It is absolutely incredible to have the feeling of NFL football creeping up on you like a high-end cornerback in the open field. The scents of fall are just outside your daily grasp, but sooner than ever we’ll be grimacing at “pumpkin” everything and leaf-peeping guides on Buzzfeed. So, there’s not much of a shock to anticipate the arrival of fantasy footballs to almost every browser tab on our screens (half of the ones hidden on the work computers).
One of the biggest caveats to a flawless draft is figuring out which players you really DON’T want on your team. So while some may think my expectations are out of line, the first line in the sand for my drafts is actually where this piece begins, as we’ll look at players you want nowhere near your squad. Let’s dive in!
Derrick Henry (ADP 3, RB3)
I know. This comes off as absolute blasphemy. I’m a huge fan of Henry. Would name a kid Derrick if it was built like a mack truck with speed to boot. Over the past three years, the man has averaged 12, 15, and 16 games respectfully. My worries are less on the talent clearly showcased on a game-to-game basis, and more on the potential wear and tear, and addition of Julio Jones to the mix. The Vrabel led Titans and Co. are clearly working on the desire to become a more balanced offense, and with the loss of barricade named Jonnu Smith, the expectation could be the Titans pull some play away from the run, line up Henry for some blocking plays, and attempt to get the most out of a revitalized and potentially sneaky value play in Ryan Tannehill, behind center. Look, the man eclipsed 2,000 rushing yards last year. He’s been the focal point of this team since becoming their darling in 2018. I just can’t in good conscience draft him above names like Alvin Kamara, or rising star Jonathan Taylor.
Davante Adams (ADP10, WR1)
Okay, so we are two names in and you’re thinking, “this dude is just playing master troll”. I also adore Davante Adams. However, the more that I look into 2021 expectations, the talent is spread across most positions so evenly, I want to be very safe/careful with my first-round picks. We could discuss his absurd 148 targets per season over the last three years. The talent is absolutely bananas, and if Adams continues on this trajectory for another few years, he’ll likely be on stage in the Hall of Fame soon. My worry is completely focused on the rift that’s clearly there between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay ownership team, despite all their efforts to play it off as something nonimportant. Yes, Rodgers has shown up for training camp, full of sound bites, pee, and vinegar. But are we really to expect this is going to not be a worry all year? That everything will be without a hiccup for 17 games of play, Rodgers will just quietly play a whole season without unveiling his frustration with how much control he was given in building the franchise for the remainder of his career? You can do it, but I’ll wait for a few picks and go for someone like Stefon Diggs or Tyreek Hill and not spend my evenings awake hoping that Green Bay has made Rodgers comfortable until he departs in the offseason.
Saquon Barkley (ADP5, RB5)
This ADP I really don’t get. Growing up as a young Giants fan, Barkley is one of those running backs you DREAM of having. He rushes with immense speed, can cut razor quick, and makes highlight plays at the ready when he’s at his best. But, he’s sitting at the fifth-highest running back spot, just a year removed from another injury-shortened season, one in which he was actually looking pretty pedestrian before he got hurt. In the 2 games played last season, he combined for 34 rushing yards. He looked slow to the hole, missing some vision, and if he kept up the pace, some would be worried he just wasn’t the same player from college to the pros and had lost something. So why is it that he’s suddenly the fifth overall pick because an injury derailed a season for him? I’m legitimately stumped. I will absolutely agree on the upside on Saquon could even triumph everyone but Christian McCaffrey. But, there’s a chance he gets hurt again (for the third year in a row). There’s also a chance he’s still lost a step from injury recovery, and you need to handcuff him with Devontae Booker. I want nothing to do with this potential situation and/or timeshare. It’s not as if the Giants have shown any potential to become a top-five overall offense while any of us were in offseason slumber.
Darren Waller (ADP29, TE3)
Darren Waller has such an amazing story. From someone who was an absolute afterthought to someone who is basically within breathing distance of Travis Kelce’s production, Waller is an absolute behemoth. He runs smooth routes, can muscle himself above or beyond almost any defensive threat from either speed and/or size. As with all my other picks, my issue is less a worry of talent, and more a worry of opportunity/game-planning. Just a year ago, Jon Gruden decided to go out and draft two wide receivers extremely early in the 2020 draft. (Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs). The team also has to decide if Josh Jacobs is an absolute shadow of what he was in Alabama and cut ties, or if they hunker down and give him a large paycheck. Where do those chances come from? Try the 145 targets of Waller from last year. That’s up 30 from the year prior. Hey, the team could hunker down and decide to continue down the Kelce-centric tight end gameplan of some NFL offenses, and not away from him. I really don’t think that will be the case. This team has spent far, far too much draft capital going for some high-end offensive weapons to just give this entire team to Darren Waller, while I absolutely adore the man and his story. You will not find me hawking this guy at the beginning of round 3, in fact, I’d rather wait for a few rounds and pick up Jonnu Smith or Irv Smith.
Buffalo Bills’ RB’s (Singletary-ADP113, RB41 Moss ADP102, RB40)
This one really isn’t that difficult to fathom, but for me, it needs to be said. The Buffalo Bills have become an absolutely ghastly rushing squad. Devin Singletary was someone I absolutely traded for sneakily hoping that he would butterfly into something of note, but the addition of Zack Moss leaves this background absolutely maddening to attempt to figure out. Yes, you could swing these guys in the early double-digit rounds, and hope that you can bank on a late-season surge where your fifth or six running back breaks out, but after watching multiple seasons of Singletary not even being close to eclipsing 1,000 yards, and Zack Moss slowly picking up his pace to catch up to Singletary’s value, this is a worry that I’m just outright avoiding. I’d rather spend a late 3rd/4th round pick on Chris Carson and pair him with RB49 Rashaad Penny than get anywhere close to an offense that is hovering towards peak production due to Josh Allen and Stefon Digg’s bromance.
(Photo by Nicole Fridling/Icon Sportswire)