I admit that there are different levels of duds. There are the Le'Veon Bell's where we think he's going to play, draft him, and then he doesn't ever get onto the field. Then there are the Joe Mixon's who do alright but fail to live up to our draft expectations. This is a look at players this year who I think will not live up to their draft expectations.
Hopkins is coming off three straight seasons of 1,000+ yards receiving where he averaged 162 targets per season. With Watson under center, he was on the receiving end of nearly 30% of the team's targets. This becomes an excercise in supply and demand. Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk combined for 217 targets last year. The running back trio of David Johnson, Kenyan Drake, and Chase Edmonds consumed 103 more. If we assume that Kyler Murray still throws 542 times (9th-most last year), Hopkins is going to need to maintain that target share and maybe increase it. That could be very difficult on a new team with a new cast. We would also have to assume that the Cardinals won't run it more, but when Drake hit his stride at the end of last season, Arizona ran the ball six more times each game. That's six plays that aren't going to turn into targets for Hopkins.
In the Fantasy Football Nerd ADP, Hopkins is now being taken at the start of the second round. That's still the 4th WR off the board. If I'm picking at the turn, I would rather take Nick Chubb, Tyreek Hill, or Julio Jones. They have fewer question marks. Hopkins will still produce fantasy points, but I'm not convinced that he's a first round pick any longer.
The writing is on the wall for Fournette in Jacksonville. The Jaguars tried to trade him with no luck. They declined his fifth-year option. They brought over Chris Thompson who has a history of catching passes in a Jay Gruden offense. This is Fournette's last season in Jacksonville. With everything going for him last season, he finished as the 13th-best fantasy running back. That was a career year for him, and depending upon how Jacksonville chooses to use him, it may be tough to come close to those numbers this year. Fournette should still be your RB2 or a really strong flex option, but taking him in the third round might be a round too early.
Odell Beckham Jr.
This one could go either way. Either Beckham becomes this year's bounce back candidate, or he turns in a similar year to last season. His projections say that 2020 will likely look just like 2019. He struggled through a core-muscle injury last season while playing in a new offense. The Browns are going to be a run-first team if Kevin Stefanski has anything to say about it. They also just happen to have a talented WR named Jarvis Landry and just added TE Austin Hooper. This rounds out a cast of players including Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and David Njoku. That's a lot of target-hungry players. If you are drafting OBJ early and expecting the guy to produce at WR1 numbers, it just isn't going to happen. Based on his ADP, he's easily going a round or two earlier than he should based upon expected production.
The biggest offseason news this year came out of Tampa Bay with future Hall of Famer Tom Brady leaving New England for the much warmer climate of the bay. With that move came the unretirement of Rob Gronkowski. Someone in your league is going to draft Gronk but where should he go? From a positive perspective, he does have great rapport with Brady. That should help, but there are a lot of concerns that I have with Gronk this year. First, he didn't play at all last year, and the year before that was a bust (47 catches for 682 yards and just 3 touchdowns). We all drafted him to be better than that. With Gronkowski, you have to assume he's going to miss some games. He hasn't played a full season in almost a decade. He is also coming into a team that has so much more superstar talent than what he had to compete with when we last saw him on the field. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are the best WR duo in the NFL. His current ADP has him going in the sixth round. That's too expensive. There are a lot of great players who carry much less risk available to you in the sixth round. Choose one of them.
Gordon should be the top RB in Denver but he's going to have to share time with Phillip Lindsay. He also has Drew Lock under center which doesn't bode well for adding to his reception count. Over his five year career, he hasn't been the most productive or efficient running back either. He needs a lot of carries to be productive. The only time he has rushed for over 1,000 yards was in 2017 and it required 284 carries to do so. Whether Lindsay gets close to the rumored 50/50 share, it would seem very difficult for him to get those kinds of touches especially in a new offense that he's learning virtually. He can still be a good fantasy running back though. As we get closer to the season, hopefully Melvin Gordon's ADP will drop a little. Right now he's being drafted in the third round. If you can get him a round later, that may prove to be a great pick.
AJ Green was a wasted pick last year. He was going to come back and then he wasn't. His toe injury kept him off the field for the entire season. The problem with Green is not his talent. He has plenty of that. His problem is risk. He'll be 32 years old when the season starts with a history of lower-body injuries. He's no longer an elite WR. With the potential for a game or two where he shines, he's likely to end the season as an average WR. Would it really be a surprise to see Joe Burrow target Tyler Boyd as his #1 WR? The Bengals have one of the most difficult schedules this year. If you draft Green to be your WR1 or WR2, I think you're going to be disappointed. If you have him as a WR3 or matchup-play, that is probably more realistic.
For the past few seasons, it would be unthinkable that Aaron Rodgers wouldn't be one of the top three quarterbacks drafted in fantasy. This year he may not crack the Top 12. He barely clipped 4,000 yards last year and is projected for under that in 2020. Besides Davante Adams, the Packers don't have any real weapons at receiver. If Adams gets hurt, there just isn't any fantasy depth there to help the passing game. It would seem reasonable to expect the Packers to run a bit more this year behind Aaron Jones, Jamaaal Williams, and recently drafted A.J. Dillon. What I like about Aaron Rodgers is that you can never count him out. He could still finish as a Top 10 guy but drafting him early would be a mistake.
Fresh off being 2018's fantasy bust of the year, Le'Veon Bell turned 2019 into a sobering year. While he got paid, he also turned in the worst season of his career. He managed an awful 3.2 yards per carry and tied his career low in rushing touchdowns. The Jets should have a better offensive line this year and that should help. For Bell to be successful here, he will need touches and a lot of them. That might be difficult given that he'll have to share some of those touches with Frank Gore and La'Mical Perine, but I still think Bell will see the vast majority. I hope Bell can be a bounce back candidate for 2020 but hope isn't a strategy. If you want Bell, you'll probably have to spend a third round pick on him. If you can wait a round, he'll be a much better value.
Singletary is being drafted as a low-end RB2 and it just seems really difficult to believe that he'll be able to finish at anywhere higher than that. The Bills drafted Zack Moss in the third round, and there is plenty of speculation around how they plan on using him. Whether he's a third-down back, early-down back, or a goal-line runner, he's going to eat into Singletary's touches and redzone targets. Josh Allen led all quarterbacks last year in rushing touchdowns. That alone hurts both Singletary and Moss. Given that the Bills have already said that Moss will take over the role vacated by Frank Gore, Singletary's upside is limited. His ADP is currently in the fourth round. I would feel more comfortable taking him in the sixth.