Recently, I brought to you a list of 10 players who I’m targeting in nearly every draft I do. Today, we’re gonna flip that coin and discuss 10 players I have almost no shares of. Between volume concerns, position battles, lengthy injury history, draft capital spent or sometimes all of the above, these players have serious warts. They would have to take a major fall from current ADP for me to roll the dice on them. Let’s dive in!
*Disclaimer: This is a Adam Strangis’ personal list, the players in this article do not reflect the entire Gridiron Experts staff.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR
Average Draft Position 32nd | 3.09
2016 Stats – 78 receptions, 954 yards, 4 TDs
Worst Case Scenario – 65-75 receptions, 850-950 yards, 3-5 TDs
The Texans continue to try and win games with the running game focused on RBs Lamar Miller and to a lesser extent D’Onta Foreman. The defense is as good as is looks on paper, dominating more weeks than not. The QB situation remains unsettled all season. Both Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson take turns, neither one being super effective. Hopkins averages less than 10 targets a game, capping his ceiling.
Best Case Scenario – 90-100 receptions, 1,100-1,200 yards, 7-9 TDs
One of the Texans’ QBs (likely Watson) seizes the job either in camp or by Week 2 or 3. The running game falters as neither Miller or Foreman can get any traction behind a questionable offensive line. Houston realizes Hopkins is their best offensive player by far and feeds him targets. He could approach his 2015 numbers as the Texans don’t rely on their defense alone to win games 10-9 every single week.
I don’t know if I can properly express how much I wish Hopkins had a real QB. His talent as a wide receiver is off the charts. Now, I believe in Watson as a long term solution. Even with questions about his arm strength, Watson has an excellent chance to be a quality NFL starter in my opinion. My third pick isn’t going to be spent on Hopkins in a redraft league. Watson could possibly surprise as a rookie similar to Dak Prescott last year. Even if he does, I have a very hard time seeing Hopkins hit his ceiling, making him a dangerous third rounder.[the_ad id=”72096″]
Carlos Hyde, RB
Average Draft Position 34th | 3.08
2016 Stats – 217 carries, 988 yards, 6 TDs / 27 receptions, 163 yards, 3 TDs
Worst Case Scenario – 125-175 carries, 750-850 yards, 3-5 TDs / 10-20 receptions, 100-125 yards, 1-2 TDs
San Francisco is in for a long season. The roster doesn’t have much talent to boast. Hyde will share touches with Tim Hightower, Kyle Juszczyk, and rookies Joe Williams and Matt Brieda. While none of these backs turn into fantasy relevant players, they eat into Hyde’s touches constantly. The 49ers trail in too many games to keep Hyde involved in game scripts.
Best Case Scenario – 225-265 carries, 1,000-1,100 yards, 7-9 TDs / 20-35 receptions, 250-300 yards, 3-5 TDs
Hyde puts all the rumors from the off-season to rest and does it in a hurry. Under new coaching, Hyde thrives and stays on the field for at least 14 games. He shows off his talent and stays on the field in all situations, bulldozing his way to high-end RB2 status. Better yet, he’s a playable asset every single week and brings consistency to your fantasy squad.
49ers starter Brian Hoyer got 24 snaps Saturday. Carlos Hyde was in for 21 of them, including 4-of-5 third-down plays.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) August 21, 2017
I would be remiss if I didn’t address this stat. Adam follows with Hyde has played 28 of 31 snaps with the first-string offense so far. I do wonder if San Francisco could be in showcase mode, trying to get a trade done like the Bills did with Sammy Watkins. Even if Hyde is the workhorse, I don’t trust the 49ers to stay in enough games to rely on him.
San Francisco is in a clear rebuild, teaming John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan as GM and Head Coach with matching six-year contracts. The goal for the 2017 campaign isn’t going to be winning. Hyde has had rumors surrounding him since the draft. Some of these rumors are as extreme as he could have gotten cut.
