Category Archives: Breakouts, Busts, Sleepers
Currently, DeMarco Murray is being drafted at his fantasy ceiling. As you can see below he is being drafted in the early second round or as the RB7. This is typically something I look to avoid, as I always want to maximize a players ceiling and avoid capping it. By doing this we have an easier time generating value in a player and lowering the risk of a bust. Let me explain this a bit further.
When drafting a player at his ceiling, you are essentially taking added risk that he doesn’t live up to his cost. If you believe that such players output can only achieve a certain amount of fantasy points, then giving a quick glance at current ADP’s can help determine his ceiling. The reason it’s risky to draft a player at his ceiling, is you have no wiggle room for unforeseeable circumstances. The instance here with Murray is that there is a very obvious situation looming about, and I will dive into this here.
The first thing that should worry us when we look at DeMarco’s 2016 splits, is the obvious drop off in fantasy points per game. From week 1 to 8 Murray averaged 21.41 FP/G (PPR) and in the remaining eight games Murray’s fantasy production took a big plunge. His average dipped 6.4 points down to 15.01 FP/G (PPR) average.
Looking over this it should be clear that he was trending down in the last eight weeks of the season. Not only did his yards-per-carry depress from 4.73 to a 3.99 average, his volume started to dissipate as well. In the first eight weeks, we see that Murray toted the rock an average of 20 times and also caught 3.5 passes per game. Second half his total touches dropped from 23.5 to 19.74, might not look significant but digging a little deeper we can start seeing a clear trend.
I went ahead and looked at the weeks where Derrick Henry missed (week 9 & 11) and subtracted Murray’s touches out of this equation. The outcome of this showed Murray’s touches dropped even further down to 18.83 per game. Using the games Henry missed we can go back to the original point of clarity. His fantasy outcome looked even worse at a staggering 13.68 FP/G. This would equate to 218.88 fantasy points for a 16 game stretch. Netting him a ceiling of RB11 in point per reception leagues.
Everything listed above is just the start of why you shouldn’t draft DeMarco Murray. I’ve laid out facts that Murray’s ceiling may well be RB11 and that it’s clear he is being over drafted at RB7. You also still have to worry about Murray’s lingering hamstring issue and Derrick Henry lurking in his shadow. These are all reasons I will not be drafting DeMarco Murray in 2017.
To me a fantasy Bust is someone who is drafted to high and does not live up their expected ADP. When I am trying to find a bust, it might not be because of the player. A lot of times a bust will derive from a coaching change, a contract dispute, or a team trending in the wrong direction. This is my list of Bust’s!
Jamal Charles, RB, Chiefs:
Yes I know this might sound crazy, but let me tell you why I think one of the most talented running backs in the league will be a bust! First off the running back position changes dramatically year to year, making it very difficult for a player to repeat as the number one in this position. Charles lost three starting lineman, making his o-line one of the worst in the league. That accompanied by an offense that can’t attack you deep or spread the defense, will only create more problems for Charles. As defenses will key in on him, he will face eight in the box all year long. If that’s not bad enough he has one of the toughest strengths of schedules for running backs. He is currently being drafted as a top two pick, and he will not live up to that expectation this season.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks:
Another star running back from last season lands on my list. I love “beast mode”, but this year I do not want him on any of my teams. He has contemplated retirement, and now is in the middle of a holdout. These are two giant red flags when you are talking about spending a valuable pick on a key player. Seattle is not going to pay him what he wants and I honestly don’t see him playing this year. Pete Carol knows that he has other running backs in the stable and is more than prepared to roll with them. Throw in the amount of workload he has received the last three seasons (almost 1,100 touches), and I will be passing on him all day long.
Update 7/31: Lynch is back in camp after retooling his contract this year. He still is on my bust list however for the reasons stated above.
Andre Johnson, WR, Texans:
This is one of the most talented players in the league, and all this guy wants to do is win. Houston does not give him this chance, Johnson is fully aware and wanted out this off-season. The Texans refused to trade him, and here we are with a humble but disgruntled player who I question his motivation for this season. Factor in all the changes and Gary Kubiak a man who force fed Johnson for many years not in Houston anymore, I will be avoiding Andre at his current ADP.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns:
How quickly things can change, one of my prized sleepers of last season now lands on my bust list. Cameron finished last season catching 80 balls for 917 yards and seven td’s. Those numbers where good enough to rank him 5th among the position. There were two men responsible for his huge increase in stats, Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski. Both who are out of Cleveland this season. Although the numbers look good on paper, he had a very inconsistent year, finishing the season on a downswing. I would fully expect Cameron’s stat line to dramatically decrease despite being the number one target for the Browns this season.
Identifying a breakout candidate, I’m looking for a player who can far exceed his ADP and one you’re willing to reach for on Draft Day. I believe to win consistently in fantasy you must make your own opinions, and take the risk on players that can excel in their current situations.
When I am trying to identify a breakout player I’m looking at three things. I want someone who has a proven track record on the verge of doing something great, a stud who is likely to have a career year, or a rookie who can have a immediate impact . Extra motivation such as a player’s contract year (show me the money), is always something to consider too. Those are the kind of players I have identified as my Breakouts!
