Not every player makes our list of targets or players to avoid. We still have clarity on the value of some of those players, but there are others that vex us and elude our understanding even when (especially when) we are pondering whether to take them when we are on the clock. Big thanks to my Mon Valley Academic League rival Joe Wright for giving me the name “Rolaids” for these players. You could also call this the “I’m probably not taking them but worried that I’m wrong” list. Sometimes it’s a relief when you see a player drafted ahead of you, and that’s how they make the all-Rolaids team.
Derrick Henry (RB-TEN) - If Henry is only 75% of what he was last year and he holds up for the whole season, he’ll return ADP value in the second half of the first round. That should make him an easy pick, but there’s a feeling I can’t shake that his foot injury last year, combined with the A.J. Brown trade, will turn the Titans offense back into a pumpkin. Keep Dontrell Hilliard on your waiver wire speed dial.
Najee Harris (RB-PIT) - Will Harris catch 74 passes again this year? Will he have over 300 carries again this year? Can anything other than sheer volume overcome the porous Steelers offensive line? Harris is bigger and stronger than last year’s rookie version, and it doesn’t appear that a training camp lis franc injury will be a problem that lingers into the regular season. If Kenny Pickett is a hit or the Steelers offense has a renaissance now that Ben Roethlisberger is not the de facto offensive coordinator, Harris will make fantasy teams happy, but my Steelers fan neurosis will not allow me to be part of the party.
To Avoid Indigestion: Take Dalvin Cook
D'Andre Swift (RB-DET) - Swift is a talented receiver out of the backfield and runner in space, but it’s not clear that he’s a better between the tackles running back than Jamaal Williams. His goal of going over 1000 rushing and receiving yards is a nice headline. Still, between the additions in the passing game and his deficiencies as an inside runner, it’s almost impossible to see a path to that outcome. Swift may still return ADP value as a second-round pick riding the rising tide of the Lions offense and his development as a player, but he’s being drafted at his ceiling.
Deebo Samuel (WR-SF) - Samuel performed and produced like a fantasy first round pick last year, so it should be a great value to get him in the second round, but it doesn’t feel that way. The 49ers pass offense could feature Brandon Aiyuk more than last year since Aiyuk has been one of the stories of training camp, and the already low pass volume could get lower with Trey Lance at the helm. The run game involvement could get reduced if the backs stay healthy this year, even though his new contract appeared to contemplate continued usage there via an incentive that kicks in if he goes over 380 rushing yards, 15 more than last year. Samuel also reportedly asked for a trade because he was unhappy with how he was used last year. Like Henry, he can return ADP value even with a 20% drop in output, but that’s not that comforting when it’s time to make a pick.
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