2024 Fantasy Busts – Zimmerman’s Picks

Zach Dalin-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t consider busts to be players who have no fantasy value but guys who will disappoint compared to where they are being drafted. There is no reason to take a chance on the player with similar options at similar costs.

Usually, the market will find any flaw in a player and bury them. Because of this, it’s easier to find a reason for a player to beat his draft cost than exceed it. But just as many players will be under their projections than over them by the season’s end.

For busts, we divided the players up by 50 spots of ADP so fantasy managers could consider the players in their league depth. 


Changelog

  • 2/14/2024: Initial list

Ranking Methodology

  • ADP is based on 30-day rolling NFBC Draft Champions Leagues.
  • $ Values are based on standard 5×5 12-team league using the FanGraphs Depth Charts and these Auction Calculator settings. They default to a player’s most valuable position, so if the first base list includes a catcher, it will show that player’s value at catcher.
  • ADP and $ Values are updated as of the last update date on this post.
  • 5-game eligibility was used for these lists to cast the widest net (though that’s not a big deal at SP).

Busts in the Top 50 ADP

Busts in the Top 50 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
1 Elly De La Cruz CIN 3B/SS 25 $14
2 Royce Lewis MIN 3B 54 $15
3 Tarik Skubal DET P 50 $21

If Elly De La Cruz repeats what he did in the season’s second half when he hit .191/.271/.355. The Reds have playoff aspirations and they can’t afford a near .600 OPS hitter.

I can’t trust Royce Lewis to stay healthy. He missed all of the 2021 season. Only played in 46 combined games in 2022. It was 70 games in 2023. In 280 career PA, he’s hitting a game-changing .307/.364/.549, so I can see the demand, but I don’t want to take a chance on 150 PA from my third-round pick.

Of any starter (min 4 GS), Tarik Skubal had the easiest schedule with an opposing win rate of 44% or the equivalent of a 72-90 record. His great 2023 season might have been because of a cream puff schedule.

Busts from 51 to 100 ADP

Busts from 51 to 100 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
5 Jesus Luzardo MIA P 80 $14
6 Alexis Diaz CIN P 74 $6
7 Zach Eflin TBR P 83 $25
8 Esteury Ruiz CIN P 74 $6

Both Jesus Luzardo and Zach Eflin fall under my Rodon Rule. I need to see two healthy seasons from a pitcher to believe they are now healthy. Now, as I go further in the draft, I’m more willing to take a chance, but with my core players, I want stability. I’m fine missing out on Pablo Lopez’s because I can find safer pitchers going around the same time.

I’m not a fan of how Alexis Diaz’s season ended. His monthly K%-BB% went from 50% to 28% to 11% to 21% to 5% to 0%. I don’t know if he’ll rebound or if the decline will happen again. I’d rather get my Saves from another source.

Esteury Ruiz is probably the most obvious bust candidate out there. If he isn’t on some analyst’s bust list, find a new analyst to follow. First off, Ruiz is a well below-average hitter with a career .640 OPS who may not have a role on the Athletics. A panicked manager adds Ruiz when they have screwed up stolen bases and by adding Ruiz, they have now screwed up their other categories.

Busts from 101 to 150 ADP

Busts from 101 to 150 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
9 Walker Buehler LAD P 126 $9
10 Evan Carter TEX OF 134 $6
11 Zack Gelof OAK 2B 133 $4

While it has been known for months, it’s just starting to hit managers that Walker Buehler will not be starting the season in the Dodgers rotation since the team wants him for the playoffs. On top of that, the team is looking to go with a six-man or six-day rotation.

Last season, the Rangers platooned Evan Carter against lefties and all signs point to them doing it again. I don’t want to have to decide if I want to start one of my early-round picks each day. If I’m going to add a platoon batter for a week, I will drop them the next week.

I’m not sure Zack Gelof is a good overall hitter who rode a .331 to acceptable results last season. I get the desire to prorate out his 14 HR and 14 SB from 300 PA to 600 PA but it could be with a hell level batting average. Another issue that might come up is that so far Gelof has struggled against lefties with a .486 OPS and a .969 OPS against righties.

Busts from 151 to 200 ADP

I’m having issues where the arrow is only pointing down with this group. Most are flawed and could also head up. I expect this breakout group to be the largest.
Busts from 151 to 200 ADP
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
12 Tommy Edman STL 2B/SS/OF 165 $5
13 James Outman LAD OF 201 $1
14 Bryan Woo SEA P 181 $5

Wrist surgery for Tommy Edman may delay his start to the season thereby cutting into his overall playing time. Or even worse, he comes back before he’s 100% healthy, struggles at the plate, never heals, and develops a ton of bad habits.

James Outman is a strong-side platoon bat who will be a batting-average sink. Ignore Outman and add Joc Pederson 200 picks later.

My issue with Bryan Woo is that he struggles against lefties with a 7% K%-BB% against them and a 26% K%-BB% against righties. I’m not interested in platooning starting pitchers with this high of draft cost.


Full Rankings Without Tiers

No tiers. Just the rankings.
Full Rankings Without Tiers
Rank Name Team Pos Change ADP $
1 Elly De La Cruz CIN 3B/SS 25 $14
2 Royce Lewis MIN 3B 54 $15
3 Tarik Skubal DET P 50 $21
5 Jesus Luzardo MIA P 80 $14
6 Alexis Diaz CIN P 74 $6
7 Zach Eflin TBR P 83 $25
8 Esteury Ruiz OAK OF 74 $6
9 Walker Buehler LAD P 126 $9
10 Evan Carter TEX OF 134 $6
11 Zack Gelof OAK 2B 133 $4
12 Tommy Edman STL 2B/SS/OF 165 $5
13 James Outman LAD OF 201 $1
14 Bryan Woo SEA P 181 $5





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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OddBall Herrera
2 months ago

You broke my heart on Valentine’s Day,I got really excited when I saw that Esteury Ruiz had apparently been traded to the Reds 🙁

edwinblumemember
2 months ago

and he’s converted to a pitcher too