3 Fantasy Football Busts to Avoid After the NFL Draft

Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore (2) signals for a first down after making a reception against
Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore (2) signals for a first down after making a reception against / Tork Mason / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NFL Draft is a time of optimism and excitement for football fans, with a new crop of future stars ready to make their mark. This year things are especially exciting for fantasy football managers, with a never-before-seen influx in top-end offensive talent.

This optimism comes with pessimism on the other side though. For every rookie that's going to take over a starting spot, we've got a veteran who falls out of the spot. So here I am to be the pessimist.

These three players should be considered undraftable in fantasy football thanks to their team's selections in the NFL draft.

1. D.J. Moore, WR, Chicago Bears

Prior to the draft, D.J. Moore's average draft position (ADP) had him going off the board as the No. 11 wide receiver (per FantasyPros). Not far behind him was Keenan Allen (WR24), with the then-yet-to-be-drafted Rome Odunze at WR32.

I don't care what you think about Caleb Williams—you're going to be disappointed if you think he's going to support one wide receiver performing in the top 12, two in the top 24 and three in the top 36.

Moore was, of course, great in his first season with the Bears in 2023. His 96 receptions, 1,364 yards and eight touchdowns were all career-best marks, and he finished as the WR6 in PPR fantasy scoring. But competing for targets with Allen and Odunze will make things a lot harder than they were when he was competing with Darnell Mooney and Tyler Scott.

This Bears offense is in a wonderful spot in the real world. Williams is being set up to succeed with a trio of great wide receivers plus Cole Kmet (90 targets in 2023) and a strong new receiving running back in D'Andre Swift (fourth-most receptions for any running back since debuting in 2020). But that's simply too many mouths to feed in fantasy football.

Would anybody really be that surprised if Keenan Allen saw as many targets as Moore thanks to his ability to work underneath on short routes? Or if Williams started his career favoring easier throws to Kmet and Swift?

Moore's still probably going to be the top fantasy producer among Bears wide receivers, but he simply faces too much competition for volume to be someone you want to risk spending a high draft pick on.

2. Miles Sanders, RB, Carolina Panthers

What a disappointing turn Miles Sanders' career has taken in such a short time since his 2022 breakout with the Philadelphia Eagles. Hitting free agency and being signed as a feature back after finishing as a top-15 running back in fantasy football.

In the messy Carolina Panthers offense, he plummeted to RB52, rushing for just 432 yards and one touchdown despite playing in 16 games.

Expectations were already pretty low for Sanders' 2024 outlook before the NFL draft happened, but then the Panthers made a real head-scratching pick. Despite owing Sanders $6 million guaranteed this year and being a rebuilding team with pressing needs at more important positions, they took Texas running back Jonathon Brooks in Round 2. That made them the only team to select a running back before the third round.

Brooks is working his way back from a torn ACL, but news around his recovery has been very positive and it doesn't sound like he will miss any time. Sanders may well end up being the Panthers' RB3 behind Brooks and Chuba Hubbard, and that should send his ADP plummeting to undrafted territory.

3. Christian Kirk, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

With Calvin Ridley out of the way, Christian Kirk had an early seventh-round ADP before the NFL draft. Managers were clearly counting on the situation in Jacksonville looking more like it did in 2022, when Kirk turned a career-high 133 targets into 84 receptions, 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns.

Even the addition of Gabe Davis wasn't deterring people—and fair enough. Davis is an elite field-stretching deep threat, but he's never going to be a high-volume guy. If anything, his presence could maybe open things up more for Kirk underneath.

But then the Jags spent their first-round pick on LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr.

At No. 23 overall, Thomas isn't a guy who's expected to step in as an immediate top-end threat like Marvin Harrison Jr. or Malik Nabers. But that's also not a "we expect him to spend a season learning the pro game" kind of pick, especially from a playoff team.

Neither does it on their own, but Davis and Thomas definitely combine to make up for the absence of Ridley (136 targets in 2023). And with the Jags' target leader Evan Engram (143) and Travis Etienne (73 targets) still in town, Kirk is a huge long shot to get anywhere near the point he did in 2022.

He may still be worth a late-round pick if his ADP really falls off (in case Thomas ends up being a total bust), but drafting Kirk in the middle rounds would be a major mistake.

Jason Schandl