Fantasy

2013 Fantasy Football Rankings: Sure-Fire First-Round Busts to Avoid

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 22:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions smiles on the sidelines after breaking the NFL single season yardage record formally held by Jerry Rice during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on December 22, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Falcons defeated the Lions  31-18.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2013

Despite the fantasy season being over—dry your tears—it’s already time to break down the 2013 draft rankings and find out which juggernauts will see a serious drop in production next year.

If you are looking to grab any of these stars in the first round next season, be cautious of their potential statistical drop-offs before mortgaging the house on these sure-fire busts.

All of the following players could go within the first five picks of your draft, but don’t be the one to take these risks. Unless these stars fall to the latter stages of the first round, don’t reach!

 

Top Quarterback Bust: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

While many fantasy players will be stunned to see a consistent star like Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on this list, there are too many factors working against the starter in 2013 to warrant an early pick.

First, there is plenty of depth at QB. It's a position you could wait until the third round to address with regular-season stars like Matt Ryan or Tony Romo, along with rising stars like Robert Griffin III.

In addition, there is expected to be plenty of offseason turnover in the wide receiver group for Green Bay. Veteran receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings are unrestricted free agents and will likely find new homes. Meanwhile, tight end Jermichael Finley continues to disappoint.

It's true these stars didn't add as much this year as they did in seasons past. Jennings and Driver missed substantial time, Finley was unproductive and Rodgers still finished the year with great numbers. However, it's important to look more closely at those numbers.

Besides a late surge of touchdowns in the 2012 season (10 touchdowns in the last three weeks of the season), Rodgers was already falling down the standings. With the potential loss of Jennings and Driver, teams should be better prepared next year for Randall Cobb and James Jones, which should solidify Rodgers' spot as a second- to third-round value in standard leagues.

Predicted Stat Line: 3,988 yards, 29 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

 

Top Running Back Bust: Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

In 2013, Washington Redskins star running back Alfred Morris won’t sneak up on anyone. With enough tape to formulate a game plan to stop the tough young runner, Morris will suffer a serious sophomore slump.

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is known for his ability to frustrate fantasy owners by starting 11 running backs over the course of the season, and Morris is likely in line for a cut in his touches and fantasy output.

Sure, Morris was the lead back and had a great year. But his season is not the normal; it's an anomaly.

The rookie burst on the scene with one of the most impressive campaigns in history for a first-year player, but reality will set in and defenses will adjust. Washington will struggle in 2013 as the strong core of rookies all go through their sophomore issues together, and Shanahan will have no problem switching things up to find a solution.

Though Morris could have a solid year, fantasy owners should be very cautious drafting him and shouldn’t take the running back in the top 10 picks of 2013. Instead, selecting him anywhere after that would be a risk worth taking.

Predicted Stat Line: 257 carries for 1,094 yards and five touchdowns.

 

Top Wide Receiver Bust: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

Despite coming up just short of 2,000 receiving yards on the year and setting the single-season record for the same stat (122 receptions for 1,964 and five touchdowns), fantasy owners should steer clear of the veteran WR in the early stages of the first round.

After his record-breaking performance, Johnson's production will inevitably go down. Owners will be falling over themselves to take Megatron with their first picks in the fantasy draft, but there is almost no way the receiver will replicate the numbers he put up in 2012 again next season. In that way, broken records usually lead to broken hearts the following year.

In addition, the Lions will have the entire offseason to sign more than one wide receiver to play on the other side of the field from Megatron or in the slot, and Detroit won’t have to throw it to Johnson 205 times like they did this year.

With season-ending injuries to Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson, as well as the issues that surrounded Titus Young, Johnson was the only weapon Detroit had. That will not be the case in 2013.

Megatron had great numbers with players like Brandon Pettigrew and Titus Young playing big roles in 2011. But Detroit will only continue to add playmakers on offense, which will undoubtedly lead to at least a small decrease in targets for Johnson moving forward.

He'll still have stellar numbers, but he's not worthy of the top-five pick he’ll garner.

Predicted Stat Line: 92 catches for 1,351 yards and five touchdowns.

 

Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NFL page to get your fill of all things football.

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