Make no mistake - fantasy football busts can ruin your best ball seasons just as quickly as your traditional season-long leagues.

We need to remember what a bust actually is. A fantasy football bust is a player who, over the course of the season, perform significantly worse than their preseason projections or the value of their draft position. They're players you should avoid overpaying for and who you should only pick if they fall to later rounds in your draft. 

On the other side of the spectrum are fantasy football sleepers. These are the players who outproduce their preseason projections and return more value than what you'd expect from the round you drafted them in.

Many sleepers are selected when you take a late-round flier or find a proverbial diamond in the rough. You don't HAVE to be drafted in the late rounds to end up as a fantasy sleeper at the end of the year. If you draft someone in the 6th round who ends up producing stats with 1st-round value, they can be considered an undervalued sleeper.

All of these things also apply to fantasy football busts - even in best ball leagues.

While best ball fantasy football leagues will make sure that the highest scoring players on your team will be counted in each week's contests, they can't save you if your high-priced picks are performing like low-end losers each week. 

Be sure to check out more of our best ball strategy articles to sharpen your skills on everything from where to play to how to build your roster like a pro.

But without further ado, here are are the NFL players who could very well wind up being labeled “best ball fantasy football busts” by the time the 2024 season is all wrapped up.

Fantasy Football Busts: Top 10 Players To Avoid In 2024 Best Ball Drafts

Josh Allen, QB Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen is still a great fantasy quarterback. He still might be the QB1. But, following the Stefon Diggs trade, he went from being in a tier of his own to being in the same tier as a few guys for me. 

There is simply no way to spin him losing a guy that has led the team in targets and first downs four years in a row as a good thing - or even something they can easily just replace. The GM Brandon Beane was quoted as saying “Are we better today? Probably not.”. The reason Josh Allen scored so many fantasy points than everyone else is because he scored 15 rushing touchdowns. 

Stefon Diggs was a crucial chain mover and, if the offense is less efficient, that means less scoring in general. A second round rookie in Keon Coleman is not going to change that. I’m personally just not taking Allen as the QB1 a full 10 or so picks before the next QB where he goes - if he slides then I have no problem taking him.  

Joe Burrow, QB Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have a Tee Higgins problem right now. And these problems either get resolved, with money, or they get resolved via trade. At this particular moment, I’m a bit nervous that any day now an Adam Schefter news bomb regarding a Tee Higgins trade could drop. On top of that, Joe Mixon is gone, and Tyler Boyd is likely only back if they do trade Tee Higgins. And rookie Jermaine Burton is promising but he's no Tee Higgins.

After the devastating knee injury in his rookie year, Burrow finally got back to being a bit more mobile in 2022 before getting hurt once again in 2023. I’m just not sure Burrow offers the upside I’m looking for in 2024 from the QB7 off the board. 

Puka Nacua, WR Los Angeles Rams

Teams in the division and on the schedule last year looked at this Rams team and thought one thing - don’t let Cooper Kupp beat you. And on many occasions, they didn’t. Puka Nacua beat them. This is not an uncommon occurrence in fantasy football history where a young wide receiver blows up while a veteran stud draws coverage. 

Chris Godwin with Mike Evans. JuJu Smith-Schuster with Antonio Brown. Calvin Ridley with Julio Jones. Emmanuel Sanders with DeMaryius Thomas. As you can tell from some of those names, they didn’t always turn around and repeat those performances. 

Of course, Puka Nacua could just be the next superstar WR in the league, no doubt. But this year he will get that treatment by defenses. I’m not sure I want to use a first-round pick drafting him at his ceiling when he’s being drafted amongst current superstar wide receivers that have already proven they can go up against top corners and double teams week in and week out. 

DJ Moore, WR Chicago Bears

This one is going to be pretty simple for me. It’s going to be a brand-new rookie quarterback this year. We don’t know who he will prefer throwing the ball to, let alone how well he will throw it. I know the QB play was clearly superior in LA but last year Keenan Allen had more targets and receptions (108 on 145 targets) in 13 games than DJ Moore had in 17 games (96 on 132). And then they used the 9th pick on rookie Rome Odunze.

With his lower aDot route running and ability to create separation, Keenan Allen is a quarterback’s best friend. With the rookie QB, it’s a little dicey taking but I’d rather take a shot on Keenan Allen in the mid-fourth round than pay up for DJ Moore in the second.

Tank Dell, WR Houston Texans

The Stefon Diggs trade will no doubt bring his ADP down. But I don’t think it comes down far enough. My concern here is that the Texans not only use multiple tight end sets at times, but they deploy fullback Andrew Beck. When you bring in the FB, you aren’t taking the RB or TE out of the game. It’s a receiver coming out That’s why the 49ers and Dolphins, who run the same scheme with a fullback, never have a viable WR3. 

