8 Wide Receivers Who Could Be Fantasy Football Busts in 2024

Fantasy insider Michael Fabiano has eight WR to avoid over-draftingv
Dec 14, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) runs against Los Angeles Chargers safety Alohi Gilman (32) in the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) runs against Los Angeles Chargers safety Alohi Gilman (32) in the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Players to Beware: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Tight Ends

Success in fantasy drafts is all about projecting which players are on the verge of a big season, and knowing who might take a step back in the numbers. It’s those players, who have been labeled as “busts” in the past, who can be the most detrimental to a fantasy manager’s chances at winning a title.

That might not be truer at a position than wide receiver.

The reason is simple: wideouts have emerged as the single most important position in all fantasy football. That means missing out on a high-end receiver can be tough to overcome. Case in point … fantasy managers who whiffed on Cooper Kupp last season probably had some major issues at the position, unless they picked up his teammate, Puka Nacua.

Most folks probably weren’t so fortunate, however.

With that in mind, here are eight receivers who will be high draft picks or are big names who could struggle to produce as prominent starters.

1. Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders

I had Adams listed as a player to beware last season, and he went on to post decreased totals in almost every statistical category. He still finished in the top 10 in points among wideouts, but he was wildly inconsistent. Adams scored fewer than 13 points in nine games, including five with single digits.

The Raiders don’t have an attractive quarterback situation with Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew and the team drafted tight end Brock Bowers in the first round. That could affect Adams’ target share, at least to some degree. So, for those thinking Adams could return to elite fantasy status or that he’ll be more consistent, you might want to think again.

2. Stefon Diggs, Houston Texans

Diggs is coming off a disappointing second half of last season, which resulted in him averaging just 16.1 points per game. That was his lowest total with the Bills. Now in Houston, he joins a super-talented core of receivers that includes Nico Collins, who broke out last season, and Tank Dell, who was on his way to busting out before getting hurt. The team also boasts Noah Brown, Dalton Schultz and a new running back in Joe Mixon. Diggs will be hard-pressed to see anywhere near the target share he enjoyed in Buffalo. Unless injuries occur on the roster, Diggs can’t be trusted to retain his previously elite status.

3. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

I know, listing Kupp as a bust candidate after he was a bust last season is low-hanging fruit. And, honestly, part of me wants to put Nacua in the article. After all, we could be (and likely are) drafting him based on a magical, ceiling season in the stat sheets. But the truth is, Kupp has only played in 13 games in the last two years due to injuries, and he’s entering his age-31 season. That makes him a hard fade as a No. 1 wideout, and he’s even a risk as a No. 2.

4. Calvin Ridley, Tennessee Titans

Ridley was a top-20 fantasy wideout last year, but he was anything but reliable. He scored fewer than 12 points 10 times including nine where he scored single digits. Now in Tennessee, the veteran will be catching passes from a young quarterback in Will Levis and contending for targets with DeAndre Hopkins, Treylon Burks and Tyler Boyd. The Titans also have two good backs in Tony Pollard and Tyjae Spears, so Ridley could be hard-pressed to see high target totals consistently. To me, he’s only a No. 3 wideout.

5. Keenan Allen, Chicago Bears

Allen was putting up monster numbers last year, but injuries cost him what might have been a career-best campaign. However, an offseason trade to the Bears makes him a lot less attractive from a fantasy standpoint. Their offense is led by a rookie quarterback in Caleb Williams, and it’s loaded with talent that includes DJ Moore, rookie Rome Odunze, D’Andre Swift, Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett. That’s a lot of mouths to feed, making it unlikely that Allen will see 150-plus targets. If you do draft him, it should be as a No. 3 receiver.

6. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

Lockett is coming off a down season that saw his reception, yardage, and touchdown totals decrease compared to 2022. What’s more, his 11.9 point-per-game average was his lowest since 2017. Entering his age-31 season (he’ll turn 32 in September), I see Lockett falling behind teammate Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the pecking order. That idea is playing out in drafts, as JSN is going ahead of Lockett based on average draft position. With the statistical arrow pointing downward, he shouldn’t be picked as more than a No. 4 option in drafts.

7. Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers

Watson was considered a breakout player last year, but he went on to miss eight games due to injuries and was held to fewer than 12 points in all but two of the nine games he was active. His absence opened the door for teammates Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks to emerge into viable options for Jordan Love and fantasy managers. I’m not opposed to taking him in the later rounds as a No. 4 wideout, but I’m otherwise out on Watson.

8. Adam Thielen, Carolina Panthers

Thielen was one of the best wide receivers in fantasy football in the first half of last season, averaging 20.2 points in his first seven games. The wheels fell off after that, however, as he dropped to 8.9 points in his final 10 contests. Aside from that, Carolina traded for Diontae Johnson and drafted Xavier Legette, so Thielen will struggle to see such a high target share again. Entering his age-34 season, he isn’t worth more than a late-round selection.

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Michael Fabiano


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Formerly of CBS Sports, NFL Network and SirusXM, Michael was the first fantasy analyst to appear on one of the four major TV networks. His work can now be found on SI, Westwood One Radio and the Bleav Podcast Network.