Figuring out which players to avoid in fantasy football is just as important as determining who you should target, as a bad draft pick (or two, or three, etc.) can ruin your entire season.
Fantasy owners sometimes get too caught up in the allure of big-name stars and reach too early for well-known players based on their past production rather than their current potential.
With that in mind, here are 10 notable players who could be busts this season and who you therefore should avoid drafting too high.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Luck might be healthy come Week 1, in which case he’s a viable fantasy quarterback. But don’t go overboard to land the Colts signal-caller, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury. He’s one hit away from landing back on the shelf, and that’s a real possibility given some of the question marks along Indianapolis’ offensive line. There’s also no telling how strong his arm will be upon returning.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers
The Jimmy G hype is real, and it’s understandable. He’s looked good, both in San Francisco and in New England, and has the makings of a franchise quarterback after guiding the 49ers to a perfect record down the stretch last season. But let’s not forget Garoppolo had just six touchdowns to five interceptions in his five starts with San Francisco, a team that’s not exactly filled to the brim with weapons.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
This probably is a controversial take, seeing as how Watson is a dual-threat quarterback — a real asset in the fantasy realm — who was sensational until a torn ACL cut short his rookie season after just seven games. But Houston’s offensive line is abysmal — one of the worst Pro Football Focus has ever seen, in fact — and that’s a scary thought for a young QB coming off a leg injury. He’ll basically need to do it all for the Texans, and that’s asking a lot.
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
It’s easy to look at DeMarco Murray’s retirement as a huge opportunity for Henry, who theoretically could seize the lead role in Tennessee’s backfield in his third NFL season. The Titans signed running back Dion Lewis over the offseason, though, and that might significantly cut into Henry’s playing time. After all, Lewis carried the ball 180 times for 896 yards with the Patriots last season.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
McCoy hasn’t shown many signs of regression, but he just turned 30, an age at which several running backs have broken down in the past. He’s also playing for a bad team with an unproven quarterback and a poor offensive line. Don’t expect the same Shady you’ve seen in the past.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
LeGarrette Blount is gone, but Corey Clement and Darren Sproles figure to steal carries. You probably won’t see Ajayi much on third down. Plus, Ajayi has dealt with injuries in the past, so there’s inherent risk along with the possibility of the Eagles limiting his workload. He’s definitely not worth RB1 consideration.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald just keeps producing, so why should we expect anything less as he prepares to enter his 15th NFL season at age 35? Well, for one, Father Time is undefeated. So he will falter at some point. Also, he’s adjusting to a new offense with head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer gone.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams acquired Cooks from the Patriots, then promptly gave him a five-year, $80 million contract extension. But don’t expect huge production from Cooks despite his track record of success. He’s mostly a home run hitter trying to fit in with a run-heavy team.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Speaking of home run hitters, Hill has become known for his big-play ability while offering very little in the way of red-zone production. He has a super high ceiling and a low floor, especially now that the Chiefs have a rookie quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, at the helm and wide receiver Sammy Watkins joining the offensive mix on a massive contract.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Injuries always are a concern with Gronkowski, who contemplated retirement over the offseason. There’s also very little separation between Gronk and the next-best tight ends, Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz, so it doesn’t make much sense to draft him as high as you might normally consider.
Thumbnail photo via Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports Images
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