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Engel's Angles: Players To Avoid in 2020 by Round

Recently I shared my favorite fantasy football draft targets by round.  You cannot plan ahead to land every ideal player you like best in any draft. Yet you can make sure there are players you can steer clear of.

So now I supply my 2020 listing of fantasy football players I would rather not have on my teams, or are not comfortable drafting them because I believe they are being selected too early. I may not completely steer clear of every player on this list, but in some instances they are unlikely to land on my rosters because I don’t view them as favorably as some other analysts and fantasy participants do. And there are others who I simply want no part of whatsoever, even in the final rounds.

These are the players you likely won’t find on my squads this year, based on current ADP.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


The King’s Players To Avoid: Round 1 - 5

Round One: Dalvin Cook (ADP of 5 overall) - I do believe Cook is an incredibly talented player and could finish as a top-three RB if he stays healthy. But that is just too big of an “if” with a pick in the first half in the first round. Cook has yet to play a full season in the NFL after three years and even if he does not suffer major injuries, top health analysts have advised me he will always be at risk for minor issues, as we saw late last season.

I see Cook as more of a late first-rounder, which means I won’t be acquiring him in any seasonal drafts. In Best Ball leagues, though, I do not have to worry as much about the injuries, so this is a redraft-only player to avoid.

Round Two: Austin Ekeler (14) - It’s not that I don’t like Ekeler; I believe many are overrating him because of his receiving production last season and the departure of Melvin Gordon. It’s hard to match a career year, and opposing defenses are going to be more prepared for him this season. I also don’t see a huge uptick coming in his rushing attempts (132 last year). Joshua Kelley was drafted to take over a large chunk of the old Gordon role. I see Ekeler's reception totals dropping to about 70-plus while being in the lesser part of a time share as a ball carrier.

I would take Ekeler late in the second round but I will never get him there. I am not saying he isn't worthy of a second-rounder, just not where is being selected. He is more of a Top 20 overall player than Top 15 to me.

Round Three: Todd Gurley II (26) - The Rams moved on from Gurley and drafted Cam Akers. They seemed to sense that Gurley is done. There is no way I would take him ahead of Melvin Gordon III, who is going 11 picks later on average. I hope Gurley proves me wrong because it would be a great story to see him regain much of his better form, but I don’t want him on any of my teams this year and I don’t even have him in my top 50.

RB Overall Player Team
15 26 Todd Gurley ATL
16 28 Leonard Fournette JAC
17 36 Le'Veon Bell NYJ
18 37 Melvin Gordon DEN
19 34 Chris Carson SEA
21 40 James Conner PIT
22 48 Jonathan Taylor IND
26 53 Raheem Mostert SF
27 67 Cam Akers LAR
28 58 Mark Ingram II BAL

Todd Gurley is being drafted as RB15 in PPR formats, Here are some current ADPs of RBs being drafted after him, who I would select before him. ADPs via fantasypros.com.

Round Four: David Johnson (38): - We may forever remember trying to chase the 2016 season with Johnson. He rushed for just 263 yards last year and when he was penciled into a top spot on depth chart early last year he rushed for more than 40 yards just once in the first five weeks. The Texans are notorious for striking out on RBs and this will be their latest swing and miss. Gurley and Johnson are proof that the better RBs dry up pretty quickly in drafts.

Round Five: David Montgomery (56) - Nothing much has changed or improved in Chicago to make me believe anything will get better on offense. I would much prefer Akers 11 picks later on average. Other than Allen Robinson, I want no part of the Bears from the offensive side of the ball.


The King’s Players To Avoid: Round 6 - 10

Round Six: A.J. Green (68) -  I really used to enjoy watching him and he was once an outstanding Fantasy WR. But injuries have been too much of a factor in three of the past four seasons and he may not be the same player anymore. I am not willing to take him in the WR3 range to find out what he has left. If I was getting him in Round Nine or 10 I would be more willing to take the risk.

Round Seven: Michael Gallup (77) -  He had a 1,100-yard season and averaged nearly 17 yards per catch. But the drafting of CeeDee Lamb means we likely won’t see that sort of upside again from Gallup. It’s just a matter of time before Lamb surpasses Gallup on the depth chart, as he is a special player who is destined to become a starting WR in the NFL. Gallup is going to be a great third receiver for Dallas, maybe one of the best in the league. His targets and receptions, though, will progressively drop off.

Round Eight: Phillip Lindsay (96) - This is too early for a backup NFL RB. It’s not going to be a committee/timeshare in Denver. Gordon was brought in to be the definite lead ball carrier. The Broncos don’t seem to believe they can win with Lindsay and Royce Freeman, so they acquired an RB who can be the true featured back.

Round Nine: 49ers Defense (108) - Here is ADP proof that some fantasy players still jump too soon for a defense just because it is the best unit available. You should at least wait until the next to last round. Don’t pass on value picks at skill positions when you can simply stream defenses and win championships. I have done that for three consecutive years in my most important league. If you don’t land an elite unit just take one that is respectable and has a good opening week matchup, such as the Colts (vs. Jacksonville).

Round 10: Darrell Henderson (113) -  There is some minor speculation that Henderson could vault over Akers or compete with him for touches. Henderson is reportedly regarded as a change of pacer, though, and Akers was drafted to get a shot at the lead RB role. Henderson should only be drafted as a possible backup very late if you select Akers.


The King’s Players To Avoid: Round 11 - 16

Round 11: Baker Mayfield (130) -  He has a lot to prove, and you can even sometimes go without drafting a QB at all in some seasonal leagues if you have a durable and reliable starter. He is currently QB16 off the board in some drafts and you can still take a chance on Ben Roethlisberger or a Cam Newton rebound instead of wondering when the light will go on for Mayfield, who has never been a quality Fantasy QB yet in his career.

Round 12: Nyheim Hines (142) -  The Colts have too many other options at RB and as pass-catchers for him to be worthy of a fantasy draft choice. You would never be comfortable with using him as a bye week sub.

Round 13: Sammy Watkins (153) - He is a playoff hero. But he was invisible for most of the regular season last year and has been annually overrated since 2015. Watkins is not even worth a flier because when you use him during a bye week, there is no statistical floor to count on. He’s strictly a Best Ball target.

Week Rec Yds TD
2 6 49 0
3 5 64 0
4 3 54 0
8 5 45 0
9 7 63 0
10 5 39 0
11 2 26 0
13 0 0 0
14 4 50 0
15 3 49 0
16 2 28 0
17 1 8 0

Sammy Watkins' 2019 Game Log after the season opener. Not a single TD catch or 70-yard game playing with the best QB in the NFL. 

Round 14; Justin Jackson (157) – Ekeler and Kelley are going to dominate the Chargers backfield. There will be no room for Jackson to get any quality work unless there is an injury. Even in such an instance, he would be a part-timer.

Round 15: Jamaal Williams (178) – It’s all about Aaron Jones and maybe A.J. Dillon now in the Green Bay backfield fantasy-wise.

Round 16: Rashaad Penny (190) – The signing of Carlos Hyde was a clear signal that the Seahawks don’t intend to count on Penny coming back for significant work any time soon.

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