Who should you avoid in the best ball next year? I’m going to go through some guys to avoid, and change is a common theme with them.
Two players included in this space as the best ball players to avoid are part of new teams for the 2020 season. Another player featured will be catching the passes of a new starting quarterback. The fourth player will lead a new offensive coordinator, but his inclusion is mainly based on his ineffectiveness to date in his career. That said, the change of offensive coordinator is unlikely to make his fancy a favor this year.
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DeAndre Hopkins (WR – ARI): ADP – 10.0, WR2
After spending his first seven seasons with the Texans and proving he was arguably the game’s best receiver despite a collection of rag-shaped quarterbacks throwing the ball to him except Deshaun Watson in the two past 1.5 years, he adapt to playing in a new uniform with the Cardinals this year. Among receivers in the past three years, Hopkins has ranked first in targets (487), second in receptions (315), third in receiving yards (4,115), fourth in receiving yards per game (89 , 5), and first in touchdown receptions, by Pro-Football-reference. There is no doubt about Nuk’s talent level, but the change of team creates questions about his use in 2020.
Look no further than the last off-season to find a similar story when the Browns traded for Odell Beckham Jr. Most experts agreed that the Browns had the best end of the matter. Cleveland acquired a new advanced weapon in the passing attack for the quarterback that they had made the top pick in the NFL draft and that had impressed during their rookie year. Does all this sound familiar to Kyler Murray, the first choice in the 2019 NFL Draft, after a stellar rookie year?
In its first year with the Browns, OBJ had 74 receptions from 133 targets for 1,035 receiving yards, four touchdown receipts and 64.7 receiving yards per game in 16 games. The elimination of Antonio Brown’s single game with the Patriots left OBJ tied for 35th on points per reception (PPR) for receivers last year. I don’t expect Hopkins to fall fourth in fantasy match scores at the position outside the top 30, but last year provided a cautionary tale to project a smooth transition to a new club for a elite receiver.
Returning to use, as I noted above, Hopkins has exceeded receivers in targets in the past three years combined. The league leading volume has helped fuel Hopkins’ fantastic stats, but what does the range of results look like for use in 2020 with the Cardinals? Dwain McFarland of Establish The Run did an exquisite job of breaking down the variables and presenting the target results per match in a long Twitter thread which you can dive below.
ICYMI – Compose this thread a few days ago on the prospects of DeAndre Hopkins for 2020 in #Arizona
-Floor: 35 passes per game * 22% = 7.7
-Conservative: 36 * 24% = 8.6
-Median: 37 * 25% = 9.3
-Aggressive: 38 * 26% = 9.9
– Ceiling: 40 * 28% = 11.2
Full details ??? https://t.co/kiJXE1gZOs
– Account context (@dwainmcfarland) March 26, 2020
Hopkins is great, but the cost of alignment is too much for my blood when adapting to a new attack, a quarterback and a team. It doesn’t cost less to write either. In the classic MFL10 leagues from March 29 to April 5, he has an average draft position (ADP) of 11.0 with a minimum choice of 10 and a maximum of 12. Nuk is off my radar until around 20, so I’m probably not going to line it up in all the best ball leagues.
Leonard Fournette (RB – JAC): ADP – 18.0, RB12
Last year Fournette had the best season of her three-year career. He finished sixth in scrimmages with 1,674, the fifth highest total among runners. In addition, its use in reception has exploded. After scoring only 74 targets, 58 receptions and 487 receiving yards in 21 games in his first two years in the NFL, he amassed 100 targets, 76 receptions and 522 receiving yards last year. In addition, he played a new record of 15 games. Add it all up and Fournette’s exit helped finish ninth in the PPR score per match among the runners.
He also left a lot to be desired with regard to efficiency and dirt removal. Fournette’s career record of 4.3 yards per rush last year tied for 28th out of 47 backstrokes. Football Outsiders (FO) was also not too impressed with his work as a runner. Out of 45 backs that rushed at least 100 times, Fournette ranked 34th in defense after replacement adjusted for defense (DYAR) and above defense-adjusted average (DVOA) ). As for the touchdowns, he counted three pathetic on his 265 races and zero on 76 receptions. For his career, he has had only two touchdowns in 36 games and 17 touchdowns.
As for Fournette’s reception work, it also turns out to be ineffective. Out of 40 rears targeted at least 35 times in 2019, the 5.22 yards of Fournette per target ranked 34th. Again, FO also misclassified it. Out of 50 rears targeted at least 25 times, Fournette ranked 42nd in DYAR and DVOA. Last year, the release reception was an outlier, even going back to his college career, and he did little to demonstrate that he should continue to be force-fed. In fact, Fournette’s reception work in 2019 reminds me of the outrageous use of Carlos Hyde in the passing game in 2017. Hyde has since become little used in the passing attack, and a similar fate could await Fournette.
Jay Gruden takes over as the new offensive coordinator for Jacksonville. Thinking back to Gruden’s career as head coach and offensive coordinator before that, he regularly used dropouts such as Giovani Bernard, Roy Helu and Chris Thompson. The Jaguars do not have a clear internal candidate to play the catch-up role, but they still have plenty of time to add one through free agency, trade or the next project.
Fournette’s fantastic value is entirely motivated by its loud volume. A slip in the reception of usage would take a good bite out of its value. Plus, maintaining a massive workload could be quite the challenge for a back with the history of the plaid injuries that Fournette has. Last season, he broke a three-year period dating back to his junior season at LSU in which he missed less than two games. There are at least a dozen players with an ADP after Fournette that I definitely prefer to him, so it is unlikely that I will end up with him in the best leagues.
Keenan Allen (WR – LAC): ADP – 39.5, WR16
The Chargers and Philip Rivers separated, breaking the very efficient quarterback and receiver pair of Rivers and Allen. Allen was dotted with targets by the dead rivers, and he often spoke of fantastic points. Looking at the 2017-2019 receiver table previously linked to Nuk’s writing, Allen is also prominently near the top of many categories. Among receivers during this period, Allen ranks fifth in targets (444), third in receptions (303), fourth in receiving yards (3.788), eighth in receiving yards per game (78.9 ) and tied for 16th in touchdowns (18).
Unfortunately, he will no longer receive targets from Rivers. Instead, it appears to be associated with Tyrod Taylor and / or a novice flagman. A rookie would bring uncertainty to the table, however, it’s probably better than what Taylor offers to Allen’s fantastic prospects.
From 2015 to 2017, Taylor started 43 games with the Bills. His production has dropped each season, averaging 186.6 passing yards per game in 2017. To make matters worse for Allen, much of Taylor’s limited passing work has gone to tight end Charles Clay and ball carrier LeSean McCoy, the team’s former first finisher. in goals (87) in 2016 and tied for second in 2017 in goals (74) while Shady finished fourth in goals (57) in 2016 and first in goals (77) in 2017. Below , a table outlining the top five season goals for receivers during Taylor’s three-year race as a quarterback from Buffalo.
Yes. This sufficiently summarizes the content of the table above. Unless the Chargers turn around and stray from their current path of being led by Taylor or a rookie this year, Allen is completely out of my plan.
Austin Hooper (TE – CLE): ADP – 61.5, TE6
Hooper’s free agency ended with a signing with the Browns, and his ADP fell. Looking at the classic MFL10 projects that ran from March 29 to April 5, Hooper has an ADP of 86.83 with a minimum choice of 80 and a maximum of 95. Even with lower writing costs, it is a bad investment of a top-100 choose.
However, it is easy to understand why people would think otherwise. Hooper has turned in consecutive top-10 seasons in fantastic scores among the tight ends. Last year, Hooper’s fantastic 15.0 points per game in PPR full dot format was the third highest score in the position.
Although limited to 13 games last season, Hooper set new heights at all levels, including 97 targets, 75 receptions, 787 receiving yards, 60.5 receiving yards per game and six receiving touchdowns . It was Hooper’s second consecutive year north of 70 receptions and the third consecutive in a four-year career with more than 525 receiving yards.
Figures suggest that the 25-year-old tight end is a match problem, but closer examination indicates otherwise. In a tweet from Pro Football Focus on March 16, Steve Palazzolo discusses Hooper’s excellence against area coverage and struggles against single coverage. As Palazzolo says, Hooper’s production came largely from the arrangement.
– PFF (@PFF) March 16, 2020
The Browns have made a significant financial commitment to Hooper, so they likely have a plan to continue to intrigue him. That said, he joins a new team. That means getting used to a new offensive, coaching quarterback. The shifting concerns I’ve alluded to when discussing Nuk out of the chute in the room also apply to a tight end that catches passes like Hooper.
More alarmingly, however, Hooper leaves last year’s happiest offensive and joins a pair of target pigs at OBJ and Jarvis Landry. Atlanta’s 67% success rate in 2019 was the highest in the NFL, according to Sharp Football Stats. In addition to leading the NFL in percentage passes, they also led the way in gross pass attempts with 684 – 51 more than the Panthers’ second highest total of 633, according to Pro-Football-Reference. In comparison, the Browns transmitted 60% of their offense, and the Vikings – who had new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski as the offensive coordinator – reported the fourth lowest percentage of attacking play at 52%. The Browns finished 19th with 539 assists and the Vikings 30th with 466. An almost certain drop in pass volume is bad news for Hooper’s prospects in 2020.
Additionally, OBJ and Landry didn’t go anywhere either. Among players targeted at least 50 times last year, Landry’s target share of 26.7% was the sixth highest, and the target share of 25.9% of OBJ was tied for the eighth highest score , according to Sports Info Solutions. Hooper is a strong bet to finish behind this duo for targets while competing with teammate David Njoku and others – such as Nick Chubb and perhaps a talented pass catcher Kareem Hunt – for the remaining looks. A return to its 2018 production seems much more likely than a repeat of last year’s career year for Hooper, and it is not worth an investment of choice among the top 100.
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Josh Shepardson is a star writer for FantasyPros. For more information from Josh, see his archive and follow it @ BChad50.