Every year, there are players fantasy gamers should avoid drafting in their leagues. This list comes from one of the best, if not the best, mind in fantasy sports today – Matt Kelley aka the Podfather. This is the Podfather’s Do Not Draft List for 2023.
The Podfather’s DO NOT DRAFT List
The first player on the Podfather’s Do Not Draft List is Bijan Robinson. Robinson is one of the best runners in the history of college football, and it doesn’t matter. Drafting a player in the first round who has never taken an NFL snap is never a good idea, even when it works out. See Saquon Barkley. But at least we knew Barkley was a prolific receiver. Robinson has theoretical receiving upside on a team starting a Desmond Ridder and projects to finish bottom three in the NFL in pass attempts.
Oh, but there is no target competition… well, except top-10 pick Drake London and top-5 pick Kyle Pitts. That’s it. So where are the fantasy points and scoring opportunities going to come up? If not in the passing game, then the red zone? Banished to the NFC South, the division that will score less points than the AFC south, and Atlanta is now committed to ground and pound, which is the great catch-22 for a running back. Sure, Bijan could lead the league in carries between the twenties, but that is the stone worst method for scoring fantasy points.
The situational math just does not add up. I love Bijan as a player. Had he gone to Dallas, I would be drafting him in the first round. But the thing is… he went to Atlanta, so I’d rather have Tony Pollard.
Ridley posted one face-melting season in 2020 as the fantasy WR4 but has never crested 900 receiving yards in any other season. His 2023 ADP therefore hinges on two factors:
- One boom season
- First round draft capital
In 2021, he was an inefficient, touchdown-dependent player, evidenced by a 1.47 yards per route run, which ranked No. 72 among qualified NFL receivers. His last game was October 2021 vs. Miami where is posted 26 receiving yards. Ridley went on to sit out the rest of 2021 on a mental health break, and a 1-year suspension for gambling cost him the 2022 season. Ridley then signed an 11M prove-it deal with the Jaguars, which is $3 million less guaranteed money than Zay Jones will earn and $26M less the Christian Kirk. Turn 29 this year, any prestige from being a first-round pick has long evaporated.
Here are some of the players who missed 1.5+ years and then returned to the NFL:
- Michael Vick
- Le’Veon Bell
- Randy Moss
- Josh Gordon
Vick had his best season as an Eagle in 2010. The other guys flamed out due to age and the trials and tribulations of life. Josh Gordon was the most extreme example of a player being reincarnated after time away from the sport to focus on mental health and a violation of league rules. Like Ridley, Gordon also posted just one productive and efficient NFL season.
Fantasy gamers must factor in both on-field and off-field knowledge when making a fantasy football decisions. When Josh Gordon was getting steamed up draft boards, the risk was not worth the upside. Ridley’s ADP is based solely on one volume-fueled season when Matt Ryan led the league in pass attempts with Julio Jones hobbled throughout. Since then, Ridley has been grossly inefficient or not playing football.
Mattison is the quintessential cardboard cutout running back.
-1 breakaway run on 74 attempts. that’s a 1.4-percent Breakaway Run Rate.
-.73 yards per route run last year which ranked No. 84 among NFL running backs.
He was a red zone volume monster getting 20 red zone opportunities on 90 TOTAL TOUCHES. Before drafting a player to be fantasy starter, the first question is… Is this player good or bad? Alexander Mattison is not good. Among current Vikings runnings backs, he is the best at nothing.
Alexander Mattison Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile
-Nwangu is better on special teams
–Ty Chandler is more explosive in the screen game flashing sub-4.4 40 and 1300+ all purpose yards in his final season at UNC.
–DeWayne McBride is a better pure runner. He ranked top-5 in college football in broken tackles per touch as he rushed for 3,000 yards in two seasons.
Mattison is the very definition of a late dead zone back.
When your best metrics are Burst Score and YAC, there is an issue. Here are 2+ comps from each college conference:
*GULP* Breakout age and dominator rating were underwhelming. The agility score was putrid. But it gets worse because the Breakout Finder shows that college rushing and special teams (see Cooper Kupp and Deebo Samuel are positive indicators for future breakouts) Johnston showed a lack of versatility:
– Zero special team production
– No rushing production.
– Zero rushing production-limited route tree running mostly slants, go’s and bubble screens… slants, go’s and bubble screens.
Like a lot of explosive WRs, Johnston is a YAC gobbler who can transitions upfield quickly after the catch and pick up chunks of yardage once he’s broken the first tackle. This was precisely Kevin White‘s strength at West Virginia, except White was two tenths of a second faster than Johnston. The same was true with Breshad Perriman. He was similar but faster. But hey, Johnston has that “deceiving speed” and “football speed” football speed or not, like Kevin White, Johnston never developed a proper NFL route inventory at the college level.
He is in for a major wake-up call in the NFL. Simple slants will not leave him wide open, stiff arms will not stop NFL safeties, and 4.5 wheels are not enough “deceptive speed” to create deep separation. This is all before we talk about those famously shaky hands evidenced by eight drops in just 13 games. That’s more than one drop every other game, which would lead the NFL. And don’t forget the three straight drops at his pro day.
There you have it, folks! Fantasy football is a wild ride, and you got to weigh the pros and cons of each player. On-field performance, off-field issues, and potential growth all come into play. So, make your picks wisely and remember, it’s all about strategy! BOOM!