Davante Adams had an amazing first season with the Raiders in 2022, and he should have the chance for another quality campaign this year. But I'm concerned that a decline in production is coming, and Adams should not be drafted in Round 1.
Unfortunately, his average draft position in June on FantasyPros is No. 12 overall, which makes him the final pick of the first round. And that's too expensive for me, which is why he's considered a bust. I don't see myself drafting Adams this season.
Last year, with Derek Carr in Las Vegas, Adams had 100 catches, 1,516 yards and 14 touchdowns on a career-high 180 targets. He averaged 19.4 PPR points per game. But now Jimmy Garoppolo is the new quarterback for the Raiders, if he's healthy, and that's a downgrade for Adams.
Adams won't completely struggle with Garoppolo, who should provide better intermediate passes than Carr, and hopefully, he can reach 100 catches again for the fourth year in a row. But the downfield throws could be a problem for Garoppolo, who is coming off foot surgery in March.
Should Garoppolo fail to be cleared to start in Las Vegas, the Raiders are left with 37-year-old journeyman Brian Hoyer, fourth-round rookie Aidan O'Connell and 2022 undrafted free agent Chase Garbers as the other signal-callers on the roster at the time of publication. Does that sound appealing to Adams?
Maybe Tom Brady, who purchased a minority ownership stake in the team in May, could come out of retirement and save Adams. But that doesn't seem likely to happen. And Adams has already expressed his frustration with the organization, which could make him disgruntled, especially if the Raiders are losing and he's not producing at a high level.
Adams is also 30 now, and receivers at his age haven't fared well of late. In the past 10 years, only 17 receivers at 30 or older have averaged at least 15.0 PPR points per game. And only three over that span -- Brandon Marshall in 2015 at age 31 (21.2 PPR points per game), Jordy Nelson in 2016 at 31 (19.0) and Antonio Brown in 2018 at 30 (21.6) -- produced at the level Adams did in 2022.
Adams could join that trio as an elite 30-year-old. Or history might not be on his side. And you have to expect him to be in that range if you plan to draft him in Round 1.
I don't like the way this is heading for Adams. I love him as a player, and I hope he can still play at a high level in 2023 with Garoppolo. But he's someone I plan to avoid this season, especially if he's being drafted in Round 1.
Now, here are some other bust candidates I will likely be avoiding this season, especially if the ADP is too high.
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I was surprised -- shocked, actually -- to see the June ADP for Cousins. He's the No. 11 quarterback at No. 88 overall. He's being drafted ahead of Anthony Richardson and Tua Tagovailoa, which I can't fathom, and you can argue Aaron Rodgers and Geno Smith are better than Cousins. Last year, Cousins had a solid season as the No. 10 quarterback at 20.5 Fantasy points per game. But it was actually his worst year since 2019. He has standout weapons in Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson, and coach Kevin O'Connell allowed Cousins to attempt a career-high 643 passes in 2022. But Cousins offers nothing as a runner (97 rushing yards last year and a career-high of 179 in 2017), and his ceiling is limited. His best year was 2020 when he averaged 23.4 Fantasy points per game. I don't mind Cousins as a fall-back starting quarterback. But I don't want to draft him ahead of Richardson or Tagovailoa, especially at this cost.
I actually don't mind Henry's June ADP at No. 25 overall, but I haven't seen him go that late in any drafts that I've done this offseason. He's typically a Round 2 selection and is usually a top-15 overall pick. I'm not drafting Henry in that spot, and I'm afraid Father Time will catch up to Henry this season. He turned 29 in January, and that's not good for a running back. While he bounced back from the foot injury he sustained in 2021 that limited him to eight games -- he played 16 games in 2022 -- he has a lot of mileage on his massive frame with over 380 total touches in two of the past three seasons. The Titans offensive line is going through a makeover this year, but Pro Football Focus still ranks the unit last coming into the season. Henry has been amazing when healthy over the past four seasons, averaging more than 18.1 PPR points per game every year since 2019, but I'm concerned he's reached the end of his run as an elite Fantasy option. I don't plan on buying a lot of stock in Henry this year.