While that concern seemingly has passed, I remain unconvinced he gets touches needed to help you on a weekly basis. I love Hyde as a talent. If he was say, an Indianapolis Colt, he’d be flirting with top 10 status for me. I just can’t get on board so early given his situation.
Mike Gillislee, RB
Average Draft Position 56th | 5.07
2016 Stats = 101 attempts, 577 yards, 8 TDs / 9 receptions, 50 yards, 1 TD
Worst Case Scenario – 125-165 attempts, 750-800 yards, 4-6 TDs / 5-15 receptions, 100-125 yards, 1-2 TDs[the_ad id=”72106″]In case you haven’t noticed, the Patriots have a plethora of running backs. Many have pegged Gillislee as the player who would be the lead dog as far as early down and red zone work. The issue has become he’s suffered a hamstring injury that has derailed his training camp and pre-season.
RB Rex Burkhead got some run with the first team in their second pre-season game and looked very good. Coach Bill Belichick is not shy about interchanging his backs on a week to week basis. Gillislee is just another victim in the Belichick shuffle.
Best Case Scenario – 200-230 attempts, 900-1,100 yards, 8-10 TDs / 20-25 receptions, 175-225 yards, 3-4 TDs
The Patriots passing game is about as lethal as it gets in the NFL. Tom Brady helms the best passing attack in the league, clearing all sorts of running lanes for Gillislee. The New England offense is a matchup nightmare and they light up the scoreboard all year. Owners will have to be patient, as a significant chunk of points come in the second half. New England goes into coast mode and lets Gillislee bleed the clock, racking up late yards and TDs.
Frankly, I just believe that you’re paying full price for a back that has a limited career track record. When you have only touched the ball 163 times on the NFL level, it’s a lot to ask of that player to suddenly be a workhorse. This tidbit from Mike Reiss and the commentary by my colleague Paul is also hard to ignore –
According to Mike Reiss, the Patriots do not have a real depth chart for RB. Should be a fluid situation for touches. Which is no surprise. https://t.co/tPUcdeFBBc
— Paul Maland (@PaulMalandNFL) August 22, 2017
I don’t pretend to know how the mind of Bill Belichick works and you shouldn’t either. I’m far more interested in the vastly cheaper James White and Rex Burkhead in this backfield. Even in best ball formats where you don’t have to pick the right week to start Gillislee, it’s a heavy investment.
Jordan Reed, TE
ADP 55th | 5.06
2016 Stats – 66 receptions, 686 yards, 6 TDs
Worst Case Scenario – 40-55 receptions, 500-700 yards, 4-6 TDs
The Washington offense suffers a major setback with Sean McVay leaving for the Rams head coaching job. Newcomer Terrelle Pryor walks in and is the alpha in the passing game, leaving Reed as a secondary red zone option for QB Kirk Cousins. Jamison Crowder takes a massive step forward and gobbles up receptions left and right. RBs Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, and Chris Thompson form a three-headed monster that eats every week. Reed once again spends most of the season battling ailments and finishes outside the top 10 TEs.
Best Case Scenario – 70-80 receptions, 950-1,100 yards, 10-12 TDs
Spending part of training camp on the PUP list with a broken toe vanishes quickly. Owners who risked taking Reed are paid off handsomely as Reed posts career highs across the board. He’s a Jimmy Graham in his prime type weapon and a constant presence. Cousins finds him time and time again as Pryor and Crowder play second fiddle to Reed inside the 20 yard line. Reed terrorizes opposing defenses all season and reminds the fantasy community why Rob Gronkowski vs Reed was a legitimate argument headed into 2016.
Reed is one of the truest tests of how you draft your fantasy team. Do you embrace the roller coaster that Reed represents or steer clear and take Greg Olsen or Jimmy Graham? I hate avoiding Reed. The guys at the Fantasy Footballers Podcast say it best – use Rule 86. If Reed plays, you play him.
