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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
Ready to trust in Rueben Randle?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:28 am ET) Coming off what was far and away his best game of the season, Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle may seem like a sneaky play Week 5 against Atlanta. The Falcons are terrible on defense, having just allowed 558 yards to the Vikings, of all teams, and rank 30th against the pass, allowing 276.3 yards per game.

But the matchup might almost be too good for a player in Randle's situation. He's not the Giants' top weapon -- not even close. I'd bet on running back Rashad Jennings, wide receiver Victor Cruz and tight end Larry Donnell having big games before I bet on Randle. And after the way rookie running back Andre Williams performed in relief of Jennings last week, the Giants might involve him more, too.

Favorable matchup or not, not all of those players can have big games, and because the Falcons aren't strong enough anywhere on defense to neutralize one of those threats, Randle may take a back seat.

I'm not saying he can't have a big game. I'm just saying I'd have to be convinced he has a better spot in the pecking order to put any money on it. I probably wouldn't resort to him except in leagues that require the use of three wide receivers.


Panthers hope RB Jonathan Stewart gets green light Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:22 am ET) The loss of DeAngelo Williams for at least Week 5 to injury has Ron Rivera hoping that fellow running back Jonathan Stewart will return from a knee injury to play Sunday against visiting Chicago.

Stewart sat out Week 4. If he returns against the Bears, he will do so with just 88 yards on 28 carries for the season.


Patriots' offensive line in flux
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:09 am ET) The Patriots started two rookies on the offensive line Monday for the first time since 2005. Cameron Fleming started at right guard and Bryan Stork started at center; both were fourth-round picks.

Dan Connolly started the first three games at center before starting at left guard against the Chiefs. The shuffling continued throughout the blowout loss as New England sought to find a combination that could protect Tom Brady. Left tackle Nate Solder was beaten badly on Tamba Hali's strip-sack in the third quarter, then got benched for Marcus Cannon.


Demetrius McCray poised to get second start
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:54 am ET) Jaguars cornerback Demetrius McCray will start against the Steelers if starter Dwayne Gratz sits as expected, reports the Florida Times-Union. Gratz suffered a concussion in the Week 4 loss to the Chargers.

A seventh-round pick in 2013, McCray started one game last season. He has played in every game since entering the league, recording 17 tackles and two passes defended.


DeAngelo Williams wearing hard cast on his ankle
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:37 am ET) Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams is wearing a hard cast on his ankle, reports the Charlotte Observer. Williams said he suffered a high ankle sprain in the Week 4 loss to the Ravens. He's expected to miss a few weeks.

Texans cut Ronnie Brown, sign Jumal Rolle
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:30 am ET) The Texans released running back Ronnie Brown and signed cornerback Jumal Rolle off the Packers' practice squad, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Eagles add Jake Knott to practice squad
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:28 am ET) The Eagles signed linebacker Jake Knott to their practice squad. He played in 12 games for the team last season, then was suspended for the first four games this year for violating the league's PED policy.

No surgery planned for Josh McCown
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:10 am ET) As of now, Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown is not planning to have surgery on his injured thumb, reports the Tampa Bay Times. McCown's thumb is improving but he's not expected to play this week, the report said.

Tampa Bay likely will go with Mike Glennon against the Saints.


Bears waive Terrell Manning
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:02 am ET) The Bears waived linebacker Terrell Manning, who played in two games on special teams.

Larry Donnell on pace to shatter Giants' records
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:44 am ET) Giants tight end Larry Donnell is on pace to finish with 100 catches for 944 yards and 16 touchdowns. Even if he tails off considerably, he still has a chance to break several team records.

The Giants' record for catches by a tight end is 74, set by Jeremy Shockey in his 2002 rookie season. Donnell has 25 through four games.

The franchise record for touchdown receptions by a tight end is nine, shared by Joe Walton (1962) and Aaron Thomas (1967). Donnell has four.

Mark Bavaro owns the receiving yards record by a tight end with 1,001 in 1986. Donnell has 236.

Donnell caught three scoring passes in last week's win at Washington, becoming the fourth player in team history to score three touchdowns in a game after entering with no more than one career score.

 
 
 
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