Friday, August 12, 2011

2011 Fantasy Football Busts - Who to Avoid

I’m not a huge fan of naming fantasy football busts. Mostly because I don’t like the word. It’s misleading. Bust implies that they are going to fail miserably. And that only really happens because of injury or legal issues or playing for the Redskins. I haven’t once claimed to be a psychic, so I can’t accurately tell you which top 150 players are going to perform so dismally.

What I can provide for you are those players who will perform under expectations. I’m not saying that these guys will completely fail, I’m just saying that at the average draft positions (ADP) they are at right now, I would not take them. So here is my little list of the most overvalued players that you should avoid in your 2011 fantasy football draft.

Michael Vick, QB, ADP 6
Naturally this is the pick that is going to cause me the most grief. There will be comments, no doubt, but I stand by it. I won’t even take the “His playing style means that he will likely be injured” route.

Do you know what has never happened in the history of the NFL? No quarterback that has rushed for more than eight TDs one year has come back and rushed for more than five the next year. Vick was a pleasant surprise for a lot of fantasy owners last year, but defenses are going to learn and adapt and do whatever they can to keep him from taking off. He will not repeat his success.

ESPN’s Matthew Berry put out the 2011 Fantasy Football Manifesto just a little while ago and made an argument for drafting Vick. I’ll be getting to that argument this weekend.

Matt Ryan, QB, ADP 64
I had a mini-debate as to whether I should put Matt Ryan or Ben Roethlisberger for my second bust. Both are valued too highly, and fantasy owners would have greater or equal success drafting a sleeper quarterback in Freeman, Stafford, Kolb or Bradford in a much later round.

I’m not sure what the infatuation with Matt Ryan is. Apparently people are looking at Roddy White’s success from last season and adding in first round pick Julio Jones and jumping to the conclusion that Ryan will be fantasy gold. The only problem is that they are overlooking that he has never put up elite numbers. He had a great 2010 season in terms of only giving up 9 INTS, but his TDs were average, and his yardage was far from elite. He’s a good QB, and if he fell to round 9, I would be more than happy to pick him up. But round 5? No thank you.

Peyton Hillis, RB, ADP 24
I know that I’m not going to get any originality points having Hillis on my bust sheet. But no player’s 2010 performance screams fluke like Hillis’s. In his last five games he failed to find the end zone and only put up 270 yards in those games. That combined with a new Cleveland offense and a healthy, young Montario Hardesty mean that I will not be looking at Hillis in the top three rounds.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, ADP 65
His TD total has him this high, no doubt. Apparently people aren’t taking into account that New England’s roster is roughly 50% running backs. Perhaps once the preseason plays out we will have more of an idea as to how the Patriots are going to use all their RBs, but, even then, I’m hesitant to touch any of them. Green-Ellis frankly isn’t anything special in this league.

To make matter worse, the Patriots will most certainly switch pack to a more pass-centric offense as opposed to the run-heavy team of a year ago. They have added Chad Ochocinco, which means they have wide receiver talent outside of that adorable Wes Welker.

There’s a slew of other RBs that could be mentioned here. Beanie Wells is going at 74th overall which is a little crazy. Michael Turner has led the league in rushes in 2008 and 2010, when he has had big fantasy seasons, but likely won’t touch the ball nearly as often. James Starks is really high only because of his playoff performances despite the fact that he’s not even number one on the depth chart. Et cetera, et cetera.

Marques Colston, WR, ADP 44
This pick probably makes me the biggest hypocrite on the planet, because, for some reason, every year, no matter if I want him or not, I somehow end up with Colston on my fantasy football roster. He’ll perform well enough, better than any other New Orleans receiver, but I don’t think he is late third/early fourth round material this year. Colston has had five surgeries in as many years, so I’d rather go for Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall or Santonio Holmes.

Brandon Lloyd, WR, ADP 49
He finished at the top of the wide receiver rankings last year, so it would seem that being the 49th overall pick would be too low, but I still think people are reaching here. The Broncos got a new, far more conservative head coach and I still don’t believe that Tim Tebow won’t eventually get the nod at starting quarterback. The chances of Lloyd even being in the top 20 receivers this year seems like a stretch to me.