I’m not saying Tank Dell is going to be Braxton Berrios or Jauan Jennings here, but who are you taking out of the game for two WR sets in the red zone? Not Stefon Diggs. So, it has to be either the 6’4” 216-pound split end Nico Collins or the 5’10” 165-pound slot/flanker Tank Dell. The same Tank Dell that broke his leg in a goal line pile up just last season. 

Kyren Williams, RB Los Angeles Rams

We’re going to update this throughout the offseason as the landscape changes - right now our main concern is the draft. The Rams currently only have three backs on the depth chart in Kyren Williams, Ronnie Rivers, and Zach Evans

If there’s been one weak spot to his game so far, it’s been pass blocking as he graded out as RB141 of 148 in pass blocking per PFF in 2022 and last year he allowed the fifth most hurries. This is the same issue that plagued Dameon Pierce and led to the addition of Devin Singletary

So what do the Rams do in the draft? They add Blake Corum, who didn't allow a sack over the last two seasons. Which means he could carve out a role on pass-downs. As Scott Barrett proved mathematically, targets are more valuable than carries in all formats.

James Cook, RB Buffalo Bills

Cook has a similar concern to Kyren Williams except the roles are flipped. The Bills have been actively looking for a bruiser back, bringing in guys like Damien Harris, Leonard Fournette, and Latavius Murray. We warned that this could happen leading into the draft as they only had three running backs on the roster. And then they selected the 216 pound Ray Davis.

James Cook is good in space and on passing downs but he’s a bit undersized. He only had only two rushing TDs last year with Josh Allen taking 15 for himself. And the offense could be a little less efficient without Stefon Diggs. So James Cook has me a little nervous being drafted in the RB1 range.

Brian Robinson Jr, RB Washington Commanders

Information is king in fantasy football. And the beautiful thing about Austin Ekeler is that he loves sharing information. He does interviews, he streams on Twitch, he goes on fantasy football podcasts. And he’s given us some key information here. 

He told us that he signed with Washington specifically to join forces with his former head coach Anthony Lynn who is now the Commanders' RB coach. He’s the guy that decides the RB rotation. He has also essentially said he expects a split backfield where Ekeler operates on pass downs and also in space in the red area. 

The backfield was already split last year as 48% of Brian Robinson’s receiving yards came in just two games - the game Antonio Gibson got hurt in and the following game that he missed. The role Brian Robinson will have can be okay for fantasy football if you have a great offense like the Patriots and Lions did when plodders LeGarrette Blount and Jamaal Williams each scored 18 touchdowns. But this team will be starting a rookie quarterback. It’s the wrong role and in this offense for fantasy. And Jayden Daniels could take some of those goal-line carries himself. 

David Njoku, TE Cleveland Browns

We liked David Njoku last year. We are looking for players that have a shot at being a top two target on the team and Njoku delivered. That was in large part to him getting the second most targets on screen passes (20) behind only Evan Engram (21). Well, that was with Alex Van Pelt as OC and now he’s in New England. On top of that, Njoku averaged 8.5 targets per game with the backup QBs last year and only 5.2 with DeShaun Watson. 

It could have been gamescript but Watson does like to push the ball down the field. Now that the Browns have traded for Jerry Jeudy (and paid him a hefty extension) Njoku is no longer the clear-cut second option behind Amari Cooper either. All of those factors combined have me putting Njoku on the backburner as long as he’s going in the top 10 tight ends.

Dallas Goedert, TE Philadelphia Eagles

When folks see a 6’5”, 256-pound tight end they immediately think “touchdowns”. But that is a bit of a myth with Goedert as he has not been that kind of jump ball target. In fact, since Jalen Hurts has been the full-time starting QB over the last three years, Dallas Goedert has only seven total end zone targets. To put that in perspective, Donald Parham had seven just last season. 

Dallas Goedert is really more of a low aDot dump down merchant which is not great in best ball. We want CEILING. With AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith on the team, Goedert is basically the tight end equivalent of a “handcuff plus”. Just not where we are looking to spend our capital. 

T.J. Hockenson, TE Minnesota Vikings

Losing Kirk Cousins can not be understated. Since 2015 when he became a full-time starter, he is top five passing yards per game with 267. His 267 yards and 1.85 TDs per game is higher than fellow gunslinger Matthew Stafford (266, 1.75). Going from him to JJ McCarthy or Sam Darnold is a clear downgrade. But it actually hurts Hockenson worse than it does the other pass-catchers. 

Why? Because T.J. Hockenson also tore his knee up. So, while Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison are getting on the same page with the new QB(s), working on their timing and chemistry, T.J. Hockenson will be rehabilitating his knee. I’m just not going to invest in that at this stage of the offseason. Check back in with the update later on.

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