It’s draft time and regardless of what type
of league you play in, the name of the game is maximizing value
in your drafts. You only get one shot to get your draft right so
reaching for players can really hurt your chances of success.
On the flip side, finding value can increase your chances dramatically.
Below are ten player that I believe are going to high in drafts
and I am personally avoiding at or around their current ADP.
As always I will preface this article by saying I do not necessarily
dislike all these players, or think they will bust (although some
I do), but maximizing draft value should always be a priority
and I believe these players do the exact opposite. Listed ADP’s
are based on 12 team standard leagues.
In his prime, Bell was absolutely in the discussion for best
overall fantasy player. Problem is, Bell is neither in his prime
nor is he on the Steelers anymore.
In his six-year career, Bell has played 16 games just once, and
now, in his age 27 season, coming off a year-long sabbatical,
he will be asked to carry the load in a less efficient and dynamic
offense. Bell ran behind a top 5 offensive line for much of his
career, had a superstar receiver that demanded defensive attention,
and had a Hall of Fame quarterback running the offense. In New
York, the offensive line is a bottom 10 unit, the receivers are
unproven and/or average, and the QB is going into his second season
and first with a new system that doesn’t play at a fast pace.
Add this to the fact that the Steelers have finished in the top
6 in plays per game the last two seasons and you have the makings
of a very over-drafted player.
If you are drafting Bell anywhere in the first round, it is only
because of volume… but are we convinced the volume is going
to be there? It leaked out this offseason that Gase did not want
to spend money on Bell and with the Jets predicted be a mediocre
team at best, things could go south quickly in New York. Bell may
have some spiked weeks, but his situation is way too risky to invest
first-round pick on. There are both higher upside, and safer floor
players to be had.
Speaking of ex-Steeler players, Antonio Brown left one of the
cushiest spots to be a receiver in to one of the most dysfunctional
and questionable organizations. Much like Bell, Brown’s
supposed value this year is based largely on volume. While I do
agree that targets should not be much of an issue, it is the quality
of those targets, a new system, his age, and the likelihood of
the Raiders being a bad team that all have me concerned.
There are more things that can go wrong for Brown than can go
right, starting off with his connection with Carr who represents
a downgrade in talent from Big Ben. For a player that is going
to rely on volume, this connection is critical and in a brand
new system this could take half a season or more to develop, if
it ever does. With Brown being use to success, both personal and
team, it will be interesting (and scary as an owner) to see what
will happen when (not if) both he and the team are struggling.
Brown finds himself on the wrong side of 30 and most likely as
part of a rebuild that is likely to struggle. He has been consistent
as they come in prior years but there are enough red flags for
me to avoid him at his current cost.
Second, Hilton, despite dominating team targets, has never caught
more than 7 touchdowns in a season and chances are he never will.
In addition to increased competition, the Colts became a more
balanced on offense last year with the run game and improved defense,
and that trend looks to continue.
All of these concerns certainly are valid, but as I stated earlier,
there are simply better options where Hilton is being drafted.
In the mid-third round I would easily prefer Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen, Kerryon Johnson, and Stefon Diggs, all having similar floors
but higher upside. Hilton is a fine player on a good team but
I see him as past his prime and a “play it safe” pick.
There are some great things to love about Freeman this year including
no Tevin Coleman to share the workload with and a great offense
to help increase both volume and efficiency. While another perfect
storm may happen, as it did in Freeman’s biggest year of
2015, I think there are simply better options at this point in
Freeman had back to back monster years in 2015-2016 but those
years were largely based on touchdowns (27 total) and targets
in the passing game (over 150 combined), both which have trended
down ever since and seemed a bit fluky to begin with. After racking
up well over 600 touches those two seasons, the diminutive (5’8’’,
208) Freeman missed two games the following season (2017) and
14 games last year due to injury.
