An article by Alex Kurpeski

It’s bound to happen to everyone. You see the shiny name on your draft board and decide to take the leap (s/o Angel who won the league) by drafting a player who wrecked the league just a year earlier. By the end of October not only has this pick cost you games, but it has also demoralized you as a fantasy drafter. Not only will you forever regret picking (insert name here) a round earlier than they were projected, but your buddies will never let you live down the pick as long as you live. I experienced this first hand in 2013 when I selected C.J Anderson over Antonio Brown with pick 11 in the first round of my draft (never again did C.J Anderson play for a team I owned). For the sake of your sanity, we hope this article can help you avoid making a haunting mistake in your fantasy draft this year.

Quarterbacks you should avoid

Patrick Mahomes

Ok so this one comes with a caveat. Patrick Mahomes is an amazing player who very well might end up as the fantasy QB1 for the second consecutive season. But please for the love of the Fantasy Gods do not take this man in rounds 1-2 because you will regret it down the line. As nice as it is to have a guaranteed 20-30 points from the QB position, drafting a QB so early will throw off the rest of your draft, leaving you in a position where you must rely upon the waiver wire to plug up holes in your starting lineup (unless you absolutely nail the remainder of your picks).

Josh Allen

Allen was a fantasy darling thanks to his running ability down the stretch last season, but he is not a player that you should be relying on as a starter when drafting your team. On an offense that features a questionable group of playmakers as well as an inconsistent offensive line, it would behoove you to not invest in the inaccurate Allen as a starter until he proves himself to be a consistent (real life) one.

Mitch Trubisky

Trubisky had a very solid second season for the Bears in 2018, throwing 24 touchdowns and eclipsing the 3,000 yard pass mark. However, if you take away Trubisky’s unprecedented drubbing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4 last season, when he threw for 6 touchdowns. With ¼ of his total passing touchdowns coming from that one performance, the context of Trubisky’s stats must be considered. While I like him a lot as a player and think he has a tremendous amount of room to grow this season, I would avoid taking Trubisky as my QB1 in fantasy drafts for now.

Drew Brees

We saw a sharp decline in Brees’s play down the stretch last season, as his once strong MVP candidacy sputtered following a string of “meh” games. Unless Brees is able to recapture his previous form, I view him as a strong candidate for regression this season, especially with another heartbreaking playoff exit weighing on his mind.

Running Backs you should avoid

James Conner

Conner slowed down as the season dragged on last season, some theorized that it was due to the wear-and-tear resulting from 30-35 touches per game while others believe it was due to teams figuring out how to scheme around the young running back. As much as I root for Conner (he’s a cancer survivor who has already outperformed many people’s expectations for him), I’m not entirely sold on him as a starting running back in the NFL. I see a lot of Mark Ingram in Conner’s game, where his physicality could best be harnessed by pairing him with a complimentary receiving back. With an ADP hovering around picks 10-15 in most formats, I’m not willing to take the risk on Conner right now.

Todd Gurley

If you follow football at all then you might have heard that Gurley has been dealing with some left knee issues since the tail end of last season. This makes Gurley borderline undraftable for me, as his ADP is currently within the top 10 picks of almost all formats despite his injury concerns. Unless you are able to scoop him in the late 2nd/early 3rd round and handcuff him with Darrell Henderson in a reasonable round (7 or 8) then I would leave Gurley on the board.

Ronald Jones

As much as we have been hearing rave reviews regarding Jones’s play in camp, I am still not convinced that this man is a viable NFL running back. He looked like he had never played a down of football in his life last season, so for him to turn it around and become a superstar in year two would be absolutely shocking.  Whatever RoJo stock I owned last season has been sold, and until I see this breakout first hand, I will continue to avoid drafting him.

Sony Michel

Michel was run into the ground last season, and I expect him to show the results of that this season. Without much usage as a receiver, fantasy owners will need to rely on a lot of touches and trips to the end zone from Michel in order to maximize his value in round 3 or 4. The odds are unfavorable in my opinion, and thus I must be out on Michel this season.

Lesean McCoy

McCoy has to be nearing the end of the line soon. Backs that rely on speed/quick cuts tend to decline past age 30, and we saw last season that McCoy was no longer the Shady we had been used to. Unless he drops into rounds 5 or 6 of your draft, I would steer clear of Shady in 2019. He also spoiled Avengers Endgame for a TON of people, so he is morally undraftable.

Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt

Chubb and Hunt are both incredible talents and unfortunately it is for that very reason that the tandem find themselves on this list. Both are elite talents that will inevitably eat into each other’s touches. The situation could get even muddier for fantasy purposes if receiving back Duke Johnson remains on the roster, as he presents yet another viable yet diminished fantasy asset. If you take Chubb in drafts, be sure to pawn him off onto some unsuspecting chump before Hunt returns from his suspension, otherwise you may live to regret ever taking him.

Marlon Mack

I’m not a big Marlon Mack guy and I’m pretty open about it with my buddies. I don’t see anything special about him as a player and I think he was a product of a dominant offensive line combined with a schedule filled with weak defensive teams. If you take him in round 2 or 3 just remember that this man could not beat out Frank Gore for the starting position in 2017…

(Editor’s Note: Mack is my baby and I’m not afraid to let it be known. #MackTrain is strong)- Angel

Le’Veon Bell

What can we expect from a man coming off of a full season away from the sport? I don’t very much care to find out as I will be avoiding Bell at all costs in my drafts.

