Best Ball Players to Avoid (2020 Fantasy Football)
Now that the bulk of free agency has come and gone, it’s time for best-ballers to jump back into 2020 drafts. For the big names that changed teams, there’s optimism about their new roles. And for the veterans that stayed put, we can try to project how they’ll do with some level of confidence based on last year. In either case, players will be drafted much higher than they should. Below are a few of those that you should be cautious about when drafting your best ball teams.
Aaron Jones (RB – GB)
Between injuries and being held back by former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Aaron Jones finally had the breakout season many in the fantasy community were expecting. Not only did he top 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his three-year career but his 16 touchdowns on the ground were four more than he had during his first two seasons in the league combined. Of course, Jones didn’t finish as fantasy’s second-highest scoring running back last year just because of what he did on the ground. He finished second on the team with 68 targets, catching 49 of those for 474 yards and three more scores.
Why you want to avoid: Currently, Jones is going off as our RB7 in best-ball leagues but it’s obvious that Jones is a prime candidate for touchdown regression. No other active player that has scored that many touchdowns in a season has ever repeated their total. Furthermore, Jones scored multiple touchdowns in exactly half of the Packers’ games last season, something that you can’t possibly expect two years in a row. Let others take Jones that high.
Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)
Drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Sanders was a popular pick heading into last season. Yes, the Eagles still had Jordan Howard, but no one viewed Howard as an obstacle for Sanders and those people were right. Sanders ended up starting more games than Howard (11-4) and out carried him 179-119. Over the course of those 179 carries, Sanders managed to total more than 800 yards and averaged 4.6 yards-per-carry. And much like Jones above, Sanders was an asset in the passing game. His 63 targets were fifth on the team but his 50 receptions and 509 yards were both good for third on the team.
Why you want to avoid: While Sanders current ADP (RB13) is in-line with his final fantasy scoring rank from last year (RB13), there’s plenty to be worried about. For starters, recent Eagles offenses just don’t use workhorses at running back. Case in point is the fact that Philadelphia hasn’t had a running back top 200 carries since 2014 when Andy Reid was still the coach. For Sanders, despite him gaining the starting job, he still failed to top 20 carries in any game and only topped 15 carries three times. The receiving numbers help supplement his value but without more volume, it’s hard to roll with Sanders.
Juju Smith-Schuster (WR – PIT)
It wasn’t that long ago that the Pittsburgh Steelers were a fantasy football haven. As recently as 2018, Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 5,000 yards, James Conner ran for nearly 1,000 yards while replacing Le’Veon Bell, and Pittsburgh had not one, but two, 100-reception, 1,200-yard receivers in Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster. Fast forward just one season and Roethlisberger missed most of the year with an injury, Brown forced his way out of town and both Conner and Smith-Schuster saw their production cut in half, largely due to injuries. In Smith-Schuster’s case, it was a real lost opportunity. Without Brown, he was going to be the top receiver on a team that had plenty of targets to replace but ended up playing only 12 games and managing 552 yards.
Why you want to avoid: Despite the 2019 disaster, Smith-Schuster is still going off as the WR12. There is certainly room for a bounce back from him but consider Roethlisberger is not only coming back from injury but just turned 38. Pittsburgh also saw the emergency of receivers James Washington and Diontae Johnson in Smith-Schuster’s absence. Couple that with the recent signing of tight end Eric Ebron and there doesn’t seem to be enough footballs to go around to keep Smith-Schuster at his ADP.
Austin Hooper (TE – CLE)
Hooper managed to have his best season at just the right time, managing to wait until his last year before being a free agent to total 75 receptions, 787 yards and six touchdowns (and a top-10 fantasy finish). He now heads to Cleveland after the Browns made him the highest-paid tight end (for now) and to, ostensibly, take over for David Njoku in the Cleveland offense. It’s a move designed to help quarterback Baker Mayfield as Cleveland continues to add every piece possible so he can continue to develop.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 21, 2020
Why you want to avoid: 2019 certainly wasn’t a fluke for Hooper as he finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end in 2018 as well. But while his skill isn’t in question, the volume he’ll see remains to be seen. The Browns ranked just 20th in pass attempts last year while new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski’s former team in Minnesota, the one he called plays for, finished third-to-last in pass attempts. Hooper’s previous teams in Atlanta finished fifth in pass attempts in 2018 and first in pass attempts in 2019, both years Hooper finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end. Needless to say, Hooper’s current TE6 ADP seems much too high for a player that will be fighting with Odell Beckham (for now), Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt and more for targets.
Michael Moore is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, follow him @DLF_Moore.