There were plenty of players to come out of nowhere and break out a season ago. But in turn, there were also players who failed to live up to expectations. We call those busts in Fantasy and the 2012-13 season will spring a new batch of underperformers.
Whether it's a player drafted too high or someone coming off a breakout campaign that simply cannot duplicate it, busts are inevitable in Fantasy. Owners who have scoured the rosters to keep up with the offseason moves probably already have a pretty good idea of who may not be able to perform as expected.
We at CBSSports.com have compiled a list of candidates we feel will take a step back this season.
Raymond Felton, Knicks: Many believe Felton will be in for a bounce-back campaign after returning to New York in a trade with Portland in the offseason. Don't jump to conclusions just yet. He averaged 17.1 points with 9.0 assists and 1.8 steals in 54 games with the Knicks in 2010-11, albeit that was under former coach Mike D'Antoni. Point guards have always thrived in D'Antoni's run-and-gun offense and Felton was no exception. New Knicks coach Mike Woodson, however, runs a slower-paced offense and prefers everything to go through Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire for the most part. While Felton should be able to put up more than the 11.4 points with 6.5 assists he averaged last season for the Trail Blazers, we would advise Fantasy owners not to overreach for the 28-year-old on Draft Day as he probably won't be able to match the production from his first tenure in the Big Apple.
Steve Nash, Lakers: Nash led the league in assists for the sixth time in the last eight seasons a year ago and while his scoring fell off a bit, he remained a solid option in Fantasy. An offseason move to the Lakers has all the makings of hindering his value, however. He gives Los Angeles a true facilitator on offense but with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard expected to do the bulk of the scoring, the 38-year-old could see his points fall into single digits more nights than not. Nash has already seen his scoring decrease each of the last three seasons and shot just 39 percent from beyond the arc a year ago, which was his worst percentage since 1998-99. Owners know that the offense in Los Angeles runs through Bryant so Nash could be in for a huge letdown in Fantasy this season.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks: Things are already looking bad for Nowitzki as he has been slowed by a knee injury during the preseason and could end up undergoing surgery due to swelling. Good news is that he overcame this issue last season but showed up out of shape and needed an extended break to get back on track. It looks as though time is finally catching up to the 34-year-old. His numbers took a dip in 2011-12 as he averaged 21.6 points with 6.7 points and shot 45.7 percent from the field, which was his worst shooting percentage since his rookie campaign. Nowitzki's run as a must-start Fantasy forward could be coming to an end so owners should keep that in mind heading into 2012-13.
Brandon Bass, Celtics: Bass enjoyed a career campaign in his first season in Boston as he averaged 12.5 points with 6.2 rebounds and nearly a block per game while becoming a reliable option in Fantasy. However, early reports out of Boston are that the team loves rookie forward Jared Sullinger and he will likely steal time from the 27-year-old in 2012-13. Sullinger gives the Celtics a versatile big-man that is a slightly better rebounder than Bass and adds a bit more size to their frontline. Bass could also end up coming off the bench, which would limit his role even further and hinder his value in Fantasy, so putting up the numbers he did a year ago could be tough. Owners should not be too eager scoop Bass up before the later rounds on Draft Day as it looks as though he will come back to earth this season.
Ryan Anderson, Hornets: Anderson was one of the bigger surprises in Fantasy last year. After averaging just 8.6 points with 4.5 rebounds through his first 193 games in the NBA, he put up 16.1 points per contest with 7.7 rebounds and shot nearly 44 percent from the floor in 61 games for the Magic. Anderson struggled in the playoffs without Dwight Howard alongside him, however, scoring just 9.6 points with 4.6 rebounds and shooting 34 percent from the field. He was traded to the Hornets in the offseason and could find trouble scoring on a consistent basis in New Orleans. The offense runs through Eric Gordon and with rookie Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis part of the rebuilding process, Anderson will likely play more of a secondary role with the club. The 24-year-old shoots the ball well from the 3-point line (38 percent for his career) but a repeat of his 2011-12 campaign seems unlikely. Anderson is definitely someone we think will be a disappointment in 2012-13.
Andrew Bynum, 76ers: Bynum put together the dominant campaign Fantasy owners had been waiting for a year ago as he averaged career highs with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds for the Lakers. He also played in 60 games for just the third time in his career and shot nearly 56 percent from the field. An offseason move to the 76ers had most owners salivating over the potential numbers he could put up since he would not longer have to share the ball with Kobe Bryant and he immediately became one of the best centers in the Eastern Conference. But, just like it has in the past, injury concerns have begun creeping up during the preseason as the 24-year-old has already received a Synvisc injection on his right knee and was also shut down due to a knee bruise. Bynum had that done each of the previous two seasons but there are also some complaints about his conditioning early on. Bynum has proven to be a must-start Fantasy center when healthy but given his history, owners should temper expectations heading into his first season in Philadelphia.
JaVale McGee, Nuggets: Many people, including us at CBSSports.com, believe this is the season that McGee finally stops frustrating Fantasy owners and takes his game to the next level. After spending the offseason working closely with coach George Karl and Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, it looks like he's on the right track. However, this is not the first time we have heard this about the 24-year-old as he has appeared on numerous breakout and sleeper lists over the last few seasons. This is why we have decided to list McGee as a possible breakout or bust option this year. While he looks to have the skill set to become one of the elite big-men in Fantasy, owners cannot be blamed for avoiding the hype around McGee again in 2012-13.
Dion Waiters, Cavaliers: The Cavs reached a bit for Waiters with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 Draft and he has gotten off to a shaky start in his NBA career. After being compared to Dwyane Wade on draft night, there were reports that he showed up to camp out of shape and his struggles during the preseason have caused him to be pulled off the court at times. Coach Byron Scott thinks Waiters could be a dynamic player in the league but it will likely take some time for the 20-year-old to mature. While he believe Waiters has the ability to become a reliable option in Fantasy down the line, that doesn't seem likely to happen in his first season in the NBA.
Thomas Robinson, Kings: Robinson was one of the more dominant players in college during his junior year at Kansas as he averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per contest and led the nation with 27 double-doubles. He could have a hard time getting his numbers on a Kings team that has a ton of scorers, however, and will likely be coming off the bench in his first season in the NBA. His rebounding will likely not be as proficient too as DeMarcus Cousins has been a monster on the boards so far in his career. Keep tabs on Robinson going forward but don't count on him for a ton of production during his rookie campaign.
Royce White, Rockets: White is certainly one of the more interesting Fantasy options among rookies as he has a unique skill set for someone with the 6-foot-8, 260-pound frame. He averaged 13.4 points with 9.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks per game at Iowa State last season. His battles with an anxiety order, however, have raised some red flags. Due to his fear of flying, the Rockets will allow him to travel for some of the team's road games by bus. While White could end up having a huge role in his first season in the NBA, there is some concern that he could end up missing games due to his travel arrangements. There are simply too many question marks surrounding the 21-year-old to consider him a reliable option in Fantasy heading into his rookie campaign.