Dating back to my years at Fantasy Freakin’ Football I have done an annual DO NOT DRAFT list. While I like to have fun with my themes, this year’s theme is disaster movies… I am deadly serious when I take aim at these players. Over the years I have a 79.6% hit rate…in other words, I am right more often than wrong.
While folks are always asking me which players I like or who my sleepers are, nobody asks this important question: “What players are you NOT drafting?”
I contend that avoiding disastrous picks is one of the key components to building a championship team. I realize at certain points some players listed below have worth, and I’m not blind to scooping up value. But, relative to their current ADP, there are players available that I prefer much more and I will happily sidestep calamity.
In one draft this year, where I needed RB help, I passed on David Johnson in the 6th round. He was taken five picks later. The chat room lights up with what “incredible value that was for David Johnson” and “I can’t believe he fell that far!” Johnson has an ADP of the 4th round, so that means all 12 teams in this draft passed on him in the 5th round and half the drafters passed on him in the 6th round. Even the guy that drafted him said something like, “I don’t really like Johnson, but in the 6th round I couldn’t pass him up.” Absolutely correct. However, Johnson is no value in the 6th round if, at season’s end, he only returns 12th round value. Get players you like! Get players you believe in! Don’t settle for the David Johnson’s of the world.
How many times have you said to yourself, “I knew I shouldn’t have drafted so and so.” I did it last year with Kerryon Johnson (in my NFFC Main Event no less). I knew it the second after I said his name that I made a mistake. Besides getting a player you don’t have good vibes about, that pick is stuck in your head. I had 15 more rounds to draft and it wasn’t easy shaking off the Kerryon Johnson pick. I believe somewhere deep down we know not to draft certain players and we have to fight the herd mentality of “everyone else is drafting him, so he must be okay.” Kerryon Johnson was far from okay.
A few weeks ago, after a $150 NFFC Best Ball draft that John Hansen and I drafted in (c’mon, who doesn’t like to go against the Guru?), we were messaging and he used the word “catastrophe” to describe his team. I told him I loved that word and it described my draft too. For me, my team was a catastrophe because I didn’t get guys I liked. I was picking at one of the ends and once I screwed up an early pick the draft got away from me and snowballed from there. How bad was it? I picked one of the players from my list below!
When John used “catastrophe” I knew I wanted to theme this year’s DO NOT DRAFT list around my favorite disaster movies growing up. The 70’s were disaster movies’ wheelhouse! So many good ones to choose from, but I narrowed it down to the four films below to describe players I am not drafting.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972) – Disaster strikes on New Year’s Eve. Abandon ship on these players!
The Towering Inferno (1974) – Huge fire because of poor construction. Drafting one of these players will send your team up in flames.
Earthquake (1974) – The big one hits hard, no one is safe and no one knows when it is coming. Draft one of these players and your team will turn to rubble.
Rollercoaster (1977) – Sabotage at the amusement park. If you draft one of these players, expect an up and down season.
WARNING! ALERT! BEWARE! CAUTION!
Aaron Rodgers – The Packers are not Aaron Rodgers’ team anymore. They are HC Matt LaFleur’s team and his desire to build the offense around the run game. Rodgers and LaFleur can make nice in front of the media, but the tension between the two is clearly there. Even more telling than moving up to pick heir-apparent to the QB throne, Jordan Love, they failed to add any weapons in the passing game for Rodgers. I’m seeing folks draft Rodgers ahead of Drew Brees, Daniel Jones, Baker Mayfield and Big Ben. Those people are drafting on name value and past stats. Rollercoaster
Ryan Tannehill – I don’t like putting him on my list and if the price is right, I would draft him… But, the Titans are a run first team. In 14 of the games he played in last season, only four saw him with over 30+ passing attempts and only six saw him with over 250 passing yards. Rollercoaster
Drew Lock – Doesn’t even have a full season under his belt. In the five games he started last year, he barely averaged over 200 yards per game. The Broncos signed Melvin Gordon in free agency and know the way to develop a young, inexperienced QB is to have a good run game. He does have some nice weapons in the passing game, but has to learn a new offensive scheme under OC Pat Shurmur. I’m not sold on Drew Lock as a viable fantasy starter. Earthquake
David Johnson – In his last two seasons Johnson has averaged 3.6 & 3.7 yards per carry (we won’t go three seasons back when it was 2.1, as that is the year he suffered a season ending wrist injury). Couple that with Pro Football Focus’ ranking of the Texans offensive line at 19th and you have the makings of a disappointing fantasy year for Johnson. The Poseidon Adventure