I would love to call Hall a breakout candidate. I would love to buy him at his June ADP as the No. 11 running back at No. 30 overall. I would love to see him healthy. But I'm afraid we might be talking about his health far too often this season, especially early in the year. Despite Jets coach Robert Saleh saying he was "very optimistic" about Hall's potential availability for Week 1, he was unable to practice with the team during OTAs in May because of his surgically repaired knee. Hall suffered a torn ACL in Week 7 last year, and we might not see him at full strength until the middle of this season. He should benefit from the addition of new quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but what if the Jets are overly cautious with Hall and force him to share touches with Israel Abanikanda, Michael Carter or Zonovan Knight? It could be a headache and not worth the risk in Round 3. The earliest you should draft Hall is Round 4, but have a contingency plan in case he suffers a setback. And Abanikanda, who should be the handcuff, is someone to draft in all leagues with a late-round pick.
The Round 5 June ADP for Walker isn't horrible at No. 53 overall, but I don't like that he's the No. 16 running back off the board. He could easily justify that draft position if he remains the No. 1 running back for the Seahawks, but that status is in doubt after Seattle selected rookie Zach Charbonnet in the second round of the NFL Draft. There's a realistic chance Charbonnet is the best running back for the Seahawks, and his June ADP is in Round 9. He's the Seattle running back I plan to target this season. As a rookie in 2022, Walker had plenty of fantastic performances, scoring at least 12 PPR points in 10 of his final 12 games. But there had to be something Pete Carroll didn't like about Walker that warranted the Seahawks drafting Charbonnet. In early May, Carroll said "those guys will be battling," so this is a training camp competition to monitor. I don't want to give up on Walker, but I also don't want to target him on Draft Day this season because of Charbonnet.
Williams' June ADP as the No. 29 running back off the board in Round 8 is actually fine, but I haven't seen him go that late in any drafts that I've done this offseason. He's typically a Round 5 or 6 selection, and that's too expensive for me. I'm not sure what to expect from Williams this season after he suffered a torn ACL and LCL in Week 4 in 2022. While he returned to limited action during OTAs in May, Broncos general manager George Paton has indicated multiple times this offseason that he wasn't sure about Williams' availability for Week 1. Denver added Samaje Perine this offseason, and coach Sean Payton seems intent on using Perine in a prominent role. Payton also has a history of using multiple running backs in his backfield. We know Williams has never proven that he could be a workhorse running back for a full season, even going back to North Carolina when he shared touches with Michael Carter. And the Broncos will likely be cautious with Williams in his comeback to ensure he's 100 percent. If he's actually a Round 8 selection, he's worth the risk at that spot. But if he's going before Round 7, then he's likely to be a bust in 2023.
For the past two seasons, Tyler Lockett has been the better Fantasy receiver for the Seahawks over Metcalf. In 2022, Lockett averaged 14.8 PPR points per game compared to 13.3 for Metcalf. In 2021, Lockett was at 15.1 PPR points per game while Metcalf was at 14.4. I'm hopeful that this season the 25-year-old Metcalf will outperform Lockett, who turns 31 in September, but there's a bigger issue for both Seattle wideouts. The Seahawks spent a first-round pick in the NFL Draft on rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and he could emerge as the No. 1 receiver for Geno Smith this year. While that would be a surprise, it's hard to justify drafting Metcalf as the No. 15 receiver off the board in Round 3, which is his June ADP. We haven't seen a receiving corps this deep for the Seahawks since Metcalf joined the team in 2019 -- or maybe ever in team history. It makes Smith a Fantasy quarterback to covet, but it should make it tough for Metcalf to reach his ceiling this year. The earliest I would draft Metcalf is Round 5.
