These are players I’ve actively avoided in my seven drafts, as opposed to Antonio Brown, who I don’t own because I never had the first pick, and Ezekiel Elliott on whom I thought about taking a chance in several drafts.
Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN – he has a nice floor, particularly in non-PPR, but his lack of receptions and receiving yards cap his ceiling significantly. There’s no way he can out-do a healthy Devonta Freeman in PPR unless Freeman loses his job. Ditto for Mark Ingram, C.J. Anderson, etc. You could argue that’s why Peterson’s valuable because he can’t lose the job, but I want some ceiling with my floor in Round 1 and early Round 2. And in non-PPR, Round 2 isn’t likely to be an option for you.
Moreover, Peterson is 31, and the track record of running backs in the NFL at that age is poor. That doesn’t mean he can’t be the exception – if anyone can, it’s Peterson. But if you’re drafting him based on floor, you don’t want to have to rely on a player defying history.
Julio Jones, WR, ATL – Jones had an amazing year in 2015 (second most receiving yards of all time, tied for the second most receptions of all time), but for the second straight season struggled to score touchdowns. While eight isn’t terrible in a vacuum, it’s shockingly low for a player who had 203 targets, runs a 4.34 and stands 6-3, 220. As if that sample weren’t big enough, Jones managed only six TDs on 163 targets in 2014 too.
At 27, Jones is still in his late prime, but he seems to take a lot of hits as he’s not especially shifty and makes for a big target. As such, he often seems to be hobbling back to the huddle more often than you’d like, and he’s already been dinged up a couple times in camp. He might have another peak year in him, but the volume is a good bet to decline (if only because it was such an outlier), and I trust him less than the other top wideouts to stay healthy.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU – Hopkins is a good receiver, not a great one. He’s a playmaker, capable of amazing and acrobatic catches, but he’s only an average athlete (6-1, 207, 4.51 40), not a freak. If he gets another 192 targets, none of this will matter, but like Jones, I expect Hopkins to regress to something closer to 170. Think peak Chad Johnson – a star, to be sure, but not someone on whom you’re keen to spend a top seven pick.
Lamar Miller, RB, HOU – I see the case for him. He’s fast, powerful, can catch the rock, should be a three-down back in a favorable system. But Miller’s going in the early second and sometimes late first round, and that’s too high. He’s never carried the full load, the Dolphins – albeit not the brightest franchise – weren’t eager to keep him, and he’s playing for a new team. While the Texans scheme and philosophy might be an upgrade, any major change introduces volatility, and that’s not something we want in early-round picks.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE – Most of my leagues are PPR, and Gronk caught only 72 passes last year, and that was with Tom Brady for 15 games. Moreover, Gronk is a huge target who takes a lot of big hits, making him a bigger injury risk than the receivers in his price range.