Best-Ball Players to Avoid (MFL10 and DRAFT)
Late last week, we released an article highlighting some of the players you should be targeting in the late rounds of best-ball leagues (read it here), so it’s only natural we’d do an article highlighting who you should be avoiding, right?
I’ve always been one who says, “never completely write off a player, because at the right price, everyone is a value.” Well, the players on this list would have to fall an extremely long way for me to even consider them, and in the end, I’d probably take a player with more upside in best-ball leagues. You do not want boring players in best-ball leagues, because in the end, they are just taking up space. If a player has no chance to hit a top-12 ceiling in any given week, cross them off your list. I don’t care if they give you a consistent 5-8 points. What that’ll do is help you win sixth-place, which gives you absolutely no return in best-ball leagues. Let’s talk about which players you should really think about avoiding at their current cost.
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) Current ADP: 70 (QB8)
I understand liking Garoppolo as a franchise quarterback, but moving a pocket passer up to the QB8 position on a six-game sample size? Did you know that Mitch Trubisky had just as many 18-point fantasy games as Garoppolo did once they were both starting (Weeks 13-17)? It’s not to say that Trubisky will be better, but he’s 84 picks later in best-ball drafts. During his five starts, Garoppolo ran for exactly seven yards. What this means is he’ll have to throw for 300 yards and two-plus touchdowns to live up to this cost. He belongs in the QB12-14 range.
Jared Goff (LAR) Current ADP: 88 (QB10)
This one is extremely puzzling to me, as Goff finished as the QB12 last year while being as efficient as humanly possible. His defense was upgraded this offseason to the point where they should be considered a top-five unit in the league. This isn’t going to help Goff throw the ball any more than he did last year, which was 477 times, just eight more attempts than Jacoby Brissett. Did you realize that Goff was a QB1 just 46.7 percent of the time last year? He’s a streaming quarterback and that’s about it.
Derrick Henry (TEN) Current ADP: 27 (RB16)
I’d actually make the argument that Henry is better for best-ball, but this price is paying for his ceiling. He’s better for the format because he’s going to be incredibly touchdown dependent, as Dion Lewis is going to steal almost all of the passing-down work. Most Henry supporters were giddy when they released DeMarco Murray, but the signing of Lewis was even worse for his outlook, as he’s a better pass-blocker and receiver out of the backfield at this point in his career. Don’t expect more than 12-15 touches per game for Henry, which makes it nearly impossible for him to live up to this draft spot.
Kenyan Drake (MIA) Current ADP: 35 (RB18)
Here’s a fun fact on running backs: Since 2011, 71.1 percent of top-18 running backs have played in top-18 scoring offenses. Knowing what we do about the Dolphins offense, it’s hard to imagine them improving greatly after losing a few pieces, including Jarvis Landry. They ranked as the No. 28 offense last year. Not just that, but they Dolphins felt it necessary to sign Frank Gore, who didn’t sign to sit on the bench all game, though I’d highly doubt he gets more than 10 touches per week. They also went out and drafted pass-catching specialist Kalen Ballage in the draft. I like Drake as a player, but this is too rich for his situation.
Carlos Hyde (CLE) Current ADP: 41 (RB20)
Did no one see that the Browns drafted Nick Chubb with the third pick in the second-round of the NFL Draft? While I don’t think Hyde is going to ride the pine, he’s also not walking into the workhorse role that he had while with the 49ers. The Browns running backs averaged a combined 18.3 carries per game in 2017, the lowest in the NFL. While I do believe they’re much more of a run-based offense in 2018, it’s a stretch to put that number past 23.0 per game without a head coaching change, which would rank in the middle of the league. Let’s pretend that they give Chubb just 5-7 carries per game (very low expectation) and that they give Duke Johnson 3-5 carries. This would leave 11-15 carries per game for Hyde, who totaled exactly 15 carries per game last year with the 49ers. And remember, this is being optimistic. Another massive difference? He won’t even come remotely close to the 59 receptions he had there last year.
Isaiah Crowell (NYJ) Current ADP: 110 (RB43)
Seriously, why? Crowell goes from playing behind one of the best offensive lines in football to behind one of the worst with the Jets. He finished as the RB30 last year while with the Browns, which made him one of just three running backs since 2014 who totaled at least 200 carries and failed to finish as a top-24 running back. Now playing alongside Bilal Powell (who is a better pass-catcher) and Thomas Rawls (might be a better runner), he offers very little upside. Even if he did lead this backfield in carries, there’s no guarantee that he’d ever post a top-12 game this season. He had just one such performance last year, with just three RB2 performances. Hit the snooze button.
