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Dynasty

Making a List: Do Not Draft

Ellington

I’m a list guy. I make “to do” lists, follow “honey do” lists, and will take time to read a top ten list of almost anything. This series of articles will bring you a top five ranking about a myriad of topics in the world of dynasty football.

We are in the heart of dynasty draft season. Some of you in hardcore leagues have already held your startup drafts while others are busy preparing for their upcoming rookie drafts. No matter if you’re preparing for a startup draft, a rookie draft, or even a devy draft, all dynasty players have a list of players they will avoid.

There are many reasons players might land themselves on a “Do Not Draft” list. Maybe you simply don’t believe in the player’s talent. Or you actually like the player, but just disagree with a lofty ADP, ensuring they won’t be on your final roster. It could be a player’s age, position or even off the field concerns has you crossing them off your draft list. Regardless of the actual reason, every dynasty player has that list of players that makes them channel their inner Kevin O’Leary with a “You’re dead to me!”

Here are some of mine.

 1.) Andre Ellington, RB ARI

The Cardinals’ running back Andre Ellington lands himself on my list for several reasons. When he was entering the NFL a couple of years ago, I felt he was an underrated prospect who could find a role in the NFL and was surprised he was falling to the third and even fourth rounds of many of my rookie drafts. It wasn’t long before he hit the waiver wire in a few of my leagues and I gladly scooped him up.

It was a strange rookie season for Ellington, who looked great, yet never managed to earn consistent carries, despite clearly being the best back on the team. Following the season, starter Rashard Mendenhall surprisingly retired, leaving the Cardinals with few options other than to make Ellington their starter. As a result, his dynasty ADP spiked, turning him into a clear “sell” for me.

Ellington

The main issue is that while his ADP has been on the rise over the past year, his production has dropped. While he was being counted on as a starting fantasy back last year, that only led to disappointed owners as his season was cut short. Since then, there have been rumors of the Cardinals’ interest in Vikings’ back Adrian Peterson. While it’s not clear how that will play out, it is clear the team does not feel comfortable relying on Ellington as their lead back. If they don’t feel comfortable, why should I as a dynasty owner? I am avoiding Ellington until his price matches his value as a role player and bench on my fantasy team.

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2.) Jordan Cameron, TE MIA

New Miami tight end Jordan Cameron is an interesting case for me. Even after a disappointing season in Cleveland in 2014, Cameron is still being valued as a TE1, being drafted as the tenth tight end off the board in April mocks. However, Cameron is 26 years old and seemingly stuck in the middle. Being in his mid-twenties doesn’t make him old, nor does it scare me off, but I do think it has an impact.

Let’s looks at the two main team scenarios that could describe your dynasty team in 2015.

  • Your team is a strong title contender, though lacking a top end starting tight end like Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham. If this is my team and I can’t have the advantage of the top two players off the board, then I’d rather have a veteran like Antonio Gates, who should be very cheap, whether you’re in a startup dynasty draft or targeting him through. In short, I see such little difference in the second tier of tight ends, as far as short-term production, that I’m glad to take the cheapest option rather than spending on Cameron, who is middle of the road.
  • Your team in building and not likely to contend for a playoff spot in 2015. If this is the case, you want to roster some young tight ends with upside and luckily, there are several of them. Target players like Jace Amaro, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Maxx Williams, Eric Ebron or Tyler Eifert. Some of those will cost you more than Cameron, but will also be a better fit for your team.

There just aren’t many situations I can see myself wanting a player like Cameron on my team. For him to provide value, he would need a back half of career revitalization, similar to what Greg Olsen has done the past few years in Carolina.

