Fantasy Busts: Avoid These Players In Your 2020 Drafts
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Todd Gurley
Running back is the most volatile position in fantasy football, so it should come as no surprise that the players our trio of fantasy football rankers have flagged as having the highest bust potential are all RBs.
In fact, two of the three cited the same player.
Let’s jump into their analysis.
Clicking a player’s name to skip ahead.
- Sean Koerner was FantasyPros’ No. 1 fantasy football draft ranker of 2019, has finished as their top in-season ranker in three of the past five seasons and is Action’s Director of Predictive Analytics.
- Chris Raybon was the fourth-most accurate FantasyPros’ ranker of 2019 and has watched every NFL snap since 2010.
- Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs and was the sixth-most accurate FantasyPros ranker in 2017.
Nick Chubb, RB, Browns
Freedman: Chubb has under-appreciated downside risk.
There’s a non-zero change Kareem Hunt is the best running back in Cleveland, not Chubb. Hunt is certainly better as a receiver and he might be close enough to Chubb as a runner that you could look at the two of them and say, you know what, maybe this should be more of a split backfield between the two.
With new head coach Kevin Stefanski coming in, there’s also risk in how his offense translates from Minnesota to Cleveland — it might not go as well as expected.
There’s also the risk of not knowing how the usage is going to be split up between Chubb and Hunt as we haven’t seen Stefanski deploy either back.
Todd Gurley, RB, Falcons
Raybon: Gurley has lulled us into forgetting his risk.
He hasn’t missed many games due to his knee injury — it’s sidelined him for only three games since 2018 — but he’s seen a major decline in efficiency, which flew under the radar because his 12 touchdowns were enough to keep his investors happy last season.
Now Gurley is headed to an offense that should produce plenty of yards. A lot of analysts are slotting Gurley into the Devonta Freeman role as a result, but I don’t think it’ll be a seamless fit for Gurley.
Freeman saw a high volume of targets last season, catching 59-of-70 for 410 yards and four touchdowns, but I don’t think Gurley can actually replicate that. He was extremely abysmal as a pass catcher last season, catching only 31 of 49 targets with the Rams, and he was last in the league in yards per route run. He just isn’t creating the same type of yardage he was before the knee issues.
I know he hasn’t been completely unproductive yet, but I see it coming. Players are more likely to sustain injuries playing on artificial turf, like in Atlanta. The Falcons could also keep four backs active on game days, including Qadree Ollison, who is a legit threat to get goal-line work, because why else would you have him active?
Todd Gurley, RB, Falcons
Koerner: I agree with Raybon on Gurley.
For me, his bust potential comes down to opportunity cost. Often people who are investing in Gurley are prioritizing other positions over the first couple of rounds — which is totally fine — but then they realize they need a RB and take Gurley. But with his average draft position at 29th overall, people are passing up on Tier 4 wide receivers like Kenny Golladay and Adam Thielen in order to draft a Tier 5 RB in Gurley in that range.
The Falcons offense isn’t great for running backs, either. They’ve been a bottom-five team in rush attempts inside the 5-yard line each of the past two seasons while the Rams were in the top-five. RBs can’t really control those opportunities, so Gurley definitely benefitted from easy scores in Los Angeles that he just won’t see in Atlanta.
Decline in rushing touchdowns will make him appear like a bust. I’m avoiding him in basically all my drafts.
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