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Players To Never Draft Again + Those Who Deserve A Second Chance (2021 Fantasy Football)

Jul 28, 2021

This week our writers are discussing a couple of topics that is all too familiar to fantasy managers — players we won’t ever draft again and players who deserve a second chance. Their responses are shared below.

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Q1. Which Player Will You Never Draft Again?

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – CLE)
Beckham was once a fantasy darling and had the makings of a future Hall of Famer. Since coming over to the Browns, OBJ has not been able to stay healthy nor produce at an elite level. Here are his fantasy finishes since joining the Browns in 2019: WR26 and WR85. Not only does he have a problem staying healthy, but the offense he is in is geared towards running the ball. The Browns ranked fifth in rushing attempts last season, and that will remain the same this year. This takes away the upside that Odell could have. Baker Mayfield isn’t going to throw the ball 35 times a game, and he has target competition with Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt, and Austin Hooper. Odell is being drafted as the WR28 and while that is not extremely high, I like more players around him. I’d rather take my chances on a higher upside player like Brandon Ayiuk, Ja’Marr Chase, Courtland Sutton or Chase Claypool.
– Connor Rigg (@ConbonNFL)

Julio Jones (WR – TEN)
I tend to sour on older players who have big names and high ADPs based on the previous year’s production. Julio Jones is one of the best wide receivers the NFL has ever seen. He is the league leader by a mile in receiving yards per game, at 95.1. Calvin Johnson is second on that list with 86.1 receiving yards per game. Jones is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-2010s Team and he has been to seven Pro Bowls, but none of that matters for fantasy football value in 2021. What matters is that Jones missed seven games with injuries last year and finished with just 51 receptions for 771 yards and four receiving touchdowns. He is 32 years old and joins a team where A.J. Brown is the primary wide receiver and the Titans have ranked 31st and 26th in passing attempts the last two seasons. If Jones plays all 16 games, he should fare better than Corey Davis and his 43 receptions for 601 yards, and two touchdowns. He was the Titans’ second wide receiver last year and Jones definitely has more value that Davis. I just do not know how much fantasy upside he has as the No. 2 in a passing game that threw only 448 passes last year. When you combine a run-oriented offense, an older player coming off injuries, and a player of his stature; it is a perfect recipe for an overvalued fantasy player.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)

Raheem Mostert (RB – SF)
A lot of fantasy managers gravitate towards Mostert because of the run-centric offense he’s been featured in. The 29-year old was a late-bloomer who broke out during the 49ers’ Super Bowl run in 2019 with 952 total yards and nine touchdowns to finish as the RB24 in half-PPR formats. He followed a career year with substantially lower production, limited to only eight games due to ankle and knee injuries that resulted in a RB48 finish after fantasy managers used high draft capital to acquire Mostert heading into the 2020 season. Despite averaging 5.0 YPC, Mostert was limited to 19 targets and saw a 43.3 percent opportunity share, ranking 33rd amongst all active running backs. Considering 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch traded up to acquire Trey Lance and Trey Sermon within the first three rounds, Mostert’s opportunity share will be even more limited in 2021. Lance is a dual-threat quarterback and Sermon is a big-bodied, one-cut power back with enough speed to breakaway from defenders at the second and third level. Wayne Gallman was also signed during free agency and will certainly be a capable fit in the preferred running-back-by-committee (RBBC) Shanahan prefers to deploy.  Valuable goal-line touches could be gobbled up by Sermon and Lance could also poach goal-line touchdowns even if only in certain heavy goal-line packages. Mostert is coming off lower-leg injuries and is 29 years old on a team that added youth, size, and speed to its backfield. I’d prefer to pass on Mostert at RB28 in the sixth round in favor of drafting his teammate Trey Sermon (RB34) a round later.
– Matt MacKay (@Matt_MacKay_)

Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN)
This is not one of my sorry attempts to hate on the Bengals, I promise. In fact, my feelings on Boyd are driven mostly by the thinking that the Cincinnati offense is rearing for a big season. The issue, in my mind, is that Boyd is likely the odd-man-out this year. With Tee Higgins taking a step forward and the team adding Ja’Marr Chase, who Joe Burrow played with while at LSU, it feels like someone will have to lose targets. Consider this: Joe Mixon was injured for the majority of last season. He’s back and will give the running game more work. Burrow was setting records for pass attempts by a rookie, until he was knocked out for the year. I have to assume there will be more balance this year. The O-Line is upgraded slightly, though not too impressively, and the defense is suspect, meaning this offense will likely have to throw the ball early and often. It’s possible that Boyd maintains his current level of production, but he’s WR34. The guys right behind him in ECR are better than the WR3 on their respective teams: Deebo Samuel, Jerry Jeudy, Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, DeVonta Smith. While they all have QB question marks, they all have a chance to be the top target on their team. And there’s no guarantee that Burrow comes back from ACL surgery with the same pizazz he had his rookie season. Boyd’s upside capped at WR34, he is an uninspiring bye-week filler. However, if Higgins or Chase go down with injury, he can easily push that WR18 production he had before Burrow went down last year. My point here is simple: I don’t think he’s going to have upside this year or in the future. I’ll stream him but I won’t draft him.
– Tim Metzler (@Timmy_the_metz)

Chris Carson (RB – SEA)
The reasoning is well documented, but he’s still rockin’ the 31st overall ranking in half PPR, and that’s too high for me. I would only take a flyer on him at this point in later rounds but since he will almost certainly not still be on the board, I have basically removed him from consideration. His running style is admirable and is most likely the reason for his success, but also leads to too many injuries and missed games to be drafted in the first few rounds. Last year he missed four games and had five others with less than nine fantasy points, so I would suggest he’s a much better best-ball pick. In 2020, he was in the same neighborhood as David Johnson, Kenyan Drake and Nyheim Hines, who should all be available later in drafts as depth players. I’d be shocked if Carson is available with other depth picks so I am out on him this year and beyond.
– Sheldon Curtis

Any Kicker Before The Last Round
Imagine dropping your RB1’s handcuff midseason so you can pick up an extra kicker while Justin Tucker is on a bye? Friends don’t let friends do that. The kicker you’re drafting before the last round probably won’t even end up as a top kicker in fantasy. 2020’s top 3 fantasy kickers were Jason Sanders, Younghoe Koo and Tyler Bass. Kickers come out of the woodwork, they’re fantasy penny stocks. Don’t pay a premium for them. Lastly, even if you drafted Jason Sanders and rostered two kickers over his bye week last year, he only mustered up, on average, 2.4 points per game more than the 12th-ranked kicker in 2020, Wil Lutz. Throw a dart at Mecole Hardman or Darrynton Evans before you get cute with a kicker.
– TJ Horgan (@TJHorganTV)

Check out our Consensus Dynasty Rankings here >>

Q2. Which Players Deserve a Second Chance?

Joe Mixon (RB- CIN)
I already know what you’re thinking. “Absolutely not. No Way. Forget about it.” I can understand your reason for being hesitant, I do. Mixon hasn’t been extremely reliable since entering the NFL. But hear me out. In two of the past three seasons he has finished as RB9 on a per-game basis. There were also some changes to the Bengals this offseason that shows their confidence in Mixon. First, Gio Bernard is no longer with the team. He was the main pass-catching option out of the backfield. Mixon averaged 4.3 targets per game in 2020, and that is 73.6 targets per-17 games. Zac Taylor also gave him a large workload in the three game prior to his injury (27 touches per game). They drafted Jackson Carman in the 2nd round and they brought in Riley Reiff to help the offensive line. Joe Burrow is also looking healthy and should be good to go at the start of the season. Mixon is going to get a monster workload this season, and you can get him in the 2nd round of your fantasy drafts. I know he has burnt people in the past, but this situation is completely different. He is worth taking another chance on.
– Connor Rigg (@ConbonNFL)

Carson Wentz (QB – IND)
It has become very fashionable to trash Wentz after a terrible 2020. People forget that had he not suffered a season-ending injury in 2017, he probably would have won the MVP award for a team that won a Super Bowl after he was lost for the year. NFL Players had a lot of respect for him after that season, voting for him as the third-ranked player in the NFL Top-100. He had a tough time coming back from injury in 2018, but in 2019, he had 4,039 yards passing, 27 passing touchdowns, just seven interceptions, and a QB rating of 93.1 on an Eagles team that made the playoffs. He was a very good quarterback until everything disintegrated last year. The combination of injuries, riffs with the coaching staff, and horrific play led to an unbelievable decline in production. Wentz saw his TD percentage drop from 4.4 percent to 3.7 percent, his interception percentage rise from 1.2 percent to 3.4 percent, and his sack percentage rise from 5.7 percent to 10.3 percent. He was never right playing with an offensive line that was decimated by injuries. Also, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Zach Ertz, and Dallas Goedert combined to miss 30 games. That does not mean Wentz is blameless for last year. He needed to be a better player and a better teammate and be a calming influence in a very difficult season. He was none of those things and that is a big reason that the Eagles traded him to the Indianapolis Colts rather than try to play hardball with him and keep him on their roster in 2021. Now he is back with a familiar head coach, his former offensive coordinator Frank Reich. He has the second-best offensive line in the league, per Pro Football Focus. He has a strong running game and Philip Rivers was able to post 4,169 yards passing and 24 passing touchdowns with this group last year. I think Wentz will benefit from the change of scenery and as the 123rd ranked fantasy player. The fresh start in Indianapolis may be just what Wentz needs to rejuvenate his career and reward fantasy gamers who take a flyer on him in the 13th round.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)

Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR)
Kupp set the league on fire in 2019, finishing as the WR4 in half-PPR formats with a great 70.1 percent catch rate on 134 targets, yielding 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns. He even managed to increase his catch rate to 74.2 percent in 2020 and still saw 124 targets. The obvious regression occurred with his touchdown total plummeting from 10 to three, which was a result of getting outpaced by Robert Woods, who had a 10 percent higher snap share and was afforded more opportunities, which led to him doubling Kupp’s touchdown total. Despite being held to less snaps and touchdowns, Kupp commanded a slightly hire target share (23.7 percent) and more targets per snap (15.6) than Woods (23 percent/13.5). Even better, Kupp averaged more yards per route run (1.92) and averaged more yardage separation (1.73) than Woods. Take advantage of fantasy managers fading Kupp and leaving him with an ADP of 53.9 as the WR19, as he is due for positive touchdown regression and could surpass 150 targets with Matthew Stafford under center in 2021.
– Matt MacKay (@Matt_MacKay_)

George Kittle (TE – SF)
Kittle has suffered the same injury for two straight years. In 2019, it cost him two games. In 2020, it cost Kittle eight games. One of the disadvantages for being a phenomenal TE is that opposing defenses want to hit you as hard as possible. So, what we learn here is that Kittle is human. Some folks will take that as a reason to not draft him. However, he’s an absolute workaholic and worth the risk. He’ll be back in 2021 and he’ll have two things he didn’t have before. First, he’ll have greater assurances that his QB play will be league-average or above, via Jimmy G and Trey Lance. Secondly, he won’t be the only target defenses have to account for. Kittle’s been the No. 1 target on this team for years. With Brandon Aiyuk and a healthy Deebo Samuel ready to go, Kittle will likely see more favorable matchups. This team was messed up from injuries last year, but they will be out for blood in ’21. That includes Kittle. Managers will sleep on him due to his injury concerns, but his 16-game pace last season would have led to career highs in almost every statistical category. When healthy, he can easily push for the TE1 overall spot. Don’t banish this man from your draft queue because his injuries burned you. Give the man a chance! Consider him a discounted Travis Kelce. Higher risk but higher reward.
– Tim Metzler (@Timmy_the_metz)

D.J. Chark (WR – JAC)
I honestly thought Chark would be an off season darling, but it seems like he has slipped pretty far in rankings. Chark is only 24 years old and should be just entering his prime as a wide receiver. He already has documented production with a 1,000 yard season under his belt, and has two very positive changes in his situation this year. With Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault Jr. on the field, Chark should have far less coverage dictated his way this year. Yes, those receivers (and Travis Etienne) will soak up some targets, but I believe Chark will see a lot of passes head his way. I also believe the upgrade at quarterback will be substantial (even as a rookie) and if Lawrence and Chark develop early chemistry, he could be a league winner. He’s currently ranked 77th (31st WR), and I am all for giving this player a second chance.
– Sheldon Curtis

Jared Cook (TE – LAC)
Cook’s ADP in PPR leagues right now is 168, TE19. Sure, he’s 34 years old, but we’ve seen TEs produce into their golden years plenty of times. He’s also in a perfect situation. The Chargers have 120 vacated targets with the departures of Hunter Henry and Kalen Ballage. They’re also relatively slim on WR depth. In two seasons with Drew Brees, Cook tallied the two highest touchdown totals of his career. Now he’s catching passes from another electric playmaker in Justin Herbert. These situations make the perfect elixir for a deep sleeper. Pair him with another late-round TE (Adam Trautman, Tyler Higbee, etc) and see which one pops.
– TJ Horgan (@TJHorganTV)

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