by Chris Foster
There was a time when I was a freshman in high school when I had a crush on this girl named Rachel. She was a senior, and the captain of the cheerleading squad, way out of my league! I mean come on, I was just a freshman. Yet, we had the same P.E. class and from time to time she would talk to me. So, I was very hopeful, I had expectations that this could work!
One day, I walked into the gym and I was at about the baseline on the basketball court and she was at halfcourt. She put on the biggest smile, wave, and then blew a kiss right at me! I was ecstatic! All my dreams were coming true! I cracked back the biggest smile and wave I possibly could as my face turned red. Then, out of nowhere, a senior named Adam Martin came jogging past me right toward Rachel and gave her a huge hug. My expectations were shattered! They just didn’t live up to what I thought they should be!
Every year in fantasy football there are guys who we expect to perform at an elite level and provide our fantasy teams with consistent play every week. Those expectations often yield players who can’t fulfill our hopes and dreams, and 2016 was no exception! Let’s take a look at the top 5 busts of each position.
5. Blake Bortles- When people think back on the 2016 season they are going to view Bortles as taking a major step back in his progression. Most of that has to do with the success of the team. He finished as the #5 QB a season ago and had some lofty expectations heading into this season. By his ADP (average draft position), he was the 8th QB taken off the draft board in most drafts. He actually finished the season as the #10 QB in the league. Not too far from where he was taken. Yet, I think most would view Bortles as a bust this season.
4. Carson Palmer- Palmer helped owners when championships last season. Even at age 37, most thought that with the supporting cast around Carson Palmer, he would be a lock when it came to consistent QB play. This season, he was quite the opposite. He had an average draft position of the 9th QB off the board. He finished this season as the #16 QB. Which means in most leagues he was not even starter material this season!
3. Ben Roethlisberger- When people think of Big Ben they think of huge fantasy numbers! Which is true, about half the time. The half when he plays at home. It has been well documented this season how Ben struggled on the road. He was the 6th QB by ADP and finished this season ranked at #18. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that he missed 2 games this season, but that is 2 weeks you were left scrambling playing someone other than Ben Roethlisberger.
2. Russell Wilson- Wilson battled nagging injuries and poor offensive line play most of the season. The last 8 weeks of last season Wilson was the #1 QB in the NFL and that was a large reason he was taken as 1 of the top 3 QB’s in most fantasy drafts. In 10 games this season, he posted less than 15 points per game including 3 single digit games. Those type of numbers can really make it difficult to win on a consistent basis. He finished the year ranked as the #10 QB in the NFL, but no question you were disappointed if you were a Russell Wilson owner this season.
1. Cam Newton- Cam Newton was by far the biggest disappointment at QB this season. He was largely taken as the #1 overall QB in most fantasy drafts. He finished the season outside of the top 15 at #17. Newton did miss one game on the season after a concussion in week 4. He only topped 15 points in 6 games this season. After being the #1 QB in fantasy a year ago, he threw for 16 fewer touchdowns, ran for half of what he did in 2015, and scored 5 less rushing touchdowns. Add all of that together, and Newton wasn’t even starter material for most of the season.
5. Doug Martin- Martin had a bounce back year in 2015 following a rough campaign in 2014. Which led him to be taken as the #9 running back this season according to ADP in most drafts.
4. Jeremy Langford- People were skeptical of Langford most of the preseason and his pedestrian 2.8 yards per carry the prior season. He still had an ADP as the 15th running back taken off draft boards in the fall. Obviously, early in the season, Langford found some success before a nagging injury saw him sidelined. Once there, Langford remained on the side as he watched rookie running back Jordan Howard take over and finish as a top 10 running back in the NFL this season. Langford finished outside the top 50.
3. Adrian Peterson- Even at his age, Peterson was taken as the 4th running off the boards according to ADP. He was injured in the second game of the season and only saw 6 more carries the rest of the year. It is likely that Peterson has played his last football in Minnesota, but it remains to be seen as the off-season unfolds. Peterson’s bust this year was a result of injury, but where does that leave him as he enters his age 32 season next year?
2. Lamar Miller- Lamar Miller had been underutilized in Miami for so many years! When he moved to Houston many, including myself, thought that he would be a breakout star. Some experts even had him ranked as high as the #1 over running back. Maybe you can blame it on the quarterback play, offensive line, or management, but Miller was never able to put it together this season. His ADP was the 6th RB taken off of draft boards and he finished as the #19 running back. That made him useful in most leagues as a flex or maybe RB2, but considering the expectations, it has to be looked at as a disappointment!
