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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

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
49ers shopping LaMichael James
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:06 pm ET) The 49ers are looking to trade running back LaMichael James in advance of next month's NFL Draft, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Meanwhile, James is aware of the trade rumors, apparently for a while now, since he tweeted Wednesday "when old news becomes new news" following the report.

James, a second-round pick in 2012, finds himself behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on the depth chart at running back this season. James served as the team's primary returner last year, but he wants a bigger role since he carried the ball just 12 times in 2013.


Joe Reitz stays with the Colts
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:11 pm ET) Offensive lineman Joe Reitz signed his restricted free agent tender offer on Thursday, giving him another year with the Colts. He started three games last season. 

Chris Johnson says arthritis reports 'not accurate'
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:10 pm ET) On a conference call with New York media, new Jets running back Chris Johnson said the report that he had arthritis in his knee was "not accurate," adding that he was "pretty sure I wouldn't have passed the physical" if he did have it. 

Earlier Thursday ESPN reported the Jets had "some concerns" about his knee

Johnson is expected to serve as part of a one-two punch at running back with Chris Ivory for the Jets. 


Vikings sign Kurt Coleman
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:31 am ET) The Vikings signed safety Kurt Coleman on Thursday. He spent the past four seasons with the Eagles and has seven career interceptions.

Coleman will try to make the final roster in Minnesota as a reserve defensive back and play on special teams.


Dwayne Bowe pleads guilty to amended charges
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:54 am ET) Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty to amended charges relating to his Nov. 10 arrest for marijuana possession, the Kansas City Star reports. He paid $610 in fines and didn't get probation. It remains to be seen if he'll be subject to the NFL's substance abuse program. 

Report: Giants should consider dealing Ryan Nassib
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:43 am ET) Now that the Giants have signed Josh Freeman to a contract, does it mean that second-year quarterback Ryan Nassib will be off the roster soon? 

The Newark Star-Ledger believes the Giants should assess Nassib's value going into the draft considering the lack of great quarterback talent available. A team looking for a quarterback-of-the-future could make an offer. 

Nassib had 19 pass attempts during the preseason last August and wasn't active for a single regular-season game. 


Robert Griffin III looking like old self
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:43 am ET) A couple of members of the Redskins organization have started raving about how good quarterback Robert Griffin III looks this offseason, reports the Washington Post.

Receiver Santana Moss said via an ESPN podcast that Griffin "looks more comfortable because he don't have to worry about that brace. I think the brace was the big discomfort last year. You know, he’s a young guy with those fiery legs that want to do so much, and that brace probably gave him a little pinch in the behind because he couldn't do the things that he was normally accustomed to doing. You can already see, when we're out there in conditioning and stuff, he's running around, looking like the old Robert Griffin."

And former tight end Chris Cooley, currently one of the team's radio broadcasters, said "he's another person right now. I was like, 'you're running unbelievably well.' It was silly to watch. ... When you watch him run, you're like, 'You're a freak. You're seriously a freak.'"


Report: Jets have concerns over Chris Johnson's knees
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:33 am ET) Less than 24 hours after signing Chris Johnson to a two-year deal that might be worth as much as $9 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Jets have some concerns over the condition of his knee. Johnson apparently has some arthritis in it stemming from his torn meniscus in 2013 (which he played through). 

Johnson hasn't missed a game in five straight seasons. He's expected to form a one-two punch with Chris Ivory in the Jets' backfield this year. 


Brian Cushing says he's 100 percent
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:27 am ET) Posting a picture of himself with his son from a beach, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing said via Twitter that he's been cleared for football. Cushing missed the last nine games of last season with a knee injury. 

"Quick Trip to Pensacola with my lead blocker, better believe I'm 100% #beachday #cleared #fivesixback," he wrote. 


Could Peyton Manning throw less in 2014?
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:23 am ET) Peyton Manning might be asked to throw less so "the offense can be more," ESPN speculated on Thursday. Manning threw 659 passes last season, completing 450 of them (68.3 pct.) for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. The yardage and touchdowns are NFL records. 

The thought process behind Manning being asked to throw less is that it would accentuate the run game and give the offense (read: Manning) more of an opportunity to build confidence in the running backs, namely Montee Ball.

No one on the Broncos has come out and suggested Manning will throw less. He still passed 583 times in 2012, seventh-most that year. Expect Manning to still throw plenty in 2014.


 
 
 
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