Knowing who to draft in your fantasy football leagues is crucial. I’d argue, however, that knowing who not to draft is even more critical. As the adage goes: “you can’t win your draft in the early rounds, but you can lose it.”
Let’s avoid that mistake, shall we? Here’s one player at each position to steer clear of as you look to dominate your draft.
QB: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP: QB1, 14th overall)
“What? Jon! Preposterous! Erroneous! Downright tomfoolery! How could you slander the baby GOAT like this?”
Okay, stop it. I love Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs‘ quarterback is already on a Hall of Fame trajectory after only four seasons in the NFL, which is absurd. He has the best weapons at his disposal of any quarterback in the league, and has arguably the best arm talent the game has ever seen.
I’m still not drafting him in redraft leagues.
Mahomes is currently being drafted as the first quarterback off the board and with the 14th overall pick, meaning you have to spend an early second round selection to draft this quarterback. Do not do that.
Mahomes averaged 25.4 fantasy points per game last season, compared to the Tennessee Titans’ Ryan Tannehill’s 21.9. Mahomes will cost you the 14th overall selection, whereas you can get Tannehill (who added all-time great wide receiver Julio Jones) as the 10th quarterback with an ADP of 82nd overall. Why?
That second round selection would be much more wisely spent solidifying your running back core than taking the first quarterback so early.
RB: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (ADP: RB3, 3rd overall)
That’s right, third overall. That’s a top-tier draft selection where you should be drafting a locked-and-loaded elite asset that you can rely on weekly. As much talent as Kamara has, he shouldn’t come off the board with a top-three selection in 2021 with the retirement of quarterback Drew Brees.
Brees targeted his running back position in the passing game on 28% of his throws over the last four years. We’re now tasked with sorting out the New Orleans Saints quarterback battle between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. If Jameis is the quarterback, he tends to push the ball more down the field. Kamara will still be utilized heavily in the game plan as the best playmaker on his team with wide receiver Michael Thomas slated to miss time, but it’s fair to worry about the offense as a whole.
Scoring opportunities matters, and this offense should be expected to score less points with a change at quarterback. Kamara finished as the RB2 last season on the back of 21 scrimmage touchdowns — but six of them came in one absurd Christmas Day game. Kamara’s being drafted at his absolute ceiling.
WR: Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP: WR16, 37th overall)
Speaking of unstable touchdown efficiency, enter Mike Evans and his career-high 13 receiving touchdowns that he posted last season. He did so on a career low in targets, despite fellow wide receiver Chris Godwin playing in only 12 games and Antonio Brown not joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until halfway through the season.
In 2020, Evans topped 100 receiving yards just four times. Those four games were only four games of the season that he logged more than the 77 receiving yards he had in Week 10. He had the weirdest fantasy football stat lines imaginable in Week 1 and Week 3, posting one reception for two yards and a touchdown in Week 1, followed by two receptions for two yards and two touchdowns in Week 3.
His touchdown numbers propped up his WR11 finish. He’s going as the WR16, but it feels like a bubble that’s sure to pop. With a healthy Godwin, Antonio Brown for the entire season, and the addition of pass-catching running back Giovani Bernard, Evans will struggle to top 100 targets. Add the increased workload of Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette taking goal line touches, and Evans will fall short of 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career while also seeing a dramatic decline in touchdowns.
No thank you.
TE: Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP: TE7, 81st overall)
What are we doing here? Last year’s TE10 in fantasy points per game is going as TE7 and his situation got worse. It was long expected that Zach Ertz would be on the move this offseason, but he’s not. Philadelphia added first-round wide receiver DeVonta Smith, second-year receiver and last year’s first round pick Jalen Reagor is having a great camp, as is last year’s sixth-rounder Quez Watkins. Goedert only had three touchdowns last season.
If you’re looking for a mid-round tight end that could make a leap, it doesn’t look like Goedert is it. Noah Fant, Logan Thomas, Robert Tonyan, Irv Smith Jr., Mike Gesicki, and Jonnu Smith are all going after Goedert, and all of them should be considered ahead of him.
Draft wisely, my friends. As Coach Eric Taylor from Friday Night Lights so infamously said — clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.