Here are the busts of fantasy football 2019 with special guest Walter Cherepinsky from https://walterfootball.com/ .
We go over the busts at each position and discuss how you can avoid drafting one in 2020 fantasy football.
Fantasy Football Busts 2019
Josh Jacobs: Hey, it’s Josh Jacobs, and you’re listening to the Fantasy Football Counselor.
Joseph Robert: Welcome to the show, everybody. Joseph Robert, the Fantasy Football Counselor. Today is January 24th, and I’ve got a special guest here on an amazing show. We’re talking 2019 Fantasy Football busts. It was a crazy 2019 Fantasy Football year, but I’ve taken it to the polls and you guys, Counsel Nation, have voted on the biggest bust for Fantasy Football 2019. We’re going to review that, why it happened, how to avoid potentially getting these busts next year. You don’t want a bust next year. You want to avoid that. We’ve got a special guest. I’m going to introduce him right now. The guy has been in the industry for a long time. He’s got a phenomenal website with a ton of interaction. It’s Walter Cherepinsky from WalterFootball.com. What’s going on, Walter?
Walter C.: Not much. Thanks for having me on. I’m excited to talk about players who have disappointed us in 2019.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, it’s crazy. You can’t avoid these sometimes. I do my best to try to avoid it, and mind you, my advice got people avoiding a lot of players like Antonio Brown‘s of the world, Damien Williams, who’s pretty high up on his rankings, but you can never fully avoid all these guys. So we’ve got a list. You got a list yourself too of some busts that you came up with? Or is it something that your listeners have agreed with as well?
Walter C.: I have a list of eight players, so I wonder how many players we have similar. I think you already named two on my list. So there’s six to go.
Joseph Robert: Perfect. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your site, how to find you because you’re integrated in the Fantasy Football industry for a long time. So tell the listeners who you are and what you do.
Walter C.: Yeah. I’m at WalterFootball.com. We’ve been around for 20 years, actually a little bit more than 20 years now. We cover everything in the NFL, so not just Fantasy Football. We have rankings and sleepers and stuff like that for fantasy, but we also cover the NFL draft. We have a 2020 NFL mock draft. We also have a 2021 and 2022 NFL mock draft as well. So, we really go deep into the NFL draft. We have spread. We grade every free agency signing and NFL trade. We have tons of content every day. There’s new stuff on the site every single day. So you can check us out at WalterFootball.com or follow me on Twitter, @walterfootball.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, we’re going to have to get you back on a lot more often. Especially with this draft coming up, I’m curious because you do a little more deep dive, I think, in regards to the players, more into their skill set. Am I right? You know more about the players. Correct?
Walter C.: Yeah. Our NFL draft analyst, Charlie Campbell, I think he’s the best NFL draft analyst in the business. Well, he already has some scouting reports up. He will have scouting reports up of every major player to come into the NFL. And we also have detailed prospect rankings. So yeah, if you’re curious about the upcoming players to enter the NFL, you can just check us out and read all about them.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, that’s really good insight. Yeah, because we definitely want to see and avoid any potential rookie busts. And I’ve made that mistake. I’ve had guys where I’ve drafted a little early, guys like Ronald Jones, but again, a lot of this is predicated on where they land as well. But anyway, let’s not go off on a tangent. We’re going to do a whole other episode on that, the rookie draft class, all that stuff. But let’s talk about the busts here. Again, we took to Counsel Nation, our number one Instagram page, and I avoided tight ends because tight ends, I don’t know about that position.
Joseph Robert: The busts are mainly running backs, wide receivers. I think that’s where people focus on. So I’ve got the top quarterback, the top running back, and the top wide receiver that were busts and the honorable mentions. But also, again, want to hear your players. And let’s discuss why we think they busted. How did this happen, man? These guys are stud players. Very, very disappointing. So I guess maybe I’ll start off with what Counsel Nation voted as the bust quarterback, which was Baker Mayfield, a guy that I told people to be aware of. Be aware Baker Mayfield, not fully proven. Okay, so my question to you, Walter, is he on your bust list? And did you anticipate him busting yourself like this?
