2020 Fantasy Football Bust Candidates: One player to avoid in drafts from all 32 NFL teams

The term “bust” may be harsh for some, but I view the following players overvalued for fantasy drafts compared to the market. For sleepers go here.

Arizona Cardinals: DeAndre Hopkins

His yards per target fell to No. 58 last season, and Hopkins is likely to see a drop in production during his first year after switching teams. He recently missed practice time with a hamstring injury, is moving away from his prime and while Kyler Murray has a bright future, Hopkins will almost certainly see a decline from his usual QB play in 2020. Fantasy managers will still get top-15 WR production, but they drafted him expecting top-five.

Atlanta Falcons: Todd Gurley

He has an arthritic knee that’s never going to get better, and it’s not only at risk of sidelining him at any time, but it’s an injury that clearly compromises his performance. Gurley still helped fantasy teams last year thanks to playing in Sean McVay’s system that resulted in a bunch of touchdowns, but this was his “best play,” and he finished 40th in Juke Rate and last in yards per route run by a mile.

Baltimore Ravens: Mark Ingram

It’s tough to dislike anyone in Baltimore’s offense, but Ingram is a 30-year-old back with an injury history that’s never allowed him to top 230 carries in a season. He’s also due for regression after somehow catching five touchdowns on just 14 targets over the final six games and has an intriguing prospect with fresh legs right behind him. I have J.K. Dobbins ranked one spot ahead of Ingram on my fantasy RB board.

Buffalo Bills: Devin Singletary

He impressed last season but now has to deal with a rookie who’s far superior both as a receiver and at the goal line being 20 pounds heavier (where Singletary also has to contest with Josh Allen, who has the eighth-most rushing TDs among all players over the last two seasons). While Zack Moss has opened eyes throughout camp, Singletary has battled fumbling problems, and the Bills have the league’s toughest projected schedule for fantasy backs. Looking at only TRAP carries in an offense with arguably the league’s most inaccurate quarterback, Singletary might be the single most over-drafted player this summer, as I have Moss ranked higher given the quality of their projected touches.

Carolina Panthers: Robby Anderson

Not that Anderson is being drafted aggressively, but he might be worth passing altogether as a downfield threat and now with a new QB who had the lowest average intended air yards last season. Despite Anderson playing for new Carolina coach Matt Rhule in college, this appears to be a poor fit (although recent reports of Curtis Samuel struggling in camp helps).

Chicago Bears: David Montgomery

Montgomery was looking at a ton of volume with Chicago having the thinnest backfield in the NFL, but he suffered a groin injury that will sideline him 2-to-4 weeks, and there were plenty of questions surrounding him before that. Now dealing with this injury before entering a season certain to bring even more craziness than usual, Montgomery’s ADP needs to come at a steep discount to consider him.

Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green

A healthy Green with Joe Burrow could turn in a huge season, but the wideout is 32 years old and the injuries have piled up, including another leg issue in camp. There’s upside but also a lot of risk treating the aging Green as a top-30 fantasy WR.

Cleveland Browns: Austin Hooper

Few players saw their fantasy situation decline more during the offseason than Hooper, who went from indoors/Matt Ryan/high target share in Atlanta to outdoors/Baker Mayfield/much lower target share in Cleveland. Hooper played well while taking advantage of his situation (most red-zone targets per game) last season, but he’s now sharing looks with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, who both ranked top-11 in WOPR last year, as well as with Kareem Hunt. He’ll also be sharing touchdowns (and RZ work) with Nick Chubb while catching passes from a QB who just finished bottom-five in CPOE. The Browns frequently play in bad weather and face the Steelers and Ravens defenses 25% of the time. No thanks with so many other intriguing TE options this year.

Dallas Cowboys: Amari Cooper

Cooper has a long injury history that last year alone included foot, ankle, quadriceps and knee sprains, and he just got paid during the offseason, when Dallas also made big upgrades in CeeDee Lamb and Blake Jarwin. Michael Gallup should be considered even money to post more fantasy points than Cooper in 2020, while Lamb is a superior pick available much later.

Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy

He’s a terrific prospect who landed in a lousy fantasy situation, as Drew Lock is a complete question mark at QB, and there’s a ton of competition for targets on a Denver team that has a strong defense and added Melvin Gordon in the offseason. Courtland Sutton ranked top-five in WOPR last year, Noah Fant could be a future star at tight end and will command more targets, while KJ Hamler was also added in the second round of the draft. Given the Broncos play in rough weather at times and project to have one of the tougher fantasy schedules for wide receivers, Jeudy isn’t setup for huge success as a rookie.

Detroit Lions: Kerryon Johnson

Not only was D’Andre Swift drafted as his replacement, Johnson is also still using a knee brace, which doesn’t give much confidence for a player with his durability concerns. Johnson is the favorite to start in Week 1, but it won’t be long before Swift takes over as Detroit’s lead back (in a likely committee).

