2016 was the best year of my life, as I got married to the girl of my dreams. 2016 was not as good to many others, however, especially in the NFL and in the fantasy football world.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, fantasy football owners and marijuana stoners! Please allow me to introduce the men who ruined more fantasy teams this season than the Cleveland Browns offense. Fantasy owners thought these players would turn out to be fantasy gold, but instead they were fantasy failures and flops.
You've heard of the All-Pro team and the All-Madden team. Now, it's time to introduce you to the fantasy football All-Bust team for 2016!
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QB - Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Newton was arguably the most valuable player in fantasy football in 2015. To see his touchdown total get cut almost in half in 2016 was a shocker. He finished 21st in passing yards, with only seven more than Alex Smith. He threw one fewer touchdown pass than Sam Bradford. His rushing totals couldn't bail him out either - Tyrod Taylor ran for 200 more yards than Newton did. Carolina suffered from a Super Bowl hangover, but Newton’s fantasy owners were the ones in need of aspirin after his mediocre season.
QB - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Bortles was listed as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in many publications and rightly so after racking up 4,428 passing yards and 35 touchdown tosses in 2015. Fantasy owners were hopeful Bortles would bring his game to another level this year. Now they wish he would have just stayed on the same level. While super sophomores Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota flew by him on the fantasy quarterback rankings, and stalwarts like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers kept a safe distance ahead of him in the pecking order, Bortles threw for 3,905 yards and 23 TD versus 16 INT. Watching the Jaguars' offense this season was about as disappointing as paying $15 to see Batman v. Superman on a Friday night. In two-QB leagues, he was playable but likely overdrafted at his ADP.
RB - Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Gurley was listed as a top-five running back and a first-round pick by most fantasy pundits heading into the season after he galloped for 1,106 yards in just 13 games during his fantastic rookie campaign. There was no room for him to run this season, however. Thanks to the worst passing attack in the NFL and defenses stacking eight or nine guys in the box, Gurley was ganged up on all season long. He was held to 885 rushing yards and an embarrassing 3.2 yards per carry as his weekly 50-yard outputs probably put his fantasy owners out of playoff contention in their leagues.
RB - Matt Jones, Washington Redskins
I had this one pegged during training camp. Jones had the makings of a fantasy failure even though he had little competition behind him on Washington’s depth chart. Being injury-prone and fumble-prone does that to a running back. Jones was averaging 4.6 yards per carry when he was benched because of his butterfingers and ended up being a healthy scratch for the final eight games of the season. Maybe Tom Coughlin needs to be called in to cure Jones of his fumbleitis.
WR - DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
How many of you thought Kenny Britt, Mike Wallace and Pierre Garcon would have better seasons than Hopkins this year? You cannot blame Hopkins for scattershot Brock Osweiler’s dying ducks and wobbly incompletions. Even when Osweiler would make the occasional accurate throw, Hopkins was constantly double teamed since the Texans did not have any other outside threats to keep defenses honest. 954 receiving yards and four touchdowns would not be a bad season for most pass catchers, but not one coming off a season 1,521 yards and 11 scores, especially at a 2nd round price.
WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Robinson was positioned to be one of the best receivers in fantasy football for 2016 after racking up 1,400 receiving yards and 14 touchdown catches the year prior. Instead, Robinson let down more fantasy owners than a live stats website crashing on a football Sunday afternoon. Robinson finished with 883 yards and a half-dozen touchdowns as Bortles’ bad passes held him to just two 100-yard games on the season.
TE - Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
The idea that Fleener’s fantasy value would be elevated by Drew Brees and the Saints’ high-octane offense ended up being as prescient as thinking that Hilary Clinton had the Presidential election in the bag. Fleener finished with 631 yards and three touchdowns when fantasy owners probably thought he would be able to duplicate his 2014 numbers when he put up 774 yards and eight touchdowns.
K - Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona Cardinals
Catanzaro was ranked in the top 10 by many, if not most fantasy experts coming into the 2016 campaign, yet he was arguably the most dreadful kicker to own. He was 23rd in field goals and 29st in field goal accuracy and likely dropped by most fantasy owners halfway through the season. At least he still has one of the coolest names in fantasy football.
DEF - Carolina Panthers
Carolina’s defense was the second-best reason why the Panthers made it to the Super Bowl last year behind the aforementioned Newton’s stellar play. Losing cover corner Josh Norman in the offseason was a bad sign, though, and the unit as a whole collectively lost a step. Luke Kuechly missing the last six games was just salt on an open wound. The Panthers ended up ranked 21st in total defense, 26th in scoring defense and were only still on some fantasy rosters at the end of the season thanks to a strong second-half surge that helped them finish second in the league in sacks.