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Jeremy’s Fantasy Football Do Not Draft List, Part 1

I’ve been giving out too much love in my recent fantasy football articles.  It’s time to serve some hate, a dish best served piping hot.  What that means is some of these “Do Not Draft” names may surprise you.  You may label it as a “hot take” or an “outlandish claim,” whatever your preferred verbiage is. 

I should clarify, I do not hate players, I hate where they are being taken in drafts.  As is always the case, it’s not the player’s fault, it’s fantasy football’s fault.  I think these players’ ADP is too high, and I am thus avoiding them in fantasy.  Here are the victims of my top-notch draft analysis:

Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs (ADP: 6th)

Let me say one thing really quick: Travis Kelce is a beast.  He’s an incredible football player and I have nothing against him.  But 6th overall on average?  Before Zeke and Taylor?  Before a single WR?  That’s way too high for me, and the earliest I would even consider taking him is at the end of the 1st/beginning of the 2nd round.  Last year was an obvious anomaly, as he had the best season of his career while the rest of the NFL was historically weak at the TE position.

Kelce has been the #1 scoring TE every year since 2016.  During those five years, he has only scored double digit touchdowns twice.  He has caught 100+ passes only twice.  Kelce achieved both of those things in 2020, and had career highs in receptions, yards, and TDs.  He scored 312 fantasy points and only one other TE even passed 200.  In 2019, 5 tight ends passed 200 fantasy points. 

What I’m trying to say is that last year was literally a historic season for Kelce.  Thinking he can repeat is a mistake but this ADP does exactly that.  I expect Kelce to regress while the rest of the TE position actually performs decently (unlike last year).  6th is way too early for him to be going, especially when you can get Waller or Kittle in the 3rd round.  Those two guys will be just as good as Kelce, but for a fraction of the draft capital.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers (ADP: 14th)

I understand why people are excited about Austin Ekeler, particularly those in PPR leagues.  He’s a stud in the passing game, and with Herbert under center behind a revamped offensive line Ekeler could find a lot of success.  My issue is we’ve never seen him perform at a consistently high level for an entire season.  There are also other backs on the team who could sneak in and steal some touches.

Justin Jackson?  Still on the roster.  Joshua Kelly?  Still on the roster.  These guys are going to get their touches.  Last season they combined for 170 carries.  Austin Ekeler had only 116 carries (to be fair, he only played in 10 games, but it’s still a startling statistic).  Ekeler’s career high in rushing yards is 557.  His career high in rushing TDs is three.  Three?!  That’s terrible.  His work through the air is impressive, but I can’t trust a running back that doesn’t score on the ground and only averages 11 carries per game. 

He’s going to share snaps and touches with Jackson/Kelly, and at this point in the draft, you can still get workhorse RBs.  I’ll always take touches/workload over offensive situation.  Look what happened to CEH last year, everyone thought he would go crazy because he’s on the Chiefs.  Well he didn’t because he shared touches and didn’t consistently get work on the ground.  The same story is true of Ekeler this year.  I would much rather take Cam Akers, Najee Harris, or Joe Mixon in my draft, all of whom are currently being picked after Ekeler.

Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington (ADP: 29th)

I just don’t get it with Scary Terry.  How did he make such a massive jump in the rankings?  Last year he was WR20 in fantasy scoring, and this year he is being drafted as WR10.  The only thing that changed is Ryan Fitzpatrick became the starting QB.  Come on guys, seriously?  Ryan Fitzpatrick is the reason we’re drafting McLaurin this early?  It can’t be true, there must be some sort of a mistake.  Nope, no mistake, just foolishness.

Do we really think Washington is going to be slinging the rock like crazy?  No, they’re gonna run the ball behind a strong offensive line with the ball in the hands of Antonio Gibson.  Their defense is arguably the best in the league so they’re not gonna be in a lot of shootouts.  This team is going to beat you down on defense, and then wear you down with the running game on offense. 

Terry is going to get a great amount of targets and likely have one of the higher target share numbers in the league.  But I don’t have a lot of confidence in Fitzpatrick (or the WFT offense) and I don’t see them throwing the ball that much.  I think he’ll finish in a similar spot he did last year.  Keenan Allen, Amari Cooper, and Allen Robinson are all being drafted after him, which is insane.  Let somebody else in your draft take a Washington receiver in the third round and tear up every week when he only gets 6 catches for 60 yards.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders (ADP: 34th)

I’m just so confused by the Josh Jacobs situation.  I think there are two ways you can look at him from a fantasy perspective.  The first is to point out that he ranked 3rd in carries last year but only 8th in rushing yards.  He was carried by his monstrous workload and elite touchdown production (he scored 12).  The Raiders also signed Kenyan Drake this offseason and paid him a lot of money.  They didn’t pay him to sit on the bench, so Jacobs’ workload will undoubtedly diminish.  Since he’s not efficient, and no longer a guarantee to get a huge workload, he’s a player to avoid.

The second way to look at him is to point out those very same facts but conclude he has the potential to be amazing if he becomes more efficient.  If he can get his YPC in the respectable 4-5 range, he could go ballistic.  You could also conclude that Drake was brought in to be a pass-catching back, and Jacobs’ work on the ground is unthreatened.  I think both of these perspectives are valid, and at times I think the 2nd is true.  But I think the first is more likely, and because I’m confused by him I’m much more comfortable just not taking him.

DJ Moore, WR, Panthers (ADP: 54th)

The quarterback situation hasn’t gotten any better for DJ Moore.  In fact, I think it’s gotten worse.  Teddy Bridgewater was terrible last season.  Now the Panthers have Sam Darnold, and guess what?  He’s also terrible.  But, he has experience playing with Robby Anderson in New York.  Anderson was Darnold’s favorite target for a while, and I expect him to be his favorite target again in Carolina.

Add McCaffrey to the mix and Moore is now your 3rd receiving option in a weak offense with a weak quarterback.  He was WR25 in fantasy last year and is currently being drafted as WR21.  That’s not crazy, except when you realize Anderson is being drafted as WR33 (he was WR19 in fantasy last year).  Moore had a fine season in 2020, but McCaffrey wasn’t around and his QB has changed.  I don’t see him getting enough targets to justify this draft position and I also don’t trust Darnold to make those targets accurate.  Give me Cooper Kupp, Kenny Golladay, or Ja’Marr Chase instead.