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7 Players to Avoid in your 2021 NFL Fantasy Football Draft
There are many reasons fantasy football players will avoid drafting a player. They could be on a new team that is more of a real-life fit than a fantasy fit, they could be getting over-drafted, or the previous year’s numbers could be flukey.
Today, we’re running down seven players to avoid for your fantasy football drafts in a couple of months.
1. WR Odell Beckham Jr., Browns
It might be time to accept that Beckham is never going to be the fantasy stud he was during his first few years in the league. Set to turn 29 this November, Beckham has produced just two 100-receiving yard games in Cleveland with seven receiving touchdowns. For context, he had five 100-yard games and six touchdowns in 12 games in 2018, his final year with New York.
If that wasn’t enough, Beckham is coming off major knee reconstruction after getting hurt in Week 7. While he may have some value as a number three receiver or in a flex spot, you might just be better off avoiding OBJ altogether.
2. RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders
Jacobs is one of the more talented backs in the NFL and finished last season well inside the top-10 for fantasy points among running backs. However, the Raiders did him no favors this offseason, losing three starting offensive linemen that would’ve been better blocking options for the former Alabama running back.
But even more importantly, Las Vegas puzzled many with a two-year contract for Kenyan Drake, a veteran back who nearly had 1,000 yards himself last season with the Cardinals. While the Raiders’ overall backfield is better, Jacobs will receive fewer touches and far fewer pass-catching opportunities with Drake in the fold, making his early-second round projection seem like a reach.
3. WR Kenny Golladay, Giants
As one of the top free-agent wide receivers, Golladay signed a four-year deal with the Giants. The move gives New York a bonafide number one receiver they’ve lacked since Beckham and completes an offense that looks deep on paper. However, Golladay’s fantasy projection took a serious hit.
There will be a lot of mouths to feed in New York, with Golladay joining a group that already includes receivers Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and first-round pick Kadarius Toney, as well as tight end Evan Engram and running back Saquon Barkley. Golladay is also coming off of a hip injury that left him unavailable for most of 2020 and likely downgrades by going from Matthew Stafford to Daniel Jones. It may be best to hold off on Golladay this season to see how he acclimates to his new team.
4. RB Melvin Gordon, Broncos
In his first year in Denver, Gordon played in all but one game, running for nearly 1,000 yards and registering 10 total touchdowns. Now 28, it may seem like Gordon is still a viable fantasy option as one of your starting running backs. However, an incoming rookie may be the reason to stay away from the former Charger.
The Broncos used their early second-round pick on Javonte Williams out of North Carolina, a clear sign that they do not see Gordon as a featured back. While it’s likely to start as a timeshare, Denver will likely move toward giving Williams the bulk of the touches, especially since Gordon is limited as a pass-catcher. Knowing how teams typically handle rookie running backs versus veterans with one year left, Gordon will probably finish the year well under the fifth round spot he’s at right now.
5. RB Alvin Kamara, Saints
Of all the players mentioned so far, Kamara is the only one that will be a surefire first-round pick in drafts. He also isn’t someone to avoid if he falls into the later stages of the first round. But with Drew Brees retired, Kamara’s days as a top-4 pick in drafts may be ending, and we have a four-game stretch from last season to prove it.
From Weeks 11-14, Taysom Hill started at QB ahead of the injured Brees. In those four games, Kamara earned a total of 45, 55, 90, and 94 yards, a slow progression, sure but far removed from the 130+ total yards he was routinely getting with Brees. The biggest drop-off was in his reception, where Week 14 was the only game he was even targeted more than three times on passing plays.
Now it’s no guarantee that Hill ahead of Jameis Winston, who may offer a lot more value as a thrower to Kamara. But either way, there is a serious concern for Kamara being a truly elite fantasy back in 2021.
6. TE Robert Tonyan, Packers
Tonyan was a touchdown machine in 2020, racking up 11 TDs for the first-place Packers. However, there is some evidence to show that his scoring wasn’t sustainable. Tonyan scored a touchdown once every 4.7 catches, a ridiculous rate, and only had 59 targets when other top fantasy tight ends had over 100.
Of course, the biggest concern is what happens with Aaron Rodgers as well. Should Rodgers be dealt out of Green Bay and Jordan Love assumes starting quarterback duties, guys like Aaron Jones and Davante Adams will certainly see their fantasy value take a hit. But it would completely crater Tonyan’s value, leading the big tight end to this list as a player to steer away from.
7. QB Deshaun Watson, Texans
This one may feel obvious, but Watson should just be avoided altogether in 2021. The off-field concerns are legitimate and may threaten his on-the-field status for this year and beyond. Not to mention, he still wants to leave the Texans and might be a holdout candidate if he isn’t traded.
However, even if the legal issues depart and he reports to camp, Houston might have one of the worst teams in football. They lost wideout Will Fuller after trading DeAndre Hopkins last offseason and also have one of the worst o-lines in football. There is only so much Watson would be able to do on the field without all the other drama going on, so it’s best to move him off your board even if a late-round flier seems worth it.
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