Potential fantasy busts in 2008
Failures and flops, don't you just hate 'em? When that player you selected in the first round winds up performing more like a fourth rounder, you've got good reason to be upset. If only you had advance warning that the player you so dearly covet today is due for a down year tomorrow, you just might have the edge that takes you to the top of your league. Well, you've come to the right place. We here at RotoExperts specialize in advance warnings.
In forecasting busts, it's not always about projecting complete failures. After all, what kind of benefit would we be providing by placing a "Buyer Beware" sign around
Rest assured, we're not just picking these names out of a hat; there's usually a significant reason for us to believe a player is bound for a drop-off. Sometimes it's an injury, sometimes it's age, and sometimes it's due to factors beyond that player's control -- it's never just a hunch. Some of the names below may come as a surprise, and others may have the hardcore fantasy footballer screaming, "blasphemy!" But hey, if we were going to tell you something you already knew, this wouldn't be as fun.
Let's dig in.
If you've read
1. The main weapon in the Chargers offense is a 29-year-old running back coming off a torn MCL. He's also averaged 400-plus touches per season in his seven-year career (we saw small signs of the wear-and-tear taking its toll on him last season).
2. The No. 1 passing option in San Diego's offense had toe surgery this offseason, and isn't yet able to run. There's no telling if he'll be ready for the opener.
3. The team's Pro Bowl center underwent ankle surgery less than two months ago, and he isn't set to return until October, at the earliest.
Still not sold? Let's tack on Rivers' own off season surgery to repair a torn ACL, and then take a look at his regression as a QB last season: 10 games under 200 passing yards, five games with at least two interceptions and nine games with a passer rating under 75. Folks, the writing is on the wall. I'm not saying he shouldn't be drafted, but he's looking more and more like a QB3 to me.
In baseball, they say it takes about 18 months to fully recover from Tommy John surgery. I'm not sure how long it takes for an NFL quarterback to make it back, but I'm betting it's not less than a year (Delhomme had the surgery around Week 4 last season). Some will point to the addition of
Maybe last season wasn't an aberration? Sure, Palmer was still a very good fantasy QB in '07, but his play (20 INT) was never able to justify his draft position. And despite some of the best pass protection in the league (only 17 sacks) and one of the best wide-receiving corps in the entire NFL (
There are a lot of "experts" out there predicting a huge season for Gore in '08, and with good reason -- new offensive coordinator
Toughness is all fine and dandy in the real game, but as we saw last season, playing hurt pretty much killed his fantasy value (or at least the value you expected as a first round pick). A healthy
Last season was a nice story and all, but if you're expecting Taylor to run for 1,200 yards and 5 TDs again, I've got a bridge to sell you. Taylor is 32 years old and is once again sharing carries with the younger, more explosive
Poor Reggie. He's been a bust since he stepped foot on an NFL field. It's not really his fault, as the expectations for him out of college were unrealistic. And I like Bush; I really do. However, he is what he is -- an undersized running back who might be better off as a third down back and kick returner. I know, it sounds harsh, but is there anything about his game that says otherwise? Sure, he's a great receiver out of the backfield, and yes, he's explosive enough to break a few big ones. As an NFL-caliber north-south running back though? Below average. He'll score his share of TDs because of his big-play ability, but with
A perennial top-five receiver, Smith will finish outside of the top 10 in '08. Why, you ask? For the very same reasons Delhomme's production will suffer: shaky pass protection, more options at WR to share the wealth/TDs (or lack thereof) and an offense predicated on the run. He won't be a complete bust, but he's sure to get drafted much higher than his numbers will merit.
Lets see, the team's Hall of Fame quarterback, and one of the all-time gunslingers, retires (or maybe not); an extremely inexperienced QB takes over and Green Bay now has, for the first time in a long time, a workhorse running back who they can count on. Does that sound like a team that wants to air it out in '08? You can talk all you want about how much
Everybody's predicting this one, so I might as well jump on the bandwagon. Here are the facts: Harrison is going to be 36 years old, he's got two bad knees (one he had surgery on this off season, the other which limited him to only five games last season), and he's under investigation for a shooting that took place this past April. Oh, and he hasn't worked out with the team at all this offseason. Even the team owner says he's, "keeping his fingers crossed". I'm not going out on a limb here to say that this is not a good sign. Don't cross your fingers at the draft table, go with wide receivers who you
Shockey's relationship with the team can only get uglier, and the emergence of TE
Whenever a tight end gets drafted in the first round of the NFL draft, fantasy football enthusiasts tend to draft him, too. In some cases, it's been worth the gamble (see Jeremy Shockey); in this case, it's not. Why not? First, the QB situation in New Jersey is still undetermined. Second, Keller can't block, which will reduce the amount of snaps he'll actually be on the field. He's certainly got the speed, hands and talent to be an above average tight end in the NFL, perhaps even a star. But it's not going to happen this season. If you're into carrying backup tigh ends on your roster, sure, take a flyer on him. Otherwise, go with the sure thing.