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2013 Draft Prep: Busts for Draft Day

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The term 'bust' is relative. Rare is the player I refuse to draft regardless of round. When I think of a bust, I think of a guy I wouldn't draft at his average draft position. If I can get him after that point, that's different. I'd take my enemy's cat in Round 17 if I thought it would help my Fantasy team win.

Last year's busts were either laughable or stunningly on point.

I cringe seeing C.J. Spiller, Robert Griffin, Andre Johnson and Reggie Bush written about as busts last year. For whatever it's worth I did say Spiller would be a "dynamo" if Fred Jackson got hurt, that RG3 would have weeks where he'd put up "solid numbers" but that his "sleek frame" was part of his downfall, and that I "can't help but think (Johnson will) have a good season in helping Houston make a playoff run" but not be worth the Round 2 price tag. Bush I flat out whiffed on.

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The other seven guys -- especially Miles Austin and Kenny Britt, right down to their projections -- were good calls. I'm learning from last year and coming out swinging this year with another 10 names who are good but not good enough to draft on par with their averages.

Note: I had Tom Brady and Russell Wilson originally as busts based on ADP, but not anymore. Some might say I'm chickening out. To them I say "Bawk-bawk." The Patriots have reloaded to the point where Brady has a realistic chance of maintaining his three-year statistical average of 4,654 yards and 36.3 touchdowns. Wilson also has the look of a quarterback who can get by with his current receiving corps and still be productive. I am fine calling Brady a Top 5 quarterback who might actually get drafted as a relative bargain. While I wouldn't reach for Wilson, I wouldn't call him a bust based on his 73.36 draft average.

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: Some people rank Cutler among the top sleepers in Fantasy because of new coach Marc Trestman bringing his version of the West Coast offense to Chicago. In time, Trestman's playbook could make a 4,000-yard passer out of Cutler, but it seems unlikely this year. He didn't have a good training camp and his preseason began inauspiciously with two interceptions, a fumble that a teammate recovered and three sacks taken. There seems to be a disconnect of sorts between Cutler and Trestman and until it's solved, he's not going to be a great Fantasy weapon. He's also due to start the season against three tough pass rushes: Cincinnati, Minnesota and Pittsburgh. You can do better with a late-round quarterback pickup.
I'd rather draft: Sam Bradford, Matt Schaub, Josh Freeman

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: You know the name and expect big games, but he's got a chance to come up lame. A changed receiving corps combined with a refreshed philosophy on the run game might hurt his production, from pass attempts to completion percentage. Mike Wallace cashed a big check in Miami, eliminating the big deep threat the Steelers need for Big Ben to be great. Heath Miller was Roethlisberger's security blanket last year but isn't likely to be as explosive coming off of a torn ACL. It leaves Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders as Roethlisberger's best receiving threats -- neither one has proven to be a legitimate weapon for defenses to get scared of. Moreover, the Steelers are going to demand more of their run game, which means more handoffs for Roethlisberger. Like Cutler, Big Ben is just not expected to be good enough to draft over some other passers you'll look at in the late rounds. I haven't drafted Roethlisberger to any of my Fantasy teams this summer.
I'd rather draft: Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer

Andre Brown, RB, Giants: Count me in the David Wilson camp for the Giants' running back workload race. Brown looks like the better bargain on Draft Day but questions about his durability have followed him since college. Brown hurt his left foot in 2007 and again in the spring of 2008 (but didn't miss any college games). He ruptured his Achilles in 2009, had a minor toe injury in 2010, was out of the league in 2011 and had a concussion, minor shoulder ailment and a broken fibula in 2012. It's too bad because Brown is a pretty good talent with the size to be an effective goal-line rusher, but he'd need a serious Wilson injury and his own body to stay strong to ever get a chance at being the primary running back for the Giants. Don't overdraft him.
I'd rather draft: Mark Ingram, Ronnie Hillman, DeAngelo Williams

Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: I think it's gutsy to take Gore with a third-round pick, which is what his draft average is as of now. Most people gravitate toward Gore because of his familiar name and steady production (at least 1,200 total yards each of the last seven seasons) but we've seen his reps dwindle under coach Jim Harbaugh at about a carry on average per year. We've also seen him become less of a weapon as a receiver -- he had 46 catches in 2010 (pre-Harbaugh) and 45 catches combined under Harbaugh in 2011 and 2012. There's going to be a conscious effort to keep Gore fresh as he not only turned 30 in May but went over 2,000 carries during the Super Bowl last year. Besides, the year after a Super Bowl run isn't so good for running backs in the first place. I'm fine with taking Gore as my Flex in Round 4 or beyond, so long as I find Kendall Hunter with one of my last picks. But, I'm settling for Gore, not trying hard to land him.
I'd rather draft: Lamar Miller, David Wilson, Roddy White

