Players & Situations to Avoid in 2019 (Fantasy Football)
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Every year there are players or situations that owners invest in that leave bad impressions, whether it be due to injury or poor performance. When expectations are not met and exceeded, disappointment sets in. While every player goes through peaks and valleys, there are some that have failed to deliver time and again despite carrying a continued amount of hype. These are the players that fantasy owners eventually tire of. Still, these players are often hard to quit. Our own Mike Tagliere has called DeVante Parker his never again player for this year (though he’s admitted on the podcast that it’s hard to get away from players like Parker).
We’ve asked our writers for the players or situations they will never buy into again. Here’s what they had to say.
Eagles’ RBs & WRs
For anyone who’s ever played fantasy football, you’ll know what I mean when I say that there are some guys you will simply never draft again, regardless of where they fall. Whether it be someone who has burned you before or someone prone to injury, you just don’t want anything to do with them. I have a couple of names that immediately come to mind, but I want to do something a little different today. I’m not going to list just one guy, I’m going to highlight an entire team’s wide receiver and running back group. Ever since Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz arrived in Philadelphia, the Eagles’ offense has been one of the league’s most spread out units. In the three years as their head coach, no WR finished better than WR22 (Nelson Agholor) and no RB finished better than RB11 (Jay Ajayi). The Ajayi year was a bit of an outlier as the other two years resulted in RB36 and RB42 finishes for the top Eagles’ back. This year they do have some additions in Jordan Howard, Miles Sander, DeSean Jackson, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside. While this group does have solid upside, the presence of the pre-existing players is going to make it hard for any of them to make a huge impact. Doug Pederson even came out and said that they won the Super Bowl without a 1,000-yard RB or WR, and he’d be happy to do that again. As you can see, Pederson has made it clear that he likes to spread the ball around as much as possible which might be great for the Eagles but terrible for fantasy owners. I’d look to avoid the whole situation if possible. One more thing I’d like to clear up is that none of this applies to TE Zach Ertz. He is an absolute stud and should be targeted in the first 2-3 rounds of your drafts.
– Eli Berkovits (@PTTF_Eli)
Entering the year ranked as the 16th RB and 31st overall player, Alex Collins was projected to land firmly within the second tier of RBs in the 2018 season. Any expectation for Collins was dampened in Week 1, however, when the Ravens ran him just seven times in a 47-3 blowout of Buffalo. It was a sign of things to come, as the Ravens’ backfield shuffled between Collins, Buck Allen, Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon throughout the year. Though they had a very strong running attack, there was exactly zero consistency from week-to-week as to who ‘the guy’ would be in any given game. Here’s a visual of the roller coaster ride:
- Week 1 – Dixon (10 points)
- Week 2 – Allen (10)
- Week 3 – Allen (14)
- Week 4 – Collins (8)
- Week 6 – Collins (17)
- Week 7 – Collins (4)
- Week 8 – Collins (9) / Allen (8)
- Week 9 – Collins (9)
- Week 11 – Edwards (19)
- Week 12 – Edwards (11)
- Week 13 – Edwards (8)
- Week 14 – Dixon (14)
- Week 15 – Edwards (16)
- Week 16 – Edwards (10)
- Week 17 – Dixon (12)
Add in Lamar Jackson’s 100 fantasy points gained on the ground and it was a recipe for a fantasy nightmare. Jackson and Edwards are still set up to be major players in the Ravens run game for 2019, as is the newly-acquired Mark Ingram. Despite the skill of each of those players, there’s no way I could handle the week-to-week fantasy uncertainty in Baltimore.
– Brian Rzeppa (@brianrzeppa)
Jordan Reed (TE – WAS)
If Reed is healthy, he has shown to be one of the most dangerous weapons on the Redskins’ offense. Unfortunately, since he entered the league in 2013, Reed has not been able to play a full 16-game season. Even in his 2015 campaign where he finished as TE3 and tallied 244.2 fantasy points in 14 games. Those numbers have always sucked me in to picking him as my tight end and thinking that he will stay healthy and be a top-three TE again. But since his breakout season in 2015, Reed has missed 17 games due to numerous injuries and some have questioned if he is still the same athlete. His talent was never in doubt, but his availability over the past few years has finally pushed me off the Reed draft train.
– Kevin O’Connor (@22koconnor)
A D/ST Prior to the Final Two Rounds
Never is a strong word. It implies that there’s a player out there that I would not draft ever again under any circumstance. Even for players that I dread owning, there are circumstances where I would draft them. I could name an old, washed-up running back who you were never going to draft in the first place but that’s kind of pointless. Instead, I’ll go with a strategy that I am never doing again, and that’s drafting a defense prior to the final two rounds. Since 2009, the average finish of a D/ST that finished number one in the prior season is 11.8. Only one team (2011-12 Bears) has sported the top D/ST in back-to-back seasons, while no other D/ST has even managed a top-five season the season following a first-place finish. In summary, owners who reach for last year’s top defense usually end up looking dumb. The only time I would consider a D/ST in the penultimate round is if there’s a talented group with a few salivating matchups to start the season.
