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Every year, a handful of players are selected in the first few rounds of our 2021 fantasy football drafts that end up busting. Some players struggle due to injuries, while others just can’t replicate the success of previous seasons. Today in our fantasy football coverage, we are taking a look at five potential 2021 fantasy football busts you should avoid in your fantasy football drafts this summer.
We will be using Underdog Fantasy’s average draft position to help identify some of these players.
2021 Fantasy Football Busts & Overvalued Players
1. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
Davante Adams Fantasy Football ADP: 17.4
Adams is coming off the best year of his career as he scored 18 touchdowns in just 14 games. He also totaled 1,374 yards on 115 receptions as he was among the most efficient wide receivers in all of the NFL. However, the Aaron Rodgers situation hangs over Adams like a black cloud, and it’s tough to select him at his current ADP (17.4).
There is still a decent chance that Rodgers returns to Green Bay; it feels likely that he will at least miss a few games if he isn’t traded. And needless to say, anyone other than Rodgers throwing the ball to Adams is going to be a significant downgrade. On top of the Rodgers’ issue, Adams hasn’t been the most durable receiver either. He has yet to start 16 games in his career and has missed at least two games in three of the past four seasons.
While we know Adams has WR1 potential, there are just too many ways for this to go wrong in 2021. If you can, ignore Adams’ second-round ADP right now and instead select a receiver a bit later with a higher floor. Consider fading Adams in favor of DeAndre Hopkins or Calvin Ridley until we get more information on the availability of his MVP quarterback.
2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
Saquon Barkley Fantasy Football ADP: 13.8
There is no doubt that Saquon Barkley is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL. There just aren’t many humans on earth with his size, power and speed in the open field.
However, he is a bit overvalued in drafts right now as he is usually the third player off the board in drafts. That seems a tad rich considering that not only is he coming off a torn ACL, but considering he hasn’t been able to replicate the production that he had as a rookie.
As a rookie, Barkley averaged just under 127 yards from scrimmage per game. During the 2018 season, he scored 15 touchdowns in 16 games. Since then, his production has dropped as he’s averaged just 102.3 yards per game and a half of a touchdown. While those are still excellent numbers, it’s only fair to knock him down slightly on your board, given all of the injury risks.
If you are picking at No. 4 or No. 5, consider a player like Derrick Henry or Alvin Kamara, who have both been outstanding over the last several years and have been more durable.
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3. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Austin Ekeler Fantasy Football ADP: 13.8
Every year, we all are hoping that Austin Ekeler takes the next step in the Chargers’ offense and becomes their lead back. But yet every year, we are always disappointed in the lack of carries he ends up getting. Since entering the NFL, Ekeler has never had a season with more than 132 carries. Even last year when he was named the lead back, Ekeler averaged just 11.6 carries per game. His value has always come in the passing game, and I have no doubt he will be effective there again.
But with an ADP of 13.8, fantasy players have to take Ekeler at the top of the second round. And for a player that has just one 1,000-yard season (from scrimmage) under his belt, there are better options available such as Najee Harris and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, at cheaper prices. Ekeler is a solid RB2, but his current price tag suggests he has legit RB1 potential. I just don’t see that happening, given how the last few seasons have played out.
4. George Kittle, TE, San Fransico 49ers
George Kittle Fantasy Football ADP: 24.3
You can make a really strong case that George Kittle is the best overall tight end in the NFL. His ability to win as a receiver and dominate as a blocker make him the complete and total packages. However, he’s being a tad overdrafted right now as he is going as the TE2 in most leagues. Kittle had his breakout season in 2018, catching 88 passes for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns. What he hasn’t been able to replicate over the last few years is his gaudy yards per reception (15.6 in 2018) total. While he is still one of the best receiving tight ends in football, his production has dipped since that breakout season. In 2018, Kittle averaged 86.1 yards per game. Since then, that has dropped to 76.7.
On top of the production drop, Kittle has now missed 10 games over the last two years with injuries and very likely will be playing with a rookie quarterback. The 49ers also have a ton of other weapons in that offense, including 2020 first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. Kittle is still a player you want on your team, but it’s tough to take him over Darren Waller, who has been the better fantasy player in each of the last two seasons. With an ADP at the bottom of the second round (24.3), consider passing on Kittle for Waller or selecting another player with a bit more stable quarterback situation.
5. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Ja’Marr Chase Fantasy Football ADP: 47.7
The Bengals had the difficult decision at pick No. 5 to either select an offensive tackle to protect Joe Burrow or his favorite weapon from LSU to throw to. Of course, the Bengals did end up going with Chase and it’s hard to blame them. Chase is one of the best wide receiver prospects we’ve seen into the NFL since Amari Cooper back in the 2015 NFL Draft.
But will Chase have success right out of the gate? Considering where fantasy football players are drafting him, that is certainly the expectation.
At Underdog Fantasy, Chase currently has an ADP of 47.7. That is ahead of proven receivers such as Adam Thielen, Tyler Lockett, Odell Beckham Jr. and Kenny Golladay. That seems a bit rich considering that the Bengals already have established weapons in their passing attack with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. While it’s fair to think that Chase could easily be the best target on that offense, it wouldn’t be a complete shock if he struggled early considering that he missed all of the 2020 season after opting out. There is a ton of upside here, but it might be wise to avoid Chase in the fourth round for more proven targets with his current price tag.