Wide Receivers you should avoid

Keenan Allen

Allen in the first half of the season is almost always an average WR2 in terms of production. The smart move when it comes to owning stock in Allen is to pick him up in a deal around week 6 or 7 before he starts to heat up, then ride his performance into the fantasy playoffs.

Adam Thielen

Thielen was lights out last season, which should drive his ADP up for most formats this season. As great as Thielen was in the first half of last season, defenses began to cover him accordingly in the second half, leading to far less explosive performances. Unless he falls into the latter part of round 3 or lower, I would not take Thielen, as I’m not convinced that he will approach WR1 numbers at any stage of the season.

Odell Beckham Jr/Jarvis Landry

Much like the aforementioned running back duo from their team, it is very possible that the Browns star receivers cut into each other’s target shares this season, especially if you consider the other pass catching options on the team (Antonio Callaway, Rashad Higgins, David Njoku, Demetrius Harris). With Beckham going in the top 10 picks of most drafts, I am not willing to risk getting on the upside of a player with his injury history adjusting to a new offense full of other playmakers despite his supreme talent at that stage of the draft. As for Landry, his PPR excellence could be in jeopardy, as he is no longer the WR1 on his team, with his target shares and catch numbers set to take a hit.

Kenny Golladay

Golladay is to the receiver position what Marlon Mack is to the running back position in my opinion. I don’t see the hype that others do when it comes to him, and it concerned me that Golladay was unable to take a starting position away from Golden Tate or Marvin Jones if he is in fact a budding superstar at the position. In round 3 or 4 I don’t love Golladay as a pick, as there are several safer options that I would prefer at that stage.

Sammy Watkins

How many years in a row can people let Watkins burn them in fantasy drafts? Ever since he entered the league in 2014, Watkins has underperformed. Why should that change this season? Unless Tyreek Hill gets suspended for the whole campaign and Travis Kelce also happens to miss time, I will continue to advise fantasy owners to avoid Watkins.

Corey Davis

This isn’t so much a Davis problem, as it is a Marcus Mariota problem. Mariota has proven to be a terrible guy to rely on if you own one of his receivers in fantasy, as anyone who has owned Davis these past two seasons can attest. I’m gonna just avoid the frustration that comes with hoping for the full-on Davis breakout by not drafting him at all this season.

Marquise Brown

Anyone that is set to catch passes from Lamar Jackson has been crossed out on my draft board. Unless he drops very far, Brown is no exception. While I love the player, I hate the situation he landed in with the Ravens. Unless the team is able to scheme in an exorbitant amount of dump offs to him, I see Brown struggling to produce immediately.

Calvin Ridley

Ridley caught an abnormal amount of touchdowns in the beginning of last season, inflating his numbers as well as the expectations for him for this year. I’m not completely out on Ridley in drafts, I would just be cautious about overvaluing him when picking in rounds 4-6.

Tight Ends you should avoid

Jared Cook

Cook has always been a player that runs hot and cold, following a very hot 2018 season I fully expect him to run cold in 2019 with the Saints. With the potential regression of Drew Brees, as well as Sean Payton’s affinity for deploying various tight ends throughout the season, I’m not optimistic about Cook repeating his performance from last season.

Eric Ebron

Ebron was a supernova last season, finally living up to the potential that many had envisioned for him when he was selected with the 10th pick of the 2014 Draft. However, with all of the hype surrounding him heading into this season, I have decided to stay away from him in drafts, as I don’t love his touchdown reliance based production from last year.

Vance McDonald

McDonald was a solid streaming option last season, becoming an internet celebrity following a devastating stiff arm delivered during a game in week 3 (oh and it came as a part of a 75 yard touchdown reception, no big deal). As fun as the McDonald breakout was, relying on him as your starting tight end would be a dubious venture.

Greg Olsen

Olsen has broken his foot about three times since 2017, I really don’t like his chances of staying healthy this year.

Noah Fant

As dynamic as Fant is as a pass catcher, the chances of a rookie tight end breaking out are usually pretty low, especially when they’re as raw as Fant is as a blocker. Unless you’re taking a flyer on him in a dynasty league, you should avoid getting married to him as your starter in season long leagues.

Kickers you should avoid

Aldrick Rosas

Rosas was incredible for the Giants last season but I foresee him getting a lot less opportunities to kick field goals this season due to the lack of improvement on offense. I would avoid Rosas within the first 10 kicker picks of your drafts.

Mason Crosby

Crosby was pretty bad last season, but someone inevitably drafts him as their starter every year because of his recognizable name. Don’t be that guy in your league…

Ryan Succop

Succop was the Aldrick Rosas of 2017, putting up career numbers on a lackluster team and becoming a highly valued fantasy asset along the way. However, with the continued stagnation of the Titans offense, I don’t love Succop’s upside this season, thus I would avoid overdrafting him.

Defenses you should avoid

Bears Defense

With their current ADP I’m gonna pass on drafting the Bears D this year, as no reigning DEF1 has carried over the moniker into the following season in a long, long time.

Chiefs Defense

The Chiefs Defense overperformed last season despite bottoming out as a historically bad run defense towards the end of the year. With the departures of Eric Berry, Justin Houston, and Dee Ford, I’m steering clear of this defense in my drafts.

Ravens Defense

The Ravens D will be a top 5 pick in most of your leagues due to their consistency and last year’s stellar performance. However, this season appears to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the team, as they lost several key members of last years squad. I’m not willing to put all my chips into selecting this defense within the top 10-12 rounds of any drafts and neither should you.