16 Players to Avoid in Fantasy for 2020

Part of fantasy success is knowing who to draft, as well as who NOT to draft. SI Fantasy analyst Matt De Lima goes through 16 candidates that he’ll be looking to avoid this year based on their average draft position.
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Quarterbacks to Avoid

QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Always, and I mean always, wait on a QB (if you are playing in a 2QB or superflex league, you should already know this doesn’t apply to you).

There is not enough of a point difference between the QB1 and QB12. Put another way, you don’t gain enough of a point differential at the QB position to justify reaching for them. In your run-of-the-mill, casual league with your old high school buddies who don’t know how to play, you are more likely to see an earlyish QB run on draft day.

It’s understandable when the first QB comes off the board, fans start itching for one too. Lamar Jackson had a crazy 2019 and Patrick Mahomes had a filthy 2018. However, the depth required at RB and WR on top of injuries and bye weeks means you gain more by having a well-stocked cupboard at those positions. Furthermore, neither of these guys was one of the top five QBs drafted the year they broke out, further illustrating the value in waiting.

Running Backs to Avoid

RB Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

I’ll be the first to tell you that the Pack is drifting toward a more balanced offense. In 2018, Green Bay ran 333 times and attempted 640 passes. In 2019, it was a 411 to 573 split, leading to a ranking of 15th in rushing yards. Far from a juggernaut on the ground, but again, I view this as the beginning of a trend under head coach Matt LaFleur.

But wait a second, if they’re going to be running it more, why would you avoid Aaron Jones?

The 25-year old had 19 TDs last year. It’s far from the greatest total of all-time (31 for RB LaDainian Tomlinson back in 2006), but it’s definitely up there (tied for 30th all-time). Touchdown totals are one of the hardest things to replicate year-to-year. Considering Green Bay brought in bulky rookie back A.J. Dillon out of Boston College (6-foot, 247 pounds), I can safely assume they want someone to smash it in.

Packers reporter Bill Huber highlighted a quote from Brian White, Dillon’s RB coach in college:

“He understands that he’s going to have to keep his weight where it needs to be. He’s very conscious of that,” said Brian White, his running backs coach at Boston College and now the running backs coach at Colorado State. “He had 5 percent body fat, so I’d say he knows how to take care of his body really well. It was incredible. He came in lean at 10 or 11 percent and worked with our strength and conditioning coaches to get down to 5 percent, which is just insane.”

Add Dillon to the mix with Jones and Jamaal Williams, and I think the Packers would be wise to rotate a bit and lean toward Dillon near the goal-line. Jones is still a top back, I probably just won’t land him since he would need to fall at least a round to grab my attention.

RB Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts

Quality, first-round running backs typically can come in right away and make an impact. Lukewarm, middling backs need a year (or longer) to hit their stride. Mack has been a good but not great back in each of the last two seasons. Before the 2020 NFL Draft, I’d have been happy to have him as my RB2 and would’ve ranked him just outside the Top 50 in PPR overall ranks. Now? You’ll find his replacement, rookie RB Jonathan Taylor in such a spot. I believe Mack plays a role in this offense, I just don’t believe he has the receiving chops necessary to stay on the field reliably. Mack’s career-high in receptions is 21 (2017, his rookie year) while tallying 14 last season (one per game). I’d much rather have Matt Brieda, Tarik Cohen or Alexander Mattison who are going in a similar range.

Wide Receivers to Avoid

WR DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins

In his first four years, DeVante Parker time and time again disappointed all of us. What I would describe my feelings towards him as a player can only be described as, “butthurt.” That’s what the kids say these days.

In Year 5, Parker finally put it together for a 72-1,202-9 season, ranking him the WR11 in 2019 PPR leagues.

Some may view Parker as a value. After all, he’s being drafted as the WR25 and he easily outpaced that last season. However, it appears fantasy players are correctly are choosing to remember his history more than his flash in the pan, just as I outlined in my article highlighting Miami’s No. 2 WR Preston Williams.

WR Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

In his first three seasons, Odell Beckham Jr. averaged 96 receptions, 1,374 yards and 11.7 TDs per season. That’s about 21.2 fantasy points per game. In the three years since, he is averaging 15.4 FPPG. In 2015, he had the same number of TDs as he has in the last three years (13). His 12.4 FPPG in 2019 ranked him 34th among WRs.

Right now Beckham is being drafted around Pick 33 as the 11th receiver off the board. Like Parker, fantasy fans are remembering the past. In the case of Parker, I explained why he was a fluke. For Beckham, the argument is simply that his time has already come and gone. I don’t know what happened, maybe Josh Norman got in his head.

I think we could even see a significant bounce-back for QB Baker Mayfield in 2020, yet the expectations for OBJ are just too costly in draft capital.

Tight Ends to Avoid

TE Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I love the idea of Gronk. I love the energy, the youthful exuberance. I love the smashing style after he gets the ball in his hands. Unfortunately, I think Rob Gronkowski already showed that there is quit in him. I’m not saying this to belittle him because he’s already tougher than probably 99-percent of us. It just goes to show how much absolute torture he puts his body through when he plays the game.

Between Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Ronald Jones and some mix of O.J. Howard & Cameron Brate, I simply can’t justify selecting Gronk as the eighth TE drafted. The tight end position is already one where I’m either looking to get a first-tier option at a very slight value or I’m near-fading the position.

Remember, in his final season, Gronkowski finished with 47 receptions for 682 yards and three touchdowns. And yes that was with the Patriots and Brady as his quarterback. I’m sure all those injuries are behind him but it only takes one good hit in the back, one shot to the collar bone, one helmet-to-helmet, ear-ringing blow to remind Gronk that, “Oh yeah, I remember why I retired now!”

More Players I’m Avoiding

QB Kyler Murray (ADP too high on short resume)

QB Cam Newton (Diva playing for Bill Belichick? No thanks)

QB Ryan Tannehill (20 passing attempts per game ain’t gonna cut it)

RB Josh Jacobs (We all have trust issues with Raiders)

RB Sony Michel (Pats consistently unpredictable RB rotation)

WR Adam Thielen (WRs break down fast and 2019 scares me)

WR Will Fuller (Too many injuries)

TE Darren Waller (ADP too high at high-volatility position)

TE Jonnu Smith (See Ryan Tannehill)