Fantasy football busts. You gotta hate them. You go into the season thinking it’s your year, only to get blindsided by one of your top players underachieving. When it’s your time to pick come draft day, make sure to stay away from the following 11 NFL players.
11. Jordan Reed, Redskins
Don’t let Alex Smith’s success with Travis Kelce in Kansas City fool you, Jordan Reed is bound to be a disappointment yet again. Just like every season, Reed is going to catch the injury bug at some point and be forced to sit out the majority of the year. When Reed is healthy, sure, he might put up solid numbers, but it’s not worth stashing an unnecessary player on your team to only play him for five weeks at most.
10. Jarvis Landry, Browns
Jarvis Landry was a reception machine with the Miami Dolphins, but don’t expect the same production out of the LSU product now that he’s on the Browns. Unlike on the Dolphins, Landry is not the No. 1 target (Josh Gordon is). Playing second fiddle to Gordon will force Landry’s receptions to drop significantly. While it was fine for fantasy owners to have Landry when he was on the Dolphins, because his abundance of catches would make up for his limited yards per catch, it won’t be the same case this season.
9. Sammy Watkins, Chiefs
When the Los Angeles Rams traded for Sammy Watkins last year, big things were expected of him, and rightfully so. Before the trade, Watkins had two very productive seasons with the Buffalo Bills before his third season was cut short due to injury. Despite Jared Goff having an MVP-caliber year, Watkins did not benefit from his quarterback’s play. He ended with less than 600 yards in 15 games. As a free agent this offseason, Watkins chose to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs. If Watkins couldn’t get it done as the best receiver in Los Angeles, then there should be no reason why he will as the third target on the Chiefs (Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce).
8. Joe Mixon, Bengals
Joe Mixon never got his chance last year because the Cincinnati Bengals split carries with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. With Hill gone and Bernard being pinned solely into the passing game, Mixon’s impending increase in carries is more than enough for fantasy owners to take a chance on him. These fantasy owners are making a mistake. Last season, Mixon had the seventh-worst yards per carry for all running backs with more than 6.25 attempts per game. Besides drafting a center in the first round, the Bengals haven’t done much to help Mixon find holes in the defense. Even with more carries, Mixon still will be as much of a let down.
7. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks were destroyed by critics on draft night for reaching for Rashaad Penny in the first round. The big knock on Penny was he played for San Diego State, making Penny’s insane statistics in college inflated to some as the Aztecs don’t play with the upper echelon of NCAA talent. Penny’s inexperience with top-tier talent will cause him to struggle in the NFL. Furthermore, Seattle ranked dead last in rushing touchdowns last season due to Pete Carroll’s reliance on Russell Wilson in goal line situations. All this means is touchdowns can’t salvage Penny’s fantasy football value.
6. Lamar Miller, Texans
Lamar Miller’s starting role for the Houston Texans is in jeopardy after an underwhelming 2017. Texans third-round rookie D’Onta Foreman is sure to take handoffs away from Miller, if not altogether take the starting spot. Fantasy football owners should only draft Miller if they have an 100 percent chance at handcuffing him with Foreman. Bill O’Brien is quick to make changes to his starting lineup when things don’t go as expected, and it will be no different when Miller slips up.
5. DeVante Parker, Dolphins
Let’s be honest, the only time in the past three years you’ve seen DeVante Parker’s name is when you’re reading an article about NFL players that will break out in the upcoming season. At this point, Parker is simply not going to take that next step. I don’t care that Ryan Tannehill will need a new No. 1 target with Jarvis Landry gone. I don’t care that DeVante Parker says his work ethic has changed. Oh, and most importantly, I don’t care that the media says DeVante Parker has looked amazing in training camp (he has no pads on, so of course he looks good in training camp!). I beg you to not waste your time on Parker.
4. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
Just because the Kansas City Chiefs were confident enough to get rid of a Pro Bowler in Alex Smith doesn’t mean they made the right decision. In one game where Mahomes got to start last year, he ended with an interception and zero touchdowns. Granted, it’s a small sample size, but the mystery surrounding Mahomes this year should be enough to try and avoid him. To put it simply, there are way too many other options to pick an unproven quarterback to lead your team.
3. Jordy Nelson, Raiders
The Green Bay Packers offered Jordy Nelson an ultimatum this offseason: Either he had take a pay cut to remain on the team or he would be released. Nelson refused to take the pay cut and now the former Pro Bowler finds himself on the Oakland Raiders. From a fantasy football standpoint, Nelson had a solid season in 2017, but that was mostly because of the 6 touchdowns he caught (keep in mind, Nelson totaled 482 yards, his least amount of yards since 2009). On the Raiders, touchdowns won’t save Nelson’s fantasy value as Amari Cooper is the primary target for Derek Carr in the red zone.
2. Allen Robinson, Bears
Allen Robinson was an amazing talent on the Jacksonville Jaguars. He quickly become Blake Bortles’ favorite target and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015. In the first game of 2017, though, Robinson tore his ACL, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. As a free agent, Robinson left Jacksonville for the Chicago Bears. The uncertainty that surrounds Robinson as he returns from injury should worry fantasy owners. On top of that, Robinson is now receiving for a worse quarterback (and Blake Bortles is pretty bad). In Mitchell Trubinsky’s first season, he finished with the sixth-worst completion percentage among starting quarterbacks. Trubinsky, plus no other worthy starters on the Bears receiving corps, is a recipe for disaster for Allen Robinson.
1. Jerick McKinnon, 49ers
Many believe that a change of teams (from the Vikings to the 49ers) will allow for Jerick McKinnon to finally establish himself as an NFL starter. What those people don’t understand is McKinnon got his chance in Minnesota, he just never capitalized. On the Vikings, McKinnon didn’t eclipse more than 570 yards in a season, and in the last two seasons, McKinnon failed to average over 3.8 yards per carry. It’s more probable than not that McKinnon has another average season, only making him an important asset in PPR leagues.