For every ying, there's a yang, UP and a down, ebb then flow. The last couple articles were laced with flowers and butterflies. Even if one was a dirt brown butterfly that doesn't like people and blends in with the desert. My All-Upside Team and Peter's All-Vanilla Team were guys that should make your roster better. This is not that team.
This is the, "Thank you for coming but it's getting late" team. These players have been great for you at some point, or are projected to be a big part of your roster this season. This is the All-Bust Team (and not the kind in Canton).
I dread these subjects because I like to think that every player has some sort of value. Well, if you heard our segment last Thursday, then you'd think that I have no use for Roddy White, that's not exactly true...just mostly true. I would own all the players that are on the list below, but it would have to come at a value for me. "Bust" is a harsh word, but it had to be done!
Cam Newton (QB, Car)
Cam has had an offseason to forget. It looked like the Panthers were finally putting together: few weapons in the passing game to go along with an historically good rushing attack. That all changed one day at a joint practice in August. Kelvin Benjamin went out for a route and never came back. Torn ACL. Out for the season. Just like that, the promise turned to grief. Cam had the worst fantasy season of his career last season. I was a big believer in his turn around. Well, like the passing game, that's a memory. He's still being drafted ahead of QB's like Eli Manning, Ryan Tannehill, Matthew Stafford, and Tom Brady. Lately it seems like people are getting it right and not drafting him as high, but in a few drafts this past week he was drafter even higher. Beware of Cam this season, he has no proven weapons outside of Greg Olsen and hasn't been the rushing threat he was in his rookie year.
DeMarco Murray (RB, Phi)
Murray was awesome last season. He was probably the fantasy MVP. A 4th round pick that was the second best back in fantasy (depending on scoring). He had over 450 touches counting the playoffs. I will admit to not having exact numbers, but the last two backs that I remember doing something like that were Shaun Alexander and Larry Johnson. They had huge touch seasons and were never the same again. Murray is a bit of a different back, but that's a lot of wear and tear. He doesn't have the Dallas offensive line this season either. I advocate getting as much of the Philly offense as possible, but Murray isn't a player I'll target or, most likely, own this season. He has been going late in the first to early in the second round in the most recent drafts. Late second, early third, we might talk. Philly also signed Ryan Mathews, who, if you have heard our show or read my articles, I have a bit of a man crush on. He and I will be having tacos after the season. Both backs have a bit of a health issue, but Mathews didn't have to carry the load as much in SD the last few seasons. Murray will be great some weeks and disappear others.
Joseph Randle (RB, Dal)
Poor Joseph Randle. Last season he had a back in front of him that didn't come off the field. He looked good in the limited time he did play though. Murray leaves, Joseph is the best back left, and the offensive line actually gets BETTER. Yes! Randle gets his chance to be THE MAN! Then Jerry, being Jerry, signs the Arkansas RB he coveted years ago. Enter Darren McFadden. Still not horrible for Randle, I mean it's Darren McFadden. The guy that can't stay healthy and, well, looked done last season when he was healthy. The draft comes and goes, and Todd Gurley is a top 10 pick by the Rams. Melvin Gordon, who many had going to Dallas, was drafted by SD. Yes! Randle just has to beat out Run DMC to be the man, and he's an old, frail running back. It gets better for Randle. McFadden gets hurt in camp (shocker, I know). Randle is getting all the first team reps. He's the man! Then comes the second preseason game. Randle was fine but DMC was too, even looked good at times. Still not pumping the brakes too much on Randle. He had worked himself all the way up to an early 4th round pick in fantasy drafts, sometimes earlier! All the pundits start taking notice of Randle. Then, this past weekend, Jason Garrett came out and said it will be a three-headed monster with Randle, McFadden, and Lance Dunbar. Randle will be sharing carries with DMC and passing downs with Dunbar. No! All that hype gone. Most people won't touch Randle until close to the 6th now. That doesn't help the people that have already drafted, myself included (luckily it was an auction and I got him for under $10). I really don't see him producing at a 4th round value until McFadden gets hurt. Joseph, your day will come, hopefully sooner than later.
