Never Again Team (2019 Fantasy Football)
Your draft is in full swing, and your pick is coming due. A player is falling to you, one that you never expected to have a shot at in this round, but instead of joy, you feel like you’re the guy that had to give Joseph Stalin some bad news. We all have (or should have) a list of players we won’t touch, that are off our draft board. I’ve learned to trust my gut, and avoid picking guys that give me that queasy feeling (Andrew Luck was a recent example). Here is a list of my Never Again Team.
Drew Brees (NO)
Brees’ first subpar fantasy season in recent memory took place in 2017 (11th place in one of my league formats). He was ninth last year in the same format, and he is no longer living up to his name in fantasy football. Now 40 years of age, he is resting comfortably in the shade of Tom Brady telling Father Time to get off his lawn. His ADP is still much higher than I would consider paying so I’m out on Brees.
Todd Gurley (LAR)
I’m only putting Gurley on his list as his ADP is still at or approaching top-10 territory. The condition of his knee is up for debate but the signs are troubling and should not be ignored. Between the shocking reduction in usage towards the end of last season, the matching of an offer sheet for Malcolm Brown and the drafting of Darrell Henderson, I’m swearing off Gurley. I actually hope I’m wrong about this as I’m a huge fan of his talent, but there are far too many red flags here.
Devonta Freeman (ATL)
Freeman really only had a two-year run as a stud running back, as injuries slowed him down in 2017 and clobbered him last year. The concussion history is especially troubling and I could see him (and would support him for) hanging up his cleats if he suffers another. He’s also suffered a serious knee injury and several injuries to his hips and groin, and his rugged running style may not be conducive to a long career. I love Atlanta’s offense, but that may be the biggest factor in Freeman’s ADP (top 30).
Tyreek Hill (KC)
I won’t get into an ethical discussion here, as I have no right to assume anything not proven in a court of law. With an ADP hovering in the top 15, I’m not comfortable drafting a guy I feel might be on a first-name basis with Roger Goodell. I feel there’s a consensus that you usually don’t win your league with your first-round pick, but you can lose it with that pick. I’m taking that mantra into the second round as there are many worthy players that can contribute outstanding production without future headaches.
Antonio Brown (OAK)
If Brown really did veto a trade to Buffalo, the Bills should be feeling blessed. I can’t remember another gong show this prolific or bizarre, and the season hasn’t even begun. Brown’s ADP has dipped towards the end of the second round but that’s simply too high for such a volatile personality. He’s still a very hard working and talented receiver, but he’s learning a new offense, has suffered a downgrade at quarterback and may be sending out a surreal tweet as you’re reading this.
A.J. Green (CIN)
Another injury concern here, or rather multiple injuries. I originally had Green on my list of sleepers as his ADP was quite low (for his talent), and I thought he might shake off the injury bug this year. At 31 years of age, I’m not liking the trend I’m seeing after he missed seven games last year. I’m also unsure of how the Bengal’s offense will look this year with a new coaching staff and a middling quarterback (who is turning 32 soon).
Vance McDonald (PIT)
I’m all in on the consensus top-six tight ends this year, and there are a couple of guys I really like in the later rounds (McDonald isn’t one of them). He has a fair bit of buzz right now but I’ll list the number games he’s played each year in his career (going back to his rookie year): 15, 10, 11, 14, 8, 15. This position is top-heavy to begin with and you will likely overpay somewhat for whichever tight end you select, so I am steering clear of a guy that’s missed this much time while averaging less than three targets per game.
Kyle Shanahan (SF)
Last year I was in a high stakes league and started Alfred Morris (with some hesitation) in my flex position, as I had injury and bye week issues. He’d played 44 snaps the week before, scored 10.5 points and I only needed one point from him this week. Kyle decided to send Alfred out for only one snap this time, giving me a goose egg, a loss and a lesson learned. I think George Kittle will be a safe start, but even that might be a headline this year. As for the rest of the crew, I only want 49ers in best ball.