The Fantasy Football 2020 DO NOT DRAFT List

by Christopher Buonagura · Draft Strategy

The NFL preseason is among us, even if we aren’t getting any games. Seasonal fantasy drafts will be abundant this month and many bad draft picks will be made. Avoid some obvious busts and check out this unofficial DO NOT DRAFT list. PlayerProfiler’s advanced metrics make it easy to identify overhyped players.

No. 10) Raheem Mostert

Raheem Mostert is an easy fade at his fifth-round price tag in seasonal leagues. The general rule is to draft cost-effective members of productive committee backfields. Mostert was the beneficiary of multiple running back injuries, with Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and Jerick McKinnon all dealing with ailments at some point in the season. Moreover, the running game as a whole was boosted by an unsustainable degree of positive Game Script.

Reversion to the mean is coming and Mostert has “fifth-round bust” written all over him. Pass on him and target his more cost-effective teammates.

No. 9) Josh Allen

Josh Allen makes this list due to cost and an inability to throw the ball downfield. Any quarterback who records a 64.7-percent (No. 33 among qualified quarterbacks) True Completion Percentage and a 25.0-percent (No. 33) Deep Ball Completion Percentage should have their ability to throw called into question.

Allen provides a solid rushing floor, but his low ceiling is too expensive in the middle rounds. His downside is further diminished by the murderers row of top tier defenses he faces in the second half of the year. If you want a mobile QB at better value with the same rushing floor, then target Cam Newton.

No. 8) RB Handcuffs

Using late round draft capital on running back handcuffs is a losing proposition. This has held true since the beginning of fantasy football. Most handcuffs are dropped by Week 2 after the starter doesn’t get hurt, or they sit on benches all season, accumulating no value. The goal with late round picks is to draft Week 1 breakouts before they become top waiver adds. Avoid straight handcuffs such as Tony Pollard and Ryquell Armstead. Wide receivers are much better upside plays in the late rounds (i.e. Terry McLaurin and Marquise Brown last year). However, committee backs with Week 1 roles that will expand in the case of injury are also great targets. Players that fit this mold include Zack Moss, Joshua Kelley, and Jerick McKinnon.

No. 7) Mark Ingram

The cases to fade Mark Ingram and Raheem Mostert are very similar. Ingram was heavily touchdown-dependent in 2019 and Baltimore had plenty of positive Game Script. The Ravens retained Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, while adding J.K. Dobbins to compete for touches. Lamar Jackson will also vulture his share of rushing volume.

Ingram will still be efficient at age 31 and will score fantasy points. However, his fifth-round price tag is far too expensive considering the likely WR value available at that time, as well as the upside RBs that will be available in the later rounds.

No. 6) Deebo Samuel

Deebo Samuel has a Lisfranc injury, yet his ADP hasn’t dropped enough to account for it. Fantasy players are hopeful that he returns and produces at a WR1 level, though I have my doubts. Drafting players who are already injured going into the season is always a risky proposition in redraft leagues.

Pass on injured players. Lisfranc injuries have a long history of presenting setbacks and complications for athletes. There’s no guarantee Samuel comes back at 100-percent anytime soon, and reinjury is always on the table. It would be different if he was being picked near the end of drafts, but he’s not going late enough to be a value. Pass this year and target teammates such as Brandon Aiyuk and Jalen Hurd later.

No. 5) Robby Anderson

Robby Anderson is viewed as an upside, late-round flier, but is the obvious odd man out in Carolina despite the projected high volume of pass attempts. D.J. Moore is an alpha receiver, Curtis Samuel is a versatile phenom, and Christian McCaffrey is a target hog out of the backfield. Anderson will mostly be used as a decoy deep threat and his boom weeks are entirely unpredictable. His upside is further dampened by Teddy Bridgewater‘s preference for short yardage throws. Throw Ian Thomas into the mix and there is little upside to be had here.

No. 4) Breshad Perriman

Breshad Perriman is in the same boat as Robby Anderson, being drafted before high-upside players despite having little value in seasonal leagues. He’s replacing Anderson as the deep threat in New York, but Anderson’s role in Adam Gase’s offense was unproductive for fantasy. Anderson did nothing with a dream schedule last season, and Perriman is not as talented a player. Gase will continue to feed Jamison Crowder and the tight ends. Denzel Mims is available much later, boasts a true alpha profile, and has a chance to gain favor as Sam Darnold‘s X receiver of the future.

No. 3) Kerryon Johnson

Kerryon Johnson is being drafted right outside the top 100 players at the FFPC despite the addition of D’Andre Swift, who has a workhorse profile and will be dominating Detroit’s backfield by season’s end. Johnson only saw a 56.1-percent (No. 20) Snap Share and 62.1-percent (No. 19) Opportunity Share last year, and that was before Swift’s addition. Johnson’s value will continue to plummet with each passing week this season.

I question drafting Johnson at all, yet alone around pick No. 100. Let someone else deal with him and target Swift in the middle rounds.

No. 2) DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins is a top 5 wide receiver in the NFL. He is excellent at football and a historically great fantasy option. However, he certainly shouldn’t be picked in the second round as a top 5 wide receiver in 2020. Hopkins goes from being a target hog for Deshaun Watson to being one of many talented receivers for Kyler Murray. While Murray is a talented young quarterback, Arizona’s target distribution and overall offensive output is still uncertain.

Top-flight wide receivers have a long history of losing value in the season after changing quarterbacks due to lost rapport. Hopkins still has a WR1 outcome in his range of possibilities, but the risk at his top 5 positional ADP makes him an easy fade. Draft a running back early or target Julio Jones as a high floor second-round receiver.

No. 1) Mid-Round Tight Ends

Darren Waller, Evan Engram, Tyler Higbee, Hayden Hurst, and Austin Hooper are all hard fades this season. The best tight end draft strategy is to either target an elite option or swing for a breakout in the later rounds. Luckily, there’s a plethora of late round targets with league-winning upside to choose from.

Check out Darren Waller’s 2020 Projection on PlayerProfiler’s “World Famous” Draft Kit:

Waller was an opportunity-driven TE1 in 2019. He now has to contend with three taleted rookies, ascending slot receiver Hunter Renfrow, and future workhorse back Josh Jacobs all competing for targets. Engram is talented and has a high floor, but he is too fragile to commit significant draft capital into. Higbee’s breakout was also opportunity-driven, and his splits with/without Gerald Everett are frightening. Hurst’s ADP is a result of lazy plug-and-play analysis, with players chasing Hooper’s 2019 production. Hooper is an easy fade after changing teams and losing his volume. Go for the late-round breakout tight ends whether or not you pass on the elite options.