He’s a unique player in the NFL. I’m just far happier locking up Pryor early or waiting on Crowder a little later. There are some excellent tight ends around Reed (cough, Jimmy Graham, cough) and I’ll take one of those guys before Reed at this point.
Doug Martin, RB
ADP 52nd | 4.10
2016 Stats – 144 attempts, 421 yards, 3 TDs / 14 receptions, 134 yards, 0 TD
Worst Case Scenario – 125-175 attempts, 500-650 yards, 3-5 TDs / 10-20 receptions, 100-200 yards, 1-2TDs
Martin just flat-out loses his job while serving his three-game suspension. The combo of Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims and Jeremy McNichols gets the job done and the Bucs have no reason to force Martin back into the mix. The offense revolves around QB Jameis Winston, which is why Tampa Bay brought in weapons like DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard. Adding those players to Mike Evans and Cameron Brate evolves the offense, leaving Doug Martin in the dust.
Best Case Scenario – 175-220 attempts, 900-1,000 yards, 6-8 TDs / 15-25 receptions, 200-275 yards, 2-4 TDs
The Bucs don’t yet fully trust Winston, who is prone to some boneheaded mistakes. They lean on the run game and the well-timed splash play from the passing game. Rodgers can carry the load for a small stretch, but Martin comes back in Week 4 and quickly illustrates he’s fresh and clear-minded. The Muscle Hamster comes close to the glory days he’s seen in the past and proves to be one of the better fifth round picks in fantasy.
I actually fall in the middle of these two scenarios. Martin can be a great RB for fantasy, but owners are paying for the ceiling after the suspension lifts while ignoring much of the risk. It seems like many are ignoring Martin was awful in his playing time last season. He didn’t even average three yards per carry. Keep this in mind when you’re thinking of taking Martin –
Doug Martin's ADP continues to hover near 81 overall. Looks reborn, but can we trust the o-line? Still missing three games. I won't reach.
— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) August 18, 2017
Brad doesn’t like to take him in the 80’s. His ADP from fantasyfootballcalculator.com is nearly 30 picks higher than that! I’d be all aboard taking a shot at Martin as a 9th or 10th rounder. There’s just way too many factors that could go against him to touch in the fifth.
Derek Carr, QB
ADP 71st | 6.10
2016 Stats – 357 of 560 attempts, 3937 yards, 28 TDs, 6 INTs
Worst Case Scenario – 340 of 550 attempts, 3,800-4,000 yards, 26-28 TDs, 10-12 INTs
The Oakland Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in football. They have a nice corps of backs including the mercurial Marshawn Lynch. Young guns DeAndre Washinton and Jalen Richard chip in nicely and keep all three backs fresh through the season. While the offense is good, the Raiders defense is not. Almost by default, they run the ball more than expected to keep the ball away from the other team. Carr still makes plays to WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, but not enough to make fantasy owners truly happy.
Best Case Scenario – 380 of 600 attempts, 4,000-4,300 yards, 32-34 TDs, 7-9 INTs
This is the year Carr joins the fantasy elite at the QB position. There’s no doubt he can make every single throw.
Derek Carr with an eye-popping throw. This is why he got the big bucks. pic.twitter.com/Ng1rteKHZI
— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) August 20, 2017
Lynch breaks down quick under the NFL grind, leaving Carr to guide the offense in a big way. The defense proves to be terrible(aside from Khalil Mack) and Oakland is in a shootout often. Cooper also takes a large step forward while Crabtree remains Mr. Realiable. Newcomer Jared Cook is the best option Carr has had at the TE spot and he adds a new dimension to the passing game. Carr got paid in real life, he pays owners this year on his way to a top 8 season.
Carr is very interesting to me in 2017. On one hand, he posted pedestrian yardage totals last season and a career-low in INTs. It would stand to reason the INTs go up and if Lynch stays healthy, he should be the #1 option close to the goal line. It’s hard to project a big jump in Carr’s stats.Before someone points out he missed time with a broken leg, he threw for 500+ yards and 4 TDs in Tampa last year. That kind of evens it out.
