’s 2017 Fantasy Predictions. As we do every year, we have several different prediction articles for you in the following categories:

  • Fantasy MVP
  • Fantasy Rookie of the Year
  • Sleeper Rookie of the Year (outside our top 24)
  • Bust of the Year
  • Fantasy Sleeper
  • Best Dynasty Buy
  • Best Dynasty Sell
  • Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year

We continue the series with our choices for the annual “Kevan Barlow Bust of the Year.”

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Brandin Cooks, WR NE

The Patriots have too many weapons and are too smart about using them for Cooks to get the volume he needs to finish as a WR1. He will have boom weeks and be a nice DFS start, but I do not think he will have consistent weekly output. – Anthony Santigate

Jordan Howard, RB CHI

After being drafted in the fifth round by the Bears, Howard well exceeded expectations with his 1,313 rushing yards on 252 attempts and RB10 PPR finish in 2016. I liked Howard coming out of the draft, but feel he is likely to regress a bit. The Bears passing offense will not be feared and teams will begin to stack the box versus the Bears more this season. I expect Howard to be a top 20 RB, not top ten in 2017. – Kevin O’Brien

Allen Robinson, WR JAC

There are many players who could be considered for this title. After all, picking in a startup draft in the late second or early third round has been tortuous this off-season. Nothing seems to be going right for the Jaguars offense, namely the sudden quarterback battle that has been created due to the continuous poor play of Blake Bortles. Whether Bortles hangs onto the job or the team opts for veteran Chad Henne or even on outsider, it doesn’t look like Robinson will see an improvement in his quarterback play this year, which means we should continue to see the inefficient and inconsistent numbers Robinson produced a season ago. Despite these concerns, Robinson has remained a second round dynasty pick. – Ryan McDowell

Marshawn Lynch, RB OAK

I just can’t see a 31 year old back who missed all of last season, and was injured for most of the season before, return value at his price this season. I did say the same thing about Adrian Peterson in 2012 and was very wrong, but I’m not trying to chase another exception. – Nick Canzanese

Mike Evans, WR TB

Evans fails to finish as a fantasy WR1 due to a sharp decrease in target volume and the loss of a few red zone opportunities to the tight end duo of Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. – Curtis Patrick

Tevin Coleman, RB ATL

Coleman is being valued as a top-20 dynasty back, but barring an injury to Devonta Freeman, the Falcons’ backup runner is going to have a very tough time being a weekly starter. Not only is he due for some negative touchdown regression after scoring eight times on just 118 attempts, Atlanta’s offense as a whole will likely regress some after their historic 2016 campaign. Coleman definitely has league-winning upside if he ever got the backfield to himself, but as it stands, he’ll need to catch some breaks to be a useful fantasy asset in 2017.  – Austan Kas

Leonard Fournette, RB JAC

The list of red flags keeps growing for Fournette this year. His offensive line is not that great, Blake Bortles has looked terrible so far, and Fournette is now dealing with another foot injury. These factors seem like too much for him to overcome this season in order to live up to his second or third round pick price tag. – Kyle Holden

Leonard Fournette, RB JAC

Since there’s no category for “Rookie Bust of the year” I’m putting Leonard Fournette here. I like Fournette; he’s big, he’s fast and he’s talented. But I think expectations are too high. If he can get (and stay) healthy, and if the Jaguars defense can live up to its talent, and if the offense can find a semblance of consistency – if all those things happen – then, yes, he can be the volume driven running back two (or even low end one) of your dreams…yay? – Peter Howard

Alshon Jeffery, WR PHI

In five pro seasons, Jeffery has just one 16-game campaign to his name. In Philly, he’s already battled a bad shoulder which kept him limited in practice. He won’t come near the 145 targets he needed to post the WR9 and WR12 finishes he logged in 2013, and 2014, respectively. In the best case scenario, Alshon sees around 115 looks from Carson Wentz, and comes in near 1,000 receiving yards on the year. Yet, it’s been a minute since we’ve seen Alshon actualize the best-case scenario. – Mo Brewington

Sammy Watkins, WR LAR

I didn’t like him in Buffalo and I like him just as much in Los Angeles.  Watkins hasn’t been able to stay off the training table and he now finds himself in an offense lacking dynamic and quarterback experience.  Watkins will be doubled nearly every play and receptions will be tough to come by.  As an early second-round dynasty selection, there’s far too much risk for me to be excited about his prospects. – Jeff Haverlack

