Already caved in and did my sleeper article. so I have to do a piece on who I think is gonna bust too. Do we even still call them sleepers? It's not like there's 50 billion different fantasy fan-alysts out there who give their constant insight. Welp, hopefully I help you identify a bust they didn't point out. Have a look.
Everyone says McKinnon’s 5’9’ frame is no problem as Devonta Freeman was able to do it. Well last year that finally caught up to Freeman as he struggled with concussions. There is a reason these small stature RBs are typically third-down backs. They can’t handle being tackled by 250-300 lb defenders 300 times a season. The reason RBs like McKinnon sky rocket in drafts is because RBs get hurt so often. An expected occurrence considering they get tackled the most out of any NFL position. I don’t know if McKinnon can handle that as he has never handled more than 202 touches in a season (Mathyk 2018).
This was despite being the backup when Adrian Peterson and Dalvin Cook got hurt. Zimmer and Co. knew what they were doing too as they are incredibly successful coaches who have turned low profile players into pro-bowl caliber players like Adam Thielen and Case Keenum. The most alarming part of McKinnon’s usage in Minnesota was his lack of goal-line work. Rather the Vikings typically had another backup RB who specialized in this area along with short-yardage situations. Matt Asiata and Latavius Murray being these two lucky individuals.
Now another Matt threatens to take away goal-line work: Matt Breida. I will admit, McKinnon has a better frame for goal-line work, it’s just he might get tired by the time he gets there a la LeSean McCoy. He has suffered tremendously from ballhawks over the past couple years and McKinnon’s short stature makes him a candidate to suffer the same fate.
So even if McKinnon stays healthy there’s no saying he’ll have the touches that matter. In addition, he might not be too efficient with the one’s he’ll get. NFL.com ranked the Vikings 6th best in the league last year in large part due to how they generated the sixth highest yards gained before contact (Harmon 2018). Despite this McKinnon had a measly YPC of 3.8. A number that’s far more alarming when you into account Dalvin Cook’s 4.8 YPC. McKinnon’s lower number was likely the result of struggling to generate yards for himself as he ranked 24th in yards created per carry with 1.33 (Playerprofiler 2018).
If he does good in fantasy football next year it will have to be primarily through his receiving, much like Christian McCaffrey as I don’t see the running game to be his forte. However the upside is certainly there and I cannot deny it. It would be foolish to do so. Just like it would be to take McKinnon with your second round pick. At least wait till the third as first and second rounders should be safe bets you can structure your team around. Just ask anyone who took Isaiah Crowell last year.
Bust Meter: 7/10
McCaffrey is a good player. Especially in the passing game as his work there gave him a double digit point average and a top 10 PPR finish. Looking at his second round ADP it seems like people believe he’ll do it again (4for4 2018). If he does it’ll have to be through his receiving stats because Carolina’s run game is going to struggle.
For the past couple seasons the Panthers seem to have a curse where every even year they regress in a bad way. Usually it’s due to poor O-line play dragging the offense down. Over the past offseason their best O-linemen Andrew Norwell left for Duval. On top of that, their best remaining O-linemen, Daryl Williams, recently suffered a season ending injury at training camp. The remaining bunch are essentially a group of walking turnstiles. It’s shaping up to be another cursed even season in Carolina and McCaffrey will suffer because of it.
He’ll see opportunities to run but he’ll struggle mightily. To give you an idea of how much of an impact Andrew Norwell had alone let’s look at an interesting observation by film analyst Brett Kollmann (click here for video). McCaffrey averaged 5.48 YPC running behind the left guard. His average for everywhere but behind the left guard was 3.28. Yikes.
25-30 touches/game might not be enough to fix that, Ron Rivera. Dude must have him on his dynasty league and realized the O-line is gonna make it tough for CMC to excel. However I don't know if that volume of touches are possible. Greg Olsen and Curtis Samuel are back and first rounder D.J. Moore has been tearing it up at camp. Targets are gonna be hard-pressed to come by for CMC. Just the return of Olsen is enough to worry me. Why? Have a look for yourself.
