News & Analysis

10 fantasy football options to avoid drafting in the first five rounds

The 2020 fantasy football draft season is just around the corner, but drafts are already underway. A lot is going to change between now and late-August, but we can use ADP from these early drafts to analyze how things are unfolding. Often, what we see now will give us an indication of how things will unfold when our drafts roll around, especially in the early rounds. So, given the current data, here are 10 players to avoid at their current ADP in the first five rounds of your fantasy football drafts.

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Aaron Jones – ADP 1.12 (12th overall)

Of all the players currently going in the first round, Jones comes with the most risk. Sure, he was off-the-charts efficient last season, but that also means we could be in store for some heavy regression, especially in the touchdown department. To make matters worse, the Packers have seemingly found reasons to limit Jones nearly every step of the way in his pro career. For the most part, that’s meant more Jamaal Williams than Jones owners wanted to see. But we also need to account for Green Bay’s Round 2 selection of A.J. Dillion in April’s draft. While Dillon doesn’t figure to have a large role in the immediate future, picking a running back that early typically doesn’t bode well for the incumbent in today’s NFL.

Joe Mixon – ADP 2.03 (15th overall)

This is not a knock on Mixon whatsoever. He was fantastic down the stretch last season and figures to be in a much better situation with Joe Burrow under center. The problem here is the looming potential that Mixon could hold out. If that happens and the holdout lasts into the season, Mixon’s current price tag is just too high. 

Lamar Jackson – ADP 2.08 (20th overall)

Here’s another one where the recommendation to avoid is not a reflection on the player. Jackson is coming off an unbelievably good fantasy season. He’s amazing. But there is no quarterback out there who is worth this early of a pick in the modern era of fantasy football. Jackson himself is a prime example of why that is true. Last year, he was the No. 11 quarterback selected in drafts, which meant you could likely still get him in the 10th round. While you may not be able to find a historically good option in the later rounds of your draft, the depth at the position still suggests you’re going to get vastly superior value at the position by waiting.

Amari Cooper – ADP 3.03 (27th overall)

While he managed to resurrect his fantasy value in Dallas, Cooper is being overvalued by the drafting public right now. He’s currently the No. 9 wideout off the board, which is way too high given the fact that Dallas drafted an extra premium mouth to feed in the passing game in CeeDee Lamb. With Lamb eating into Cooper's share and Michael Gallup commanding a sizeable chunk of the work, Cooper is going at least a round-and-a-half too early right now.

Le’Veon Bell – ADP 3.10 (34th overall)

This one was surprising, especially given Bell’s performance last season. However, it could also be a statement on how quickly the top end of running back dries up in drafts. Regardless, Bell’s poor efficiency along with the presence of the immortal Frank Gore in the Jets backfield is just too much to consider drafting him in this range.

Courtland Sutton – ADP 4.05 (41st overall)

Like Amari Cooper, the drafting public may not be factoring in the impact of the NFL draft with Sutton. There’s no doubt he’s coming off a breakout year, but the Broncos now suddenly have a lot of mouths to feed with the additions of Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler. While Sutton is still poised to be the top target in Denver, we can’t necessarily guarantee enough volume to feel confident in picking him here.

Devin Singletary – ADP 4.09 (45th overall)

With Buffalo seemingly dead set on running a committee in the backfield, it’s tough to get behind Singletary as an early-round target. Last year, we saw the Bills lean on a full-blown platoon with Singletary and Frank Gore. While Gore is out of the mix, Buffalo essentially drafted his replacement in Zack Moss. This backfield could prove to be very frustrating for anyone expecting more than inconsistent fringe RB2 production from Singletary. 

James Conner – ADP 4.11 (47th overall)

Many of us have fond memories of Conner for what he did during the Le’Veon Bell holdout in 2018. But we also need to remember what he did (or didn’t) do last season. Conner missed time due to injury yet again and saw his efficiency drop off a cliff. Sure, getting Ben Roethlisberger back will help the Steelers offense as a whole, but the fact that Benny Snell looked better than Conner down the stretch doesn’t bode well even in this draft spot.

Kyler Murray – ADP 5.06 (54th overall)

There’s no denying Kyler Murray’s upside, especially with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins. But it’s fair to wonder if we’re overvaluing him. Murray is currently the third quarterback off the board, and he's going ahead of much more proven fantasy commodities in Dak Prescott and DeShaun Watson. Every year we see hype candidates fail to live up to expectations. While I don’t think Murray is this year’s version of 2019 Baker Mayfield, I also don’t think he’s worth picking this early. And that’s especially true when you consider the fact that you’ll have plenty of quality quarterback options in the late rounds of your drafts.

Raheem Mostert – ADP 5.12 (60th overall)

He was one of the best backs down the stretch last season, but I don’t think it’s safe to assume that Mostert leads the 49ers' backfield throughout this upcoming season. While Matt Breida is out of the mix, Mostert still has stablemates in Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon. Coleman was the early leader in the 49ers’ backfield last season, but his role faded as he battled injuries down the stretch. There’s certainly a chance that Kyle Shanahan goes back to the well and uses Coleman as the lead early-down back. Likewise, we really don’t know how the team plans to use McKinnon. Given the uncertainly, it’s best to exercise caution with Mostert. 

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