It’s always a bit of a let-down to realize just how quickly the NFL season passes. Months and months of buildup are followed by a short-lived whirlwind of actual football. The calendar has turned to a New Year, your favorite team’s playoff dreams are being dashed left and right, and the fantasy playoffs are a fading memory. This year we thought we’d go ahead and take a hard look at our annual predictions series. We’ll see who was very right, who was very wrong, and try to pick a true winner for each category. Here are the categories we tackled:
- 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’ll continue our retrospective by taking a look at our picks for Bust of the Year.
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Leonard Fournette, RB JAC
Did anyone else see T.J. Yeldon catch all those balls with the “ones” and look fantastic doing it? I sure didn’t miss it. Not only is Fournette’s receiving volume a mammoth question mark, but he also showed signs of his body not being able to withstand a great workload as he was seemingly always dinged last season. There are much better places to look for your RB1. – TJ Calkins
You’ve got to reach for the highest ADP you can when thinking about busts. With that in mind, I choose Leonard Fournette. He finished as the RB9 as a rookie and is being drafted ahead of the rookie who finished as the RB4 in Kareem Hunt? True, he played in three fewer games. However, is the fact a player with a significant injury history got injured really a positive? Fournette would have needed to have averaged 21 points in those three lost games to even equal Hunt after averaging 17 points a game up to that point. Even given health, I have questions. I expect the defense to struggle more just because it reached such an epic performance last year. The offense also has more questions than answers outside of Fournette. He seems like the biggest risk in the top 12 to me. – Peter Howard
Both Peter and TJ landed on the same disappointing running back. It seems everyone was disappointed in Fournette this season, from fantasy owners to Jacksonville upper management. Fournette had an ADP of around 12 in August, and he put up a real stinker of a season due to injury. While in many cases I’ll excuse a player if it’s due to injury, but that was part of the argument here from both TJ and Peter. It’s hard to trust Fournette.
Dalvin Cook, RB MIN
Cook is talented but there are some clear red flags that make him overvalued. While he looks set for week one, I still believe the Vikings will be very careful with him for at least the first quarter of the season, if not longer. Even after that, Latavius Murray will not be a complete non-factor. He seemed to earn a place on the field with his solid play and tendency for the end zone. Cook will have a fine season but those expecting RB1 numbers will probably be sorely disappointed. – Zach Wilkens
Cook also had a fairly high ADP around 13 in August. Cook started awfully slow, and then missed more time due to injury. He just did not appear to have the same cutting ability or speed early in the season. He picked up the pace later on and started to look like the running back people were after, but it was too late to salvage a disappointment of a season.
Alvin Kamara, RB NOS
This is an unpopular opinion. And it’s not that I think Kamara is a bad player at all. But it’s going to be incredibly difficult for him to reach the value he’d need to in order to not disappoint.
Kamara as a rookie managed a scintillating 13 touchdowns. Since 2000, eight other rookie backs have hit that total and they averaged 316 touches- Kamara had just 202. The average total yardage for a back with 200-210 touches has been 937 yards. Kamara managed 1,554. The next best player was Fred Jackson with 1,376 yards from 209 touches back in 2011.
Kamara is an electric player but unless he can add a large number of touches, it’s just not plausible to me that he can get anywhere close to his rookie season efficiency. He’s being valued as a top six back but he’ll need to add around 120 touches to get into that sort of volume. With Mark Ingram and Drew Brees present, there doesn’t seem much chance the offense starts revolving around Kamara after Ingram returns. – Tom Kislingbury
I expect the difference between expectation and actual output to be bigger for a couple of players but factoring in Kamara’s win-now value, he gets the nod for me. It’ll be nearly impossible for him to keep up 2017’s efficiency, given all the yardage and touchdowns he racked up in just 200 targets last season. After tracking his rookie season carries, it became clear that while he’s a great talent (particularly in the passing game), it required an otherworldly performance from his offensive line to push him over six yards per carry. He should be efficient again but (approximately speaking) a drop from six to five yards per carry is a huge deal in aggregate, especially if his touchdowns fall, too. – Stephen Gill
This certainly was not a terrible pick for Tom or Stephen. Kamara had a stratospheric value in the top ten, and was likely near impossible to buy without paying top dollar. Therefore, he would not have to fall off much to be a real disappointment. As it is, Kamara finished the season with over 350 fantasy points through week 16 and was the RB4. He was also the tenth overall player, which is right in line with his August ADP. Nobody who took Kamara at his August ADP is disappointed right now.
Davante Adams, WR GBP
Adams is a good receiver. He plays with a future Hall of Fame quarterback who is one of the best in the league. He is now the clear WR1 in the Green Bay offense. Yes, all of these things are true. He’s also being drafted as high as the first pick of the second round in dynasty startups right now without ever producing more than 75 catches or 1,000 yards receiving in a single season over his four-year career. My problem with Adams isn’t the talent of the player or the opportunity. It’s the draft capital (or tradeable assets) you have to spend to have him on your team. Add in the three severe concussions he’s suffered in four years that up his risk of injury and Adams is a prime candidate to disappoint this year and beyond, in my opinion. – Brian Harr
You know what they say. “Sometimes you eat the Bear, and sometimes the Bear eats you.” I’ve never been the biggest Adams fan myself, so I can see how Brian came to this conclusion. Adams had a high price tag as the top option in Green Bay, but he never really put together a true ‘stud’ season. He never had more than 75 catches or 1,000 yards receiving before 2018. Davante must have heard Brian said something bad about him, so he put up a line of 111-1,386-13 and ended the season as the top overall wide receiver in fantasy.
Fournette and Cook were both strong picks in this category, but the moment I thought about this article one name flew to the top: Le’Veon Bell. His overall August ADP was around pick seven, and to say he didn’t quite pay off that high of a pick is an understatement. I had Bell on a couple of teams, and I spent the season trying to figure out which week, exactly, he would come back. I never imagined he would never make an appearance in a Steeler uniform this year, but that’s how it all shook out. It’s hard to bust harder than that, in my opinion.
Did anyone in 2018 bust harder than Bell? Share your thoughts below.