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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
Chargers OLB Melvin Ingram sheds 20 pounds
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:50 am ET) Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram is sporting a different body these days.

During the offseason, Ingram changed his eating habits and dropped 20 pounds — going from 266 to 246. Ingram stopped eating beef and pork, electing to consume chicken, fish, vegetables, fruit and rice. He's no longer eating breads, pastas or potatoes either. 

"Being at 260 or 265, 266, wasn't working, really," Ingram told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I felt quick but I kept getting injured. You've got to nitpick at your own body, your own self, your own game. ... I felt like playing lighter would be a better thing for me. The lighter you are, the less stress it is on your body, the less stress it is on your knees, your hips, your joints or your ankles, your toes — everything."

Ingram now only has a body fat of eight percent and underwent a new training program while away in Miami. Now, Ingram said he feels ready to show what he can do on the football field this season. 

"I feel it's going to be a whole different explosion, a whole different Melvin," Ingram said. "I feel like that 260-Melvin is gone."


Report: Tom Brady appeal won't be heard by Wednesday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's appeal won't be heard by Wednesday, the Associated Press reported, citing sources. 

Brady is appealing his four-game suspension as a result of the investigation into deflated footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game. 

The NFL collective bargaining agreement requires appeals to be heard within 10 days, a window that expires on Wednesday. As of Monday, no hearing had been scheduled. 

Appeals can be heard after the 10-day window, if the league and players union agree to extend the deadline, which is likely to occur in the Brady case. 


Falcons could be without Beasley, Reed when OTAs start
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) The Falcons could be without two key components of their defense when OTAs start this week.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter, first-round pick Vic Beasley and free-agent signee Brooks Reed may not be present when voluntary practices kick off.

Beasley has yet to sign his rookie contract, which could keep him away from the team's facility. Reed is dealing with a groin injury that could keep off of the practice field.

Reed's absence is understandable due to to it being an injury. Beasley, however, is a different issue since there is little to negotiate due to the rookie wage scale. 

The remaining draft picks the Falcons selected have signed. 


Bears release troubled DT Ray McDonald after second arrest
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) The Bears have announced that they have released troubled defensive tackle Ray McDonald, the Chicago Tribune has reported.

McDonald was arrested in California for domestic violence and child endangerment. It marked his second arrest in six months. He received the same fate in December for sexual assault and domestic violence before signing with the Bears in the offseason.

The 30-year-old McDonald has been a full-time starter in the NFL since 2008. He was an All-Pro in 2011.


Chargers S Eric Weddle not expected to attend OTAs
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(5/25/2015) Chargers safety Eric Weddle is not expected to attend Tuesday's start of offseason training activities as he and the team remain far apart on talks for a contract extension, per NFL.com. 

Weddle is in the final season of his deal, but has been extremely vocal about his desire to have a new contract in place before taking part in team activities. Weddle contributed to 114 tackles last season and has averaged 103 over his last seven years.

While attendance is voluntary, Weddle's absence could mark the start of a long stalemate between the parties. 


Broncos' Tevrin Brandon hit by car, suffers minor injuries
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Broncos cornerback Tevrin Brandon was hospitalized on Sunday after getting hit by the car while crossing the street, the team confirmed to the Denver Post.

Police believe that Brandon was struck by a Ford F-150 pickup in Belmar, New Jersey. The driver then fled the scene. 

Brandon suffered minor injuries and was relesaed from the hospital after a brief stay. He's expected to participate in Broncos' OTAs, which start on Wednesday. 


Report: Bears DT Ray McDonald arrested for domestic violence
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(5/25/2015) According to NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo, Bears defensive tackle Ray McDonald has been arrested for domestic violence and possible child endangerment in California. No other information has been made available.

McDonald, who was released by the 49ers last December after being arrested in the second of separate sexual assualt and domestic violence cases, signed with the Bears in the offseason and said he was planning to sue the accuser in one of his sexual assault charges. 


Report: Vikings' Adrian Peterson won't attend OTAs on Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is reportedly set to skip organized team activities on Tuesday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Peterson is frustrated with management in Minnesota for not showing him support through his legal case for child abuse. Peterson has not participated in any offseason activities so far, but skipping Tuesday's workout will cost him $250,000 in bonuses if he does not attend 90 percent of OTAs and minicamps.

Peterson has three years, $44.25 million left on his contract with Minnesota.


Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu finally cast-free
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(5/24/2015) After a couple of injury-plagued seasons, Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu enters training camp almost completely healthy, without a brace on his knee or cast on his thumb, per NFL.com. 

The Cardinals will need a healthy Mathieu to offseason the loss of former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and cornerback Antonio Cromartie. In two seasons, Mathieu has 100 tackles and three interceptions but has been hampered by nagging injuries. 

"It just feels good to be free," he said. 


Giants' Bennett Jackson making transition to safety
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Giants second-year cornerback Bennett Jackson is spending the offseason transitioning to safety. 

"At the end of the day, I’m a DB,’" Jackson said, per the New York Post. "I think my strengths are cover skills, I got good speed and I got good ball skills. The thing it’s gonna take for me to get out there and make an impact is, I just got to learn the defense and really just communicate the calls fluently."

"It is all in front of him," coach Tom Coughlin said. "We think he can cover. He has done a good job of getting us lined up and then we will see how he plays."


 
 
 
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