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DO NOT DRAFT – AFC North Fantasy Stay Aways

After warning you off 16 NFC players in fantasy football this season, like a father advising his daughter that the biker who just arrived on the front doorstep is not right for her (A moment I pray to God will never happen), I am back to offer you players to avoid from the AFC. If you are interested in the NFC Duds, you can find them by division below. But of course, you’ve already read them at least once. But another glance won’t hurt you…please.

NFC South ~ NFC North ~ NFC West ~ NFC East

The AFC look begins with the North, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. There are stars aplenty among these four squads, but these players do not interest us here. Let us begin.

(Note – Average Draft Position Data is courtesy of FantasyPros.com)

Baltimore Ravens – Mike Wallace, WR

On his third different team in four seasons, Wallace may not be the biggest problem with the Ravens. Joe Flacco is recovering from an ACL injury that ended his 2015 season prematurely, running back Justin Forsett broke his arm in the same game, Steve Smith went back on his plans for retirement so he could battle back from a torn Achilles, and 2015 first round pick Breshad Perriman is yet to take an NFL snap. I haven’t even mentioned the mess at tight end. But, if we operate under blue sky thinking, all of these players could return to form (or in Perriman’s case, show some) and be productive. Wallace has failed to reach 1000 yards since 2011, his last three seasons have seen his average yards per target drop below 13, and last season saw him match his career lows in targets and receptions. I’m not saying he’s been the problem at every one of his stops, but they’ve all got one thing in common. Him. 57 wide receivers are being taken in drafts before Wallace at present, but there are several names after his that offer more value in my opinion. Leave him be.

Cincinnati Bengals – Tyler Boyd, WR

Boyd finds himself in a slightly favourable spot, considering the fact that the Bengals lost wide receivers Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones this offseason. That surely means a rookie wide receiver should get plenty of opportunities, right? Well…yes and no. Boyd is in line to see regular snaps, but Bengals writer Geoff Hobson believes he is the team’s slot receiver no matter what. In the short term, this effectively caps his fantasy appeal, until he learns how to fully perform in his role. Boyd is down at WR68 in terms of current ADP, and unless A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Branden LaFell all suffer injuries, his 2016 floor would seem to be as a WR5 at best.

Cleveland Browns – Isaiah Crowell, RB

My opinion regarding Crowell is in no way connected to his recent posts on social media, a topic I wish to comment no further on. It is simply a belief that his stablemate Duke Johnson will outperform him, and confine him to the bench. Crowell led the team in rushing last season, but his 706 yards came at a disappointing 3.8 yards per clip. He is also not in the same ballpark as Duke when it comes to pass catching, with Crowell chipping in with 19 receptions compared to Johnson’s 61. The Browns are likely to be playing from behind a lot this season, and will have to rely on the passing game. This style of attack fits Johnson better than Crowell. His fantasy appeal is as a touchdown dependent goal line vulture, befitting someone with 11 red zone scores in the last two seasons. His price of RB41 is probably a fair one.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Sammie Coates, WR

Opportunity does not automatically ensure production. If it did, the absence of Martavis Bryant from the Steelers offense would herald the dawn of the Coates era. But I don’t believe it will. With Antonio Brown a certainty to soak up his high number of targets, Le’Veon Bell an excellent receiver out of the backfield (he has 152 receptions in just 35 career games), Markus Wheaton playing for his next contract in Pittsburgh or elsewhere coming off a strong finish to 2015, and new signing Ladarius Green hoping to induce Steelers OC Todd Haley to increase his use of the tight end in the passing game (tight ends have seen just eight percent of total team targets in Haley’s last seven seasons as an OC or head coach), there are just too many mouths to feed for Coates to be a factor. After a rookie season that saw him targeted just twice, it would take quite a leap to presume he can become a star in what is admittedly a high powered offense. Coates is going off the board as the 74th wide receiver, somewhere in the 17th round. I’d suggest leaving him there.

Article written by:

Neil has been writing about the NFL, and fantasy football specifically, since 2013. He is the fantasy football writer for NFLGirlUK.com and has written for UK Endzone, Fantasy Pros, Gridiron Experts and RotoViz. He has appeared on the Gridiron Show and the Woot and Wye podcast, and is co-host of the Waxing Lyrical with Mainz and Dutts podcast. You can follow him on Twitter (@ndutton13), and Instagram.

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