Rick Laments: fantasy football do not draft list

I ain’t buyin’ what they’re sellin’

I’m going to ruffle some feathers with the 2011 edition of my annual “Players I Won’t Draft” piece. No problem. Everyone has players on their draft board with cautionary notations, such as a big red “I” for injury risk or “RBBC” for running backs stuck in a fantasy quagmire of a committee approach.

I also use an “HM” for RBs with “high mileage” over the last 3 years. I find it more telling than just flagging those RBs that have hit a certain age, say, over 30. For example, Steven Jackson is only 28, but he has been ridden hard. Willis McGahee is a year older, but his legs are much fresher. Does that mean draft McGahee ahead of Jackson? Sure, everyone enjoys a good laugh on draft day! 

Seriously, what it means is that on my board is that Steven Jackson falls a bit lower than where most people have him ranked, and Willis McGahee is a tad higher than average. Factor in that Knowshon Moreno is the only real competition, and McGahee moves a bit higher still, especially for TD-heavy leagues.

A draft is all about value. Period. Will I draft Steven Jackson this season? You bet, if he falls into the late-second round. Will I spend a top-14 pick on him in 2011 in a non-PPR league? Nope. Top-tier WRs are in short supply in 2011, younger/fresher RBs on quality offenses will be available and Jackson has averaged 348 touches/year (rushes & receptions) over the last 3 years. No wonder he misses some time. He might only be 28, but he’s going to play like he’s 32. I love the way he runs, I love his reckless abandon and I love the Sports Center highlights; however, I won’t get him because I won’t spend the high pick for him in 2011.

Value does play a big role for me, but there are players securely on my DO NOT DRAFT LIST this season.  I’m sure I’ll get some right, a couple wrong, but I won’t lose sleep over skipping these picks when their ADP roles right on by in my draft. My selections will not automatically mimic those consensus numbers in the 4for4 rankings, but like last season when I avoided all Vikings’ players, I’ll sleep better at night knowing I didn’t take on added risk. There is plenty to worry about in this hobby of ours, so I don’t want to draft a player and then start having “drafter’s remorse” even before my next pick comes along.


Cedric Benson

PPR or TD-heavy, there is nothing that would make me draft CB this season. No QB threat, no Owens or Ocho to keep safeties honest, an arena-league Offensive Coordinator in his first NFL season and yet Benson is still going in the top 18 RBs. Why?! Some folks worry about “8-in-the-box,” Benson is going to see 9-in-the-box until the Bengals have a passing attack. I’m sure some folks took him, only then to notice in weeks 10-13 leading up to their league’s playoffs he faces PIT, BAL (CLE) and PIT again! Ouch. It’s not like the Bengals will find themselves ahead in games and rushing a bunch to protect their big lead. Cedric Benson could quickly become Cedric the Entertainer this season as he averages 18/58 and the Bengals continue to rack up laughs instead of points.


Maurice Jones-Drew

I have always enjoyed watching Jones-Drew play the game. He’s all out, all the time—kind of like a MiniMe version of Steven Jackson. But like S-Jax, MJD has too many red flags for me heading into 2011. His good knee is now his “bad” knee, his back issues still linger, receiving-threat Mike Sims-Walker is now in St Louis and the Jags are toying with giving Blaine Gabbert the keys to the car. Tosses to Marcedes Lewis in the red zone will only add to the frustration for MJD owners. Love him, won’t draft him.


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Filed Under: Preseason, 2011

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