You are going to see these five names on the draft board. When you're on the clock, it's going to be tempting to click the Draft button on them, but be careful drafting them too high. It's a good chance that they'll break your fantasy heart.
Dez Bryant, WR - DAL
The previous two years have not been good to Dez owners. He's averaged just 40 receptions for 599 yards each of those seasons. This is no longer the same Dez that for the three seasons before that averaged 91 receptions for 1,311 yards. His projections (74-1062-10) for this season have him somewhere in between his previous production totals. He has been ranked in the Top 10 wide receiver rankings for the last several years and you'll find him at #9 right now. That's a late second-round pick. If I'm looking at Dez or the 10th-ranked WR Doug Baldwin, I'm taking Baldwin for the consistency that he brings. I'll save the risk for later rounds.
Making things more difficult for Bryant is both his schedule and the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott. For more than half of the season, he is going to face some of the league's best shutdown corners. If Elliott misses time, it's a fair bet that defenses will key in on Bryant. A combination of past injuries and drop issues last season make Bryant a tough pick at where he's being drafted.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB - PIT
The Steelers have arguably the league's best WR in Antonio Brown and they have consistently ranked among the top five in passing yards for the past three seasons. They have a RB that surpasses most of the starting wideouts on other teams in terms of receptions and receiving yards. This would seem to make Big Ben a must-have in fantasy; however, he has disappointed fantasy owners over the past two years. His production at home versus his production on the road is one of the worst-kept secrets in the NFL. He's also 35 years old and has missed six games in the last two years.
Roethlisberger has flirted with retirement and that reality is likely not too far away. He's ranked 8th among quarterbacks on FFN with an ADP in the late 5th or early 6th round. You would easily be forgiven if you drafted any of the next three ranked players: Jameis Winston, Kirk Cousins, or Cam Newton. All have equal projections but without some of the baggage. Big Ben has been ranked in the top 10 for the past few years and has consistently finished each of those seasons outside the top 10. He will put up some big games this year, but sadly, his best days are behind him.
Rob Gronkowski, TE - NE
When he's healthy, there is simply nobody better than Gronk. The health caveat is important here though, because he has missed nearly 1 out of every 5 games since 2012. He is a dominant force but has had difficulty staying on the field. There's also the "mouths to feed" issue. With the arrival of Brandin Cooks and Dwayne Allen along with steady favorites Julian Edelman and James White, there are a lot of mouths to feed in New England. Gronk should remain the primary target in the red zone, but there are only so many targets to go around.
Gronk is ranked #1 among wide receivers as he should be. His ADP has him going towards the end of the second round - much better than his first round ADP the last two years, but he is the ultimate risk/reward player.
Sammy Watkins, WR - LAR
We had concerns with Sammy Watkins even before he was traded to the Rams. His rookie year was fantastic and he has all the talent in the world, but injuries have made him such a risky play. He missed 11 games over just the last two years, and the move to Los Angeles means that he'll have Jared Goff throwing to him instead of Tyrod Taylor - a downgrade by any objective analysis.
Watkins is ranked 21st among wide receivers with an ADP in the middle of the third round. Given that he hasn't finished in the top 30 for the last two years, that's a bit more expensive than what we're comfortable with.
Keenan Allen, WR - LAC
In virtually every draft we've participated in, Keenan Allen has stared at us like a long-lost friend asking to be picked for our team. He is a dynamic, talented receiver with one of the league's best quarterbacks throwing to him, but as much as we'd like to see him return to fantasy glory, reality and previous burns prevent us from clicking the Draft button. He has never played a full season and is returning to the Chargers after a torn ACL in Week 1 last year. Over the past two seasons, he has suited up for just 9 games and missed 23. He has significant health concerns that should cause you to think twice.
Allen is ranked 18th among wide receivers with an ADP in the early 3rd round. Ask fantasy owners what it feels like to lose their third pick. It's tough to overcome. When he's on the field, he can put up some serious numbers, but you'll have to ask yourself how much risk you're comfortable with.
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