You could make a case that anyone in Fantasy can be a bust. Observe:

  • Christian McCaffrey as the consensus 1.01 again?? He's 28 years old and once showed that he couldn't hold up to the wear-and-tear of 400-plus touches in a season like he had in 2023 (postseason included).
  • CeeDee Lamb averaged nearly 13 targets per game in his final 11 outings last year, the highest amount for any receiver in a decade. He can't do that again. 
  • Derrick Henry is 30 years old, has well over 2,000 career rush attempts, and has a one-way ticket to the age-cliff we've been dreading for years.
  • Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen? Great quarterbacks, but not worth reaching for in one-QB leagues since everyone will have a shot at other passers like Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson, who are not only as good but might even be better.

Do I believe these arguments?

No, no, not really and ... yes, but only because of ADP.

The better reason to make a bust case for anyone is because of a projected drop-off in actual statistics on a game-by-game basis. It's rare when a player plays consistently well for several seasons in a row -- not even Mahomes has done that. And most of the time, players who could face negative regression are names you know. Or to put it another way: Names people in your league know, so they'll gravitate toward them.

Here are seven early bust candidates that I just can't draft where others are targeting them.

De'Von Achane
MIA • RB • #28
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Stat to know: Achane's numbers were awesome in 5 of his 11 games as a rookie (at least 21 PPR points in each), but all five came in lopsided blowouts (three Dolphins wins, two Dolphins losses. He also played 50% or more of the snaps in four games (two close games he didn't put up big points in, two blowouts he did put up big points in).

Why is he a bust? There's a fear that Miami will utilize multiple running backs every week no matter who is healthy or who is playing well. That means Achane will have to keep his insane efficiency from 2023 to deliver in Fantasy if he doesn't get feature-back reps from week to week. That's not to say he won't have weeks where he'll dominate, but if they come in Dolphins blowouts then they'll be tricky to predict. Guys like this should be taken in the first three rounds.

I'd draft him: No sooner than Round 4 in any format

Aaron Jones
MIN • RB • #33
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Stat to know: Jones totaled 653 yards and three touchdowns on 113 touches in his final five games of 2023, playoffs included. In the eight games he took part in prior, he totaled 483 yards and three touchdowns on 102 touches.

Stat to know part II: With Kevin O'Connell as head coach, the best Vikings running back for Fantasy was Dalvin Cook in 2022 with 14 PPR points and 17.8 touches per game, and Alexander Mattison in 2023 with 8.3 PPR points and 13.1 touches per game. The Vikings have been among the most pass-heavy offenses in football with O'Connell.

Why is he a bust? Jones has missed playing time in three of his past four seasons and will turn 30 this season. He's much more of a quality RB to use in lineups to begin the year but not count on as a season-long starter because of issues related to playing time and perceived injury worries. While all this is true, I have to admit that he does offer potential as a lead back, just as he proved in December and January. Be careful drafting him if you choose to do so at all.

I'd draft him: Late Round 6 at the earliest in all formats

Javonte Williams
DEN • RB • #33
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Stat to know: Despite playing all but one game last season, Williams had over 13 PPR points just four times. He had zero games with 90-plus rushing yards and one game with 100-plus total yards. To be fair, he was playing a year after ACL surgery.

Why is he a bust? There seems to be too many players to take work away from Williams, even if he's the de facto starter. Veteran Samaje Perine is still on the team, as is speedster Jaleel McLaughlin, and the squad drafted Audric Estime in April, whom Sean Payton referred to as a strong "first- and second-down runner." If Williams looks like his old self in training camp then he probably shouldn't be on a bust list. But if he's not then he might be on a milk carton.

I'd draft him: Round 7

Rhamondre Stevenson
NE • RB • #38
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Stat to know: Stevenson averaged 12.1 PPR points per game as well as 3.2 receptions per game, meaning about 25% of his per-game Fantasy points came solely on receptions.

Stat to know part II: Stevenson has one touchdown and one game with 90-plus total yards in 13 career games against the AFC East.

Why is he a bust? The Patriots added pass-catching running back Antonio Gibson this offseason, potentially taking Stevenson off the field in obvious passing situations. New England also did not do too much to enhance its offensive line after struggling to pop open lanes for the run game last year. It could mean Stevenson could be tied to game script -- if the Patriots are in close games, he might deliver nice numbers, but if not, he'll stink. 

I'd draft him: Round 7 in all formats

Zay Flowers
BAL • WR • #4
REC YDs858
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Stat to know: In the eight games when a Ravens running back had 13 or more PPR points last year, Flowers exceeded 14 PPR points just two times, and one of them was when Justice Hill caught a touchdown among his career-high five receptions. In the other nine games when a Ravens running back didn't get 13-plus PPR points, Flowers scored 14 or more PPR points four times.

Why is he a bust? The Ravens made the high-profile move to bring in Derrick Henry to anchor their run game. Not only should he suck up a large percentage of the offense, but tight end Mark Andrews is healthy after missing the last six games of the regular season, and he's typically been Lamar Jackson's most trusted option in the passing game. This stuff doesn't mean Flowers is going to stink this season, but it does limit his upside and generally makes him a boom-or-bust Fantasy receiver.

I'd draft him: Round 6 in all formats.

Keenan Allen
CHI • WR • #13
REC YDs1243
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Stat to know: Allen led the Chargers in targets per game for seven straight seasons. The next-closest wide receiver was 1.6 targets per game or more behind him. Allen is now on the Bears and will share space with D.J. Moore (who averaged 8.0 targets per game last year) and rookie Rome Odunze (who averaged 9.3 targets per game last year at the University of Washington).

Stat to know part II: In 10 games after Mike Williams got hurt last year, Allen averaged 11.1 targets per game and averaged 18.8 PPR points. He also averaged 11.1 yards per catch on a 10.1-yard Average Depth of Target, both numbers below the league average among qualifying wide receivers.

Why is he a bust? New team, rookie QB, crowded receiving corps. This isn't the kind of situation conducive for any wideout to see a high volume of targets from week to week. It further hurts Allen's cause that he's begun slowing down as he enters his age-32 season. He might be helpful to your Fantasy team with reduced expectations, but there's no way he should be drafted anywhere near where he's been taken in years past.

I'd draft him: Late Round 7 at the earliest in full PPR, late Round 8 at the earliest in half- and non-PPR

DeAndre Hopkins
TEN • WR • #10
REC YDs1057
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Stat to know: Hopkins averaged 8.1 targets per game last season, which was higher than his gross 6.4 average in 2021 but much lower than the 10-plus targets he wrangled from 2017 through 2020 and in 2022. Also, 24% of his targets in 2023 were uncatchable.

Stat to know part II: Bengals receiver Tee Higgins has never averaged more than 7.9 targets per game. That matters because the new head coach and playcaller of the Titans, Brian Callahan, previously worked on Higgins' offense in Cincinnati, and Hopkins is expected to play the same role as Higgins has as a perimeter outside receiver.

Why is he a bust? I thought Hopkins was still able to separate and make great catches as the Titans' No. 1 guy last year. Now he's likely to be the team's No. 2 guy and not have quite as many explosive play opportunities now that he's sharing the field with Calvin Ridley. This offense is going to be different, Hopkins' role will be different, and it remains to be seen if Will Levis will be any better than he was as a rookie.

I'd draft him: Round 8 in PPR, Round 9 in non-PPR