Whether you’ve won your fantasy championship or not, you likely encountered a number of speed bumps throughout the season. Injuries happen. That’s just a fact, and we all get bitten at some point. But what happens when you draft a player early, he stays healthy and yet still falls short of his expected production? You’ve got yourself a fantasy bust. They’re miserable. They’re heartbreaking. And the 2017 season was, unfortunately, riddled with them.
First-round busts are the absolute worst. We’re not talking about David Johnson being the first pick and then suffering a broken wrist. He got hurt, you replaced him and your biggest concern was whether to stash him on your bench or simply let go. It’s not fun, but it’s also not a recurring issue each week. First-round pick Mike Evans posting numbers like a 12th-round pick, now that’s a bust.
Evans started the year well with four touchdowns through his first six games. However, the yardage total was average at best, and he never found a way to breach the century mark in a given week. But he’s Mike Evans, so surely the yards will come, right? Wrong. Not only did the yards not come, but the touchdowns stopped as well, and through Weeks 8 and 14, he averaged just 50 yards per game with no touchdowns, including one missed game with a shoulder injury. A busted season like this is magnified because it’s not like you’re going to bench him fearing he will finally get back on track, and so you suffer, week after week, in misery.
Evans certainly wasn’t alone in ruining fantasy seasons as a number of other supposed superstars let us down in 2017. Julio Jones has just three touchdowns to his credit this year and just two weeks where his production matched his draft position. His teammate Devonta Freeman, also a first-round pick, went eight straight weeks without posting more than 75 yards or scoring a touchdown, which included two games missed with a concussion. DeMarco Murray was atrocious all year, Jordy Nelson went in the tank when Aaron Rodgers got hurt and where in the world did Brandin Cooks and Amari Cooper disappear to?
We can keep going if you want. Matt Ryan’s Super Bowl hangover? Brutal. Carlos Hyde offered zero consistency, Marshawn Lynch became a cocktail party joke and even rookie Joe Mixon left his owners wanting/needing more.
Some busts can be and have been predicted, but hindsight has them all looking like wasted picks right now. Overcoming these disappointments is even tougher than overcoming injuries. A guy gets hurt, he’s gone. A guy just flat-out busts, and you pay for it each and every week.