Well, the first week of NFL season has come and gone. That means it’s time to craft some grossly premature narratives about the players on your fantasy team.
Jameis Winston? Stud! Adrian Peterson? Washed up. Case Keenum? That’s your fault if you had him on your fantasy football roster in the first place.
Of course, it’s too soon to give up on any of the guys you started in Week 1. But it’s never too early to assess which players might have been overvalued during the preseason. The first edition of the 2016 All-Bust fantasy football team features several players who could rightfully be pegged with that designation already, as well as a few who probably just need a couple weeks to get into a groove.
The selection process for each week’s All-Bust fantasy football team is pretty simple: The difference between the projected point totals and the actual outputs of each player is calculated. The guys with the worst sums wind up here.
Note: All projected point totals were pulled Sunday morning from Yahoo’s standard scoring system. Players must be owned in at least 50 percent of Yahoo’s fantasy football leagues to qualify for All-Bust “honors.”
QB: Tyrod Taylor, Bills
Projected points (position rank): 18.5 (15th)
Actual points (position rank): 5.5 (31st)
Tyrod Taylor emerged as one of the league’s most exciting quarterbacks in 2015. Unfortunately, that didn’t show on Sunday, as the Bills and Ravens partook in what was easily the most unwatchable contest on a day full of thrilling games.
Taylor recorded 111 passing yards while completing 15-of-22 attempts, as the Bills offense produced just one play that gained at least 20 yards. It was a far cry from Taylor’s breakout campaign a year ago when Buffalo routinely produced big plays through the air.
RB1: Todd Gurley, Rams
Projected points: 14.8 (1st)
Actual points: 4.2 (T-46th)
With a massive primetime California showdown concluding the Week 1 slate, Gurley was expected to fill a starring role and draw Los Angeles football fans out to the Coliseum for the franchise’s home debut next week. Instead, anyone who watched the 28-0 blowout was likely repulsed by what they saw from LA’s offense.
After slicing through the 49ers defense for 133 yards and a touchdown during Gurley’s only matchup against San Francisco last year, he only mustered 47 yards on 17 carries in Monday night’s ugly affair.
The best takeaway that Gurley’s fantasy football owners can find solace in is that Case Keenum certainly didn’t inspire enough confidence to merit a more pass-heavy approach for LA in the near future.
RB2: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Projected points: 12.7 (6th)
Actual points: 3.1 (54th)
Peterson cracked the All-Bust team during Week 1 last year, too. Perhaps, this is something we should expect from now on, especially given Peterson doesn’t participate in any preseason contests. The season opener functions as a warm up for Peterson in some ways, which makes his awful debut against the Titans (19 attempts, 31 yards) a bit easier to comprehend.
Peterson also had to overcome Tennessee’s decision to load the box, as the Titans clearly weren’t concerned about Vikings quarterback Shaun Hill shredding their secondary. Though Sam Bradford isn’t a top-tier gunslinger himself, Peterson would benefit from having his former college teammate beside him in the backfield going forward.
WR1: Dez Bryant, Cowboys
Projected points: 12.4 (5th)
Actual points: 0.8 (T-102nd)
While Dak Prescott was dink-and-dunking through his NFL debut, Bryant might as well have been hanging out on the sidelines. Prescott attempted 45 passes – tied with Andrew Luck for the second-most in NFL history for a rookie in Week 1 — but only five of them were meant for Bryant, and the pair connected for a lone reception and eight yards.
Even the ragtag rotating cast of quarterbacks Dallas employed for most of 2015 helped Bryant average eight targets, 3.4 receptions and 44.6 yards per game last season.
Prescott must realize he’ll have to maximize Bryant’s ability if the Cowboys are going to stay afloat in the playoff race while Tony Romo is injured.
WR2: Brandon Marshall, Jets
Projected points: 11.8 (7th)
Actual points: 3.2 (T-72nd)
Marshall caught three of eight balls thrown his way by Ryan Fitzpatrick, totaling just 32 yards. After tying for the league lead with a career-high 14 touchdowns last season, Marshall couldn’t bring in either of his two end-zone targets against Cincinnati on Sunday and also dropped a deep pass down the seam.