He’ll have to pull a Duke Johnson and use his receiving stats to finish top 12. I know he did just that last year but his ADP expects him to do more when he'll struggle just to maintain last year's value with the return of Olsen. I'd rather take Duke, a similar RB, 6 rounds later.
It’s still reasonable for McCaffrey to have a high-end RB2 finish if his targets don't drop. I just don’t feel comfortable with that risk at his current ADP of 2.07 in 12 team leagues. If he falls to the third round then snag him there. Just don’t reach and let the Panther's O-line break your heart, 'cause they're gonna break McCaffrey's.
Bust Meter: 6/10
Last year Alshon Jeffery scored double digit points 10 times in PPR. He was on pace for around 889 yards and 10 TDs with the likely league MVP until Wentz got hurt. Marvin Jones accumulated 1,100+ yards and 9 TDs. Jones scores double digits 9 times. Jones is going an entire round later (4for4 2018).
Philly also has plenty of competition for targets. Agholor, Ertz, Mike Wallace, Darren Sproles, and Corey Clement are all threats in the passing game. Agholor and Ertz alone could garner 80+ targets each. Not to mention both had at least 8 TDs last year. Expect end zone targets to be even more thin as rookie Dallas Goedert has apparently been money there all camp and is likely to be used as a mismatch due to his behemoth 6’5” 260 lb frame. The combined presence of Goedert, Agholor, and Ertz will hinder Jeffery’s touchdown upside. Alarming considering Jeffery only hit 70 receiving yards or more 3 times last season (CBS Sports).
Jeffery is an incredibly talented receiver however it’s clear there isn’t enough looks in Philly. Even if he does get enough looks he has to stay healthy. Jeffery has played 16 games in only 3 of his 6 seasons. Albeit, the fewest games he ever played in a season was 9. I still don’t feel comfortable taking a receiver whose chances of playing every game is the same as the flip of a coin. Especially when the coin may already be landing on the wrong side as Jeffery is currently on the PUP list.
At the earliest take him in the 6th near Marvin Jones. If you still disagree with me and draft him at his current price or higher, you knew the risk.
Bust Meter: 6.3/10
A year removed from being a first round pick, it feels odd that Evans status in the fantasy community fell so far. Even his second round price this year feels like too much. Perhaps it’s a stretch to put him in this article, however a warning needs to be given to those who draft him.
Evans has struggled with consistent touchdown numbers. He had 12 TDs in 2014 and 2016 while having 5 or less in 2015 and 2017. What a coincidence. When Evans scored 12 TDs he finished as the WR11 and WR1. 5 or less TD years resulted in finishes of WR26 and WR22 (Wide Receiver Stats 2018). The key to knowing how Mike Evans will perform is predicting his touchdown total.
Let’s first look at his starter for the beginning of the year, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Per NFL.com, in the 4 games where the two played together and Fitz threw for 15 or more yards Evans only scored once. Giving him 0.25 TDs/game with Fitz. Over Jameis Winston’s 3 game suspension this comes out to 0.75 TDs. Meaning Evans will likely score once or not at all during that time.
What about when Winston gets back? He and Evans have connected for 19 touchdowns over 42 games. Resulting in a significantly higher TD/game of 0.45. Assuming Jameis stays healthy for the remaining 13 games upon his return, Evans should catch 5.88 more TDs. Add that to the 0.75 from earlier and you get 6.63 TDs. In case you forgot math over the summer, 6.63 < 12. However it’s also greater than 5 touchdowns. If this TD to fantasy finish correlation truly exists for Evans then he should finish in between WR22 and WR11. Since 6.63 is far closer to 5 than 12 it’s more likely he trends towards WR22.
That was with a very rudimentary projection as well. Evans was essentially the only real weapon for Winston during most of their time together. For example, Chris Godwin was in the slot role when Evans and Jameis played together, limiting his usage. Recently Godwin has worked his way to becoming a starter. He was very highly rated by wide receiver guru Matt Harmon coming out of the draft and has looked great on the field when he’s been on it. Surpassing DeSean Jackson is a testament to that. Godwin will be a factor this year and steal some targets.
