The NFL season is right around the corner, and with it comes the fantasy football season. Winning your league is all about finding value in the late rounds, but it’s just as important to make the right picks early. The following five players are currently going way too early in fantasy football drafts and could be some of the biggest busts on the season.
This isn’t to say that these players won’t carry any fantasy value in 2020. Some of these players should have solid fantasy seasons. This list simply exists to show players that have a large discrepancy between their projected 2020 finish and their current average draft position.
Note: Rankings given in PPR formats, and Average Draft Position provided by FantasyPros
Fantasy Football Busts in 2020
Derrick Henry is a ridiculously talented running back, but it’s hard to see a world where he lives up to his RB6 average draft position in PPR leagues. Targets are approximately 2.83 times more valuable than carries in fantasy, and Henry doesn’t see much work in the passing game. Last year, Henry saw just 24 targets despite never leaving the field.
If Henry is going to justify this ADP, he’ll need to lead the league in total rushing yards and touchdowns. He managed to do that last year, but the odds aren’t great for him doing that a second time. As mentioned in his profile, Henry only became an unstoppable force when Ryan Tannehill entered the lineup. Tannehill is back in 2020, but he almost certainly won’t play as well as he did last year. When Tannehill comes back to Earth, Henry’s efficiency numbers are going to take a sizable dip. Henry will still be a borderline RB1, but he’s not a top-six back.
DeAndre Hopkins might be the most talented receiver in the league, but he’s going to have a tough time justifying his WR3 ADP. Continuity matters more than ever in this shortened offseason, and that’s bad news for Hopkins. The Arizona Cardinals acquired the talented receiver in the offseason, and now he has to develop a rapport with Kyler Murray and learn the offense without a preseason.
Even in a regular offseason, Hopkins would probably see a dip in production. Historically speaking, receivers switching teams need a year before they’re able to produce like their old selves. There are exceptions to the rule, and Hopkins certainly has the talent to justify his current ADP. However, the odds aren’t in his favor and you’re probably better off going with someone like Julio Jones or Tyreek Hill at WR3.
Betting on Juju Smith-Schuster to finish as the WR13 also means betting on an age-38 Ben Roethlisberger coming back from a serious injury to his throwing elbow without missing a step. We all know how good Smith-Schuster can be when Roethlisberger is on the field, but we also know that Smith-Schuster isn’t quarterback-proof. Last year, Juju recorded just 42 receptions for 552 yards and three touchdowns while catching passes from Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges. Granted, injury had something to do with that limited production, but the fact remains that he simply wasn’t the same guy without Roethlisberger.
Even if Roethlisberger plays a full 16-game schedule, Smith-Schuster still probably won’t match his 2018 production. Roethlisberger led the league with a staggering 675 passing attempts. It’s hard to imagine a world where Pittsburgh lets that happen again, especially with Antonio Brown out of town. Smith-Schuster should have a fine season, but he’s not going to be the 13th-best receiver in fantasy.
Devin Singletary will receive work in 2020, but he won’t receive too many valuable touches. The easiest path to fantasy relevance is through touchdowns and targets, and Singletary probably won’t receive much work in either field. Last year, the team used Frank Gore as the primary goal line back. Gore might be gone, but the team used a third-round pick on the 223-pound Zack Moss. Moss is better suited to be the goal line back and will probably receive those valuable touches.
Josh Allen rarely checks the ball down, so there won’t be too many running back targets to go around. What few targets there are, however, will probably go to Moss. Singletary was absolutely atrocious in the passing game last year, finishing as the third-worst receiving back by Football Outsiders’ receiving DVOA. Moss is a much more natural pass-catcher and should take those third down targets. Singletary will get work on early downs between the 20’s, but that just isn’t very valuable for fantasy.
Rounding out the list of fantasy football busts is tight end Darren Waller. Waller had a fantastic breakout season last year, finishing as the TE3 in PPR leagues. However, a deeper dive in the numbers shows that he probably won’t repeat that success in 2020. Waller owes a lot of his success to being the only man in town. Antonio Brown didn’t play a single game with the Raiders, Tyrell Williams suffered a foot injury early on, and Hunter Renfrow was a rookie. By default, Waller became the top option in the passing attack and saw a notable drop in production once Hunter Renfow was healthy and established.
Waller is going to have a much harder time finding targets this year. This is still a run-first team, but the Raiders added Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, and Lynn Bowden in the NFL Draft. These guys, along with Renfrow, will eat into Waller’s target share. Waller will still be involved, but you’re better off going with a late-round tight end than using mid-round capital on a guy that’s going to take a major step back.
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