Chalk it up as an off day for Marshall, who should have plenty of chances to reach paydirt over the next couple weeks against the soft secondaries of Buffalo and Kansas City. With dual-threat back Matt Forte replacing Chris Ivory in New York’s offense, the Jets figure to be even more pass heavy than they were a year ago when Marshall recorded the best statistical season in Jets franchise history.
TE: Coby Fleener, Saints
Projected points: 8.5 (4th)
Actual points: 0.6 (T-44th)
Fleener’s move to New Orleans sparked a lot of hype for the Stanford product this summer, but he failed to follow through against a Raiders defense that allowed the third-most points to tight ends in 2015.
Drew Brees looked like his usual otherworldly self at home in the Superdome against the Raiders, but Fleener was invisible for most of the game. He didn’t log a catch until the fourth quarter, and that six-yard reception was his only contribution to the Saints cause.
If Fleener’s fantasy football owners thought he could replicate the production Jimmy Graham used to churn out in the Bayou, this effort brought them back down to Earth. A couple more similar showings against the Giants and Falcons in the coming weeks could see Fleener fall out of the TE1 tier.
FLEX: Devonta Freeman, Falcons
Projected points: 12.3 (7th)
Actual points: 4.0 (48th)
Plenty of Falcons fans like myself knew that Freeman’s muted role would enrage a lot of people expecting him to be the bell cow back for Atlanta’s offense. The coaching staff had been fairly transparent throughout training camp about plans to split the load more between Freeman and second-year back Tevin Coleman, but Freeman’s surprising scoring burst last season evidently influenced enough people to make him the No. 7 RB in ADP, per Fantasy Pros.
That’s why you do your pre-draft homework. Freeman totaled 40 yards on 15 touches against Tampa Bay, who lead for most of the game. The speedy Coleman showed off his potential as a passing threat out of the backfield, racking up 95 receiving yards to combine for 117 yards on 13 touches.
Coleman missed several weeks in 2015 with a fractured rib and could only watch as Freeman ran away with the starting tailback job. The Indiana product likely won’t have to worry about that happening again this year, while Freeman’s owners should certainly be concerned over his waning top-dog status in Atlanta.
D/ST: Kansas City Chiefs
Projected points: 8.1 (3rd)
Actual points: 1.0 (T-24th)
San Diego scored 27 points against the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium, something that’ll surely upset Kansas City’s defensive coaches. It could’ve been even worse — Keenan Allen tallied six receptions for 63 yards before he tore his ACL with the Chargers up 21-3 just minutes before halftime.
The Chiefs largely stifled San Diego from that moment forward, but they were still easily the most underachieving defense in Week 1. Out of the top 16 most-owned D/ST in Yahoo leagues, Kansas City’s was the only unit to not register at least 3 points.
KC’s D is probably a little overrated right now. They clearly missed departed cornerback Sean Smith on Sunday, and the absence of Justin Houston certainly affects the pass rush.
But it’s worth nothing that it took this defense some time to gel last season, too. The Chiefs gave up an average of 31.3 points in its first four contests in 2015, then allowed more than 20 points just once the rest of the way. Getting linebacker Tamba Hali back to full strength should help matters — the five-time Pro Bowler played just 42 snaps after missing the entire preseason due to offseason knee surgery.
K: Chandler Catanzaro, Cardinals
Projected points: 8.8 (9th)
Actual points: 3.0 (T-27th)
Clean-cut arithmetic typically isn’t the deciding factor for which kicker appears on the All-Bust lineup, as it is with other positions. Instead, missed opportunities and generally frivolous actions drive the selections for this section.
And no one missed a bigger opportunity in Week 1 than Catanzaro. Tasked with attempting a go-ahead field goal with less than a minute to go against the depleted Patriots, the 25-year-old out of Clemson pulled the 47-yard try wide left. It was tied for the shortest field goal he’d missed since Week 14 in 2014, his rookie campaign (though he also missed a handful of extra points last year).
Catanzaro shouldn’t shoulder all the blame, as the snap was far from perfect. But that’s no consolation to his fantasy football owners out there who lost their opening matchup by just a couple points thanks to Catanzaro’s primetime miss.