9 Top Fantasy Draft Picks Who Will Bite You In The Ass This Season
The absolute worst thing that can happen to a fantasy manager is having your laptop explode during the draft. Setting a roster every week that was auto-drafted sucks, plus battery acid burns leave gruesome scars. But the second worst thing that can happen is having a top pick not pan out like a top pick should. You get three cracks at the top 40 point-producers in the league and if any one of them fails to give you consistent numbers over the first 10 weeks of the season, your chances of making the playoffs and winning your league are greatly diminished. You know this, I know this. That's why I've compiled a list of players who'll inevitably fly off the board because of massive preseason hype, only to blow up in their owners' faces like a bootleg laptop you bought under a bridge.
Here's how I figured out who these guys were...
- Who has a history of season-ending injuries
- Who relies on an functional offensive line
- Who played above their potential last season
- Who plays on a team with a better, younger option behind them
Using these factors, I've come up with 11 top-40 draft picks who stand the best chance of of giving you the worst chance to be happy for the next four months.
Victor Cruz - Coming off a torn patellar tendon suffered in Week 6 of last season, Victor Cruz has yet to see any action in the Giants preseason games. Strike one.
[NY Post] The wide receiver, who has reported no issue with his surgically repaired knee after tearing his patellar tendon last year, won’t practice Tuesday, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he isn’t sure when Cruz will return.
“I don’t know when to say Victor will be ready to [practice],” the coach said. “I’m concerned. Obviously there were a few slotted spots there that didn’t take place. I would like to see him get out there and be able to stay out there. That’s what our real intent is.”
As much as we want to buy the hype that he and Odell Beckham Jr. will make each other's lives easier, it's hard to look at Cruz's production from 2014 (only two games with over 10 fantasy points) and think he's worth a top pick. Factor in the all the catchable passes that bounced off his hands last year, plus the Giants' inexperienced offensive line, and you've got three red flags that scream STAY AWAY. I love the guy, but he's a later round pick up.
DeMarco Murray - Running the ball over 436 times last season, it became clear that the Dallas Cowboys were trying to squeeze every ounce of production out of Murray, who left for Philly after being lowballed by Jerry Jones. That was probably their plan all along: run Murray into the ground, then cite his overuse as a reason for paying him less than his staggering 2014 numbers deserved. Now he's sitting comfortably with a huge guaranteed contract on a Philadelphia Eagles amidst an identity crisis, who also lost two-time Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis this offseason. Simply put, Murray will have to work harder this year without the added motivation of a huge payday -- or league's best offensive line -- which he had last year. Plus the crazy accumulated mileage doesn't exactly help quell concerns about a breakdown this season. Injuries and malaise stand to burn you here. You've been warned.
Odell Beckham Jr. - Had ODB played the entirety of the 2014 season, he would've been in a position to have the single greatest receiving season of all time. That's not going to happen this year. For starters, Beckham snuck up on Giants' opponents, who hadn't developed a gameplan for him because they hadn't seen him in an NFL uniform prior to Week 4. What's more, the Giants were always playing from behind last year thanks to a flat out bad secondary that has since gotten healthier/better (with signings like CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Brandon Meriweather). Moreover, the combined losses of Rashad Jennings and Victor Cruz forced Eli Manning to target Beckham an inordinate amount, which won't be the case this season as those two will be back on the field. Then there's the fact that through two preseason games, Beckham and Manning have yet to connect. That's cause for concern.
I'm not saying Beckham isn't one of the best talents in the NFL, I'm just saying that if you snag him in the second round, you'll be on pins and needles watching jealous free safeties try to destroy the kid on literally every play. Good luck.
Alfred Morris - Starting running backs are always going to go before the fourth round, so I can't blame you for drafting Alfred Morris before the 40th pick. That being said, his output is contingent on Washington's ability to keep opposing teams out of the endzone, as well as their ability to not devolve into a smoldering garbage fire of an offense. His numbers have steadily slipped for two years now. I'm not taking this risk and neither should you. There are better options out there.
Rob Gronkowski - It's hard to stay healthy in the NFL. It's also hard to stay motivated after a Super Bowl victory. Both of these things are especially true for Gronk, who, if I had to guess, might be lacking some focus this season after being thrust into his recent A-list celebrity status. And face it, no matter how unstoppable he looked last season -- when he produced like a WR1 from the TE spot -- the guy has played in 36 of the New England Patriots' last 59 games. It also doesn't help that Jimmy Garoppolo will be throwing to him until Week 5. He's going in the first round in most drafts. That's how you ruin a season, folks.
Justin Forsett - Justin Forsett won leagues for owners who plucked him off the scrap heap last year. He wound up with only four weak fantasy outings for the whole season, peppering in some monster weeks (he had 31 points against New Orleans in Week 12) among his consistently solid production. An RB1 who regularly gives you 12-14 points can go a long way in keeping your team in games every week. That being said, he's 30 now and not in the Ravens plans going forward. Lorenzo Taliaferro gets the starting spot by the midway point of the season and your late second round pick of Forsett will make you want to build a time machine to travel back to your draft and punch yourself in the face.
Mark Ingram - The New Orleans Saints backfield is like the island of misfit running backs. They throw the ball too damn much to waste a top pick on one of their ball carriers, and this year that's especially true with C.J. Spiller coming to town. Not only does the speedy Spiller make more sense as a cog in Drew Brees' fast-paced offense (he resembles Brees' old go-to target Darren Sproles), but the lumbering Ingram is a year older and a year slower than he was when he was slow and lumbering last season. He's a goal-line poacher at this point. Draft accordingly.
Emmanuel Sanders - Gary Kubiak's regime will look markedly different than that of departed offensive coordinator Adam Gase. That's because Kubiak favors the more traditional "you stand in a huddle before plays" approach, as well as the "run the ball first, then start throwing it" strategy. If I were a betting man (I am), I'd wager that this change in tactics will cut into Sanders' production this season. He's even said so himself. Look:
"You talk about going from a no-huddle offense to an offense that’s huddling up, to an offense that is predicated off running a football and then throwing it...My goal is really to try to get a 1,000 yards to just help this team win ball games."
That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of his fantasy value, is it?
Kubiak is expected to roll out more two tight end sets, which will put Sanders in the slot and limit his big play potential. Then, of course, there's football's Darth Vader, Peyton Manning, who can't turn his head, use his legs or feel his fingertips, which will make it hard for him to get the ball to Sanders. In all likelihood, Sanders loses opportunities to the Broncos' increased reliance on the run game.
Peyton Manning - It's not exactly news that Peyton Manning's 2015 season isn't going to be his best. He's 238 years old, he's been rebuilt with robotic limbs courtesy of the Cyberdyne Corporation, and he looked like complete shit toward the end of 2014. What's worse, Manning lost his biggest target, tight end Julius Thomas, to free agency, and now he's having to deal with a new head coach and a new offensive coordinator. Oh, and his offensive line -- meaning the guys in charge of not letting people break the re-animated corpse that is his body -- sports three guys with a combined year of experience. He's going late in the third round in most drafts, but that's a tough spot to pick a quarterback who can't feel the footballs that he's paid to throw. Why not just wait a round or two and snag a guy like Romo or Cam Newton?
Photos via Getty
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