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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
Bills awarded waiver claim for QB Matt Simms
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) The quarterback situation in Buffalo has gotten a little more complicated on Friday. The Bills were awarded their waiver claim on QB Matt Simms, who was released by the Jets on Thursday, according to the team's official website. 

Simms has played just four games and has completed 19 of 39 passes for 195 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in his career.


Falcons waive LB Prince Shembo due to animal cruelty charges
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) The Falcons have decided to waive linebacker Prince Shembo on Friday after he was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per nfl.com.

"We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo," the team said in a statement. "We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo."

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Rams RB Trey Watts suspended four games
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Rams running back Trey Watts has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, according to profootballtalk.com.

Watts, who made the team in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, played in 14 games last season and rushed for 30 yards on seven carries.

Watts is eligible to return for Week 5 against the Packers.


Falcons LB Prince Shembo charged with cruelty to animals
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo is being accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's dog and has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Police said Denicia Williams, Shembo's ex-girlfriend, reported on April 19 that Shembo had killed her Yorkie.

Williams took the dog to Shembo's residence and left them unattended at some point. When she returned, the dog was unresponsive.

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Seahawks' Kam Chancellor: 'This is the strongest offseason I've had'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor feels good. He should, he's finally healthy.

Chancellor, who has become accustomed to rehabbing nagging injuries during the offseason, is practicing with the team during organized team activities for the first time in a while, per The News Tribune.

“I feel great. Back to football form. Feel fast. Feel strong. I just feel good out there," Chancellor said. "I think this is the strongest offseason I’ve had since I’ve been in the league. I’ve been actually able to train in the offseason instead of having surgeries.”

Chancellor recorded 78 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 14 games last season.


Cardinals RB coach: David Johnson 'reminds me a lot of Matt Forte'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Cardinals rookie runningback David Johnson received a huge compliment from his position coach, per nfl.com.

Running backs coach Stump Mitchell said the third-round pick reminds him of a Pro Bowl running back.

"He reminds me a lot of Matt Forte," Mitchell said. "You can put him outside and use him as a receiver and he's a good runner."

Mitchell sees the comparison between the two when it comes to Johnson's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, something Forte has excelled at throughout his career.

"He has excellent hands and he's a bigger target to throw the ball to," Mitchell said. "He's going to be a big piece of the puzzle before this season is said and done."

Johnson rushed for 1,553 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior at Northern Iowa last year.


Patriots Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler absent at OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Patriots cornerback and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler was noticeably absent from organized team activities on Friday, per nesn.com. It's unclear why Butler was not at practice.

Butler recorded 15 tackles in 11 games last season, but most noticeably came up with a game-clinching interception in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX.


Cowboys excited and cautious with return of LB Sean Lee
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee tore his ACL during organized team activities last year. This year, he has been limited to individual drills during non-padded parctices, per The Dallas Morning News.

Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus said the team is happy to have Lee back but that they will pace him along slowly.

"He's a ball of energy and excitement and that represents who we are," Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He's moving well. We're just being smart as we get him ready to go. But he's got a lot of good quality work in."


Chiefs' Jeremy Maclin getting work in as a punt returner
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was the Chiefs' prized free-agent pickup this offseason, which makes it that much more intriguing that he lined up to return punts during practice on Thursday, per ESPN.com.

Maclin, who signed a five-year, $55 million deal with the Chiefs, was a premier punt returner in college and played the role sparingly -- with little success -- with the Eagles.

Coach Andy Reid said the team is preparing Maclin just in case he's needed to return punts or kicks because of injuries.

We just want to make sure he is ready,’’ Reid said. “You have limited numbers that you can dress on game day, so you don’t know what rotation you are going to have there with the receivers and returners. So it gives you an opportunity to keep him fresh. We don’t work him every day like the other guys. It’s kind of an every other day deal, so just to make sure that he’s okay and can still do that, but he’s not going to be the primary guy doing it right now.”


Eagles CB Byron Maxwell guarantees trip to Super Bowl 50
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell knows what it takes to make a Super Bowl run, he's appeared in two straight as a key member of the vaunted Seahawks defense.

Now, Maxwell is confident the Eagles will make a run to the big game and he will make his third consecutive appearance, per NFL.com.

"Because I've been there before," Maxwell said. "Knowing what it's like if we go that far. Because we're gonna go that far this year, meaning the playoffs and the Super Bowl. We're gonna go that far. Hopefully that experience I already had, I can help them."

The Eagles haven't made a Super Bowl since their 24-21 loss to the Patriots in 2004, but Maxwell didn't backtrack with his comments.

"You can take that as a guarantee," he said. "That's just me believing in my team and the product we're going to put out there on the field. I really do believe that. I have no choice but to think that way."

Maxwell, who signed a six-year, $60 million deal with the Eagles this offseason, recorded 39 tackles and two interceptions in 13 games last season.


 
 
 
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