Fantasy football is hard enough without the uncertainty at the top of the draft. These are three guys to be extra cautious of come draft day.
The quickest way to derail your fantasy season is by wasting your first round pick on a bust player. When the guy that was supposed to be your crown jewel disappoints, it’s very hard to recover. Usually, it can be hard to tell when a player is going to bust – sometimes, they can fail simply because of injury. In a few cases, there are signs that they may not perform up to their draft price. Below are three top 24 picks I think are going to bust at their current draft position.
Kamara, last year’s rookie sensation for the New Orleans Saints, takes his place among the elite running backs this year. While last season was nothing short of impressive, his rise has been too fast. Currently, he’s the sixth player off of fantasy boards overall, even in non-PPR. Kamara’ sample size is very small, and there are some clear areas of regression heading into 2018.
His biggest pitfall will be workload versus efficiency. Unlike many other elite running backs who get over 300 carries a year, Kamara only saw 120 carries last season. He will supplement those with 80+ catches like he did last year, but that’s still very few carries. Kamara rushed for 6.1 yards per carry on those carries, too. That number is historically good, and is incredibly unlikely to hold. Even if he drops to 5 yards per carry, Kamara’s yardage totals will drop.
Kamara’s other big issue is touchdowns. He scored 13 touchdowns total last season, which seems like an anomaly. Kamara is small for a running back at 5’10”, 210 pounds, so he’s not a traditional goal line back. With Mark Ingram taking away carries, especially goal line work, it is hard to see Kamara getting to 13 touchdowns again.
Furthermore, Drew Brees should have a more statistically productive season. Although he payed well last year, Brees had a horrendous season statistically. Purely based on regression to the mean, Brees should have a bigger year this year, which will take away touchdown potential for Kamara. All in all, Kamara should still be a solid player this year, but he’s hard to trust as a first round fantasy running back.
Barkley is one of my favorite running back prospects in a long time, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to immediate fantasy production. The fantasy community loves Barkley thus far, as he’s the seventh player off the board in all formats. He steps into an odd spot on the New York Giants. On one hand, there is very little running back talent on the team. Barkley is clearly the best runner, and should be the workhorse.
However, New York has a lot of weapons to feed as it is, without a great offense. Eli Manning has been a bottom-tier regular season quarterback for years now, so his passing does Barkley no favors. Odell Beckham, Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram all take away targets and offensive possessions from Barkley. Lastly, ageless wonder Jonathan Stewart could cut away at some of Barkley’s short-yardage work, including his touchdowns.
The other issue is the offensive line. The Giants focused on the offensive line this offseason by signing tackle Nate Solder and drafting guard Will Hernandez. However, that doesn’t guarantee the unit will improve. This was an offensive line last season worse than the Bengals (can you believe it?), so Barkley may struggle to find room to run. Barkley should be an awesome NFL running back, but that may not translate to first round fantasy value this year.
Evans is a player who’s had very up and down seasons throughout his career. Last year, he had a slightly down year, kicking his ADP into the middle second round. People are not overdrafting the Tampa Bay wide receiver per se, but there are a lot of safer options at WR going around him. Examples include AJ Green, Doug Baldwin, and Adam Thielen.
Evans needs a big target volume to succeed, and he likely won’t see that this year. His catch rate almost never exceeds 55%, so he needs 140+ targets to get enough receptions to put up big stats. Two years ago, when he was the WR1 in fantasy, Evans had 173 targets. In a down year last year, he had 136 targets.
Nothing changed in the Buccaneers offense – if anything, Evans’ situation is worse. DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard, and Cameron Brate will all steal targets from Evans. Jameis Winston will miss the first three games, which definitely hurts Evans. Lastly, the team invested highly in the running game by drafting Ronald Jones II. Evans has the awesome upside, but without enough targets, it’s hard to see him succeed like a second round pick.