Kendall Wright, WR, Titans:
Wright posted solid numbers last year with 94 receptions, 1,079 yards and two scores. He finished 20th at the position with 213 fantasy points. Enter Ken Whisenhunt and his up tempo offense. Whisenhunt has done wonders for previous receivers such as Keenan Allen from last season, who could have won Offensive Rookie of the Year, if not for Eddie Lacy and his beastness. The only thing that could hold Kendall back this year is his QB Jake Locker. If Locker can step up and stay healthy, the sky is the limit for Wright this season.
Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers:
Crabtree is healthy this season coming off of a Achilles injury, and is in a contract year. The extra motivation for him is a bonus since he’s Kaepernicks favorite target. He proved that in 2012 when Kaepernick took over the starting gig and targeted Crabtree with a heavy dose. Over the course of those seven games Michael had 41 receptions, 595 yards and five touchdowns. With them already having a great rapport, I see San Francisco opening up the offense more this season. This can only improve Crabtree’s stat line and makes him a great Breakout candidate.
Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans:
Rookie running backs can often be over looked, and thus become great values. Look at Eddie Lacy and Giovani Bernard’s ADP from last season. I was high on both of them, and ultimately they were both draft day steals! I see this being the case for the Huskie prospect this season. He is behind one of the best offensive lines in the league and has a great strength of schedule. There is no competition for touches at his position, just another reason to like this kid. Looking at Chris Johnson’s consistent top 12 finishes over the years, I only see high potential for Sankey this season.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Vikings:
Let’s start of by saying this kid can ball! After getting use to the offense last season, he started to show what he’s capable of, and that is star quality. He not only has another year in the league but gets offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Turner has done wonders for past wide receivers, and helped produce my favorite breakout from last year, Josh Gordon. With a great offensive line and improved quarterback play, I see Patterson as a shoe in No. 2 fantasy receiver with No. 1 upside!
Possibly the best part of being a fantasy buff, is digging deep to find those hidden gems we call sleepers! Sleepers generally are late round picks that we can load up on and hope for exceptional value. If you are wrong on a sleeper, it’s no big deal, cut them and look to the waiver wire. Here’s my list of sleepers!
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings:
The Gronk-sized tight end signed a brand new deal with Minnesota, inking the former Irish star for five years worth 40 million. That’s a lot of dough to pay someone and is a great show of confidence in this young player. Now let’s get to the Norv Turner magic and what he creates for a tight end. He likes to spread the field with speed receivers and work the tight end in the middle. He has had great success over his career with tight ends such as Antonio Gates, and last year’s breakout star Jordan Cameron. I fully expect Minnesota to use Rudolph like Cameron, and that means a huge increased stat line which will lead to one heck of a value on draft day!
Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks:
Michael is electric, any time he has the ball he can score. At Texas A&M he was a star, averaging 5.3 ypc over the course of 529 carries. He added 44 catches with a 7.3 ypc and a total of 35 touchdowns, in the 40 games he played. The Seahawks had a plan when they drafted him in the second round of last year’s draft. Though in small doses, he showed flashes of brilliance throughout the year. Bring in Marshawn Lynch’s contract disputes, and his massive work load (almost 1,100 touches the last three seasons), Michael not only could be a steal in drafts but if Lynch goes down early, you have yourself a bona fide number one running back. I would look to draft Christine in the 8th or 9th round of drafts this season.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons:
Atlanta has talked Freeman up as their three down back. That being said, it won’t take much for him to supplant a aging Steven Jackson to become their go to running back. Jackson has been slowing down for several years now and has well over 2,500 career carries. I also don’t have much faith in Jacquizz Rodgers who has had ample amounts of opportunities, but only has proven his receiving abilities. I feel that there is no value in drafting Jackson or Rodgers this season, and can see Freeman running away with the starting gig.
Sam Bradford, QB, Rams:
Bradford was on pace for a career year, working with a young wide receiving core and a muddled backfield. He then tore his ACL at Carolina Week 7. His rehab has went well and he should be fine for the start of this season. He comes back with a receiving corps led by speed demon Tavon Austin, a outstanding offensive line, and physically gifted running back in Zac Stacy. I think too many people sleep on Bradford because of the tuff smash mouth division he’s playing in. He will be a great quarter back to stream, play match ups, or simply to have for insurance/bye week replacement.
Cody Latimer, WR, Broncos:
This guy has been on my radar for quite a while. He was a dominant wide receiver in college with some of the best hands I have ever seen. I have watched a ton of tape on this kid and he has thoroughly impressed me. His size 6’3″, 215 lbs accompanied by a 4.41 speed, led Todd McShay to say he is the most underrated player in this year’s draft. Beat writers are impressed with Latimer in his early debut receiving passes from Manning. I can’t see how Denver can keep this guy off the field (especially in the redzone), with an aging Wes Welker, and slot receiver Emmanuel Sanders. I think there’s plenty of points to spread across the number one offense and expect Latimer to get his share.