Mike Evans (WR, TB)
This dude will beat you in an arm wresting contest, trust me. He was one of the great rookie WRs last year. He caught a bunch of TDs and made it obvious why Johnny Football was so dang good at A&M. The new buzz word seems to be "catch radius." Evans has that in droves. Evans has been going in the late second, early third in most drafts. I have 2 issues with that. First, a rookie QB named Jameis Winston. I personally think that Winston has every chance to succeed his rookie season. So why is this a problem? Evans got banged up recently. Nothing serious, don't worry. However, that left Winston throwing to another WR. He's pretty good also. Maybe you've heard of him. Vincent Jackson. Chemistry is real, especially in football, and especially between QB and WR. Second verse same as the first! Okay, not exactly, but kinda. Vincent Jackson is the other WR. The catch and yard numbers were close, but the difference was TDs. Jackson had two and Evans had double digits. They are both large men with huge (here's that phrase again) "catch radiuses." Or is it radii. Either way, it's a good problem to have (the catch radius, not misunderstanding of the English language). It's hard for me to believe that the TD disparity will be that great again this season. Watch out for Evans going to high, and maybe take a look at Jackson a little later
Emmanuel Sanders (WR, Den)
It's rare to hear a player tell you that they're going to be a bust candidate. However, that's exactly what Sanders did before camp started. Gary Kubiak is now the coach, and, in essence, the OC. That typically means more rushing attempts (Hello, CJ Anderson, I believe we've met) and more play action passes (that's DT territory). With that knowledge, Sanders told everyone to expect a drop off from last seasons numbers. Sanders and Evans are going about the same position in drafts. Sanders should still be valuable, but people are drafting him as their #1 WR. That's a mistake, a WR2 would make me feel better; and a WR2 in the late 3rd or early 4th would give me a tingly feeling inside. Denver will still pass, and Sanders will produce numbers; but not like he did last season. Just be careful not to draft him expecting that same production.
Jimmy Graham (TE, Sea)
Jimmy and I have had great times together. We've frolicked on the beach, played spike ball, and even had a impromptu baseball game. No, wait that was Nick's bachelor party. Anyway, I have owned a whole lot of Graham for the passed few years. I wasn't one of the guys that "discovered" him, but I am one that overdrafted him last season. Graham is a mismatch every time he lines up. He's big, fast, and knows how to box out. The issue with Graham is that, while Russell Wilson has a fantastic last name, he's not the gunslinger Drew Brees is. Mark Ingram was fantastic last season, but he's not Beast Mode. When the Saints were in the red zone, that was Graham time. In Seattle, its Beast Mode. Unless its the Super Bowl, then its Malcom Butler time. Graham is being drafted in the second or third round in most leagues. My issue with that is Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen. Both could bypass Graham this season, and both are going a few rounds later. I still expect Graham to be good, possibly very good. He just won't be the Graham we're use to. That chemistry thing could show its ugly face also. I still love Graham, but not where he's being drafted.
T.J. Yeldon (RB, Jax)
Yeldon was anointed the starter before the preseason even started. I know, its Jacksonville, but there was a lot of hype following the news. They've upgraded their offensive line. Great! They added a few pass catchers (Allen Robinson, back from injury, and Julius Thomas from Denver). Great! Blake Bortles has a year under his belt. Great! It's looking like Yeldon could be a serviceable RB2 or a good flex play. Then camp, and Yeldon gets banged up and has to miss two preseason games. That hurts his stock a little, but he's still a solid late 4th, early 5th round pick. No problem, he was told he had the job, and Denard Robinson (yes, the guy that played QB for Michigan) and Toby Gerhart are the only other backs. We know what they are. However, in preseason action, Robinson and Gerhart have looked shockingly good. Yeldon is then cleared to play against the Detroit Lions front seven. That's not fun for a rookie back, or any back for that matter. He wasn't good. His draft stock has been plummeting since then. That's the right call, but, like Randle, that doesn't help those who have already drafted. Don't draft Yeldon until you have drafted your flex. Who knows what will happen in Jax? We know they don't.
I want to emphasize this is not a "STAY AWAY" column. It's more of a "temper your expectations" piece. If this was your team, it could be worse. After all, this doesn't mean they won't give you their projected value. I just see these players as over-valued at their current market price.
I also feel that way about Subway. It doesn't mean I don't eat there every once in a while, but but I can make a sandwich at home. If I happen to be wrong on any of these players, come join Ryan, Jimmy and me for a night cap. I'll be needing one.