Players to Avoid in Every Round of Fantasy Football Drafts
Have you felt it? That ubiquitous, joyous feeling permeating the very air we breathe? Yes, my friends, that feeling is the return of fantasy football draft season.
In a matter of weeks, the vast majority of us will be logging in or getting together to complete our season-long fantasy football drafts. It’s truly the most wonderful time of year. And with that in mind, below I’ve gone round-by-round highlighting one of the players I’m avoiding in each round. The reasons will vary as you’ll see, but for one reason or another, I feel these players are overvalued. I skipped Round 1 because, well, everyone is great in Round 1, and I skipped the last few rounds (of standard length drafts) because those should generally be used on your kicker and defense. ADP was based on 4for4’s ADP tool. For more ADP bargains, check out the ADP Bargain tool as well as my site-by-site look at the greatest draft values.
Now, without further adieu, let’s get to it.
Round 2 - QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
This is not an indictment of Mahomes' abilities. I repeat: this is not an indictment of Mahomes' abilities. This is purely a strategic suggestion, and taking a quarterback in Round 2 is bad strategy. To put this as simply as possible, the odds of Mahomes repeating the insane statistics of his MVP season are minimal, and quarterback scoring is the most easily replaceable in fantasy. This is why strategies like drafting late-round quarterbacks and streaming are extremely viable. Mahomes will have another great season, but it won't be worth a second-round pick. There have been six other instances in NFL history of a quarterback throwing 45 or more touchdowns in a season. The average next season statistics for those quarterbacks (Drew Brees, *Tom Brady, Peyton Manning [twice], Aaron Rodgers, Dan Marino) were 4,415 yards, 34.5 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Even if Mahomes hits the high end of that spectrum and throws for 40-ish touchdowns, that's still a loss of potentially 60 fantasy points without accounting for other point deductions such as fewer yards, more interceptions, etc. Only 63 fantasy points separated Mahomes from the QB2 in fantasy last year, Matt Ryan, who had an ADP in the ninth round of 12-team drafts. Wait on your quarterback, folks.
*Tom Brady tore his ACL in 2008, the year after his 45-plus touchdown season, so his stats for this example are from 2009.
Round 3 - TE Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Ertz is a fantastic player coming off a fantastic season where he notched 116 catches, 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns. If he falls to the fourth round somehow, I feel much better about drafting him, but the early third feels too rich. This was Ertz’ first season with over 1,000 yards, and he needed a 26% target share to get there. Given the depth in the Eagles offense at wide receiver (they added DeSean Jackson), running back, and even tight end, it feels like an uphill battle for Ertz to hit that plateau again. With many high-upside tight ends coming at values later in the draft, it seems foolish to invest such a high pick in a onesie (one starter per fantasy team) position.
Round 4 - RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
Henry exploded statistically late last season. From Week 13 on he racked up 625 yards and scored eight touchdowns, helping him finish as a top-20 back in PPR despite having just 15 receptions on the season. And that is exactly why I’m concerned about drafting him in the third round. The receiving work likely won’t be there, and there’s also no guarantee the new offensive staff will feature him as the team did late last year. Dion Lewis is still in the mix, and the team added wide receivers in free agency and the draft, perhaps singling a desire to have Marcus Mariota throw more. Henry should be a fine fantasy back this year, but Round 4 feels too costly in formats that award points or partial points for receptions.
Round 5 - WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
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