The days leading up to a fantasy football draft are full of excitement, strategizing, and maybe even some snacking. One thing that occurs far less frequently than it actually should is the discussion of which players you should not draft.
Of course, this can be hard. You see a player available in the eighth round who has done you dirty in the past but had an ADP that suggested they’d be off the board in the fourth round. You pull the trigger and draft the guy. He has a horrible season, you wasted a valuable pick, and you finish dead last.
This, folks, is why it is important to be firm with yourself with the list of players you want to make sure you avoid no matter the circumstance. In case you need help deciding whether or not a player should be completely avoided, we’re here to help you out.
Here are 10 players you should avoid drafting in your PPR drafts this year.
Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens
2019 finish: RB11
Pickard’s 2020 ranking: RB25
Ingram had an impressive 2019 with Lamar Jackson giving him the football but is due for major regression this year.
Several factors play into this analysis, with the selection of J.K. Dobbins among them. The Ravens selected the Ohio State running back in April’s draft and there is a growing sense that he could play a complementary role alongside Ingram. (That is, assuming he doesn’t claim sole possession of the starting role.)
Another aspect here is that the Ravens might quiet down a bit. Lamar Jackson can be thanked for Ingram’s success because the speedy quarterback forced defenses to play safe football, thus leaving space for Ingram to incrementally add to his stats. With defenses expected to see a little more success when it comes to defending Jackson, Ingram might see a similar number of touches but less yardage.
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
2019 finish: RB35
Pickard’s 2020 ranking: RB22
After a great 2018, James Conner hoped to hold onto the No. 1 running back job in Pittsburgh last year. What seemed like an easy task turned into a murky running back situation that remains unclear this summer.
Conner, an impending free agent, will open the year as the top back in Pittsburgh, but nobody knows how things will transpire from there. With Conner not expected back with the Steelers next year, the team may decide to reduce his workload and give increased reps to Benny Snell Jr., Jaylen Samuels, and Anthony McFarland.
Additionally, Conner won’t have much of an impact in the passing game, leaving players like Kareem Hunt or James White as potential better choices to draft instead of Conner.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
2019 finish: WR7
Pickard’s 2020 ranking: WR34
Edelman is one of the toughest and physical players in the NFL, and his grittiness was on display last year en route to his WR7 finish.
The former Kent State quarterback turned Patriots receiver could be in for a quiet year after Cam Newton replaced Tom Brady in New England. While Newton likely won’t struggle, his style of offense will surely vary from Brady’s, suddenly putting a lot of targets up for grabs.
Health is another factor for the multi-time Super Bowl champion. What makes Edelman so adored by Patriots fans is his work ethic and toughness. However, he’s just one bad choice and big hit away from a season-ending injury. Tom Brady did a good job throwing lower passes to Edelman, thus resulting in safer plays and fewer injuries, and it’s too early to know if this will be true about Newton. Ultimately, drafting Edelman is way too risky this year.
Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
2019 finish: TE3
Pickard’s 2020 ranking: TE5
Waller is a surprise pick for his list but warranted mentioning because his price tag is merely too high. He burst onto the scene out of training camp last year en route to a brilliant finish as football’s third-best tight end.
Waller was a reliable target for Derek Carr, which surely makes him an instant favorite among his coaches and teammates. The big concern for fantasy owners, though, was his touchdown production as Waller found the end zone just three times in 2019.
Finally, Las Vegas committed a significant amount of resources and draft picks to the much-needed bolstering of the wide receiver corps. Foster Moreau and Jason Witten are also candidates to have expanded roles in the tight end unit. All of these factors suggest Waller will provide an experienced presence in the field but isn’t worth spending an early pick on.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
2019 finish: QB10
Pickard’s 2020 ranking: QB17
Fantasy owners love drafting Aaron Rodgers, and for good reason. He’s a future Hall of Famer with gas left in the tank, a huge throwing arm, and an elite receiver at his disposal in Davante Adams. But don’t be fooled, because Rodgers is not a good fantasy choice.
Rodgers is on a decline after 2018 and 2019 saw him record the lowest and second-lowest 16-game touchdown marks of his career. Green Bay has also focused on the run much more under new head coach Matt LaFleur, and the team failed to add a wide receiver in this year’s draft.
Everything lines up for Rodgers to finish outside of the top 15 in quarterback points when all is said and done. You’ll want to avoid him in favor of someone with a higher boom potential.