A couple other receivers stand out, Sidney Rice of the Seahawks is the main one. Something tells me that he won’t be able to pull off a solid season. As if having Tarvaris Jackson as his starting quarterback wasn’t enough of a reason, he’s rarely healthy.

Tony Gonzalez, TE, ADP 87
Gonzalez had his decade in the spotlight, but is fading fast. He could still see some stats, but they will be average. Let someone else jump on him in the 8th round. You can get better value by sticking around for another mid-tier tight end in the later rounds. Gonzalez is only up this high from name recognition and won’t be able to cut it this year.

You got a better bust? Or an argument to defend one of these guys. Go ahead and leave it in the comments. Without feedback, why write?


  1. I find myself smiling every time I see someone hating on Hillis. As I recall, people were calling him a fluke last season starting with his first big game. Then game after game, he proved people wrong. Finally, at the end of the season, when he tired out from carrying multiple defenders in addition to the entire Cleveland offense on his back, the experts got to say "I told you so."

    Here's the thing about Hillis: He is one of the hardest working players in football. He doesn't have flashy talent, but his work ethic is top notch. Jerry Rice recently made remarks about the importance of hard work over relying on talent alone while talking about how disgusted he is with Randy Moss (and no, I'm not saying Hillis is Jerry Rice). My dad and I loved watching Hillis play for the Broncos (dad's 83 and has been a Broncos fan since they were founded) and we could never understand why they didn't use him more often. We were heart-broken when Josh McDouchebag traded him to Cleveland for a 3rd-string QB (Quinn). But I'm very happy that Cleveland has realized what a gem they have! Talk about a lop-sided trade!

    That said, I will agree that his current ADP is probably high. But I think the changes you mentioned (new offense, addition of Hardesty) is going to help Hillis, not hurt. Will he get as many touches per game as last year? Maybe not, but isn't that the point of platooning RBs? If he is not the only one having to carry the team, I'm betting he will not have the letdown he had at the end of last season and, if anything, this will help him to be more consistent throughout the season. I also think that Knowshon Moreno will improve with the addition of McGahee because of workload sharing, but I think Felix Jones will improve because Marion Barber left, so maybe my reasoning is flawed and inconsistent. I do know this for sure: If Hillis is still on the board in my 12-team league in round 3, I would consider him (depending on who else is available, my selections so far, and my opponents' needs, of course). If he is there in round 4, he won't be after my pick. Oh, and I should also mention that I'm PPR, so that will skew his value for me a bit as well.

    The hardest part about writing this post is the realization that I agree with Brad Evans. (Ugh!)

  2. I'm not saying the guy isn't a great player or not a hard worker. I definitely respect that part of him. And the offensive changes will help him become more consistent, but they will take away carries. And that generally means less fantasy football points. Could he make a good RB2 or Flex.. yeah, I think so. But there is no way that I'd be taking him at 24. He should be in the late 30s or early 40s.

    I do agree with you about Moreno (who proved he can not work as a featured back) and Felix Jones (who will likely prove that he can be one). Its different for every team and for individual players. I think that for Hillis to thrive fantasy-wise, he will need to get 20 carries a game, but with Hardesty I dont see it.

  3. Fair enough! I agree that he is a better RB2 than RB1. And by the way, I love the design tweak you've made to the site! Makes it much easier to read!

  4. Thanks. I'm not super happy with it, so expect a few more tweaks. What are your thoughts? Should It be light background with black type or dark background with white type?

  5. Sorry, been out of town the past couple of days. I like a darker background with white type because it's *much* easier on the eyes. I am prone to migraines and I can definitely tell a difference in the level of eye-strain when looking at a screen like this.

  6. You mentioned Big Ben, but did not include him. What I don't understand is he doesnt go high in drafts at all, yet every year he puts up good numbers. In a standard yahoo league last year I started him consistantly and got good results. He's not Rodgers, Manning, or Brady, but he's consistent, tough, and not a bad option if you miss on the top tier.

  7. He is too inconsistent for me. I can handle a QB that will throw for 250-275 yards per game every single week, but with Big Ben, you are getting 250 one week, 160 the next, and sometime he'll get over 300. Also, 17 TDs last year is not that impressive, even if he didnt play the first 4 games of the season. He is constantly underwhelming at the position.