We've all been there. The name on the draft board looks so good and the desire to take the player can be strong, but these are some of the players that we're willing to stay away from. Whether it's their current ADP, new environments, or a history of missing expectations, some players are more difficult to trust in your weekly lineups. These are the players that we are avoiding this season.
If you can fondly recall the years where Julio Jones and Roddy White lit it up in Atlanta, hold onto those memories because that's all they are now. After a very underwhelming stint with the Titans, Julio Jones joins a Buccaneers team with an abundance of riches. At 33 years of age, he'll need to compete with superstars Mike Evans and Chris Godwin along with newcomer Russell Gage. Jones also has to contend with a recent history of injuries as he's missed more games over the last two years than he has actually played. He's averaged just 2 touchdowns during that time as well. There just aren't that many receivers who have been able to turn it around at this stage of their career. Let someone else draft Julio.
There's no denying the potential that Clyde Edwards-Helaire brings to the Chiefs and fantasy football, but we have every right to question his ADP after two very pedestrian seasons on one of the most high-scoring and prolific offenses. He went from 181 carries and 36 catches in 2020 to just 119 carries and 19 receptions last year. Durability is a concern as he's missed roughly a third of his games over that time. The Chiefs went out and got Ronald Jones as insurance and RoJo will likely compete for carries just like he did in Tampa Bay - only this time it's not against someone like Leonard Fournette. RoJo could compete much more favorably with CEH. At this point, there simply isn't enough data to consider Edwards-Helaire anything more than a flex option.
There are all kinds of red flags surrounding Amari Cooper this year. First, he's left the pass-happy Dallas offense for the run-first Cleveland Browns. Second, he's going from Dak Prescott under center to what increasingly looks like Jacoby Brissett. If Deshaun Watson is able to play (a big "if" at this point given that the league has appealed asked for a full year suspension), his prospects improve but we're not counting on it yet. No matter what, a significant portion of the season is going to be with Brissett, and the downgrade at QB is substantial. On the plus side, he won't have much competition for targets, but the flip side of that coin is that he'll be the primary receiving focus for the defense. Cooper's ADP has him going in the fifth round. Hopefully he slides a bit as August progresses. He's still a good WR3/Flex but will need Watson to get back into WR2 territory.
A running back in a Sean McVay offense is an attractive fantasy target and few expected Cam Akers to return as quickly as he did after tearing his Achilles in camp last year. Unfortunately we didn't see the same explosiveness upon his return that we were hoping for. He averaged just 43 yards per game on the way to the Super Bowl and less than 3 yards per carry. He's talented and has an entire offseason to get back to full strength. He could be a valid candidate for comeback player of the year (we think Derrick Henry will likely claim that title), but he'll have to contend with a healthy Darrell Henderson who happens to be a bit more talented in the passing game. If you're expecting to draft Akers as your RB1 or RB2, we'd suggest lowering your expectations. His ADP has him going a full round or two earlier than we have him ranked meaning that he's being drafted as a high-end RB2. He's a fine gamble as a low-end RB3/Flex, but we're less excited if we're counting on him every week.
Flash back to Week 5 where Kadarius Toney delivered a monster 189-yard game and that's what many folks still have in their minds. The dynamic playmaking ability of this second year player is undeniable, but just as undeniable are some undeniable facts. First, he struggled to stay healthy (quad, ankle, & oblique injuries) and missed seven games in his rookie year. When the Giants took the field this past week for their preseason opener against the Pats, Toney was nowhere to be found. He stayed in New Jersey rather than join the team. Second, the Giants offense was a disaster. Daniel Jones rarely had the time to allow plays to develop, and Toney was absent from the redzone when he was on the field. He has yet to catch his first NFL touchdown. Kadarius Toney is a gamble, but he could be a decent gamble if you can get him late in the draft. He's got an easy schedule and CJ Board and David Sills are not legitimate competition in the depth chart for him. Toney is viable if you're comfortable with his injury risk and boom-or-bust production. At his current ADP, he's worth a gamble. Worst case scenario - he's droppable if you don't overspend to get him.
There's no doubt that Antonio Gibson got the workload last season. He hit the 300-touch club (258 carries + 42 receptions) and he's got Carson Wentz under center this year to keep defenses honest. He'll remain a focal point for this offense, but we feel that he's being significantly overvalued at his current ADP. He's going as early as the late third round in recent drafts, but our weighted, consensus ranks have him valued at least a full round or two later. Washington has been vocal about its expectations for Gibson indicating that they'd like him to have a more manageable workload. They drafted Brian Robinson in the third round of this year's draft and will look to J.D. McKissic for the passing down work. It's reasonable to expect Gibson to lose touches to both of these guys including near the goal line. Plenty of comparisons have been made to the old Panthers backfield duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, but it doesn't feel realistic to compare them to Gibson/McKissic. It's difficult to see these guys being dual 1,000-yard contributors.