Now in his age 27 season, approaching 1,000 total touches for his
career, Freeman seems like a serious injury risk and someone who
is riding off of past success. We all know most running backs do
not last long in the NFL, especially at an elite level, and Freeman
has the feel of someone who’s best days are behind him.. Give
me the fresh legs of Kerryon Johnson, Josh Jacobs, or David Montgomery,
all likely three-down backs and all being taken after Freeman on
average. Freeman has all the makings of a guy about to take a steep
dive in production, and I’d rather be a year early on staying
away from him than a year too late.
Lindsay burst onto the scene last year as a waiver wire darling
and turned in a top 15 RB performance in almost all leagues. With
a season like that you would think a mid-4th round ADP would be
a bargain but I strongly disagree.
First, there is serious competition with 3rd round 2018 draft
pick Royce Freeman, who profiles as a bellcow type back and second,
the addition of pass-catching extraordinaire Theo Riddick indicates
more RBBC than fantasy owners would like. Besides the touches
these players will inevitably steal, Freeman could be the main
ball carrier on early downs, and he is going several rounds later.
Also, Lindsay is 5’8’’, 190 pounds and there
is very little precedent of a back that size holding up for an
extended period of time as more than a complimentary option. Hints
out of Denver suggest a transition for Lindsay into a reduced
role, still making him valuable, but nowhere near his ADP. In
an offense that does not look explosive or dangerous, Lindsay
may have limited scoring opportunities and looks more like a late-round
pick than a top 50 guy.
Bottom line is Lindsay is too risky at his current ADP, especially
when he doesn’t have the ceiling of a lot of the guys being
drafted around him like Brandin Cooks, Kenny Golladay, and Tyler Lockett, to name a few.
I am including Andrew Luck here and I will touch a bit on the
specifics of his situation, but really this is more of me saying
like many years, but perhaps more than ever, please wait on quarterback
until after the 5th round at least, and preferably several rounds
later than that.
Many of you are asking right now “why aren't you using Patrick Mahomes as your example here”? To that I will say that I
believe Mahomes is so unique that I don’t blame people for
taking him early (although I personally won’t) because he
really is the one guy that could make a significant difference
at the position. That being said, after Mahomes goes off the board,
do yourself a favor and do not be among the next few owners to
take a QB while there are so many other valuable players at other
Andrew Luck is a great player and should have a very good season
but the difference between him and a guy like Matt
Ryan (6.12), or Carson
Wentz (7.08), is minimal. With an emerging defense and an
efficient run game Luck may have fewer attempts than many of his
counterparts being drafted after him and he certainly does not
run nearly as much or as efficiently as he did early in his career.
While these are obviously small gripes, they are worth pointing
out because Luck could easily fall into low-end QB1 territory
this season but is being drafted much higher. With high floor/high
ceiling players like Kenny
Lockett and Chris
Godwin still on the board in most scenarios, it doesn’t make
sense to reach at a position so deep this early.
I love O.J. Howard. He may be one of the all-around tight ends
in the game this year. I also love Howard in dynasty leagues and
think he eventually could become an elite fantasy asset. For this
year in redraft leagues, I like Howard as well but nowhere near
where he is being drafted (round 5) but also in relation to where
he is being taken among his peers (TE4). Howard finds himself
in a passing offense, with an offensive-minded coach, a below-average
run game and a poor defense. What’s not to love?
For starters I do not think Jameis Winston is a good NFL quarterback
as he is prone to making terrible decisions and with immense pressure
on his shoulders, could easily be more of a negative than a positive.
Secondly, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will undeniably be the
team’s top two targets and Winston already has a great chemistry
with Cameron Brate. Add in other young talented receivers in Justin Watson and Breshad Perriman and it is not hard to see volume for
Howard being a concern.
As a great blocker, on a team with a poor offensive line, Howard
may be asked to block more which would obviously dampen his receiving
outlook even though he will play a ton of snaps.
