Eric Adams, Staff Writer
The games are done and the championships have been won. Another year of fantasy football is in the books. New stars emerged, old stars reigned supreme and a bunch of players went from waiver wire add to must start. However, there is a certain group of players that have obtained the unfortunate label of 2017 fantasy bust. Yes these players were supposed to lead your team to the promise land only for them to cause it to crash and burn.
Before I embark on the list of players whose name belongs in a dumpster fire for the seasons they had, just know that this year is over. Next year is brand new and, as Todd Gurley showed us, all it takes is one offseason to turn it all around. This is by no means an indictment of how bad a player will be in the future. It just happens to be an indictment of their putrid performance in 2017. So without further ado, here are the guys who made owners want to rip their hair out.
This pretty much sums it up for Matt Ryan this year
Matt Ryan, ATL: Ryan went from 2016 NFL MVP to 2017 fantasy bust and people can drum up the hate offensive coordinator all they want but this was on Ryan. He just never looked entirely comfortable all season long. While he was still a top-15 QB in fantasy, he failed to eclipse the 20-point mark at any point in the season. That screams bust for a guy who had the 2nd most points in all of fantasy football in 2016.
Jameis Winston, TB: Not the year Winston or Tampa bay expected, the Bucs as a whole underperformed in what was supposed to be a leap year for them. Winston, unsurprisingly, isn’t the only Buccaneer on this list. I had Winston as a top-10 QB in fantasy this year and he wasn’t even top 20. I understand he missed games due to injury but he wasn’t anything special when he was on it. He ended strong with a win at home against the playoff bound Saints so we’ll see if he can turn it around next year but this was a step back for Winston.
Derek Carr, OAK: Another player from a team that absolutely crapped the bed in 2017, I have no idea what happened to Carr and the Raiders in 2017. Coming off a 12-4 record just a year ago, Oakland took a huge step back in what was supposed to be a possible Super Bowl season. Carr finished as the 19th best QB in fantasy, behind Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor and Case Keenum. Carr had 2 points more than Josh McCown, that sentence sums up the Raiders offense in 2017…. or how well the Jets outperformed expectations, you choose.
DeMarco Murray, TEN: We seem to be in a ‘every other year’ rotation for good Murray and bad Murray. This year, we got bad Murray. The Titans’ lead back was a fringe 1st rounder heading into the season; he might not even be the starter in Tennessee next season. Derrick Henry will not be held down any longer. He is clearly better and proved it in 2017 in limited action. Those who drafted Murray high definitely got burned.
Joe Mixon, CIN: Blame the hype train for Mixon and his poor season. Some people took the Bengals rookie as high as the 3rd round and that did NOT work out. He finished 34th amongst running backs in an injury plagued rookie campaign. He showed some promise but when you are being drafted in the 3rd round, you’re expected to perform on a weekly basis. That is something that Mixon failed to do in 2017.
Devonta Freeman, ATL: It was a frustrating year for just about anyone in the Falcons offense. Just when you thought they would break out and perform to their full potential, they took a step back. Blame Shanahan leaving, blame Steve Sarkisian, but I think most of the blame falls on the players who are the exact same players from last years team that made the Super Bowl. Freeman was a 1st round pick back in August. When you don’t perform like a 1st round pick consistently you end up on the 2017 busts list.
Mike Evans, TB: ‘He might be the best receiver in the league’ – anyone who watched the NFL in 2016 about Mike Evans. Yikes, what in the world happened here? Evans was undoubtedly taken in the 1st round of fantasy drafts and he just did not perform the way we know he’s capable of. Blame Wisnton, blame Tampa Bay floundering as a team but Evans didn’t show up consistently in 2017. He’ll still be a high draft pick next year but there is now caution as to what happened this year.
Amari Cooper, OAK: As someone who has been very high on Amari Cooper since he entered the league out of Alabama, this one hurts. Cooper an abysmal 2017. Take away a ridiculous 44-point performance against the Chiefs in week 7 and Coopers 2017 looks even worse. I expect to see Coopers ADP drop big time in 2018 and as much as I would like to say low-risk/high-reward, I can’t say that in full confidence. Cooper is a reclamation project for the upcoming season.
Careful what you wish upon others Mr. Bryant
Martavis Bryant, PIT: Surely the most entertaining bust of 2017, Bryant had a whacky NFL season. He was benched, he asked for a trade, he earned it back and actually finished with a couple respectable games including a solid 15 point performance in the biggest game of the season against the Patriots. He still is on this list because of one man and that mans name is Juju. The emergence of good Juju is why Bryant will likely see his time come to an end in Pittsburgh simply because, well, Juju is good and Bryant is a head case. This was supposed to be the year we see the Steelers at full strength with Brown, Bell and Bryant. Instead, we basically saw why Bryant will likely be playing elsewhere next season.
Terrelle Pryor, WAS: This is me atoning for my sins of hyping up Pryor in the offseason. I thought this move would work out beautifully. Pryor was a monster in 2016, not caring who was throwing him the ball even if he had to throw it to himself. He comes to Washington with a very good QB in Kirk Cousins and completely broke down. He had a nice outing week 1 and decided to call it a year. Now a free agent, it’s hard to see someone giving Pryor the deal he could’ve gotten after his 2016 campaign and it’s even harder to see anyone drafting him as high as they did in 2017. Lesson learned.