Walter C. He’s the only quarterback on my bust list. So he definitely made the cut there. I didn’t fully anticipate it. I didn’t like Baker Mayfield as much as other people. And I’m generally against drafting quarterbacks early. Now, I mean, if a guy calls you and has great value, I’ll take him. We’re not one of these people who will completely avoid quarterbacks until late but I usually do. And Baker Mayfield was going earlier than I wanted him to go. Well, I think he busted for several reasons, but what stood out to me was that the Browns came into the season with a bad offensive line. They had two, I think, suboptimal tackles, especially Greg Robinson, left tackle, he was terrible. And then they traded away their best guard, Kevin Zeitler for Olivier Vernon, which was a trade that I graded negatively for Cleveland. So Baker Mayfield with a bad offensive line, no experience, new coaching staff just seemed like trouble to me. So I avoided him.
Joseph Robert: Right. Yeah, I mean to me it’s just looking also, I look from a fantasy point of view as well. He didn’t do too much near the end of the season, last season when he was firing on all cylinders, Odell has been injured throughout the years. I just looked at that whole situation and then Nick Chubb was ranked so high and they ran the ball out with Chubb and also the volume count because you look at it, their top receiver last year was Landry, he maxed out. Now I understand Mayfield last year didn’t really maximize his capability. But, if you look at back in the 2018 season, you look at the max target count which was 149 and that was Landry. And to have a top-five wide receiver you need more volume and how are you going to split that between Odell and Landry? And these are some of the things that I look at when I’m looking at players for fantasy. You got to look at trends.
Walter C.: Yeah, absolutely. And I would say the receiver is a part of the reason Baker was busted. And it wasn’t something you really predict going into the year because Odell Beckham played the entire year with a sports hernia and then Jarvis Landry was a little banged up at the end as well. Those two things played a factor as well. We didn’t know Beckham was injured, although maybe we could have guessed that Beckham wouldn’t have been happy there and he would have complained the entire year so that played a factor as well. So maybe we could have seen that.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, I mean what you see is really what you get here at quarterback when you’re looking at busts here and again, Baker is the biggest bust. You could talk about other guys, but other guys got injured. Stafford got injured. Not really high up on a lot of people’s lists, but there weren’t any crazy surprises when you’re looking at busts. I mean you have guys that overperformed our expectations. Lamar Jackson 415 fantasy points are phenomenal. But like what you said, I like my team with a safe quarterback, but I look at the point scoring here. Number six Josh Allen finished with 288 points. When you look at him, he finished 6th. When you look at a guy that finished let’s say 15th there’s a 40 to 45 point fantasy point difference between those guys. So yeah, you don’t really want to invest too early when you’re looking at fantasy quarterbacks.
Walter C.: Yeah, I totally agree. You know there are always the top guys like Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes. Yeah, Mahomes got injured. So you were wise for drafting him early. But I generally like to spend an 11th or 12th round pick on my starting quarterback. Maybe even later if I look at the matchups for week one, I generally like to play matchups for quarterbacks and did that in one league I’m in this year. It’s a league I’ve been in since 2003. I won the championship in the league and in two out of the three playoff rounds I started Eli Manning as my quarterback, [crosstalk 00:08:10]. So, it just goes to show that you can wait on quarterbacks and get good values elsewhere.
Joseph Robert: All right. Let’s switch gears into running back, my favorite position for fantasy. I like to load up on my RBs early in the draft. Looking at the RBs, the biggest bust voted by Counsel Nation, and I don’t agree with this because it wasn’t all his fault and again, there’s a ton of busts here. I could say, Le’Veon Bell, I warned you about finished 21st amongst running backs in standard and finished 16th in PPR for Le’Veon Bell. He was the end of the first-round pick. But the guy that was voted by Counsel Nation was David Johnson, number one. Walter, do you agree with this and who are your running back busts? Let’s hear what you got to say please.
Walter C.: Yeah. David Johnson. It wasn’t really a thought, although at the same time he, he never had the explosion that he had before his injury. He got a lot of pipe heading into the year and I didn’t have him as highly as other people did, but I wasn’t really down on him either. I thought it was intriguing that he would get a lot of receptions and that’s what he was doing early on. So you know in PPR formats, I don’t think he was bust. He was doing well on DraftKings, for example, which is like a PPR-based website. He was a good play on drafting occasionally.
Walter C.: So, I didn’t even have him on my bust list. But now that you bring him up, I guess you can make the case for him because he got injured late in the year and then we saw what Kenyan Drake did at the end. So yeah, David Johnson he probably should be on the bust list. He wasn’t on my initial draft. I have four running backs on my bust list. Damien Williams, who you mentioned earlier, Todd Gurley, James Conner and Kerryon Johnson.
