Draft Tips

Who Not to Draft In Every Round of Your Fantasy Draft

This is a fairly popular article to write in the weeks leading up to the start of fantasy football draft season, so when I sat down to research our version of this article I had plenty of sample articles to pick through. The issue with most ‘players to avoid’ articles is that they don’t want to be too opinionated and therefore aren’t realistic.

For example, the first three articles I read gave out Cam Newton, Devonta Freeman, and Rob Grondowski as players to avoid in the first round. I have seen Gronk go in the first round, but if you aren’t in a PPR, he’s not a terrible pick at 12. The other two players generally aren’t going in the first so right off the bat the article is useless.

We are setting out to give you an article you can actually bookmark, print, save, whatever and use for your draft. We will give you a player or group of players to avoid in the front and back half of each round based on actual mock drafts we did on Fantasy Football Calculator. Over half the picks in every fantasy football draft are busts. Once you get into the later rounds, you will see 6-8 picks per round that don’t work out. Let’s try and fix that.

round 1

Round 1

First Half

If you are lucky enough to draft in the first half of the first round of your draft, I would prefer to get one of the top 3 receivers. Bell may have more upside than Julio, but Julio comes with very little risk. He’s only missed one game in the last two seasons and has averaged 184 targets/year over that stretch. I would suggest that the order this draft went 1-6 is the correct order.  I would not get cute and draft Miller, Johnson, or Elliott up here.

Second Half

I want none of Miller and Elliott here. Our overall PPR rankings 7-12 go Johnson, Bryant, Green, Peterson, Nelson, Gronk. Miller and Elliott are okay as your RB1, but I would only take them in round 2 after I locked in Dez, AJ, or Jordy.


Round 2

First Half

You are getting solid value with the WR’s and TE’s in this first half of round. I’m not taking Doug Martin or Eddie Lacy in the first half of round 2, and would much rather have Keenan Allen or even Mike Evans here. Lacy in a contract year locks him in as a decent pick in the back-half of the second round, but he wasn’t even the best RB on his team last season, and on the year had 4 sub-10 yard rushing games and 8 sub-40 yard games. Speaking of inconsistency, Martin had a monster 235 yard game at Philly, but that was the only game after week 7 that he broke 100 yards. If he gave you anything in the passing game that might be okay, but he only had 15 catches for under 100 yards over that stretch.

Second Half

I mentioned in the intro that Freeman was being overdrafted, and even at 24 I think it’s too high. He’s not the best running back in Atlanta, and they know it. So, to start the season he’s losing drives to Coleman, but we think he will eventually lose early-down work altogether. You can draft Freeman in the second, or Coleman in the 5th or 6th… which would you chose? I would take Mark Ingram, Brandon Marshall, or even Demaryius Thomas instead.


Round 3

First Half

This is way too early for Thomas Rawls to come off the board, especially if you are in a PPR league. He has zero value as a pass catcher (9 rec on the season in 2015), the Seattle offensive line is a dumpster fire, and there are durability concerns with him as well. I’m taking Ingram, Marshall, McCoy, or even one of the RB’s we passed on in round 2 over Rawls this early in round 2.

Second Half

This is too early to take a chance on Kelvin Benjamin. He wouldn’t even be on our radar here. In the back half of round 3 we are targeting T.Y. Hilton, C.J. Anderson, Sammy Watkins, Matt Forte, or Jarvis Landry. We want a player that can provide guaranteed production in round 3. Benjamin is a solid pick in the middle to late 4th, but you can’t take risks with your 3rd pick, you need a guy that can start every week.


Round 4

First Half

You know how we feel about taking quarterbacks this early. There was a 1-2 PPG difference between the #2 QB and #9 QB last season, and despite  Carolina having an insanely easy schedule every year, we don’t think Cam can repeat what he did last season. I would much rather draft Cobb, Decker, or Edelman here and draft Eli Manning in the 9th and Marcus Mariota in the 13th and play matchups all season.

Second Half

I’m higher than most on Jeremy Langford, but see him as being a value pick in the middle of the 5th round. The guy I likely wouldn’t take here is DeMarco Murray. I’m not sure he can hold of Henry, and McCluster is guaranteed 3rd down and passing down work so there is little PPR value if any with Murray. Players I would draft here instead include Duke Johnson, Golden Tate, and Jeremy Maclin.  Keep in mind from last season’s fantasy draft, the players that are hits in rounds 4 and 5 were almost exclusively guys that were WR1’s for their teams: DeAndre Hopkins, Julian Edelman, Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins…


Round 5

First Half

Always keep value in the back of your mind throughout your draft… Maybe you think you need an RB here, but is the next guy on your RB rankings a value for this round of the draft? In terms of value, I don’t have a problem with any of the picks in the first half of the round other than Ben. Again, there is no value in drafting a QB here. I like Jordan Reed, but you had better draft a backup early because he has only started 70% of the games over his career, and I seriously question his desire to play as it’s often small injuries that will keep him out of games. Keep in mind he just got paid (5/45) so the contract year has come and gone.

Second Half

I have no issue with the 5 RB’s taken in the back half of this round. Where you start to get into trouble is when Fleener, Eifert, and Walker sneak up into the back half of round 5. It didn’t happen here, but I have seen other drafts where 5 of the top 7 TE’s are off the board by the end of round 5. I would do several mock drafts have players tiered into rounds, and force yourself to stick to those tiers to ensure that you don’t fall into the trap of taking a player because the other owners in your league are making a run on them.


Round 6

First Half

I’m a huge Fitz fan, but you have to take Floyd ahead of him. When looking at both player’s numbers from last season, keep in mind Floyd had a broken hand at the start of the season. A pretty significant injury for a wide receiver. Once he was back and healthy his production went crazy and Fitz disappeared. Over the next 7 games Floyd went over 100 yards 5 times with 6 touchdowns. Over the same stretch Larry went over 100 yards just once with only one touchdown. Larry is a late 7th round receiver in this year’s draft.

Second Half

The second half of round 6 is prime example of why, if you see a QB/TE run in your league, you fade the hell out of it. Sandwiched in between 3 QB picks and 2 TE picks is Duke Johnson. The difference between Drew Brees and Stafford/Manning/Rivers was less than a point per game. Kelce and Eifert are top 5 tight ends, but picking them this early locks you into starting them every week. The value here is Duke Johnson, or Donte Moncrief, or Jordan Matthews. Duke is a 3 down running back in a Hue Jackson offense. He’s a high end RB2,  that you are picking up in the back half of the 6th round as your RB3. Even if it doesn’t work out, I think you are better off for not locking yourself into one QB or TE and having the flexibility to play matchups at those positions.


Round 7

First Half

Overall, round 7 was prety well drafted. Now is the time to put TE’s and QB’s back on your board, but to focus on players with guaranteed roles. With that in mind, I’m not taking Gio Bernard in the first half. Very little early down work, no goal line work, and there were backs on the board that got both. I like all of the receivers that went in this round, and would even reach on Marvin Jones or Michael Crabtree before drafting Bernard. If you are looking to add a RB here, Rashad Jennings is a value pick in the front half of round 7.

Second Half

This was a PPR draft, so Melvin Gordon should not come off the board before Danny Woodhead. Woodhead is one of those players that are hard to get excited about, but will win you your league as a RB3 or RB4. It’s so valuable to get a guy late in the 7th that can get you 80/800/6 as a receiver. If you just played pass-friendly, tempo-friendly matchups with him last season, you started him 11 times and he gave you 16+ PPG in those starts. He’s a no-brainer this late in the draft, especially if you are in a PPR/Flex league.


Round 8

First Half

I have no problem drafting ‘handcuffs’ this early in the draft, if they are the right ones. The Williams bros are not the right ones. I prefer both Tevin Coleman (huge value this late) and Charles Sims over both guys. Sims has huge PPR upside, and we already made the argument for Coleman becoming the starting RB in a Shanahan system by the end of the season. Williams and Williams would need an injury to become relevant, and would force you into the week in week out headache of deciding whether or not you should even drop them.

Second Half

Kevin White is a freak athlete with amazing ball skills, but I can’t vouch for him here. Again, give me a guaranteed role when I can get it. The Lions see Marvin Jones as their WR1 and he was still on the board, WR1’s get 11 targets per game in Marc Trestman’s system so Steve Smith makes more sense, Sterling Shepard takes over Reuben Randle’s role in McAdoo’s system, Willie Snead is the top outside receiver in New Orleans… It’s too early to gamble on White. I like him late in in the 9th early in the 10th, but there is too much value available to take him here.


Round 9

First Half

Eli in the 9th is great value. Great system, great tempo, talent around him, will average 19 PPG and you’re getting him a full 5 rounds later… Do not draft a defense or kicker prior to round 13. Seriously. Don’t be that guy. The Denver defense was off-the-charts good last season, but still only averaged 2 PPG more than the 5th best defense.

Second Half

The Titans want to avoid throwing the ball at all costs so drafting their number 3 option in the passing game in the 9th round isn’t that appealing to me. I’m targeting guys with large roles in their team’s offense here: see Corey Coleman and Tavon Austin.


Round 10

First Half

Round 10 isn’t way too early for Jimmy Graham, but he’s gone early in the 8th in a lot of drafts I’ve done and that’s crazy. He tore his pateller tendon last season, was already a declining talent, and his role in the offense was minuscule pre-injury. If you are drafting tight end early in the 10th, I would target Zach Ertz, Ladarius Green, or Dwayne Allen.

Second Half

Diggs and Treadwell are prime examples of love the player, hate the role. Teddy is yet to make a consistent fantasy player out of any of his receivers. With another talented weapon added to the mix, it only further muddles the situation. That being said, it’s time for the Vikings to start handing the team over to Bridgewater and we could see them be a little more pass-heavy this season. Even so, there are too many mouths to feed in Minnesota. You know where there is only one mouth to feed and a proven system to do so? San Francisco. Quick, name a 49ers receiver other than Torrey Smith. Smith could see a ton of targets in Chip Kelly’s system, and is a legit late round sleeper.

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