Chris Ivory, RB, Jets: If you're into running backs who play a few weeks, then get hurt, then come back and play, then get hurt again, Ivory's your man. Only once in his last seven years of playing football has Ivory managed to string together more than five consecutive games of action. As a pro he's totaled 15 or more carries seven times, doing it in consecutive games just one time over three years. The laundry list of injuries Ivory has dealt with include a season-ending knee injury in 2009, another knee injury, a concussion and a Lisfranc in 2010, a sports hernia and a hamstring in 2011 and a hamstring again in 2012. Oh, and he missed 17 days of Jets training camp with a hamstring this summer. And, by the way, the Jets' offense is a mess. He's going to be a headache to own this season. Bilal Powell is the Jets running back you want.
I'd rather draft: DeAngelo Williams, Mark Ingram, Bilal Powell

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Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: Anyone who suggests McFadden as a nice No. 2 running back is blind. Not only is he a walking injury risk but he happens to be the only decent offensive weapon on a team loaded with weaknesses. That puts the target squarely on him and I'm not sure he's good enough to consistently beat eight in the box Adrian Peterson-style. Moreover, everything else about Oakland is brutal. The offensive line is beat up already, sporting two has-beens at the tackle spots. The receiving corps has potential but with Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson making up the quarterback group, the passing game doesn't look good. The defense has a lot of holes and could mean a lot of playing from behind. Nothing makes McFadden appealing other than his contract-year status, but that's meaningless if he can't play 16 games.
I'd rather draft: David Wilson, Darren Sproles, Le'Veon Bell

Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots: Call me a nerd or a worrywart or whatever, but there's nothing the Patriots can say or do to change the fact that Amendola is an injury risk. Last year alone he had an ankle injury, a dislocated clavicle and an heel injury that needed a walking boot. The year before he dislocated his elbow and tore his triceps. Amendola has proved this preseason that he's a dynamic version of Wes Welker -- able to run incredible routes both in the short area and deeper down the field. Tom Brady will go to him often, particularly when an opponent is ignorant enough to cover him with a linebacker or inadequate cornerback. So long as he's on the field he's going to be a stat machine. But it feels like he's tough to count on for more than a dozen games. That makes him too risky, even for me, with a pick at 54th overall or higher.
I'd rather draft: Pierre Garcon, Eric Decker, James Jones

Greg Jennings, WR, Vikings: Rich, old and slow is the way to go through life if you're retired or the man behind pogs, but it's not good if you're a football player. Jennings has missed part of the last two seasons with injuries and jumps from the Packers and Aaron Rodgers to the Vikings and Christian Ponder. That's like leaving a free meal at Quality Meats for the White Castle drive-thru. And while I love a good slider (double with cheese of course), I'd rather have the bone-in ribeye. Rodgers is the ribeye, Ponder is the slider and Jennings has enough dough from the Vikings to feed himself as much of whatever he wants without caring about hoisting a championship. Don't be surprised if teams start to worry more about rookie Cordarrelle Patterson than Greg Jennings by the time the season finishes up.
I'd rather draft: Michael Floyd, Chris Givens, Justin Blackmon

Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants: Nicks has quite a medical record and has had trouble staying healthy over the last calendar year. He missed time already in training camp with a groin pull and seemingly dragged his feet to get back on the field, raising the ire of coach Tom Coughlin. That leads me to believe that Nicks is worried about getting hurt in his contract year, kind of like DeSean Jackson did in Philadelphia a couple of years back. Nicks might realize that if he gets hurt again he'll jeopardize his chances of getting paid a lot of money. He'd be right -- no team will roll out the Benjamins for a player who breaks his foot in an offseason practice or comes up lame in a training camp drill. That's Nicks, and after playing last season at less than 100 percent we saw a player who was masterful in one game and mostly a disappointment in the rest. Someone else can draft Nicks in my Fantasy leagues.
I'd rather draft: DeSean Jackson, Antonio Brown, Cecil Shorts

Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins: When camp started there appeared to be more mojo in the Dolphins' new logo than there was between Wallace and Ryan Tannehill. Their timing was off and questions arose over just how effective Wallace would be. In recent preseason play the two have started to hook up more, and that's all well and good, but I'm not buying. Wallace figures to be next in a long line of receivers who underwhelm after landing a lot of guaranteed money with a new team. Tannehill isn't as good as you might think, his pass protection is iffy and even though the Dolphins will be in a lot of games where they'll need to pass, you can bet your stone crab claws that defenses will try to eliminate Wallace first. That's a lot easier to do in Miami than it was in Pittsburgh. I'd be stunned if Wallace wound up with over 1,000 yards.
I'd rather draft: Cecil Shorts, T.Y. Hilton, Tavon Austin

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 .

