Our website contributors – Dave Stringer, Anthony Fashoda, Tim Grinstead and yours truly – each came up with our own top players to target and players to avoid lists for 2014 fantasy football drafts, from which I summarized into two articles. Yesterday I posted Top Players To Target. This is our Top Players To Avoid.
The players are organized into groups based on the number of times they were on each list. All of the 2 Vote or greater picks are here, plus some select honorable mentions that only received 1 Vote each. Most of the players listed are relative to their current average draft position, so keep that in mind as ADP can change between now and draft day for players.
Trent Richardson (Dave, Tim, Mike)
Dave feels that with an ADP of 5.04, Richardson is a major reach, getting bumped up on name recognition only considering his efforts from a year ago. He could be solid but why would anybody bank on that at this point in a draft? Tim doesn’t see evidence of greatness in T-Rich. Donald Brown was a better runner last year, while Richardson plods along. He could benefit in the touchdown department from the otherwise strong offense he’s in, but we are looking for a good two-down back between the 20s at this stage, not one who has to score a pair from the goal line to have decent fantasy value.
Percy Harvin (Dave, Tony, Mike)
Dave says Harvin is a supreme talent but injury prone, and in an offense that is all too happy to pound the ball, you can expect some major inconsistency. Tony and I are also worried about Harvin’s ability to stay healthy, and he’s never been a big touchdown guy. He scored 8 in 2011 (excluding special teams) on 87 catches and 51 rushes with the Minnesota Vikings, and we don’t have a lot of confidence the Seahawks will use him that much. There are much safer WR choices in the same ballpark as Harvin.
Eric Ebron (Dave, Tim, Tony)
We joked about this one via email because Ebron has been both pulled up and pushed down our rankings at different times since the Detroit Lions drafted him. Now we have consensus to avoid, with Ebron struggling to learn the playbook and listed third on the team’s depth chart. Only Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez performed well enough as rookie tight ends in recent memory to be worthy of spending a draft pick in most redraft league formats. Consider Ebron a wasted pick in the 11th round.
Kyle Rudolph (Dave, Tim, Mike)
Rudolph is very touchdown dependent for his fantasy relevance to this point of his career. He was on pace for 60 catches and 626 yards last year, which would each be career highs, so maybe there is something for Norv Turner to work with here after making Jordan Cameron and Antonio Gates before him fantasy stars, but there are lots of available tight ends with similar or more upside at the same price. There is no real reason to reach for Rudolph and be disappointed.
Cam Newton (Tim, Mike)
Its one thing to not have top shelf quality receivers, and quite another to lose your top three veteran wide receivers all at once, replacing them with scraps from other teams and a rookie. Newton also lost his starting left tackle, and there is still uncertainty about how effective he will be on his surgically repaired ankle. That doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy when my running quarterback potentially has an ankle problem. Given these changes and risks, there are a lot of quarterbacks with lower ADP we’d rather draft.
Doug Martin (Dave, Tony)
Martin is coming back from injury, needs to prove himself again to a brand new coaching regime, and there are whispers of a RBBC in a talented and deep backfield in Tampa Bay. There are numerous red flags for Martin which, albeit each might be small, add up to him being a little too risky for such a high pick. If you draft Martin, then keep in tune with how rookie Charles Sims is performing.
Arian Foster (Tony, Mike)
As mentioned in our Players To Target article, we have an even split on the prospects of Arian Foster. Dave and Tim say target, Tony and Mike say avoid. Might need to put an ice bucket challenge on the line for this one.
Speaking for both Tony and I, we’re obviously concerned about the wear and tear on Foster that caught up with him last season. He is already in and out of practice with a hamstring injury. While he’s in line for plenty of touches in this offense, expect some major growing pains for the Texans that will deflate his fantasy points per touch. Tony adds that Foster spoke of considering retirement after last season, so he questions how much his mind is in the game, especially on a rebuilding team. For this high a draft pick, don’t bank on a big rebound.
Cordarrelle Patterson (Dave, Tim)
Patterson has all the talent in the world but is extremely raw, and fantasy players, as they often do, could be jumping the gun here expecting a lot more targets for Patterson than the coaching staff is going to be ready to give him. He is just too much of a boom or bust option at his current price. His ADP has him above guys like Roddy White, Desean Jackson and Michael Crabtree, receivers in better offenses that provide a lot more certainty they will provide positive return on investment.
Sammy Watkins (Dave, Tony)
Watkins could turn out to be better than the 30th ranked wide receiver, which is his current ADP, but Dave isn’t grabbing him at that point with players such as Marques Colston, Terrance Williams and Kendall Wright still available. Tony feels Watkins will be capped by poor quarterback play from E.J. Manuel. Even if the Buffalo Bills force feed Watkins to earn a high catch count, defenses are going to figure that out pretty quickly unless Manuel takes a huge step forward in his development.
Honorable Mention (1 Vote)
C.J. Spiller (Tim)
Not one, but two quality running backs, Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown, are champing at the bit for carries behind Spiller. The passing game is a huge question mark with a strong lean to being pessimistic, from which defenses will load the box against the run. There is some hyperbole from coaches of transitioning Bryce Brown to become the starter given Spiller is in the last year of his contract.
Jeremy Maclin (Mike)
Maybe this is redundant now that Maclin suffered a hamstring injury in the Philadelphia Eagles joint practice with the New England Patriots, and he will miss their next preseason game. Prior to this late breaking news, I was going to say, I see an injury prone so-so talent. Sometimes one has to reality check the excitement about a player being a cog in an exciting up-tempo offense, and dig a little deeper. I dug a little deeper and decided I would rather have a lot of other receivers regularly drafted later than Maclin.
Larry Fitzgerald (Dave)
Fitzgerald may be Hall of Fame bound but he has become incredibly touchdown reliant, failing to surpass 1,000 yards with a subpar yards per catch in each of the last two seasons. Feeling confident that Michael Floyd will bust out in 2014, that means drafting Fitzgerald earlier doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Kansas City Chiefs Defense / Special Teams (Tony)
In 2013, the Chiefs played an easy early schedule which set them up well, but they fell off when playing true competition. They scored 6 of 7 defensive touchdowns in the first nine weeks. Fifth defense off the board in drafts this year? No thanks.