Every year there are a handful of players that can elevate a fantasy team to the championship or sink it to the depths of the standings. All players are unique in their skill sets, team context, and career trajectory but some profiles do line up.
As we get into draft season, we’re all trying to avoid the next big bust. With injuries, it’s often just bad luck but often times we can see a storm brewing around a player. Last year Le’Veon Bell was returing after a season off on a new team with a lackluster coach and a disappointment was almost too easy to spot, but many fell for it anyway. In the name of value, drafters will hold their nose and take players they know they shouldn’t. Sometimes it’s just best to avoid a bad situation.
So who will be this year’s not NEXT team? (ADPs via fantasydata)
Jared Goff – top 10 QB who is demoted to streamer
Josh Allen – QB8, 75 overall
The good news is that Allen’s completion percentage over expected improved from an abysmal -8.8% to a very bad -4.1% in 2019. Unfortunately his average depth of target also had to come down almost 2 yards for him to still be generally bad at passing the football. For fantasy purposes, he remained useful with 510 yards rushing and 9 TDs. As defenses continue to realize Allen just can’t beat anyone throwing, they will gladly force the issue and dare him to win with his arm. The Bills invested a 3rd round pick into a solid RB with Zack Moss and still have 2019 darling Devin Singletary. I don’t see Allen exceeding his 2019 finish and most likely he will slide into a middling QB2 range for fantasy.
Le’Veon Bell – aging RB in a bad situation who disappoints
Melvin Gordon III – ADP RB13, 24 overall
While I think MGIII has something left in the tank, the fact is he’s never been an efficient back. Since his breakout in 2016 he has exceeded 4 yards per carry only once. But Gordon has averaged about 20 touches per game in that time and volume cures many ills. He’s actually been a more effective pass catcher than a runner. The Denver backfield seems to be wide open, but Philip Lindsey is a quality back in his own right. I can see this timeshare being more evenly split than many are anticipating. If MGIII can’t rest on bellcow volume, he won’t be worth his draft price.
Ronald Jones II – Sophomore back primed for a jump who fizzles out
David Montgomery – ADP RB21, 27 overall
The case for DMont is that he is the “latest RB who will see 250 touches” and that’s a fine assumption. However there is a reason he is lasting that long in drafts: he’s not very good. The main issue for me is that Montgomery saw tremendous volume as a rookie and still finished as the RB31 in points per game. He’s already shown drafters what he can do with 267 touches! This isn’t a bet on some kind of increased role, he will likely fall in the 250-275 touch range again and still has a bad QB leading a bad offense. He did the same thing in college and was a high volume compiler rather than a dynamic player. I don’t see any way he exceeds his ADP and there’s a good chance he is once again a cringe-worthy FLEX play.
Odell Beckham Jr – proven talent that doesn’t return his ADP
Amari Cooper – WR10, 28 overall
There is no doubting Cooper’s raw ability, he’s one of the most polished receivers in the NFL. However, the team context is concerning for Cooper to be a top 10 WR for just the second time in his career. Competition emerged on the depth chart as Michael Gallup was sensational in his sophomore year, finishing sixth in the league in receiving yards per game. Additionally, the Cowboys took the best player available in superstar rookie CeeDee Lamb. Finally, Ezekiel Elliott is still going to be featured. The Dallas offense will be extremely challenging for defenses to stop, however that’s typically not a good thing for fantasy owners who would rather production be funneled through their player.
Mike Williams – boom/bust WR who busts too often
Stefon Diggs – WR19, 48 overall
It pains me to write this, but Diggs is set up for failure in 2020. He gets one of the worst passers in the league to heave him deep shots in cold, windy Buffalo. The aforementioned Allen will certainly take his chances throwing downfield, they’re just more likely to frustrate Diggs than be completed for big gains. This situation is compounded by the fact that the Bills’ WR2 John Brown played very well last year, and will not be completely forgotten. Diggs can take any play to the house, but his consistency will be lacking.
Curtis Samuel – sneaky late pick who ends up being dropped
Mecole Hardman – WR37, 91 overall
I understand the rationale and the upside for Hardman. He was incredibly efficient as a rookie and plays with what might turn out to be the greatest quarterback of all time. However, it has been shown that efficiency does not correlate with increased volume or fantasy points in future years. The Chiefs did not add a meaningful receiver but did add one of the best collegiate pass catching backs in Clyde Edwards-Helaire. At minimum, Hardman needs a Watkins injury to pop and the same can be said for guys like Tre’Quan Smith and Tee Higgins who are being drafted much later.
O.J. Howard – breakout candidate who becomes waiver fodder
Noah Fant – TE10, 99 overall
The second Bronco on this list enjoyed a few nice highlights as a rookie. However his receiving volume was very low after Drew Lock took over and then Denver added two receivers in the first two rounds and another tight end in the draft. Fant is very athletic and can break off a big run, but I doubt he will be the focus of the offense. At his ADP, it’s not going to kill your team when he falters, but there are other TEs I’d prefer going much later than the top 100 picks.
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