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Note: We initially published this list two weeks ago. Since then, obviously, things have changed. A few players' situations have improved. Heading into the final draft weekend of the year, here's an updated version of this list.
Would I take a player with a top-60 ADP who makes me ill if he falls to the ninth round? Of course.
But I wouldn't draft him with a smile. Not even with a smirk. I'd probably have to take a deep breath — maybe rub the palms of my hands against my forehead. stare off into space, call my insurance agent, make sure my will is up to date — then take the player.
Value is relative ... and Fantasy Football is a game best played with the brain and not the heart.
With that in mind, these are the twelve guys I don't want to draft at their current Average Draft Positions.
Are you drafting McKinnon or Kyle Shanahan? Shanahan's track record is outstanding. He's made something out of Carlos Hyde, Devonta Freeman, Isaiah Crowell and Alfred Morris. Can McKinnon measure up to those guys? You'd think it wouldn't take much, but McKinnon has averaged below 4.0 yards per carry with 10 total touchdowns in his last 31 games. As a receiver, McKinnon is super -- you can't fault a guy with a 7.4-yard receiving average and a 76.7 percent catch rate. But as his recent calf injury and his career with the Vikings suggests, he just might not be cut out to be a featured back in the NFL. Could he wind up splitting reps with someone else in San Francisco before October ends? That potential scares me out of taking him anywhere in Round 2.
Late August ADP: 24th overall (Round 2)
I'd draft him: 31st - 35th overall (Round 3)
Oops! You drafted him -- now what? Try to get Matt Breida, who is still expected to be the team's No. 2 back despite a preseason shoulder injury. His trade value should be pretty low these days.
It goes without saying that the off-field allegations against McCoy are troubling and could shut down his season real quick. But even his on-field outlook isn't so great. Shady has over 2,200 career carries and over 450 career receptions, putting him in the danger zone of my annual Total Evaluation Number study. He's basically the only gamebreaker in the Bills offense and will take his handoffs from an inexperienced quarterback (whoever it ends up being) behind an offensive line that has three new starters.
McCoy is coming off a career-low 4.0-yard rushing average and has never been in a situation like this before in his career. In order to make good, he would need to improve on his efficiency while enduring his ninth straight year of at least 19 touches per game. Good luck, Shady.
Late August ADP: 23rd overall (Round 2)
I'd draft him: 35th overall (late Round 3/early Round 4)
Oops! You drafted him -- now what? Hopefully you didn't take him too early. If there's a running back-needy team, consider a deal for a player who went in Round 3 plus someone else. Otherwise just ride him out.
Ingram is a guaranteed ZERO for five of the first six weeks of the season (four-game suspension plus a bye). If he was guaranteed a big workload upon his return, this wouldn't mean that much, but such a guarantee doesn't exist. It didn't even exist late last season when, in their final nine games including the playoffs, the Saints gave Ingram an average of 11.7 carries and 3.2 receptions per game. Four of those outings were good for 10-plus Fantasy points and a touchdown was involved in all of them.
Will Ingram devolve into a touchdown-or-bust running back? How many times can he get over 100 total yards if he's losing touches to Kamara? And is it worth spending a Round 5 pick on someone who has this many questions and will barely be available for lineups by Week 7? I can't answer for you, but I know I'll pass on Ingram.
Late August ADP: 56th overall (Round 5)
I'd draft him: 73rd overall (early Round 7)
Oops! You drafted him -- now what? Grab yourself a lunch and a blanket because this will take a while. Cutting him would be pretty stupid. Trading him will probably yield a lower return. You should have known what you were getting into when you drafted him.
What's that old saying? You can take a running back out of New England but you can't take his stats with him. Something like that.
Lewis got paid after playing 16 games and accumulating over 800 yards for the first time in his pro life. He leaves the running-back friendly spot of playing alongside Tom Brady and moves into a backfield next to Marcus Mariota. Not the same thing. Lewis also will split playing time with hulking beast Derrick Henry, which basically removes any chance of him getting a lot of touches inside the 10-yard line. Before last year, Lewis missed parts of each of the previous six seasons and was slow to recover from a 2015 torn ACL and a 2013 fractured leg. Then he strung together a very good 14-game stretch that helped him get paid by the Titans.
To put it simply, Lewis is a high-risk, low-reward Fantasy running back, the kind of player you probably shouldn't draft.
Late August ADP: 69th overall (Round 7)
I'd draft him: After 100th overall (Round 9)
Oops! You drafted him -- now what? Hopefully you're in a PPR league, where he'll have redeeming value. But otherwise you'd better hope he has a nice Week 1 and you trade him ASAP before the Titans take on the Texans, Jaguars and Eagles in Weeks 2 through 4.
In two seasons, Booker has six total touchdowns and two 100-total-yard outings (no 100-yard rushing outbursts) in 29 games. If you think it's too soon to call him a bust, you're probably waiting for Zune to make a comeback. Late August ADP: 128th overall. I'd draft him: 140th overall.