Tyreek Hill (KC) Current ADP: 28 (WR9)
Any time I say something negative about Hill, I get tons of hate. Guys, he finished with 105 targets last year on a team with Demarcus Robinson as the next best wide receiver. The Chiefs added Sammy Watkins, for a lot of money I might add, still have Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt will play a role in the passing game. Even if they do throw more in 2018, it’s going to be difficult for him to produce with the same level of efficiency, as he’s got the worst wide receiver schedule in the league, facing the Chargers twice, Jaguars, Cardinals, and Rams. He’s a better best-ball target than redraft, but paying for him over someone like Davante Adams is a mistake.
Adam Thielen (MIN) Current ADP: 29 (WR11)
He’s being drafted exactly where he finished last year, so I understand the logic behind it, but let’s think about everything that’s happened this offseason. The Vikings lost offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, the catalyst to Thielen’s career to the Giants. Their defense got even better with the additions of Sheldon Richardson and Mike Hughes. Yes, Kirk Cousins may be an upgrade over Case Keenum, but it’s hard to argue with Keenum’s efficiency in 2017. Either way, Cousins will take more shots downfield, which doesn’t help Thielen who plays a majority of his snaps out of the slot, and I’d argue that Stefon Diggs is the more talented wide receiver. You can try to make the case for Thielen around the WR16-18 mark, but this is too expensive.
Josh Gordon (CLE) Current ADP: 42 (WR16) and Jarvis Landry (CLE) Current ADP: 46 (WR18)
So… the Browns went out and snagged Carlos Hyde, Nick Chubb, Antonio Callaway, and Tyrod Taylor this offseason? Yes, I left out Baker Mayfield for a reason (he’s not playing for a while). They surely didn’t acquire Taylor to throw the ball a lot, as he’s never thrown more than 437 times in his career. They didn’t acquire Hyde and Chubb to NOT run the ball. They need to make Landry a large part of the offense considering what they paid him, but knowing the limited passing volume, how many can he really get? He belongs in the WR30-35 range. You have to wonder, where are Gordon’s targets going to come from? I believe in his skill, but I wouldn’t touch him until the WR25 range.
Jordy Nelson (OAK) Current ADP: 61 (WR25)
When Nelson was traded to the Raiders, I wanted no part of that mess. It seemed like they were signing him to replace Michael Crabtree on the perimeter, but after trading for Martavis Bryant, it seems like Nelson may be destined for the slot role, which would be the best-case scenario for his career. But under no circumstance should he be drafted as a top-30 wide receiver. His 0.95 yards per route run in 2017 was the sixth-lowest mark among wide receivers who saw at least 40 targets. He’s on the down-slope of his career and don’t underestimate the loss of Aaron Rodgers.
Evan Engram (NYG) Current ADP: 55 (TE4)
After producing the way he did as a rookie, I understand why most want to believe that success would continue, but when you realize what it took for him to get there, it’s not happening again. Odell Beckham Jr. is healthy for the time-being, as is Sterling Shepard, the duo that missed a combined 17 games last year. On top of that, they snagged Saquon Barkley in the draft, and he’s going to see plenty of work in the passing game. When you add all of this up, Engram’s 115 targets evaporate quickly. He’s not going away or anything, but he’s also not going to give you what you’re paying for.
Eric Ebron (IND) Current ADP: 115 (TE13)
If Jack Doyle wasn’t on the roster, I’d understand Ebron’s draft position. However, Doyle is on the roster and has years of rapport with Andrew Luck. Even if Luck weren’t healthy for whatever reason, Jacoby Brissett and Doyle had a connection that allowed him to finish as the TE9 in 2017. Meanwhile, Ebron was cut by the team that drafted him in the top-10, who didn’t have a clear replacement, while still on his rookie contract. Those things don’t happen to elite players. If Luck is back on track in his career, Ebron will have some decent games, but no case can be made for him to go in front of Trey Burton, George Kittle, Tyler Eifert, and Cameron Brate, who are all currently being drafted after him.