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Biggest Busts and Disappointments of 2016 - Quarterbacks


What a difference a year can make. Players that are viewed one year as safe bets can be viewed the very next year as shaky propositions. It's the beauty -- or, depending on how you look at it, the curse -- of fantasy football. No position is immune. Every season, there are a handful of players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end that fail to meet preseason expectations for different reasons. Sometimes it's not their fault (injuries), sometimes it is (turnovers, poor play).

Regardless of the circumstances, busts are busts. Let's take a look back at some of this season's most disappointing fantasy quarterbacks. Note: 2016 average draft positions from Fantasy Football Calculator are in parentheses. To read about 2016's biggest breakout quarterbacks, click here.

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Quarterback Busts for 2016 Fantasy Football

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (3.04)

Final stats: 3,509 pass yds, 19 TDs, 14 INTs; 359 rush yds, 5 TDs

Regression typically hits quarterbacks that win the Most Valuable Player Award and teams that go 15-1, but Newton and the Panthers were crushed by a Super Bowl hangover in 2016. Newton's struggles mirrored Carolina's, as the Panthers plummeted from 15 wins to a bitterly disappointing 6-10 record.

Newton accounted for 45 total touchdowns last season, but that total was nearly cut in half this season (24). He missed a game with a concussion and absorbed a number of high-profile, highly-scrutinized hits both in and out of the pocket. Newton's 90 carries for 359 yards and five touchdowns all represented career lows for him on the ground.

Newton wasn't completely without value. In fact, his passing numbers were mostly in line with his pre-2015 seasons, and his rushing numbers were better than most quarterbacks around the league. He just set the bar so high with his historic 2015 season that he couldn't return value as a high third-round pick in drafts.

 

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (4.11)

Final stats: 4,219 pass yds, 21 TDs, 11 INTs; 259 rush yds, 1 TD

Wilson's season was actually fairly similar to Newton's, in that injuries and inconsistency drained his value. Wilson's stock was sky high, given the Seahawks' torrid offensive pace over the final seven games in 2015. His solid fantasy floor (due to his rushing) made him a solid bet as a top-five quarterback.

But Wilson suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 and a knee injury in Week 3 (along with a pectoral injury, sustained at an unknown point), which left him severely limited for the majority of the season. Wilson still set a career high with 4,219 passing yards, but his total touchdowns (22) and rushing yards (259) took a major dip.

Both Newton and Wilson are prime bounce-back candidates in 2017, but there is no denying how disappointing they were in 2016, given their high average draft positions.

 

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (7.05)

Final stats: 4,233 pass yds, 26 TDs, 14 INTs; 38 rush yds, 0 TDs

Few quarterbacks were more consistently productive in 2015 than Palmer, who passed for 4,671 yards and 35 touchdowns, and earned an MVP vote. Palmer and the Cardinals just couldn't replicate the magic in 2016. Palmer missed one game due to injury, and his yards and touchdowns decreased by 438 and nine, respectively. At the same time, his interceptions increased from 11 to 14 and his fumbles ballooned from four to nine.

It was a disappointing, occasionally ugly season for Arizona, and that assessment fits the 37-year-old Palmer as well. Given his seventh-round average draft position, Palmer fits the "bust" characterization for 2016 and should be approached with caution entering 2017.

 

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (7.10)

Final stats: 3,905 pass yds, 23 TDs, 16 INTs; 359 rush yds, 3 TDs

Here's where it really gets ugly. Bortles was a popular target entering the 2016 season, and for good reason. He was just 24 years old and coming off a season in which he posted 4,428 passing yards and 35 touchdowns. Plus, he was at the reigns of an explosive offense rife with young talent, most notably Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns.

None of that mattered. Bortles was brutal, struggling with accuracy and consistency for the third straight season. This time, the yards and touchdowns couldn't salvage his fantasy value. Bortles continued to provide sneaky value with his rushing ability (359 yards, three touchdowns), but the 12 fewer passing touchdowns greatly hurt his overall production.

Next season will likely be a make-or-break year for Bortles, the former No. 3 overall pick. If he struggles again under a new coach and the Jaguars fail to contend the lowly AFC South, he could be looking for a new team in 2018.

 

Eli Manning, New York Giants (8.06)

Final stats: 4,027 pass yds, 26 TDs, 16 INTs; -9 rush yds, 0 TDs

At this point in his career, Manning is what he is -- a solid QB2 capable of QB1 play with the right matchups. Manning put together arguably the finest season of his career in 2015, passing for 4,436 yards, 35 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions. There was reason for optimism in 2016, given that Manning would have Odell Beckham Jr., rookie Sterling Shepard, and a healed Victor Cruz at his disposal.

Instead, the Giants' offense sputtered all season long, and Manning finished with 409 fewer yards, nine fewer touchdowns and two more interceptions. It was hardly a disastrous season, but if you drafted Manning hoping for a repeat of 2015, you were certainly disappointed. It was boom or bust all season for Manning, making him a risky proposition each week.

Manning will still have Beckham and Shepard, two of the better young wideouts in the NFL. That alone helps his fantasy stock. Consider him a QB2 entering 2017. Anything more would be a bonus.

 

Honorable Mentions

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (8.11)

Final stats: 4,386 pass yds, 33 TDs, 21 INTs; 35 rush yds, 0 TDs

Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans (N/A)

Final stats: 2,957 pass yds, 15 TDs, 16 INTs; 131 rush yds, 2 TDs


Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!




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