Le’Veon Bell – The Jets ranked 31st in rushing offense last year. As I’m writing this I am shaking my head thinking about how stubborn and inept HC Adam Gase is with his usage of Bell. You have a developing QB and add free agent Bell to the mix, who is completely fresh after having sat out the 2018 season. Plus, prior to that had back-to-back 1,200 rushing seasons and Gase squandered his talent. Bell had a measly 3.2 YPC last season, and I don’t see it improving much under Gase’s regime. Rollercoaster
Leonard Fournette - Easy one right here. The writing was on the wall and now Fournette finds himself without a team. The Poseidon Adventure
D’Andre Swift – An ADP of the 5th round is an ingredient for a recipe for disaster. I’ve said it before, but everyone will be a year too early on Swift. Kerryon Johnson and his 4.5 yard per carry over two years will still be a factor in the Lions run game. Swift will get his, but won’t return 5th round value. I’ve drafted him twice this season, once in a draft before his landing spot was determined and once because I was in a RB pickle and I made sure to get Johnson too. The Towering Inferno
Chris Carson – I have Carson on so many of my Dynasty teams because I was all over him as a rookie. He is full-tilt boogie 110% of the time and that often leads to unfortunate injuries. Signing Carlos Hyde and drafting DeeJay Dallas are indicators that Seattle knows they won’t get Carson’s services for 16 games. Earthquake
Devin Singletary – Knock, knock…who’s there? Zack Moss. The Towering Inferno
Ronald Jones – Another RB with an ADP of the 5th round that I am staying away from. His opportunity in an explosive offense that HC Bruce Arians likes to run is there, so I understand how tempting Jones is, but he is a poor fit. Jones is quick and has nice burst, but has poor hands and does a poor job in pass protection. You aren’t going to stay on the field for three downs if you get Tom Brady lit up or drop a sure 1st down pass. And Jones is not enough of a banger to be effective on 1st and 2nd downs. The Towering Inferno
Matt Breida – Folks are drafting him like he will be in a 50/50 split with Jordan Howard. That’s a mistake. In most drafts, he is being drafted ahead of Howard. Also, he’s running behind a bottom of the barrel offensive line. This isn’t San Francisco, yet folks are drafting like he is still there. Earthquake
Sony Michel – I’ve drafted him and whenever I look at my team rosters and see Michel on there, regret sets in. Lamar Miller getting added to the mix signals to me that NE has concern Michel will not be ready for Week 1. Likely to miss six games if they put him on the reserve/PUP list. The Poseidon Adventure
A.J. Green – One of my favorite WRs since he came into the league, but it is becoming clear that I need to stop drafting him. He’s 32 and I don’t think his body can withstand a full NFL season while competing at a high level. Already nicked up with a soft tissue injury and it is only training camp. Rollercoaster
Stefon Diggs – Diggs could be a difference maker on the right team, imagine him on the Packers. Buffalo is not going to be a good fit for Diggs, folks are drafting him based on his career as a Viking. Has a new offense to learn and has a QB, in Josh Allen, that does not have an accurate long ball. Rollercoaster
T.Y. Hilton – I loved watching Andrew Luck throw to T.Y. Hilton… it was a thing of beauty. But, that’s the past and we have to draft for 2020. Already with a soft tissue injury in training camp (hamstring), the writing is on the wall for the 30-year old Hilton. I’m rooting for Hilton, but let’s be realistic. The Poseidon Adventure
Courtland Sutton – Strictly based on his ADP, I keep seeing him being drafted over players like A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, D.J. Chark and Marquise Brown. Sutton has value, but I think his upside is limited because of QB play and scheme. Rollercoaster
John Brown – I was very impressed with his 2019 season, especially his 70% catch rate with averaging 14.7 per catch. That’s money. I don’t see him repeating his 1,000 yard season this year with Stefon Diggs added to the mix. And drafting a power runner like Zack Moss tells me they want to lean on the run a tad bit more, which makes sense given their dominant defense. The Towering Inferno
Deebo Samuel – I’ve been saying since Samuel broke his foot that he will be out longer than expected. Most drafters are taking him factoring in three games missed. I think he lands reserve/PUP list, which means he will miss six games. I know Samuel says he will only miss 10 weeks (he is seven weeks out at the time of this writing) and recently posted a workout video. I watched the video twice and he was favoring his injured foot, especially when walking after his drill. Another one I am rooting for, as I drafted him on my Fantasy Points Dynasty team (prior to his injury), would be happy if I’m wrong on him. The Towering Inferno
Austin Hooper – Had 97 targets in only 13 games played last season in Atlanta with a QB who loves to throw to his TE. Now goes to Cleveland where Mayfield seems to prefer other options, namely OBJ, Landry, Chubb and Hunt. Even in Mayfield’s rookie year, Njoku only had 88 targets in 16 games. The Poseidon Adventure
Mike Gesicki – A stat from last year really stands out to be and that is Gesicki’s less-than-desirable 57.3% catch rate. If he is going to be a successful TE, he has to get it close to 70%. Also, three of his five TDs came in Weeks 16 & 17, against a soft Cincy D and a NE team that was looking past Miami to the play-offs. Earthquake