Around this time every year, the excitement level for the upcoming NFL season starts to ramp up. With that excitement often comes selective memory. We must be able to put bias aside and look past the glory days of our favorite players. There are many fantasy winners from the NFL draft, however, we cannot forget about the corollary. For every veteran dynasty winner, there are veteran dynasty losers.
Let’s review some Veteran players who were losers as a result of the NFL draft.
Fantasy Loser: Tyrod Taylor, QB Cleveland Browns
This was a foregone conclusion by most experts. As soon as the Browns selected Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick of the NFL draft, Tyrod’s fate was sealed. There had been talks of the Browns taking a combination of Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb, and Denzel Ward with the possibility of skipping the quarterback position entirely due to the acquisition of Tyrod.
The Browns organization, however, chose to take yet another stab at finding a franchise quarterback. Tyrod may still have some value in single-season leagues during the early portion of 2018 due to the weapons that have been placed around him. How long he will be able to hold off the incumbent Mayfield remains to be seen.
Fantasy Loser: Sam Bradford, QB Arizona Cardinals
This contract never made much sense, to begin with. The Cardinals gave Bradford a whole lot of money for someone with his injury history. Luckily for them, Josh Rosen fell a bit further in the draft than most expected, and they traded up to get him. Rosen was regarded as the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft and the most likely to start from day one.
The Cardinals will have an open competition for the starting role, and I anticipate Rosen earning the nod. Bradford will likely not play a snap for Arizona during the regular season unless there is an injury, meaning his dynasty value has hit rock bottom.
Fantasy Loser: Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Every fantasy league has the owner who thinks they can pull the wool over your eyes. All winter and spring long I had an owner in my dynasty league try to sell me on Chris Carson. I was mildly interested as I needed more running back depth at the time, so we began negotiations. The problem that arose was a fundamental disagreement over Carson’s value. I can’t say I knew Seattle would draft Rashaad Penny in the first round, but I did anticipate them drafting a running back (I’ve got the texts to prove it!).
Before the draft, Carson was slated to earn the lead role based on his performance in 2017. Admittedly the sample size was small and Seattle clearly felt that Carson was not the answer to their league-worst 3.3 yards per carry last season.
Pete Carroll has already stated they want Penny to be a three-down back. Chris Carson went from a potential workhorse to nothing more than a handcuff. When in doubt, always wait until the conclusion of the NFL draft to make an offseason dynasty trade.
Fantasy Loser: Rex Burkhead, RB New England Patriots
After Dion Lewis signed with the Titans the New England backfield looked like it belonged to Burkhead. In only ten games last season Burkhead shined in the New England backfield. Burkhead managed to find the end zone eight times in 2017, averaging a respectable 5.5 yards per touch. The New England RB room is always a bit of an enigma, but James White has his role established as a passing downs specialist and neither Mike Gillislee nor Jeremy Hill presented a threat to Burkhead’s role.
Enter Sony Michel. Outside of Saquon Barkley, Michel was regarded by many to be the best all-around running back in this class. On any other team Michel would be a no-nonsense three-down back, however, this is New England. Michel will clearly be the lead back but Burkhead will likely find his way into the end zone a few times, his role just won’t be as prominent as it was in 2017.
Fantasy Loser: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Pittsburgh Steelers
JuJu has become a popular name among fans and fantasy players alike. He has the talent, and his numbers from 2017 would appear to indicate he’s positioned to become the next big thing. Upon further investigation however, maybe we should temper our expectations just a bit.
In 2017 as a rookie, JuJu managed seven touchdowns on 58 receptions for 917 yards boasting a very healthy 15.8 yards per catch average. Those are very impressive numbers for a rookie, let alone a rookie who shares the field with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
Martavis Bryant is out of the picture, however, the Steelers drafted a replacement player with even more talent than Bryant in James Washington. JuJu has immense talent and could blossom into an elite player in the latter part of his career, however with the expected regression from his 2017 numbers and the addition of James Washington his price tag is simply too high right now.
Fantasy Loser: Will Fuller, WR Houston Texans
Similar to Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller was a candidate for regression before the NFL draft even took place. The Texans then selected Keke Coutee who is expected to compete for the starting slot role immediately.
Fuller plays on the outside so his role won’t be reduced due to the introduction of Coutee, however, his volume certainly will. The slot was not a strong point for the Texans in recent years and Coutee has the skills to change that. This should mean more targets going to the slot role, and less for the outside deep threat Fuller.
DeAndre Hopkins is the top dog in Houston, possibly even the entire NFL, and as such, neither his role nor volume will be affected by the addition of Coutee. Fuller will be the one to feel the impact from the addition of the rookie, and with his boom or bust style of play, he is another overpriced receiver in dynasty. Fuller is, however, the perfect late-round target for the best ball format if you are familiar with it.
Being a fantasy loser does not mean in every case the player is worthless, just worth less. Don’t overpay for these players or try to acquire them at their current cost. If you already own them, try to find the owner who still believes!
Do you agree with this list? If so, great minds think alike! If not, leave your comments below and we can talk about it.