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15 biggest fantasy football busts in 2018

Rachel Wold
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

We play because we want to win

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Millions of people play fantasy football each year, no matter how frustrating this extra-curricular activity can be. The bottom line is we play because we want to win. Though, come game day, the guys on the field don’t care about your fantasy team.

Instead, some players we drafted high go on to struggle with productivity and injuries. Others we spent big on are stuck on horrible teams whose offenses can’t stay on the field. Then there are those random third-string guys. The ones the coaches love to insert at the goal line just to vulture away our guys’ touchdowns.

Now that 2018 is winding down and fantasy playoffs are in full swing, it is time to vent about the following players who possibly ruined your fantasy season.


Le’Veon Bell, running back, Pittsburgh Steelers

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Bell was an absolute colossal bust for those who burned a very high, if not No. 1 pick, on him this past summer. This pick is likely still stinging considering those who chose him could have taken a guy like Saquon Barkley in his place. Instead, Bell has been a big zero all season with the talk of his potential return to the Steelers teasing and taunting those who owned him or perhaps even traded for him. The only positive in housing Bell would be in a dynasty league. Other than that, he has been nothing but an epic waste of roster space.


Jordan Howard, running back, Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard against Pittsburgh Steelers in NFL Week 3

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A new head coach in Chicago with a pass-first plan of attack and a very mobile quarterback ruined Howard in fantasy football. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky often takes to the ground, having racked up 386 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Then there is Tarik Cohen, who has touched the ball 146 times for 1,063 yards. Meanwhile, Howard  has put up a pedestrian 821 yards. That’s not what you expect from a first-round pick.


Sammy Watkins, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs

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Putting on a different uniform this season, Watkins falsely led on his fantasy owners. The 25-year-old wide receiver simply cannot stay healthy. And, when he was upright this season, he was just not very productive. When on the field, Watkins has averaged 51.9 yards per game. There were a few sizzling performances here and there, but Watkins has been more fizzle than anything. Fortunately, the Chiefs have not missed a beat.


David Johnson, running back, Arizona Cardinals

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By far, Johnson has been one of the more frustrating fantasy players to own this season. He was drafted way too high by many with the expectation he would morph back into the elite player he was in 2016. While the talent is still there, Johnson is sadly strapped to the least-productive offense in the league. The Cardinals have averaged a lowly 242.4 yards and 13.7 points per game. Tons of three-and-outs per game and some obscene turnovers by rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, cause Johnson’s fantasy owners to pull out their hair on a weekly basis.


Jacksonville Jaguars Defense

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Speaking of being drafted too high, tons of fantasy enthusiasts got cute and spent an earlier-round pick to snag a defense that finished first in points in 2017. Well, the joke is on those people. Currently, the Jaguars’ defense ranks 24th in the league and is sitting on waiver wires available for the reclaiming. But at this point, it is only worth starting against the likes of a very poor and error-prone opponents. Meanwhile, those who reached too early for Jacksonville probably could have ended up with a gem, such as James Conner, in that same round.


Sony Michel, running back, New England Patriots

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Michel clearly did not become the “Bell Cow” back many thought would happen after head coach Bill Belichick spent a first-round pick on him. Those folks who passed on Michel for their lack of trust in Belichick made a wise call. Michel has dealt with being dinged up and has appeared in only 10 games for New England. He has delivered a career-high 133-rushing yard performance, a lowly 22-yard performance and all things in between. All the while, teammate James White continues to vulture touches from Michel.


Jarvis Landry, wide receiver, Cleveland Browns

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Landry started off hot when he received 94 targets between Weeks 1-8 that resulted in a couple of 100-plus yard performances. After that, Landry’s owners took out a missing persons report on him. From Weeks 9-14, Landry’s target share plummeted to 30. He also averaged only 43.7 yards per game during that span. And, the touchdown Landry found in Week 14 marked only his third on the season. Landry has simply not lived up to all of the preseason draft hype or his pricey contract.


Kirk Cousins, quarterback, Minnesota Vikings

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One player ruining playoff dreams left and right has to be Cousins. Captain Kirk has helped the Vikings produce a meager total of 17 points in his last two games. His 409 total passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions gained in this stretch has amounted to squat in fantasy football. Furthermore, Cousins is most recently helping tank the value of both Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. This is not exactly what fantasy owners of Cousins were expecting down the stretch.


Derrick Henry, running back, Tennessee Titans

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One ridiculously unforeseen 238-yard, four-touchdown performance does not erase the fact that Henry had not rushed for more that 58 yards in one game ahead of Week 14. And, with only five touchdowns on record prior to that last monster performance, Henry has been the prime example of a bust. For the minuscule percentage of people who thought to start Henry in Week 14, congratulations. Now he is likely turning back into the pumpkin he has been for the most part of 2018.


Trey Burton, tight end, Chicago Bears

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Burton’s owners are surely sick and tired of waiting for him to transform into a poor man’s version of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Instead, Burton has mainly been a fantasy bum after averaging a mere 36.2 yards per game. There have been five scores, but his low volume of targets and goose egg he laid in Week 13 hardly deem him worthy of a roster spot. Those in fantasy playoffs housing Burton will hopefully get enough from their other players to make up for the tight end’s deficit.


LeSean McCoy, running back, Buffalo Bills

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Many steered clear from McCoy due to the quarterback situation that was a total mess at the start of the year. But those who took their chances and drafted Shady higher than they should have are paying the price. Even with Josh Allen now playing decently under center, McCoy’s numbers have been average at best. Hampered with various injuries, McCoy had one spectacular performance this season. It took all the way until Week 10 to see Shady record 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Since, he has fallen off the cliff and is battling yet another injury.


Rob Gronkowski, tight end, New England Patriots

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The tread on Gronk’s tires this season has been wearing noticeably thin. The veteran tight end kicked off Week 1 with 123 yards and one touchdown, which was awesome for those who still trusted drafting him. Then, Gronk pulled the rug out from his fantasy owners’ feet. He did not score again until Week 12 and missed time to injury, again. Trying to finish 2018 in grand style, Gronk did last catch a perfect eight targets for 107 yards and one touchdown. But this could easily be followed by another dismal performance, which has been par for the course all year.


Leonard Fournette, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

We won’t let Fournette’s earlier season injury dictate him being a bust. That could not be helped. Instead, We will shift focus to when Fournette was actually on the field. Unfortunately, the numbers do not lie. Fournette has averaged only 58.3 rushing yards per game this year. This is compared to the 80 he averaged in his rookie campaign. That’s a cold reality for Fournette’s owners who likely reached for him late in Round 1. It also did not help that en-route to his best performance of the season, he left his owners hanging after getting ejected for fighting in Week 12. The end cannot come quick enough for Fournette and his fantasy owners.


Matthew Stafford, quarterback, Detroit Lions

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A new head coach and the loss of so many weapons has ruined Stafford in fantasy football. We can’t totally blame Matt Patricia, but Stafford and the Lions just look lost this year. The team trading away Golden Tate and losing Marvin Jones to injury has been devastating to Stafford. As such, the veteran quarterback is on pace to pass for slightly under 4,000 yards, which would be a career low for the quarterback.


Royce Freeman, running back, Denver Broncos

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Lastly, the whole fantasy world chose the wrong door when it picked the one with Freeman — the clunker prize behind it. Instead, Door No. 2 showcasing undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay has been the winning ticket in Denver. Freeman has settled into a conservative complimentary role well behind Lindsay. To date, the hyped-up rookie has touched the ball 107 times for a total of 471 yards. Even with five rushing touchdowns in 11 games, Freeman is not worth a bag of chips in fantasy football.


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