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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
Report: Buccaneers bringing in Dan Connolly for a visit
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Former Patriots offensive guard Dan Connolly will visit the Buccaneers on Tuesday, per a report by Fox's Ross Jones, citing a source. 

Connolly has played in 87 games for the Patriots in the last seven years and hasn't played in fewer than 13 games in a season since 2008. 


Steelers RB DeAngelo WIlliams says signing was easy decision
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) After playing his first nine seasons with the Panthers, running back DeAngelo Williams signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Steelers this offseason. Among his many thoughts on the signing, he called it an easy decision, according to the Sporting News.

“I didn’t know they wanted me. I had never been on a visit before,” Williams said. “I was with the same organization for nine years. When I got the call and they said, 'hey we want to bring you in for a visit' I took it as that. Had they said we wanted to bring you in for a signing I would have had a different mindset. I had no idea what was going to transpire when I got here.”

Williams added that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get the team to the next level.

“It’s the opportunity to take maybe one or two reps or whatever it takes to make this team better,” Williams said. “That is what I will do. I want to make it to a Super Bowl and win it. I know this team has that potential and they can do it.

“Coming here was an easy decision. This is a Super Bowl contending team. Every veteran out there, veteran or rookie, they want to go to the Super Bowl and win it and get the best opportunity. I think the best opportunity is here in Pittsburgh.”

Williams has rushed for 6,846 yards on 1,432 carries with 46 rushing touchdowns in his career.


Lions WR Golden Tate doesn't feel pressure due to loss of Suh
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Although Lions wide receiver Golden Tate feels the loss of Ndamukong Suh is a blow to the team, he doesn't believe it puts more pressure on the offense, reports ESPN. 

When asked specifically about the subject, Tate was clear about his thoughts.

"No, I don't think it adds any pressure," Tate said by phone Monday. "We just need to be who we are. We know that we have a lot of weapons all over the field. We just need to reach our potential each and every week.

"We just need to go out there and play fundamentally sound football and I have no doubt our defense is going to be really good again this year and we just got to do our jobs. There's no pressure on anyone but to be ourselves and to play good football."

Additionally, Tate recognizes that Suh was a game-changing player for the Lions, but he likes the addition of Haloti Ngata.

"Obviously, losing Suh is a big hit," Tate said. "I don't care what team you are, he's the guy that can change the game. Change an opposing offense's game plan. He affects the game so much. But with that being said, I'm thankful to have [had] the opportunity to play with him for a year and be a part of something special. But the show must go on.

"The guy we got, [Haloti] Ngata, is a heck of a player. I think it's a good pickup for us. I know he has a past with coach Caldwell so he knows the ins and outs of the system, probably. But we're ready to move forward. We can't live in the past and football season must still go on. We're preparing to have a great year and build from last year."

The 26-year-old stated that he plans on focusing on the intricacies of the offensive playbook heading into this season.

"One thing I really want to focus on is learning the playbook a little bit better," Tate said. "I felt like I knew it for the most part, but details, running the plays exactly how Joe Lombardi draws them up, could help us win more games and create more opportunities for myself and our team."

Tate finished his first season with the Lions catching 99 passes for 1,331 yards and four touchdowns.


Report: LB Rolando McClain ends Patriots' visit without contract
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) After visiting the Patriots on Monday, linebacker Rolando McClain and the team did not agree to terms on a contract, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The same report states that the visit was a positive one.

McClain played in 13 games last season for the Cowboys, collecting 81 total tackles and one sack. Over his four-year career, the 25-year-old has accumulated 327 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, 23 passes defensed, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.


Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu looks forward to being healthy
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu believes that he is regaining his health and he's ready to make an impact this season, according to the team's website.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been healthy,” Mathieu said Monday. “Last year I felt like I took a back seat. I played well my rookie year and then last year it was kind of, eh, I was there but I wasn’t there. This (year) is more important for me because I really want to let everyone know I’m back and I can still make some plays.”

Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL toward the end of the 2013 season. He recently said that the comeback was "way harder than I thought."

Head coach Bruce Arians talked about how Mathieu was not himself last season.

“You saw him fight through it last year,” Arians said. “He was not the player he was used to (being) and it was very frustrating for him.”

Mathieu was aware of the chatter from the outside world and he is using that as motivation going forward.

“You hear people talk and I had time to listen to them talk, so it’s like … I hear it,” Mathieu said. “Like I said, I didn’t feel like I made enough plays last year to help our team. I am looking forward to this year because I know I can do it.”

The 22-year-old has registered 106 total tackles, one sack, three interceptions and one forced fumble in 26 games played during his two-year career.


Saints plan to rework Jahri Evans, Cameron Jordan contracts
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Saints coach Sean Payton said that the team has a plan in place to rework guard Jahri Evans' contract to help create salary cap space, per ESPN's Mike Triplett

Evans is scheduled to make $6.8 million salary in 2015 and cost $11 million against the cap. 

The team might also extend defensive end Cameron Jordan's contract. Jordan is entering the last year of his contract and is scheduled to make $6.969 million this year.


Rams have agreed to terms with OL Tim Barnes
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) The Rams have agreed to terms with offensive lineman Tim Barnes, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The one-year deal has a maximum value of $1 million. 

Barnes recently visited had a visit with the Chiefs before signing with the Rams. The 26-year-old spent all three of his previous seasons with the Rams, starting four of the 45 games he appeared in.


Report: Brandon Tate visits Chiefs
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Free agent wide receiver/kick returner Brandon Tate visited the Chiefs on Monday, according to a report from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, citing a source.

Tate had 17 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals last year. He also had a combined 571 yards in kick and punt returns. 


Lions' Riley Reiff open to playing right tackle
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Lions coach Jim Caldwell said that Riley Reiff might start at right tackle next season. 

Reiff has started 32 games at left tackle over the last two seasons. The Lions aren't sure that last year's right tackle LaAdrian Waddle will be fully recovered from knee surgery, and backup tackle Cornelius Lucas is better on the left side. 

Reiff told the Daily Republic he doesn't care where he plays. 

 "I like playing, and wherever they want to put me, that's fine. I'll play," he said.


Broncos OL Michael Schofield looking to compete for starting job
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Broncos offensive lineman Michael Schofield is ready to come in and compete for a starting job this season, reports the Denver Post.

After not dressing for a single game as a rookie, Schofield added weight and he looks forward to fighting for a starting job.

"I am going in there with that mentality. In the NFL everybody is competing," Schofield said during a road trip to see family in Illinois. "They are looking for someone to step up and take over. I want to make that jump."

The third-round draft pick of the Broncos in 2014 struggled with weight issues, but he is now up to 305 pounds. He also recognized that his pass protection needs improvement.

"Personally, I felt there were reasons I wasn't out there (for games). I wasn't consistent enough in pass pro (protection). And my weight was really fluctuating," Schofield said.

Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak believes that the team's zone-blocking scheme can help Schofield elevate his game, and Schofield agrees.

"We like the Schofield kid, so we'll see. We think he's got some flexibility (in where he can play)," Kubiak said. "It will be very competitive."

"I feel like I am better suited for this," Schofield said. "You have to be able to reach block, and I feel the steps required fit me better."


 
 
 
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