Here are two players at each skill position who have a chance to become busts this season in your fantasy league
– QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Some fantasy players might only remember his incredible 2015 campaign where he was the top QB and the Panthers made the Super Bowl, but Cam Newton has now finished as the QB#17 in two of the past three seasons. This hasn’t stopped fantasy owners from drafting him as the 8th QB off the board this year. Although Cam does have the talent to be a QB1 once again, the Panthers offense will undergo growing pains this season. There has been a ton of change to this offense since the last year. The offensive line is poor, the speedy Ted Ginn has left, Greg Olson is now past his prime, Jonathan Stewart no longer threatens defenses, and the Panthers are supposedly changing their identity to a short area passing attack. The selections of RB Christian McCaffery and WR Curtis Samuel are indicative of this offensive change. The Panthers coaching staff is asking Cam to do something he has rarely done in the past in the short passing game and taking away arguably his biggest strength as a deep ball passer. Overall, don’t reach on an inconsistent Newton who is dealing with so much change.
– QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
BigBen is still a quality quarterback in fantasy football, but you shouldn’t look to start him every week. His home/road point differential is staggering. At home, Roethlisberger averaged over 31ppg, compared to just over 16ppg on the road. Big Ben is going currently going as the QB#9 in the top of the 8th round. Let’s not forget the fact he’s played 16 games only three times in his 12-year career. With his comments about 2017 possibly being his final season, it is certainly reasonable that he can’t make things happen throwing the ball like he used to. In all honesty, if you draft Ben, you will hate only wanting to start him when he is in Pittsburgh and that’s not what you should want for his draft price. The re-addition of Martavis Bryant provides some optimism for a great season, but there is no guarantee that Bryant can return to form after a year off. You should think twice before snagging Big Ben this year.
– RB Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
Melvin Gordon went from the overall RB#50 as a rookie to the RB#7 during his sophomore campaign. This is mainly due to his touchdowns spiking from O as a rookie to 10 this past year. Gordon’s touchdown count this year should fall somewhere between his previous two seasons. Furthermore, the Chargers spent the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 draft on WR Mike Williams, suggestive of the Chargers’ focus on the passing attack. Gordon won’t be the only show in the backfield this season to make matters worse. A healthy Brandon Oliver will certainly cut into Gordon’s massive workload. Oliver has shown ability to be a good receiver out of the backfield, so Gordon’s reception total and yardage should dip this season. Overall, the volume and workload won’t be there for a repeat performance for Gordon.
– RB Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs
Early into the 2016 season, Kansas City RB Spencer Ware made fans forget about Jamaal Charles. Towards the end of the season, however, he faded away and was less productive. Andy Reid likes a 3 down workhorse back, and Ware hasn’t proven yet that he is that. The Chiefs’ lack of confidence in Ware was clearly seen in the 2017 draft where they traded up in the 3rd round to select Toledo RB Kareem Hunt. Hunt is a talented runner who can potentially be a 3 down player. Ware will likely start week 1 this year, but don’t be surprised if Hunt eventually supplants Ware and is the back to own in Kansas City. Don’t spend a high pick on Ware when other runners around him have better value and more control in the offense.
– WR Terrelle Pryor, Washington Redskins
If I’m honest, Terrelle Pryor excelled last season as the featured option in the offense. He caught 77 balls for 1,007 yards last season for a team that had one of the league’s worst QB no matter who they started. He is now in Washington with Captain Kirk, so everyone is expecting monstrous numbers from Pryor. However, owners considering Pryor should proceed with caution. Unfortunately, Pryor’s target share certainly won’t be as lucrative as last season. Jordan Reed will still be the focal point of the offense while Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson will get some love from Cousins. Pryor has talent, but not the opportunity to repeat or improve his stats from last season.
– WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans is one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL. He finished the last year as the WR#2, but he actually faded as the year continued. From week 10 on last season, he finished as a top 10 receiver only once. Jameis Winston has proven to be a very talented thrower, but he is also a highly erratic thrower. Evans may be a risky play some weeks based on Winston’s tendency to disappear from stardom. The additions of DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin could also mean less targets for Evans, the former leader in targets from a year ago. Evans could certainly finish as a WR1, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t return value for you if you pick him in the first round.
– TE Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Greg Olsen started the 2016 season on a tear, finishing as the TE#1 through the first six weeks. Olsen’s production faded as he underperformed and was inconsistent through the rest of the season. He still finished as a top 3 Tight End, but his fall out after the bye week last year and the draft is highlighting an ugly trajectory for Olsen this year. The Panthers will feature a more short area passing attack this season, thus meaning fewer targets for Olsen down the middle and maybe less red zone targets. He will probably still be a low-end TE1 come season’s end, but his current draft price as the TE#4 in the 5th round is not pretty. Wait a few more rounds on your draft day and grab a better value pick.
– TE Martellus Bennett, Green Bay Packers
Martellus Bennett played very well last season for the Patriots. His fantasy production was fine overall, but he disappeared sometimes. Bennett only had consecutive TE1 finishes once last season with some truly awful stat lines in between. The Green Bay offense will likely be no different. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t target the Tight End a whole lot, so Bennett’s fantasy value will fluctuate throughout the season. You’ll bench him when he goes off and play him when he stinks. Especially since he is currently being drafted as the TE#7 in the 7th round, Bennett will have a hard time living up to his draft position. Don’t get sucked into the big hype surrounding Bennett and hold off.