AJ Green, WR CIN

Just based on value, A.J. Green will win this unfortunate title. He has struggled to stay healthy, missing parts of two of three seasons. He has one of the most mediocre quarterbacks in Andy Dalton, and the Bengals offense has gotten better. For the most part this helps players, but now in Cincinnati, it can be considered overcrowded. Mixon and Ross arrive as rookies, and Hill, Bernard and Eifert return. – Mike Valverde

Rookie Tight Ends

I can’t separate Evan Engram and David Njoku.  I like both of them as athletes but they’re super-raw for the purpose of actually playing tight end in the NFL. Neither is helped by the quarterback throwing them the ball and I foresee a season of frustration after many weeks of one catch and nine yards.  Long-term they could pan out, but anyone who took one of these as a top-ten pick is likely to be a bit annoyed with themselves come January 2018. – Tom Kislingbury

Samaje Perine, RB WASperine

Perine is already off to a rough start in Washington, having a bad camp, fumbling in the game, and dropping a pass. He is already unlikely to get much if any third down work with Chris Thompson having that job locked up. He was drafted as a first-round guy, assumed to be the starter. He does a lot of the same things that Rob Kelley does and is currently running behind him. He may be a buy low candidate in the future, but those who expected good 2017 production are likely to be disappointed. – Eliot Crist

Eddie Lacy, RB SEA

Lacy is talented, sure, but he always seems to be on the wrong side of a constant crusade with his weight issues. He also seems to get dinged anytime he strings together any type of consistent production. With Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise heavily involved in the offense this year, I envision many disappointed Lacy owners by the end of 2017. – Leo Paciga

Leonard Fournette, RB JAC

Drafting a Jaguars workhorse back right now is a lose-lose proposition.  Forget that Leonard Fournette has a bad O-line and offense (in general).  He has a schedule that is worse than average against the run. – Bob Brannon

Lamar Miller, RB HOU

Miller has plenty of detractors, so I’m not alone in this, but my confidence in him is lower than ever. His career high in rushing attempts last season hid his inefficiency, but he was more successful used in a more limited role with the Dolphins. While I don’t believe he will completely useless in fantasy, I think his role will shrink as Foreman gets more opportunities. – Eric Dickens

Mike Evans, WR TB

Jumping on board with Evans here; although I’m an owner myself in a few leagues.  With the new additions of DeSean Jackson, OJ Howard and Chris Godwin we shouldn’t expect Evans too see 173 targets again.  With an ADP of WR2 only behind Odell Beckham Jr., there might be a lot of disappointed owners this season. – Bee Salamat

T.Y. Hilton, WR IND

I love me some Hilton, but for 2017 I doubt his ability to live up to draft day expectations.  The writing is on the wall for Andrew Luck to have a down year after his injury and missing so much time over the off-season.  Behind Luck, the Colts don’t have anyone that I trust to get Hilton the ball as well or often as Luck can.  I’ve avoided him entirely in 2017. – Trevor Bucher

Todd Gurley, RB LAR

After an abysmal 2016, Todd Gurley still pushes the second round of dynasty ADP. If you assume that the poor season was entirely due to his surroundings, perhaps that could be warranted. But that really wasn’t the case. If he’s going to live up to this high of a draft slot, every aspect of the Rams offense will have to improve, which is unlike the case of any player being taken this highly. – Steve Gill

Michael Thomas, WR NO

According to ADP, he’s currently being drafted as the seventh wide receiver off the board in startups. His value is very dependent on the passing volume of the Saints offense and Drew Brees’ health. There’s a chance that we could see a dip in his production this season. – Bruce Matson

Alshon Jeffery, WR PHI

Maybe it’s because I’m a bitter Bears fan, but I can’t help but feel Jeffery isn’t going to light it up in Philly. He’s not a WR1, he’s always on the injury report and even the Eagles only signed him to a one-year deal. I just don’t have faith. – Doug Green

DeMarco Murray, RB TEN

To be a true bust, you need to have high expectations of you. In my eyes, that means a top 50 player. Looking in that range, Murray jumps out to me. Not only is he getting a little long in the tooth, especially given the super heavy workload he has had at times, but the Titans are in the middle of a youth movement. Henry should be taking on more of a role, plus I think the offense is going to begin transitioning into more of a pass heavy team. All of that spells bad news for Murray. – Jacob Feldman

T.Y. Hilton, WR INDhilton

Let me start by saying how much I love T.Y. Hilton, but without Andrew Luck in the lineup his value bottoms out. The closer we get to week one without Luck practicing, the closer I get to believing 2017 will be a lost year for Hilton. Scott Tolzien under center will heavily alter this entire offense’s identity to a “grind it out” safe offense and that is kryptonite to Hilton’s game. – Eric Olinger

