Fantasy Football's Biggest Draft Busts and Values of 2018

Le'Veon Bell is the first name that comes to mind when you think of picks that went wrong in 2018

For fantasy football owners, the season is over. Most owners are taking a break from all things fantasy and just focusing on the end of the NFL season. However, some fantasy owners may still be mourning their losses or enjoying their victory. Often, fantasy owners like to take a look back at the players that led them to victory (or defeat). Here are some of the 2018 values and busts.

 

The ADP figures were taken from fantasyfootballcalculator.com for the 2018 season, and all final standings are based on PPR scoring.

 

Quarterbacks

 

Bust: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

 

ADP: 8.01 (8th QB drafted), finished 23rd among QBs

 

After tearing his ACL, Wentz looked to get back on track as a top quarterback. He was drafted near the middle of the draft (eighth round) with owners hoping for a season like his rookie year. However, Wentz ended up missing the first two games before he came back. He then missed the last three weeks of the season because of a back injury. His final numbers from 2018 weren’t great: 3,074 yards, 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Odds are fantasy owners weren’t looking to get the No. 23 quarterback when they drafted him.

 

Value: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

 

ADP: 10.10 (15th QB drafted), finished 1st among QBs

 

Probably the biggest no-brainer value pick of 2018 at all positions is Mahomes. The reports from training camp and the preseason were that he was going to be good, but had some accuracy issues. Fantasy owners drafted him as a backup quarterback in most cases. In Week 1, Mahomes threw for 256 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He continued to excel from there, ending up as the No. 1 quarterback for fantasy. His ADP will skyrocket for 2019 and he should be a legit QB1.

 

Running Backs

 

Bust: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

 

ADP: 1.03 (3rd RB drafted), did not play in 2018

 

The storyline of the 2018 season was "will he play or won’t he?" when it came to Bell. It went from a few weeks till after the bye with a million different stories saying all different things. The end result is that Bell did not play a snap in 2018. Fantasy owners that drafted him and held on to him in re-draft leagues likely struggled (unless they dumped him in an IR spot). Odds are he'll sign with a team in the offseason and should once again be one of the first running backs taken, but how early will depend on where he lands and what kind of shape he's in when he finally returns to the field.

 

Bust: Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

 

ADP: 1.09 (8th RB drafted), finished 40th among running backs

 

Fournette was drafted as a RB1, but suffered a hamstring injury that lingered pretty much all season. He played in Week 1 (41 rushing yards) and was injured. He tried to come back in Week 4 (30 rushing yards) but aggravated the injury. He then sat out until Week 10. Fournette ended the season fine, but it was a lost season for fantasy owners. An honorable mention for a player who was drafted early (12th overall, second round) but didn't do much all season (in this case, due to injury) was DeVonta Freeman.

 

Value Pick: James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers and Phillip Lindsay

 

Both not drafted in the top 60 ADP; Conner finished 6th, Lindsay finished 13th among running backs

 

With Le'Veon Bell and Royce Freeman expected to carry the load for their respective teams, Conner and Lindsay went largely undrafted. Many fantasy owners picked up Conner when the Bell holdout was starting to become worrisome, but Lindsay stayed under the radar until he had 100-plus yards from scrimmage in each of the first two games (and a touchdown). Both players had excellent seasons: Lindsay had 1,037 rushing yards, 241 receiving yards, and 10 total touchdowns. Conner had an ankle injury which caused him to miss the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16), but in the 13 games he played, he produced 973 rushing yards, 497 receiving yards, and 13 total touchdowns.

 

Value Pick: Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

 

ADP: 11.06 (49th RB drafted), finished 16th among running backs

 

A true value running back that was drafted was Chubb. This came when the Browns decided to trust him and trade Carlos Hyde to Jacksonville. When you figure that Chubb’s season didn’t really start until Week 7, his totals were solid: 996 rushing yards, 149 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns. The Browns still have Duke Johnson Jr. in the backfield but Chubb will be the Cleveland RB to own.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Bust: Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks

 

ADP: 4.02 (16th WR drafted), finished 48th among wide receivers

 

While Baldwin dealt with injuries throughout 2018, he still is seen as a bust. After being drafted as a solid WR2 in the fourth round, to end the season barely in the top 50 is a disappointment. Technically he played in 13 games, but one of those he did not record a catch and another he had one catch for one yard. He had five touchdowns on the season and only one 100-yard game. Assuming Baldwin can get – and stay – healthy, he’s a WR3 next year.

 

Bust: Chris Hogan, New England Patriots

 

ADP: 4.06 (19th WR drafted), finished 68th among wide receivers

 

Heading into the 2018 season, fantasy owners weren’t sure who was going to emerge as the top wide receiver for the Patriots. Julian Edelman was going to miss the first four games, and someone was going to step up. Many fantasy owners thought it might be Hogan, which is why he was treated as a WR2 and went in the fourth round. In the four games Edelman was out, Hogan had eight receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns. The rest of the season, he had 27 receptions for 423 yards and a score. Clearly Hogan fell behind Edelman upon his return, and with Rob Gronkowski and pass-catching running backs like James White in the mix, he was a disaster for fantasy owners.

 

Value Pick: Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals

 

ADP: not drafted in the top 65, finished 19th among wide receivers

 

For many fantasy owners, Boyd was a late-round draft pick and he turned out to be a 1,000-yard receiver and top 20 at his position. He had three 100-yard games and was a solid WR2 for the entire fantasy season (save for Weeks 16 and 17 where he was out with a knee injury). Even with A.J. Green healthy, Boyd was proving to be a solid WR2 and should continue that role in 2019.

 

Value Pick: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams

 

ADP: 9.08 (42nd WR drafted), finished 11th among wide receivers

 

Woods quietly put together a very solid fantasy season. He finished 11th among all wide receivers, and for someone drafted in the ninth round, that’s impressive. He finished with 1,219 receiving yards and seven total touchdowns, both career highs. The Rams had Cooper Kupp (who tore his ACL in Week 10) and Brandin Cooks, but Woods ended up as the top receiver. If all three are back and healthy in 2019, Woods may not have the same level of success.

 

Tight Ends

 

Bust: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

 

ADP: 2.09 (1st TE drafted), finished 11th among tight ends

 

Year after year, Gronk is one of the first tight ends off the board. However, he hasn’t been a top fantasy tight end in years. He’s injury-prone and at this point, he’s even hard to trust when healthy. Gronk technically played in 13 games in 2018. However, he had just two games with more than 100 yards while totaling three touchdowns. He had seven games in which he finished with fewer than 50 yards. At some point, fantasy owners need to stop drafting the 30-year-old (at the start of the 2019 season) as the first tight end off the board.

 

Value Pick: Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders

 

ADP: not in the top 18, finished 5th among tight ends

 

In his 10th year, Cook put together his best performance with 896 yards and six touchdowns. The Raiders were his fourth team in his career, but between the loss of Amari Cooper and the other struggles on offense, the Raiders found a way to use Cook. He’ll turn 32 in April, and while the Raiders are saying they hope to re-sign him, time will tell to see where he ends up. If he’s in Oakland in 2019 again, he’s a borderline TE1.

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

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