One of the biggest worries heading into your fantasy football draft is reaching for a player that either is going to be a fantasy bust, or you simply can get later with ease. Over-drafting is one of the worst fantasy draft mistakes we can make. Whether you’re looking to avoid a bust or just trying not to look like a fool, we can certainly get out of our own way by studying ADP, researching player projections and gauging when and where players are bound to go in our specific league’s draft.
Mocking your fantasy football league’s draft with FantasyPros’ Draft Wizard is probably the best way to get the information and confidence you need, but we’ll point out five options specifically we think are being drafted a bit too early. Be sure to check out our five fantasy football value picks, as well. Let’s get to it:
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (ADP: Round 2)
Wait, fantasy football’s reigning #1 quarterback, a reach? Hear me out. In no way am I saying you should never take A-Rod, that he’s not good or that he’ll bust. He’s a baller and you can freely take him wherever you want. This is still a reach, though. The biggest reason why is you don’t need the top scoring quarterback to win each week and you certainly don’t need him to win a fantasy championship.
The reality is quarterback remains insanely deep in fantasy football and other positions do not. Rodgers did have a 33-point scoring gap ahead of the next best guy last year (Matt Ryan) but we can’t go off of last year alone and Ryan and four other fantasy passers still joined the 300+ fantasy point club in 2016. What’s more important is loading up at RB and WR. Yes, you can draft Rodgers, but you’re giving something up elsewhere when you can wait another round for Tom Brady, three more rounds for Andrew Luck or Matt Ryan or 4+ rounds for guys like Derek Carr, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and so many others.
This one all comes down to fantasy draft strategy and philosophy, I agree. But you don’t need the best fantasy quarterback to win in 2017. You need the best possible fantasy team.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders (Round 2)
I’m sorry, but am I the only person a tad concerned about a guy who was out of football for all of 2016? On top of not playing last year, Lynch was not able to stay healthy or produce at a high level in 2015, the last season he played. Now he’s in a new city playing for a new team and we aren’t even sure how he’ll fare, how he’ll fit in or what his exact role will be.
The hope is Beast Mode is back and shredding it up for his hometown squad, but we’re assuming a lot when we spend a second round draft pick on him. Age, rust, system fit, drive and role all combine to make Lynch a risk I’m not sure I want to take on this early in fantasy drafts. I wouldn’t mind rostering him if I can get him in the right spot, but that’d be closer to round three or round four, not a high second rounder. I’d much rather gamble on Todd Gurley bouncing back, Leonard Fournette turning in an Ezekiel Elliot rookie campaign or Lamar Miller blowing up in his second season with the Texans.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers (Round 3)
The last time I vouched for a Stanford running back I told people to draft Toby Gerhart and that ended up being an epic gaffe. McCaffrey is far more talented, much more versatile and more explosive than Gerhart ever appeared to be, but there still isn’t enough logic to push me to pick him this early in fantasy football drafts. I get that he was a first round draft pick, but there are some concerns about his strength going into his first season, as well as his actual role.
Jonathan Stewart still exists. Cam Newton is still going to run the ball a bit. And Curtis Samuel was drafted as an offensive weapon, too. The long-term expectations are understandably high for McCaffrey, but I think people will be disappointed in his rookie production. I’d really prefer to get him at least a round or two later.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills (Round 3)
Sammy Watkins is seemingly healthy again, but how long until his troublesome foot or some other ailment derails his 2017 fantasy season? We have every reason to be wary here, as Watkins missed 8 games in 2016 and has missed 11 of his last 32. He’s been nicked up and slowed down considerably for several games during that span, as well.
The crazy part with Watkins is he could be a stud WR1 if he put it all together and stayed healthy, but the two times he’s even seen 13 games of action he’s still topped out as fantasy football’s 15th best receiver. That’s pretty great for round three, but is the risk factor or Buffalo’s balanced offense being added into the draft value? I’m not seeing it. Watkins is still an explosive burner who can pay off any week with one big play, but he’s also an inconsistent fantasy performer in general and a huge injury risk.
O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Round 10)
Taking anyone in the 10th round usually isn’t a big reach and it still might not be with O.J. Howard. Except, it probably totally is. Cameron Brate was a fantasy asset a year ago and still exists, rookie tight ends usually don’t tear up the league in their first NFL season and we’re taking Howard ahead of a lot of more viable options at this point in drafts. I just don’t see a reason to take Howard, as we have no clue what his role will be or how quickly his college skill-set will translate to the NFL.
Not only are there a ton of viable tight ends you can consider over Howard at this range, but you could also just keep waiting on tight end (and play the streaming game) and stack more pressing needs like wide receiver and running back. Howard is going to eventually be a stud tight end in the NFL, but with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Cameron Brate on the same team as him, I doubt we see everything come together in year one.
Photo Credit – Keith Allison via Flickr