– Elisha Twerski (@ElishaTwerski)
LeSean McCoy (RB – BUF)
There are a number of statistics that I look at when I am determining whether a running back has anything left in the tank. Running backs that are 30 years or older are risky players in fantasy football. Age and injury tend to impact those players’ fantasy performance. Most running backs also struggle after they eclipse 2,000 career carries. Only 40 backs in NFL history have been able to reach that total and only 26 of those running backs have been able to reach 2,500 career carries. McCoy turned 30 years old last year, and he started the season with 2,185 career carries. He was risky in both regards and instead of having his ninth straight season with more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage, his 752 yards from scrimmage was the fewest of his career. It was the first time he failed to eclipse 1,000 yards from scrimmage since his rookie season in 2009. He tallied only 161 rushing attempts, 514 yards rushing, 34 receptions, 238 yards receiving, and three total touchdowns in 2018. He averaged only 3.2 yards per carry and all of this horrible production happened despite him playing in 14 games and starting 13 of those. He finished the season as the 38th-ranked fantasy running back in half-point PPR leagues. Normally, that should result in a player not being drafted the following year. Instead, McCoy is the 38th ranked fantasy running back in 2019 and his overall ADP is 98th. At this point in his career, McCoy is not someone I am interested in owning. I have said all off-season that McCoy is more likely to be waived by the Bills to save $6.4 million in salary than to lead the team in rushing in 2019. He is a veteran player that is valued in fantasy football based on his name over his likely production. Even if he bucks the trend and has a bounce-back year, the likelihood of me using a fantasy draft pick on a back with that much wear and tear is extremely unlikely. McCoy is someone I will celebrate for his decade of fantasy dominance, not someone I will ever look to own in fantasy leagues going forward.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
Marcus Mariota (QB – TEN) & Titans’ WRs
Never say never, but I was thinking of all the players who have burned me in recent seasons; Leonard Fournette, Corey Davis (Marcus Mariota’s fault), Alex Collins, Isaiah Crowell, and DeVante Parker all come to mind. I decided to put Marcus Mariota and any Tennesse Titans wide receivers. This is mainly because I am not drafting anyone who is catching passes from Marcus Mariota. Corey Davis, who has all the talent in the world, would have been a top-20 wide receiver almost anywhere else. He was stuck in a mediocre offense which stalled more often than not and finished with just 65 receptions, 891 receiving yards, and four touchdowns on the season. Davis didn’t make the leap in year two many had expected, especially given the hype surrounding him last offseason. Injuries, poor coaching, and the fact the Titans still don’t seem to have any clue if Mariota is their guy makes me want nothing to do with the Titan’s passing attack. He has only thrown 24 touchdowns the past two seasons, and last year he had a career-low 11.1 yards per completion to go along with an 11.3 percent sack rate. The past few years he has taken a step back, and it’s taken a toll on the Titan’s receiving corps. Until something drastically changes, I am staying away from this situation.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)
Jimmy Graham (TE – GB)
It seems like ages ago that Graham was one of the most athletic, dominant tight ends this league had ever seen. The athletic part, yes, that was ages ago. But, he was actually still maintaining pretty solid value as the TE4 in 2016 and TE6 in 2017. After last year, I don’t even really care what his ADP is, I’m not touching him. Graham just looked slower than life itself last year and after finishing with 10 TDs in 2017, he fell all the way down to two in 2018. And if you thought two TDs was a disappointment, just wait until you get a load of this. Graham has had 12 games under 25 receiving yards over the last two years and 20 of his last 32 games under 40 receiving yards. Now, the Packers brought in rookie Jace Sternberger with a third-round draft pick who registered a 92nd percentile college dominator ranking per PlayerProfiler.com. I’ve always been a big supporter of Graham, but I think it’s time to put him out to pasture in Green Bay. The TDs were really all he had left, and if he can’t even haul those in anymore, I really don’t know what there is to get excited about. This is one career that even Aaron Rodgers might not be able to resurrect.
– John Ferguson (@FantasyFerguson)
Justin Tucker (K – BAL)
There were actually a ton of funny thoughts that ran through my head, but I’ll try to take this somewhat seriously. In almost every single draft, you’ll have someone grab a kicker before the final round, and it’s almost always going to be Tucker. That’s why he’ll never end up on any team that I ever draft, and I’m comfortable saying that he’ll never end up on another one of my teams. Simple enough.
– Joel Bartilotta (@Bartilottajoel)