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Round-By-Round Players to Avoid Based on Early ADP: Rounds 1-8 (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Ethan Summers | Featured Writer
Jul 1, 2020

Derrick Henry carries too much regression risk to draft in the first round.

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As we move further into the offseason, many of us will (or should) use the extra free time we have to start mock drafting. But you don’t have to start from square one. Below I have suggested some names that you will want to avoid to get the most out of your draft. They are by no means prescriptive, and every draft you do will bring a unique set of challenges. However, by using some of the ideas below in each round, you will give yourself the best opportunity to dominate your draft.

Earlier this month, I wrote up round-by-round draft targets for Rounds 1-8  and draft strategy based on ADP. Early next month, I will publish a late-round guide based on ADP, complete with targets, players to avoid, and strategy. If you want a full picture of the sort of team this methodology can get you, check out this mock draft.

Note: ADP provided by Fantasy Pros as of 24th of June

Complete early mock drafts using our free draft simulator >>

Round 1

ADP Player Overall
1 Christian McCaffrey CAR (13) RB1
2 Saquon Barkley NYG (11) RB2
3 Ezekiel Elliott DAL (10) RB3
4 Michael Thomas NO (6) WR1
5 Alvin Kamara NO (6) RB4
6 Dalvin Cook MIN (7) RB5
7 Derrick Henry TEN (7) RB6
8 Davante Adams GB (5) WR2
9 Tyreek Hill KC (10) WR3
10 Joe Mixon CIN (9) RB7
11 DeAndre Hopkins ARI (8) WR4
12 Nick Chubb CLE (9) RB8

Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
Henry is by far the most likely top-10 running back to bust, and it is not even close. Last season, he was the beneficiary of a historically efficient passing attack that saw Tennessee lead early more often than not and forced defenses to pay less attention to him than they wanted. To his credit, he took full advantage. Henry made it easy for fantasy managers to ignore the fact that he produced more than 40 receiving yards in only one game last season.

Tennessee’s defense doesn’t have to get much worse for those late-game leads that netted Henry so many points to vanish. I am not saying he has zero chance of leading the league in rushing once again in 2020, but Nick Chubb is just as likely to do so at a much lower price tag.

So much would have to go right for Henry to justify picking him seventh overall. It’s too big a risk in the first round.

Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN)
The argument here is similar to the one I made for Henry. There is a strong chance that Minnesota’s offense takes a step backward in 2020.

Last year, one of the reasons Cook was so efficient was that opposing defenses knew that they’d get gashed by the play-action if they sold out to stop the run. Removing Stefon Diggs from the passing game scares me. And if the defense declines on the field as much as it did on paper, there won’t be many leads to protect either.

While his receiving work makes Cook a safer bet than Henry to return first-round value, he is by no means the sure thing he was this time last year. Stay away from the second-tier RBs in the first round.

Round 2

ADP Player Overall
13 Josh Jacobs LV (6) RB9
14 Aaron Jones GB (5) RB10
15 Patrick Mahomes KC (10) QB1
16 Julio Jones ATL (10) WR5
17 Lamar Jackson BAL (8) QB2
18 Chris Godwin TB (13) WR6
19 Travis Kelce KC (10) TE1
20 George Kittle SF (11) TE2
21 Miles Sanders PHI (9) RB11
22 Austin Ekeler LAC (10) RB12
23 Kenny Golladay DET (5) WR7
24 Kenyan Drake ARI (8) RB13

Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL)
It would be easy for me to just name the quarterbacks taken in every round, so Jackson is the only one I’ll discuss. Unless you are playing Superflex (which you should definitely consider), taking a QB in the top six rounds is a good way to start the season at a serious disadvantage. In a one-QB league, the difference in scoring is too marginal.

Assuming Jackson will return his 2019 scores seems optimistic. As seen a couple of times last year, his picture is less pretty if the Ravens fall into an early hole. It’s likely that, through variance alone, there will be games where that happens. I don’t want to take a player from a position I can stream with my second-round pick, especially when there’s a likelihood Jackson will put up a few stinkers.

Round 3

ADP Player Overall
25 Mike Evans TB (13) WR8
26 Amari Cooper DAL (10) WR9
27 Allen Robinson CHI (11) WR10
28 Adam Thielen MIN (7) WR11
29 Leonard Fournette JAC (7) RB14
30 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC (10) RB15
31 Cooper Kupp LAR (9) WR12
32 Chris Carson SEA (6) RB16
33 Odell Beckham Jr. CLE (9) WR13
34 Melvin Gordon DEN (8) RB17
35 D.J. Moore CAR (13) WR14
36 A.J. Brown TEN (7) WR15

Amari Cooper (WR – DAL)
I wrote about Cooper likely peaking last year in this article about wide receivers to avoid in 2020.

Melvin Gordon (RB – DEN)
Taking a player who has so much clear competition for touches this high is almost criminal. More than just Phillip Lindsay, this backfield also contains Royce Freeman, who saw 132 carries last year. While both he and Lindsay will surely concede some of their 2019 workload to Gordon, projecting him to receive more than 45% of Denver’s carries is optimistic.

Further eating into that workload is a young QB who has had at least two scripted runs in three of five career starts. Despite the fact that Denver won four of the five games Drew Lock started last year, the Broncos only put up 100 rushing yards in one of them. It seems unlikely Gordon breaks 800 rushing yards, and his receiving production won’t buoy him enough to justify this third-round price tag. Let someone else take this risk.

