Five Players I’m Avoiding in Fantasy Footballs Drafts in 2021

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I’ve already covered five players I want to leave every draft with, but equally important are the players I want nothing to do with. The past two weeks have been peppered with injury news, so it’s crucial if you haven’t drafted yet to not compound the inevitable injury luck with fantasy busts. Most players can fall to a certain point where they’re almost always worth drafting even if you don’t love their outlook, so everything has context. For example, any of these guys are worth a flier in the last three rounds, but they’ll never get there. This is more of a discussion of taking players at their current ADP, give or take a round. Happy Drafting! 

Kenny Golladay 

I don’t think this is a contrarian take at this point. Golladay is listed just about everywhere as someone worth avoiding. Even prior to his camp injury issues, Golladay was the projected top dog of an ugly receiving corps from one of the league’s worst offenses. He’s barely seen the field in the preseason and the entire Giants offense has looked putrid. Golladay isn’t much of a separator, which means that he needs a quarterback capable of throwing quality 50/50 balls downfield and near the goal line. Daniel Jones might not be capable of keeping his job, let alone giving Golladay the type of volume he needs to be worth a draft pick. At this point, he’s a must-fade in any format regardless of what you think might happen once he’s healthy. The risk is substantial and the reward may not even be an every-week starter. 

Melvin Gordon

Gordon may be one of the least talked about players of the offseason, despite being the projected top back on a run-heavy offense. Javonte Williams has dominated the conversation and for good reason. He was one of the best prospects in the draft and the buzz coming out of training camp has been strong. Gordon is still technically the starter, and the Broncos are financially committed to him through 2021 (for a whopping $4.5M). There’s a small chance that they run Gordon into the ground to get their money’s worth, but that’s assuming he can even stay healthy if given that chance. If he does somehow see 300 carries, I will happily eat my words since that would be worth the investment. I can find little reason to assume that will happen, since they didn’t even make him a workhorse in a backfield with Phillip Lindsay. On top of that, he was outplayed by Lindsay in 2020 and Javonte Williams is a more dynamic talent than Lindsay is at this point in his career. Gordon heads into 2021 facing more competition than he had in 2020, a year in which he couldn’t crack the 1,000 rushing yard mark. Volume is king in fantasy football, and upside wins championships. Gordon may not have either of those things. If you’re taking a running back from the Denver backfield with championship aspirations, Melvin Gordon isn’t the guy you want. 

Getty Images / Joe Scarnici

Mike Davis

Todd Gurley was in a similar spot as Davis just last year and we all convinced ourselves he’d be worth it for the same reason – and 678 disappointing rushing yards later, we’re ready to get hurt again. He’s a similar case to Melvin Gordon, albeit a slightly more enticing option since the backfield competition is nearly nonexistent. Davis projects to have an RB3 floor as long as he remains healthy, which may be worth the pick depending on your roster construction. The concern here is his upside. In order for him to significantly return value on his ADP, he will need to find the endzone at a high rate. Davis is 28 which doesn’t help his case, as only Raheem Mostert has broken the age mold in recent memory. Mostert is a specialist on an excellent zone run scheme, and Davis…. Is not. His value will be exclusively tied to his touchdown total and passing work, and I’m not willing to bet on someone who’s on the wrong side of 27 and significantly slowed down during the second half of 2020. I’d much rather take a chance on potential league winners like Trey Sermon or Javonte Williams in this range. 

Ja’Marr Chase

Choosing Chase for this article hurt my soul, as I’m a big fan of him in dynasty leagues and was very high on him during the offseason. He’s become a very polarizing player in redraft leagues because his drops seem to be a legitimate issue and there have been increasingly concerning reports coming from camp. Just as recently as yesterday there were beat reporters expressing hesitation about his ability to produce early in the season, and he seems to have a case of “The Yips”. Even if you think this is something he can get past quickly, the risk at his current ADP is significant. Both Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins can be drafted with similar capital and don’t have as many narrative concerns around them. Chase is an elite prospect and didn’t play football for a full year, so this may pass quickly. We just don’t have the time to wait for the tide to turn, and drafting him this week would be intentionally choosing to take someone without much positive momentum behind him. 

James Conner 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Conner ended up here, as Chase Edmonds was one of the guys I listed in my article about my favorite targets. The backfield in Arizona is difficult to project at the current moment, but all signs point to Edmonds being the 1A between the 20s, and Conner may have a slight edge near the goal line. I was surprised when the Steelers let Conner walk in free agency, but I wasn’t shocked at all that the market for him was minimal. The Cardinals signed him to a one-year deal and aren’t really committed to him financially, so there’s not a lot of indication that he will have a bigger role than Kenyan Drake. Drake was definitely worth a roster spot in 2020, but his upside was minimal and he was a tough guy to start week in and week out. Conner has a fair amount of tread on his tires, and Edmonds is a significantly better pass catcher. The theme of this article may be “boring running backs”, but Conner is another one. The only way his role becomes something special is if Edmonds gets hurt, or the Cardinals have a uniquely high touchdown rate with Conner functioning as the full-time goal-line back. Touchdowns can be worth a lot in fantasy football, but chasing them on draft day doesn’t usually work out well. I’m fading Conner and letting someone else deal with the headache. Give me Edmonds every single time.

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