Identifying “busts” for fantasy football is often relative to that player’s draft price, their opportunity cost (other players you could draft instead) and strategy of who could be had later. So, not all these players will be busts, per se, but they are players you may want to avoid in 2015.
Jay Cutler (Chicago): Cutler has produced some buzz in camp (through August 11 he went 11 straight practices without an interception), but he won’t fare so well taking live hits, and losing receiver Kevin White to injury is a big blow. Draft a different backup.
Robert Griffin III (Washington): Adding RG3 here may seem like easy pickings, but be sure to avoid. He has already taken a beating in pre-season – and when in doubt just avoid all players from the Washington offense this year.
Peyton Manning (Denver): I love Peyton Manning, but he is an old 39 and the scheme under new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak is going to rely significantly more on the running game. I sure wouldn’t draft Manning ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, and I wouldn’t be surprised if his brother Eli Manning has a better fantasy season in a decidedly pass-first offense.
LeGarrette Blount (New England): Don’t sign up for the always unpredictable New England carry distribution. Blount has no business being anywhere near his sixth round average draft position.
Jamaal Charles (Kansas City): Charles goes on average in the top six of drafts, and you would be far better-served adding an elite wide receiver. Charles should add a lot as a receiver but he had just 206 rushing attempts last year; backup Knile Davis handled 134.
Matt Forte (Chicago): Simply avoid Forte, who has been over-priced for 2015. With a new offensive scheme his workload will drop – and Forte had just one run over 20 yards last year on 266 attempts.
Marshawn Lynch (Seattle): Lynch isn’t set up to be a bust, but he could surely disappoint as a first round pick. Lynch has proved “Beastmode” moniker-worthy but still he has a ton of mileage and Seattle’s offensive line could be much worse this year (with two-time All-Pro center Max Unger having been traded to New Orleans).
LeSean McCoy (Buffalo): It will be difficult to price McCoy because he missed the preseason with a hamstring injury. I know he won’t be on my teams. Draft a guy who isn’t injured in the high-end rounds where McCoy will go.
DeMarco Murray (Philadelphia): Murray will see far fewer attempts than his 390 last year and he has a higher-than-average injury risk. I would let him slide to someone else in the second and even third round as there are many great sleepers instead to draft.
Marques Colston (New Orleans): Colston will continue to be a part of the offense, but the ceiling just isn’t there anymore to justify Colston going so high in drafts (ninth round on average).
Andre Johnson (Indianapolis): Johnson will be on some sleeper lists and no doubt he gets a big upgrade playing with Andrew Luck, but there are much better sneaky fourth round wide receiver fantasy prospects to add.
Emmanuel Sanders (Denver): Sanders is being drafted as if he is going to duplicate last year’s numbers – don’t chase last year’s numbers. Sanders shouldn’t be drafted over several high-end, true-number wide receiver options for their team.
Roddy White (Atlanta): White had minor elbow surgery but is expected back for Week 1. But he is soon to be 34 years old, and this is the Julio Jones show. I would tend to avoid White in drafts unless he falls really late.
Julius Thomas (Jacksonville): Thomas received a whopping five-year, $46 million contract, but he won’t return at those levels in fantasy. The drop from Peyton Manning to Blake Bortles at quarterback is huge, especially on timing around the end zone. There are much better targets in the seventh round of fantasy drafts.
Alan Satterlee is a co-owner and senior writer for DynastyFootballWarehouse.com, a comprehensive fantasy football strategy site.