Best Ball Players to Avoid (2021 Fantasy Football)
Best Ball contests aren’t in full swing across the industry yet, but it’s not too early to discuss players to avoid. The players included in this space are likely to be drafted earlier than I’m willing to select them. Sure, they’re all worth drafting at a certain point, but their probable average draft position (ADP) is too rich for my blood.
Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)
No one will likely be impacted more in the Saints offense due to Drew Brees‘ expected retirement than Kamara. If Brees retires, Taysom Hill will be the only quarterback from the 2020 Saints under contract for 2021. Hill got the nod over Jameis Winston to start in Week 11 through Week 14 while Brees recovered from fractured ribs and a punctured lung, providing a preview of what the offense could look like with him at the helm.
It wasn’t a high-flying attack, scoring 31 points against a Broncos team led by a practice-squad receiver starting at quarterback in an outlier game. They averaged an underwhelming 22 points per game in his three other starts. The lack of point scoring reduces the weekly ceiling for all members of the offense. Hill’s penchant for punching in short touchdowns, specifically, is unfavorable for Kamara’s upside.
Hill scored four rushing touchdowns from 10 yards or closer versus three rushing touchdowns from that distance for Kamara in the former’s four starts. Hill’s rushing ability failed to open up things for Kamara on the ground. The do-it-all back averaged 12.5 carries for 47.4 yards per game with Hill starting.
His pass-catching production took a more alarming turn for the worse. Kamara’s best effort through the air with Hill at quarterback was a 7-44-0 line on 10 targets. He totaled six targets, three receptions, and seven scoreless yards in the other three games. Yikes.
Kamara’s talent is undeniable, but his outlook fits the profile of a fringe first-round selection if Hill is the starting quarterback next year. He’s unlikely to slip out of the top-five picks.
Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)
Jacobs finished as RB8 in point-per-reception (PPR) scoring last season. The top-10 finish masks numerous steps back from his sensational rookie campaign. The sophomore back’s yards per carry dipped from 4.8 to 3.9, his rushing yards per game shrunk from 88.5 to 71.0, his attempts per broken tackle rose from 9.3 to 13.7, and his yards after contact per attempt slid from 2.8 to 2.0, per Pro-Football-Reference.
Jacobs also failed to take a step forward in the passing attack. He went from 1.5 receptions per game for 12.8 yards to 2.2 receptions for 15.9 yards, but he’s yet to score a receiving touchdown in 28 games. Further, his yards per target plummeted from 6.1 to 5.3, tied for the seventh-lowest mark among qualified pass-catchers.
A dozen rushing touchdowns buoyed Jacobs’ fantasy scoring. Banking on touchdowns inflating his scoring again in 2021 is ill-advised. Additionally, his lackluster receiving skills forebode a low weekly floor in games the Raiders are stuck playing catch-up. I don’t view Jacobs as a worthy selection in the first two rounds of Best Ball drafts.
Ben Roethlisberger (QB – PIT)
Big Ben returned from 2019 Tommy John surgery to play 15 games, only sitting out a meaningless regular-season finale. He finished as the QB12 during the fantasy season (Week 1 through Week 16), but he was a shell of his pre-injury self.
The veteran’s fantasy success was volume-driven. He attempted 608 passes, the third-most passes in 2020. Roethlisberger’s 253.5 passing yards per game ranked 15th, standing in stark contrast to his pass-attempt rank. The 38-year-old quarterback’s 6.27 Adjusted Net Yards per Pass Attempt (ANY/A) was his lowest mark in a healthy season (excluding his two-game 2019) since 2013.
The Steelers have moved on from offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, promoting quarterbacks coach Matt Canada. Canada could provide a jolt to the offense, and being another year removed from Tommy John surgery could help Roethlisberger regain some zip, but color me skeptical of the latter point due to Big Ben’s age. Add in his complete lack of rushing value added to the fantasy bottom line, and he’s an easy fade.
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