• Pat Opperman

NFL Fantasy Football: 5 Draft Picks Making Me Nervous

Following the crowd has proven to be my downfall more than once. It’s hard to pull away from the popular crowd sometimes.


The same is true in NFL Fantasy Football. When every pundit, writer, and fan insists one player is set up for a big season and you see him flying off boards early in every draft, it’s difficult to pass him up when he falls to you.


But when an early-to-mid round player fails to live up to expectations, it can cost us games and crush our spirits.


That’s why I’m nervous about a couple of folks on my fantasy football rosters. I’m nervous for you, too.


Here are five players drafted as starters in most fantasy football leagues that are keeping me awake at night. These are in no particular order:


1. Derrick Henry, RB20- Titans


Derrick Henry ran like a man possessed over the final weeks of 2018. His performance lifted him into the fantasy football world’s view as a solid RB-2. The Titans have to run, and Henry is the man in Tennessee.


Henry boasts one of the best yards-after-contact averages in the league. He’ll need it. Tennessee’s offensive line is struggling. They won’t have LT Taylor Llewan for four games and Coach Mike Vrabel isn’t sure his starting right guard is on the roster yet.


Tennessee wants to pass more efficiently, too. Delanie Walker is back and they added a reliable slot receiver in Adam Humphries.


Henry doesn’t catch passes. His career-high is 15 last season. Dion Lewis remains on the roster.


My fear is Henry could be this year’s Jay Ajayi with a few 200-yard games and 13 games of about 60. It looks good in the year-end stats, but it doesn’t win many fantasy football games.

2. Amari Cooper, WR12- Cowboys


Amari Cooper has to do it again in 2019 before I’ll trust him. Every year, he is predicted to break out and we get fooled into drafting him too high.


His performance with the Cowboys after last year’s trade certainly warrants optimism, but I have some nagging doubts.


Michael Gallup has been the talk of Cowboys camp. He is running crisper routes, which is the key to gaining Dak Prescott’s trust. He can also win a contested ball, which is how Dez Bryant made a living.


Jason Witten, a Prescott favorite, is back and Randall Cobb in the slot doesn’t hurt. Tony Pollard allows the Cowboys to maintain their running game until Elliott returns.


Plus, I have problems with plantar fasciitis, like Cooper has now. When I step wrong off a curb or miss a step, it almost always flares up. Cooper is correct to be worried about cuts and hard stops. I am, too.


3. Kenny Golladay, WR-20- Lions


We all know Kenny Golladay has the talent to be a top wide receiver in fantasy football. Or, at least we know he is a top talent when he is not double-teamed and gets plenty of targets in come-from-behind mode.


Detroit and opponents are treating Golladay as the top dog in Detroit. As annoying as that is to veteran Marvin Jones, Jr, it will make him the better option deep as the double team swings towards the youngster.


Who can name the Lions pass-catching tight ends from the past few seasons? It’s a trick question. I don’t think they had any. But TJ Hockenson is getting some recognition as a threat in the passing game. He could steal more targets from Golladay.


But the biggest issue is whether that passing game is going to be as big a part of the Lions’ game plan as it used to be. New offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, has the head coach’s blessing to even out the attack.


Golladay will be okay, but in a run-first offense with a tight end, veteran teammate, and a pair of tough runners in Kerryon Johnson and CJ Anderson vying for red-zone touches, he might not be worth his ADP.


4. Jared Cook, TE4- Saints


An awful lot of fantasy football managers are very excited about the addition of Jared Cook to the New Orleans Saints’ offensive juggernaut.


Cook broke out with the Raiders last season with 68 completions on over 100 targets from Derek Carr. Naturally, with Drew Brees passing the ball, Cook will challenge the record-setting numbers Jimmy Graham enjoyed with the Saints earlier this decade.


Probably not. New Orleans came within a play of the Super Bowl last season with an efficient passing effort complementing an awesome running game and above-average defense.


Brees threw less than 60 passes to tight ends. Cook should expect about half the targets he saw in Oakland. If he catches them at a slightly better rate than his history, 35-40 catches seems more likely than the 80-90 Graham used to make.


5. Kyler Murray, QB11- Cardinals


Sometimes, a rookie passer comes along who takes the league by storm and more importantly, scores lots of fantasy football points in the process.


Dak Prescott is an example. He was blessed with a strong offensive line, aided by a decent defense, and surrounded by solid skill position players. That includes Ezekiel Elliott who came in second to Prescott in the Rookie of the Year race. Prescott was fantasy football’s QB-11.


Kyler Murray walks into a rebuilding team with a rookie coach, one of the worst offensive lines in the league, with an excellent running back and veteran receivers, but no worthy backups.


Murray will have some great games rushing and throwing for touchdowns. He will have just as many disastrous weeks with professional pass-rushers in his face all day. He is this season’s Josh Allen.


There are about a dozen quarterbacks drafting later than Murray that I’d rather have.


I could be wrong!


For the sake of all of us who drafted these guys, I hope my paranoia is unwarranted. But I have an eye on the early waiver wires, just in case!


Who worries you as much as these players? Let us know in the Twitter (@oppspat) or Facebook (@BabyKnowsSports) comments!

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