Round 4

ADP Player Overall
37 Mark Andrews BAL (8) TE3
38 Zach Ertz PHI (9) TE4
39 Le’Veon Bell NYJ (11) RB18
40 Courtland Sutton DEN (8) WR16
41 JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT (8) WR17
42 Todd Gurley ATL (10) RB19
43 Calvin Ridley ATL (10) WR18
44 Keenan Allen LAC (10) WR19
45 Mark Ingram II BAL (8) RB20
46 Devin Singletary BUF (11) RB21
47 James Conner PIT (8) RB22
48 Dak Prescott DAL (10) QB3

Keenan Allen (WR – LAC)
The argument against taking Allen here is similar to why I advocated taking Austin Ekeler in the second. In 2020, Tyrod Taylor will almost certainly hold a significantly lower average depth of target (ADOT) than Phillip Rivers carried in 2019. While that’s almost never a bad sign for a receiving back, it doesn’t point to a lot of upside for Allen. A less aggressive quarterback and a defense that might be the best in the league means they are unlikely to throw as much. That reduction in upside and volume points to Allen as a potential bust.

Round 5

ADP Player Overall
49 David Johnson HOU (8) RB23
50 Tyler Lockett SEA (6) WR20
51 T.Y. Hilton IND (7) WR21
52 Jonathan Taylor IND (7) RB24
53 Darren Waller LV (6) TE5
54 D.K. Metcalf SEA (6) WR22
55 Robert Woods LAR (9) WR23
56 Stefon Diggs BUF (11) WR24
57 DeVante Parker MIA (11) WR25
58 D.J. Chark JAC (7) WR26
59 Kyler Murray ARI (8) QB4
60 Deshaun Watson HOU (8) QB5

DeVante Parker (WR – MIA)
Parker finished 2019 among the top-10 WRs. However, before Preston Williams suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 9, Parker only broke 15 points (0.5 PPR) in three games. That’s not exactly top-25 WR production.

In order to take Parker here, you need to think that Williams is going to take a step back and Tua Tagovailoa is going to outperform Ryan Fitzpatrick. I don’t buy it. Let someone else reach for Parker and take Williams later. It seems plausible that he becomes the guy to roster in Miami’s offense this year.

Round 6

ADP Player Overall
61 Russell Wilson SEA (6) QB6
62 David Montgomery CHI (11) RB25
63 Raheem Mostert SF (11) RB26
64 Deebo Samuel SF (11) WR27
65 Hunter Henry LAC (10) TE6
66 A.J. Green CIN (9) WR28
67 Terry McLaurin WAS (8) WR29
68 Josh Allen BUF (11) QB7
69 Jarvis Landry CLE (9) WR30
70 Michael Gallup DAL (10) WR31
71 Evan Engram NYG (11) TE7
72 Cam Akers LAR (9) RB27

Cam Akers (RB – LAR)
There is a lot of projection going on here. Even if Akers tops the food chain, he will still be embroiled in an ugly RBBC. Moreover, it seems absolutely possible that Malcolm Brown takes away short-yardage work, limiting Akers’ touchdown upside. There is little indicating Akers will be more than a low-end flex. Even that is contingent on him getting a much larger slice than Darrell Henderson, who has a one-year head start.

Round 7

ADP Player Overall
73 Tyler Higbee LAR (9) TE8
74 D’Andre Swift DET (5) RB28
75 Matt Ryan ATL (10) QB8
76 Kareem Hunt CLE (9) RB29
77 Drew Brees NO (6) QB9
78 Derrius Guice WAS (8) RB30
79 Jared Cook NO (6) TE9
80 Tyler Boyd CIN (9) WR32
81 Marquise Brown BAL (8) WR33
82 Sony Michel NE (6) RB31
83 Austin Hooper CLE (9) TE10
84 Aaron Rodgers GB (5) QB10

Jared Cook (TE – NO)
There are a lot of players to like in this round, so don’t take Cook. In order to justify this ADP, he’d need to see significantly more than last year’s 65 targets in a New Orleans offense that added Emmanuel Sanders. Last year, Cook tallied an unsustainable nine touchdowns on just 43 receptions. Hayden Hurst, Noah Fant, and Rob Gronkowski each offer more upside at a lower cost.

Round 8

ADP Player Overall
85 Julian Edelman NE (6) WR34
86 Damien Williams KC (10) RB32
87 Will Fuller HOU (8) WR35
88 Marlon Mack IND (7) RB33
89 Kerryon Johnson DET (5) RB34
90 Rob Gronkowski TB (13) TE11
91 Brandin Cooks HOU (8) WR36
92 Carson Wentz PHI (9) QB11
93 Tom Brady TB (13) QB12
94 John Brown BUF (11) WR37
95 Matt Breida MIA (11) RB35
96 Ronald Jones II TB (13) RB36

Any RB
There are some talented players left on the board in Round 8. None of them, however, are running backs.

Marlon Mack isn’t going to see the volume to put up more than 750 rushing yards, and he isn’t going to add much in the passing game. Kerryon Johnson is unlikely to even reach those numbers after the Lions drafted D’Andre Swift. Ronald Jones II has some upside and should be the guy if you have to take a running back in this round, but he hasn’t fulfilled his potential to date.

Complete early mock drafts using our free draft simulator >>

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Ethan Summers is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Ethan, check out his archive and follow him @AllSummersLong_.

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