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