April 23, 2019

Pyro® Twitterfeed

2018 Fantasy Football Busts

2018 Fantasy Football Busts

Posted by d-Rx on 08/16/18

by   The Archer


More Articals


Carson Wentz


Carson Wentz had a breakout season last year averaging 21.8 fantasy points per game over 13 games. This average score was good for second amongst all QBs, behind only Deshaun Watson. After tearing his ACL towards the end of the season, Wentz is yet to show full participation and it’s reported he’s “hopeful” to start Week 1.  Even if Wentz is healthy for Week 1, he could come off to a slow start due to lack of reps etc. with his receivers. His leading receiver, Alshon Jeffrey, is also coming off surgery and there is potential for him to start the year on the PUP.


Last season Wentz had an incredibly high touchdown conversion percentage at 7.5%, which was highest in the league by a significant margin.  If we assume a generous rate of negative regression down to Tom Brady’s career average of 5.5%, this would’ve brought Wentz down from 33 touchdowns on the season to 24, and he therefore would’ve finished as the QB 14 (Still QB5 on average, though) in standard scoring (Shout out to The Fantasy Footballers on this stat). If we bring Wentz down to the league average of 4.4%, he would’ve thrown only 19 touchdowns in 13 games.


Wentz averaged 5 rushing attempts per game, for 300 yards on the season. Coming off the injury, and a Superbowl win, I can see the coaching staff being a bit cautious with Wentz and the play calling, limiting Wentz’ rushing attempts, and leaning a bit more on the RB running game. There is no reason to risk their franchise quarterbacks health early in the season.


All being said, I believe Wentz is a great talent and will be a solid franchise QB, but as the 6thQB off the board ahead of Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and many other big names, he won’t be on any of my teams this season.  He could finish as a top 6 QB, but I think this is his ceiling.



Rashaad Penny


Chris Carson averaged a decent 4.2ypc last season over a small sample size, and has demonstrated his abilities between the tackles. In the first preseason game, Carson was much better in terms of eye-test and was breaking tackles and gaining yards after contact, while averaging 6.5 yards per carry on 4 attempts, while Penny was having a hard time finding holes, and only managed 16 yards on 8 carries. This is obviously an incredibly small sample size, but Pete Carroll has been hyping Carson since the beginning of the 2017 season, and seems eager to use him on early downs to start the season.


The Seahawks averaged 25.6 rushing attempts per game last season, 6 of which were from Russell Wilson. If we assume 20 attempts per game from all running backs, and (at this point at least) a generous touch share of 50% each between Carson and Penny, this leaves them with only 10 rushing attempts per game each, not accounting for the odd touches amongst the ancillary backs.


The argument can be made for increased rushing attempts due to Brian Schottenheimer coming in, but I don’t see this making a major impact. The Seahawks backs aren’t going to get much help from their offensive line, which is ranked near the bottom of the league. Combine this with a likely poor defense that has had a lot of turnover in the last two seasons, which could lead to the running backs being left out of the game script; I don’t foresee great opportunity for either of these guys.


Penny’s ADP has dropped over the past weeks from the 4thround to the middle of the 6thround (RB25) in 12 team PPR drafts. Even still, I wouldn’t be excited about having Penny (or Carson) as my RB3 to start the season. 



Adam Thielen


Thielen finished as the WR8 (WR11 on average) last season in PPR formats, impressing as a reliable receiver who doesn’t make mistakes. This being said though, he had a massive target share (27%) relative to his teammates, and the rest of the NFL (Antonio Brown had a target share of 23%). Case Keenum looked great last year, but he relied heavily on his top few options, and Pat Shurmur who was scripting his plays has moved on.


The table below displays the top 5 target shares of each the Redskins and Vikings in 2017, and it captures how Kirk Cousins loves to spread the ball around. The argument could be made that due to injury to Jordan Reed, and the overall ineffectiveness of Tyrell Pryor and the running game that it left Cousins with no choice but to spread the ball around, but I see this trend continuing as the new OC John Defilippo did much of the same last season in Philly. I’m predicting Thielens target share drops to around the 20% range, similar to Cousins top option in Crowder last season.