You can twist stats to fit any narrative, but my main issue with Carr is the QBs he’s going in front of. I’ll gladly wait and take Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Marcus Mariota, Ben Roethlisberger or Matthew Stafford. 50 some picks separate Carr from Stafford(who threw for 600 more yards than Carr while fighting a finger injury for a month). Carr is a prime example of why it’s fine to wait on QB. He’s currently the QB5. You’re paying the price for his real life value when better fantasy options can be had later.
Derrick Henry, RB
ADP 68th | 6.04
2016 Stats – 110 attempts, 490 yards, 5 TDs / 13 receptions, 137 yards, 0 TD
Worst Case Scenario – 120-145 attempts, 550-650 yards, 3-5 TDs / 10-20 receptions, 125-150 yards, 1-2 TDs[the_ad id=”72513″]The Titans are in the enviable position of having a fantastic young back like Henry and the older but still wildly effective veteran in DeMarco Murray. As long as Murray is upright, he is the starter and there are no questions about that. Henry is a change of pace type of guy, softening up opposing defenses on the occasional drive.
Tennessee also has a pretty good franchise QB in Marcus MariGOATa(fine, it’s Mariota. I still like the first name better). They added weapons galore through the draft and free agency. It wasn’t an accident, as Mariota takes full control of this team.
Best Case Scenario – 220-240 carries, 1,000-1,100 yards, 8-10 TDs / 25-30 receptions, 200-250 yards, 2-4 TDs
DeMarco Murray has 1,080 total touches including playoffs the past three seasons. That’s a crazy high amount and he’s approaching 30 years old. Slowing down at the end of last season was a sign of what would happen in 2017. Murray can no longer be as effective as he once was. This ineffectiveness paves the way for Henry to become the featured runner in the Titans offense. He doesn’t give the role back and behind that offensive line, becomes a weekly RB1 fixture.
The problem becomes he is a clear backup for Tennesse. He finished last season as the RB39 in standard and the RB45 in PPR in 2016 because he didn’t have any type of real workload. He’s currently being drafted as a top 30 back. I’m as tempted as any other fantasy player when his name gets towards the top of the list in the draft room. If Murray gives up the job, Henry is a league winner. I’m just not the type of owner to bet a 6th round pick on injury to another player. Maybe I wind up regretting it when Henry is an RB1 if given the chance. If DeMarco Murray stays healthy, it most likely ends up being a total waste of a mid-round pick where championship depth is built.
DeVante Parker, WR
ADP 75th | 6.11
2016 Stats – 56 receptions, 744 yards, 4 TDs
Worst Case Scenario – 450-60 receptions, 600-800 yards, 3-5 TDs
Parker has a new QB in Jay Cutler, but the results remain largely the same. The Dolphins remain a run heavy offense with RB Jay Ajayi. When they’re not running the ball, WR Jarvis Landry still dominates the target share while Kenny Stills stretches the field and is the deep threat in the offense. Parker is no better than the third option in a low volume passing attack. Bringing Cutler into the field proves to be a mini-disaster and he struggles all season.
Best Case Scenario – 75-85 receptions, 950-1,100 yards, 6-8 TDs
The third year WR puts everything together in 2017 and delivers on his first round draft pick pedigree. Cutler tends to focus on one main receiver and Parker is his choice. Landry still gets targets, but not at the clip we’re accustomed to. Cutler isn’t just blowing smoke with this quote.
— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) August 18, 2017
Stills takes a backseat and just catches the occasional bomb. Ajayi and the run game aren’t near as effective as 2016, meaning more volume for Cutler and his new best friend. Parker turns out to be a breakout WR2.
I actually think there is a chance that the best case scenario plays out. Parker is a talented wideout and has a QB who frankly will probably lead the NFL in YOLO balls in 2017. ADP is an important tool, and it’s not always just to gauge where a certain player is going. You need to realize players going around or after Parker.
