Bust

Fantasy Football "Bust" Definition

Nothing is worse than a fantasy football bust. Busts come in many forms in fantasy football, from the 1st round bust who can singlehandedly ruin your season, to the middle-round bust which depletes your bench to the late round bust you cut in Week 2 to get a free agent breakout player.

Fantasy football busts also happen for a variety of reasons - some downright maddening. You might have a fantasy bust when a player goes out for the season due to injury, like when frequent 1st rounder Tom Brady went out in the first quarter of the first game of the 2008 NFL season. (Some would say he's not a "bust" if he went on I.R., but if you drafted him high and he's a waste, that's semantics.) More frequently, fantasy football busts are players who simply do not play up to expectations, due to nagging injuries, unexplained ineffectiveness, bad offenses or benching.

Busts Due to Injuries

Sometimes, a nagging injury is worse than a season-ending injury for the fantasy football player. I had one league in 2008 where I drafted Joseph Addai in the 1st round and Tom Brady late in the 2nd. I thought that was a good start to a fantasy football team. Tom Brady was gone in the first game, which was a disaster. But I eventually decided Joseph Addai was a much bigger disaster. He was the classic fantasy football bust.

With Brady, I knew he was gone for the year. I knew I had to replace him. Joseph Addai owners were faced with a much subtler problem. Addai was the Colts running back, and therefore had the potential for huge fantasy production. But Addai had nagging injuries all year that limited his effectiveness even when he was in games, and sometimes ruled him out as a gametime decision or late inactive. "Gametime decisions" are the bane of all fantasy football owners, because you risk having a 0 if you start the player. Joseph Addai was such a bust in 2008, that I guarantee many of his owners that year will never draft him again.

Busts Due to Ineffectiveness

Perhaps even worse is the player who is perfectly healthy and stays on the field, but is simply ineffective. This happens often with veteran players who have "lost a step". This player is a big name who should do just fine, and has probably been a fantasy football stud for many seasons. But because he's not the player he was 3 years ago or even a year ago, he is a fantasy bust. Because he has a big name, you're likely to continue starting him week after week, which costs you win after win. Torry Holt in 2008 was a good example of this type of fantasy football bust.

Busts Due to Bad Offense

This happens every year, where an otherwise good player is on an NFL offense that is even worse than expected. One again, this player might be perfectly healthy, but injuries to his starting quarterback, offensive line or other skill position players leaves him as a lone talent on a talentless offense. Because he's the focus of every defense's game plan as the last solid threat, he's likely to have less production than you would imagine. While Frank Gore has been a largely consistent player over the last few years, he has been a 1st round bust one or two years due to the fact that the San Francisco 49ers offense was so bad, he couldn't score enough touchdowns. Corey Dillon when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals was always drafted high and always capable of a big week, but was generally a bust, because his offense made him highly inconsistent.

There are many other, starker examples of the fantasy busts due being on bad offenses, but these players are largely forgotten, because they were bad players on bad offenses.

Busts Due to Benching

The mystery benching is perhaps the worst fate for the fantasy football bust. In this case, you never really know if the player really stinks, or if he just got on the bad side of his head coach. While some benching or platoon situations you can see coming, others just seem to happen out of nowhere. When one of the fantasy football draft picks you counted on loses their starting job or loses significant playing time due to the unseen elevation of some other player, this spells disaster for your fantasy football season.

I remember the year Trung Candidate was a sleeper pick as the Washington Redskins big new free agent addition. Trung Candidate had filled in for an injured Marshall Faulk once or twice with the St. Louis Rams, producing huge fantasy stats. So when Trung signed a big free agent contract to be the Skins new running back in Steve Spurrier's supposedly high-powered offensive system, Trung Candidate became a sleeper pick. After one series, though, Trung Candidate was replaced as the starter by Steve Spurrier. Trung would be out of the NFL soon and Steve Spurrier's time in the NFL was equally short. Few fantasy football picks can be considered as dramatic of a bust as Trung Candidate.

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