There’s nothing like the feeling of sheer confidence after completing a fantasy football draft and thinking to yourself, “Wow, I really ended up with a great team. It’s one of the best in the league.” Yes, every fantasy owner says that, but inevitably, some of the players each team selects end up turning into disappointments — or even worse, complete busts. With the 2020 fantasy season now wrapped up (unless you play a Week 17 championship game), it’s time to look back on some of the biggest busts at every position.
The construction of this year’s All-Bust Team was simple. Obviously, there’s a laundry list of guys across the NFL who have dealt with injuries and have missed extensive action, including early picks like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Courtland Sutton. With that said, we didn’t want to bog down this list with players that suffered season-ending injuries, so we focused more on picking players that were in action for at least a good chunk of the year but just didn’t deliver for whatever reason. Sure, some of them also dealt with injuries, but the biggest busts are the big-name guys you play every week or at least keep on your roster all year but constantly provide little-to-no production.
In addition to the picks for the all-bust team, we’ll revisit our preseason boom-or-bust team below each selection. As usual, we had some hits but also had some egregious whiffs.
Without further ado, we present to you the biggest fantasy football busts of the 2020 NFL season.
Biggest 2020 Fantasy Football Busts
Note: All average draft positions (ADP) referenced below are via FantasyPros.
QB: Carson Wentz, Eagles
Coming off a solid effort in ’19, Wentz was the 11th QB off the board in fantasy drafts on average, going ahead of the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Tannehill. Despite being viewed universally as a potentially QB1 with a high floor, Wentz crashed and burned this season and finished the fantasy season ranked 21st among QBs in total fantasy points. In terms of average points per game, Wentz was ranked 18th.
Wentz had seven games with multiple passing TDs this year, but he also had six with multiple interceptions. Though he has been benched since a Week 13 loss to the Packers, he still leads the NFL in interceptions (15) and sacks taken (50). His consistent negative plays constantly put fantasy owners behind in games, and that’s part of the reason that many moved on from him as the season went along.
Most of Wentz’s fantasy owners are kicking themselves for not drafting Rodgers instead of him, and next year, they won’t make the same mistake. Of course, it’s possible no one drafts Wentz next year, as Jalen Hurts is looking like a potential long-term answer for the Eagles and Wentz’s contract is extremely difficult to trade in a non-salary-dump move. As a result, he could end up being a backup next year unless he rapidly returns to his borderline-MVP performance from 2017.
Preseason Boom-or-Bust QB: Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Prescott was on pace to throw for nearly 6,000 yards before a compound ankle fracture prematurely ended his season. Obviously, he didn’t pan out for fantasy owners in wake of that injury, but given that he was on pace to be a top-10 fantasy quarterback before he went down, it’s hard to label him a definitive “bust” this year.
RB: Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers
Fournette ended up being the 20th RB off the board in fantasy drafts this year, but his season got off to a strange start. He was among the final cuts for the Jaguars and ended up in an uncertain role with the Buccaneers.
After running for 103 yards and two TDs on just 12 carries against the Panthers in Week 2, it looked like Fournette was going to be the starter over Ronald Jones. However, Jones staved off competition from Fournette and forced him into the role of being a spot-starter. All told, Fournette had a couple of two-TD games but never went over 100 total yards after Week 2.
Fournette finished the year as a top handcuff and an occasional matchup-based flex play, but for the most part, he disappointed in his finish as the 39th-ranked RB in fantasy football.
RB: Le’Veon Bell, Jets/Chiefs
Hopes were high for Bell in his second season with the Jets. He was set to play behind a better offensive line and wasn’t coming off a year-long layoff as he was before the 2019 season.
Instead of getting a rejuvenated Bell, the Jets got nothing but trouble. Bell got hurt in his first game, clashed with Adam Gase, and ultimately was released. He was scooped up by the Chiefs, but Kansas City opted to use him as more of a backup to spell rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire than anything else. With the Chiefs, Bell had more than 10 touches just twice, and on the season, he averaged nine touches for 42.3 yards per game and scored just three times.
