Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football: Players I Won’t Draft In 2018


As I was sweeping up the confetti of my championship celebrations, I leaned on my broom and began to think that one player should not determine championships like this. It’s weird and it makes Fantasy Football look like a joke. The careful moves I made for championship week were all surplus to requirements because I owned Todd Gurley.

So, four top trophies because I targeted Todd Gurley wherever I could in 2017 almost made everything else irrelevant. I came away with a very successful season; yet I still want to gripe about some stuff. Griping is what I do. Never rest on your laurels as they say.

Winning is great, and I’m happy and satisfied about it of course, but I feel I could do better even in victory. You cannot expect Todd Gurley to take you to a championship single-handedly every year. Looking at the archaeology of the 2017 season, I will share some insights that I have going forward.

I cannot tell you who I’m targeting in 2018 – it’s way too early for that. I can, however, tell you the guys I definitely won’t have on my wish list next season.

Sure, I’d love to have Gurley again, but no one will ever pass on him from now on. First round, first pick in 2018 as things stand I guess (*sigh*). The good thing is, I can pass over these other name brand players and choose better prospects. So here’s just a few of the…

Fantasy Football Players I Won’t Draft In 2018


Aaron Rodgers was perhaps the only early round quarterback you could draft in 2017. Had he not missed essentially nine fantasy scoring games, there certainly was reasonable expectation of a return for spending an early round pick on him.

That taint of the Rodgers injury means we might see a Zero-QB fantasy season next year for rounds one through three. There are strong quarterbacks out there, but with several of them going to different teams, I doubt there is a single one worthy enough to crack into the early rounds in 2018. At least in a standard one quarterback redraft league.

Tom Brady, Patriots

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I welcome criticism on this, however I did see some flaws in Tom’s armor this season. He had fine production in September after the Chiefs opener, but did not crack a 20+ FP score until after a bye week of rest. He ranks 5th in totals after fantasy championship week. In 2016, his fantasy point average of about 21.5 saw a 13.3% decrease to about 18.7 in 2017.

Let’s assume the trend will continue in decline, but perhaps cut Tom some slack because his favorite target in recent years, Julian Edelman, was out and give him just a 9% decrease for 2018. He would then average about 17 FPs.

It may not sound like much, but it removes about 25 fantasy points over 15 games. Others may not be as friendly for declining percentages. I’d rather press on with a wealth of skill positions and not go out of my way to draft Brady sooner than later.

Matt Ryan, Falcons

Ryan is QB15 after Week 16 in point totals. Some rode the Ryan train from last season only to discover the same old stuff once again came back to frustrate owners.

Down the important stretch, unless you had players able to cover the bad games, Matt Ryan could not give you just that little extra. He rose above 15 FPs just seven times and fell below 10 in three games.

I must admit, Ryan never drew my interest as a fantasy quarterback anyway.

Marcus Mariota, Titans

A high draft prospect at QB5, the pineapple barely scrapes into the top 20 on average points. He could bounce back next season, quite possibly, but burning bridges to acquire him is out of the question. Sure, you can argue that Winston and Carr were worse in 2017, and they were in many respects, but it seems to me that the tarnish on Mariota is far more significant.

He had only one 300+ yard game all season and the rest of his numbers suggest a game manager quarterback at work in Tennessee. Mobility is Mariota’s strength, but he was never quite right after his mid-season hamstring pull. Just the same, one would expect better output for a quarterback with such a robust ADP coming in.

Running Backs

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DeMarco Murray, Titans

I’m sure Derrick Henry pulls ahead next season. Well, that’s what I thought this season. Henry was clearly the better running back, but the old fogies in that coaching staff had a fatalistic determination to go with something that does not work.

Adding to this, Murray would play through injury when a game or two of rest might have made a difference to his production.

The result of all this was that both Henry and Murray vultured each other. They became dart-throw starters in the  flex every week.

Next year, Murray stays on the draft board for me.

Doug Martin, Buccaneers or ?

I have to admit, I had a couple of decent years with Doug Martin on my fantasy teams. He has an excellent spin move repertoire, but seems far too offensive line dependent for consistent production.

Starting the season on suspension meant owners lost some early season points. Always beware of that. Holding an RB2, even on a short stash, is less important than having a producer on your team. I think I’d even prefer an eye-tested prospect that made an impression in preseason games.

The odds are on Martin moving off the Bucs. Wherever he ends up, his drafting temperature will remain cold in my book.

Giants Running Backs

I really thought Paul Perkins could take on a bell-cow role coming in 2017. The eye test at the end of 2016 was very promising. I still think he’s a good running back.

However, Orleans Darkwa is pretty good for a north-souther. Wayne Gallman is a fine running back too – with talented shiftiness.

