Del Pilar's Digest: WR busts

Posted Aug. 26, 2011 @ 1:59 a.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

The busts! No one wants them, but we experience a season with one or more. Some owners don't realize an aging or injured veteran has lost his job, whereas other players are injury-prone and where they're taken is not worth the risk. Some simply don't pan out regardless of how positive all the indicators are.

With Barry Sanders, defenses always sought to contain him knowing they couldn't shut him down. It's the same here; you want to minimize your bad picks. This report will do just that. Enjoy and let us know if we missed anyone or you disagree!

Note: ADP means average draft position, an average of where players go by position and overall using hundreds of drafts with the same scoring rules. WR2:1 means the player is the starter at the No. 2 WR spot, and WR1:2 means he's second-string at the No. 1 WR spot.


Busts

Sidney Rice, Seahawks
Position ADP: 21
Overall ADP: 53 (Round Five in a 12-team league)
Current depth chart: WR1:1

I've never doubted the talent Rice brings to a team. I was always high on his talent, but he couldn't stay healthy. Then he took time to learn from players such as Larry Fitzgerald and others and experienced a career year in 2009. Last season some believe he put himself before the team, and everyone suffered. He has his big contract, $41 million with $18 million in guarantees. Makes you wonder if he's fat and happy, but that isn't the reason he's on this list. 

The Seahawks have a hole they're trying to fill at the QB position. Tarvaris Jackson is starting but having a poor camp. He's an inconsistent player, but even if they replace him, Charlie Whitehurst is not having a great camp, either. Regardless, the fans are rumbling for a QB battle.

Until that problem is resolved, Rice should not be drafted as your No. 1 fantasy wideout but more like a No. 3. He'll never drop that far this year, so I'll never see him on a roster, and neither should you. Unless he drops, pass him by.

Michael Crabtree, 49ers
Position ADP: 27
Overall ADP: 71 (Round Six in a 12-team league)
Current depth chart: Injured

Does Crabtree even care about football? That's what many fantasy owners wonder with this talented wideout. He has yet to see the field this camp with a foot injury, and that has already put him behind the power curve with the playbook. Don't forget, last season he and QB Alex Smith were never able to develop the necessary chemistry needed to maximize each other's talents. No one's going to mistake the Smith-to-Crabtree duo with Steve Young-to-Terrell Owens.

If it weren't for his name recognition in the fantasy world, he would go in the late rounds. Until he shows this talent, the third-year receiver will not achieve the numbers that many at his stage in the NFL do. You add a hardworking Josh Morgan and veteran Braylon Edwards, who knows he has to produce, and Crabtree could find himself on the outside looking in, having to earn his starting job back. Let this play out on someone else's roster and pass on Crabtree.

Roy Williams, Bears
Position ADP: 37
Overall ADP: 92 (Round Eight in a 12-team league)
Current depth chart: WR1:1

Right now Williams is undraftable, and he's on notice by Darryl Drake. The Bears' WR coach came out and said Williams is not in game shape. Drake's philosophy is to put the best players on the field, and that would mean Johnny Knox regaining his former starting job, which the team gave to Williams without earning it. Williams also has to gain chemistry with QB Jay Cutler. Face it, Knox is hungry and Williams is not. Unless Williams has an epiphany, Knox will win his job back.

Williams lacks desire, but I hope Drake, his former college coach, can help turn him around. All these questions tell us to pass on him as there's too much risk and not enough upside.

 

Overvalued

Marques Colston, Saints
Position ADP: 13
Overall ADP: 39 (Round Four in a 12-team league)
Current depth chart: WR1:1

I love Colston's fight and ability to return from injury. However, he's coming off another microfracture knee surgery that swelled during the early portion of camp, and I just wonder if he'll hold up this season. The continual development of Robert Meachem, Father Time possibly beginning to creep in and the fact there are not enough footballs for all of the skill-position talent are reasons to be wary of drafting Colston early. Because of the lack of footballs, at times he can disappear. You want consistency out of someone you're drafting as your No. 2 fantasy wideout.

Colston has done nothing to warrant a drop, but we have to wonder how long before he starts to break down. I like him as a No. 3 fantasy wideout, and he's going well before that. 

Brandon Lloyd, Broncos
Position ADP: 17
Overall ADP: 43 (Round Four in a 12-team league)
Current depth chart: WR1:1

This is not the same team on which Lloyd posted 77 receptions for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns. This team is going to run first to set up the pass. Lloyd is not Steve Smith, the diminutive fantasy stud whom Broncos head coach John Fox developed in Carolina. The team has a bigger and more physical option in Eric Decker, who's having a solid camp.

I don't expect Decker to replace Lloyd. I find Lloyd is an outstanding fit in the slot, but he's an injury waiting to happen as an every-down receiver. Even if this doesn't come to pass, as stated, he won't see last year's numbers in a run-first offense. Lloyd has said that, as well, and the team ran less than 40 percent of the time last season. Don't expect that this year and pass on him this early.

Steve Breaston, Chiefs
Position ADP: 63
Overall ADP: 194 (Round Six in a 12-team league)
Current depth chart: WR2:2 and WR3 (slot)

I loved Breaston when he was with the Cardinals, and though he knows the Chiefs' playbook after having played in head coach Todd Haley's system in Arizona, he's not on the field. Even though Haley doesn't appear to have any concerns, Breaston needs to develop chemistry with his quarterback and jell with the offense.

Breaston is also best-suited for the slot at 6- 0, 189 pounds. Some fantasy owners don't realize that. He can play on the outside, but I worry about injury. Like the Broncos' Eddie Royal, he may be able to play injury-free from the slot when the team goes to three-WR sets.

The team will also be trying to get rookie Jonathan Baldwin (hand) on the field as soon as he returns from injury. Breaston has a role to play and can make some tough catches, but I think he's being drafted too soon. He'll produce, but only enough to be a bye-week or injury fill-in, barring a full-time role as a starter.