Pierre Garcon, Jeremy Maclin, Cameron Meredith, Donte Moncrief, Randall Cobb and Tyrell Williams are all going later than Parker. His ADP has shot up nearly a full round since the Cutler quote. Optimism for Parker is understandable, given the skill set and what the Dolphins invested in him. Fantasy players bought into the Cutler-Parker connection in a hurry, bypassing better options at the position.
Latavius Murray, RB
ADP 124th |10.12
2016 Stats – 195 attempts, 788 yards, 12 TDs / 33 receptions, 264 yards, 0 TD
Worst Case Scenario – 125-150 attempts, 500-600 yards, 3-4 TDs / 15-20 receptions, 150-175 yards, 0-1 TD
One part of the worst case seemingly has already played out for Murray. He’s been slowed by injury all camp and rookie RB Dalvin Cook has taken the starting role. Murray signed a three-year contract, but it’s nothing the Vikings are really attached to. Cook has flashed considerable upside so far in the pre-season and Murray doesn’t force his way onto the field very much. Cook runs away with the starting role in what could be an underrated offense in 2017.
Best Case Scenario – 175-225 attempts, 800-950 yards, 6-8 TDs / 20-25 receptions, 225-275 yards, 2-3 TDs
Dalvin Cooks proves to be not quite ready for primetime. He still has some wrinkles to work out in pass protection and the Vikings trust Murray more with that responsibility. QB Sam Bradford struggles and/or gets injured, meaning Minnesota has to rely on their running game and their defense to try and win games. Cook is more of a change of pace back while Murray is the true workhorse.
While any pick past 100 really starts to turn into a crapshoot, I can find better players to roll the dice on than Latavius Murray. For example, I’ll take a whack at New England’s backfield because both Rex Burkhead and James White are going later than Murray.
The biggest issue with Murray is it cannot be stated enough that his situation is VASTLY different than 2016. The Vikings don’t have the offensive line the Raiders do. Even if Murray can fend off Cook(which gets less likely by the day), he’s a total long shot to replicate last year. While I do think Minnesota represents some really good bargain players for fantasy, Latavius Murray flat out isn’t one of them.
John Brown, WR
2016 Stats – 36 receptions, 517 yards, 2 TDs
Worst Case Scenario – 40-50 receptions, 550-650 yards, 3-5 TDs
“Smoke” as he’s affectionately called by Coach Bruce Arians just can’t shake his sickle cell trait in 2017. Brown spends the season in and out of the lineup. Even when he plays, he’s nothing more than a DFS dart throw. Both Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson pass John Brown on the depth chart as the Cardinals offense is forced to leave him behind.
Best Case Scenario – 65-80 receptions, 900-1,100 yards, 7-9 TDs
Brown is able to prove he’s over the sickle cell trait and stays healthy for 13-14 games and is super effective when he plays. Arizona loves to throw the ball deep and Brown is one of the premier burners in the NFL. QB Carson Palmer finds him all over the field while WR Larry Fitzgerald continues his sterling career in the intermediate passing game. Brown is badly needed in the Arizona offense and he gets back to his 2015 form when he was basically a top 25 WR.
This one really hurts my heart, guys. Arizona and Coach Arians are my favorite team after my Steelers and Brown is a perfect fit for what that offense wants to do. Everyone loves the deep ball, including me. I’m sad to say that I won’t have many Smoke shares in 2017. Arians is nothing if he’s not honest, so when he talks about Brown struggling with his condition, I listen.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) August 16, 2017
If Brown can’t heal at a normal rate, you can’t rely on him in your lineup. Not only is he a week to week lineup headache waiting to happen, you’re going to have to sweat out if he can finish a game when you start him. It’s certainly not Brown’s fault he suffers from this affliction. That doesn’t mean you have to draft him on your team. Marvin Jones, Rishard Matthews, Kenny Britt and Mike Wallace are all more attractive alternatives going later.
Make sure you leave some comments about who you’re avoiding as we get into crunch time of draft season!