It’s time to start doing your homework in preparation for your 2009 NFL fantasy draft. Numerous mock drafts are already complete and we’re seeing a lot of interesting trends. While putting together our 2009 NFL position tiers and rankings we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the 2008 fantasy draft and make a list of picks that fantasy owners would have liked to have back. Nobody wants to have a bad draft and every season has its surprise sleepers, as well as its early round busts. Here are the best of the worst fantasy football busts of 2008.
#10. Laurence Maroney
Maroney saw his stock rise in the 2008 fantasy drafts going in most leagues around the 40th pick. When Brady went down Maroney owners were feeling pretty good about their pick as it seemed as if the Patriots would need to emphasize their running game. Unfortunately, Maroney played in just 3 games in 2008 due to injury and rushed for a combined 93 yards with 0 TDs.
2009 Draft Day Outlook: Maroney’s 2009 fantasy stock has taken another severe hit with the Patriots recent signing of Fred Taylor. Sounds like another running back by committee system and both of these players are unlikely to be consistent fantasy options in 2009.
#9. Reggie Bush
There is no doubt that Reggie Bush is one of the most electrifying players in the NFL today, but that does not always equate into great fantasy numbers. Due to injury Bush only played in 10 games in 2008 and only averaged 40 rushing yards per game. His value is a bit higher in the PPR leagues, but that still does not warrant an average draft pick of around 30, which is where he was taken in most 2008 fantasy drafts. Coming off microfracture surgery, Bush is believed to be ahead of schedule and plans to participate in some of the Saints voluntary offseason workouts. We still don’t see Bush leading the Saints in carries as he offers more value in the Saints high-powered offense as a slot receiver/scatback.
2009 Draft Day Outlook: If you’re in a PPR league you may want to consider drafting Bush, but don’t expect more than 12-15 carries a game. If your league does not offer points for receptions or return yards don’t draft Bush.
#8. Derek Anderson
After throwing for nearly 3800 yards and 29 TDs in 2007, Anderson was one of the first 10 QBs taken in most 2008 fantasy drafts. Anderson only threw for more than 250 yards in 1 of the 10 games he played last season, compared to the 2007 season where he eclipsed that mark 7 times. Braylon Edwards’ inconsistency was a major contributor to Anderson’s drop in completion percentage and his 66.5 quarterback rating, however it was more than a few dropped passes to blame for his horrible 2008 season.
2009 Draft Day Outlook: Anderson is going undrafted in most 2009 fantasy mock drafts in favor of Brady Quinn. This situation is only worth monitoring if you are in a 2 QB league and either Anderson or Quinn should only be considered as a bye week fill in or late round QB2.
#7. Chad “Ocho Stinko” Johnson
With 1,440 yards receiving in 2007, Johnson was still a safe fantasy bet for your WR1 or WR2 slot at the start of the 2008 season. The Cincinnati offense and lack of Carson Palmer obviously had a negative impact on his numbers. Not counting his rookie season, Johnson had career lows in games played, receptions, yards, yards per game, and TDs.
2009 Draft Day Outlook: With a total of 540 yards receiving and only 4 TDs in 2008, its going to be hard to give him much respect in this years fantasy drafts. If you do plan on targeting him on draft day he may be worth looking at for your WR2 or WR3 slot.
#6. Darren McFadden
Its still hard to believe all the 2008 pre-fantasy draft hype McFadden was getting as a rookie on an offensively-challenged Oakland Raiders team. His average draft position was in the low 40s and he typically went before guys like Michael Turner, Willie Parker, and Matt Forte. McFadden only rush for more than 100 yards in one game and failed to rush more than 50 yards in any of the other 12 games he played last year. He ended the season with 499 yards rushing at a mere 38 yards per game and only 4 TDs. Fargas was definitely the Oakland back to own last season and he was drafted nearly 80 picks after McFadden.
2009 Draft Day Outlook: It looks like another time share between McFadden, Fargas, and Bush in the 2009 season. Bush may emerge as the Oakland RB with the most fantasy value this year, but its worth monitoring if you are desperate for RBs.
#5. Carson Palmer
Our condolences to any fantasy owners looking to benefit from the Palmer to Johnson connection in 2008 as both of these players made our list. Last year Palmer was among the first 5 QBs picked with an average draft position in the mid 30’s. Palmer played in 4 of the first 5 games of the season and did not take another snap the rest of the season. In the 4 games he did play he had a QB rating of 69 with 4 INTs and only 3 TDs.
2009 Draft Day Outlook: Look for Palmer to drop significantly in the draft order this year. Palmer declared his elbow “100 percent” and keep in mind he is only one year removed from a 4131 yard, 26 TD season.
#4. Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson was a guy that a lot of people thought would be a great value pick in the mid to late second round last year. In some fantasy leagues he even went as early as the first round, but overall he typically went around the 15th pick. In 8 games played in 2007 he averaged 70 yards per game, and he only did slightly better at 73 yards per game in 2008. Although he showed the potential of having a great year early in the 2008 season, the combination of his off-field troubles and a sputtering Chiefs offense, Johnson never got on track.
2009 Draft Day Outlook: A change of scenery could boost his value on draft day, but seems unlikely due to the lack of the Chiefs depth at the RB position. Early mock drafts have Johnson going around the 30th overall pick, but we are sure you’ll see him go a lot earlier with the hopes he can return to his 2005-2006 numbers.
#3. Joseph Addai
Coming off two straight 1,000 yard seasons, Addai was supposed to play an even bigger role in the Colts offense in 2008. Addai was also one of the few quality RB’s that was not in the dreaded running back by committee, which made him even more appealing on draft day. Many fantasy owners confidently picked Addai in the middle of the first round last year. With a total of 544 rushing yards and only 5 rushing TDs in 12 games its fair to say Addai was a huge disappointment.
2009 Draft Day Outlook: With Dominic Rhodes off to Buffalo, Addai is listed as the primary starter at running back for the 2009 season, but expected to split carries with rookie Donald Brown. You can expect to see Addai fall much deeper in your draft this year.
#2. LaDanian Tomlinson
Tomlinson or Peterson was the burning question if you had first pick last year. If you picked Tomlinson you know why he is number 2 on our list. Believe it or not, in 2008, Tomlinson only had two games where he rushed for over 100 yards. He only totaled 1110 rushing yards all season at a mere 69 yards per game. The worst part is he was supposedly healthy all season and played in all 16 games.
2009 Draft Day Outlook: Tomlinson still held some value in the PPR leagues, but you certainly expect a lot more out of the number one overall pick. Don’t be surprised to see Tomlinson slip to a late first round pick in your 2009 fantasy draft.
#1. Tom Brady
Tom Brady was a top 5 pick in nearly every fantasy league. Unfortunately, he went down half way into week one, which sent Brady owners scrambling to the waiver wires to add Matt Cassel. We don’t like to label players as “busts” because of an injury, but as far as fantasy leagues are concerned, he was a complete bust for the 2008 season. Throwing for 50 TDs and over 4,800 yards in 2007, its fair to say most owners expected a lot more than 76 yards and a blown out knee in 2008. Keep an eye on him in the 2009 draft as it is typical for players coming off a “bust” year to slide deeper into the draft and he may be a steal in the late 2nd or 3rd round.
2009 Draft Day Outlook: Early indications and mock drafts have Brady slipping to an average draft position of around 35. That’s great value if he comes even close to his 2007 numbers.