Walter C : Yeah, I agree on all those. And there’s so many excuses. I mean you can really make an excuse for everybody, but David Johnson, I mean it was a coaching thing. Kenyan Drake came in looked a little more explosive, fits the offense better. But again, you guys make the same excuses for the other guys. But I agree. I mean Damien Williams super hyped, years to wow me. I wasn’t wowed. He was always a backup on a backup plan. He was always a backup guy. So when you look at him here, it’s like man, I mean second-round pick was a little early for me. I understand the offense was high octane, this and that, but injuries sidelined him, Kerryon Johnson, injuries as well. But, at the end of the day, they’re performing well below their ADP, injury, off-season stuff. I mean off-field issues, stuff like that. That’s all part of it, right?
Walter C.: Yeah, I think so. And I think there were multiple things for each player, like for Williams. You’re absolutely right in what you’re saying. He had no history of positive production outside of what he did at the end of last year. And then when they got LeSean McCoy, suddenly you’re saying, okay, they’re going to split the carries. But it wasn’t only that, it was Darwin Thompson performing well in training camp in the preseason. So it seemed like they didn’t really want Damien Williams to handle the workload, but he had a great playoff run here. But, he was the boss for the regular season for sure.
Joseph Robert: He’s definitely making a case for himself for next season, depending on the offseason moves with the Kansas City Chiefs. If I’m the Chiefs though, I’d definitely invest in a more secure running back. A guy that’s more proven, a little more solid, more durable, can’t trust McCoy. McCoy was just so inconsistent running around with the ball five yards away from his body, fumbling the ball, I don’t know man. He’s just washed up. He’s so overrated right now. My opinion.
Walter C.: Yeah, I agree. And, when they were making him inactive in a couple of games in the second half of the season, people were saying, “Oh they’re resting him, like load management but [crosstalk 00:11:57], in the NBA.” But, anyone who really watched him was like this guy’s washed up. So he wasn’t really doing anything for them.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. So any other busts? But, that was the honorable mention was Damien Williams as the number two bust behind David Johnson according to Counsel Nation. And I’d say that Damien Williams is the number one bus. Again, David Johnson, if you look at the first six weeks, he was doing well. And again, a lot of this was a coaching thing and partly because of that injury and his lack of explosiveness. But I think at the end of the day, either one of those could be a good argument.
Walter C.: Yeah, I agree. He’s number one on my list. So I agree there. Todd Gurley was number two. I didn’t understand how people were drafting early at the end of the first round. I think his ADP was 111, 112 or 201 or something like that, depending on where you look. I really didn’t get it because not only was he undergoing arthritis in his knee, which just sounded horrifying for a running back, he was also going to run it behind an offensive line that lost three starters in the off-season. So I thought, act early in the third round. I wasn’t taking him before that. But, you start so early and using, as well.
Joseph Robert: I want to justify the reasoning behind the end of first round. Now, I was one of those guys that liked him there in some of my drafts, but I also backed him up with Derek Henry right after. And another guy in round three. So I always had robust RB in the first three rounds and then I got myself like a Kenny Golladay in round four because I saw the upside of him. But again, it’s Todd Gurley. At the end of the day, you thought the offense would perform well, you thought, did he still get the volume? The warning signs were definitely there. I totally see why he should have been avoided to some degree, but you can see that what they did in the first half of the season, they have preserved him and realized, “Oh crap, we may not make the playoffs here, whatever.” Right. So then they started playing them the news, doing well. Had they play him the way that they should have played him, he would have done a lot better. But yeah, sheer preservation of Todd Gurley was the mentality, especially with the first half of the season.
Walter C.: Yeah. I think he’s an interesting case study for 2020 because what you’re saying is right. If they gave him more volume, he would’ve produced a lot better. But at the same time, maybe he just can’t handle that volume anymore. So, I’m worried about his needs. Anytime you hear arthritic knees for a running back, it’s a major red flag. So, I don’t know. I guess it really depends on what his ADP is. If it’s 112 or 201 again, I’m certainly not going to have him. If it’s third, fourth round, I’ll probably draft him in some leagues.
Joseph Robert: Right. Yeah. So, that wraps up running backs. Is there anything else you want to add to that or want to move on to wide receivers?
Walter C.: Just the two other guys I mentioned, James Conner, Kerryon Johnson. Johnson was injury-based. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy in his two years. So I wonder if that’s going to be a trend. With Conner, it was a multitude of things. He got injured, but he also had to deal with playing in a backfield with horrible quarterback because of Roethlisberger’s injury. So that wasn’t really his fault. I think Conner could bounce back, but, we’ll see.
