2007 Fantasy Football Busts

Last updated: 8/30/07

To complement my article reviewing the expected fantasy sleepers of the season, here are my “busts” of the year. What we’re looking for here are the 2006 “Cadillac” Williamses, the 2003 Peerless Prices and the post-injury Daunte Culpeppers. So get your red magic marker out and prepare to perform a little surgery on your 2007 cheat sheets…

Matt Hasselbeck (QB – SEA): The loss of D-Jack could hurt more than expected. I don’t see the combination of Branch/Burleson being nearly as threatening as D-Jack/Branch (with Burleson being used to stretch the defense) was last year. I expect a lot of running from this Seattle team and wouldn’t be surprised to see a drop off in Hasselbeck’s numbers because of it.

Vince Young (QB – TEN): That’s right, I said it. I see your 2008 Madden cover boy as a potential bust for this season. This has nothing to do with the “Madden Curse”, and even less with his terrific Wonderlic test scores. The reason I see Young as a bust this year is because in a year when you would expect him to advance in his progressions, the team lost their number one receiver, Drew Bennett. Replacing Bennett is Eric Moulds, who will be 34 this season and hasn’t been at the top of his game for some time now. If Young starts panicking and thinks he’s Mike Vick v2.0, I expect a minor setback in his game overall this year. (Update 08/14/07: In case you doubt me, this guy agrees)

JaMarcus Russell (QB – OAK): What a mess this situation seems to be turning into. Expected to be something of a savior for an Oakland team that unwillingly wheeled Andrew Walter out last season, Russell hasn’t even signed a contract going into week two of the preseason. I have to say that I agree with my colleague Matt on this one… stay far, far away from Russell unless you’re a super Oakland fanboy or you have a masochistic personality.

Oakland RB’s: Although not everyone would consider this really picking a “bust”, as there seem to be low expectations to begin with, I would just like to go on the record and say that any inkling of hope you have for a good year from an Oakland RB should be squashed. Those are glass-half-full thoughts for a team who knocked the glass over a long time ago.

Kevin Jones (RB – DET): Again, I’m not sure that this qualifies as a true “bust”, but I wouldn’t expect Kevin Jones to have any resurgence of his career this year. An annual disappointment, I see Jones again living up to this description. With Tatum Bell now on the team, I expect to see at best a platoon in the backfield. Kevin Jones can’t stay healthy and even when he is, he’ll never be the starting running back you’re looking for. (Update 08/13/07: Although unconfirmed, it appears Jones will miss the first six games of the season with a foot injury…surprise, surprise)

Tony Gonzalez (TE – KC): At this point in his career, I don’t really see Gonzo continuing to produce at the same level he has in the past. He’s now 31 and with QB questions compounding the issue, I predict this to be a good year for Larry Johnson, but not so much for Gonzalez. He’ll get some yardage, but the rock will be in LJ’s hands come redzone time.

Donald Driver (WR – GB): For the past three years, Driver has managed to rip off about 1200 yards receiving with 6-8 TD’s or so. I see this year as the year it starts heading back down the hill. Although certain other fantasy experts (such as the Fantasy Football Guys and this guy) love to ride Driver’s jock still, I have to think the age of Driver (32), the age of Favre (38), the rise of second-year soon-to-be star Greg Jennings, and the lack of a solid running game will all play a role in Driver having a less than stellar season. Keep in mind…Donald Driver is NOT Marvin Harrison, TO, or Randy Moss.

Mike Furrey (WR – DET): With Calvin Johnson on the roster, Furrey moves to the slot position for Detroit. If Furrey still catches almost 100 balls amongst competition from Roy Williams and Johnson, you can call me out. I predict a huge drop off in production from what we saw last season (98 recpt, 1000+ yrds, 6 TDs), probably to the tune of a drop off of nearly 30%.

Maurice Jones-Drew (RB – JAX): Last year, Jones-Drew came storming out of the Oompa-Loompa factory to the tune of 900+ yards rushing, 13 rushing TD’s, 400+ yards receiving, 2 receiving TD’s and 870 return yards, and a return TD. Not too shabby for the 60th overall pick in the draft. This year however, he won’t be a surprise to everyone. Expect game planning against Jones-Drew and probably less use in the special teams game. If Fred Taylor stays healthy for almost the entire season again, expect him to take a lot of the carries. I’m not estimating a bad season from Jones-Drew, just don’t get hopes up that he will get the same stats that he did in his breakout campaign last year, especially in the TD category.

Well that about wraps it up with my “busts” of the year. I would have mentioned Tony Romo on the list, but I think it’s more me being jealous of him getting loads of hot celebrity girls all of a sudden than me actually thinking he’ll have a bad year. He’s got TO, so he’ll put up decent numbers. If I think of any other “busts”, I’ll make sure to add them to the list. If you feel the urge to draft one of these guys and they have a bad season, you can come back here for a big “told ya so”.