Leonard Fournette RB, JAC

A simple case of loving the talent but hating the team. I am simply not buying into the Jaguars this season, with Blake Bortles struggling once again. Chad Henne isn’t the quarterback you are looking for either. The body language on display by Allen Robinson against Tampa Bay in week two of the preseason says everything you need to know about this offense. All of this in addition to the foot issue surfacing again is enough for me to fade Fournette in 2017. – Matt Price

DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU

Of all the receivers and running backs going very early in dynasty drafts, Hopkins seems like the misfit (along with Allen Robinson). Even if Deshaun Watson overthrows Tom Savage (which I wouldn’t bet on even if he is the more talented QB), the growing pains likely won’t be pretty for the Houston offense. I don’t think now’s the time you’ll have wanted to invest in Hopkins. – James Simpson

Leonard Fournette RB, JAC

This is getting a lot of traction lately, and I am off Fournette at his current cost.  Foot woes are back this camp and I just do not have any faith in Jacksonville’s offense; I could see plenty of 16-53 lines in Fournette’s future as the Jaguars fail to press the defense at any level.  I still like him long-term; just not relying on him as a big piece of the redraft puzzle. – Rob Willette

Joe Mixon, RB CIN

People expect an awful lot out of one Joe Mixon this year. While I do think the million dollar talent is there, I’m not sure his head will be in the right place. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see nearly as much of Mixon as his owners might hope. I’m also on high alert when it comes to guys with character or off-field issues. – Ryan Finley

Jarvis Landry, WR MIA

While Landry is a very good player in his role, the emergence of DeVante Parker will certainly eat into the volume of targets thrown his way. Jay Cutler’s comparison of Parker to Alshon Jeffery seems to imply a new boss in town. I’d be looking for more of a 2016 Jamison Crowder season than that which would put his ADP at a value. – Dwayne Brown

Brandin Cooks, WR NE

I hate typing this because I have Cooks in so many leagues and find myself really counting on him this year. Unfortunately, the Patriots throw to whoever is open and find no joy is catering to certain players and their specific wants and needs for touches. In short, Cooks is going to likely be a very talented player who will have some big weeks and some down weeks. Many owners are thinking we have the next evolution in Randy Moss in New England and I think thoughts like that are going to be “Straight trash, homey.” – Ken Kelly

Hunter Henry, TE SD

The expectations for Henry are much too high. Antonio Gates is still lurking, their schedule is tough, and the wide receiver corps is suddenly loaded with big targets who can excel in the red zone. Henry is a fine player with great upside, but he is a second year tight end who has 36 receptions in his career. Let’s all take a deep breath and look forward to 2018. – Jeff Miller

Eddie Lacy, RB SEA

Lacy seems to be on the wrong side of nearly every bit of news out of Seattle. Weight issues, crowded depth chart and poor performance in training camp and the preseason just make it likely that Lacy will bust this season. I think his days are numbered in the NFL as well. – The FF Ghost

Joe Mixon, RB CIN

Anyone expecting him to be anything other than in a full blown running back committee this year is lying to themselves. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good running back and should have a long career, but Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard aren’t going anywhere just yet. Couple that with the worst line in the NFL and it’s bust city. – Adam Tzikas

Marshawn Lynch, RB OAK

He’s over 30, he has thousands of career carries, and he was retired for all of last season. With an offense predicated on the pass, there’s little reason to think Marshawn Lynch deserves to be an early third-round pick by ADP, yet here we are. – Joe Redemann

Lamar Miller, RB HOU

Prior to the 2016 season, the popular narrative for Miller was that the Miami coaching staff had been holding him back. He was destined to explode after receiving a sizable contract from the Texans to be a lead running back. The result was a second consecutive season with a sharp decline in yards-per-carry (5.10 in 2014, 4.50 in 2015 and 4.0 in 2016) as well as a decrease from eight touchdowns in 2015 to only five in 2016. Until his draft position takes a dive, Miller will continue to be near (or at) the top of my list of busts. – Jaron Foster

Final Vote Count

  • Leonard Fournette – 5 votes
  • Brandin Cooks, Marshawn Lynch, Mike Evans, Alshon Jeffery, Lamar Miller, T.Y. Hilton, Joe Mixon – 2
  • Jordan Howard, Allen Robinson, Tevin Coleman, Sammy Watkins, AJ Green, Samaje Perine, Todd Gurley, Michael Thomas, DeMarco Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Jarvis Landry – 1


ken kelly