Samuel had a quality season in 2022 when he averaged 12.2 PPR points per game, but he was a bust compared to his 2021 campaign when he averaged 21.2 PPR points. It looks like he could be a bust again based on his June ADP at No. 34 overall as the No. 17 receiver off the board. I can't draft him that high, and the earliest I would select him is Round 5. For starters, the expected starting quarterback for the 49ers, Brock Purdy, is dealing with an elbow injury that could keep him out to start the season. We'll see if San Francisco turns to Trey Lance or Sam Darnold if Purdy can't play, and I don't love either scenario for Samuel. Next, you have to look at what happened to Samuel with Purdy, and the two played five healthy games together, including the playoffs. In those games, Samuel averaged 6.8 targets and 16.8 PPR points. That's great, but one of those games included a rushing touchdown, and Samuel only topped 60 receiving yards once. If you want to argue that Samuel's rushing production will continue to help him, he averaged just three carries per game after Christian McCaffrey joined the 49ers in Week 7 and had one rushing touchdown. He had eight rushing touchdowns in 2021. I love Samuel, but he's not someone you should draft in Round 3 this year.
At the time of publication, Hopkins remains without a team. To give you a timeline of when I'm writing this, he had just completed his free agent visit with New England, and it appears like he's deciding between the Patriots and Titans. The NFL Network reported that Hopkins could wait until training camp to sign, and I don't love that scenario since he'll have little time to develop a rapport with his new quarterback. Now, if he surprises us and signs with the Chiefs or Bills, remove him from this list. And there are other teams where Hopkins can still be a Fantasy star. But I don't expect Mac Jones or Ryan Tannehill to bring out the best in Hopkins, who turned 31 in June. See above on Davante Adams on the success rate of receivers past age 30, and that doesn't help Hopkins, who was great last season in Arizona when he averaged 16.8 PPR points per game. But a decline could be coming, especially if he's playing in New England or Tennessee. We'll see where he signs and where his ADP settles, but in June it's Round 3 as the No. 18 receiver off the board. There's no way I will draft Hopkins in that range, and if he signs with the Patriots or Titans, I won't draft him until Round 6.
We'll see if the addition of rookie receiver Quentin Johnston, who the Chargers selected in Round 1 of the NFL Draft, motivates Williams to have a big year, or Johnston could make Williams irrelevant. I'd be surprised if the latter happens, but Williams should find himself struggling for targets if Johnston earns a big role. Williams also has to prove he can stay healthy, and he was limited to 13 games in 2022. Thankfully, the back injury he suffered in Week 18 last year has healed, and Williams took part in minicamp in June. Williams was a quality Fantasy option when he played last season, averaging 13.5 PPR points per game, but I'm expecting his production to decline because of Johnston, especially if Keenan Allen stays healthy. The good news is new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will employ a pass-happy offense, and Justin Herbert is still a star. But the bad news is there a lot of mouths to feed, especially when you factor in Austin Ekeler out of the backfield. I have no problem drafting Williams as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all leagues in Round 6, but not at his June ADP as the No. 25 receiver off the board in Round 4.
Kittle was thrilled with Purdy starting for the 49ers, which is understandable. The two had a great connection, and Kittle scored seven touchdowns in the eight healthy games he played with Purdy. To put that in perspective, Kittle never scored more than six touchdowns in a season in the first five years of his career. He also averaged 14.3 PPR points per game with Purdy. But there's a tale of two game logs when it comes to Kittle and Purdy, and it involves Samuel, who missed three of those eight games. In those three games without Samuel against Seattle in Week 15, Washington in Week 16 and Las Vegas in Week 17, Kittle had 21 targets for 14 catches, 236 yards and five touchdowns. In the other five games with Samuel healthy against Miami in Week 13, Tampa Bay in Week 14, Arizona in Week 18 and two playoff games against Seattle and Dallas, Kittle had 21 targets for 17 catches, 211 yards and two touchdowns. I'm still drafting Kittle as a top-10 tight end, but his June ADP is the No. 4 tight end at No. 60 overall. It could be hard for him to justify that ADP while sharing targets with Samuel, McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk, and again, Purdy might not be ready for Week 1. Just something to consider before you overvalue Kittle for this season.