Fantasy Football: Three Potential Busts for 2019

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There is nothing worse than spending high draft capital on a projected fantasy football stud only to see lackluster production and underwhelming, inconsistent points.  To avoid this, we tweet fantasy experts, we research, we mock draft then hang our heads in shame when our bench player scores more points than our perceived star.

Fantasy football by nature is unpredictable, however we can make some educated guesses about a particular player’s future.  I will break down three players who have the potential to be a bust in 2019.  I looked at their past production, new environment, as well as health to determine if the price we may pay for these players will exceed their actual production.

Before I begin, I need to qualify what I mean by “bust” candidate in reference to this article.  It means a player we may want to draft within the first three rounds who I think may have the potential to fall short of our expectations in points and consistency.

With that in mind, here are my top three potential bust candidates for 2019.

Leonard Fournette

This may not be surprising given his off-field issues and injury history, but Fournette is on this list for one reason: John DeFilippo. Hiring DeFilippo as the new offensive coordinator and signing Nick Foles as the new quarterback makes sense to fix the Jaguars’ passing game.  However, this comes at the expense of the run game, specifically Leonard Fournette.

Just look at what happened to Vikings running back Dalvin Cook under DeFilippo.  He averaged 11.25 rushing attempts for 40.87 yards and zero rushing touchdowns in his first eight games.  When DeFilippo was fired after Week 14, Cook exploded with 19 attempts, 136 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins.

One can argue that maybe DeFilippo learned his lesson about using his star running backs after he was fired.  Well, let’s see how well that’s worked out in the past three seasons on three different teams.

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Do you see any learning curve there?

On top of that, DeFilippo said, “There’s no one that wants to run the ball more than me, and we’re going to try to establish that and continue to grind away on that. But at the same time, there’s a fine line between doing something just to do something and maybe taking some success away from your team.”

Nothing about DeFilippo makes me think he will consistently use Fournette as an integral part of his pass-heavy offense.  Even if the Jaguars continue to lose, DeFilippo’s own words drop kick my confidence in Fournette into the stratosphere.  Fournette may have a boom game or two but his current ADP of 2.11 is too expensive for my liking in an offense that I fear may forget he exists.

Update 4/11/19: Fournette arrested for driving on a suspended license then released after posting bond. 

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Perhaps Fournette was somehow aware of my article and was trying to prove me right.  Either way, this is yet another strike against the running back who struggled last year with maturity issues.

Antonio Brown

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Antonio Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders.  What did the Pittsburgh Steelers have that the Raiders do not?

Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

I understand Bell has moved onto the Jets, but for the sake of argument, I am including him from past seasons as one of Brown’s keys to fantasy dominance.

What do the Raiders have to offer?

Behold!  Derek Carr, Isiah Crowell, and JJ Nelson.

Getty Images / Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

Brown simply doesn’t have the same caliber of weapons surrounding him as he did in Pittsburgh.  Bell and Conner allowed the Steelers to stretch the field, Smith-Schuster drew coverage away from Brown, and Roethlisberger had a total quarterback rating of 71.7 according to ESPN in 2018.  Carr had a 49 QBRT.

True, Brown is a freak athlete.  Even though he will carry double coverage all day long, he will be able to create separation and see some production in 2019.  In fact, if the price is right, I would still draft him. However, I would need to have a draft strategy in place to compensate for Brown’s lack of fantasy points instead of relying on him as an automatic plug and play that will get me consistent points.  

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With an ADP of 2.01, Brown continues to fall in the draft.  Have a solid strategy if you plan to take him and understand that this year has the potential to be a giant bust compared to the Antonio Brown we all are used to seeing.  

Phillip Lindsay

This pains me deeply.  I had shares of Lindsay in nearly all of my leagues last year and he crushed it, breaking the hearts of Royce Freeman owners around the country.

Lindsay lands on my list of potential bust candidates for two reasons.  First, he has admittedly put no time table on his return from a fractured wrist.  “When I’m ready, I’m going to be ready,” he told the Denver Post.  I fear missing reps with new quarterback Joe Flacco could hurt his chances at fantasy domination.

Second, the Broncos environment has gone through an overhaul.  Vic Fangio takes over as the head coach for the 2019 season and Rich Scangarello was hired as the new offensive coordinator.  Formerly the quarterbacks coach for the 49ers, Scangarello brings a Kyle Shanahan-esq zone run game. You would think this would be a good thing for Lindsay and for Freeman.

Don’t get me wrong, it is a good thing if Lindsay can get healthy and stay that way.  However, the new coaching staff does not have the same loyalty to Lindsay. He may also miss valuable reps with Flacco while a healthy Royce Freeman takes his place.  Freeman was also the Broncos 3rd Round draft pick. It wouldn’t surprise me if management pushes for their expensive draft pick to get more touches to save face.

Lindsay’s current ADP at 3.11 is misleading compared to his potential lack of fantasy production.  Depending on your RB draft strategy, looking at wide receivers instead of reaching for Lindsay may be a better option.  I don’t expect Lindsay to repeat his 2018 explosive fantasy season.

Final Note

As a fantasy researcher, advisor and especially as a woman, I never want to be wrong.  With that being said, I hope I am wrong.


Mark Drumheller says:

All great points. Especially regarding the Fournette /DeFilippo dynamic. As an Eagles fan, I will always appreciate DeFilippo’s contributions as the QB coach to our Super Bowl winning season. However, play calling is not his thing. Great job showing the chart to illustrate how he failed to replicate the run/pass ratio Pederson and Reich used with the Eagles. His failure to carry that over to Minnesota speaks volumes of his reluctance to change. The ratio with the Vikings was even worse than his stint with the Browns. There is not much evidence this will change in Jacksonville. Add in the lack of weapons surrounding Foles, and the Jaguars may end up being a team you circle on the schedule to play your fantasy defense against.

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