With one game into Week 6 of the 2014 fantasy football season, there is a sample size to determine which players have been busts and which have provided the most value to owners. Before we dive into the biggest busts/values, we’ll need to define each. A "bust" is a player who was highly rated before the regular season began, e.g. a first to third round pick seen as a surefire anchor to your lineup. A "top value" player is someone who was plucked anywhere in the mid- to late-rounds, and exceeded most everyone’s expectations.
Based off FantasyPros.com’s compilation of each player’s average draft position across the five biggest fantasy sites, let’s breakdown the five biggest disappointments and the five biggest value players so far this season.
5 Biggest Busts
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
There were flashes of his rookie year in Week 1, but once Griffin went down the following week with a dislocated ankle his fantasy value plummeted and so did his career trajectory. A return seems highly unlikely, and a look at the QBs taken after him hurts Griffin’s case even more. On average RG3 was taken before Tony Romo, Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler, Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, and Andy Dalton.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
On pace to be the greatest RB the league has seen since Emmitt Smith, Peterson played in one game and will likely miss the rest of the season due to his trial for child abuse charges in Texas. Owners struggled to choose between AD, LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles with the No. 1 pick. While the last two haven’t done too much this season, they’ll at least be playing in the foreseeable future.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
You can make a case for Calvin Johnson here since he was universally the first receiver off the board, but Green relies so much on his speed that his injury woes could be a problem for the rest of the season. Averaging as the third or fourth receiver off the board, Green’s so far been a disappointment due to his health. He’s played in three of four games, racking up 100-plus yards twice, but his nagging toe injury and the likelihood he sits out Week 6’s matchup against the Panthers, means Green makes the bust list. He’s 25th in the NFL in receiving yards and tied for 59th with 94 yards after the catch. If his injury continues Green won’t make much of an impact for the rest of the season. Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall and Jordy Nelson all went after Green. There’s still time, but owners need to see life soon.
Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos
Lining up behind Peyton Manning was supposed to guarantee Ball a breakout season, much like Knowshon Moreno had last year. But as the eighth back off the board, and even before his injury, Ball was gaining only 3.1 yards per carry and scored one TD. Arian Foster, Gio Bernard, Alfred Morris were all taken after Ball.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Ranked as the sixth QB off the board, Brady’s on pace for his worst career-totals in passer rating, completion percentage, and touchdown passes. He has been sacked 10 total times, and doesn’t have the same weapons as Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler, but both have taken 12 sacks and have thrown double the TDs. Unlike the other busts, with no discernable injury Brady can turn his year around, so owners might want to stash him on the bench for now.
Dishonorable Mentions: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions; Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints; Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos
5 Biggest Values
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Missing a combined 11 games in his first three seasons and nagging injuries were the main reasons owners left Murray on the board. He averaged out as the seventh or eighth RB off the board, and has completely blown past Charles, McCoy, Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy and Marshawn Lynch, all of whom were taken ahead. Five straight games of 100-plus yards and five TDs make Murray the best value so far this season, and many owners could ride him to the championship.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Owners shied away after he and LeGarrette Blount were arrested for pot possession before the season started, and evidently forgot he totaled 860 rushing yards and eight touchdowns and pulled in 45 receptions for another 399 yards. Bell was the 12th RB taken in most drafts, and he’s now third in the league with 460 rushing yards and is averaging nearly five receptions a game. He’s only scored one touchdown but that should change in the coming weeks.
Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
No one player has benefited more from Calvin Johnson’s downtrodden start than Tate. He was the 31st receiver selected and is well on pace for career-highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns. An 80-catch, 1,000-yard season isn’t out of the question at this point, especially if Johnson’s ankle continues to give him trouble, and Reggie Bush and Joique Bell’s play remains flat.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Emerging from a 2013 season lost to injury, Bradshaw has re-invented himself as a Darren Sproles 2.0. He’s already racked up 21 receptions for 176 yards and a whopping five touchdowns through six games, and has another 284 yards on the ground. At No. 51 off the board, Bradshaw’s been an absolute star and was more than likely plucked from the waiver-wire in many leagues. Too many backs were taken before him to list.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
Right there with Manning, Wilson and Andrew Luck in the early MVP debate, Rivers was the 14th QB selected in drafts. He’s fourth in passing yardage, tied for second with 12 TDs, first among starters with 8.75 yards per pass and is completing better than 70 percent of his attempts. The owner that focused on RBs and WRs in the first five rounds, and tabbed Rivers in the sixth or seventh round, is probably first in your league right now.
Honorable Mentions: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos; Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers; Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears