Players to Avoid in DRAFT Best Ball Leagues (2018 Fantasy Football)
It’s been more than five months since I highlighted players to avoid in Draft best ball Leagues this year, and I’m back to update that list. Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton are no longer on my do-not-draft list with Luck uncorking passes, and Hilton’s value tied directly to Luck’s health. I’m still avoiding the other players listed in that article, though, and only one is a repeat visitor to this piece.
Drew Brees (NO): Pick 87.5
Brees remains a great quarterback in real life, but his fantasy star doesn’t shine nearly as bright these days. The problem doesn’t lie in Brees’ skills eroding, though. Instead, he’s now complemented by a very good defense and running game. Brees isn’t being asked to play in shootouts and make up for an incompetent defense. Because he wasn’t forced to chuck New Orleans back into games last year, he lacked the blowup games gamers have become accustomed to.
In the regular season last year, Brees surpassed 300 yards passing just three times and had a disappointing (by his standards) single-game high of 385 yards passing. He also tossed multiple touchdowns in merely half of his games played, and he hit his season-high of three touchdown passes in a game just one time. Maybe he’ll be leaned on a little more heavily during Mark Ingram’s four-game suspension to start the year, but the defense once again projects to be good, and his out of conference schedule is rough for passing. Brees is the sixth quarterback off the board by average ADP, and that’s too rich for him in DRAFT best ball leagues. It’s a more defensible rank at the position in standard scoring formats, where week-to-week consistency has more value, but Brees’ lack of running ability paired with the lightened load on his plate make him a poor investment with a top-100 pick.
LeSean McCoy (BUF): Pick 33.5
It appears unlikely Shady will face any discipline from the NFL or the Bills for the home invasion/assault/robbery incident involving his ex-girlfriend who was living at a house McCoy owns. I suppose a suspension can’t fully be ruled out. Regardless, McCoy’s inclusion among the players I’d advocate avoiding is almost entirely a product of being tied to a putrid offense. Last year, the Bills ranked 22nd in scoring offense at 18.9 points per game, according to Pro-Football-Reference. They’ve since wisely replaced their offensive coordinator, but they’ve also dealt quarterback Tyrod Taylor to the Browns.
Taylor was far from a perfect quarterback and had his limitations as a passer, but it’s unlikely the trio of A.J. McCarron, Nathan Peterman, and Josh Allen includes a signal caller who’s an upgrade this year in regards to moving the chains and hanging points. The underwhelming quarterback collection also is tasked with throwing to an underwhelming collection of pass catchers. The Bills are a threat — if not the outright favorite — to be the worst offense in the NFL this year. Their likely struggles to put touchdowns on the board takes a massive bite out of McCoy’s scoring upside.
Furthermore, while Shady should be force-fed the ball as much as his body can handle, it’s hard to envision him being very efficient. The interior of Buffalo’s offensive line was dealt a severe blow with the retirement of Eric Wood and the retirement then unretirement and release of Richie Incognito. His volume of work makes him a reasonably high-floor player who should be a decent RB2 in standard leagues, but the lack of blowup-week potential makes him far less appealing in DRAFT best ball leagues.
Mark Ingram (NO): Pick 47.7
I mentioned Ingram’s suspension in Brees’ write-up above, and his ADP is too high for a guy who will sit 26.7% of the DRAFT best ball season (remember, the season runs from Week 1 through Week 16, not Week 17, in DRAFT best ball leagues). Ingram’s ADP places him inside the top-25 running backs, and he’ll be a player I avoid unless his rank at the running back position falls at least 10 spots.
Amari Cooper (OAK): Pick 39.6
Cooper’s a fitting follow up to Ingram since I mentioned the fantasy season running through Week 16. Oakland’s No. 1 receiver’s Week 17 opponent this year is the Chiefs. Why’s that potentially important? Cooper shredded Kansas City for 11-210-2 on 19 targets when the two AFC West foes played in late October.
Those totals represent 19.8% of his targets, 22.9% of his receptions, 30.9% of his receiving yards, and 28.6% of his totals in those categories in 2018. Yikes. The fourth-year receiver bested 1,000 yards receiving and caught more than 70 passes in each of his first two seasons in the NFL, so a bounce back is more likely than not this year. However, coming off of a horrible season in which such a vast percentage of his production came in one game against the Chiefs is a noteworthy blow to his 2018 potential since they’re Oakland’s Week 17 opponent.
Back in January, I highlighted Cooper as a player whose stock is down entering this season, and I specifically pointed toward Jon Gruden’s offense’s poor showings in the passing game during his head coaching career. You can read more about that here. I haven’t warmed up to the Gruden hire, and I’ll likely be fading Oakland entirely at their players’ respective ADPs in DRAFT best ball leagues. That includes Cooper.
Josh Gordon (CLE): Pick 47.1
Gordon has taken a leave of absence from the Browns. As you can read here and here, reasons haven’t been given for his leave of absence. This report states he’s dealing with personal matters and taking the, “steps necessary to take care of himself and put football on the backburner.” It appears Gordon is being proactive to make sure he stays sober, and he should be commended for that.
However, there’s no timetable for his return. The lack of clarity as to when he’ll be back with the team makes him untouchable at his ADP. His ADP is sliding every day I check in, but it will have to drop outside the top 100 for him to be a worthwhile risk as long as his timetable remains unclear.
Jordan Reed (WAS): Pick 93.5
Reed can’t stay healthy. He is the repeat visitor from my last check in on players to avoid, and you can read about how much time he’s missed (as well as his new lows set last year) here. I included him in this to reiterate the point I’m not touching him in DRAFT best ball leagues while also pointing out his ADP has shot up 17 spots.