Which Player Will You Never Draft Again? (2018 Fantasy Football)
Earlier this week we looked at players that our writers are willing to give a second (or third) chance despite their disappointing performance in the past. Today, we’re going to look at those players who have officially burned their bridges. There’s no coming back for these ‘Never Again’ players.
Which player are you fed up with and are avoiding in 2018 fantasy football drafts?
Amari Cooper (WR – OAK)
With the caveat that you should never have a “do not draft” list, I’m not willing, nor do I have any desire, to draft Amari Cooper at close to his price. I was all in on Cooper and his potential for a third-year breakout last season, and I admit I’m probably a little scarred. Jon Gruden is talking up Cooper, but with Michael Crabtree replaced by the over-the-hill Jordy Nelson and the apparently “can’t understand the playbook” Martavis Bryant, it’s hard to see defenses paying any less attention to Cooper than they did last year. With Gruden likely to emphasize the run more, I’m not sure I expect Cooper’s targets to rise much from the 6.9 he averaged last year. After a season in which he finished as the 31st wide receiver in fantasy, I’m just not willing to draft him as a top-20 receiver this year.
Dan Harris – @danharris80
Jay Ajayi (RB – PHI)
In the interest of saving face a bit, my Jay Ajayi shares were from keeper leagues. However, it’s hard to stomach spending pick 4.04 (his ADP) on a running back who did not post a single RB1 performance last season, despite playing part of the season with heavy workload (four games of 23+ carries with Miami), and part of the season with a more prolific offense (Eagles) but never eclipsing 17 opportunities (carries + targets). Ajayi benefitted from volume with Miami and efficiency with Philadelphia, and neither turned into fantasy production. With Darren Sproles back, and Corey Clement locked into a role, it’s tough to see Ajayi commanding the touches he needs to return value, especially since he’s not a strong pass-catcher (11.8% drop rate and 6.6 yards per reception in 2017).
Mark Leipold – @LeipoldNFL
Isaiah Crowell (RB – NYJ)
Every year, I told myself that THIS was going to the be the year the Browns started using Isaiah Crowell more. That never happened. Now, he’s on the Jets, who are arguably just as dysfunctional as Cleveland. The argument for Crowell is that he never got the ball enough to “get going.” But even getting nearly 13 carries a game last year, he only scored two total touchdowns all year and averaged 4.14 yards per carry, which ranked 20th among all running backs who carried the ball 100 times or more. His role is also not clear-cut. Bilal Powell is likely to get the majority of the goal-line carries, which is where Crowell carried the bulk of his fantasy value during his solid 2016 campaign. It’s a pass on all fronts this year for Crowell, and likely going forward.
Jon Munshaw – @jon_munshaw
I am going to agree with Jon here. The hype surrounding Crowell heading into last season was off-the-charts, which ultimately resulted in a colossal bust. If he was not able to produce behind Cleveland’s above-average offensive line last season, I have some serious concerns about his prospects in 2018 with New York’s below-average offensive line. His role is murky at this point but he will likely receive less volume than other backs being drafted in the same area because of game-flow. I do not envision the Jets being a .500 team in 2018, which means they will have to abandon Crowell in lieu of a running back that is more effective at catching passes out of the backfield. Fantasy is a volume game and Crowell seems like a touchdown-dependent running back this season. There are simply too many red flags for me to feel comfortable with him.
Shane Davies – @FantasySD1
I’m fed up with Isaiah Crowell and his inability to create yards of his own. I was watching and waiting over the last few years, thinking that any running back who gets the volume that he’s getting is going to be a fantasy asset. He’s proven time and time again that he’s going to get what’s blocked for him and not much else, as the Browns had one of the best interior lines in football last year. Going to the Jets will not be an uptick in efficiency, as they have below average starters at four of the five offensive line positions. I also happen to believe that Bilal Powell is a more well-rounded running back. Don’t buy into the whole “he’s going to get touches” thing that we were all duped on last year.
Mike Tagliere – @MikeTagliereNFL
Jerick McKinnon (RB – SF)
McKinnon feels eerily like Isaiah Crowell from last season. The situation looks great for him to be productive, but there is little chance he delivers value based on his current ADP of 20.6. That is just too steep a price to pay for a player that has yet to deliver a full season in a feature role.
Jordy Nelson (WR – OAK)
This may seem like low hanging fruit, but two years ago Nelson was the No. 1 receiver in my 0.5 PPR leagues. I felt okay taking him late in Round 1 in a high stakes league last year but will have to take a shower after admitting this. It’s swell that he’s apparently still fast, but I am just as fast to move on.
