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2012 Draft Prep: Busts to avoid on Draft Day

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Think about the last time you were disappointed about something. Maybe you were promised a five-star steak dinner and instead got a torched piece of meat. Maybe you were set up on a blind date with a "perfect 10" only to find out it was more like a "perfect 1.0."

Or maybe you drafted a football player with high expectations only to cut them from your Fantasy team because they weren't doing well enough to help your team win. Let's try to avoid these specific kinds of disappointments (can't help you on the chow or social life, sorry).

There are two kinds of busts in my mind: Players who simply won't do as well as they did the year prior and players who won't live up to their preseason expectations. Typically I have no problems with the players who won't live up to expectations -- I'll concede they're good players, I just won't draft them where everyone else is drafting them. The players who I believe can't be counted on as they have in the past I tend to not draft at all. Either way, both types are busts I just don't really want on my teams.

Before you head into your draft room, make sure you know which players you know you're nervous about. Then don't draft them unless it's a ridiculous value for your team. I always feel very good about my drafts when my players are made up of guys I don't "settle" for or draft with haste. You should do the same thing.

Here are 11 players I'm leery of this season.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins: Griffin won't be a bad quarterback by any stretch. Between his arm and legs there will be weeks where he puts up some solid numbers. But it won't be every week even with the additions the Redskins made to their receiving corps. Here's the bigger problem I have: On average he's the 12th quarterback getting picked, ahead of established veterans Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub. He's getting picked in Round 8 more often than not, way too high for a passer with a sleek frame, a questionable offensive line and no experience. A lot of people see Griffin and think he's the next Cam Newton because he's an excellent runner and has a cannon for an arm. He's not. Newton is a beast of a man with better-than-advertised accuracy. Griffin isn't as big and could have trouble adapting to the pro game like Newton did as a rookie. I have no problem taking Griffin if he makes it to Round 10 in your league. Maybe Round 9 is OK too. But before guys with 4,300-yard, 25-touchdown potential? Don't let media hype force you into a mistake in the middle of your draft.
My projection: 3,985 passing yards, 20 TDs, 17 INTs, 407 rushing yards, four rushing TDs
Mid-August ADP: 81st overall
I'd take him: 109th overall

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Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins: I happen to like Bush's chances to contribute to Fantasy rosters, but not dominate them. Start with the team he's on: The Dolphins' housecleaning at receiver will make it easy for defenses to cover the pass, even if Miami utilizes the up-tempo, no-huddle approach like they might. Bush should be a bigger part of the passing game but in turn will likely lose the carries he had last year. Tack on a rookie quarterback leading the Dolphins' charge and defenses will key in on Bush. Also factor in Bush's health, which he had until the end of last season. He's never been one to stay healthy and last season could be considered an anomaly. I think the Bush we saw in 2011 is gone and the Bush from 2006-10 will show up. Draft accordingly.
My projection: 653 rush yards, four rushing TDs, 323 receiving yards, two receiving TDs
Mid-August ADP: 100th overall
I'd take him: 113th overall

Shonn Greene, RB, Jets: Greene's got a new tutor in Tony Sparano, who has had success running the ball in this league, and has the motivation of a big pay day if he can put up a monster season. But for three years we've waited for Greene to break out and we're still waiting. Through three years and 546 carries Greene owns 10 rushing touchdowns and 10 runs of 20-plus yards. With Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight waiting patiently on the bench, the Jets might run out of patience with Greene if he stumbles early on. Moreover, the Jets' O-line is iffy and the potential for Tim Tebow to steal touchdowns inside the 10-yard line could further put a crimp in Greene's plans. If expectations are for Greene to match last season's numbers then there's not going to be much disappointment, but if we're hoping for a massive season there could be trouble.
My projection: 924 rush yards, six rushing TDs, 134 receiving yards
Mid-August ADP: 55th overall
I'd take him: 68th overall

Roy Helu, RB, Redskins: Helu's Fantasy value has trended like Facebook stock. After last season we couldn't help but "like" him as a budding No. 2 Fantasy rusher. But then during the offseason the Redskins brought back veteran Tim Hightower. Helu then found himself in a three-headed battle for reps with Hightower and fellow second-year back Evan Royster. It soon became evident that Helu wasn't running first-string, Royster was. From there he developed tendinitis in his knee and said it hurts him more in mid-August than it did last year. At best it seems as if Helu will land passing downs work to begin the season while Royster and Hightower work the tough yards. That's a good role for Helu after he caught 49 passes for 379 yards last season. But it's going to take injuries to the other rushers for him to get more work. And even if Helu makes a start and gets 20 touches one week, Mike Shanahan could pull the rug on him (and us) and make a change without warning like he did a few times last season. No one's spending a sixth or seventh-round pick on Helu now, and justifiably so.
My projection: 494 rushing yards, two rushing TDs, 212 receiving yards, one TD
Mid-August ADP: 100th overall
I'd take him: 113th overall