Joseph Robert: Right. That moves us on to the biggest bust potentially as a wider receiver position. And a lot of this was predicated on Big Ben going down. But, it’s got to be Juju and it was between JuJu and AB, between Counsel Nation. AB, the biggest busts when it comes to wide receiver. And again, I don’t think that’s fully true. I guess it is. He wasn’t on the field but I would probably give it to JuJu. But again, all of these on circumstances, Big Ben being gone screwed JuJu’s value. AB, I saw a decline coming either way because Big Ben wasn’t going to be there. New team, new offense, new situation, no way but down for AB and never did I imagine the drama surrounding him to this degree. So who do you have as the biggest bust for you at wide receiver and who are some other guys that came up with your followers and yourself?
Walter C.: Yeah, and I have three busts at receiver. Antonio Brown was number one, clearly. He played one game for the Patriots against Boston and then that was it. You could say in hindsight that the warning signs were there. It’s harder with the weird frozen feet thing and then also the dysfunction with the Steelers in the locker room there and then the weird helmet thing. And toward the end of the summer, I was on my own podcast and I was talking to my cohost Kenny and I was like, “I don’t think I’m going to draft Antonio Brown.” There seemed to be way too many things going on there. And I said to Kenny, “I really thought that he would quit on the Raiders halfway through the year.” I never see him just going crazy and not playing 15 games out of the year. So, he was even a bigger bust than I thought he would be, and he was the bust for me entering the year.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. It was unbelievable, man. Antonio Brown, big let down. I stayed away from him. I stayed away from a lot of people JuJu was a guy I was high on. I thought there was a ton of upside there. Big disappointment. I was very fortunate not to draft him in any of my drafts because I was going with that robust RB strategy. So yeah, I avoided him this year, which was a good thing. Who else do you have as a bust for your guys there?
Walter C.: Yeah, JuJu was my number two bust. It wasn’t really his fault. I liked him as well, but, you can’t really force the injuries to other positions. So, when Roethlisberger went down JuJu didn’t have a chance to match his production. My other receiver is Odell Beckham. A couple of things with him, you had Baker Mayfield’s decline because the offensive line, the new coaching staff and I don’t know if he was really focused on football with all the commercials he did this offseason and all the high expectations and then Beckham had to deal with the sports hernia. So it was several things with him. So yeah, JuJu and Beckham were my other bust receivers.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, I want to stand corrected. The second-place guy was Odell. The third was JuJu for us. So it was AB, Odell, JuJu, my mistake. But, either one of those guys can be the number one bust. You can argue that you know to whenever. But yeah, those are the three biggest busts I think at wide receiver position. Other letdowns, in my opinion, were guys like Davante Adams who finished 22nd amongst wide receivers and PPR and again that was due to injury, he only played 12 games. And I find that the Packers, due to the new coaching and a whole different offense, and it’s essentially based on the coaching changes. They ran the ball a lot more. Do you agree with that?
Walter C.: Yeah, it certainly seemed that way. It looked like they were more conservative offensively. They’re less willing to take chances. I think later in the year that changed a bit. But yeah, early in the year it seemed like they were more willing ], like 10 to six or what was it like 10 the three to open up the year against Chicago. It looked like they wanted to engage in those kinds of games. Adams. But you know, Adam certainly had some big performances during 2019.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. So, that wraps up wide receivers. Those are your pretty much your tie. Anyone else you want to mention here for a wide receiver that I missed?
Walter C.: No, I think that’s it. I mean there were a couple of guys who were impacted by injuries as well. You had Marvin Jones late in the year. Not only did he get hurt, but his quarterback got hurt as well. Same thing with Kenny Golladay. I love Golladay and he was doing great until Stafford got hurt and he had a couple of decent performances with Blough, especially on Thanksgiving, but otherwise, he didn’t do as well. But you can’t really blame him. It was the quarterback getting injured.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. You can definitely wait on wide receivers, definitely. We’re going to talk about this in draft strategy times as we get closer. That’s way too early for that. Tight end. Again, I don’t get too deep-diving into the tight end because what you see is pretty much what you get. Unless Travis Kelce finished a hundredth amongst tight ends, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t really care so much about the tight end. Is there anyone that you want to mention AT tight end that really busted or is it worth mentioning? It’s not a big deal. I don’t think.
