While everyone wants to know which fantasy football sleepers they should draft, the savvy fantasy GM is the one who also looks for which players to avoid. 

 

 

 

Last season, as we were telling everyone to draft Raheem Mostert, we also told you to avoid drafting Austin Ekeler

Adding a 21-touchdown Mostert in the eighth round was huge - but not drafting Ekeler in the first round was probably more valuable to you in your championship quest. He came off the board as RB4 and finished the season as RB30. 

That is what we call a fantasy football bust, and that’s what we’re going to help you avoid this season. But before we get into the list of players who made our “Do Not Draft” list, keep this one thing in mind: “bust” is actually a relative term.

What Is A Fantasy Football Bust?

If someone is a “fantasy football bust,” it doesn’t mean the player was a complete disaster; even Ekeler provided you with a couple of good games early on. It means the player did not return the value expected from where he was drafted. 

If your first-round pick stays healthy all season, you start him every week and he doesn’t return more than a sixth-round value, he’s a bust. If your first round pick tears his ACL in Week 3, he shouldn’t be labeled as a bust. It’s just an unfortunate occurrence. There is a significant difference.

We can’t predict injuries. They can happen to anyone at any point. Football is a rough game. But what we can do is identify the players who are least likely to return the value you need or are expecting based on their current fantasy football ADP

2024’s Top 10 Fantasy Football Busts

We’ve studied the teams, the players, the coaches and the offensive schemes. We know who we’re going to draft. Now, it’s time to see which fantasy busts we’ll be avoiding in the 2024-25 season.

2024 Fantasy Busts: QB Busts

Josh Allen, QB Buffalo Bills

Let’s just start it off with a bang, shall we? Yes, I get how crazy this may sound to all of you. Yes, I am aware of Allen’s numbers last year and yes, I know where I currently have him in my QB rankings. But there are several things working against Allen this season and while I won’t deny his overall value, I do not believe drafting him at his current ADP of 25.78 is going to be a good move for you by season’s end

The obvious starting point is touchdown regression as Allen ran in a whopping 15 touchdowns himself last season – 18 if you count the two playoff games. But one of the things we noticed when Joe Brady took over as offensive coordinator was a heavier lean on James Cook and the Bills’ rushing attack. 

Allen did run in eight over the last six regular season games with Brady calling the shots, but that was Allen doing what Allen does when he thinks his back is to the wall: he tries to put the team on his shoulders and do it all on his own. Neither Brady nor head coach Sean McDermott want him to do that as much. He’ll still call his own number at times, but we’re more likely to see single-digit rushing touchdowns this year.

Then, of course, there is the clear lack of an elite wide receiver. He and Stefon Diggs may not have been on the same page last year, but defenses still needed to pay attention to wherever Diggs was on the field. Defending the Bills this season is going to be much different and neither Khalil Shakir, Curtis Samuel nor rookie Keon Coleman are going to command that kind of attention. Even tight end Dalton Kincaid, as great as he can be, does not command the defensive attention Diggs commanded.

By saying he’ll be a fantasy football bust, I’m not saying Allen won’t produce. What I’m saying is that drafting him in the third round is not going to yield the desired results. Not only are you passing up high-end talent at the running back and wide receiver positions, but you’re unlikely to see any sort of a distinct advantage taking him over some of the other top quarterbacks going five or six rounds later. 

Last season, he threw for 70 yards more than Jordan Love but four fewer touchdowns. If we narrow the gap between the two regarding rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, are we still getting as significant an advantage? What about further down with Brock Purdy or even Jared Goff? Just think about the running back or wide receiver you are taking in the third round versus the one you’re taking in the seventh or even 10th.

Just because it’s an unpopular take, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

2024 Fantasy Busts: RB Busts

Rachaad White, RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No one is denying the results from White last season. The guy was a beast for his fantasy owners, and he proved to be one of the best draft bargains around as he finished as a top-five fantasy back and way out-produced his draft position. But the key for White last season was volume and with the change to Liam Coen as the offensive coordinator, we don’t expect him to get as robust a workload.

Last season, White ranked second in rushing attempts and seventh in rushing yards. But he also ranked 40th in yards per carry (YPC) among running backs with at least 100 rushing attempts, 18th in yards after contact (YAC) and 35th in broken tackles. What does that tell you if you reduce his workload?

Coen spent his NFL coaching career working under Sean McVay and was the QB Coach and OC for the University of Kentucky for two of the last three years. As the OC for the Rams in 2022, his team ranked in the bottom five of rushing attempts and in college, his program barely cracked the top 100 in total rushing yards. Coaches don’t change their stripes.  

Aaron Jones, RB Minnesota Vikings

While I have been one of the biggest fans of Jones over the past seven years, it’s time to hop off that train this season, his first with Minnesota. Not only is he turning 30 this season, but seven years of mileage and injuries have already started to catch up to him. In fact, 2022 was the only time in his career where he appeared in all 17 games. Last year, he played in just 11. He’s been in a run-first offense for his entire career and that takes a toll.

Now with the Vikings, Jones finds himself in a much more pass-friendly environment. Head coach Kevin O’Connell and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips have designed and executed an offensive scheme that has ranked in the bottom-five in both rushing attempts and rushing yards over the last two years. Maybe the lighter workload helps spare Jones some of the added wear-and-tear, but fewer carries means fewer opportunities, fewer rushing yards and fewer rushing touchdowns. What’s that you say? Maybe he gets more passing work? Ty Chandler says, “hold my beer.”

Tony Pollard, RB Tennessee Titans

If you opted to read the Top 10 Fantasy Football Sleepers article first, then you know how bullish I am on Will Levis this year. New Titans head coach Brian Callahan is a passing wizard and he was brought in to work his magic with Levis and the array of pass-catching weapons brought in this offseason. Pollard is also considered one of those weapons, though we’ve been waiting for him to make his mark as a receiver for quite some time.

His two biggest obstacles thus far have been Kellen Moore, who doesn’t like to throw to his running backs, and the Cowboys’ attempt to use him as more of an every-down back last year. Now working in tandem with Tyjae Spears, will Pollard’s skills as a pass-catching, complementary back finally shine this season? To get the full story, we have to look at Callahan’s recent history with the Bengals. Last year, among qualified running backs, Joe Mixon ranked 14th in targets, 13th in receptions and 14th in receiving yards.

While those numbers sit in the middle of the pack and don’t scream fantasy bust, especially at Pollard’s composite ADP of 94.19, it’s worth noting that Spears finished ahead of him in every mentioned category, though they were tied for receptions. That tells me that Spears is just as competent a pass catcher as Pollard, and given his better skill set as a between-the-tackles runner, maybe Pollard isn’t the running back you want on this team.

2024 Fantasy Busts: WR Busts

Tank Dell, WR Houston Texans

This will be another unpopular opinion, but I’m here to help you win a fantasy football championship, not placate the goons of fantasy football Twitter.

If you’re new to Fantasy Alarm, by now you should realize just how much of an emphasis I put on coaching schemes and coaching tendencies. If not, scroll down the Draft Guide homepage, because there’s an entire section for you to read. Dell is listed here as a 2024 fantasy bust, not because of talent, but because of the offense Bobby Slowik runs. Seeing him drafted as WR29 in the fifth or sixth round makes me very nervous.

If you’re breaking down the personnel packages used by the Texans last year, Slowik ran three and four-receiver sets (11 and 20-personnel) almost 63% of the time while running two and one-receiver sets (12, 21 and 20-personnel) nearly 35% of the time. To put it in perspective, that 63% is actually a little below the league average. Slowik likes using that fullback and/or a second tight end as an extra blocker and with fullbacks Andrew Beck and Troy Hairston on the roster, it doesn’t look like he’s changing his ways.

That was fine for last year when Dell was the clear No. 2 receiver in this offense, but what happens this year now that Stefon Diggs is on the team? Are you telling me the Texans are going to put Dell on the field over Diggs or the recently-paid Nico Collins? Probably not.

Dell will certainly see ample opportunities throughout the year, but I don’t see him with as robust a snap count as last season, nor would I take him over the likes of Tee Higgins, Terry McLaurin or even Christian Kirk.

Rome Odunze, WR Chicago Bears

This one is probably the easiest to relay and probably where I’ll see the biggest pushback. I think the world of Odunze and believe in his overall talent. The Bears are building something strong here and they are setting rookie Caleb Wiliams up for success. If everything goes right for the Bears during this rebuild, Odunze will have tremendous value… in the future. For now, he’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba 2.0.

New offensive coordinator Shane Waldron loves to throw the ball and was probably one of the biggest reasons the Seahawks moved into the 21st century and parted ways with head coach Pete Carroll. However, the Bears have a setup eerily similar to what was happening when Seattle drafted JSN, and the results are likely the same. With DJ Moore established as the No. 1 receiver, the team brought in veteran Keenan Allen to help ease the rookie’s transition to the NFL game; to be a security blanket, so to speak. Is that any different from Seattle having DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett ahead of JSN? It is not.

Patience should be your best friend if you are taking Odunze in drafts this season. Waldron has fullback Khari Blasingame on the roster and has shown a similar tendency to use two-receiver sets as we just discussed with Bobby Slowik. In dynasty, grab all the Odunze you want, but in redraft leagues, at his current ADP of 100.65, I’d rather take Christian Watson, Jameson Williams and Courtland Sutton.

Busts are relative. Odunze is a 2024 fantasy bust.

Jerry Jeudy, WR Cleveland Browns

Plain and simple, I just don’t like the player. I never have. Yes, Jeudy was a standout performer at Alabama, but since coming into the NFL, he’s been nothing but a disappointment.

Whether you want to blame the lack of production on scheme or COVID or even injuries, pick your poison. They are all partially to blame, but maybe also focus on the fact that he’s not as crisp a route runner at the NFL level and the drops have been a problem each and every season.

