We deal with busts every year in fantasy football. Predicting them before they come to pass is something we all wish we could do. The desire to do so increases thanks to just how competitive fantasy leagues have gotten, but the best we can really do is take in all of the information and make an educated guess.
There is a good reason why certain players get red-flagged on a regular basis. Guys like Darren McFadden and Ryan Mathews may have loads of talent, but they’ve always struggled to stay healthy. The difference? Mathews actually bucked his own injury-prone trend in 2013. McFadden did not.
The key is deciding which players can get over the hump, whether it be due to injury, role or mere production. You also need to decipher which ones are simply hopeless.
Of course, there is also that random stud that disappoints as well. Last year it came in the form of Aaron Rodgers, Julio Jones, Doug Martin and many others. So, which big name stud will break your heart this year? It just might be one of these five guys:
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
Manning is 38 years old and fresh off of a career year. In fact, it was the best season out of a quarterback in NFL history – by far. However, there is a natural regression to be expected here, as players simply don’t normally repeat career years like that. Manning himself can attest to that, as he dropped down considerably after breaking the single-season passing touchdown record in 2004 for the first time. He had 49 touchdowns that year, but just 28 the next.
Age and natural regression both statistically and physically are two good reasons to cast some doubt on Manning in 2014. A third is a much tougher schedule. As a Super Bowl participant of a year ago, the Broncos are going to see a much tougher schedule in 2014. Considering he’s being taken in the first round of fantasy drafts, Manning could end up being a slight bust when it’s all said and done.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
The end is nearing for Lynch when it comes to being a full-fledged featured back. Not only is he aging coming up on a contract year in 2015, but he also has had an insane workload over the past three years (900+ carries). Add in some talented young running backs behind him, and it only makes sense that he’d slowly be getting phased out of the offense.
It’s going to be a gradual fade, but Lynch may not be worth the first round pick fantasy owners have to spend to get him anymore. In fact, the Seattle Times predicts Lynch to lose around 40 carries in 2014, while his hit in total touches could be even more. And even if Lynch’s touches aren’t to take a hit, fantasy owners still have to factor in the potential regression with such a heavy workload.
Chances are Lynch will still be a very effective fantasy back, but for the price you have to pay, it’s possible he could border on being a bust.