While these are all smaller issues, the fact that he is being taken
as the fourth tight end is crazy to me considering guys like Evan
Engram could literally be his team’s leading receiver while
guy’s like Hunter Henry and Jared Cook are in more efficient
offenses with much better players at the quarterback position. Considering
all these guys are being drafted 1-2 rounds after Howard makes Howard
a firm pass for me at his ADP. While Howard oozes with potential
I think he will be inconsistent and not much more than a touchdown-dependent
option at the position this year.
Miller is about as boring a pick as you can make in the
first eight rounds of a fantasy draft, regardless of format. I
know there are those out there that will tout his consistency
and work in the pass game as reasons for his value but I see little
to no upside with Miller.
The red flags begin with Miller being 28 years old, diminutive,
with well over 1400 career touches. The Houston offensive line
is still a bottom ten unit and the pass game is what this offense
is about. Miller has never been a touchdown scorer either with
6 total TDs per year while in Houston. He is the definition of
playing it safe, and while I do not think there is much wrong
with this approach in certain parts of the draft, the middle rounds
should be about pure upside and firepower. Players with extreme
upside that are being taken after Miller right now include QB
Baker Mayfield, TE Evan Engram, WR D.J. Moore, and RB Miles Sanders,
to name a few.
With the recent release of D’onta Foreman many drafters may bump
Miller up a few spots but don’t fall for the trap. Duke
Johnson (hamstring) gives the Texans a legitimate backup and
it won’t be surprising if he carves out a decent role in the back
half of the season.
Tarik Cohen and ex-Chicago Bear Devin Hester have two very important
things in common. First, they are/were among the most fun guys
to watch in the entire league, looking like a human video game
on the field. Second, and more importantly for this discussion,
both players are/were over-hyped for fantasy and in Cohen’s
Cohen had a very nice season last year, based mostly around the
71 receptions and 8 touchdowns he accumulated. While Cohen will
certainly continue to be a great chess piece for the Bears offense,
it is very possible 2018 will end up being Cohen’s career
best statistical season. With the departure of Jordan Howard,
signing of Mike Davis, and drafting of David Montgomery, the Bears
now have more capable pass-catchers in the backfield and this
will likely result in fewer snaps and less targets for Cohen.
Regression in the touchdown department and a dominant defense
continuing to put the Bears in clock-killing mode late in games,
Cohen could go from a low-end RB2 (which he was in 2018) to a
low-end RB3 or worse in 2019. There will certainly be games where
Cohen blows up but there will be no rhyme or reason to when these
games will happen making Cohen more suited as a best-ball pick
than a value standard redraft leagues. Guys being drafted after
him that have similar upsides but safer floors are RB James White,
WR Robby Anderson, and WR Christian Kirk.
Rookies, especially highly touted ones, are shiny objects to
many fantasy owners, as they cannot resist the allure of having
a brand new toy at their disposal. Problem is, many do not warrant
such attention in their first seasons. One such example would
be N’Keal Harry, who is the first rookie wide receiver being
drafted this season.
With a first round pedigree on a Gronk-less team, catching passes
from Tom Brady you would think Harry would be ready to conquer
the world, but take caution here. Brady still has his trusty security
blankets in Julian Edelman and James White, still has a top notch
defense and run game, and is likely to have the services of Josh Gordon in the near future. Harry is guaranteed nothing and as
we all know, raw talent does not always mean much with Coach Belichick.
While Harry was a dominant college player at times, his game
relies on jump balls and out-muscling defenders. Brady’s
game relies more on timing, chemistry and precise routes and NFL
defenders are not as easily out-muscled. This is not to say Harry
will not ever be a successful NFL receiver, he very well could
be, and even may show up big in spots this year. But taking Harry
among your top 10 players is to ignore the situation, history,
and value. Harry simply has too low of a floor with a limited
ceiling to take as anything more than a late-round flyer. At this Samuel, or any number of quarterbacks.