3.) Adrian Peterson, RB MIN

There are actually many reasons that could cause dynasty players to choose to avoid veteran running back Adrian Peterson. First of all, we don’t even know what his situation will be in 2015. At this point, it’s starting to look like he’ll return to Minnesota, but his representatives are still fighting that idea. The fantasy pipe dream is that he ends up running behind the Dallas offensive line, but it could just as easily be Arizona’s or the Vikings’. Nonetheless, his value is up in the air. It also has to be considered Peterson missed nearly the entire 2014 season and has not faced that intense level of competition. It’s always difficult to project how a player will return after missing extensive time, especially given the circumstances. Speaking of that, I’ve seen multiple dynasty players announce they will be avoiding Peterson as some kind of moral statement following the accusations he faced of child abuse. This is not the article to address that, but just know some will not be drafting him due to this issue.

Personally, Peterson won’t be on any of my teams due to his recent spike in value, based on April’s dynasty ADP. His value has been on the decline since the news broke last September, as evidenced in the ADP chart below.

Peterson

Just as noticeable as the downfall last Autumn is the dramatic rise Peterson has experienced since the calendar turned to 2015, which has been capped with a return to the top 60 overall. Peterson is once again being drafted as a top ten running back and given all of the concerns and reason to doubt, is just too steep of a price to pay.

4.) Charles Johnson, WR MIN

Speaking of dramatic rises in ADP, I present Vikings’ receiver Charles Johnson…

Johnson

Johnson was a metric favorite during his rookie year, but an injury resulted in the Packers dropping him. A year later, he got a shot with the Browns, who later decided they did not need the talented wide receiver either. Last yeah, Johnson caught on with the Vikings and was an instant hit on a team that desperately needed real production at the receiver position.

I love the apps over at Rotoviz, especially the Game Splits app. One of my favorite finds last season was the numbers rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater put up with and without Johnson.

Bridgewater

This appears to be good news for both Johnson and Bridgewater, and it could be, but that huge increase in Johnson’s value, combined with the addition of Mike Wallace and the rumored selection of a first round wide receiver in the upcoming draft only lowers Johnson’s targets and his value. At his current cost, I’m staying away.

5.) Josh Gordon, WR CLE

For many of you, this might seem obvious. After all, do you need me to tell you not to invest valuable fantasy assets or a reasonably high pick in a player who has repeatedly failed us due to off-field concerns and a habitual drug habit? Evidently you do, because even though he won’t see the field for another 16 months, Browns’ receiver Josh Gordon is still being drafted as a top 100 player in our most recent dynasty mock draft series. Of course, this is a bargain compared to his once sky high ADP of top three overall, but does that mean we should be drafting him? I think not.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Gordon’s talents and still think he could be one of the top fantasy assets in the NFL, but he’s lost my trust and that will be difficult to earn back. Gordon is a case that will be cited as other player’s with sketchy histories enter the league like Dorial Green-Beckham. For me, it’s become a question of talent versus risk, while also considering other reasonable options. In hindsight, Gordon had a very high ceiling, but we also knew the risk he carried. If that was the case, we all should’ve been opting for the safer players with much less risk. Players like AJ Green, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones and even Dez Bryant were all being drafted in the same range as Gordon at his peak.

At this point, Gordon is still being drafted ahead of players I’d rather take a shot on like Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Eric Ebron and Nelson Agholor, along with some potential starting fantasy quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford and Ryan Tannehill. I’ll take any of those players on my team instead of Gordon.

Who are some players on your “Do Not Draft” list.  Let us know in the comments below.

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Ryan McDowell
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Karl Safchick
7 years ago

I was wary of reading this piece as I thought you’d talk me out of some of my favorite players, yet I agree with you on four out of five guys!

The only player whom which I disagree, is Charles Johnson. I’m not going out of my way to draft him, and in some spots even selling him, but I’m fine with his ADP. The only thing that scares me away is his age. Not that 26 is “old,” but it is old for a “sophomore” if you believe in breakout age.

Great article and fun read!

Steveeb
Reply to  Karl Safchick
7 years ago

I’m with Ryan on this one. His catch rate was quite low for someone that you’re paying a fairly good price for, 53.4% with 31 receptions on 58 targets. I didn’t watch all of the games, but that stat is pretty alarming for someone that people are expecting to be Teddy B’s #1 WR and go-to guy at his ADP..

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