Walter C.: Yeah, there’s one guy who made my bust list, O.J. Howard. He was going in the fourth or fifth round. I don’t have the ADP in front of me, but he was going relatively early and I didn’t like him at all. Bruce Arians, has never favorited tight end in his offense. So I was curious about how he’s going to integrate O.J. Howard and he really didn’t. And okay, Howard had a terrible year and he really disappointed people who drafted tight ends early and I’m generally against that as well. I like to wait on tight ends, maybe like, Brown and that’s another position where I play match up, unless your league is crazy and you can get a Travis Kelce in the third round. I would generally wait on tight ends. But yeah, O.J. Howard, definitely bust.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, I guess I have one too, is Vance McDonald. Vance McDonalds, again, a lot of that was Big Ben again and had high expectations of him due to high volume. He could have had high volume with Antonio Brown not being there. He has some rapport with Big Ben. Big Ben goes down and Vance had a terrible year. Terrible year.
Walter C.: Oh yeah, absolutely. He should’ve made my bust list. The reason he didn’t is because I had him way down in my rankings. I had him as a projected bust heading into the year. So, I didn’t even think of him. But yeah, he was a major bust this point as well.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. So I want to get you on the show a lot more often. We’re going to shout out your web page again, but I’m going to put you on the spot here a bit with a technical question. So when you’re doing a fantasy draft, because you’ve got a lot of years experience, I want to pick your brain on this, just so Counsel Nation can get like a different perspective. What’s the best strategy, in one or two sentences, very simple to try to avoid these busts? What can you do to avoid drafting an Odell or a JuJu? I know it’s not fully avoidable, but any type of strategy or tip or anything you can offer that would help people for 2020 drafts?
Walter C.: So in addition to looking at injuries, I think that’s important. One major thing that a lot of people don’t consider is the offensive line. I mentioned Todd Gurley, Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, major reason why these guys busted is that their offensive line got worse during the offseason. Their teams lost several offensive linemen. So I think looking at that is very important. It’s something that most people tend to ignore, but if a team’s offensive line is a lot worse or it was pretty bad in the first place, it’s going to be tough for players to produce, especially when going against teams with great defensive lines. So that’s something I really paid attention to.
Joseph Robert: Very good insights. So injury trends, offensive lines, and there are so many other factors. There’s coaching, there are depth charts, there are so many other things. One O-line I will be watching this year, I will tell you, cause I am really high on his talent as a lot of people are is Saquon Barkley. I want to see improvements on that O-line. Is that right? Is that an O-line you want to see improved as well?
Walter C.: Yeah, I would love to see that. And it’s funny you bring that up because, in my mock draft, the Giants are picking fourth. I’ve had Jerry Jeudy going to them for a few weeks just because he’s the best player on the board, not because they need a receiver. It’s just the best player available. But, I was thinking that David Gettleman, the GM, he loves a bolstering note, the trenches, so I change that to Andrew Thomas, the top tackle in the draft from Georgia. If they draft Thomas that’s going to be huge], for Barkley and also Daniel Jones and the receivers.
Joseph Robert: Yeah, we’ve got a lot to talk about at the draft and I’m going to be at the draft. It’s going to be super exciting but there’s so much to talk about including Cincinnati. Okay. Quick question before we wrap this up because you have a lot of expertise on this. If you’re Cincinnati or you’re their head coach now, do you beef up that O-line and protect the quarterbacks that you have or do you get the best possible quarterback and risk him getting injured because of the crappy O-line. What are you doing right now if you’re Cinci?
Walter C.: Why not both? You could get Joe Burrow, number one overall and what I have been doing at 3 I taught the second round is drafting Solomon Kindley from Georgia, one of the best parts in the draft. So you can do both. They’re going to get Cordy Glenn presumably back. He barely played last year and when he returned that team speaking about the offensive line improvement, that that team really played better down the stretch. Joe Mixon had his best games at the end of the year with Cordy Glenn though. If Cordy Glenn can stay healthy and they draft a couple of, or maybe sign someone in free agency, they can do both and they can be pretty competitive in 2020.
Joseph Robert: Yeah. I can’t wait. I cannot wait until 2020 Fantasy Football. So yeah. Well, thanks for being on. So again, how do they find you? Can you shout out your website? Also, your social media channels, what is the best way to reach you, contact you, and message you?
Walter C.: Yeah, WalterFootball.com, just go there. All the content is free. As I said, we cover everything or you can follow me @walterfootball on Twitter. So yeah, definitely check us out.
Joseph Robert: I appreciate you coming out, Walter. Thank you for being here and we’re going to get you on more often. Thank you.
Walter C.: All right, sounds good. Thanks for having me on.
Joseph Robert: Have a great day everybody. We’ll talk soon.
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