For those of you that have followed me throughout the pre-season, you have probably heard me discuss most of these names at one point or another. However, here is a list of some of my busts this season, with my current rankings in brackets. Note: When I say bust, I mean a player that will perform worse than their draft day ADP. That player could still be useful in fantasy leagues, but .
See my QB, RB, WR and TE rankings as well for a more detailed look at each player. Also, check out my 2012 Fantasy Football Sleepers.
Cam Newton, CAR (5) - I like Newton's skills and his rookie year was the best of any QB in recent memory (4051 yards, 21 TD/17 INT with 706 rushing yards and 14 TD). However, after a full off-season for teams to plan against him, and a good goal line back in Tolbert on board, I expect less than 8 rushing TDs this season. Newton is often going in the middle of the 2nd round, so there will be a lot of disappointed owners.
Robert Griffin III, WSH (17) and Andrew Luck, IND (NR) - Rookie QBs tend to struggle adjusting to the NFL. These two QB have the skills to be perennial fantasy QB studs, but not this year. Additionally, both teams don't have a ton of weapons so its hard to justify their high Average Draft Positions (13th and 16th among QBs in ESPN leagues, 11th and 18th in Yahoo leagues). As a backup fantasy QB, it may be worth it to take a flier since the upside is so high, but don't expect either to lead your team this year.
Adrian Peterson, MIN (10) - Coming off an ACL injury at the end of last year, Peterson has been moving well in training camp. However, he will miss all of the preseason, and even if he returns Week 1 his role will be very limited. The Vikings aren't going anywhere this season, so there is no reason to push him into his pre-injury rushing load. I expect much more of a timeshare with Gerhart. Plus, if Peterson were to tweak anything, the Vikings will be super conservative with him. I would leave him until the 3rd round.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA (13) - Marshawn Lynch is getting a lot of love in drafts this year, based on a HUGE 2011 in which he rushed for 1204 yards with 12 TDs. Even if Lynch doesn't get a suspension (he was arrested in the off-season for a DUI), I don't believe Lynch can reproduce this success. There are serious concerns on that offensive line and with a sub-par passing game teams can load up against Lynch.
Michael Turner, ATL (16) - Turner's final numbers look good from last year, but he was terrible in the second half last year with the exception of a 172 yard, 2 TD game Week 17 against TB. The Falcons are planning to throw more this year and Jacquizz Rodgers is growing. Turner will still get goal line touches, but I don't expect anywhere near the 300 carries he has gotten three of the past four years (the other one he only played 11 games).
Update: According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, there's a "perception, league-wide" that Michael Turner is about to "lose it ... fast." (taken from rotoworld.com)
Beanie Wells, ARI (28) - Beanie will open the season as the starter, but seeing as I'm all in on Ryan Williams, it shouldn't come as a shock that I'm also super low on Beanie. A huge injury risk, Beanie somehow fell into an 1000 yard season, but I expect Ryan Williams get significant work throughout the season. Update: Beanie only rushed for 12 yards on 6 carries in tonight's pre-season.
Carolina RBs: Jonathan Stewart (30) / DeAngelo Williams (35) / Mike Tolbert (46) - None of the Carolina RBs will likely end up on any of my teams unless they fall very far in drafts. One of them may finish with top 30 RB stats for the season, but good luck figuring out which one will have a good game each week. Unless you are in a deep league, I'll leave all of these RBs for someone else to deal with the headache.
Julio Jones, ATL (9) - Listen, I love Julio as much as the next guy, but after playing only 12 games so far in his NFL career I'm not ready to move him anywhere near the #2 WR spot at which he is being selected in a ton of leagues. He is an injury risk (soft tissue injuries such as hamstring strains tend to repeat throughout a career), and is playing across from one of the best WRs in the game in Roddy White.
Victor Cruz, NYG (15) - Cruz was a monster last year, finishing 4th in WR fantasy points with 1536 yards and 9 TDs. However, 5 of those TDs were 68 yards or longer, several on tipped balls/fluky plays. You take only three of those plays away and Cruz is only a 1300 yard, 6 TD player. I expect much closer to that this year. Since he rarely makes it out of the 3rd round, I don't expect to be drafting Cruz on any of my teams this year.
Vincent Jackson, TB (24) - One of the biggest boom or bust WRs in the league, V-Jax will probably finish with solid stats, but will probably only put up good weekly stats when he scores. Plus, Tampa Bay is planning to run a lot so Jackson's opportunities will be much fewer that last year.
Malcom Floyd, SD (37) - The opportunity is there for Malcolm Floyd, but Floyd has had tons of opportunities before and has disappointed numerous times before. Injuries are always a concern, and with his inconsistencies, I'm not buying the breakout. He will probably tease you a few times during the year, but I don't see him as a weekly start.
Rob Gronkowski, NE (2) - Let's get something straight first, Gronk is a beast. However, with Brandon Lloyd in NE now, I expect the ball to be spread around more and Gronkowski to suffer the most. The yardage and TDs should both decline. He has 124 targets last year, and I expect that to decline to fewer than 100 this year.
Jermichael Finley, GB (6) - I love his talent, but Green Bay spreads the ball around a lot, so Finley's opportunity to become a top TE is limited. Plus, he has big issues with drops. He may finish again as a top 5 fantasy TE, but week-to-week production will be very inconsistent. I would rather wait to grab a guy like Fred Davis, Brent Celek or Jacob Tamme.