Author’s Note: *Please light a vanilla scented candle and play Paula Cole’s “I Dont’ Want To Wait” while reading this article.
The night was May 14, 2003. A night I was greatly anticipating because of two big events. First the series finale of my favorite tween television series, Dawson’s Creek or The Creek to the cool kids, was airing. Then at midnight I was going to see the sequel to The Matrix, which was easily one of the best science fiction films of the previous ten years. It turned out to be the most disappointing night of my twenty-something pop culture obsessed life. It all started with hope, which is a terrible thing to have when you have no actual control over characters of a situation. For six years I watched Joey and Dawson pine, fall in love, and have poor timing. The finale was when it was all supposed to come to a head. Instead, Joey Potter, the girl next door of my dreams, chose Pacey who just two episodes earlier lost all of Dawson’s money and honestly shows little remorse when one of his closest friends dies of cancer. Excellent choice Joey. I’m sure he’ll be a great rock of strength when you two go through the trials and hardships of life. All he ever really did was paint a wall for you. As you can see, I am still dealing with issues from the completely irrational fan service ending. From “The Disappointment at the Creek” was the utter thud of Matrix Reloaded, a film so lackluster and disappointing the nostalgia reboot arriving this December is surnamed “Resurrections.” My friends and I all left the movie theater feeling like our high school crushes had left us for cooler, more exciting franchises. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, that also happened to me on the morning of May 14, 2003. It would be safe to call that early summer day a total bust.
Busts are something we as fantasy managers often must endure sadly. Players we thought were going to produce or be solid contributors just don’t live up to the mark. Sometimes it’s a small bust like last year taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round when he returned at best fourth round value. Not a horribly crippling situation, but one which found you playing catch-up most of the season. Then there are the colossal busts you may still find lingering in the depths of your soul seasons later. Much like my “Dawson’s Dilemma” or my shares of 2013 Trent Richardson which still haunt me to this day. Matt Forte was there in every draft in 2013, but nope, I was all-in on Richardson. One thing I wasn’t all-in on 2013 were the playoffs. If anything, I was All-Out (shout out to the greatest pro wrestling PPV of the last ten years over the weekend) of them. Here are my busts for the 2021 NFL fantasy season.
Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
ADP: 64.1 | Positional ADP: QB6
Quarterback is by far the hardest position to really declare a bust for in 2021. Average draft position feels really on mark, but of the quarterbacks inside the top 12, the value I like the least is Russell Wilson. I still think he can have a good season, just not as the sixth best quarterback as he is being drafted. Wilson started last season out with eight straight games of over twenty fantasy points, averaging 28.5 points per game putting him well on pace to finish as the number one overall quarterback in fantasy. This is the type of production you want from someone you are spending an early to midround pick on in your fantasy drafts. Then teams started figuring him and the Seahawks game plan out. The final eight games were another story as he averaged only 16.4 fantasy points per game which would have had him finishing around eighteenth at the position. I am a proponent of waiting on quarterback in general since five out of the last six seasons at least half of the top ten starting quarterbacks are drafted as the QB11 or later. The idea of drafting Wilson before players with much better second halves from last year including Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Justin Herbert just feels too risky for me. Wilson feels like a value bust though and not a full season catastrophe, so if he happens to slip to the tenth quarterback on the board, I do like him over Ryan Tannehill or Jalen Hurts.
Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals
ADP: 67.4 | Positional ADP: RB25
In my 2021 Sleepers Article, and pretty much the duration of the summer, I’ve laid out why I think Chase Edmonds will lose the main running back role for Arizona to James Conner. Edmonds has never had more than 100 carries in any of his three seasons and only eclipsed 100 touches last season when you added in his targets. With those targets and carries he has never been more efficient or had the success with a bigger workload over those same three seasons as much as Conner. Edmonds also doesn’t look to be the preferred goal line or red zone back, which if he’s being taken as a borderline RB2, he really needs to have a grip on. The only advantage I see Edmonds have over Conner is durability, but Conner is finally fully healthy and off his recent COVID-19 list stint. Even if Conner were to take the early down work and Edmonds takes the change of pace role, we are at least looking at a split-backfield. For a team who ranked as the fifth most in terms in plays, it might be enough for Edmonds to carry some bye week flex value. I still would not like him over the running backs he is going ahead of in current ADP like Damien Harris and Darrell Henderson.
