There's always risk in any fantasy football draft, regardless of what round. Naturally, some potential fantasy football busts remain more dangerous than others.
RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Fantasy Lynchpin? Be careful
Initial reports of Christine Michael's rise hint that if Lynch is ineffective, he won't be given as much leash as in recent years. Lynch's workload has piled up since 2011. He depends on 300-plus totes for value, especially after his rushing average dipped to 4.1 last year. Now he's holding out. It's worrisome to pick someone in the top five with that much erosion potential, a rising heir apparent and a possibly long layoff from getting back in shape. He'd hurt less in Round 2 as long as he reports to camp.
WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones' recovery from re-fracturing his right foot last year is supposedly going smoothly, but how effectively will he start the season? Plus, with Tony Gonzalez retired (we think), even more defensive attention will shift Jones' way. He's a fine buy-low candidate if he stumbles out of the gate, but he shouldn't sit on your list as a top-10 WR. A measured selection would come in Round 3.
RB Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams
This offensive line could be one of the best in the game, and Stacy is competent enough to take advantage. But Tre Mason can do many things Stacy can while also providing more shiftiness and an alternative on passing downs. Hints of Isaiah Pead and Benny Cunningham also competing shouldn't be written off. Stacy may never get the advantage in touches most will pay for, likely in the first two or three rounds.
RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
It's hard to justify letting Peterson fall outside the top five in any format, yet don't you feel like you're always testing faith considering what he did coming off his robot-like knee recovery? At age 29, he may start losing a tick of surgically repaired burst. Will he hold up playing his home games outdoors? Can he still escape stacked boxes between Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater's presence at QB?
RB Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Forte is a top PPR asset who showed no signs of slowing down late last year. He's fit for a Marc Trestman gameplan. However, it's prudent to wonder whether those 289 carries, his highest total since his rookie year, will take a toll. Chicago brought about Ka'Deem Carey, a Forte clone, in the final year of the 28-year-old incumbent's contract. Just be careful.
RB Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Martin has allure as a bounce-back candidate after an inconsistent six-game 2013, ended by shoulder surgery. The knock on him coming into that year was his erratic production, and now on top of him proving he's 100 percent, Tampa Bay wants to run a rotation with Charles Sims, Mike James and Bobby Rainey also involved. Martin is the first choice, but be careful not to assume he'll return to cumulative RB1 glory. He's more of an RB2 most of the time with potential to disappoint.
WR Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Can Johnson survive another year of quarterback turmoil? An Arian Foster-Andre Brown duo will tilt the run-pass split further to the former. DeAndre Hopkins may syphon more looks. A trade would improve Johnson's outlook, but as he turns 33, he may need a premier offense to carry him. In PPRs, A.J. is still worth a grab in the first four rounds, but it's a rougher go in non-PPRs.
RB Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Bernard oozes talent, but can we believe Hue Jackson's vow that they'll have plenty of room for Bernard, rookie second-rounder Jeremy Hill and TD vulture BenJarvus Green-Ellis? Bernard's style of play and collegiate injury history make a sophomore slump a legit possibility, especially if he loses work. He's a more passable second-rounder in PPRs, but his appeal last year was his value. No more.
Is the price right for these assets?
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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