This one pains me. I think Smith-Schuster is a good receiver, especially in the red zone. I love his touchdown celebrations. But I know how the Steelers offense works: Brown one, Le'Veon two, everyone else three. Only once in the Antonio Brown era and only twice in the Ben Roethlisberger era have two Steelers receivers finished inside the top-20. It gets worse -- in 12 games with Brown, Smith-Schuster averaged less than 50 yards per game and had three outings with 10-plus Fantasy points. In three games without Brown, Smith-Schuster was good for over 110 yards per game with at least 11 Fantasy points in each. An offseason knee injury is also worrisome.
I want to be wrong on this one, but it's just hard to believe Smith-Schuster will be a reliable Fantasy receiver so long as Brown is upright.
Late August ADP: 46th overall (Round 4)
I'd draft him: 56th overall (late Round 5)
Oops! You drafted him -- now what? Smith-Schuster is a popular guy, someone will probably give you a player with a Round 4 or 5 ADP for him before the season kicks off.
Thomas has had at least 140 targets each of his last six seasons -- that's hard to overlook. But it's not hard to overlook how his receptions, total yardage, receiving average and touchdowns have declined each of the last four seasons. He enters 2018 with the best quarterback he's played with since 2015, but he also enters with rookie Courtland Sutton pushing for playing time. Sutton, like Thomas, is a big-bodied receiver with good hands. Sutton, unlike Thomas, has speed and a lack of nagging injuries. It seems certain that the Broncos will find ways to get Sutton on the field, making him a potential threat to take targets away from both Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. But at least Sanders offers some versatility and speed -- the 30-year-old Thomas has slowed down (three games with over 100 yards in the last two seasons and three games with over 80 yards last season) and each of his last nine touchdowns have come in the red zone, the same area Sutton can also exploit. Thomas is no longer a No. 1 Fantasy receiver and might struggle to maintain No. 2 receiver value.
Late August ADP: 50th overall (early Round 5)
I'd draft him: 63rd overall (early Round 6)
Oops! You drafted him -- now what? Find yourself Sutton as a kinda-sorta handcuff -- or peep waivers to see if there's another receiver you could snag that has upside in the event Thomas mucks along.
If you still think Garcon will be the top receiver in the 49ers offense, you haven't been paying attention. Marquise Goodwin's improvement is for real and the 49ers should involve a lot of receivers in their game plan. Garcon is a good outside receiver who doesn't have very good speed. Even in PPR formats he's risky as a No. 3 wideout. Late August ADP: 82nd overall. I'd draft him: Around 100th overall.
Funchess impressed the Panthers so much last year that they drafted D.J. Moore in the first round, signed Torrey Smith for some reason, brought back Greg Olsen and drafted tight end Ian Thomas aaaand promised more work for Christian McCaffrey. Without more than half those names on the roster, Funchess averaged 7.8 targets per game without Olsen, 6.1 targets with him. Welcome to TD-or-bust land, Devin! Late August ADP: 100th overall. I'd draft him: Past 120th overall.
Parker has always been hesitant to practice, much less play, when he's hurt. Lo and behold, Parker broke a finger in a mid-August training camp practice. That probably means he won't feel ready to play until the red moon in 2021. I'm tired of waiting for Parker to do something. Late August ADP: 117th overall. I'd draft him: I'm not.
Unless Kirk Cousins unlocks the mystifying secrets that turn Rudolph into a speedy playmaker, this pick will disappoint at current ADP. The very definition of a touchdown-or-bust tight end, Rudolph has 18 games with seven-plus Fantasy points in his last three seasons, notching double-digit numbers 10 times, all thanks to touchdowns.
Only eight times in the past two seasons has Rudolph amassed more than 60 yards (once in 2017) and only once in his entire career (seven years) has Rudolph delivered at least seven Fantasy points without scoring a touchdown. So if you take him, you better hope Cousins tries to find him in the end zone every single week.
Late August ADP: 76th overall (Round 7)
I'd draft him: 98th overall (Round 9)
Oops! You drafted him -- now what? At the very least, Rudolph has a nice early-season schedule, so beginning the season with him isn't a bad thing. Might as well play it by ear, but definitely scour for a sleeper tight end off waivers.
Doyle thrived last year because there weren't any other receivers for Jacoby Brissett to throw to other than T.Y. Hilton -- and when Hilton was double-covered, Doyle was it. Andrew Luck's return isn't bad news for Doyle at all, but the additions of Eric Ebron and Ryan Grant are. Doyle figures to take a dip in targets, which means fewer stats across the board. He's barely worth a late-round pick and is more interesting in PPR.
Late August ADP: 117th overall (Round 10)
I'd draft him: 139th overall (Round 12)
Oops! You drafted him -- now what? Doyle has a tricky schedule to start the season, so keep an eye on the waiver wire in case a better tight end materializes before Week 1.
So what sleepers should you snatch in your Fantasy Football draft? And which huge running backs do you need to jump all over? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara's huge breakout last season and find out.