Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Someone famous and smart said that. This is why we must study the top fantasy football quarterback busts from this past season.
The 2018 season is officially in the books and it’s now the dreaded fantasy football off-season. What better way to spend this time than reminiscing on our victories, or, in the case of this article, our blunders.
Exploring the mistakes from 2018 is exactly what this article is for and, more specifically, we will be looking at players who we can slap the dreaded “bust” label on. First, we will look at the quarterback position, which is where saw the “Patrick Mahomes Show” and several other young quarterbacks become well-known names. We also had several trustworthy veterans take a step back from fantasy consistency, which many may not have been expecting.
When we look at quarterback there are often several different draft-day strategies: You get your guy early, draft a late-round quarterback, or stream quarterbacks. No matter which route you went, there were several quarterbacks that underperformed.
To really explore what makes a bust, we will be looking at each player’s ADP (Average Draft Position), final ranking, weekly scores, and previous performance. There were probably several other quarterbacks who let you down this year as well, but we will be really focusing on quarterbacks drafted in the top 12 at their position. This will help us define our quarterback busts because drafting a player at a certain spot usually comes with certain expectations, only to be a let down by them. In my eyes, this is the definition of a bust. So, let’s get to it:
Fantasy Football Quarterback Busts
1. Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Aaron Rodgers entered the 2018 season with an ADP in the third round (3.07), which has been consistent over the years for him as he was the number one fantasy quarterback in 2016, number seven in 2015, and second in 2014. Essentially you were looking for a top three quarterback (if not better) when you drafted Rodgers at likely the number one overall quarterback, but you got a 6th place finish from him this year. He was still a number one quarterback, but he finished behind the likes of Andrew Luck (8.04), Ben Roethlisberger (10.07), Matt Ryan (9.12) and, of course, Patrick Mahomes (10.10). All of these guys were drafted several rounds later.
If we dig a little deeper, in 16 games Rodgers had a 62.3 completion percentage (372 of 597), 4,442 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He added two rushing touchdowns as well. He only had three games over 300 yards and six games with one or fewer touchdowns. Examining his weekly performances, he had roughly eight top 12 weekly quarterback finishes, which means he was a top-12 quarterback 50% of the time this year.
Similar to the likes of David Johnson, who many might consider a bust even though he finished as a top 10 running back, expectations were high for Rodgers, yet he did not live up to them. You might agree if you drafted him or you might think I’m crazy, but either way one could have passed on Rodgers in the third to grab a receiver like Stefon Diggs, Mike Evans, T.Y. Hilton, Amari Cooper and Adam Thielen. Simply put, you paid up front for the hopes of a higher finish than sixth and you only got a bust in return.
[Also See: Early 2019 Fantasy Football Draft Board, Top 20]
2. Tom Brady (NE)
Tom Brady entered 2018 with an ADP in the fifth round (5.02), which made him around the third overall quarterback taken in most drafts. This could be expected, as he had finished in the top three twice in the last four years (2017 and 2015). Brady ended the 2018 season as the 14th ranked quarterback. At this spot he finished behind Russell Wilson (6.01), Drew Brees (6.07), Jared Goff (11.04), Andrew Luck (8.04), Ben Roethlisberger (10.07), Matt Ryan (9.12), Kirk Cousins (7.1), Phillip Rivers (9.11) and Patrick Mahomes (10.10). Again, these guys were available anywhere from one to six rounds later.
In 16 games, he had a 65.8 completion percentage (375-570), 4,355 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Brady also managed two rushing touchdowns this year. Although the Patriots had success on the field, Brady had 11 games under 300 passing yards (two under 200) and eight games with one or fewer touchdowns. Brady had roughly six top 12 weekly quarterback finishes (37.5%), which led him to fall outside the top 12 more weeks than not. Overall, a fifth-round draft pick did not pan out and this is what makes Brady a bust this year.
3. Cam Newton (CAR)
Cam Newton entered the year with an ADP in the sixth round (6.11) and was around the sixth overall quarterback taken. Newton recently had surgery and an obvious injury this year hampered his abilities toward the end of the season, which prevented him from producing a prototypical Newton-type season. In the past, he finished as the fifth-ranked quarterback in 2017 and had a number one finish in 2015. Newton ended the season around the 12th ranked quarterback in most fantasy leagues, placing him behind Dak Prescott (14.03), Phillip Rivers (9.11) and Jared Goff (11.04).
In 14 games, Newton had a 67.9 completion percentage (320 of 471), 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also managed four touchdowns on the ground last year and finished with 266 less rushing yards, 38 less touches, and two less rushing touchdowns than his rushing totals from 2017 (would move him around 6th overall with similar rushing statistics as 2017). There were nine games under 300 yards (4 under 200) and 3 games with zero passing touchdowns. He had roughly nine top 12 weekly quarterback finishes (64.3% top 12 weeks). Although he did have some good games, when he didn’t finish in the top 12 weekly, he averaged a 19th place finish (five games under 20 points) and towards the end of the year began to struggle due to his injury.
Due to ups and downs and expectations of getting reliable fantasy option, Newton meets our criteria for a bust this year.
4. Matthew Stafford (DET)
Matthew Stafford entered the season with an ADP in the ninth round (9.04) and around the 11th overall quarterback taken. Stafford has shown consistency in the quarterback rankings and in 2017 he finished as the number six ranked quarterback, eighth in 2016, and ninth in 2015. Essentially, he has been reliable enough for a top 10 finish year in and year out. However, Stafford ended the year as the 19th overall quarterback. This placed him lower than the likes of Derek Carr (12.09), Eli Manning (14.01), Baker Mayfield (often undrafted), and Mitch Trubisky (14.08).
Altogether the Detroit Lions and Stafford had a rough year. In 16 games Stafford managed a 66.1 completion percentage (367 of 555), 3,777 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Although his completion percentage was his best since 2015, he threw for under 4,000 yards for the first time since 2010 and had his lowest yards per completion since 2010 as well. Stafford had 13 games under 300 yards (four under 200) and eight games with one or fewer touchdowns (4 multiple interception games as well). Stafford only managed approximately one top 12 weekly quarterback finish this year (6% top 12 weeks). Overall, it was a rough year for the Lions, Stafford and Stafford owners.
5. Carson Wentz (PHI)
Carson Wentz was arguably in the running for MVP, which gave many fantasy players high expectations coming into this year with an ADP in the eighth round (8.01). Although he was injured and was expected to miss the first several weeks, people still hoped that he could get close to a top five fantasy quarterback like he was last year. However, Wentz finished the season as the 22nd ranked quarterback behind Case Keenum (14.10), Matt Stafford (9.04), Derek Carr (12.09), Eli Manning (14.01), Baker Mayfield (often undrafted), and Mitch Trubisky (14.08). Yes, he also suffered a back injury that ended his season pre-maturely.
Despite the injuries, Wentz played in 11 games and he had a 69.6 percentage completion (279 of 401), 3,074 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 7 Interceptions. Wentz had six games with less than 300 passing yards (one under 200) and three games with one or fewer touchdowns. He did manage roughly eight top-12 weekly quarterback finishes (72% top 12 finishes), but his injuries really impacted his overall success fantasy wise as expectations were high.
With Wentz being drafted around the 7th overall quarterback taken off the board you were more than likely hoping for a better finish than 22nd. Outside of Jimmy Garoppolo (who was drafted as a top-12 quarterback in a lot of leagues), Wentz appeared to have the biggest variation from ADP to final ranking. This is why, despite struggles with injuries, I added him to my bust list.