1. Todd Gurley- Like Cam Newton, Todd Gurley was typically the first off the board at his position. He was even taken by many as the #1 overall pick. If you made that mistake, your fantasy season likely finished in peril. Gurley finished as the #16 overall running back. Being the #1 overall pick, or even #1 at a position, a fantasy owner wants consistency, and Gurley only provided RB1 numbers (double-digit points) 5 times all season. That is a miserable failure and major bust!
5. Alshon Jeffery- Obviously Jeffery’s suspension hurt his productivity, but his failures had started long before that. He had an ADP as the #11 wide receiver and finished the season outside the top 50 and even behind his own teammate Cameron Meredith. Jeffery was suspended in week 11, but through the first 10 weeks of the season, he was still ranked as the #33 wide receiver. It will be interesting to see how his free agency is handled this off-season.
4. Dez Bryant- Dezzy Bear missed 3 weeks this season, from week 4-6, and it hurt his numbers pretty badly. Bryant was the 6th wide receiver drafted by ADP and finished the season ranked the #32 wideout. The weeks he did play, from 8-16, he finished right at his ADP as wide receiver #6. Yet, because of his first 8 weeks, with Dez on your roster, there is a good chance you were out of the playoff picture.
3. Allen Robinson- This follows right along with the Blake Bortles narrative. After finishing as the 6th best wide receiver in 2015, Allen Robinson was the 5th wide receiver taken by ADP in most drafts. Most people expected a giant year for him and Bortles. Instead, we got a dud year from both. Robinson didn’t miss a single game and finished as the #28 wide receiver this season. He was barely flex worthy in most leagues throughout the year.
2. DeAndre Hopkins- DeAndre Hopkins has been so good no matter who is QB has been in the past. Most thought that Brock Osweiler would be an upgrade over what Hopkins has played with in the past, but oh, how we were wrong! Hopkins apparently isn’t Osweiler proof! Despite being the 4th wide receiver taken in most fantasy drafts, Hopkins finished as wide receiver #30 which is far fetched from his usual WR1 status!
1. Brandon Marshall- This may be surprising to some, but think about how good Brandon Marshall was in 2015 with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. He was so good that in most fantasy drafts he was going inside the top 10. Well, now we see why the Jets held out and weren’t willing to pay Ryan Fitzpatrick big money in the off-season. He just wasn’t very good and that was a huge detriment to Marshall. Marshall only missed one game this season and finished as the #49 wide receiver in all of football! Ouch!
5. Greg Olsen- I know, Greg Olsen finished as the #3 tight end in fantasy football this season, but he was still disappointing. He only finished one spot behind his ADP, but as someone who traded for Olsen in the middle of the season, I know just how disappointed owners were with him in the second half of the year. He only had 1 double-digit fantasy performance from week 6-17. Even though he finished in the top 3 of his position, he left way more to be desired.
4. Dwayne Allen- This was the year that Coby Fleener was gone and Dwayne Allen had the opportunity to take off as the only tight end in his offense and Andrew Luck under center. Whoops! Enter Jack Doyle! Allen was the 13th tight end taken off the board in most drafts, but people had high expectations for him and he finished as the #21 tight end, 8 spots behind teammate Jack Doyle.
3. Gary Barnidge- Barnidge came out of nowhere last season to finish in the top 3 of tight ends in the NFL. Even at his age, it looked like he had found the fountain of youth. Fantasy owners were so impressed by Barnidge that he had an ADP as the #6 tight end taken off of draft boards. Well, things in Cleveland this season didn’t go as planned, the organization was in shambles at QB, and Barnidge finished the year as the 19th best tight end.
2. R0b Gronkowski- We all know where Gronk went amongst tight ends in fantasy drafts! He was #1! Gronk only played in four full games this season from weeks 5-8. Over those 4 weeks he scored 75 fantasy points, the next closest tight end over that same stretch was Delanie Walker with 45. He outscored the next closest guy by 30 points! We all know what Gronk is capable of, but we also know how injury prone he can be. Gronk obviously missed the rest of the season and finished ranked as the #24 tight end, which is actually impressive considering he only played 4 games. Nonetheless, if you drafted Gronk, you couldn’t help feel like he was a bust this season!
1. Coby Fleener- This guy was supposed to step into a prolific Saints passing attack and be the tight end that we expected for him to be in Indy. We had obviously seen Jimmy Graham come to stardom in this offense for years and even an aging Ben Watson a season ago. It only made sense that someone as young and talented as Fleener would be the next guy line! Well, we were wrong! Fleener was taken as the #5 tight end according to ADP and he finished at #15. He even spent most of the second half of the season getting out snapped by Josh Hill!
All stats are based on .5 PPR
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