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Players Who Will Disappoint in 2021 (Fantasy Football)

Aug 2, 2021

With the NFL preseason officially beginning on Thursday, fantasy managers have already begun eyeing the news and researching which players they’re looking to steer clear of. These are typically guys that you feel will either merely underwhelm relative to their draft cost or they may just completely fall off a cliff and become irrelevant. Whichever way you look at it, these are the types of draft selections everyone wants to avoid. To prevent you from this pitfall, our featured analysts are here to share which players they think will disappoint the most.

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Q1. What RB in our top 30 in half-PPR RB ADP is most likely to produce far below expectations?

James Robinson (JAC): ADP – RB23 | 48th Overall 
“I get it — anyone who rostered Robinson last year loves him. His UDFA turned RB1 season was one of the great feel-good stories of the year. Unfortunately, all of the positive feelings towards Robinson’s unlikely 2020 season are making it difficult for many fantasy gamers to properly contextualize his role in 2021. Robinson’s RB1 season was fueled in large part by his 49 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Even if first-round pick Travis Etienne doesn’t immediately dominate Jacksonville’s background touches (a big ‘if’), all indications point to Etienne being anointed the passing down back, lowering Robinson’s ceiling considerably. As much as I loved him in 2020, I will be fading Robinson at his 2021 ADP.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

“I know James Robinson was a fantasy football stud for managers last year, but I’m so confused as to why he’s up at RB23 in our ADP Consensus. The Jaguars brought in a new regime that has no ties whatsoever to him and they drafted Travis Etienne in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Robinson will still have a role in this offense, but it’s not going to be nearly enough to justify him going off the board as a top-24 RB.”
– Kyle Yates (FantasyPros)

Javonte Williams (DEN): ADP – RB25 | 65th Overall  
“This isn’t meant to slam Williams, an appealing RB prospect who’s likely to have some fine seasons ahead, but I would caution against sinking fifth- or sixth-round draft capital into a player you probably won’t be able to confidently start in Week 1, and maybe not in ensuing weeks either. Melvin Gordon has been a very good NFL running back for a while now. Over the past five seasons, he’s averaged 11.4 touchdowns and 94.5 yards from scrimmage per game. Gordon was also a better NFL prospect than Williams — bigger, faster, more productive in college. He’s going to play ahead of Williams early on and will be a source of frustration for Williams’ investors all season. Take one of the terrific WRs available in the fifth or sixth round instead of wishcasting with Williams.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)

Miles Sanders (PHI): ADP – RB18 | 33rd Overall  
“Sanders has a ton of competition for carries in 2021 and a mobile quarterback. Not to mention, a new HC, OC, and playbook. Sanders is being drafted in a group that includes Chris Carson, David Montgomery, and J.K. Dobbins, who all would appear to out-touch Sanders on a weekly basis. At the RB position, volume is king, and the volume and upside for Sanders seem questionable for me.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Q2. What WR in our top 40 in half-PPR WR ADP is most likely to produce far below expectations?

Mike Evans (TB): ADP – WR12 | 37th Overall  
“Evans was very touchdown dependent in 2020 and now has to contend with the prospect of a healthy Chris Godwin and a full season of Antonio Brown. Tom Brady will always look to exploit the matchups that present themselves, which ends up resulting in a questionable weekly floor for Evans. In best ball, Evans is appealing, but in season-long leagues, I prefer the volume of an Allen Robinson, Keenan Allen, or even Julio Jones or CeeDee Lamb’s upside over Evans at his WR12 price tag.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

“It’s all relative, but Mike Evans going off the board as the WR12 is asking for disappointment. We need to remember just how volatile Evans was from a fantasy perspective in the middle part of last season. Additionally, there are too many options in this receiving corps to find the necessary targets for Evans to finish as a top-12 wideout. I still believe that he’ll present weekly upside as a mid-range WR2, but as a cornerstone for your fantasy roster, that’s a risky investment.”
– Kyle Yates (FantasyPros)

Adam Thielen (MIN): ADP – WR17 | 45th Overall   
“Thielen has been a fun ride for fantasy managers, but when an undrafted overachiever is entering his age-31 season and has already shown signs of slippage, it’s time to bail. A fluky 14-TD season buoyed Thielen’s value last year. You don’t need to be told that Thielen won’t score touchdowns on 18.9% of his catches and 13% of his targets again. But note the slow, steady slippage in yards per target (from 10.5 in 2016 to a career-low 8.6 last year) and the more precipitous drop in targets per game (from 9.2 in 2017-2018 to 6.2 in 2019-2020). Thielen is now a complementary WR riding in Justin Jefferson’s sidecar. Don’t pay a New York strip price for ground beef.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)

Julio Jones (TEN): ADP – WR13 | 38th Overall   
“The cliff is coming at some point for 32-year-old Julio Jones. I do, however, think we get at least one more productive season from the great receiver. That said, his ADP as the 13th wide receiver off the board in early drafts is too rich for someone who will be competing for targets in a run-first offense with A.J. Brown. I am targeting Allen Robinson, CeeDee Lamb, and Robert Woods at similar ADPs.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

Thank you to the experts for naming their players who will disappoint this year. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and check out our latest podcast below for more advice.

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