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Busts in Fantasy Football for 2018

“He’s heating up!” The commentary of the infamous Sega Genesis game NBA Jam comes into my head around this time of year. I guess you could call it some sort of self-indulgent motivation being narrated by yours truly. We are gearing up for football season and I am locked into highlights, content, stats (and more stats), and mock drafts. This is the time to get a good idea of which players will be busts in Fantasy Football.

Nobody wants to be that guy who drafted Jeremy Hill in the first round (speaking for a friend). The best way to minimize the risk of drafting busts in Fantasy Football is to keep your emotions out of it (for the most part). That means logic has to come into play and what makes sense to me is projecting success based off prior experience. I love Joe Mixon but – spoiler alert- he is the first guy on the list in this week’s edition of the Fantasy Stock Watch.

Busts happen. Nobody is bust-proof and I am not claiming to be. But, there are factors that need to be considered when drafting players in the first three rounds. This is not the area of the draft to mess around in –  and if you are reading this then I assume you are not either.

You’re doing all the prep, now head on over to Fantrax to start or join a Fantasy Football league. At Fantrax you can draft a team 364 days a year… Sorry, we had to give the IT guy one day off.

Busts in Fantasy Football for 2018

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Current ADP: 2.12 (Standard)

Projected ADP: 2.09

Did I mention that I love Joe Mixon? I was one of the most bullish on the former Oklahoma Sooner going into the 2017 season. He was, in my opinion, the most talented of the rookie running backs and that list included Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara. While Kamara could be a great player, I would argue that Mixon at this point and time is a more complete back. So, just to reiterate, Joe Mixon is my boy.

I underestimated how bad the Bengals offense could actually be in 2017. Andy Dalton had arguably the worst year of his career, and that’s saying something. Marvin Lewis proved that he obviously does not care about utilizing talented players and the offensive line was abysmal. Just like Hill before him, Mixon is going to be a second-round pick in 2018 and it’s too rich for my blood. While the Bengals did improve at offensive line, the offensive attack is not going to all of a sudden be a juggernaut.

I say hesitantly, knowing Lewis’s track record, that Mixon’s workload will improve from last seasons. But, Mixon won’t touch 250 carries in 2018. His 178 carries for 626 yards and four touchdowns were not what Fantasy owners had in mind. If this article was called “Busts in Fantasy Football for 2017,” Mixon would also be on this list as he was drafted 4.02 on average last season.

New year, new Mixon, right? No. He will be the same dynamic running back in an offense that limits him. Mixon is a bust because his production will not exceed his draft price. If he slips into the middle of the third round I am interested. But, his stock is climbing and it may not be worth it when A.J. Green – the No. 1 option on this team- will be taken around the same draft position in standard drafts.

Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles

Current ADP: 4.06 (PPR)

Projected ADP: 4.03

Ajayi was traded in the middle of the season last year and that is scary when considering drafting him in Fantasy. The Dolphins (who by all means are not the standard to look towards in terms of evaluating players) were content finishing the season with Kenyon Drake and Damien Williams. Believe me, the Dolphins were bad enough to tank with Ajayi, so I am not buying the narrative that they dumped him with that in mind.

Ajayi’s knees are wearing thin even though he is only 25. An ACL tear in 2011 that had NFL prospects reluctant to draft him should now have Fantasy players thinking the same thing. In 2015 Ajayi missed seven games with a knee injury that many thought would be detrimental to his career. Ajayi finished as the RB11 in 2016 in both standard and PPR with 260 carries for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns. The incredible part about that is that 735 yards and five of those touchdowns came in four games.

When you look at the trajectory of his game log in 2016 it is obvious that Ajayi was worn down after Weeks 6 through 8. He had 200-plus yards in two of those games which is congruent with his workload during that span. After that stretch, Ajayi did not surpass 79 yards until Week 15 where he rushed for 206 yards for a ridiculous third time that year.

In 2018 Ajayi will be the lead back for the Super Bowl Champion Eagles, but that does not necessarily mean that he can translate his workload into substantial Fantasy production. When analyzing busts in Fantasy Football, you have to consider the players’ competition for touches along with their perceived role on the team.

Ajayi will be a “between the 20’s” kind of guy for the Eagles which means he will be doing the dirty work as long as he is healthy. Corey Clement will be the red-zone back as made evident by the end of last season, including the Super Bowl. Darren Sproles and Clement will be used in third-down passing situations.

Last season in seven games with the Eagles Ajayi was targeted 14 times and had one rushing touchdown. While Ajayi may get the bulk of the carries for the Eagles his receptions total and lack of touchdowns will not live up to his RB21 price in PPR leagues. He can be considered in standard but proceed with caution. as his ADP is 3.06 and is being drafted as the RB18. Ajayi is one of the busts in Fantasy Football in 2018 because his production will not exceed his draft price in 2018.

…To Be Continued Next Week


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