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills: Spiller the football player is a gem -- that was evident last season when he ran for 446 rush yards, caught for 187 yards and totaled four touchdowns in six games without Fred Jackson. But Jackson is back and if there's one thing we learned before Spiller broke out, it's that the Bills have no problem giving him the shaft and letting Jackson be the primary rusher. When Jackson was healthy last season Spiller averaged 2.1 carries and 1.5 catches per game. Expect him to pitch in more for the Bills this season but not to the point where he can be anything better than a spot starter for a week or two. If Jackson misses playing time again for any reason then Spiller would become a dynamo, but that's not the case when you're drafting.
My projection: 653 rush yards, four rushing TDs, 323 receiving yards, two receiving TDs
Mid-August ADP: 95th overall
I'd take him: 100th overall

Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals: Last year's breakout campaign came with a price: An injured knee that required surgery during the offseason. The rehab from said surgery, which the Cardinals never totally disclosed, kept him sidelined through early August. By the time he returned from the problem, so too did rusher Ryan Williams, whose injury opened the door for Wells to put up 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first place. Now a split is expected and with Wells' injury history he's no sure thing to stay healthy much less average 107 rush yards per game like he did in his first three 2011 contests. If the decision is to draft Wells in Round 6 or 7 or pick up Williams in Round 8 or 9, we'd rather take Williams since he might end up lasting longer despite his return from a torn patella tendon.
My projection: 702 rushing yards, five TDs, 88 receiving yards
Mid-August ADP: 76th overall
I'd take him: 85th overall

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Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys: After missing six games last season and all of this preseason with hamstring injuries, Austin's legs can't be trusted. What's even more nerve-wracking is that Austin is a tremendous deep-ball receiver, and if his speed is compromised by his hammies then he's not going to be a dominator. And while he's scored at least seven touchdowns in each of his last three seasons his receiving average has sunk by at least a yard per catch over that time. After his hamstring acted up on him in Week 2 he never finished with more than 74 yards in a game. For a guy with two 100-yard games since November 2010 after having five in 2009 and four in his first seven games in 2010, his legs have to be in great shape. Hard to envision Austin being a reliable No. 2 Fantasy receiver, especially with Dez Bryant expected to take a step forward this season.
My projection: 975 receiving yards, six receiving TDs
Mid-August ADP: 59th overall
I'd take him: 84th overall

Kenny Britt, WR, Titans: By now everyone knows that Britt won't get picked where his talent and role in the Titans' offense would normally dictate. Not only is a suspension likely stemming from a July drunk driving arrest at an Army base, but he's also coming off three knee surgeries since last September when he tore his ACL. Both of Britt's knees went under the knife and so it's no surprise that through mid-August he's had no reps in camp with the offense. He's a tremendous risk not only because of his health but because of the looming suspension, not to mention any other boneheaded thing he might do this season. If you draft him, you must be willing to hold on to him not only through his suspension but also until his knees are able to get him up and running. It's too bad because he's a gifted receiver -- check that -- was a gifted receiver.
My projection: 44 catches, 593 yards, four TDs
Mid-August ADP: 118th overall
I'd take him: 183rd overall

Andre Johnson, WR, Texans: When Johnson went down with two separate serious hamstring injuries last year without contact from an opponent, I cringed both times. When Johnson had offseason knee surgery, I winced. When Johnson pulled up lame in an early training camp drill and missed a week with a groin strain, I became disappointed. And now when I see people take Johnson with a second-round pick in drafts, I question what they're thinking. I'll never tell you Johnson isn't talented -- I'm a proud University of Miami alum and have supported Johnson since before you knew who he was. But I'm not sure we can count on him for a full season and I don't love choosing receivers I can't count on for a full slate. Johnson's never had more than nine touchdowns in a single season (eight scores three times) and has topped 1,300 yards twice, plus the Texans have morphed into a balanced offense that will lean on the ground game a little more than most evolving squads. I am absolutely for taking Johnson in Round 3 and can't help but think he'll have a good season in helping Houston make a playoff run. I just wouldn't take him over younger, healthier receivers in Round 1 or 2.
My projection: 1,132 receiving yards, eight TDs
Mid-August ADP: 24th overall
I'd take him: 36th overall

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Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders: I didn't like Moore before he got hurt but his injuries only underline my concerns. When I see Denarius Moore, I see DeSean Jackson lite. A small, speedy receiver who will either win you or cost you a Fantasy matchup from week to week. That much was seen in his rookie year: He had 100 yards or a touchdown in 6 of 13 games and converted a first down or a touchdown on 26 of 33 receptions. But he caught less than 50 percent of his targets and totaled a combined 111 yards in the seven games he didn't have 100 yards or a score. He's gotten off to a rough start in camp this summer with hamstring injuries dating back to minicamp keeping him off the field. Hamstring injuries can linger and for a receiver who relies on his speed and isn't consistent to begin with, that's not a good look for Fantasy. I would much rather take Darrius Heyward-Bey considering how he finished last season.
My projection: 58 rush yards, rushing TD, 641 receiving yards, five receiving TDs
Mid-August ADP: 112th overall
I'd take him: 130th overall

