In a nutshell, fantasy football is a game about a game. It’s made to maximize fun and entertainment. But drafting a fantasy bust can suck all of the fun out of your season.
The worst part about drafting a bust is that you typically draft them early on. Thus, you continue blindly putting them in your starting roster with the hopes that they can produce fantasy points like they did in previous seasons. Here are five wide receiver busts that you will want to shy away from come fantasy draft time. You’ll thank me later!
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2023 WR Fantasy Football Busts
Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars
Calvin Ridley has been shooting up draft boards all summer, and currently, he’s settled into the fourth round of drafts, which feels bold for someone who hasn’t played professional football since Week 7 of the 2021 season.
The Jaguars traded for Ridley, and he’ll fill the role as an outside receiver while Zay Jones and Christian Kirk operate the middle of the field.
But this is a new role for Ridley. When he thrived in Atlanta, he was able to get single coverage while defenses locked in on Julio Jones. That won’t be the case in Jacksonville.
Trevor Lawrence has chemistry with his top three pass catchers, and it will be a monumental task for Ridley to take meaningful targets away from the top options in the passing game after being away from football for over a year.
Do yourself a favor and take an established receiver from this offense later in your draft rather than the one who’s been away from the game.
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
It appears that the people propping up Deebo Samuel’s third-round ADP are living in 2021 and choosing to ignore what happened in 2022 to the superstar WR. In 2021, Samuel’s fantasy production was through the roof, as he averaged 18 yards per reception and actually had more rushing touchdowns than receiving ones.
Last year was a different story as he struggled mightily to produce and even had some lingering hamstring and quad injuries that sapped him of his energy.
The biggest hurdle in Samuel’s way of returning to that 2021 production is Christian McCaffrey. When McCaffrey arrived, there was a change in the offense. The 49ers had never had such a dynamic pass-catching RB weapon in some time.
McCaffrey’s versatility as a pass catcher clashes with Samuel’s style since both can be moved all over the line of scrimmage to make a play. After last season, I’m not sure how Deebo kept his ADP so high. There could be some ugly weeks of production from him in 2023.
Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers
Christian Watson had one of the most incredible four-week stretches of football I’ve ever seen. From Weeks 10-13, he scored seven touchdowns and averaged seven receptions a game. He proved himself to be a big-play threat, and the Packers did their best to keep scheming him on deep routes.
But now Aaron Rogers is gone, and Jordan Love has stepped in. The problem with Watson this season is that he faces increased target competition compared to last season. Instead of a decrepit Randall Cobb in the slot, you now have rookie Jayden Reed, who has been a target magnet in practice. The Packers also drafted Luke Musgrave, who carries incredible speed for a big tight end.
We’re going to see Green Bay do everything within their power to dumb down the offense and make this season a success for Jordan Love.
Watson is not a safe target. He flies down the field recklessly, and while he could have some big games here or there, they will be incredibly hard to predict. Per Football Guys, his ADP is in the early fourth round, and that’s just a bit too rich for my taste.
Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
I feel gross writing Drake London down as a bust, but I’m greatly concerned about the lack of passing there could be in Atlanta. The Falcons project to be one of the more run-heavy offenses in the NFL, and while London will likely receive a high percentage of targets, the amount could be relatively smaller for an outside receiver that has flashed so much potential for greatness.
In 2022, London’s target share was 29%, good for fifth highest in the NFL. Yet, he finished with just 866 receiving yards.
Arthur Smith is going to run the ball like it’s the only option, and he’ll protect his young quarterback, Desmond Ridder, who only started in the final four games of the 2022 season. Drake London scored over 15 fantasy points just once in those four games. He also only had three red-zone targets in those final four games with Ridder. I’d rethink other options before smashing the draft button on him.
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts
It’s hard to think up of a receiver that’s started off their career with worse QB play than Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman started with Philip Rivers and his popgun arm, then Carson Wentz, who flamed out big time, and lastly, Matt Ryan, who was cooked.
Now maybe, just maybe, Pittman can get something going with rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, right?!
Richardson was named the starter for the Colts, but the coaching staff and beat writers have put out there that he still has room to grow. And while Richardson has more arm strength than any other quarterback Pittman has played with, he’s also more of a rushing threat, which in turn can take away pass attempts.
I like Pittman a lot as a prospect. He’s got a big frame and incredible speed, but this is a bad time to expect him to suddenly put it together with a rookie QB and rookie head coach. His upside is limited while his quarterback and head coach find their footing in the NFL.