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers finished 28th in CPAE last season, and the Packers should be run-heavy after adding AJ Dillon but zero receivers in the draft. Matt LaFleur runs a slow pace and traded up in the first round to draft quarterback Jordan Love after having “enough of Rodgers’ act.” The 36-year-old shouldn’t be drafted as a top-12 QB.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 19: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a play against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship game at Levi's Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Don't be fooled by the name, Aaron Rodgers is not the fantasy pick he was in his prime. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Houston Texans: David Johnson

An ankle sprain can be partially blamed, but Johnson ranked last in YPC after contact last season, and Kenyan Drake exploded after replacing him in Arizona’s backfield. Johnson hasn’t been any good since 2016, is a major durability concern and isn’t even the best DJ in his own backfield, so don’t be surprised when he burns fantasy managers yet again.

Indianapolis Colts: Marlon Mack

He’s a pedestrian back with a long injury history who’s a free agent at season’s end and has Adrian Peterson 2.0 breathing down his neck on the RB depth chart. Jonathan Taylor is going to be too good to keep off the field, and Mack won’t be usable in fantasy leagues in 2020.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Running Backs

The Jaguars saved many fantasy managers yet to draft when they released Leonard Fournette, but the team didn’t open up an obvious replacement either. While I like Chris Thompson in PPR leagues, Ryquell Armstead, Devine Ozigbo and James Robinson are going to form a committee on a team likely to lose the most games in football. All this means is to make sure you draft Gardner Minshew.

Kansas City Chiefs: Mecole Hardman

There isn’t a backup wide receiver with more upside, but it’s going to take injuries for Hardman to be fantasy relevant, and maybe even two of them (Demarcus Robinson remains around as well). Hardman is fast and posted some incredible efficiency stats as a rookie, but he enters 2020 quite low on his team’s depth chart for someone with a top-50 WR ADP.

Las Vegas Raiders: Darren Waller

Waller is a great story, but don’t count on him repeating as among the league-leaders in target share at his position (which still resulted in just three scores thanks to a lack of red-zone work). The Raiders added Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, Jason Witten and any pass-catching back with a pulse during the offseason, so a big drop in volume should be expected for Waller. Jon Gruden is one of the NFL’s slowest play-callers, and there are at least 15 tight ends with more fantasy upside in 2020.

Los Angeles Chargers: Hunter Henry

The injury to Mike Williams helps open up looks, but Henry is one of the most injury-prone tight ends, and his ceiling is no longer the same with the Chargers’ QB situation (especially once Justin Herbert takes over during the second half). It’s another case where there are at least 15 tight ends with more fantasy upside in 2020.

Los Angeles Rams: Robert Woods

He may have been slightly unlucky with touchdowns last season, but Woods ranked 9th in targets and 75th in red-zone looks (Alex Erickson and Zach Pascal saw more), so his lowly two scores certainly weren’t a total fluke. While I’m actually high on the Rams’ passing attack this season, Woods has average speed and isn’t targeted downfield (was 91st in average depth of target) nor in the red zone, and rookie Van Jefferson has been the talk of the Rams’ camp this summer. I don’t have Woods as a top-25 WR on my board.

Miami Dolphins: DeVante Parker

I remained a Parker believer when others cowardly stopped, but I fear 2020 isn’t setting up for repeated success, as he averaged 3.5 catches, 6.5 targets and 50.0 ypg with Preston Williams on the field last season compared to 5.5 catches, 9.5 targets and 100.25 ypg (both eight game samples) when Williams didn’t suit up. The loss of Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson helps, but Williams appears fully recovered from his ACL surgery, and Mike Gesicki looks ready to command a bunch of targets himself. The previously fragile Parker is currently sidelined with an injury, and add in the uncertainty of a rookie QB likely taking over at some point, he becomes risky as a top-25 receiver pick at such a loaded position.

Minnesota Vikings: Dalvin Cook

He’s absolutely one of the best running backs in football and in one of the league’s best situations with Minnesota the most run-heavy team in the league last season. But Cook’s injury history is simply too serious to be a top-five overall pick, including a torn ACL, multiple hamstring issues, a chest injury and a significant chronic shoulder injury. Cook has played in just 60% of possible games during his NFL career, so I’m not drafting him ahead of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Derrick Henry or even Joe Mixon.

New England Patriots: Cam Newton

A healthy version of Newton in his prime would be incredibly fun in this Josh McDaniels offense, but at this stage of his career and coming off multiple serious surgeries, it just doesn’t seem the most likely outcome, especially during a truncated offseason. Given his rushing ability, Newton obviously has fantasy upside, and if you’re in a 1QB league with small benches the risk is minimal, but Superflex players should take caution, as Newton’s ADP has been soaring lately and he hasn’t been very good since winning MVP in 2015.

