With the beautiful weather upon us, we all love to relax outside with a nice beverage and grill a nice ribeye a few times a week (I may be overzealous when it comes to grilling out, but hey, it’s what I enjoy). You finish grilling that juicy piece of meat and let it rest inside for 5-7 minutes, just salivating over the perfect grill marks you have created. You finally cut into it, and BAM! The slightest bit of pink is showing … and with that comes instant disenchantment. What have I done? I’ve been thinking of a medium-rare ribeye since I woke up this morning, only to waste it by a grill time mishap. Ah, tis life.
Just like slightly overcooking a perfect (or what should have been) steak, you know what really grinds my gears? Wasting a draft pick on someone who doesn’t perform to the level from where they were drafted. A bust, if you will. This is Part 1 of a three-part series, in which I will go round by round identifying which players could let you down this season. These players could leave you with that feeling of disenchantment like I had when I overcooked my ribeye. I sincerely don’t want the Sharks to go through that misery, so here are three players you may want to avoid come draft day.
(NOTE: These ADPs are based off of a 12-team, standard league draft.)
Round 1: WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay (Average Draft Position: Round 1, Pick 8)
“SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!” I’m assuming that’s exactly what you are shouting as you read “Mike Evans” and “bust” in the same article, but hear me out. The target leader for wide receivers last year (173) set career-highs in catches (96) and yards (1,321), while tying his career-high in touchdowns (12). That’s all good and well, but Jameis Winston has some shiny new toys in town. With the additions of DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin, Winston no longer needs to pepper his No. 1 receiver with targets, as he did last year. Expect to see a dip in the 16 receptions Evans had for more than 20 yards, as we all know that is DeSean Jackson’s specialty. Furthermore, Evans’s catch rate was at 56.1 percent of his targets, which placed him 67th at the wide receiver position. Equally as troubling is that he had 1.75 fantasy points per target, which landed him 41st at his position. We all know the targets will decrease, so where does that put Evans this year? You guessed it, as I don’t see how he lives up to his draft price. A.J. Green and Jordy Nelson should be drafted ahead of him. Expect Mike Evans to be drafted in the second round next year (Note: He is still a Top 2 dynasty wide receiver, along with Odell Beckham Jr.).
Round 2: WR Amari Cooper, Oakland (Average Draft Position: Round 2, Pick 10)
The hate will be strong with this pick as well. Only 7 out of 17 games last year was Cooper a WR2 or better in 12-team leagues. After his Week 8 explosion (12 catches, 173 yards, TD), he only had one game with more than 60 yards receiving (Yeesh!). Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts are both preferred red zone targets, as Cooper only had 13 targets (14.1 percent of the Oakland’s red zone target share) inside the 20-yard line. Cooper also had 1.73 fantasy points per target, which landed him 46th at the wide receiver position. I would much rather have Michael Crabtree at his current average draft position (Round 4, Pick 10). I still love him in dynasty formats, but you’re overpaying for a WR2 (and an inconsistent one, at that) in the second round in redraft leagues this year. You’ll take less Tylenol for the weekly headaches Cooper will give you if you just pass on him and let a league mate take him. Just make sure you buy your league mate a beverage of his/her choice after their selection of Cooper. Trust me, they’ll need it.
Round 3: RB Spencer Ware, Kansas City (Average Draft Position: Round 3, Pick 6)
Ware never totaled more than 100 yards after Week 7, as he did exceed 100 total yards four times in the first seven weeks. After ranking 10th in juke rate among running backs in 2015, he slipped to 42nd in 2016. When a large decrease in elusiveness occurs from one year to another, it’s a solid sign that a player may be on the decline (as seen in the last half of the 2016 season). Also, Kareem Hunt will get more opportunities out of the gate than you may think. The team traded up in the third round to get him and Hunt has received nothing but high praise from the team staff at organized team activities (OTAs). If Ware’s sloth-like production carries over from last season into this season, the team won’t hesitate to get the rookie more touches. This could turn into the dreaded committee, with Hunt possibly leading the way. Wait a round and take Eddie Lacy instead.
That concludes the first installment of my “Fantasy Bust” series. We will go through Rounds 4-6 in the next installment. The first NFL preseason game is less than two months away (where does the time go!?), so it’s time to start really digging into everything and anything that is football. In the meantime, go outside and enjoy your summer. Anyone else craving a steak? Until next time, Sharks!