With 32 teams in the NFL, there are plenty of players available to fill out your fantasy roster. Depending on your league size, you may only need one quarterback, tight end and defense. And, in a 12-team league, that leaves 20 others left on the draft board. With just 13 or 14 weeks of the fantasy football regular season, every draft pick matters.
You don’t want to be sifting through the waiver wire early because your early picks were a bust. The players listed below had great 2018 seasons but whether it’s personnel or location changes, the odds of them repeating their numbers this season are not very likely.
Tom Brady, QB, New England
Looking at the current crop of quarterbacks, it’s difficult to consider Brady a bust, but I can see myself passing on Brady in a lot of drafts. He won’t have Rob Gronkowski to rely on, and the wide receiver corps may be the most unreliable receivers outside of Julian Edelman. Phillip Dorsett, Dontrelle Inman and the aging Demaryius Thomas will all be clamoring for touches, along with rookie N’keal Harry.
The 18-year veteran threw 11 interceptions and had a 5.1 touchdown percentage last season, both career lows since 2013. And according to NFL.com fantasy scoring, Brady had 10 games with less than 20 fantasy points.
You can’t count out Brady … but I also wouldn’t count on him this fantasy season.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
Bell sat out all of last season in a well-publicized contract dispute with his former team, Pittsburgh. As a result, Bell will take the field for the New York Jets this season. The Jets are filled with a lot of young talent as they look to rebuild. Quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 2,865 yards with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season.
The receivers have potential with Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Josh Bellamy and tight end Chris Herndon. Though, with opposing defenses knowing how much of a game changer Bell can be, expect them to stack the box against the running back.
In his last full season (2017), Bell had 321 carries for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns. His carries and touchdowns were career highs.
While the running back pool is top-heavy, don’t put all your eggs in this basket.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland
Ever since landing Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland has been many people’s favorite to make the playoffs and possibly win the Super Bowl. While the expectations are high for the team, we should temper them for Landry. In his first season with Cleveland, Landry caught 81 passes for 976 yards and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, the combination of Rashard Higgins and Antonio Callaway caught 82 passes for 1,158 yards and nine touchdowns.
In 12 games with the New York Giants last season, Beckham Jr. had 77 catches, 1,052 yards and six touchdowns. Adding him to the mix in Cleveland takes possessions away from the other receivers.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield will be throwing the ball a lot. But with Higgins, Callaway, Beckham Jr., Landry and don’t forget tight end David Njoku all vying for touches, there will be only so many targets to go around.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia
Another pass-heavy offense is Philadelphia. In his two years with Philadelphia, Jeffery has caught 122 passes for 1,632 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is the clear No. 1, but what kind of performance will that lead to?
Nelson Agholor saw a bump in production last season with a career high 64 catches on 97 targets. Add in elite tight end Zach Ertz and the addition of DeSean Jackson and suddenly there may be one too many mouths to feed. Jeffery will get his targets but on a game-to-game basis, you won’t know what kind of production he’ll give you. You can’t trust someone when they can score five or 15 points per game.
These five players will be drafted in all leagues. They are too talented not to be. But, don’t be the guy who drafts them. There are plenty of other options at each position with more consistency that can lead you to a fantasy football championship.