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Fantasy Football: Player to avoid for every round in 2021 drafts

Nov 12, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL preseason is complete and fantasy drafts are in full swing. Earlier this week, I identified players who I’m targeting in every round of fantasy drafts. In this article, I’ve compiled the players I find myself avoiding the most often in drafts over the past couple weeks, separated by the round in which they’re usually taken. 

These players' ADPs are pulled from Underdog Fanatsy’s half-PPR best-ball drafts, which I contrast with my half-PPR rankings to find the players with the lowest value in each round through Round 7, after which the stakes become much lower.

 

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Round 1

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry

Underdog ADP: 4.6, My ranking: 9

Henry has made many disbelievers perish over the last couple of years, so I can understand why he’s routinely taken as a top-five pick, even in PPR formats. Henry has the highest locked-in rushing usage in the NFL, but his lack of passing game work confines his upside.

Henry’s 378 carries in 2020 were the most for any running back since DeMarco Murray rushed the ball 393 times in 2014. And it wasn’t the most by a little, as Henry carried the ball nearly 50 times more than any running back from 2015-2020. Henry didn’t just have volume in 2020, as he also combined it with strong efficiency, scoring 17 rushing touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. 

But even with his outlier rushing value, Henry’s half-PPR scoring output last season only ranked eighth during the same period. Even when everything that could possibly go right for Henry does, he’s still unlikely to be the overall RB1 at the end of the season in half-PPR and full-PPR formats. I’d rather draft the consensus WR1, Davante Adams, when drafting in the 4-6 spot.

Round 2

Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb

Underdog ADP: 15.0, My ranking: 26

The case against Chubb is similar to that against Henry, as impediments to receiving work are combined with concerns regarding elite rushing volume. Chubb finished as the RB7 in points per game last season because he averaged a touchdown per game and 5.6 yards per carry. The Browns will likely be a run-heavy team relative to the league as a whole, but it’s doubtful we see another 50/50 split between runs and passes this season.

Chubb is the RB9 right now, which will be difficult to outperform even if everything goes right. There are multiple backs with strong three-down roles, such as Najee Harris, normally available after Chubb in the second round.

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