Furthermore, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard have established themselves within Tampas offense as well leaving even less room for Evans to hog looks. Sharing with those two, Godwin, and DeSean Jackson will make fantasy owners frustrated as Evans target share will surely plummet. He’s still a safe bet for north of 100 targets in my eyes but he’s used to more. Evans has only had less than 136 targets once in his career and that was last year (Pro Football 2018). The one that you should focus the most on considering he played 4 games with Fitz while having to share with all the previously name weapons. Only differences this year are that Fitz will (hopefully) start one less game and Godwin and Howard will be more prominent. Therefore there’s a good chance Evans has a similar year to last. Certainly far better than a return to form from his WR1 or WR11 campaigns.
Evans is one of those players who will be a better player in real life than fantasy this season. In the realm of fake football he is merely fools gold whose potential can only be unlocked through the ignorance or wide-spread injury of the remaining receiving threats in Tampa. Certainly not the kind of player worth investing a second rounder into. Let someone else deal with his inconsistent target share and the headaches that ensue.
Bust Meter: 7.5/10
Despite having an unproven QB and more target competition with the addition of Sammy Watkins, Hill continues to go in the second round (4for4 2018). Don’t get me wrong, I think Patrick Mahomes will be good. However Alex Smith was the QB4 last year. That’s not an easy feat for a sophomore.
Tyreek was incredibly efficient last year- and that’s a bad thing this year. He got most of his points off deep passes, which Mahomes can do. It’s just this area can fluctuate tremendously. Just look at other players who made their money heredid in the past (i.e. Desean Jackson). Mahomes will be hard pressed to match Smith’s performance making those kind of plays harder to come by for Hill. Even losing one could have a huge effect on his total points for the season given how much long TDs are worth.
Look no further than his targets as proof to be cautious when drafting him. Hill had 105 targets last year despite being the WR1. Kelce and Watkins' presence along with a different QB who has limited experience practically guarantees Tyreek’s target count is due to fall.
Over the last 10 years only 6 receivers have finished as a WR1 with less than 110 targets (Borgognoni 2018). Albeit Tyreek was on of them last season but he only missed that mark by 4 targets. He’s a good bet to miss that mark by even more this year making him a risky prospect at his second round ADP.
Aside losing opportunities, Hill has limited upside due to his lack of end zone usage. His small stature makes Kelce and Watkins better choices to use there.
Set for a decline in targets and few looks in the money-zone, Hill is an unlikely candidate to match his WR12 ADP (4for4 2018).
The Giants cannot support top-end finishes for Odell, Saquon, and Evan Engram. Of the three Engram seems the most likely to suffer. He only began to take off last year once everyone else was hurt. Now with a healthy Odell, Sterling Shepard, and the addition of dynamic receiving back Saquon Barkley, Engram will struggle for looks.
While talking about Barkley, it’s important to consider the #2 overall pick in the most recent NFL draft will turn the Giants into a more balanced offense. 15-20 rushes per game will be the minimum for Saquon alone.
People argue all the surrounding talent will only help Engram by forcing defenses to focus on other assets of the Giants offense. Although true it might not be enough to counter to loss of opportunity Engram will experience.
I’d rather have a TE with a more guaranteed workload like Kyle Rudolph, Delanie Walker, or Trey Burton. If you take him before these guys, just know the risk you’re taking.
Bust Meter: 8/10
I hate writing this because Howard is sooooooo good. But going ahead of his recently resigned teammate Cameron Brate holds him back tremendously. Last year Brate hogged most of the receiving production while Howard was stuck in a blocking role. Sadly, I do not advise taking Howard before his counterpart. His current ADP shows otherwise is the case as he is going in the 11th while Brate is going three rounds later in the 14th. Instead of taking Howard this early take a flier on another interesting player who's going at a similar ADP such as Kenny Stills, Marcus Mariota, or Anthony Miller.
Bust Meter: 7.8/10
Tyreek was incredibly efficient last year- and that’s a bad thing this year. He got most of his points off deep passes, which Mahomes can do. It’s just this area can fluctuate tremendously. Just look at other players who made their money here did in the past (i.e. Desean Jackson). Mahomes will be hard pressed to match Smith’s performance making those kind of plays harder to come by for Hill. Even losing one could have a huge effect on his total points for the season given how much long TDs are worth.