Aug 25, 2012
When doing draft preparation a large amount of focus should be used unearthing players that are undervalued. Winning a draft can be as easy as finding a few sleeper gems buried in the late rounds. But what about losing a draft? Losing a draft can happen just as easily with a few bad picks. Keeping your eye out for and avoiding overvalued players likely to “bust” can save you a lot of misery during the season. Some fantasy players allow “name value” to bias their picks causing them to reach for big name guys that have been fantasy staples for years. Some examples from last year included Chad Ochocinco, LaDainian Tomlinson and Thomas Jones. By ignoring name recognition you can see these players for their true value. Other players bust seemingly out of nowhere. Or do they? There are typically visible warning signs before every bust. Whether it is because of injury, situation change or just plain old age, some players will predictably underperform every year.
Let’s take a look at a few likely Fantasy Football Running Back Busts for the 2012 season. Remember that these players will still have some fantasy value this year even if they bust. If you are forced into drafting one of these guys make sure you are getting them later than their average draft position. When in doubt play it safe.
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James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers
Drafted 193rd overall in the 2010 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers, Starks got injured and was placed the PUP list almost immediately upon entering training camp. He didn’t make his debut until week 13 and put together a series of encouraging games resulting in a Super Bowl ring. In 2011, he was stuck behind a freshly healthy but aging Ryan Grant. He managed the numbers you see above despite starting just 2 games the entire season.
Enter the 2012 offseason. Ryan Grant becomes a free agent and Starks looked to be the heir apparent. His main competition appeared to be the untested 2011 third round draft pick Alex Green who was returning from an ACL tear. During training camp Starks was being consistently talked up by the Packers’ staff as well as a good share of fantasy football pundits. The sky was the limit.
Sadly Starks’ chances of being a fantasy contributor died with a case of offseason turf toe. Knowing turf toe injuries to be notoriously hard to shake, the Packers wisely signed free agent Cedric Benson quite literally as a replacement. With Starks likely out until week 3 or later, Benson put on a show in practice and his first preseason game. Suddenly Starks is old news and Benson is the flavor of the day. Now local papers are hinting that Starks might not even make the final roster.
But ignoring the depth chart, let’s simply look at the Packers’ rushing potential. Last year they averaged only 97.4 rushing yards per game (27th in the league). Despite having an explosive offense they finished the season with only 12 rushing touchdowns, 3 by Aaron Rodgers and 4 by fullback John Kuhn who remains on the roster as a goal line vulture. All signs point to a light year by the starter in the crowded GB backfield and Starks doesn’t even appear to be that. Starks is borderline undraftable. Avoid him like the plague.
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