Fantasy Football All-Avoid 2017: Dez Bryant one of six names I can't go for

A daunting schedule is one of many reasons to not trust Dez Bryant this fantasy season. (AP)
A daunting schedule is one of many reasons to not trust Dez Bryant this fantasy season. (AP)

In a time dominated by shoulder pads, teased hair and this silky smooth Kangaroos connoisseur, Hall & Oates was the soundtrack.

Known for their unforgettable harmonies and catchy chords, the iconic duo cranked out hit after hit. Though their catalogue is remarkably deep, one groove stands out above the rest:

I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).

From its hypnotic beat to its magical tones to its addicting chorus, the song is pure perfection. Every time it enters my music stream my no-so-angelic voice butchers it under boosted volume.

It’s so damn good.

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With the classic now playing on loop in your head – You’re welcome – here are six players who will use your body and want your soul, but forget about them and say no go.

Channeling #TeamRaisins, below is my “No can do” list (AKA Your must gets, trolls) entering the heart of the fantasy draft season:

Derek Carr, Oak, QB (101.7 ADP, QB10) – Turn the key on Carr at his top-10 cost and chances are you’ll drive a lemon. Though he played smartly last year posting a 28:6 TD:INT split over 15 games, he finished QB16 in Yahoo leagues. Can the passer really take the next step and reach the 4,200-yard, 32-35 TD plateau? It’s doubtful. Because he isn’t a runner, a Matt Ryan level of passing production (Think 2016) is necessary for him to justify the QB10 perception, which I don’t foresee. His unattractive YPA history (’15: 7.0; ’16: 7.0), unsightly red-zone completion rates (48.3, QB25 in ’16) and only occasional tosses downfield (QB21 in deep-ball attempts in ’16) certainly don’t boost confidence.

In the end, he could very well generate 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns this fall, but in today’s age of prolific passing that’s only modest fantasy production. Give me Ben Roethlisberger (111.6, QB11), Philip Rivers (119.8, QB15) or, heck, Tyrod Taylor (127.5, QB17) later on.

Todd Gurley, LAR, RB (21.8, RB10) – Excuse makers will point to Jeff Fisher, the offensive line, Jared Goff and the largely anemic environment for why Gurley sunk to Davey Jones’ locker in 2016. All are valid reasons, but the rusher isn’t blameless. Check out his advanced analytics. He averaged a hideous 2.9 evaded tackles per game (RB44), ranked No. 68 in juke rate and No. 61 in yards after contact per touch. Most disturbing, though he saw less than seven defenders in the box 44.2 percent of the time, he managed only 3.4 yards per carry in those situations. Eddie Lacy post-buffet gorge would’ve at least topped 4.0 yards per carry versus light boxes.

Sean McVay is a football savant and rising star, but he must climb Everest to simply make the offense respectable. Gurley is cemented as the early-down/short-yardage back and should earn more work in the pass game with Lance Dunbar sidelined, but I’m not buying the “big things” hype. He’s a year away from a completing a full 180. I doubt he surpasses 1,300 combined yards and 5-7 TDs this fall. Craziness? Follow the facts.

Lamar Miller, Hou, RB (28.9, RB12) – Not long ago, some rather boisterous imbecile with pronounced head runways clamored for fantasy drafters to take Miller top-five overall. Deceived by volume potential and a suitable offensive line, I had my reasons for the aggressive ranking. In hindsight, that was a gross miscalculation. Essentially, Miller was an overly bitter beer in 2016. Save for a handful of games, he left consumers largely bloated and unsatisfied. Juts look at his secondary profile. His yards after contact per touch (RB69), total evaded tackles (RB25) and juke rate (RB73) were completely uneventful. If not for a strenuous workload (69.5% opportunity share), he would’ve landed well outside the position’s top-20. It’s no wonder why Houston snagged D’Onte Foreman in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. If the rookie displays competency in pass pro and ball security, areas he feels improved in, he’ll slide into an 8-10 carry per game load and possibly more if Miller flounders, which is certainly possible if Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson can’t keep defenses honest early on.

Dez Bryant, Dal, WR (20.6, WR10) – Take your hot date to a Cheetos-themed restaurant and watch his/her’s displeasure. That disgust-filled look, my fellow fantasy freaks, is precisely what will adorn your face if you draft Dez. After three consecutive mammoth seasons from 2012-2014 (91-1311-14 average), the wideout’s star lost its luster in followups. Various setbacks and disappearing acts landed him outside the top-20 2015-2016. Due to his physical downsides, Dak Prescott’s unwillingness to force feed the former All-Pro and catch rate concerns (52.1, WR87 in ’16), you should spend your Round 2 pick on a more trustworthy receiver (e.g. Doug Baldwin).

Need another reason? Glance at Cowboys’ schedule. Nine of Dez’s 16 opponents, 56.3 percent of his fantasy matchups, feature elite corners, all of whom allowed a passer rating under 91.0 in 2016. Bone chilling. He’s a unique talent, but it will likely be a long season for the decorated wideout and Dallas. (UPDATE: Zeke Elliott’s six-game suspension only hinders Bryant’s value more given the likely increased attention he’ll receive.)

Get ready for your Fantasy Football draft.
Get ready for your Fantasy Football draft.

Sammy Watkins, Buf, WR (30.5, WR15) – I’ve clearly and repeatedly stated my disdain toward Buffalo’s alleged top target. Seemingly hobbling around on a peg leg, he’s a major injury liability and a player no longer locked into a favorable targets share. Increased competition from newbie Zay Jones and trusty rock Anquan Boldin arrow to a significant workload reduction (23.1% targets share in ’16; 20-21% in ’17?). And that assumes Watkins actually holds up over 16 or even 12 games. Toss in his ghastly catch percentage numbers from the past two seasons (outside WR top-40 each year) and expected assignment draws and it’s hard to take the leap of faith at his Round 3 ADP. Unless you have a Costco-sized Advil bottle handy, avoid the headache. (UPDATE: From the outhouse to a full-blown sewage plant, Watkins’ move to Los Angeles is a death knell. He’ll be lucky to finish inside the WR top-30. Read more here.)

Rob Gronkowski, NE, TE (20.1, TE1) – It’s amazing for a player who’s one violent gyration away from permanent shelving people continue to shell out big bucks to acquire his services. Why? Well, when on the field, Gronk is one of the game’s most bulletproof forces, no matter position. His giant size, Herculean strength and clean routes are menacing for any defender, particularly inside the red zone. Still, his 18.2 percent targets share from ’16 could decline with Brandin Cooks and Dwayne Allen on board and Tom Brady favorites Julian Edelman and James White hanging around. Tack on previous opportunities missed – he failed to suit up 19 times since 2012 (19.8% of games) – and the risk greatly enhances. If you want a tight end early, focus on Mr. Reliables Travis Kelce or Greg Olsen a round or three later, otherwise think RB/WR in Round 2 and wait on the position until at least your draft’s midpoint.

Hurl insulting javelins at Brad via Twitter @YahooNoise

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