Even if you are lucky enough to attain the first overall pick in your draft and surround yourself with the large, comforting security blanket named Christian McCaffrey, you, like everyone else, will inevitably be faced with the tough choice of considering players whose risk is just as great as their reward. Missing out on the postseason or winning a title sums up the range of outcomes that will result from your choices on draft day. Since you (obviously) prefer the latter, you’d be wise to exercise caution when it comes to the athletes our featured pundits would rather avoid due to their extreme risk. Read on below to see both who the experts will eagerly pass on and who they’d desire to grab instead. Be on the lookout as well for some conflicting takes on Austin Ekeler and Allen Robinson.
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Q1. Which RB comes with the most risk and which player(s) would you rather draft with a lower ADP at his position?
Leonard Fournette (JAC): ADP – 29th Overall | RB14“Fournette was unlucky to score three touchdowns on 341 touches last year, but how much scoring is he going to do in 2020 for a team Vegas is projecting to win a league-low five games? There’s no chance Fournette is going to repeat last season’s 100 targets, and that total could very well be cut in half. He also plays behind a bad offensive line. Fournette’s ADP of RB14 is way too rich, and I’d rather have pristine rookie prospect Jonathan Taylor, who’s 10 spots lower on the board at RB24.”– Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)
“Leonard Fournette just isn’t going to pop and I wish people would stop galaxy-braining this. Although he did finally almost play a full season last year, the lack of touchdowns was an issue. There could be an uptick in the pay dirt department for Fournette, but I don’t think the Jags’ offense is good enough to get him in the red zone on a regular basis. Even with the history of knee arthritis, I believe that a Todd Gurley resurgence is in store and I think he’s still a much better option than Fournette for a lower price tag.”– Matthew Bowe (Razzball)
Austin Ekeler (LAC): ADP – 23rd Overall | RB13“Ekeler presents the most risk as someone who’s not an every-down running back for his team and one whose offense will lose 100-plus pass attempts this season, lowering his fantasy floor. Did you know that 73.5 percent of Ekeler’s points came from receiving in 2019? No other top-20 running back was higher than 48.8 percent. I’d rather take Clyde Edwards-Helaire and his top-five upside at his current cost.”– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)
Aaron Jones (GB): ADP – 15th Overall | RB10“Besides the injury-riddled Todd Gurley, David Johnson, James Conner, and Derrius Guice, Jones at his current ADP has the most risk to me. There is no denying his talent, but even the best are going to have a hard time repeating 19 touchdowns in a single season or even getting close to it. Gurley was the most recent to do it with 21 and 19-touchdown seasons back-to-back. Before that, you have to go back to the days of LaDanian Tomlinson or Marshall Faulk when they put up ridiculous tocuhdown numbers in back-to-back seasons. Even without natural regression taking effect here, it doesn’t help that the Packers drafted a bruiser of a running back in A.J. Dillon to likely take plenty of short-yardage and goal-line work away from Jones. I am happy to take Austin Ekeler, Kenyan Drake, and Miles Sanders ahead of him at this point.”– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)
Nick Chubb (CLE): ADP – 12th Overall | RB8“I think Chubb carries a lot of risk with his current ADP because he was a different fantasy player when Kareem Hunt was in the lineup last year. Chubb averaged 19.7 fantasy points per game without Hunt in the lineup. When Hunt returned from suspension in Week 10, Chubb averaged 13 fantasy points per game. He had fewer than 10 fantasy points four times with Hunt cutting into his workload. This year, Hunt will be in the mix from day one, which is a concern. I would rather take Kenyan Drake, a player with a huge ceiling. He has next to no competition for work, plays in an explosive offense, and is a three-down back.”– Jeff Paur (RTSports)
Q2. Which WR comes with the most risk and which player(s) would you rather draft with a lower ADP at his position?
Amari Cooper (DAL): ADP – 26th Overall | WR9“I feel like every year it is the same answer for me and it won’t change until he proves to be a different player. That player is Amari Cooper. I get the ceiling he provides on a weekly basis, I do. He had some spectacular games in 2019 scoring 34.1, 23.8, and 26.2 points in three of his games. Those are great, but how about the games where he scored 7.3, 2.4, 4.4, 5.3, and 0 points? That’s right … zero points. He scored 19.6+ points in four weeks last year, which accounted for 103.7 of his points or 50.09%. So he scored half his points in a quarter of his games, leaving you with an average of 8.6 in the others. He is just way too inconsistent for me to take as a WR1. Give me Allen Robinson, Robert Woods, Odell Beckham, or even JuJu Smith-Schuster along with a few others ahead of Cooper.”– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)
Kenny Golladay (DET): ADP – 24th Overall | WR7“I believe Golladay is a good football player, but also one who comes with far too much risk to be selected in the second round. He finished 2019 with just 65 receptions. The only other player to finish as a top-20 receiver with less than 67 receptions was A.J. Brown, who we know has to see a large volume increase to live up to his current ADP. That’s possible given how young he is. But as for Golladay, he is likely cemented in his role, which is being the No. 1 wideout on his team, but that still hasn’t netted him 120 targets in a single season, and that’s with Marvin Jones missing a lot of time the last two years. I’d rather have JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is going almost two full rounds later.”– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)
Courtland Sutton (DEN): ADP – 42nd Overall | WR16“I have no questions about Sutton’s ability. I have major questions about how he’s going to turn a profit on an ADP of WR16. The two biggest concerns: (1) whether inexperienced quarterback Drew Lock can support a high-end WR2 season for Sutton, and (2) whether Sutton faces a possible target squeeze with the arrival of rookie wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. If Lock crashes and burns, Sutton’s numbers will fall well short of expectations, and a splashy debut by Jeudy could be nearly as ruinous to Sutton’s value. I’d much rather bet on a bounce-back season from JuJu Smth-Schuster at his ADP of WR18 than sail against the headwinds with Sutton.”– Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)
Mike Evans (TB): ADP – 25th Overall | WR8“With Tom Brady taking the snaps in Tampa, I think Evans is a big risk. When he had huge weeks in the past, he did a lot of his damage downfield and Brady obviously doesn’t have the arm that Winston has. Tampa will be a lot more balanced of an offense with plenty of underneath work going to Chris Godwin and there’s a familiarity factor with Rob Gronkowski. There are few safer options than Allen Robinson, who semi-quietly had a stellar season in Chicago in 2019. He’ll be fine with Mitch Trubisky, but if Nick Foles wins the job, Robinson might be even better.”– Matthew Bowe (Razzball)
Allen Robinson (CHI): ADP – 27th Overall | WR10“I’m not buying the Robinson hype. I just don’t trust him with Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky throwing him passes. He is going to have a hard time matching his numbers from last year. I would rather have A.J. Brown or D.J. Moore. Brown didn’t have a ton of catches last year, but still had huge numbers. He can improve with just a few more targets. Also, Moore had a breakout season last year with shaky quarterback play. Teddy Bridgewater, who some think is a negative, should be a positive for Moore if you look at who was throwing him passes last season.”– Jeff Paur (RTSports)
Thank you to the experts for giving us their high-risk players. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for advice all year round.
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