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2014 Draft Prep: Busts, 2.0

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-week long $100,000 Fantasy Football contest for just Week 1. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1 p.m. ET. Enter now

Breakouts, 2.0 | Sleepers, 2.0 | Draft Averages | Rankings | Draft Index

This is our second go-round with busts after our first list was criticized for being too lame.

So, naturally, we found some names of more prominent players to give you a heads up on while keeping a little more than half of the previous list. It's a step in the right direction, even if there are Raiders on here. And Shonn Greene.

Hey look, if you don't like it this time around, then pretend that the first five players who go down with a season-ending surgery in 2014 were written about.

Who's no longer here? Russell Wilson, who has shown a complete command of the Seahawks offense and is seemingly playing with even more confidence than last year. Fred Jackson has won us over, as has Reggie Wayne. We're getting a weird feeling about Knowshon Moreno, especially at an ADP of 105th overall, and Martellus Bennett ... well, he was one of the lame ones from the previous list that we tried to upgrade on.

Here are a dozen players we're definitely trying to avoid drafting in 2014 ...

Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins

Grown men shouldn't admit when they're scared, but dang it, I'm scared. Not only am I afraid of RG3 taking on another body-rockin' hit that sidelines him, but I'm also afraid that he doesn't know what the heck he's doing out there. The worst part? Jay Gruden's offense shouldn't be any more complicated than Mike Shanahan's. Both are rooted in the West Coast scheme and might even share a little terminology. But Griffin doesn't seem smooth this preseason and there's some fear he won't adjust quickly enough to what Gruden asks him to do. Worse yet, who knows how often he'll actually run -- it might be a lot less than what we've seen the past two years. Going with a different quarterback is a lay-up this season considering how deep the position is.
I'd rather draft: Nick Foles, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers

The only positive we can take away from Newton this preseason is that Kelvin Benjamin looks like the real deal. When Newton made a 1,100-plus-yard receiver out of Steve Smith in 2011-12, he did it by targeting him over and over (129 times). Benjamin should be next in line ... but the rest of that receiving corps is junk. What's more, Newton is definitely tentative in the pocket and is not nearly as well protected as he's been in the past. We pointed this out in the first bust list go-round. With his ankle still not 100 percent and his rushing stats already trending in the wrong direction, Newton is going to let his Fantasy owners down.
I'd still rather draft: Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger

Shonn Greene, RB, Titans

You probably already know that Greene isn't an ideal Fantasy running back, but Ken Whisenhunt hasn't gotten the memo. Whiz is set to start Greene in Week 1 at Kansas City simply because he trusts him and isn't quite there yet with rookie Bishop Sankey. But make no mistake that Sankey is the future at the position in Tennessee even if his preseason was a struggle. Sankey averaged just 3.2 yards per carry against backup defenses and lost a fumble, though he also caught three passes for 38 yards with a touchdown. Greene, on the other hand, managed a 4.3 rushing average against starting caliber defenses with a touchdown along the way. But he also has battled a knee injury that required surgery and frankly has never been a backfield dynamo. Greene's more like a physical grinder. That's a bad label to have if you have a balky knee. The only people who should draft Greene are Fantasy owners who take Sankey with a fifth- or sixth-round pick and want to have a player who will at least begin the year as a 15-touch-per-week player. Everyone else could stake out Greene with a late pick, but don't jump on him just because he's atop the Titans depth chart.
I'd rather draft: Jeremy Hill, Darren Sproles, Christine Michael

Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons

Jackson is an obvious bust at this point. On our earlier list we ran down why he was ripe to get hurt, and then he got hurt! Jackson messed up his hamstring and cost himself pretty much all of training camp and the preseason. Some have even speculated that he won't make the Falcons' final roster. Meanwhile, rookie Devonta Freeman has looked good and the Falcons have gotten by with Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith splitting first-team reps for much of the preseason. Even if Jackson is fine for Week 1, how long can he last? Admittedly, his Draft Average of 98th overall gives him some value, but I'd rather aim for young players than have cheap faith in Jackson lasting even 12 games.
I'd rather draft: DeAngelo Williams, Carlos Hyde, Devonta Freeman

Trent Richardson, RB, Colts

Look, we've given him all offseason and the preseason to blow us away with some explosiveness where he hits the hole designed for him. We've gotten nothing consistent -- a few nice rumbles for five-plus yards but ultimately, he's averaged a familiar 2.6 yards per carry over 20 rushes. The Colts can't go with this for another season regardless of the investment they made in him last September. He's headed toward a part-time role. I can't take him even two rounds after his current ADP of 67th overall.
I'd rather draft: Pierre Thomas, Maurice Jones-Drew, Andre Williams

Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots

Given his relatively low salary, the Patriots would have to be completely sour on him to cut him. Seems unlikely. But even if he retains his role in the Pats offense, we all know he's a fumble away from being sent to the bench for a while. He's fumbled eight times and lost six over the last two seasons (468 carries, so about one per six). No one should want to deal with that headache. What's more, the Patriots have some nice depth at the position -- Shane Vereen is capable of taking handoffs and rookie James White could be in for some opportunities if Ridley struggles. Ridley's current draft average of 85th overall doesn't scream risk, but I might rather take a shot on some other backs on safer ground with their teams.
I'd rather draft: Bishop Sankey, Danny Woodhead, Darren Sproles

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills

Is Spiller a terrific athlete? No doubt. But there are major questions about his role in a suspect Bills offense, and it crushes his upside. Last year we saw Fred Jackson play in passing situations, the two-minute offense and the goal line when both were healthy. Already this preseason we've seen Jackson play in those same situations as well as in other spots when Spiller normally would. Maybe that's the Bills tinkering, but chances are Buffalo isn't tinkering with the appearance of their passing game. That's going to make teams bulk up against the run. Spiller might get off to a nice start at Chicago and perhaps at home versus Miami, but it'll take week after week of him maximizing what he does on what appears to be limited carries in order to meet his still high Fantasy expectations.
I'd rather draft: Joique Bell, Rashad Jennings, Ray Rice

Maurice Jones-Drew-Darren McFadden, RBs, Raiders

Maurice Jones-Drew deserves praise for looking fairly good this preseason, and it might even be enough to justify his ADP of 85th overall. That still seems too soon for a player who looked rough last season and somehow landed on a team worse than the squad he previously played for. For however long Darren McFadden is healthy, he'll cut into Jones-Drew's workload. And we haven't even talked about the Raiders O-line (it's not great), the Raiders schedule (it's not great) or the likelihood of playing from behind weekly (which takes touches away from MJD).
I'd rather draft: Frank Gore, Fred Jackson, Pierre Thomas

Eric Decker, WR, Jets

Decker's preseason has not been bad, and his draft average makes him a pretty good bargain at 98th overall. But he's still someone I wouldn't be excited about drafting unless his catches counted for at least a full point each in my league. Going from Peyton Manning and a pass heavy offense to Geno Smith and a run heavy offense will definitely result in lower stats. Defenses are sure to key in on Decker as the Jets' top receiving threat, whereas he did well in single coverage fairly often in Denver. And if he was inconsistent with the Broncos (six games with 10-plus Fantasy points last season) should we expect anything less with Gang Green? Decker is a guy you end up drafting because he falls to you around the 100th pick in the draft. He's not worth getting excited about.
I'd still rather draft: Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace, Terrance Williams

Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots

Edelman's value in Fantasy hinges on Rob Gronkowski. If Gronk plays, Edelman might only average about four grabs for 46 yards and a touchdown every third game, which was his average last season when he played with the big tight end. Without Gronkowski, Edelman had more of everything -- more targets and nearly twice as many catches and yards with touchdowns coming at a slightly faster clip. Certainly, Edelman has reached the penthouse in Tom Brady's condominium of trustworthiness. He won't be taken off the field much unless he gets hurt. But so long as Gronk is lurking -- along with Shane Vereen and anyone else who could take looks away -- Edelman's stats could slide to disappointing levels.
I'd rather draft: Torrey Smith, Marques Colston, Kelvin Benjamin

Wes Welker, WR, Broncos

When we first listed Welker on the bust list, the primary issue was that a hit to his helmet could force him off the field. Since then, Welker has taken on another concussion -- his third in 10 months -- and now there's concern about his well being and quality of life, much less his football career. The Broncos are optimistic -- they say Welker will be fine. But the fears remain the same: another concussion could be the end for one of Fantasy's most prolific and lovable Fantasy options. It also could spell the end of him being an every-down player for the Broncos, as they could end up using him in a part-time role to cut down on his exposure to injuries. Fantasy owners should have nothing but respect for Welker, but chancing him with a pick before Round 8 is risky.
I'd rather draft: Rueben Randle, Mike Wallace, Brandin Cooks

Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins

If we're going to get the heebie-jeebies over Welker's concussion issues, then we should feel the same way about Reed. Like Welker, he suffered multiple concussions last season, which cost him the last six games of 2013. If he takes another hit, will he miss more time? And even if he doesn't, the potential-laden Reed averaged 7.2 Fantasy points per game (standard scoring) and had three games out of effectively nine with eight-plus points. How will he improve on that if he's sharing the field with Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson? There's potential but there's also too much risk.
I'd still rather draft: Jason Witten, Greg Olsen, Dennis Pitta

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Player News
Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall not sure if he'll be ready for camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:47 pm ET) Redskins veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall hopes he has recovered enough from a torn Achilles tendon to be 100 percent for the starting of training camp. But he's making no guarantees.

"I know they're going to monitor me," he told 106.7 The Fan. "I know they are not going to just throw me out there and [have me] take all the reps with the [first team].

"I'm just going to get out there and see how the body feels ... I'm at the mercy of the trainers and coaching staff. They're going to kind of wean me back in slowly."

Hall, who lost all but three games last season to the injury, also missed OTAs and minicamp, but has recently begun ramping up his workouts.


