By Lawrence Vos (Twitter: @nflfaninengland) – July 13 2019
For many of you that are relatively new to NFL fantasy football the thought of those late round picks may fill you with a bit of fear. After all who is Simmie Cobbs or Jeff Driskel?
Sometimes you need to take a punt, no not a 53-yard coffin-corner, but a shot in the dark at someone who is not a household name and realistically not someone that will make or break your season.
To help you figure out some situations to avoid, Lawrence Vos dons his best Mad Max costume and holds your hand to guide you through some team-unit fantasy wastelands to steer well clear from.
Miami Dolphins quarterbacks
I am saying it here and saying it loudly, the Dolphins are not tanking for Tua (Tagovailoa) they will be trying to win as many games as possible in 2019. Whether they actually obtain more than three wins is a completely different matter. Will there be some Fitzmagic in the sunshine or will everything come up smelling of Rosen? Ryan Fitzpatrick, the veteran bearded wizard, will likely open the season as starter, but despite his gaudy stats to begin 2018 there is no Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson or OJ Howard loitering on South Beach in 2019. Miami bought in former first-round selection Josh Rosen to compete. A better financial move than personnel move, as the Dolphins avoided paying any kind of signing bonus, already absorbed by the Arizona Cardinals. Nobody likes a situation where it’s Havaianas Time on a Sunday morning, and nobody wants to carry two quarterbacks that are not commanding starters. Fitzpatrick can burn brighter than a comet, but his rocket man arm can fizzle too, and guessing the week he is on fire is a lottery. Don’t light a candle in the wind for either of these signal-callers.
Washington Redskins wide-receivers
Much like drinking a Brussel sprout, cranberry and radish smoothie, drafting any Redskins wide-outs will leave you with a lingering bitter taste in your mouth, and likely a bit of something stuck in your back teeth. The situation may be significantly different in a season or two, but the combination of the woefully disappointing Josh Doctson (a first round pick in 2016 who has accrued 1,100 yards, 81 catches and eight touchdowns in three season) two unproven rookies Terry McLaurin (Round 3) and Kelvin Harmon (Round 7) and Paul Richardson, who in his five seasons has averaged 23 catches a year and two touchdowns, is truly unappetising. You have more chance of a breakout season from second-string third-year tight-end Jeremy Sprinkle. If you want to tank with your fantasy team then pick up one of these bundles of burgundy and gold decorated joy. And if you truly want to stun your league then why not add Redskins 5th WR Brian Quick, who had three catches for 18 yards in 2018.
Buffalo Bills running-backs
More messy than Mr Messy after he has done ten shots of tequila and then on the way home decided to douse his kebab in a pint of habanero sauce, the Bills have as eclectic a backfield as anyone in the NFL. Two veteran Pro-Bowlers, a potential rookie stud and an under-the-radar young free-agent. Great for depth and therefore superb for team rushing output, but a cold-sweat inducing nightmare for fantasy owners. Both in their 30’s, LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy is on the downward spiral of his career arc and Frank Gore it turns out is a cyborg who cannot be terminated. McCoy performed badly in 2018 with rookie Josh Allen handing him the pigskin, averaging a paltry 3.2 a carry and three total touchdowns. Gore is clearly partaking in some wine from Cliff Richard’s vineyard as he continues his inevitable journey to Canton, Ohio via Western New York. Gore, much like Fitzmagic, will get the ball at some stage, and this means carries getting split. Throw in a dynamic rookie in the form of Devin Singletary, who scored nation-leading 32 touchdowns in 2017 for Florida Atlantic, and you have a 5ft 7inch end-zone vulture. Now throw in the grossly underrated T.J Yeldon, who has very soft hands, and averages over 40 catches a season, and you have wonderful talent, but no workhorse and as a team no clear fantasy asset.
New England Patriots tight-ends
He may currently look like he’s had colonic treatment that has sucked half his body weight up a faecal extraction tube, but the odds on Rob Gronkowski coming out of retirement by week 15 is higher than you might think. Rich Eisen recently asked Gronk to perform a mock conversation between him and Tom Brady, and it ended with the tight-end saying ‘call me when it gets to the playoffs’. Meanwhile Brady will be facing at least three months of struggles with the return of Ben Watson delayed for the first four weeks of the season due to a substance misuse suspension. Watson was coaxed out of retirement thinking he could catch 50-60 balls from Tom Brady in a swansong, now he might play a bit-part from week 5 onwards. Sitting atop the depth chart as we stand in mid-July is one of my sleeper sweethearts Matt LaCosse. LaCosse has never been a feature tight-end but he does have the physical tools to develop some early season rapport with Brady. Behind LaCosse is third-year former Texans tight-end Stephen Anderson. You can likely get Watson and LaCosse cheap in deeper leagues, and in some cases one will be available on waivers. This does not mean you should pull the trigger on any Patriots tight-end. Gronk was a unique proposition, and cannot be replaced. If you want to take a gamble late with Patriots skill players grab rookie WR N’Keal Harry who will get a worthwhile target share to justify a spot on your bench.
Denver Broncos wide-receivers
Joe Flacco. The name alone makes you think about mediocrity, middle-of-the-road, conservative, no thrills gameplay. Hardly words that wide-receivers will want to describe the man that is throwing them the ball in 2019. This situation is not only eroded by an uninspiring passer, its due to the depth chart being equally vanilla, and no I’m not talking about Madagascan vanilla pods, I mean the budget ice-cream type you get at a child’s birthday party. Emmanuel Sanders is getting old and coming back from an Achilles injury, and the other two starters Desean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton are only in their second seasons yet they have to start from scratch building a pass catching relationship with the former Super Bowl MVP Flacco. There will be big pressure on Hamilton and Sutton to step up and one will likely establish himself as Flacco’s favourite by mid-season. Put simply there are better bench options to pick-up in the latter stages of your draft. You need big help with your team in you are drafting any Broncos wide-receiver to start. These three will likely sit on your fantasy bench for a few weeks before you lose faith and drop one for a waiver hot-shot. Do yourself a favour and avoid this dilemma wasting any time in your fantasy-football addled brain by avoiding drafting Denver wide-outs.
Are there any other wastelands you are avoiding? Let me know on Twitter personally or direct it at our Full10Yards Fantasy account, @F10YFantasy.