Sheldon Curtis – @sheldon_curtis
Rob Gronkowski (TE – NE)
This is a carry-over from the season when I decided to never spend precious draft capitol on Rob Gronkowski again. It worked out fine for fantasy owners last season, but they may not be as fortunate this year. He hasn’t played a full season since 2011 and has missed more than half a season in two of the past five years. Why take that risk when you can wait 18 picks and grab Zach Ertz who has more receptions each of the past three seasons?
Bobby Sylvester – @bobbyfantasypro
DeVante Parker (WR – MIA)
I’ve never drafted DeVante Parker, but I did like his athletic profile coming out of Louisville. Unfortunately, his performance has never matched his athleticism. Every year, he’s a training camp superstar and “this is the year.” How many times can “this be the year” before we accept that Parker is just bad at football. He plays scared. He plays soft. He shies away from contact. He’ll make a highlight grab here and there to remind you how great he could’ve been, but I am done respecting any argument for him. Jarvis Landry‘s vacated targets are not going to Parker – they will be divided between Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson. Parker being drafted inside the top 36 WRs is laughable.
Jason Katz – @jasonkatz13
John Brown (WR – BAL)
Brown has all the potential in the world…if he can stay healthy. The speedster’s sickle-cell trait is well-documented and his inconsistency is as equally noted by now. He never fulfilled his promise in Arizona under a Bruce Arians offense. Now, moving to Baltimore where the running backs are the only passing targets returning from 2017 (unless you really want to factor in those of Chris Moore and Breshad Perriman) doesn’t excite me in the least. Hard pass here, even in deep leagues as a late-round flyer. I just can’t trust him with Joe Flacco or Lamar Jackson running the offense in what should be a run-first approach with a Ravens squad that’s deep at RB. Do yourself a favor and grab a different high-upside flyer because Smoky Brown has gone up in smoke.
Josh Dalley – @JoshDalley72
Jordan Reed (TE – WAS)
Maybe this is the year Jordan Reed plays 16 games. And maybe the Browns go undefeated. I wouldn’t go as far to say I’ll never draft the oft-injured tight end, but he’d need to fall below his No. 86 overall consensus ADP. We’re still holding out hope because of one 2015 breakout despite his 35.2 YPG and career-low 7.8 YPC last season.
Andrew Gould – @andrewgould4
Cam Newton (QB – CAR)
I swore off Cam Newton after 2016 when he finished as the overall QB17. Even though he finished as the second-highest scoring QB in 2017, I’m not drafting him in 2018. He’s wildly talented and athletic, and his rushing yards and TDs are superhuman. But let’s face it, he’s unbelievably inconsistent. In 2016, a down year, he had only four weeks as a QB1 and three weeks outside the position’s top 20. In 2017, a great year statistically, Superman still finished six weeks outside of the position’s top-16 and three of those outside of the top-20. He made up for those poor weeks with two number-one weeks and five top-five weeks. I want a QB who will provide me steady and predictable numbers on a weekly basis. I’m not interested in the Cam roller coaster in 2018 or ever again.
Zak Hanshew – @ZaktheMonster
Tavon Austin (WR – DAL)
How many times have we seen this movie? You know the one: the one where Tavon Austin is transitioning into a new role with a new play caller or a new team where they’ll be able to better utilize his talents and are finally able to squeeze the maximum production from him. Well, I’m not buying it. Earlier in the offseason, the Cowboys said that they are looking to give him “one to two dozen touches a game.” That’s the greatest hyperbole I’ve ever heard — don’t buy the hype.
Ethan Sauers – @ethansauers
Martavis Bryant (WR – OAK)
Martavis Bryant was a popular breakout pick in 2017 with the Steelers, and the malcontent burned me significantly in multiple leagues. Some may be expecting a change of scenery to help Bryant with the Raiders, but that ship has sailed. Bryant’s already off to a rocky start with the Raiders as he’s not working with the first team in three-receiver sets. It’s very possible that Bryant just simply isn’t all that good nor wants to be. The prospects of the extremely mediocre Derek Carr throwing him the football won’t add anything to Bryant’s 2018 value. Avoid.
Joey Korman – @leaveit2divac
Thanks to all of our writers that contributed! Let us know who your ‘Never Again’ player is this season.
Check out our other recent collaborative pieces: