The Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers will kickoff the 2016 NFL season on Thursday, September 8, and it is essential that you are prepared for your fantasy football draft in advance. If you have already drafted, you may have selected one of the five potential busts that we are going to discuss in this article. Regardless, your season is not over just yet, as none of these players are expected to be total flops. It is just essential that you do not draft any of them too early.
1. Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys (Wide Receiver)
The fact that Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is on this list has nothing to do with his talent and everything to do with quarterback Tony Romo’s injury. While Bryant was a fantasy bust last season, he only played in nine games and was never fully healthy after his injury. Additionally, Romo missed much of the season, and the Cowboys’ backup quarterback situation was not exactly ideal.
While Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has been impressive in the preseason, he is no Romo. He may eventually become a great quarterback, but you should not bet on it this season. ESPN ranks Bryant as the No. 19 overall player, and Fox Sports ranks Bryant as the as the No. 10 overall player. Unless he is still available in the third round, you should opt for someone else.
2. Jamal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs (Running Back)
Charles, who turns 30 in December, is a player that you want to avoid in the first two rounds. Before tearing his ACL last season, Charles was on pace for another monster fantasy football season. Regardless, he is getting older, and it is unknown how the torn ACL affected his abilities. Additionally, the Chiefs are probably going to keep Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware involved with the offense, so Charles’ volume should be decreased. ESPN ranks Charles as the No. 21 overall player, and Fox Sports ranks Charles as the as the No. 18 overall player. Unless he is available towards the end of the third round, you should opt for someone else.
3. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons (Running Back)
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman was one of the league’s biggest surprises in the first half of the season last year. While his final numbers were more than respectable for his average draft position, he slowed down towards the end of the year. As USA Today notes, he could also be losing carries to Tevin Coleman.
“The biggest concern with Freeman is the potential emergence of Tevin Coleman. The second-year back is the more physically talented of Atlanta’s two young running backs but lost the starting job to Freeman last season after multiple injuries and a lack of comfort in the Falcons’ zone-based running attack. If Coleman stays healthy and looks better in the system after gaining a year of experience, he should see a much larger role and cut into Freeman’s carries. There’s also the small issue of Freeman’s decline over the second half of last year. His running average dropped from 4.7 to 3.1 over the last eight games.”
Both ESPN and Fox Sports rank Freeman in the top 20, but you should wait until the third round to draft him.
4. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers (Running Back)
While Bell is one of the league’s best running backs, and arguably the top one, he just has too much baggage coming into the season. In addition to his three-game suspension, he is also coming off of a serious knee injury that ended his season last year. While Bell may appear to be healthy, he has not proven that he can avoid serious injuries, as he also missed a playoff game in 2014 due to injury. Additionally, his absence for the first three games could be the difference between making the playoffs and just missing them. Avoid him until the middle of the second round at the earliest.
5. Arizona Cardinals Wide Receivers
The Arizona Cardinals have one of the best groups of wide receivers in the NFL. Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, and Michael Floyd were all solid contributors to one of the top offenses in the NFL last year. The problem is there is only one football. While all three of them are capable of huge games, there are too many risky weeks where one, or even two of them, are going to be largely absent from the offense. ESPN lists all three of them in the top 33, but you should wait until the fourth round to begin targeting any of them.
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