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Top first-round NFL Draft fantasy football busts

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Did you select Mike Evans in the first round of your fantasy football draft last season? If you did, then you know what it feels like to draft a bust. Don't feel bad though, because NFL teams have been battling the bust barrage for decades. For each Andrew Luck, there are five EJ Manuels. Or Akili Smiths. Let's go down memory lane and look at the biggest first-round (fantasy) busts since 2000.

You might want to cover your eyes for some of these though, because like the NFL teams that picked them ... we drafted some of them too.

Peter Warrick, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (2000): The fourth overall selection in 2000, Warrick was considered the most explosive wide receiver in the class. In fact, he had a 65.3 ADP (average draft position) in seasonal 10-team leagues on NFL.com. He would go on to record one top-20 finish in what was a disappointing pro career. Warrick's lack of success was a killer for dynasty owners.

David Terrell, WR, Chicago Bears (2001): The first round of the 2001 NFL Draft was best known for the selection of LaDainian Tomlinson, who went on to become one of the greatest fantasy players of all time. It also included Terrell, who came off the board at No. 8 and was a disastrous bust. His best fantasy rank came in 2004, when he ranked 52nd. He finished with 128 catches in four seasons.

William Green, RB, Cleveland Browns (2002): The first round of this draft had no lack of fantasy busts, including Joey Harrington, Ashley Lelie, and Patrick Ramsey. Green was arguably the biggest of the bunch though, as he had a sixth-round ADP as a rookie and was seen as a potential long-term fantasy asset. Green would go on to play in 46 games and was never a top-25 back.

Charles Rogers, WR, Detroit Lions (2003): The second overall selection in 2003, Rogers oozed upside for the Lions and fantasy owners alike. In fact, some scouts compared his skill set to Randy Moss. Unfortunately, Rogers would play in just 15 games in three NFL seasons due to a combination of injuries and suspensions. He finished his career with 36 receptions, 440 yards and four touchdowns.

Reggie Williams, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (2004): The Jaguars landed Williams with the ninth overall selection, though he was the third wideout off the board behind Larry Fitzgerald (No. 3) and Roy Williams (No. 7). Aside from a 2007 campaign that saw him score 10 touchdowns, Williams was still a non-factor for fantasy owners. He never had more than 629 receiving yards in a single season.

Troy Williamson, WR, Minnesota Vikings (2005): Williamson was the second wide receiver picked (No. 7) in the 2005 draft behind Braylon Edwards (No. 3) and ahead of Roddy White (No. 27) and Vincent Jackson (No. 61). He would go on to post 1,067 yards with three touchdowns in his first three years before finishing his career in Jacksonville. Williamson never ranked better than 77th at wideout.

Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona Cardinals (2006): The first round of the 2006 draft included some huge names like Reggie Bush, Vince Young and ... Leinart. He failed to meet expectations though, as he lost his starting job to Kurt Warner and was an afterthought in fantasy leagues after his second season. Leinart would finish his pro career with more interceptions (21) than touchdown passes (15).

JaMarcus Russell, QB, Oakland Raiders (2007): Imagine how many dynasty leaguers sunk a first-round draft pick into Russell? Selected ahead of the likes of Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch (to name a few), he lasted just three seasons in the NFL. Russell would finish his career with 4,083 yards, 18 touchdown passes, 23 interceptions and a 65.2 passer rating. He's considered the biggest draft bust ever.

Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys (2008): The first round of the 2008 draft featured some good fantasy players like Matt Ryan (No. 2), Darren McFadden (No. 4), Jonathan Stewart (No. 13) and Chris Johnson (No. 24). Unfortunately, Jones (No. 22) wasn't one of them. He failed to meet expectations, as Jones split the workload in Dallas with Marion Barber and DeMarco Murray before ending his NFL career in Pittsburgh (2013).

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Oakland Raiders (2009): It was a surprise to see Heyward-Bey (No. 7) picked ahead of Michael Crabtree (No. 10) in the 2009 draft. It didn't turn out well for Oakland, as DHB would never finish better than 25th in fantasy points at the position. He averaged just 35 receptions for 518 yards with 11 combined touchdowns in Silver & Black.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills (2010): Spiller had so much fantasy potential coming out of Clemson that he had a seventh-round ADP as a rookie despite being in a backfield that included Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. While he did have a huge 2012 campaign, Spiller never made the monster impact that was expected of him coming out of college and was a fantasy bust overall.

Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans (2011): The first round of the 2011 class was loaded with future fantasy studs like Cam Newton, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, and J.J. Watt. There were a few busts too, and Locker was the biggest of the bunch. The eighth overall selection, Locker battled injuries at the pro level and finished with 23 starts over four very disappointing seasons.

Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (2012): Blackmon was touted as a potential fantasy superstar coming out of Oklahoma State, so he was a high first-round pick in dynasty leagues and a 10th-rounder in seasonal formats. He showed potential as a rookie with 865 yards and five touchdowns, but his off-field troubles resulted in multiple suspensions and the eventual end of his pro football career.

Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams (2013): The hype surrounding Austin was massive coming out of college, and the Rams bit on him with the No. 8 overall selection. Unfortunately, he has never met those heightened expectations. He's had one decent fantasy season (2015), when he finished 23rd in fantasy points ... but that was due to his 473 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns (2014): The first round of this draft was loaded with offensive talent, as Sammy Watkins (No. 4), Mike Evans (No. 7), Odell Beckham Jr. (No. 12), and Brandin Cooks (No. 20) were all selected. Manziel, who went at No. 22, wasn't so productive. Despite his college accomplishments, he would attempt 258 passes at the pro level before off-field troubles put him out of work.

Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears (2015): White was considered one of the two best wideout prospects in this class (Amari Cooper). The Bears would take him with the No. 7 overall pick, hoping to pair him with Alshon Jeffery. That scenario rarely materialized though, as injuries cost White his entire rookie season and all but five games over the last two seasons. He's now fighting for his NFL career at the age of 25.

Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings (2016): Countless analysts believed Treadwell was the best wideout in the 2016 class, though he would ultimately be the fourth player drafted at his position. The Ole Miss product would have a forgettable rookie year, however, and his sophomore season wasn't much better. Treadwell is now third on the depth chart behind both Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.

John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (2017): Ross broke the 40-yard dash record at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, which was part of the reason the Bengals took him with the ninth overall selection. He would go on to miss all but three games as a rookie, and finished with no catches on two targets and -0.80 PPR points. While there's time for him to rebound, Ross is barely on the re-draft radar.


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Do you want the most up-to-date fantasy football news, updates and analysis? You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

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