We've seen each team play three preseason games while closely monitoring camp reports on every skill-position player in the NFL. The recommendations in this column are inherently negative (see title), but based on the facts we've gleaned, should represent reasonable expectations.
This isn't a list of overvalued players, necessarily, or projected busts. This is a list of players I think you should consider approaching with extreme caution or even scratching off your cheatsheets based on the way they're currently priced in the fantasy community. They're guys I think you might want to consider drafting around.
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Even before weighing in on his health, it’s important to understand Wentz’s 2017 league-high touchdown rate (7.5%) is headed for regression, while Alshon Jeffery’s Week 1 status is up in the air. As Wentz tore his ACL and LCL last Week 14, medical experts believe his early-season mobility will be compromised. Athleticism is a huge part of Wentz’s game; only eight NFL quarterbacks averaged more rushing yards per game (23.0) last year. Lately, rumors surfaced Wentz could miss the first two regular season weeks. At fantasy football’s most-replaceable position, the probability of a significant downturn in production and possibility of missed time are far too great to justify Wentz’s seventh-round ADP.
2. Giants RB Saquon Barkley
Barkley is certainly not on my do-not-draft list; I’ve personally taken him a handful of times. But his ADP is awfully aggressive for a rookie running back who missed much of camp with a hamstring injury and will play behind one of the league’s weakest offensive lines. Rotoworld’s Rich Hribar studied all NFL skill-position players who battled hamstring injuries in 2017 training camp and found that every single one experienced more hamstring problems during the season. Giants beat writers have suggested Jonathan Stewart could threaten Barkley’s goal-line role. Barkley ordinarily goes ahead of Melvin Gordon, Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, and Christian McCaffrey – all players I ranked ahead of Barkley in my Top 150.
3. Vikings RB Dalvin Cook
Similar to Barkley, Cook is not an avoid-at-all-costs player. I’ve taken him in a few drafts. But his fringe first-round ADP is scarily aggressive for a running back coming off an ACL tear with usage and offensive line concerns. LG Nick Easton (neck) is already on I.R. C Pat Elflein (shoulder, ankle) won’t be ready for Week 1. RG Mike Remmers is converting from tackle to guard, and neither LT Riley Reiff nor RT Rashod Hill is a potent run blocker. First-year OC John DeFilippo ran RBBCs in both Cleveland and Philadelphia, while Cook himself has referred to the Vikings’ backfield as a 1-2 punch. Latavius Murray is expected to dominate goal-line and short-yardage work. I have Cook as more of a high-end RB2 than locked-in RB1.
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