2018 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

2018 Fantasy Football Top 10 Riskiest Players: Worth the Risk?

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There are players that disappoint owners each and every year based on draft cost and return on investment. Identifying players that have a higher probability to let you down based on certain inherent risks can help owners mitigate the chances of investing in one of these players early. The first 3-4 rounds have arguably the biggest impact on your Fantasy team, post-draft.

With that in mind, the players identified in the 2018 Fantasy Football Top 10 Riskiest Players list are draft prospects in these rounds. This is not, by any means, a do not draft list. All players are worth drafting at some point, based on value.  All that said, this list will attempt to provide owners with names of players who carry more risk than others so that owners can make certain roster decisions based on roster construction.

2018 Fantasy Football Top 10 Riskiest Players

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Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (ADP 2)

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As the best running back in all of Fantasy the past couple of years, there is no doubt Bell is a worthy a top-2 pick. Bell and the Steelers did not agree on a new contract for 2018 and beyond. Though Bell will likely be with the team Week 1, any potential holdout poses a risk to his Fantasy value. If Bell misses time, owners will surely not be happy.

Verdict: Bell is worth the risk at his current Draft Position.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers (ADP 17)

Certainly, a valuable weapon in the passing game, McCaffrey was productive in his first season in the NFL. Now that Jonathan Stewart has left, owners are predicting a monster year from McCaffrey. This has McCaffrey going off the board as an RB1. However, the Panthers brought in C.J. Anderson who is likely to fill the role Stewart vacated. McCaffrey should continue to dominate in the passing game, but it is risky to predict enough volume as a rusher to lock him in as a top-17 pick.

Verdict: I am not taking the risk on McCaffrey at his current ADP and prefer someone like Devonta Freeman.

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP 21)

Evans went from the overall WR3 in 2016 to the WR17 in 2018. How will he perform this year with Jameis Winston missing the first few games? Can he bounce back?

Verdict: Evans is worth the risk at his current ADP. Owners may get him as a steal as we approach the season with Winston’s suspension adding to general apprehensions.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots (ADP 22)

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Gronkowski’s risk perception mostly derives from an injury history and his aging quarterback. Gronk always seems to miss at least one game each season. Furthermore, were anything to happen to Tom Brady, it could seriously impact Gronk’s value. However, as the best tight end in Fantasy, the reward may outweigh the risk.

Verdict: Gronk is worth the risk at his current ADP.

Jerick McKinnon, RB,  San Francisco 49ers (ADP 23)

McKinnon received a large paycheck to join the 49ers. It could not be a better situation for McKinnon who is freakishly athletic and has proven to be a very viable pass catching back. As favorable as Kyle Shanahan’s offenses are for running backs in Fantasy Football, the risk/reward for McKinnon is massive.

McKinnon has yet to prove he can carry a full load as a “workhorse”. He has been an extremely inefficient runner when given the chance. He conceded work to the likes of Matt Asiata and Latavius Murray, throughout his time in Minnesota. The ceiling is high for McKinnon as a dual threat running back in a Shanahan offense, but he will need the volume and to improve his efficiency to return value on his second-round draft price.

Verdict: McKinnon’s third round value is fine but I prefer guys like Joe Mixon and LeSean McCoy.

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP 25)

Another tight end, Kelce, carries some risk coming into the 2018 season. Without Alex Smith, Kelce’s value now depends on the chemistry between he and Mahomes. Furthermore, the majority of Kelce’s production comes from his yardage, as opposed to his touchdown prowess. With Tyreek Hill and the new addition of Sammy Watkins both competing with Kelce for yardage, there might be more risk than owners want out of a third round pick.

Verdict: I am not taking the risk on Kelce at his current ADP and prefer guys like Zach Ertz and Greg Olsen.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP 27)

Sticking with the Chiefs, the same arguments about new quarterback and mouths to feed in the offense apply to Hill’s situation too. Hill recorded all of his touchdowns from outside of the red-zone on big plays and he has the characteristic of a boom-bust player. Hill might be too risky at his current draft price.

Verdict: I am not taking the risk on Hill.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills (ADP 28)

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McCoy has made this list now for the past three years. Each time, the argument revolves around his age and the amount of carries he has had throughout his career. He always seems to prove me wrong. So this year, I will focus on his risk associated with the legal allegations brought against him. If these allegations prove to be something more and result in legal trouble, a suspension will surely follow. This makes McCoy a risky pick.

Verdict: McCoy as a mid-to-late third round pick is excellent value and at that point, he is worth the risk.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts (ADP 32)

It would appear that no other player in fantasy has a value more bound to their quarterback than Hilton – see 2017. Hilton went from leading the league in receiving and a top-5 fantasy wide receiver, to completely falling off the wagon in 2017. The risk here is actually not Hilton, but instead the risk lies with the health of Andrew Luck. If Luck is healthy, Hilton will be fine. However, the uncertainty around Luck’s health and how he will perform after missing all of last year, make drafting Hilton a risky affair.

Verdict: Hilton is worth the risk at his current ADP, and is a player that I would consider reaching for in the early-to-mid third round.

Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns (ADP 35)

I could write all day about how Gordon’s off-field issues caused him to miss a substantial amount of games. That topic has plenty enough coverage over the years. Everyone knows about the risks associated with Gordon in that department. What owners should also be cognizant of is the associated risk with Gordon’s situation. The Browns went from being a Fantasy desert, to all of a sudden having a decent offense, on paper.

There might actually be too many mouths to feed to sustain Gordon’s current draft price anyway. Jarvis Landry holds high regard as one of the better wide receivers in the NFL. Duke Johnson catches a ton of balls out of the backfield. We don’t recognize Tyrod Taylor as a quarterback that scorches defenses with massive amounts of passing yards. These are just a few factors that make Gordon risky, but of course the upside of being the best wide receiver in fantasy, is still there.

*Update: With news coming out about Gordon not reporting to training camp for health reasons and the Browns’ GM’s remarks about the uncertainty of when Gordon will return, Gordon is becoming an even riskier pick in 2018 Fantasy Drafts.

Verdict: Gordon has a proper value, but there are safer alternatives to draft around his ADP.



Honorable Mention: Joe Mixon, CIN; Amari Cooper, OAK; Kenyan Drake, MIA


Visit the F6P Fantasy Football Draft Kit Page for more advice to prepare for the 2018 season.

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About Alex Hamrick

Alex is an avid fantasy football enthusiast and writer for Fantasy Six Pack. With a background in quantitative methods and analysis, Alex enjoys using statistics and data analytics to develop detailed fantasy football analysis. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @AlexBHamrick

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