*All ADP date obtained from MyFantasyLeague 12 team start up drafts.
Welcome to my newest article series for Fanium, where I’ll be highlighting three players to avoid in dynasty start up drafts. My rationale for selecting these players revolves largely around injury and the cost it takes to acquire these players. I’m not saying that these players won’t produce or shouldn’t be owned, but their cost may not return long term value because of injury.
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be putting out additional articles highlighting the wide receiver and tight end positions. Check out my already published quarterback article here.
1. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams; ADP: RB5, 1st Round
The health of Todd Gurley has been discussed in detail, especially here on Fanium, so I’ll keep this brief. Todd Gurley’s arthritis in his knee isn’t going to get better with time – it will only get worse and decline as the season go by. I’ve been focal most of the offseason saying that Gurley will still be a top option in fantasy football in 2019, but long term, there is obvious concern. Research shows that players with arthritis in the knee miss more games over the course of their career, so Gurley is a guy who may struggle to play all 16 games moving forward. If the Rams can manage his workload moving forward and utilize rookie, Darrell Henderson, to compliment Gurley, the remainder of his career can be productive. However, don’t expect the Gurley of seasons past moving forward. He won’t be playing into his 30s, making him more of a short term asset.
2. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars; ADP: RB13, 3rd Round
Fournette has now played two seasons in the NFL since being drafted in the 1st round by the Jags in 2017. Out of a possible 32 NFL regular season games, Fournette has only played in 21 (65.6%). Throughout his time in the league, he’s missed time with recurring ankle and foot injuries, which are a result of an injury sustained in college.
Other medical experts predicted that Fournette’s ankle was more of a chronic type of injury, and that appears to be true. Expect this injury to continue to hamper Fournette off and on during his time in the NFL. In 2018, it was a strained hamstring that plagued his season, causing him to miss 8 games. Hamstring injuries have one of the highest recurrence rates in the NFL, and once a player has one of these, it’s extremely difficult to get back on the field at full strength in season. Moreover, hamstring strains have the tendency to recur, as discussed in my Will Fuller piece earlier this offseason.
Fournette’s future in Jacksonville relies largely on his health and dependability, but based off the fact that the number one predictor of future injury is past injury, expect the injury woes to continue moving forward.
3. Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins; ADP: RB19, 4th Round
I’m going to be transparent on this one. If you decide to draft Guice at his current ADP, I can’t blame you, as I do believe Guice is a very talented player and could find success in this league. However, Guice has never appeared in an NFL regular season game after tearing his ACL in August of 2018.
The injury concerns regarding Guice stem from an infection that caused Guice to delay his rehab in the Fall of 2018. Based of typical healing time frames after an ACL reconstruction surgery, Guice should have been ready for Week 1 without hesitation. However, after the infection delayed his rehab by a few months, it remains unclear if he’ll be ready for Week 1, despite the recent coach speak from Jay Gruden.
Statistically, performance on the field the first season after ACL surgery suffers compared to pre-injury performance, so dynasty owners drafting Guice to be a workhorse RB1 back in 2019 will likely be disappointed. I predict that Guice will probably be fine for the second half of 2019, but his best days on the field will be in 2020 in his second season back from surgery. If you draft Guice with that understanding, I’m fine with his ADP, but don’t expect an every-down running back. Adrian Peterson was resigned for a reason and Chris Thompson is still in the mix. My recommendation – buy Derrius Guice midway through the season for cheap after a likely rough start to the year.