Three Potential Bust Candidates for 2021 (Fantasy Football)
It is inevitable in fantasy football that some players will boom and others will bust. For the sake of this piece, “bust” refers to where a player will finish in comparison to where you drafted him and your expectations based on that investment. It does not mean that we are predicting these players to fail completely. Instead, think of bust candidates always in the context of their average draft position (ADP).
ADP is constantly changing as the offseason draws closer to the start of the regular season. A player who may have been projected to come off the board early may have dropped to a later round because of circumstances that have changed. Therefore, he may no longer be considered a bust candidate if their ADP is low enough to reflect their overall output.
This year’s Ultimate Draft Kit details out the ever-changing ADP and other potential bust candidates for 2021, so make sure you have purchased the UDK to get access to all of the incredible features it has to offer. Also, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason‘s potential bust players on the podcast episode Early Breakout and Busts.
The first candidate on tap is falling right at that threshold of no longer being considered a bust. Josh Jacobs’ ADP has dropped substantially over the past several weeks and he is currently being drafted in the 5th Round in half-PPR. Nevertheless, I am keeping Jacobs in the category of being a potential bust candidate even though I could justify drafting him at that current ADP.
The biggest reason I want to wave the red flags around Jacobs is due to the addition of RB Kenyan Drake from the Arizona Cardinals. Drake has been the perennial RB2 on every team he has been on dating back to his college days. At first glance, it may not seem that he poses much of a threat to Jacobs’ volume. After all, the Raiders are a run-heavy team and ranked 11th highest in the league in rush attempts in 2020 with 457. Jacobs claimed 273 of those attempts last year for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns to finish as the league’s RB9 with 214.8 points over 15 games.
Drake finished as the RB14, just outside of the RB1 conversation. His numbers were similar to Jacobs with 239 attempts, 955 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Even their receiving numbers were similar, differing by only eight receptions over the season. In fact, Drake was less than five points away from finishing within the top 12 and was behind Jacobs by only 35 points. Even their red zone and 10-zone numbers were close to the same. You can find the Red Zone Report in this year’s Ultimate Draft Kit.
Drake is currently being drafted all the way in the 9th Round of half-PPR drafts. If I am looking at value, drafting Drake four rounds later than Jacobs to get similar fantasy finishes is significant. Even though a 5th Round pick for team’s RB1 is decent, I fear Drake will command enough of the volume and targets to cut into Jacobs’ 2021 production compared to last year when he had little competition for rush attempts.
In a similar vein as Jacobs, the next potential bust candidate is second-year darling D’Andre Swift of the Detroit Lions. There are a host of things that give me pause like the regime change in the organization, but I am mostly concerned about the addition of RB Jamaal Williams.
Swift had some explosive games in his rookie campaign and it was exciting to see just what he could do on the field. Then the 2021 offseason happened and Williams was brought into the fold. That zeal for Swift’s future production was palpably dimmed. Add the luke-warm decaffeinated tea that is their new QB in Jared Goff, and I am not looking at the Lions with any kind of excitement for fantasy in 2021.
We don’t even have the luxury of assigning a specific fantasy identity to either of these players that could set them apart from each other. They ended last year with distressing similar numbers. Swift had 114 carries for 521 yards and eight touchdowns and had 46 receptions on 57 targets for 357 yards and two receiving touchdowns over 13 games. Williams had 119 carries for 505 yards and two touchdowns and had 31 receptions on 35 targets for 236 yards and one receiving touchdown over 14 games. He was also working behind RB Aaron Jones where Swift was still a rookie competing with aged Adrian Peterson.
I can easily see new head coach Dan Campbell committing to the run in 2021 but that will likely be between both Swift and Williams in a 50/50 committee backfield. Swift’s ADP is currently at the beginning of the 3rd Round, which is far too expensive of an investment to have zero confidence that he will indeed be the star running back for the Lions. Williams, on the other hand, is being drafted all the way toward the end of the 12th Round and may finish as well as or better than Swift in 2021.
If you have followed the Fantasy Footballers for any length of time, you know that they are proponents of the late-round quarterback draft options. Nevertheless, there are several quarterbacks that will indeed go off the board way too early, and Seattle’s QB Russell Wilson is a prime example.
His current ADP is at the beginning of the 8th Round, which may not seem too exorbitant a draft cost, but have caution. Wilson lit up the league in the first half of the season last year. In the first nine weeks, he finished as a top-10 QB seven times and five of those games were as a top-five producer. However, the wheels fell off in Week 10 and on when he only saw QB1 one status twice and finished as the QB2 or worse in the other six games.
Seattle is doubling down on their commitment to the run in 2021, which possibly helped add fuel to Wilson’s trade rumors during the offseason. He is an exceptional quarterback and the desire to draft him, even in the 8th Round, is tempting. Instead of taking a quarterback that early who will likely disappoint season-long, you can look at a different position to round out your squad. RBs Damien Harris and Mike Davis are going off the board in the same round as well as WR Courtland Sutton. I would much rather have those pieces at that cost. A quarterback I would prefer to have on my team instead is Ryan Tannehill who finished as the QB7 and will have both A.J. Brown and Julio Jones this year. Better yet, you can draft him as late as the 12th Round.
Remember that these players are considered bust candidates because of their ADP heading into draft season. Make sure you keep an eye on the rise or fall in their ADP all offseason so you can get the most value out of your picks this season.