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills
2019 finish: RB24
Pickard’s 2020 ranking: RB31
The slowest starting running back in the entire NFL, Singletary is poised to have a down 2020 from a fantasy standpoint. Meanwhile, rookie Zack Moss is sure to steal a large portion of Singletary’s touches and could even replace him as the No. 1 running back by mid-season.
One of the big knocks on Singletary is that he is not a threat in the passing game. If he could garner a handful of passes every game, he would be a great player to own. After all, many dual-threat running backs become fantasy stars solely because of their versatility. Ultimately, Singletary doesn’t have that.
Especially in an offense that will focus on passing to Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, John Brown, and Dawson Knox, the Bills need a speedy running back who can also contribute in the passing game. They have someone who fits that description, but his name is Zack Moss. Do not draft Singletary this year.
Similar ADP players to draft instead of Singletary: David Montgomery, Jonathan Taylor, Kareem Hunt, James White
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
2019 finish: WR11
Pickard’s 2020 ranking: WR18
Already set to lose targets to Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry, Allen’s value takes another hit with the team’s frustrating quarterback situation. Tyrod Taylor has decent stats as a starter but won’t be able to produce the completions needed to make Allen a top fantasy threat. Even if they put rookie Justin Herbert‘s arm under center, his inexperience will hurt the weapons surrounding him.
There are a few situations where you should take Allen as a low-end WR2, but the odds that he will be draftable in such a position are slim to none. You’d be wise to pass on all Chargers wide receivers this year.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2019 finish: NR
Pickard’s 2020 ranking: TE7
Oh, where to start? Rob Gronkowski spent a year away from the field. During that time, he partied, lost muscle, and joined WWE. Now, he’s being asked to return to NFL form without any preseason games and find his way to being a top target in an offense that features the best wide receiver duo in the NFL.
While Tom Brady loves his tight ends, there just aren’t enough targets to go around to draft him at his ADP in the latter portion of the sixth round. Plus, don’t sleep on O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate despite their disappointing 2019 showings. They won’t take over the No. 1 role, but they will steal a notable amount of Gronkowski’s targets.
From health concerns to target share worries, you’re going to want to avoid drafting Rob Gronkowski this year.
Similar ADP players to draft instead of Gronkowski: Evan Engram, Hayden Hurst
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers
2019 finish: RB20
Pickard’s 2020 ranking: RB30
Fantasy owners have begun to realize that Mostert won’t live up to his fifth-round ADP, but it’s still worth echoing this idea because he could struggle immensely and severely let down owners who have several of his shares.
Mostert impressed in 2019 because he played in a San Francisco 49ers system that had a unique approach to the ground game. He received a surplus of touches because Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo loved riding the hot hand. Once Mostert flourished, he just got more and more touches. It wasn’t luck, but the Niners’ running back depth chart wasn’t organized on pure talent, either.
There’s always the chance that Mostert opens the year strong and becomes the de facto starter, but it’s also possible that he falls below Tevin Coleman on the depth chart and loses the majority of his touches. Taking risks in fantasy football is smart in the later rounds, but don’t throw away your draft in Round 5. Be smart and pass on Mostert this year.
Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
2019 finish: WR20
Pickard’s 2020 ranking: WR37
Michael Gallup’s value jumped in March when the Cowboys lost Randall Cobb to the Houston Texans in free agency. But one month later, his stock dipped again as Dallas landed one of the best draft-eligible wide receivers in CeeDee Lamb.
Gallup had a solid 2019, fetching 66 passes for 1,107 yards in a role similar to that of Calvin Ridley in Atlanta. However, Gallup failed to haul in as many passes as he should have. After all, his 58.4 percent catch rate put him seventh on the Cowboys among nine eligible (100-plus yards and 20-plus targets) players. His 9.7 percent drop rate was the highest on the team.
Gallup also had limited success in the yards after the catch category. Of the nine players who tallied over 100 yards receiving, Gallup finished seventh in yards after the catch per reception (5.0) and fourth in ADOT (12.2).
There’s a lot of people who will draft Gallup because they thought he was on the rise last year and expect him to improve even more this year. But with Cooper, Lamb, Blake Jarwin, Ezekiel Elliott, and Tony Pollard set to steal his touches, you won’t want anything to do with Gallup.
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