D’Andre Swift – Detroit Lions
ADP: 30.6 | Positional ADP: RB15
D’Andre Swift had a very promising rookie campaign last season finishing as 20th among running backs on the season even considering he missed weeks ten through twelve. Sadly, there are some obstacles he would need to hurdle to rise five positions at the position. First, the Lions have downgraded at key positions to a level only the Houston Texans could appreciate. The Lions traded for Jared Goff in the offseason, sending the much more talented quarterback Matthew Stafford to Los Angeles in exchange. Goff struggles under pressure which is where his running game usually comes into support him with either availability for check down passes or blocking. There in lies the next obstacle, as the Lions went out and got Jamaal Williams, a superior blocking running back to Swift. This creates a bit of a murk in the backfield. We saw Williams pull Aaron Jones off the field at times in Green Bay and it looks like the situation may just mirror itself with Swift. It’s not all bad for Swift though as the receiving game for Detroit is young and unproven. He may turn out to be the second option on the team in targets behind tight end TJ Hockenson. Still with the downgrade in the players surrounding him and decent competition pulling him off the field, I am just not taking Swift ahead of the likes of David Montgomery and Chris Carson.
Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
ADP: 42.1 | Positional ADP: WR16
Chris Godwin is a talented wide receiver who could easily be the number one wide receiver on any NFL team, and he might even be the WR1 on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I just wish you luck figuring out which week he will give you those numbers and which one he won’t. I do not believe Godwin is a bust this season because he lacks talent. Rather I see the three main receiving options in Tampa Bay, Godwin, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown, cutting into each other’s workloads. In the final eight regular season games of 2020, the Tampa Bay trio were separated by only eight targets. I don’t really see Evans in the same bust category as he has carved out a role as Tom Brady’s preferred red zone target where he can make up for a possible three-way split in targets with his touchdown production. Godwin is currently going fifty spots apart from Brown who actually out targeted him in those final eight games of 2020. Godwin will be serviceable if you draft him, but his borderline WR1 expectations are sunk unless things get less crowded.
Odell Beckham Jr. – Cleveland Browns
ADP: 69.8 | Positional ADP: WR29
Odell Beckham is currently being drafted at his absolute ceiling. The former New York highlight machine has not had a top 20 WR finish since arriving in Cleveland. He finished as the WR77 last season after tearing his ACL and only playing seven games. His average in those seven games was only 9.1 fantasy points per game, so even on average, it was disappointing. He did play sixteen games in 2019, where he finished as the WR31 seventeen spots behind his teammate Jarvis Landry. It has been the common occurrence whether through injury or mediocre performance to find Beckham trailing Landry in essentially every Browns receiving category. I am sure quarterback Baker Mayfield would love to utilize Beckham’s glory days and talents going into his fourth season as the Browns quarterback, but it really feels like it is too late for a comeback. Landry is the wide receiver to own in Cleveland and the good news is you can get him four rounds later than Beckham. Passing over Beckham in the seventh round means you could be taking your quarterback or your favorite Broncos receiver between Courtland Sutton and my favorite breakout of 2021, Jerry Jeudy.
Gerald Everett – Seattle Seahawks
ADP: 167.1 | Positional ADP: TE18
The rumors out of Seattle are saying Gerald Everett and Russell Wilson are building quite the rapport. As a result, he’s been moving up tight end rankings and found himself on many sleepers are breakouts lists this year. Call this a bust due to not just lack of talent, but strength of schedule as well. The Seahawks have a brutal one when it comes to team defense against the tight end. The Seahawks have the most difficult schedule against 2020 teams who allowed the last amount of fantasy points to quarterbacks. Last year Everett had his best season of his four with the Rams and still didn’t top one hundred fantasy points on the season. He’s never had more than forty-one receptions in a season and even with Wilson, it is hard to see Everett breaking out to even top twelve tight end production. Since Jimmy Graham departed in 2018, Wilson has never supported a tight end finish better than 27th overall. Two of those three finishes came with Jacob Hollister who has statistically been superior to Everett over their careers. Everett is currently being drafted before the likes of Austin Hooper, Anthony Firkser, and Blake Jarwin all who I believe stand much better chances of finishing as a top 12 tight ends in 2021.
I appreciate you reading my work over this past offseason. This is my last article before the season starts here at Razzball. During the season I will be covering your waiver wire needs every Tuesday morning. I’m digging this movie theme I seem to have fallen into and have given thought to calling the column TJW Classic Waivers. Although like a New England Patriots quarterback, that’ll probably get cut and changed. All off-season I have been touting Rudy Gamble’s Razzball Site Tools. If you have some remaining drafts, they will absolutely help you get an edge on your competition and heading into the season there is no better source to help you win your leagues. We are offering a free three-day trial of both our Roto and DFS packages to try out before the season begins.