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Player News
Sam Bradford 'full-go' for start of training camp
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:33 am ET) Rams coach Jeff Fisher said quarterback Sam Bradford (knee) will be "full-go" for the start of training camp, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"Sam is in great shape," Fisher said. "He's ready to go. We don't have (reservations) — right now as we speak, as camp starts — he's full-go. If we need to back him down here and there, we'll back him down."

Fisher indicated Bradford may not play in the preseason opener against New Orleans. But if Bradford doesn't play vs. the Saints, Fisher said it won't be injury-related.


Patriots already liking rookie James White
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:31 am ET) Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears didn't hold back on talking about their rookie rusher James White

"I like his running style," Fears said per the Boston Herald. "He runs like a big guy for a little guy. He plays big. He's a great person. He works hard. He works hard off the field, to study, to learn, to do the things we need him to do. We'll see what he's like when the pads come on. Right now, he's doing everything right. It's hard not to be in love with him."

Originally assumed to be the backup for Shane Vereen, White could also handle backup duty behind Stevan Ridley if needed. White had 1,444 yards on 221 carries with 13 touchdowns at Wisconsin last season. 


Leon Hall back at practice
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:22 am ET) Bengals cornerback Leon Hall was back at practice on Thursday, ESPN reported. Hall tore his Achilles last season. 

"Mentally, it's easier the second time," Hall said about coming back from an injury again. "Not even close. I mean, the first time going into my goal was to come back for training camp, and I felt I could achieve that goal, but obviously I was going into it blind. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what to do as opposed to this second time."


Andy Dalton looks improved on Day 1
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:16 am ET) As Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson cautioned, it's only Day 1, but Andy Dalton looks much improved following an offseason of tweaking his mechanics with quarterback guru Tom House. ESPN reports Dalton was on the money not just on small and mid-range throws but he also hit the deep ball perfectly a couple of times to none other than A.J. Green. 

Tyler Eifert off to a good start
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:11 am ET) With Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham sidelined with a back injury, second-year player Tyler Eifert had a few "attention-grabbing receptions" during practice on Thursday, ESPN reported. Eifert said his spring shoulder injury is fully healed

Kroy Biermann's snaps will be limited
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:06 am ET) Falcons coach Mike Smith told 92.9 The Game in Atlanta that pass rusher Kroy Biermann will practice but have limited snaps. He'll also take a day off of practice every two days. Biermann is coming off of an Achilles injury. 

Marshawn Lynch is holding out. Now what?!
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:52 am ET) Fantasy owners should be nervous about drafting Marshawn Lynch -- and that's even if he weren't holding out! Now that Lynch has reportedly decided to stay away from Seahawks camp until he gets an improved contract, Fantasy owners have to weigh the risk involved with a back with many red flags like Lynch. 

I'll still draft Lynch as a borderline No. 1/No. 2 Fantasy running back until Aug. 16. If he's not back in camp by then, I'm not touching him. But either way, I'm aiming for Christine Michael, his backup, to be on my roster with a pick beginning in Round 8. Here's more on what to do with Lynch in Fantasy this summer. 


Andre Johnson does not hold out from Texans camp
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:08 am ET) Wide receiver Andre Johnson has reported to Texans camp on-time according to the Houston Chronicle and appears willing to be part of the team this season. Johnson missed the entire offseason program in protest over being a part of a rebuilding Texans roster, threatened to hold out and even had teams inquire about his availability via trade. But it looks like he'll continue his career with the Texans. 

Ex-teammate: Marshawn Lynch to hold out of training camp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who's reportedly unhappy with his contract, is expected to hold out of training camp, former teammate Michael Robinson told NFL Network Total Access on Thursday.

"Marshawn Lynch just called me, we just talked. He said he will be holding out from training camp," Robinson said on the show.

Lynch attended the team's mandatory minicamp and is subject to fines if he holds out of training camp. He totaled over 1,500 yards of offense with 14 total touchdowns last year but had over 400 total touches between the regular season and postseason.


Chris Johnson looks 'light on his feet, and fast'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) Jets running back Chris Johnson, who had offseason knee surgery, "looked light on his feet, and fast" at practice Thursday, reports ESPN.com. "I haven't really [gone] 100 percent with the team since I have been here so being able to go out there and run and do all the team periods felt good," Johnson said.

The Jets used him on rushing plays and also lined him up wide as a receiver. Johnson fumbled on a running play but overall "seemed right at home," the website said. "I felt good," Johnson said. "I felt no pain or anything like that."

His main competition for carries, Chris Ivory, sat out with a hamstring problem.


 
 
 
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