Fred Davis, TE, Redskins: It goes without saying that Davis is a talented tight end who broke out last year to the tune of nearly 800 yards and three touchdowns, but putting him in the same category as Vernon Davis or Jermichael Finley is a little ridiculous. The addition of Robert Griffin III doesn't necessarily mean more passing in Washington -- they've done plenty of that since Shanahan has come to the Capitol. But what it does mean is a change in philosophy as the Redskins offense reverts to a plan that better suits Griffin. That means more downfield passing to the sidelines, not to the middle of the field, which the Skins addressed in free agency. RG3 leaned on his wideouts at Baylor, as tight ends totaled 53 receptions for 612 yards and eight touchdowns in his last two seasons. That happens to be less than 10 percent of his completions and not quite 14 percent of his passing touchdown total. Tack on some blocking duties that might be necessary for Davis given the state of the Redskins offensive line (Shanahan has to protect the quarterback investment after all) and Davis' ceiling doesn't seem to be very high. He might end up with 800 yards and a handful of touchdowns again -- but in 16 games instead of 12 he played last year.
My projection: 742 receiving yards, five receiving TDs
Mid-August ADP: 89th overall
I'd take him: 129th overall

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Player News
49ers DE Justin Smith misses practice with back injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:44 pm ET) 49ers defensive end Justin Smith did not practice Tuesday due to a back injury, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio told reporters he'd be surprised if Smith missed Thursday's game against the Seahawks. Smith has 33 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles this season.

49ers RT Anthony Davis still out with concussion
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:39 pm ET) 49ers starting right tackle Anthony Davis, who sat out Week 12 with a concussion, was unable to practice Tuesday ahead of Thursday's game against the Seahawks.

C Max Unger's injury posing problems for Seahawks
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:32 pm ET) Seahawks starting center Max Unger, who suffered a high ankle sprain Week 11, was unable to practice Tuesday as the team prepared for Thursday's game at the 49ers. Unger's absence was a big factor in Seattle allowing seven sacks Week 12 against Arizona.

Coach Pete Carroll told reporters he didn't know if Patrick Lewis would get another start at center, or if the team would go with recently-signed Lemuel Jeanpierre.


Coach: Cards got RB Michael Bush to 'close out games'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:23 pm ET) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the team signed running back Michael Bush because "we need a guy who's going to pound it in there and close out games for us." Bush, 30, scored 25 touchdowns over the past four seasons before getting released by the Bears.

Cardinals starter Andre Ellington has averaged under 3.0 yards per carry in three straight games and has rushed for three touchdowns this season.


Broncos TE Julius Thomas has 'a chance' to play Week 13
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:39 pm ET) Broncos tight end Julius Thomas sat out Week 12 due to his "severely sprained left ankle," but "there's a chance" he'll return for Sunday night's game at Kansas City, reports the Denver Post. More will be known Wednesday when Denver returns to practice.

"I have had better days, and I have had worse days," Thomas told the paper on Monday. "You hope you just wake up one day and it feels good again, but that didn't happen last week. But it has improved."

Thomas still leads the NFL with 12 touchdown catches.


Rams settling into three-receiver rotation
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:25 pm ET) The Rams "seem to have settled into a three-man rotation at wide receiver," reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The paper noted Kenny Britt played 59 snaps at San Diego, followed by Tavon Austin (50) and Stedman Bailey (43).

Chris Givens played just 14 snaps and was not targeted.

St. Louis hosts the Raiders on Sunday.


Bengals TE Tyler Eifert might not return until playoffs
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:53 pm ET) The Bengals' official website suspects tight end Tyler Eifert won't be back for the stretch run, but will return for the playoffs. Eifert has been sidelined since suffering an elbow injury in the season opener.

New injury for Lions RB Reggie Bush
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:42 pm ET) Lions running back Reggie Bush has missed four of the past six games due to an ankle injury. Now Bush is dealing with a back injury too, per the team's website. Bush was limited in Tuesday's practice with the two injuries, though he has said he plans to play Thursday against the Bears.

Bush has scored one touchdown in seven games this season.


Tony Romo benefiting from better supporting cast
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:36 pm ET) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is playing some of the best football of his career. He's thrown 22 touchdowns against three interceptions since the first half of the season opener against San Francisco.

Coach Jason Garrett said a number of factors are at play. "I think a lot of it has to do with the supporting cast," Garrett told the Dallas Morning News. "I think we're protecting better. We're running the ball better. He's got a lot of different weapons at his disposal. He's just doing a good job seeing the defense and throwing it to the right guy."

Romo plays the Eagles on Thanksgiving.


Brandon Marshall limited with ankle injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:11 pm ET) Bears wideout Brandon Marshall (ankle) was limited in Tuesday's practice ahead of Thursday's game at Detroit. Marshall was held to three catches and 32 yards Week 12 after back-to-back dominant performances.

 
 
 
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