In a season where there seemed to be more disappointing performances than any other season, there are 10 players that stand out above the rest due to their high level of average draft position (ADP) and the corresponding lack of production for the season.
Minus the players who fell victim to the injury bug (i.e. Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, Doug Martin, Julio Jones, Reggie Wayne, Rob Gronkowski, etc), here are the 2013 fantasy football top 10 biggest busts, duds and fantasy season-wreckers listed below. Odds are if you owned one or more of these players then you struggled to lock down a playoff spot unless you worked the waiver wire diligently and pulled off some trades.
No other player might have had a polarizing effect on the success of your team than this Browns/Colts running back this season. Starting off slow and then being traded from the Browns to the Colts gave owners hope. Instead what seemed like promise ended up being a year where Richardson hit the lowest of lows. Not only was he ineffective running, as his less than 3 yards per carry average indicate, but he became a secondary option to Donald Brown in the red zone as the season progressed. With an offseason to learn the offense and working with Andrew Luck to catch more balls out of the backfield there is reason for hope next year. However, with an average draft position within the top 12 overall, he earns the bust of the year award without a shadow of a doubt.
Rice suffered through what is arguably his most frustrating football campaign since he came out of Rutgers. It wasn’t all his fault, as he struggled through a mysterious hip injury and multiple bruises. As a first round and top 12 overall selection in a majority of fantasy formats, it counts as a big-time bust when you only score 4 touchdowns and average 3.1 yards per carry, be it from injury or not.
Widely thought to be the heir to the football by committee throne in New England, Ridley earned a pre-draft ranking somewhere between 15 to 20 overall. This season got off to auspicious start in Buffalo where his fumblitis put him square in Bill Belichick’s dog house. He had some momentum going until 6 weeks ago when another fumble derailed his season. He has yet to cross the goal line since as Vareen, Bolden and Blount have carried the load. Busting many owner’s dreams of a championship in the process.
This was the season for Spiller to emerge in Buffalo while Fred Jackson was to help serve as a more change of pace back. Apparently first year head coach Doug Marrone didn’t get that memo and Spiller has tallied 2 rushing touchdowns to Jackson’s 9 this season. Spiller remains a mystery going forward in the Bills offense, but there is no mystery that as a top 10 pick on average, Spiller spelled bust for his fantasy owners. Hopefully owners took the insurance policy and picked up Fred Jackson, who proved to be far more reliable.
Roddy White never seemed to get it going this season. It wasn’t until week 13 that he finally eclipsed 50 yards receiving in a game. He did miss 3 weeks this season and played at less than 100% health in many others too, but for those who drafted him in the top 3 rounds of the fantasy draft, they’ve seen very little return on investment. His tally of 3 touchdowns probably came too late for owners to reap any rewards. Especially since he’s been very unreliable in what has been a lost season for a Falcons team that played in the NFC Championship game last year.
While Patriots fans wouldn’t consider this season a bust, his fantasy owners which had to endure his inconsistencies early on would concur with his combustible season. Helping the new receivers along and waiting for injured players to return were partially to blame. It wasn’t until week 9 until his 4 TD performance that he returned the favor to the owners that drafted him as one of the top 4 quarterbacks off of fantasy draft boards. From week 12 until last weekend he has turned in much more consistent and Brady-esque type fantasy numbers. However, it was a little too late for many owners to make up for his underwhelming early season efforts.
Robert Griffin III
Of all the young quarterbacks from last year’s rookie class, RGIII made the greatest decline in overall performance. Whether it was injury related or simply from poor protection and bad play calls it just wasn’t his year. RGIII’s unbelievable rookie campaign led to an average draft position between the 3rd and 5th rounds. His legs never got underneath him and even though he ran for over 500 yards, he never scored a rushing touchdown and his TD to INT ratio was a putrid 16 to 12. With expectations unreasonably high, RGIII busted many fantasy owners’ season. At least he didn’t get hurt and he wasn’t as bad as Eli Manning.
In his contract year Nicks seemed primed to breakout and be a focal point of this Giants offense. Drafted in the top 6 rounds on average, Nicks has yet to score a touchdown going into the final week in the regular season. Contribute it to Eli Manning’s regression, running the ball more, or whatever you want it was misery for him and fantasy owners. He makes for an interesting play next year depending on what team he goes to play for as a free agent. Honorable mention goes to his teammate Victor Cruz who was a bust in many games this season too.
This primary ball carrier in the Jets’ offense never could get his wheels going in Rex Ryan’s run-heavy offense. Bilal Powell took some carries away and Ivory didn’t crack the 100 yard mark until week 7. It wasn’t until week 9 that he found the end zone and only tallying 3 touchdowns all year qualifies as fantasy bust for a 4th/5th round fantasy draft pick. Expectations were much higher after showing glimpses of his burst last season with the Saints. Ivory might be a sleeper next season, but he was a big time bust this year.
Ball was hyped more than any other rookie running back coming into the pre-season as the one to have the largest first year impact. Coming out of the University of Wisconsin as the NCAA leading rusher he seemed primed to win the starting job and get the red zone looks and goal line plunges in the Broncos offensive attack. Instead Knowshon Moreno stole the show while Ball sat on the sidelines. He finally found the end zone in week 8 and in the last two playoff weeks he’s turned in putrid performances. By only busting into the end zone 4 times this season, the NCAA record holder for rushing touchdowns proved to be a first year fantasy bust.