Fantasy Football: Values and busts

Fantasy Football is finally back and draft season is nearing its end. As we head into the final weekend of the offseason when several leagues will get in their last-minute drafts, here are some values and busts.

VALUE: RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Last year’s No. 1 overall pick in some drafts, Gurley was the definition of a bust. The running back’s sophomore slump resulted in a 15th place finish in scoring, failing to record a single week higher than 10th. Now, Gurley is going in the middle of the second round and has a new, young and energetic head coach in Sean McVay, who should be able to game plan around his talents much better than Mr. 7-9, Jeff Fisher. I love Gurley this year and I expect a positive regression back toward his stellar rookie season.

BUST: RB Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears

This one might be a little more of a personal hatred, as an owner that regrettably dropped Howard after his seven carry, 22-yard performance against Green Bay in Week 7. But it’s easy to see Howard taking a big step back this year and not returning value on his high average draft position (ADP). The sophomore is the 15th player off the board in ESPN leagues, but the Bears offense isn’t going to be good enough to provide Howard that kind of production. They’re going to be losing in most of their games, and Howard doesn’t have the pass-catching ability to score in garbage time. He’ll also be seeing teams game plan around him, since the Bears’ second best option might be the washed up Victor Cruz.

VALUE: Any quarterback in the after the eighth round

Drafting quarterbacks late is always advantageous, especially for this year. With the emergence of Dak Prescott, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, among others, there are just too many quality options available to waste an early pick on a top quarterback that might not score much higher. Stock up on running backs and wide receivers early and your team will be much better off. Some other players to target include Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford and the injured Andrew Luck. Each of these have a very realistic chance to finish in the Top 10 this season and will be around later than the eighth round.

BUST: QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

This June 15, 2017, file photo shows Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throwing a pass during NFL minicamp football in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Ryan’s MVP season last year has propelled him all the way up to the fourth round in fantasy drafts, only behind Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Ryan set career highs in several categories last year, and regression is almost a certainty. The departure of offensive guru Kyle Shanahan will also hurt the Falcons offense. Ryan has a chance to finish in the top five of the position, but the price just isn’t worth the risk when you can get so many good quarterbacks later on.

VALUE: WR Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns

Coleman missed six games due to injury in his rookie season last year and wasn’t all too productive when he did get to play. With a year of NFL play under his belt and an offseason of working with DeShone Kizer instead of Robert Griffin III, Coleman should enjoy much more success this year. Additionally, the Browns’ No. 1 target, Terrelle Pryor, left in free agency, which will provide Coleman and newcomer Kenny Britt with more targets. At an ADP of the 10th round, Coleman has a ton of upsides and is well worth the pick.

BUST: WR Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks

Baldwin has produced top-10 seasons in each of the past two years and fantasy players are finally starting to catch on. He is going off the board as the ninth wide receiver, way too high for a player as inconsistent as Baldwin. Last year, he had five weeks in the top-10, but also had eight weeks outside of the top-30. Those kind of statistics just can’t be relied upon for the WR1 spot in your lineup. I’d love to take Baldwin in the third round as my second receiver, but his draft price is too much to pay.


Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.