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Fantasy Football Don't Draft List: Five WRs to fade in 2021

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Risk management is fundamental to any fantasy football strategy. Let’s be honest: No one wants to endure heartbreak when a pick with high expectations doesn’t work out. To help fantasy gamers avoid disappointment this draft season, we’re unveiling our analysts' players to avoid, position-by-position. Today, wide receivers.

Is Diontae Johnson worth his ADP?

Scott Pianowski: Diontae Johnson's draft slot is the most expensive among the Steelers receivers, and I'm not going to enter this situation proactively. Ben Roethlisberger isn't just on the back nine, he's on the 18th hole. The Steelers want to be a ground-and-pound offense with their shiny new Najee Harris (not to mention a stout defense), and even when they pass, Johnson has to share with Chase Claypool and Juju Smith-Schuster. Another case of liking the player, not digging the situation.

Ja'Marr Chase isn't the problem — but his offense could be

Matt Harmon: I’m not in full-blown panic mode over Ja'Marr Chase's bad offseason reports and preseason showings but there hasn't been a single time I’ve been tempted to take the plunge at his aggressive ADP. My main concern is that I can see the entire Bengals offense starting slow with Joe Burrow returning from a multi-faceted knee injury and Chase himself getting re-acclimated to game action after opting out of the 2020 college season.

We certainly expect the Bengals passing offense to boast plenty of volume but the efficiency might come later in the year, especially for Chase.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1)
It won't matter how talented Ja'Marr Chase is if the Bengals offense can't get any lift-off. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

He’s set to fill the downfield role in the offense. There was no more inefficient connection than Burrow-to-A.J. Green on deep passes last year. Perhaps some or even most of that was on Green but if Burrow — who doesn’t boast the strongest arm in the league — gets off to a slow start, those problems could persist. I’m not all out on Chase but the fact that he’s carried an ADP of almost WR20 for most of the offseason just feels a bit rich, especially when I currently have both his talented teammates Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd in the same tier.

Laviska Shenault's rise is questionable

Andy Behrens: Laviska Shenault's ADP has been rising steadily for months, without anything particularly meaningful supporting the bump. Jacksonville's offense has been blindingly bad throughout the preseason and we've hardly learned a thing about the team's receiving hierarchy. Also, the coaching staff under Urban Meyer is full of horrors. The whole team is a fascinating experiment entering 2021, but I'd prefer not to rely on anyone here as an opening week fantasy starter. 

Kenny Golladay's change of scenery warrants a downgrade

Dalton Del Don: While receivers who signed big contracts to change teams during the offseason have seen big targets right away recently, Kenny Golladay will have to do so while missing a bunch of camp time with a hamstring injury and entering a situation in New York with plenty of capable receivers (including a first-rounder) and Saquon Barkley returning.

He also goes from indoors/Matt Stafford to outdoors/Daniel Dogecoin. Golladay typically relies on a terrific contested-catch ability, and it's questionable whether Jones gives him the same deep opportunities (with a shaky offensive line) as Stafford did. Dealing with a soft tissue injury already, I’d rather listen to Kenny G than draft him at his ADP.

Will Fuller is once again the epitome of boom-or-bust

Liz Loza: “When he’s healthy, he’s fire.” The mantra of Will Fuller truthers has been set to repeat since the spring. That doesn’t change the fact that the speedy wideout can’t stay on the field, having been active for just 29 games over his last seasons. Or that he returned to practice just this week — after being sidelined for the last three — because of a knee issue. Or that he’s suspended for Week 1. That’s a lot of time and reps to miss for a player changing teams and trying to build rapport with a young QB. Particularly when that sophomore signal-caller is being reunited and spending valuable practice time with another explosive deep threat (ahem, Jaylen Waddle). Fuller will give managers big good weeks ... and some bad headaches.

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