Every fantasy season there are hundreds of articles about players to target late in drafts, or so-called sleepers to keep an eye on, but there are hardly any articles describing players not to draft for the upcoming fantasy season. It is just as important to know whom to avoid, as it is to know whom to pick. Below are my top-ten fantasy football players to avoid for the 2012 season:
5. RB Mike Tolbert, CAR – With the Carolina Panthers already having both running backs, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart under contract, it is very difficult to see exactly where Tolbert will fit. Williams is the homerun threat, while Stewart is the obvious goal-line back, so Tolbert’s 19 touchdowns over the last two years will be hard to pencil in on the Panthers’ depth chart. The most likely resolution of the new triple-headed monster, without even considering the dynamic running ability of quarterback Cam Newton, is to have Tolbert play a versatile fullback-hybrid position. He would mostly be used as a blocker, but will still get enough respect as a runner to keep the defense honest with Stewart or Williams in the backfield along side Tolbert.
4. RB Felix Jones, DAL – After a couple injury plagued seasons and mediocre performances, it appears the Dallas Cowboys are ready to show 2011 starter, Felix Jones, the bench. Jones only scored 1 total touchdown in all of 2011 and was quickly outshined by rookie DeMarco Murray, who ended the year as the starter. Many people still believe in Jones’ fantasy ability, but with Murray in the backfield, Jones will only get about 10 touches a game. He does have breakout speed and is a good receiver out of the backfield, but his lack of consistent touches will make it hard for him to warrant fantasy consideration.
3. TE Antonio Gates, SD – Gates only missed three football games in his seven NFL seasons before suffering his devastating foot injury in 2010. However, the eight-time Pro Bowler has unfortunately missed nine games over the last two years and even played in a handful of games that he probably should have sat out. Gates may have 17 touchdowns over that span, but why draft a tight end that will be injured heading into the season? Tight ends have become the deepest position in fantasy football, with 8-10 quality fantasy starters, so it is worth passing on the guy who was once viewed as the premier tight end in the NFL.
2. QB Andrew Luck, IND – Luck may have been the number one pick in this past year’s draft and he may be a superstar down the road, but he will without a doubt be a mediocre fantasy quarterback this season, and that is being generous. He will be featured in a Colts’ team that was gutted this off-season by losing Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Pierre Garcon, and Dallas Clark on the offense side of the ball alone. The team did bring back All-Pro receiver, Reggie Wayne, and also drafted the two best receiving tight ends ( Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen) in this past draft, but the bottom line is that he does not have the experienced weapons around him to put up consistent fantasy points on a week-to-week basis.
1. RB Jamaal Charles, KC – Charles has been completely cleared following his unfortunate torn ACL in week two last year, but some fantasy owners remain apprehensive to draft the 25-year old. Charles has shown amazing fantasy potential; as he had a career high 1,467 rushing yards in 2010, but his meager 5 touchdowns that year does not make him an elite option at the running back position just yet. In most cases Charles is still being drafted within the top-ten at his position, but his lack of scoring opportunities severely limits his all-around fantasy value. Not to mention that he has publically stated that he has never been a fan of the sport of football, and has admittedly never seen Walter Payton run, something that should be a prerequisite for aspiring NFL backs. Someone will take a chance on him in the first round, but do not let it be you.