Mike Tagliere’s Top 10 Players To Avoid At Cost (2019 Fantasy Football)
We’ve covered a lot this offseason. We’ve talked about our favorite sleepers, favorite value picks, and which guys we must have on all of our teams. But this article may be the most purposeful. Talking about the players we don’t want to draft shrinks the draft board and makes drafting a bit easier.
Don’t get me wrong, there comes a point where everyone is a value, but we’re talking about those we avoid based on their current ADP (average draft position). Whether it be talent or situation, I’ll try to give you a logical explanation as to why you should be avoiding them at their current cost. Here are the 10 players I’ll likely own none of during the 2019 fantasy football season.
10. Kenny Golladay (WR – DET) Current ADP: 48 overall
It’s very likely that Golladay is going to be a top-20 wide receiver in this league someday, though I don’t believe it’s 2019. While he is ascending, Marvin Jones is perceived to be descending. I don’t want to write-off Jones at 29 years old, but the gap in their ADP is too large. Below are the splits when both were on the field in 2018, which is not worth the 4-5 round difference in ADP.
9. Derrick Henry (RB – TEN) Current ADP: 36 overall
He’s a very good two-down running back, though that’s not worthy of a selection near the top three rounds. Dating back to his college days, Henry has never caught more than 15 passes in a single season. The last time a running back finished top-10 with less than 38 targets was LeGarrette Blount back in 2016. Remember how many touchdowns he needed to score to finish as the RB8? 17 of them. The Titans offense lacks the firepower needed to vault Henry into RB1 territory without any pass-catching skills. He’ll be gamescript-dependent, which is not something you want out of a guy you’re drafting with a top-40 pick.
8. Eric Ebron (TE – IND) Current ADP: 90 overall
We all knew Ebron was going to regress, right? His 14 touchdowns last year ranked as the third-most all-time among tight ends, but his yardage ranked 132nd all-time. Based on where he was targeted on the field, he scored 7.3 more touchdowns than he should’ve in 2018. Now he loses his star quarterback, Andrew Luck? As of now, Ebron is teetering on the “is he draftable?” conversation, let alone anywhere near the top 100 picks.
7. Dede Westbrook (WR – JAX) Current ADP: 82 overall
I’ve received a lot of flack for my unwillingness to pay the top-36 wide receiver price tag on Westbrook, but let me explain. Yes, he’s the top receiver on the Jaguars. Wasn’t he last year, too? He saw a pretty-high 101 targets in 2018, which led to him finishing as a WR3 or better just 43.8 percent of the time. He was a WR2 or better just 25.0 percent of the time. You know who was better in 2018? Mohamed Sanu, who is going as the 201st player off draft boards. Is Nick Foles an upgrade? Sure. Is he enough of an upgrade to vault Westbrook into a consistent WR3? My answer would be no. If you can land him as one of your bench wide receivers, it’s fine, but as a full-time starter? No, thank you.
6. Josh Jacobs (RB – OAK) Current ADP: 33 overall
There are things I’ve seen in Jacobs’ game that I really like, though it’s also important to remember we’ve only seen him with fresh legs at Alabama. That can mean a lot to a running back, as he was part of a three-way timeshare at Alabama, behind one of the better offensive lines. The Raiders are not what you’d describe as a potent offense and do not have a good offensive line. Even taking Jacobs’ pass-catching skills into consideration, the Raiders have continually talked about how much Jalen Richard will be involved in that area. The offense is not good enough to take the risk in the late-third/early-fourth, even if Jacobs is very talented.
5. Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN) Current ADP: 112 overall
Most don’t realize the opportunity Sutton had last year when Demaryius Thomas was traded away, and then again when Emmanuel Sanders went down with a torn Achilles. There were eight games in which Sutton had six or more targets, yet he never eclipsed 85 yards, had just three games with more than three receptions, and caught just four touchdowns on 84 targets. During training camp, the Broncos were actually swapping him and Tim Patrick on the first-team offense, highlighting the concerns. There may have been flashes in college of what could be a solid NFL receiver, but on a run-first team with Joe Flacco under center, Sutton is not deserving of his borderline WR3 price tag.
4. Kareem Hunt (RB – CLE) Current ADP: 109 overall
I’m going to be clear about this. DO NOT draft Hunt in a redraft format. He will not play until Week 10 and even then, he’s just Nick Chubb’s handcuff. Would you handcuff a running back if you knew the starter wouldn’t get hurt for the first nine weeks? No, you do it “in case,” right? Well, this handcuff is guaranteed not to play in the first nine weeks. That just happens to be the time for the most important waiver wire additions and when most bye weeks are happening. If you want to snag him off the waiver wire in Week 6 (or around that range), that’s fine, but do not waste a pick, especially inside the nine rounds, where he’s currently going.
3. Jordan Howard (RB – PHI) Current ADP: 84 overall
The Eagles traded a sixth-round pick for Howard. They then turned around and drafted Miles Sanders in the second-round. You tell me which one they are more invested in. It’s odd, too, because we’ve already seen Howard in this offense, as Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson run what’s almost the exact same offense. Howard can be solid around the goal-line, yeah, but that’s essentially the LeGarrette Blount role in this offense. If you guys don’t recall, we’ve already seen that. Blount was an RB3 or better just 31.3 percent of the time, which is why the Eagles traded for Jay Ajayi. I used the RB3 or better mark because that’s what Howard is currently being drafted as (RB33).
2. Robby Anderson (WR – NYJ) Current ADP: 75 overall
Many are expecting a breakout season from Anderson, and while I don’t question his talent, I question the consistency of the offense and his role in it. Anderson saw a team-high 93 targets last year, totaling 752 yards and six touchdowns on them. While that may seem decent overall, how he got there was frustrating. It took an average of 11.7 PPR points to finish as a WR3 or better in 2018, a mark that he hit in just 4-of-14 games (28.6 percent). Adding Jamison Crowder and Le’Veon Bell surely won’t make targets easier to come by. If Adam Gase’s offense has told us anything over the last three years, it’s that we’ll likely see a decline in plays, too. Drafting him ahead or around guys like Alshon Jeffery and Allen Robinson is baking in all the potential you’re hoping for. He’s solid as a WR4, but don’t pay WR3 prices.
1. Le’Veon Bell (RB – NYJ) Current ADP: 8 overall
Outside of the time where he had Peyton Manning as his quarterback, Adam Gase’s offenses have finished 17th, 23rd, 26th, and 28th. Did you know that over the last seven years, we haven’t had a top-five running back (in fantasy points per game) who’s been on a team who’s ranked outside the top-16 in points per game? “But Mike, volume!” Remember when everyone said the same thing about David Johnson last year? Sure, he finished as a top-12 running back, but wasn’t worth the first-round selection he cost you. During his time in Pittsburgh, Bell averaged 1.84 yards before contact. The Jets allowed their running backs just 1.14 yards before contact last year, which ranked 27th in the league. Bell is a fine player to draft in the second-round with a relatively safe floor, but you won’t be saying that you won a fantasy championship because he was on your roster.