Saints WR Nick Toon seeks to seize best opportunity of career
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:32 pm ET) The path is clear for Saints wide receiver Nick Toon to earn more playing time than ever. But he realizes that he must get on that path and stay on it through superior performance.

The offseason losses of Kenny Stills, Jimmy Graham and Robert Meacham should result in more reps for Toon, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He has been buried on the depth chart, though he did catch a career-high 17 passes last year.

He believes that now is the time for him to step up and break out.

"Pressure is not something that I've every worried about or thought about," he told the New Orleans Advocate. "I just try to be consistent. Anything outside of that is out of my control, so do what you've got to do to put yourself in the best position for things to work out."

Toon has a shot at the third receiver role behind Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston.


Giants WR Victor Cruz believes he'll be back in action for camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:22 pm ET) Giants standout receiver Victor Cruz believes he can avoid starting the season on the PUP list despite continuing to deal with his recovery from a patellar tendon tear.

"The plan is to be ready for training camp and I feel good," he told SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Placing Cruz on the PUP list would give the Giants roster flexibility if he is not ready by training camp. If he lands on the regular-season PUP list, he would be forced to miss the first six games.

Cruz has experienced weakened production every year since his breakout season of 2011. But he was limited to just six games in 2014.


Report: Packers have no plan to release TE Andrew Quarless
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:28 am ET) The Packers have no intention of releasing tight end Andrew Quarless despite his arrest on July 4 for allegedly shooting off his gun in public, sources have told ESPN.

Quarless was charged with a misdemeanor after firing two shots into the air outside a parking garage in Miami Beach, per police reports. He was seen arguing with two women before the incident.


Report: Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul can forget long-term deal
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:25 am ET) The Giants will not take back their one-year franchise tag offer of $14.813 million to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in the wake of a fireworks accident that resulted in a hand injury and hospitalization, a source has told the New York Daily News.

But the source added that there is "no chance" the Giants will now work on a long-term contract for Pierre-Paul. 

Giants officials made the trek to South Florida on Tuesday to see how he is recovering, sources have told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Pierre-Paul is coming off his best season since 2011. He contributed to 77 tackles and racked up 12 1/2 sacks.


Eagles LB Brandon Graham could be on verge of breakout year
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:29 am ET) Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham feels the optimism of a guy coming off his best season.

"I'm feeling the best I've ever felt," he told the team website.

It's no wonder. He recorded career-highs in tackles (36), tackles for losses (13 1/2), assists (11) and sacks (5.5) in 2014. He earned significant playing time in a rotation at that position. And with Trent Cole off to Indianapolis, those reps could increase this year.

Graham has toiled feverishly to improve his game and adapt to a new defensive system. The result was a new four-year contract with the team.

"I understand the game and the league and what it takes to get it done here," he said. "I think I've grown up. I'm serious about being a great player. I want to be the best."


Giants pulling long-term contract offer to Jason Pierre-Paul
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) In the wake of a Fourth of July fireworks mishap, the Giants on Monday pulled their long-term contract offer to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who remains hospitalized in Miami, per NFL.com insider Ian Rapaport. 

The Giants had applied the franchise tag to Pierre-Paul this offseason, but the player has not yet signed it, technically leaving him not under contract with the team. The Giants move to yank the longer deal is a bit of gamesmanship, since according to Rapoport, Pierre-Paul was not going to sign the $60 million deal anyway. 


Bills sign veteran tackle Wayne Hunter
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) The Bills took another step to shore up their offensive line, signing veteran tackle Wayne Hunter to a one-year deal Monday, per the National Football Post. 

Hunter, who has not played in the NFL since 2012, did spend three years with the Jets under new Bills coach Rex Ryan from 2009-2011. 

Hunter's deal is reportedly worth $870,000.


RB Khiry Robinson could be odd man out in Saints backfield
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) Running back Khiry Robinson is a fan favorite with the Saints, but the third-year pro, who once was viewed as a breakout candidate for the team, may find his role squeezed by the presence of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, per ESPN.com. 

Robinson dealt with a broken arm last season, which limited him to 12 carries and 32 yards over the final 10 weeks of the year. The Saints then re-upped with Ingram and brought in Spiller to replace Pierre Thomas, meaning Robinson will have to fight hard in training camp to establish a role. 

"I just gotta keep working," Robinson said. "It's all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it's a good thing we've got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we've got another player right up there to do the same thing."


Report: Giants Jason Pierre-Paul hurt in fireworks accident
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/5/2015) Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul reportedly hurt his hand in a Fourth of July fireworks accident in Miami, according to the Daily News

The paper reports that the injury is not considered career-threatening, but that varying accounts of what happened have been reported. The Giants have not confirmed nor denied the incident. 

The Giants applied the franchise tag to Pierre-Paul this offseason, but the 26-year-old has not yet signed it as he seeks a long-term deal, meaning that he technically is not under contract. 

Pierre-Paul had 53 tackles and 12 1/2 sacks last year for New York. 


 
 
 
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