Fantasy football: Avoid these 2018 underachievers next season

Fantasy football postseason play is set to take over in plenty of leagues, meaning tons of participants have nothing left to do. Justifiably, they’ve checked out.

Maybe those folks will just want to file a lost season away, never to think about it again; nothing wrong with that. But, even in failure, there are lessons to be gleaned, particularly in figuring out for next year which players once considered elite likely will never garner that designation again.

Here’s a look at three players whose disappointing 2018 performances should not be considered mere blips, and no longer merit future consideration for use of early draft choices.

Rob Gronkowski

The Patriots tight end surely will wind up in Canton one day. And, when healthy, he’s still clearly one of the best TE options in fantasy football. But, his days as a potential top-30 pick are through.

It’s not just that Gronk missed three games in the middle of the season due to injuries, because that’s nothing new. More troubling is his lack of red zone success, with just two scores on 54 targets across nine games. His average PPR points don’t rank in the top five. Travis Kelce (Chiefs) and Zach Ertz (Eagles) are the new elite.

LeSean McCoy

Shady’s place here shouldn’t be a surprise. Most RBs age 30 or over begin to taper off — Adrian Peterson (Redskins) is the rare exception in today’s NFL.

Still, McCoy ranked 13th at his position before the season in average draft position (ADP) on ESPN. For that lofty investment, he ranks 35th in average PPR per game (minimum 70 carries). He’s had his moments for the rebuilding Bills, but he isn’t likely to bounce back in 2019 when he’s 31.

Derrick Henry

Hopes were high for the former Heisman Trophy winner entering his first season outside the retired DeMarco Murray’s shadow. The Titans ranked 19th among RBs in preseason ADP.

Alas, the 24-year-old botched the opportunity. His lack of use as a receiver does little to make up for an underwhelming 3.7 yards per carry. All this adds up to Henry being beyond the top 40 RBs this season through 13 weeks. Don’t bother with him as a sleeper candidate in 2019.