Jon’s Take: Fantasy Football players to avoid 

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Hey guys! Since the NFL season starts in a little over a week, let’s talk Fantasy Football. This is the perfect time to write an article detailing some players to avoid on your team this upcoming season (you can thank me later.)  

If you haven’t had your draft yet, do not draft these guys unless they fall out of their average draft position. If you have drafted, be sure to ship these players out as soon as possible. While all of these guys are clearly talented and will have a couple solid games, I’m going with consistent production over a boom-or-bust talent every day of the week. 

Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos 

You want a guy who can get you through the first few weeks while your rookie running back adjusts to the big stage? Sure, I get it, but Gordon should not be a long term player on your team. He had a solid 2020 in Denver, barely missing that 1000 yard rushing mark, but there is a big elephant in the room. His name is Javonte Williams, who the Broncos took in the second round this past year, despite other gaping holes to fill. They traded up to get Williams, so they will be pushing for him to get more carries as the season goes on. Gordon will want to show out for his contract year, but he may not have the opportunity to. 

Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets 

As a Jets fan, I’d love for this guy to do well, and I’m sure he will. He just won’t be a good fantasy option. While Carter has been building hype as a rookie RB on a team with no clear starter, don’t expect him to take the job. Head Coach Robert Saleh has been taking many ideas from his old team, the 49ers, including a running back by committee approach. Instead of having one guy carry the load, there should be a revolving door, letting the guy with the most success that week do more. While Carter could lead the pack a few games, he’s not a Najee Harris type that will consistently impact the team as a rookie. 

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (2) looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Nissan Stadium. Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans 

Sometimes, finding a new home doesn’t increase fantasy value. After Jones got traded to the Titans this January, hype began to build around this dynamic Tennessee offense, with gunslinger Ryan Tannehill and coach Mike Vrabel leading the charge. However, Jones will have opportunities taken away by both star running back Derrick Henry and star wide receiver AJ Brown. His durability has now become a concern, as he is a 32 year old who missed seven games last year. On top of that, his notoriety for staying out of the end zone (he’s scored 10 touchdowns in a season only once in his Hall of Fame career) is still alarming. 

Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers 

As high as I am on this guy, it’s gotten to the point where Johnson is overrated, at least in his current situation. His average draft position is around 55, which is incredibly high. Johnson is the Steelers’ 2020 targets leader and likely the top target again, but the return of noted TikToker JuJu Smith-Schuster and the presence of breakout receiver Chase Claypool caps value on all three of them. There is too much potential for any one of them to hoard targets each week, and that’s not even mentioning new weapons Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth. If you can acquire Johnson without giving up too much, go for it, but this is a sell high type of player for the 2021 season. 

Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals 

If you are in a keeper or dynasty league, maybe don’t listen to this next one. Joe Burrow should be a very explosive player in the future, but this article is intended for this year’s production. Despite weapons Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon, Burrow has struggled so far in the preseason. He isn’t looking comfortable yet, since coming back from an ACL/MCL tear, and his new number one receiver, Chase, has a historic number of drops so far. The biggest red flag is that the Bengals refused to give him protection, despite getting pummeled week in and week out before his injury. This offensive line is going to do him no favors, and it will take some serious skill to put up big numbers on a weekly basis. 

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