aka, Do Not Draft These Guys!
While conventional fantasy wisdom says one wrong pick won’t
destroy your fantasy season, it’s an absolute truth that a
successful draft can hinge on avoiding one or two bad picks. You
know the feeling: You took the obvious choice in round one, snapped
up some value when it came back, and snagged a couple nice mid-rounders—but
somewhere in there you choked out a half-hearted “LaDainian
Tomlinson” and knew, positively, that your draft just went
from a solid B-plus to a glaring C-minus. And as my father used
to say when I came home with C’s on my report card, “C’s
SUCK. And you know it.” Here’s a list of players that—if
selected near (or sometimes even two or three rounds after) their
current ADP—can effectively kill your draft.
(9.06) – Here’s what I’m thinking: Eli
Manning is being drafted around 9.04, and he’s got a litany
of weapons on a much more consistent offense. Giants Stadium’s
hideous home-field winds and all, I’d still take Eli two or three
rounds ahead of McNabb, who’s headed to one of the worst fantasy
destinations for QBs imaginable. I reaped enormous rewards in
a 14-team league last season by waiting until the big boys were
gone and selecting McNabb (even if he did miss a few games near
the season’s outset), but the offensive line in Philadelphia and
the talented group of receivers—especially DeSean Jackson—helped
to churn up that perfect storm of deep-ball brilliance. Things
in D.C. may be getting better (aside from the Albert Haynesworth
affair, of course…Yikes!) but I’m not convinced McNabb’s numbers
will be much better than Jason
Campbell’s have been the past few seasons.
(12.10) – I won’t bore you with the statistical comparisons
to the rookie year of recently indicted ne’er-do-well JaMarcus
Russell, but suffice to say they’ve been made, and they’re
pretty accurate. Sanchez is the signal caller on a great defensive
team with an offense that relies heavily on running the ball.
The Jets can bring in all the receivers they want; there’s no
way Rex Ryan is going to change the formula that took him to the
AFC Championship game last year. I’d predict maybe a ten percent
uptick in the second-year QB’s numbers, but that’s not enough
to warrant his selection among the top 24 QBs. I’d take one of
the Matts (Cassel, Leinart, Hasselbeck—heck, maybe even Moore)
before rolling the dice with Sanchez, whose NFL strengths don’t
extend to accuracy on the seam route or deep out. If you draft
Sanchez, you’ll likely be missing out on a fantasy backup who
could give your team a major trading chip, even if things pan
out nicely for your starter.
(3.01) – I can’t imagine Charles will be getting the
ball exclusively at the start of the season, and for that reason,
he might kill your team. You’ll be paying top dollar for the guy
in most drafts, and by the time the Chiefs start really using
him the way they should, you’ll be fighting for your fantasy life.
I’m not saying he isn’t the better fantasy back, or that he shouldn’t
end up on your team. His numbers last season down the stretch
(Weeks 10-17) showed he’s an animal. But NFL head coaches don’t
care about fantasy beasts—they’re glorified personnel managers.
And because fantasy owners can be a desperate bunch, and there’s
going to be somebody languishing because Thomas
Jones is stealing carries during the first six weeks, I’d
plan on skipping Charles in the draft and making a blockbuster
move for him after four or five games. The early word is that
TJ will get first-team reps for the foreseeable future, and established
veterans like Jones always seem to get the benefit of the doubt
early in fantasy seasons.
Brandon Jacobs: Draft killer.
(6.02) – Jacobs (coming of knee surgery) is the latest
in a long line of upright Giants backs who can’t seem to live
up to the hype. A few years ago, every Giants fan I knew was raving
about this guy’s size and toughness, but as they’ve witnessed
his limited repertoire, they’ve ceded the endless prattle. His
running style—similar to Eric Dickerson—is not cut out for today’s
Bradshaw, an explosive, versatile back who’ll eventually see
more touches than his counterpart (and is going at 7.05, a full
round after the lumbering Jacobs) will put up the better overall
numbers in 2010.
(6.05) – While Barber wasn’t fantasy dead weight last
season, his hard-running style doesn’t mesh well with the Cowboys
new offense. He’s a marginal performer with little upside, considering
he’s behind a shifty speedster (Felix
Jones) and challenged by a younger, hungrier clone in Tashard
Choice. Barber doesn’t catch passes, and he isn’t the kind
of back who can break long runs. So why is he worth a look in
the fifth or sixth round? I’d much rather have Reggie
Bush, who’s being taken at 6.08, since he’s a pass-catching
threat and has the potential to spring some big plays.
(8.10) – While we enjoyed Mad Scientist, Southeast
Jerome, Dolla Bill, Reverend Gonna Change, Kid Bro Sweets, Inspector
Two-Two, Sheriff Gonna Getcha, Coach Janky Panky, Dolemite Jenkins,
Choo-Choo, Budd Fox, Prime Minister Yah Mon, and the metaphysical
Angel of Southeast Jerome, it’s time for all of them to hang up
the cleats. Portis can’t stay healthy, doesn’t have much of an
offensive line to break open holes for him, and no longer possesses
the break-neck speed that vaulted him atop so many cheat sheets
a few scant years ago. He’s currently fighting a groin injury
that’s bound to linger, will soon be on the wrong side of thirty,
and has Larry
Johnson and Willie
Parker crowding his backfield. I can think of a lot of guys
I’d rather snag near the end of the eighth round. But since many
fantasy owners will see him available and fall prey to name recognition
and nostalgia, they’ll reach. You’ve been warned.
(2.02) – Matt
Leinart sucks, and there’s a chance Fitzgerald posts the worst
fantasy numbers of his career because of it. Leinart is getting
no respect in drafts for good reason: he’s never proven he can
play at the NFL level, which is no easy feat. I’m looking for
sure-fire scorers at the top of the second round—which this year
probably means a running back—not veteran receivers being asked
to make a major adjustment to life without Kurt
Warner. If you’re hell bent on taking a receiver here and
Johnson’s already gone, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to
Austin, or Brandon
Marshall. They have issues too, but none as serious as an
(6.12) – I’m a Cowboy fan, and I love what Bryant can
do for this already stocked reservoir of skill-position talent
in Big D. But rookie receivers shouldn’t get drafted this high,
especially if they’re not the clear first option in the passing
game. If you take the bait and land him, your receiving corps
will be taking a serious hit. For more value, I’d look at Malcolm
Floyd, who’s available at 7.01. The Chargers have a similarly
deep pool of talent, but Floyd is a guy who can shine, especially
Jackson off for a few games. I’d draft Floyd, get the most
out of him in the first half, and then take a shot at trading
for Bryant, who’ll start to see more regular action by mid-season.
(11.11) – While it’s presumptuous to speculate that
any player can ruin your draft from the 11.11 slot, it’s even
worse to think this isn’t a crucial time to be adding value. It’s
not that I don’t like receivers named Bryant, I promise. And I
sure as heck don’t mind guys named Antonio. It’s just that this
particular Antonio has done it to us before. Many times before.
How many third chances does a player need before we knock him
off our radar? With Terrell
Owens signing a contract in Cincinnati, the newly arrived
Bryant doesn’t figure to see too many balls thrown his way. He’s
already nursing a knee injury and didn’t play in the preseason
opener. Look elsewhere.
(12.09) – A few years ago, I loved Cotchery, despite
his apparent unwillingness to catch anything thrown in the paint.
Now, his value is nearly completely shot because the Jets (a running
team to begin with) added a slew of more-talented receivers to
steal his thunder. I can’t picture Cotchery as anything more than
a final-round dart at this point—there’s just too much standing
in his way to bank on fantasy success.