Bell was the 21st RB off the board, on average, and a top-50 pick in most fantasy drafts, so seeing him finish the year as the 57th-ranked RB overall was a massive disappointment. Most weeks, he just wasted away on the benches of owners too afraid to drop him in the hopes that the Chiefs may go with a full split between him and Edwards-Helaire.
RB: Mark Ingram, Ravens
Speaking of high draft picks that didn’t pan out, how about Ingram? He was drafted 23rd among RBs, indicating that he should be a low-end RB2. Instead, he completely cratered and lost value long before the season ended.
Early in the year, the Ravens were using a frustrating rotation at RB featuring Ingram, Gus Edwards, and JK Dobbins. As the year went on, Ingram battled injuries and got fewer and fewer touches with Dobbins and Edwards taking on a majority of the work. In recent weeks, Ingram has been a healthy scratch, so it appears that his time as a productive fantasy RB may be over.
Entering Week 17, Ingram ranks 70th among RBs in fantasy scoring this year. That is behind both Dobbins and Edwards and the likes of Salvon Ahmed, Joshua Kelley, Peyton Barber, Brian Hill, and Samaje Perine, among others. To say this year was a disappointment for Ingram would be an understatement.
Preseason Boom-or-Bust RBs: Miles Sanders, Eagles | Aaron Jones, Packers
Jones was a complete whiff, as he followed up his breakout 2019 campaign with a strong ’20 campaign that saw him score 10 times during the fantasy season and total nearly 1,400 scrimmage yards. He did miss a couple of games, but it wasn’t a big deal. Sanders, on the other hand, had a rough go of it. He dealt with nagging injuries and scored in just four games (six total TDs), and his performance was very inconsistent playing behind a depleted Eagles offensive line. He wasn’t terrible, but he was more of a boom-or-bust flex than the fringe-RB1 that he was drafted to be.
WR: A.J. Green, Bengals
Though the Bengals had added Tee Higgins to the fold, it was anticipated that Green, if healthy, would be the top outside receiver for the Bengals and would have a shot at emerging as a solid WR2/WR3 in fantasy.
Instead, Green has endured a disappointing campaign despite staying healthy. On four occasions, he has finished a game without making a catch. He has scored just twice and is averaging only 34.9 yards per game. Week to week, Green has been completely unpredictable. Occasionally, he’ll put together a solid outing, but he has had bad outings in good matchups against the Jaguars and the Titans. So, it’s not like he was even a matchup-based streamer.
Green is currently the 71st WR in terms of points scored this season. He was drafted 28th among wideouts but has likely only remained on fantasy rosters due to name recognition. It’s worth wondering if Green will be fantasy-relevant at all next year, regardless of where he winds up.
WR: Michael Thomas, Saints
We usually don’t put players who dealt with seriously injury issues on this list, but Thomas is the exception. He was a first-round pick in almost every fantasy draft and was usually the first WR off the board. Despite that lofty status, Thomas was a major disappointment.
Thomas played in just seven games throughout the season while dealing with various injuries and a one-game suspension given to him by the team for punching a teammate in practice. It seems like he had a new issue every week, and even when he got back on the field, he wasn’t great.
Thomas averaged 5.7 catches for 62.6 yards per game this season. Those numbers aren’t too bad, but he never found the end zone to boost his scoring. Plus, he was placed on IR during the fantasy playoffs to ensure that he would recover from yet another injury ahead of the NFL playoffs.
Thomas finished the year as the 100th-ranked fantasy WR. He was one of the biggest disappointments of the year considering that he couldn’t get on the field for half the season, and when he did, he was ineffective. He should bounce back next year, but if he’s playing with Taysom Hill or another QB not named Drew Brees, it’s possible he disappoints again.
WR: DJ Chark, Jaguars
Chark was drafted as the 26th overall WR this year and finished 40th in overall points at the position. So, he’s not a massive bust, but going from a fringe-WR2 to a borderline flex play isn’t exactly a good thing.
