The age-old drafting convention is that every player has potential value depending on where they're available. Some of these players who will fall far enough to earn consideration. Yet, many slide to a spot where fantasy GMs will face a tough call between that falling value and an upside player.
There's truth to the notion that these sliders are falling due to the compounding of negative perceptions that are worse than the actual reality of the situation. However, some of these falling values have competition for playing time, injuries that may linger into the season or shaky supporting casts.
It's not a popular idea, but the reason above, as well as a few others, are why streamlining your draft list is a valid strategic move. When you can trim players from your list who you won't pick under any circumstance, you effectively inflate the value of the remaining players on your list as you get deeper into your draft.
Most fantasy GMs understand that ADP has a +/- range of picks that vary 1-2 rounds as you get deeper into the draft, and in extreme cases, that range widens to 3-4 rounds. Streamlining your draft list allows you to see clearly who you value the most and whether you'll leave your drafts pleased with your selections.
Streamlining your list isn't an easy process — especially the early rounds. It is a worthwhile exercise if you've researched the draft pool enough to know that these players account for more noise than signal in your head.
As an exercise, here's my list of 50 players available in the first 14 rounds that I don't want to draft in leagues where we pick prior to 2018 training camps. Many players on this list will wind up on my teams because the situations explained in the comments about the players will change.
Regardless of how my views evolve, you'll see some over-arching themes about these players who I'm removing from consideration:
- High-athletic talent, questionable all-around skills and splitting time with a reliable teammate.
- Can't stay healthy.
- Can't stay out of trouble.
- Hasn't proven enough.
These players are listed in reverse order by round.
50. Eric Ebron: Sure, Ebron earned a free agent contract and he's a marquee athlete who will earn targets from Andrew Luck. However, there's a difference between athletic ability and skill. Ebron's skills have been inconsistent and it took a contract year for use to see moderate improvement with his play. Indianapolis still has the underrated Jack Doyle, who consistently gets open and catches the ball. Why take a chance on Ebron when Ricky Seals-Jones and Ben Watson offer similar upside, have less competition for targets, and are available 1-3 rounds later? Vernon Davis is available much later and a better upside option with Jordan Reed's injury history.
49. Austin Ekeler: The former UDFA performed well as a receiver from the backfield last year and he's the odds-on favorite to begin the year as the No. 2 option. If Justin Jackson plays to his ability, there's an equally good chance that Ekeler finishes the year as the No. 3 option. Because Ekeler isn't a big back, it's likely that if Melvin Gordon gets hurt that Ekeler will have to split time with Jackson, ceding enough volume that he's not the best value. Frank Gore, Spencer Ware, Chase Edmonds, Elijah McGuire, T.J. Yeldon, and Kenneth Dixon all offer greater upside at a lower price.
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