These are all quality running backs. Well, Darkwa could be a good handcuff on another team perhaps. That’s my point though. The running game of the Giants sucks and needs a massive overhaul.

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Take the Vikings for example. They had similar backfield issues in 2016 and Jerick McKinnon continually ran into brick walls. Look at him this year and Latavius Murray too. Excellent flex starters every week. Fix an offensive line for running schemes and you could get a potential RB1 in return.

The Giants are in a rebuild situation next season, so there is optimism. I could change my mind depending on the off-season moves and coaching, but as it stands I want no part of this backfield until they address the problems.

Isaiah Crowell, Browns to free agency

Crowell likely won’t fetch a good price in the open market.

He is a good back and on many occasions would surprise me. However, Crowell is just a bit too volume dependent for my taste. Granted, on an offense as bad as the Browns are, you take what you can get.

That said, Crowell has something going for him that I really place a high importance on in fantasy. Durability. Crowell is among the most durable running backs in the NFL. I consider this a very strong positive in drafting.

Unfortunately, it comes back to this volume issue. There’s no getting around it. If Crowell has a reasonable team with a reasonable fit and a reasonable ADP come next August, I might consider drafting him. So a lot of stuff has to line up just right for me to have Crowell on my team as the RB2. Maybe too much.

Lamar Miller, Texans

Miller is a fantasy hazard for me in 2018. He’s not the future for the Texans going forward.

Although Miller had fantasy totals and averages ahead of several headliner running backs, he never had a single 100+ rushing game; his YPC was 3.70; never saw consistent looks in the passing game – Watson or not.

So somehow his production just falls short in what I’m looking for in a high draft choice. As for 2018, the guy I prefer is D’Onta Foreman. He passed the eye test early for me in 2017, but then went on IR after scoring a touchdown with a non-contact injury.

No matter how the future unfolds in Houston, I won’t target Miller next season.

Wide Receivers

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Amari Cooper, Raiders

Let’s face it. Apart from one huge breakout game of 11-210-2 in Week 7, Cooper had bricks for hands. Even so, he was targeted 19 times in that game with some bad drops that almost went without notice because everything else was great.

We never saw anything close to that breakout game before or after. Single digits in three straight weeks. Paltry production overall and just 565 yards to this point; compared to over 1100 in 2016.

2018 will obviously have to see improvement for any fantasy relevance. It can and if Cooper is a good enough bargain in ADP I might take a shot, but as of now I’ll let someone else take the chance.

Julio Jones, Falcons

What?! Yes, I do not want Jones. Not as a first round pick. He had the yardage in buckets this season, but only three touchdowns. The red zone targets from Matt Ryan tended toward Mohamed Sanu. It is Tevin Coleman as of Week 16 who holds the most on the team with eight.

I like touchdowns. This is why I prefer DeAndre Hopkins or Antonio Brown on my team. Julio gains a bit extra in PPR, but getting touchdowns more often counts for a lot.

DeVante Parker, Dolphins

The targets grew for the fantasy playoffs, and plenty enough for good flex PPR scoring, but by that time all the trust left the station weeks ago. A frustrating player to own.

Parker is a good receiver, but the Dolphins and Jay Cutler put Kenny Stills ahead of him in the pecking order. The prospectus last summer was a breakout season for the third year man, but it simply never came about.

I would hold out hope for another chance next season, but with new fresh names coming into the league, am I really going to hang my hopes on a 4th year guy?

Jeremy Maclin, Ravens

After sliding off the fantasy radar in Kansas City in 2016, Maclin’s move to Baltimore might provide a bounce-back opportunity. Nope. He is not a good fit on the Ravens in my opinion. Maclin hits 30 next season.

Tight Ends

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Jordan Reed, Redskins

I wasn’t drafting him in 2017, 2016 and even 2015 either. I think we all learned years ago that Jordan Reed is just not worth it. Yet, every season the same drum beats from the distance just as loud in favor of him and an inflated ADP follows.

Cameron Brate, Buccaneers

Brate started well, but around the time Winston began his injury troubles mid-season, the production went in the tank. The guy to own from the Bucs from now on is O.J. Howard.

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Jack Doyle, Colts

There are only about eight or nine tight ends I will probably target next year and Doyle isn’t among them. I just need half-decent consistency at this position. I feel it is worth sacrificing a higher pick for a known regular producing tight end. Doyle had some great games in 2017, but not enough to take him off the fringe.

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About Richard Savill

Richard is an NFL Fantasy Football Writer and Editor of Fantasy Six Pack. Host of The Fantasy Edge Podcast. FantasyPros Contributor. Member of the FSWA. Richard is known for his "outside the box" insight into NFL fantasy football. Winner of the 16-Team 2015 FSWA challenge.

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