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9 High-Risk RBs & WRs (Fantasy Football)

Jul 18, 2019

Returning to a crowded WR corps after suffering an ACL tear doesn’t bode well for Cooper Kupp

They say you can’t win a draft in the early rounds, but you can certainly lose it. Avoiding risk early in drafts is paramount to having a successful fantasy season. Anyone who drafted Le’Veon Bell in the first round last year can tell you how one bad pick can dash away your championship hopes.

Finding out which players come with the most risk can be a difficult exercise. However, fear not, fantasy brethren. Our featured experts are here to assist you with this task by naming their riskiest picks and explaining who they would rather have instead.

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Q1. Which WR comes with the most amount of risk and which player(s) would you rather draft with a lower ADP at his position?

Cooper Kupp (LAR)
Overall (ADP 50), WR20
“Kupp is going to be about 10 months removed from his torn ACL injury when the season gets underway. That time-frame is pretty much on par with other players who suffered the same injury. The Rams’ coaching staff has already said Kupp will be ready for Week 1, despite “taking it slow” with him, but with the amount of lateral movement for a slot receiver, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him return a few weeks into the regular season. We’re currently drafting Kupp as WR20. That’s only a few picks after teammates Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, both of whom had at least 80 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards. Woods is the new #1 go-to for Goff, and Cooks is consistent with his four straight 1,000-yard seasons. It is one thing to have a pair of pass-catching teammates in the top 20, but three of them? There just isn’t enough ball to go around. I would rather have Tyler Lockett, D.J. Moore, and Tyler Boyd at their ADP.”
– Rich Piazza (Fantasy Shed)

Cooper Kupp tore his ACL in November and yet it feels like the fantasy community has penciled him in for perfect health starting in Week 1. Even if Kupp makes it into the lineup to open the season, his effectiveness and risk of re-injury need to be questioned. I’d rather have the upside of Tyler Lockett or D.J. Moore, who project to be the No. 1 wideouts in their respective offenses.”
– Justin Boone (theScore)

Mike Evans (TB)
Overall (ADP 21), WR7
“I’ll go with Evans as someone who offers too much risk at his current ADP. He’s currently going as the No. 7 wide receiver and 21st overall. While it may not sound horrible, you have to understand the emergence of both Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard to set realistic expectations for Evans. He’s no longer going to see the 150-plus targets he did in years past and the Bucs aren’t likely to throw the ball 624 times like they did last year. Evans isn’t a bad fantasy player to own by any means, but he no longer belongs in that second-tier of receivers. I’d rather own A.J. Green, who’s going 22 picks later.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Amari Cooper (DAL)
Overall (ADP 31), WR12
“Cooper isn’t worth the drama. I’ll take A.J. Green, Julian Edelman, Robert Woods, or Stefon Diggs over him this season, instead of dealing with the ping-pong ball up and down we’ve seen historically from Cooper’s production. Fantasy teams need a level of predictability that Cooper doesn’t afford — or at least hasn’t thus far in his short career.”
– Andy Holloway (The Fantasy Footballers)

A.J. Green (CIN)
Overall (ADP 33), WR13
“I’m likely to be out on Green this year, in part because of his injury history and in part because I want a chance to draft Tyler Boyd later on. Also think about Robert Woods and Chris Godwin, who are anywhere from one to three rounds cheaper than Green.”
– Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)

Q2. Which RB comes with the most amount of risk and which player(s) would you rather draft with a lower ADP at his position?

Damien Williams (KC)
Overall (ADP 22), RB13
“I want to get on the Williams hype train, I really do. I just haven’t been able to sell myself on a 27-year-old career backup that averaged 3.5 yards per carry prior to his magical run over the Chiefs’ final six games (including the playoffs). Even though he has always had an eye for the end zone, touchdown regression is expected as Williams scored 10 of them over that span. I don’t want to take anything away from what he did last season, and I believe in Andy Reid’s system, but doing it over the course of a full season is different. Even going back to college, he has never accounted for more than 40% of his teams’ rushing attempts. Give me Leonard Fournette, Aaron Jones, Devonta Freeman, and Kerryon Johnson at a better ADP.”
– Rich Piazza (Fantasy Shed)

Leonard Fournette (JAC)
Overall (ADP 28), RB14
“Todd Gurley is the obvious answer here, but you should also be very worried about Fournette’s ability to stay healthy over a full 16-game schedule. The lower body injuries that hampered Fournette in college aren’t going away. He missed 11 outings over his first two NFL campaigns and averaged less than four yards per carry both seasons. With a passing attack that’s unlikely to back defenders off the line of scrimmage, Fournette is a volume-dependent injury risk. I’d rather take my chances with Aaron Jones’ elite talent or Marlon Mack’s outstanding offensive line.”
– Justin Boone (theScore)

Le’Veon Bell (NYJ)
Overall (ADP 8), RB7
“It’s a question I’ve asked but received no answer to. What’s the difference between Bell and Fournette outside of the two-plus round difference in their ADP? When healthy, both are locked into big workloads, though we’ve never seen Bell perform at an RB1 level outside the Steelers’ offense, while Fournette has shown more consistency than Melvin Gordon when healthy over his career. While I understand there are durability concerns with Fournette, Bell just stayed away from the game for an entire year and turned 27 years old in February. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that he plays for Adam Gase and behind the Jets’ offensive line.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Derrick Henry (TEN)
Overall (ADP 32), RB16
“Henry hasn’t convinced me yet. Despite his incredible end of the season, Henry’s career has been marred by inconsistency. It’s naive to think he’ll persist at the end-of-season pace regardless of what the offense wants to do. He’ll be overly TD dependent, and I’d rather have Devonta Freeman, Marlon Mack, Kerryon Johnson, or Josh Jacobs over Henry in most half-point leagues.”
– Andy Holloway (The Fantasy Footballers)

Todd Gurley (LAR)
Overall (ADP 16), RB10
“I’m certainly not the only person afraid of Gurley, but I’m on that bus, and somewhere near the front. There’s too much uncertainty there along with a bad injury history. Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook are just two of the acceptable alternatives.”
– Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)

Thank you to the experts for their high-risk players. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for all the latest discussions this season.

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