The bigger issue for Chark this year was his consistency. He posted eight games with 56 or fewer yards and no TDs but also had a couple of 20-plus-point days. You just never knew what you were going to get with Chark, but you still felt like you had to play him almost every week, which is usually a recipe for disappointment.
Maybe Chark will be better off next year after the Jaguars select a new quarterback. They’re locked into the No. 1 seed and the expectation is that they willl take Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Chark would thrive with a passer like that, so he probably won’t be a headliner on the All-Bust Team next season.
Preseason Boom-or-Bust WRs: Stefon Diggs, Bills | A.J. Brown, Titans | A.J. Green, Bengals
Diggs is leading the NFL in both receptions and receiving yards as of this writing, so it’s safe to say that he was far from a bust. Brown looked like he might be one early in the season after totaling 39 yards in the opener and missing time with an injury, but he turned things around by totaling 10 TDs from Week 5 through the end of the season. We did nail Green, though. He just never got in sync with Joe Burrow and quickly fell behind Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins in the Bengals WR pecking order.
TE: Zach Ertz, Eagles
We were torn between Ertz and Tyler Higbee in this spot, but Higbee at least played a full season and scored five times. Ertz’s season was far worse.
Ertz missed what will amount to five games this year, but even when he was on the field, he took a back seat to Dallas Goedert. Ertz averaged just 3.3 catches for 31.9 yards per game, but the biggest disappointment is that he scored only once. That came back in Week 1, so he basically averaged a little over three standard fantasy points per game after that contest (roughly 6.7 per game in PPR formats).
Ertz finished as fantasy’s 34th-ranked TE in total fantasy points, but even more damning is the fact that he ranked tied for 31st in fantasy points per game at the TE spot. That’s pretty bad considering that he was the fourth TE off the board in most fantasy drafts.
Preseason Boom-or-Bust TE: Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers
It seems like just yesterday there was chatter about Gronkowski being just a blocking TE after averaging 28 yards per game with no TDs in his first five contests. However, it turns out he was just shaking off the rust after a year of retirement and would go on to average 45.4 yards per game and total seven TDs. If you drafted him early in the year and gave up on him, then he turned out to be a bust. Otherwise, he finished as a top-10 starter.
D/ST: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings’ ADP this year was an even 8.0, and many expected the unit to repeat the success they have had during recent seasons. They ended up regressing badly, though, as they missed the trio of Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander, and Trae Waynes at corner. Between that, the Michael Pierce opt-out, the loss of Linval Joseph, and a late-season injury to Eric Kendricks, the Vikings finished the year with the sixth-fewest fantasy points and were mostly treated as waiver-wire fodder depending on matchups. That certainly isn’t good news for those that invested draft picks in them ahead of units like the Rams, Buccaneers, and Colts (all top-seven defenses).
Preseason Boom-or-Bust D/ST: New England Patriots
The Patriots were the fifth D/ST unit off the board and finished tied for 10th in scoring at the position this year. They certainly weren’t consistent, so perhaps you still view them as a bust. Perhaps they’ll be better next year when some of the players that opted out return.
Kicker: Robbie Gould, 49ers
Look, no kicker is really a “bust” since they’re drafted so late, but if you missed out on Younghoe Koo for a guy like Gould, you have to be pretty disappointed. Gould was more accurate this season than he was last year, but he still had just 19 field goals on the year. That’s fewer than he had last year (23) despite playing in 15 games this season compared to just 13 last year, and that’s partially due to the regression of the 49ers offense.
Gould was the 23rd-ranked kicker in terms of total points heading into the final week of the regular season. This came after he was the fifth kicker drafted in terms of ADP. Gould “rewarded” any team that stuck with him to an outing in fantasy championship games where he missed three total kicks (two field goals, one extra point) in a mega-dud performance.
Preseason Boom-or-Bust D/ST: Robbie Gould, 49ers
We nailed this one, too. Our concerns with Gould were his age (38) and the potential performance of San Francisco’s lackluster offense. The offense was the bigger factor in Gould’s struggles, but he wore out a bit down he stretch, too. He was a solid bust pick no matter how you look at it.