Kirk Cousins – 540 Attempts

Vikings – 527 Attempts



Target Share



Target Share

Jamieson Crowder



Adam Thielen



Josh Doctson



Stefon Diggs



Vernon Davis



Kyle Rudolph



Ryan Grant



Jerick Mckinnon



Chris Thompson



Laquon Treadwell










The Vikings have a suspect offensive line which could leave Kirk scrambling at times, and perhaps be looking for shorter dump offs to Cook or Rudolph. The stud Vikings defense is likely going to keep the team in the lead the majority of games, and I don’t see Kirk needing to sling it as much as he did in Washington. If we see his attempts reduce and a higher reliance on a healthy Dalvin Cook in the run game, I don’t like the odds of Thielen repeating in 2018. He’s being drafted as a WR1 in PPR formats, as the 12thWR off the board. He’s being drafted at his ceiling, and people are paying for last year’s stats. In my opinion, he doesn’t offer value in terms of return on investment based on his ADP, and he won’t be on my teams this year. I see him finishing somewhere in the middle between his 2016 and 2017 totals.



Evan Engram


The Giants lead the league last season in passing attempts (608 attempts, 38 per game), and have been in the top 10 for the past several seasons, but I could see this changing. They haven’t had a legitimate rushing threat for years, and Saquon Barkley finally offers reliability. Eli Manning is getting up there in age and has shown evident signs of decline – I could see the coaches leaning more on Saquon in 2018, both in terms of rushing, as well as catching balls out of the backfield in some of the shorter range dump-off situations that would typically go to a tight end. 


Engrams volume last season was inflated due to the fact that ODB and Stirling Sheppard each missed significant time, leaving Engram as essentially the WR1 at times. I think there are too many mouths to feed in NY – we know ODB and Barkley will be getting theirs, and Sheppard will be slotted in to the WR2. Barring injury, I could see Engram and Sheppard being the 3A and 3B options for Eli this season behind ODB and Barkley.


Although Engram has been electric thus far and will have a great career, there are other equally viable options that can be grabbed rounds later such as Delanie Walker or Kyle Rudolph who I would put in the same tier as Engram in terms of foreseeable fantasy production this season. I think Engram is a negative return on investment in 2018 based on relative volume and sketchy quarterback play.



Julian Edelman


Edelman is 32 years old, hasn’t played since 2016 due to an ACL tear and is missing the first 4 games of the season due to a suspension for PEDs, which concerns me from a fitness perspective. I respect that Edelman was Brady’s go-to guy at WR for 4 seasons, but he is WR29 ADP in PPR drafts amongst various other reliable options who will provide 16 games of service. He is only going 5 picks behind Chris Hogan who emerged last season and will be the clear WR1 for the 4 weeks Edelman is missing. 


The Patriots have a crowded receiving corps with Gronk, Edelman, Hogan, Dorsett, White, Patterson, Britt, Decker, and it’s not clear what Edelmans role is after being removed for a season and a quarter. I believe Hogan will be the lead WR, with Edelman taking on a capacity similar to what Amendola used to have when Edelman was the WR1 – and this is not something I’d invest in for my WR3, especially for only 75% of the season. 



Devin Funchess


Funchess got a lot of his opportunity last season due to the injury to Greg Olsen, as well as the trade of Kelvin Benjamin. With the return of Olsen, and the likely emergence of rookie WR DJ Moore, I’m predicting a reduced role for Funchess.


Carolina ran the third most rushing plays in the NFL last season, and I don’t see that trend changing as Norv Turner at OC is known for this style, and they invested in CJ Anderson who quietly had over 1200 scrimmage yards last season.  


Cam Newton averaged 499 passing attempts over the last 3 seasons, and with a career completion percentage of 58.5%, it can only be expected he makes around 290 completions on the season. Greg Olsen had over 100 targets 5 consecutive years (2012-2016), and over 120 targets in 2014-2016, it’s expected Christian McCaffrey will get over 100 targets, and rookie DJ Moore has looked like a beast in the pre-season and should take on an immediate role. I see Funchess as the least talented player of this core with Olsen, DJ Moore and McCaffrey dominating the target share in 2018, and Funchess becoming the 4th option.


Funchess is the expert consensus ranked 36WR and he’s the 39th WR taken in Fantasy Calculator PPR ADP. There are guys going around the same ADP with much higher potential volume projections, like Kelvin Benjamin, who I’d rather roll the dice on.






By: Sherlock


Subscribe to the Pyro Podcast:

Like us on Facebook: 

Follow us on Twitter:

Become a Pyro Pro: