• Some of the most famous names in the NFL are no longer worth drafting in fantasy football for 2019.
By Dr. Roto
August 14, 2019

In fantasy baseball, I often like drafting veteran players who still produce numbers even though they rarely are appreciated by fantasy owners. However, fantasy football is an entirely different beast. My philosophy is quite different regarding the NFL. I try to avoid veteran players when I think the arrow is pointing down. The trick is to figure out the right time to divest any shares of these veteran players. 

Many of the players listed below will still get drafted by owners who remember the days of yore. That would be a huge mistake—possibly great enough to cost you a fantasy championship.


Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (ADP: 169

It pains me to call a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback a fantasy bust, but that is exactly what I think will happen with Brees in 2019. If you watch film from last year, you can see that his arm strength is waning. Brees had fewer passing attempts (489) in 2018 than at any other point in his career. 

Without looking, do you know off the top of your head how many passing yards Brees had last season? The number was a shocking 3,992. In a time where 4,000-plus passing yards seems normal, Brees is falling short. In fairness to Brees (and the Saints), he is still probably one of the best “reality” quarterbacks in the NFL. However, the game that we are playing is fantasy and not reality.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots (ADP: 240)

It may seem shocking, but high-stakes players are not drafting Brady until the final rounds this season. While Brady might be the GOAT in real football, the high-stakes players are correct that Brady is not one of the better quarterbacks in fantasy football. The Patriots have turned into a run-first team and Brady is no longer a threat to wing it down the field as he did in the old days.

Last year, Brady only threw for over 300 passing yards in four regular season games. In a time where Patrick Mahomes is putting up video-arcade-like numbers, Brady’s numbers seem pedestrian. Let someone else in your league draft Brady—it will probably be the same guy who is wearing a Members Only jacket.

Running Backs

LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills (ADP: 126)

I promise you that I will have zero shares of McCoy this season. No matter what the Buffalo Bills say. There are too many mouths to feed in the Bills’ backfield (including Frank Gore and third-round rookie Devin Singletary) to risk taking McCoy with an early pick. The only way I would even consider drafting him is if I handcuffed him with Singletary later in drafts, but then I would be upset because owning two Bills’ RBs might be two too many.

Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins (ADP: 144)

To our credit, fantasy football owners are very loyal. We love the players who helped us win championships and we often redraft them seasons later, focusing on the good times. Adrian Peterson had a terrific comeback year in 2018 for the Redskins, filling in nicely for Derrius Guice after the rookie suffered a season-ending injury. However, Guice is expected back this season and AD is going to see his role in the offense diminish. Add to the fact that OL Trent Williams may be traded and there might be minimal running room found in Washington’s backfield.

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (ADP: 162)

Bernard is in the last year of his deal with the Bengals, and it is obvious that the franchise is planning for life without the 27-year-old back. Cincinnati selected two running backs in the 2019 draft; they picked Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson. Bernard had a so-so run with the Bengals, but he never proved to be durable enough to handle significant touches. Now with Joe Mixon getting the bulk of the carries, I can’t imagine Bernard having any real fantasy value at all. Guys like Bernard are waiver wire fodder and only really useful on the occasional bye week.

Wide Receivers

Golden Tate, New York Giants (ADP: 101)

Just because the Giants overspent on Tate doesn’t mean that fantasy owners should follow the G-Men’s footsteps. Tate was a mainstay in the Lions’ offense until last year, when they shipped him to Philadelphia. Tate only played in seven games with Detroit before being traded and was supplanted as the WR1 by Kenny Golladay. This year, Tate will miss the first four games of the season due to suspension. When he returns, he will be catching passes either from an aging Eli Manning or rookie Daniel Jones. Neither option seems to be a good one for Tate’s fantasy success and I encourage you not to waste a middle-round pick on the 31-year-old receiver.

Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons (ADP: 145)

I want to say that drafting Sanu is like kissing your sister, but I think drafting him is more like kissing your second cousin twice removed. Sanu was once a bigger part of the Falcons’ offensive scheme, but now with WR Calvin Ridley on board and TE Austin Hooper playing a bigger role, Sanu is an afterthought in this offense. Still, fantasy owners utter his name with pride somewhere between the 17th and 19th round, thinking they are getting good value. I would much rather take a young player like Hunter Renfrow or Jake Kumerow than Sanu at that point of a draft.

Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys (ADP: 208)

Cobb goes from playing with one of the most accurate passers in the NFL (Aaron Rodgers) to playing with one of the most inaccurate (Dak Prescott). Add the fact that the Cowboys want to be a run-first team, and there seems to be little chance that Cobb has a successful tenure in Dallas. Dallas brought Cobb to town to replace Cole Beasley, but creating a connection with Prescott takes time. I am just not sure that Cobb will have enough time in training camp to earn the quarterback’s trust. 

Tight Ends

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (ADP: 157)

Not in a box. Not with a fox. Not in a house. Not with a mouse. I would not draft Reed here or there. I would not draft Reed anywhere. Between his injury history, the bad quarterback play and the porous offensive line, Reed will not be on any of my teams this season.

Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers (ADP: 180)

I promise you that the person who drafts Jimmy Graham in your league is going to say something like, “He’s playing with Aaron Rodgers and I think we are going to see the old Graham back.” No, we are not. Graham has struggled the past few seasons and at 33 years old, it seems like the game has caught up to him. The Packers have some good young receivers, and let’s not forget that the Packers added Jace Sternberger in this year’s draft to be their tight end of the future. Clearly, Green Bay knows that Graham’s time in the NFL is winding down. New coach Matt LaFleur never ran a tight end-friendly offense in Los Angeles or Tennessee anyway. All in all, Graham might be acceptable in standard leagues, but in PPR formats, I think there are much better options to own late in drafts such as T.J. Hockenson or Darren Waller. Fade Graham at all costs in 2019.

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