Perhaps a fresh start in Cleveland will help, but the writing on the wall already says otherwise. A recent report from Browns beat writer Zac Jackson of The Athletic claims, “…that the Browns plan to open the season with Jeudy in the slot and Amari Cooper and Cedric Tillman out wide.” We can look to new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey’s track record for personnel packages over the last year and a half in Buffalo, and it will point towards a year-to-year reduction in three-receiver sets. 

Jeudy is the one coming off the field, not Cooper or Tillman, and that will reduce his opportunities. That, coupled with the drops and the attitude (another reason he continues to fall out of favor) adds up to a fantasy football bust in 2024. This is a guy I wouldn’t take before the likes of Joshua Palmer, Brandin Cooks or Rashid Shaheed, all of whom are coming off the board after Jeudy.

Quentin Johnston, WR Los Angeles Chargers

Sometimes, talent at the collegiate level just doesn’t translate to the NFL. Johnston was a first round pick out of TCU in 2023 and he struggled mightily in his debut season. Maybe the Chargers would have liked to have eased him in more, but with injuries to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, he was forced into a role he clearly wasn’t ready to play. Johnston has the size you want in a prototypical wide receiver, but seemingly lacked everywhere else. The biggest issue for Johnston was his clear inability to get separation. 

As a field stretcher, his speed never blew the doors off any defensive back tasked with covering him. He also struggled in the physicality department and while there may have been a decent height advantage, his ability to come down with contested catches was unimpressive. He’ll spend this offseason trying to improve, but when the Chargers traded up to grab Ladd McConkey, then used another pick on Brenden Rice and added D.J. Chark via free agency, you knew Johnston wasn’t someone the team was looking to build around. His ADP isn’t outlandish at 159.36, but I’d rather grab Michael Wilson or even Darnell Mooney ahead of him.

2024 Fantasy Busts: TE Busts

David Njoku, TE Cleveland Browns

Oh, what a difference a year makes. Last season, I was screaming from the rooftops for you to draft Njoku. This year, I’m looking at guys like Jake Ferguson, Dallas Goedert and Pat Freiermuth long before I’m taking Njoku.

It’s not that I don’t love the player, because I really do. I just worry about the target share and route tree Ken Dorsey is going to give him this season. It’s true that Dorsey helped develop Dawson Knox and even Dalton Kincaid, but I don’t think he’s going to see the volume he saw in Alex Van Pelt’s system last year. Njoku saw 134 targets last season, ranking him fourth among qualified tight ends.

He ranked fifth in receptions, fourth in receiving yards and fifth in receiving touchdowns. As the lead tight end in Buffalo, Kincaid saw 102 targets. The year before that, Knox saw just 77. Dorsey likes to utilize the tight end to help move the chains, but his quarterback is trained to always be looking downfield.

With a lower target share in this offense, Njoku is going to struggle to produce as he did last season. Given what we know about the state of the tight end position, he’s definitely not going to crack the top five this year, and I think he struggles to even crack the Top 10. That qualifies as a fantasy bust in 2024.

Cole Kmet, TE Chicago Bears

Simply put, Shane Waldron’s offense does not utilize the tight end as a pass catcher nearly as much as Luke Getsy’s offense did over the past two seasons in Chicago. You can cite the personnel, as neither Noah Fant nor Will Dissly were anything to write home about, but Kmet is unlikely to see the 90 targets he saw last year. And Waldron’s scheme isn’t the only reason to avoid Kmet in your fantasy football drafts this season. 

Just like we’are worried about the production of Odunze with Moore and Allen on the roster, we should be equally worried about Odunze’s presence and that of fellow tight end Gerald Everett. Yeah, the Everett signing really throws a monkey wrench into the plans, because he’s Waldron’s guy. They worked together for years with the Rams and Waldron brought him over to Seattle with him back in 2021. Now they’re reunited here in Chicago.

If Everett starts pulling snaps away from Kmet, the opportunities become even more scarce. He’s a nice wide-bodied end zone target, but good luck predicting touchdowns in the NFL. I would rather draft guys like Freiermuth or Hunter Henry, both of whom have similar ADP numbers. 

Top 10 Fantasy Football Busts For 2024

To recap, here are my 2024 Fantasy Football Busts:

  1. Josh Allen, QB Buffalo Bills
  2. Rachaad White, RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  3. Aaron Jones, RB Minnesota Vikings
  4. Tony Pollard, RB Tennessee Titans
  5. Tank Dell, WR Houston Texans
  6. Rome Odunze, WR Chicago Bears
  7. Jerry Jeudy, WR Cleveland Browns
  8. Quentin Johnston, WR Los Angeles Chargers
  9. David Njoku, TE Cleveland Browns
  10. Cole Kmet, TE Chicago Bears

Keep in mind that the Top 10 Fantasy Busts laid out here are organized by position, not any kind of rankings. We don’t need any more controversy added to this…

2024 Fantasy Football: Related Draft Guide Articles

For access to more guidance and assistance for your 2024 fantasy football season, be sure to explore our various draft guide articles: