Fantasy football is supposed to be fun! In a perfect world it brings us together. Yet we all know this is real life. Plans do not normally go as planned. It is what we do during the in-between that counts.
Does fantasy football anger you? It angers me! Yet we keep coming back for more. Why do you think that is? Is it the challenges and torment? Or is it the relationships we build?
How sick and tired are you when reading rankings, projections, scouting reports, busts, sell, buy and breakout articles? What about fantasy heaven? Or fantasy hell? Have we ever taken an honest look at our teams and thought, “this guy is just hell to own!
As we inch closer to the 2021 NFL Draft it is time to take an honest look at our team and put together a solid draft plan! Understand the idea of taking risks and chasing upside, but hell is hell. We all know what that means! Hot! Sweaty! Uncomfortable! Not somewhere you want to be!
Here are multiple players I passionately believe are hell to own.
Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns QB)
Will he? Won’t he? Baker has always had this aura around him. Plus, from what I have seen over the years you either love him or hate him. The Cleveland Browns have turned the corner as a franchise now becoming a contender in the AFC. Yet are you able to separate Baker’s lack of fantasy production from the real-life success of the Browns?
Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers QB)
Big Ben should come as no surprise here yet, it is an odd situation. On paper the Steelers offense is jam packed with young stud offensive talent. So why is Ben hell to own? My opinion might not be popular, but it is initiative-taking approach in my eyes. Pittsburgh has completely turned over their offensive line and Ben is not that young. I have a sneaking suspicion that Roethlisberger will be out of a starting job due to injury. Before you call me stupid or negligent, I am aware predicting an injury is impossible. Look back through Ben’s injury history and style of play it will not end well for Ben.
Carson Wentz (Indianapolis Colts QB)
This should be a lay-up in terms of fading or being in hell as a Wentz owner. Could be over right there but that would not be fair to you as the reader. Let us explore briefly. Last season in Philadelphia was a disaster. Fifteen interceptions and ten fumbles type bad. Looking ahead to any sort of positivity with the Colts is tough. Recent foot surgery paired with, at maximum, twelve weeks of recovery time really sound like hell as a fantasy football player. Aside from Jonathan Taylor at running back this Colts offense is full of unproven/underwhelming talent.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Washington Football Team QB)
The entire fantasy football community loves Fitz and rightfully so! What is wild with Fitz is the fact we all know the risks! We willingly take the good with the bad. In all honesty I cannot think of too many other football players we think of like this. The level headedness of Ryan Fitzpatrick owners is a breath of fresh air!
Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks QB)
To cook, or not to cook, that is the question. After nine consecutive top-11 fantasy seasons at quarterback and finishing top-3 in pass TDs each of the past four seasons I must be crazy. Russ started out hotter than a pickled pepper patch last season opening with six top-7 fantasy weeks in eight games before managing zero after Week 8. As a fantasy football player, you can take these one of two ways. First, just a blip on the radar and back to QB1 type production. Or second, the decline is upon us get out now. Only you can decide how to view Russ Wilson. Personally, I believe this coming 2021 season may get hectic based on last season’s slide and Seattle head coach Pete Carroll’s affinity to running the ball.
James Connor (Arizona Cardinals RB)
Do not get me wrong James Connor is one heck of a guy. His work ethic, his character and his perseverance are admirable. Yet, in fantasy football standards he is hell to own. As early as week one of the 2020 season Conner rushed six times for nine yards before exiting the game due to an ankle injury. Unfortunately, that was a sign of things to come. On November 28, 2020, Conner was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive for the virus. He was cleared later in the season, December 9th. Yet the damage was done. Will he or won’t he always precede Connor in fantasy circles. James scored six touchdowns last season but how many of those points were on your bench? By no fault of his own James Connor is hell to own.
Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals RB)
Joe Mixon hurt you. Joe Mixon hurt me. Joe Mixon hurt us all! Yet we all know fantasy football is a “what have you done for me lately” kind of business. This might be weird to say but I am personally all in on Mixon this season. So why would I mention him here? It would be negligent if I did not at least mention the rollercoaster that Mixon may once again provide in 2021. We have been to hell with Joe Mixon once or twice before. We have become comfortable with the heat. So, what is the harm with staying?
David Johnson (Houston Texans RB)
As of this week, August 12th, the Houston Texans unofficial depth chart has been made public. David Johnson is listed as the third running back. Oh boy. Now what do we do with him? Personally, it is clear, yet folks are still holding on. Not here to manage your fantasy football teams. Just here to share my thoughts, ideas with a little bit of entertainment. This entire Houston team is a mess. To be clear, all Texans will be hell to own!
Ronald Jones II (Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB)
To be clear, I like Ronald Jones but his situation in Tampa has not improved. Some would say it has worsened. Leonard Fournette fresh off an impressive Super Bowl performance is now a fan favorite. He will live in infamy in the hearts of Bucs fan for years to come. On top of that Giovani Bernard is now in Tampa. On the surface not big deal but I am telling you now, it is going to be hell. Rojo, at maximum, is a flex play most week. Safe yourself the trouble and look elsewhere in 2021.
Melvin Gordon III (Denver Broncos RB)
Will not waste your time here. Newcomer running back Javonte Williams will soon be the head honcho in this Broncos backfield. We may see a case where it get’s nasty between Melvin and the Denver organization. Why willingly put yourself in that position?
Amari Cooper (Dallas Cowboys WR)
Amari Cooper has long been a topic of discussion in the fantasy sports community. Which has not always been good. It has always seemed like a battle between good and evil. The Cooper truthers versus the Cooper haters. I’ve seen this battle many times. Heck, I have even been a part of it. It all boils down to personal preference. Can you live with his constant GTD tag? Do the rewards outweigh the benefits?
T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts WR)
Where do we begin with TY? I’d like to think my readers are smart people. In that case, we saw this coming. His age and past injuries have fully caught up with him. Once a dang good option at wide receiver he has become no more than bench/depth piece. Hilton was WR85 in fantasy through nine games last season. Then his fortune changed! To the tune of 27-435-5 on forty-two targets (WR11 in fantasy) over his final six games. Hilton averaged 6.1 targets per game for the season (his lowest since his rookie season) and has missed at least one game each of the past three seasons (nine total). With Carson Wentz at the helm now, recent foot surgery and emerging wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., TY will be hell to own. Why bother?
Odell Beckham Jr. (Cleveland Browns WR)
Can we agree that OBJ’s days as an elite wide receiver are over? After an injury plagued 2020 season Odell can now officially be labeled as an injury risk. Offensive skill positional players with “durability concerns” might as well dead and gone. Not my personal belief but it holds water. Beckham Jr. will be 29 years old on a run dominate Cleveland team. The Browns boast one of, if not, the best offensive lines in football. Along with one of, if not, the best running back duo in football. Odell is fine player to roster this season but the idea of him getting back to stud WR1 production will drive you crazy. It is pure hell.
Sammy Watkins (Baltimore Ravens WR)
It is always wild to me how optimistic and downright nuts fantasy football players get when a player switches team. The sunshine and rainbows change of scenery approach is not a method I would advise. Exactly what is going on here with Sammy. Watkins is now 28 years old and has not posted a top-40 fantasy season since 2015. Even on a high-end fantasy friendly offense Sammy did little to nothing. Let me up front with you. Watkins was a poor fantasy option in pass-heavy Kansas City. So why would that change with a move to a run-heavy Baltimore offense? Let me be open and honest here, I do not even think he gets to four hundred receiving yards in 2021. Sammy Watkins is hell to own so why bother?
Juju Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh Steelers WR)
Hopefully, I have started to connect the dots with Juju and Ben Roethlisberger here. Juju has posted three top-20 finishes at wide receiver in his five professional seasons. So why the distain? “Smith-Schuster’s 5.7 aDOT was second lowest among WRs, which led to an awful 6.4 YPT(yards per target). However, he scored a career-high nine TDs, but his 5.8 OTD (opportunity adjusted-touchdowns) suggests he was way over his head.” Looking at his teammates and their average draft positions (Diontae Johnson WR25 62.3ADP, Chase Claypool WR27, 69.3 ADP) it is safe to say Smith-Schuster (WR30, 77.7 ADP) is playing catch-up.
Kenny Golladay (New York Giants WR)
Kenny, Kenny, Kenny where do I begin? What is in the past is over. It is not wise to dwell on what we cannot change. The New York Giants signed Kenny Golladay to be their top wide receiver. Fast forward to August and Kenny is now sidelined 2-3 weeks after a pulled hamstring. His last season in Detroit was awful and reminiscent of hell. What I find is odd is the sneakiness of his hip injury last season in Detroit. We never received the full story. One week he was practicing then did not suit up on Sunday. To be fair I am not aware of anyone really digging into that. As it stands now Kenny is still on track to play in week one. At this rate how sure are you Kenny G is worth the worth the price? At WR24 and overall ADP of 60.7 would you prefer Kenny G, Ja’Marr Chase or Diontae Johnson?
Irv Smith Jr. (Minnesota Vikings TE)
Almost certain if you are this then you actively wanted the Vikings to get rid of Kyle Rudolph. Well, you got your wish! Now what do we do? Last season the Minnesota Vikings scored fifty-five total touchdowns. Kirk Cousins accounted for thirty-six of those, Dalvin Cook had fourteen, Justin Jefferson scored eight and Adam Thielen found paydirt nine times. Between this crew that is a ton of fantasy points. Do you really believe Irv Smith Jr. can carve out a role and bring value to your fantasy team in 2021? If so, I wish you the best. Irv Smith Jr. is hell to own. With his most recent knee injury and impending surgery, we at Team Rise or Fall, wish Irv the best.
Evan Engram (New York Giants TE)
Evan score two touchdowns last season, two. Holy smokes that stinks. Aside from his rookie season of six touchdowns, Evan has seven total in three seasons. He led all tight-ends in drops (eight) and was in the basement in catch rate and YPT in 2020. Now, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Kyle Rudolph and Saquon Barkley are all ready and willing to put in the work. Evans long term prospects for the Giants and in the NFL are starting to look grim. I am staying as far away from him as possible. Do you know what they say about misery? It absolutely loves company! Join an Evan Engram support group or enjoy your time in hell!
Tyler Higbee (Los Angeles Rams)
Rams head coach Sean McVay has shown little to no interest in getting Higbee, or his other tight ends, involved much in the passing game. Although, with the addition of Matthew Stafford and losing Cam Akers for the season this could be the opening Tyler needs to show up and show out! It is no secret how I oversee tight-ends in fantasy football. Meaning, I rarely give them much time and energy. Look, not trying to push my ideals on to you but how often have we seen a tight-end waiver-wire darling pop up during the season? Often! Look at Logan Thomas in Washington and Robert Tonyan in Green Bay. Do not feel the need to marry to Higbee. We all can manage different amounts of pain. What is your limit?
There it is! Fantasy Hell for the 2021 season. Although fun and entertaining I do want what is best for you and your fantasy teams in 2021.
Did I miss someone? Want to talk about it?
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