New Orleans Saints: Emmanuel Sanders

Sanders is joining a terrific offense, but fantasy managers should be cautious with receivers in the first year after changing teams. He’s now teammates with last year’s leader in target share and WOPR, while also competing for looks with Jared Cook and Tre’Quan Smith, who’s made noise throughout camp. Sanders will help the Saints more than he will fantasy managers this year.

New York Giants: Darius Slayton

He averaged 46.25 ypg over 12 contests last season with Daniel Jones compared to 92.5 in two without the Giants’ franchise QB. New York also enters 2020 loaded with target options in a healthy Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard (the clear WR star of camp), Golden Tate and Saquon Barkley. Slayton had a highly impressive rookie season and looks legit, but it’s going to take injuries for him to be a reliable fantasy starter this year.

New York Jets: Le’Veon Bell

It feels like piling on at this point, but reports out of Jets camp have 38-year-old Frank Gore badly outplaying Bell, who got 3.2 YPC last season. Bell has played 16 games once during his career, which is clearly in decline, and he has Adam Gase going against him as well. There aren’t many easier fades in fantasy leagues this year than Bell.

Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz

Sports Injury Predictor gave Wentz a 92% chance of getting hurt and projected the most games missed among all QBs even before he recently suffered a “soft tissue” injury. The Eagles have already lost offensive linemen Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard for the season (and exciting rookie WR Jalen Reagor suffered a torn labrum), so it hasn’t been the best camp for Wentz (who got just 6.7 YPA last season). Jalen Hurts is a serious sleeper in Superflex leagues.

Pittsburgh Steelers: JuJu Smith-Schuster

He has the most receiving yards ever before turning 23 and no doubt suffered from Pittsburgh’s QB play last season, but Smith-Schuster struggled more so than the other Steelers’ wideouts and has generally not impressed throughout summer. It’s great news Ben Roethlisberger is throwing pain-free for the first time in 14 years, but Smith-Schuster isn’t a huge TD guy (just seven scores with 166 targets in 2018) and has an underrated amount of competition for targets this year on a team with arguably the best defense in football. I wouldn’t be drafting JJSS ahead of D.J. Moore, Adam Thielen or A.J. Brown.

Seattle Seahawks: Defense/Special Teams

They are being drafted as a top-12 defense in fantasy leagues despite PFF ranking the team’s defensive line last in the NFL entering the season. The Seahawks traded for Jamal Adams, but that means Jadaveon Clowney is unlikely to return, and Seattle no longer has its once feared home-field advantage. In a division with three pretty strong offenses (and good weather), the Seahawks D/ST is a pass.

San Francisco 49ers: Deebo Samuel

He suffered a Jones fracture that can often linger and is at extra risk if he returns too soon. In a system that spreads the ball around in San Francisco, Samuel is a risky fantasy pick coming off the serious foot injury that had an original timeline of 3-to-4 months.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chris Godwin

Godwin is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL right now, but his 2020 ADP of 23.5 is too high after not even ranking in the top-30 in WOPR last season (“Weighted Opportunity Rating” has a year-to-year stability of 0.61, which is about as sticky as it gets for projecting receivers). He’ll now be sharing targets with Rob Gronkowski to go along with Mike Evans on a team with a much-improved defense that’s switching its base offense to “12 personnel.”

Moreover, Jameis Winston just produced ideal fantasy conditions with the NFL’s first 30/30 season, but Godwin will now be catching passes from a 43-year-old quarterback who showed serious signs of decline over last season’s second half and is now switching systems during a truncated offseason. There may not be many wide receivers in football better than Godwin, but there are plenty who are in better fantasy situations, as it’s far more reasonable to expect WR2 production than top-five output like his ADP suggests (Gronk is going way too high as well).

Tennessee Titans: Darrynton Evans

I’m in on Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Ryan Tannehill, and the Titans are thin after that, but it’s worth pumping the brakes on Evans after Peter King recently compared the rookie to Alvin Kamara. Evans has had an extremely quiet camp and has missed the last six days of practice with an injury. The rookie is the favorite to eventually emerge as Henry’s backup with no other clear options, but it’s no sure thing, and all signs point to Henry being a bigger part of Tennessee’s passing game this year.

Washington Football Team: Adrian Peterson

It’s a yearly tradition for me to mistakenly call Peterson washed, so I’m not stopping when he’s 35. Maybe it’s best to stop questioning a running back who once ran for 2,100 yards a few months after tearing his ACL and MCL, but Peterson has now surpassed 3,000 career carries (eighth all time), and Antonio Gibson is the Washington RB to grab in fantasy leagues this year.

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