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Fantasy Sports Fantasy Football

15 Star NFL Players You Need To Avoid In Your Fantasy Draft

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15 Star NFL Players You Need To Avoid In Your Fantasy Draft

Fantasy Football
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football has become as big a part of Autumn Sundays as the games themselves. Never before have Oakland Raiders fans rooted for Peyton Manning to succeed, but they will if they started him that week. The whole concept of fantasy has changed the way we view sports, but none is more prevalent than football. The NFL probably wouldn't be as popular today if it wasn't for it.

Over 24 million people played fantasy football last season. It has become a billion dollar industry. Employers are saying that, on a conservative estimate, they could be losing as much as $6.5 billion in lost productivity thanks to it. It has become a part of our culture.

Many leagues have certain buy-ins to get into the league. Whether it is $10, 30 bucks or even $500, when there is money on the line you are going to put your all into it. That is where you really have to pay attention. Spending a bunch of money on a guy in your auction draft or using your first round pick on a guy who doesn't work out can ruin your entire season. All the time, effort and money could all be for not.

Today we will analyze who are the top players you want to avoid drafting, and why. Whether it is injury concern, too many people and not enough balls to go around, or other reasons why you need to avoid these fifteen players. There are risks you have to take in fantasy, but these are not calculated ones. Keep clear of these players, and barring a freak injury you should be fine.

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15. David Wilson

Giants
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

David Wilson is going into his first season as the starting running back for the New York Giants. Last year's first-round pick is looking to make an immediate impact in this offense. He definitely has the playmaking ability you like to see in a fantasy running back, but it takes one bad play to get benched on Tom Coughin's team. Also, if you take out the 100-yard, two touchdown game against the New Orleans Saints then his stats start to look extremely pedestrian. In the other fifteen games he had 258 yards and two touchdowns. I would like to see one full year holding off Andre Brown for the starting job before I take a chance on him. The risk isn't as bad as some of the running backs in the league, but I think other risks are more calculated.

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14. Frank Gore

49ers
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Gore once again had a very good season for the San Francisco 49ers. For the second season in a row he eclipsed 1,200 yards and played in all sixteen games. He had a reputation for being injury plagued, but he has seemed to brush that off. So then why is he on this list? We have seen before (cough cough Alex Smith) that Jim Harbaugh will switch his starters if he believes that they will help the team in the long run. Smith got a concussion and he was not allowed to see the field again. Speaking of which, Gore never had a 100-yard regular season game with Colin Kaepernick as the quarterback (he had two in the playoffs, but you don't get fantasy points for that). He had 28 yards in week 16, or better known as fantasy football championship week. LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter are knocking on the door. It is only a matter of time before Gore loses this job. He had a good run, but his time in San Francisco may be over. Next season he will be owed over $6 million and none is guaranteed. I don't think Gore will finish the season as the starter.

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13. Hakeem Nicks

Giants
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Hakeem Nicks just hasn't played to the level that he was expected to play. The Giants lucked out because it seemed like Victor Cruz is living up to Nicks' expectations. He has yet to play a full sixteen games in his four years in the league. He put together two good seasons back to back but was absolutely awful last season. Nicks is going in drafts around the same position as Danny Amendola, Steve Smith and Mike Wallace. I don't see him healthy enough to make the kind of jump to be a top 20 fantasy wide receiver. Eli Manning can make most receivers look good but not when they aren't on the field. I feel like Nicks has been flirting with a serious injury, and he can't avoid it forever.

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12. DeAngelo Williams

Panthers
John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Do not draft any of the Carolina Panthers' running backs. Not DeAngelo Williams, not Jonathan Stewart, not Mike Tolbert. It will be tempting if you strike out on your second running back and you're looking for a starter, but it just isn't worth the frustration. I will pick on Williams because he is going the highest, but it is all fool's gold. If you take out the Week 17 game against the Saints, Williams scored 74 points through the fifteen games that actually have fantasy games. That is an average of under five points per game. He had five games in which he scored one point or less. One point! Do not draft this man. If you do then just start a money burning hobby, it will be more profitable.

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11. James Jones

Packers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

James Jones is currently going on average around 22nd in most fantasy leagues. Coming into his seventh season, Jones has never had a 1,000-yard season. Heck, he hasn't even broken 800 yards in his career. I just can't take a chance on a guy who never showed he can be the guy, even if he has the best quarterback in the league throwing to him. He doubled his career high in touchdowns last season, and there is no way he will bring in 14 touchdowns again. It just doesn't seem like Jones will be able to duplicate his production once again. He is going to lose catches to Randall Cobb and, when he comes back, Jordy Nelson. The run game is much better with Eddie Lacy in the fold. He will not excel with the Green Bay Packers as much as some people are expecting him to.

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10. Joe Flacco

Ravens
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

He is the Super Bowl MVP. He threw an impressive eleven touchdowns and zero interceptions in the playoffs. Then he lost his favorite receiver Anquan Boldin. He needs to get a big season out of unproven wide receivers. He is Joe Flacco, and he is not worth taking in the top ten of quarterbacks. This year's quarterback crop is deeper than it has been in years. It isn't just Brees, Manning, Rodgers and Brady anymore. You have Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo who put up big numbers for their respective offenses last season. You can grab Alex Smith or Carson Palmer who are playing for new teams and trying to prove themselves to a new city. You can try for the extra points off rushing touchdowns you can get from Michael Vick and Kaepernick. You can even pray that a sophomore slump doesn't happen to Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson. Just do not draft Flacco, there is too much talent out there for you to have to.

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9. Kenny Britt

Titans
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Don't get fooled again. Kenny Britt is an enticing option late in drafts because it seems like he is the last of the starting wide receivers available. Taking a chance on this guy is just a waste of a roster spot. Emmanuel Sanders, Lance Moore and Golden Tate will do much more as No. 2 receivers than Britt will do as a No. 1. He is already dealing with knee issues, and the season hasn't even started. After a decent 12 games in 2010, Britt never really lived up to the hype that he made for himself. He will once again be a below average player, and you should not try to out think the room and draft him.

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8. Pierre Garcon

Redskins
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Pierre Garcon is RGIII's number one receiver. He can have huge games based on one play. That kind of home run hitting ability makes him an option that you may want to reach for. He missed six games last season and only caught 44 passes, the lowest since his rookie season. Most fans remember his 88-yard touchdown reception over the nagging injuries that took most of his season away. Receivers are iffy options in the first place, but the fact of his inconsistency added to the fact he may not be able to stay on the field make Garcon an option you want to avoid.

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7. Matt Forte

Bears
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Forte was one of the best running backs in the league during his rookie season. Unfortunately, that was all the way back in 2008. Since then he never had a season over 1100 yards. He hasn't scored more than six rushing touchdowns. He has been battling injuries for the past couple of years, but he seems to be a risk that nobody wants to talk about. We are talking about a potential first round pick in some leagues. He is great at catching the ball out of the backfield, making him very valuable in PPR leagues, but in standard scoring leagues he isn't worth the pick you are going to use on him. Michael Bush is still there taking carries. He is going to continue to steal goal line carries which takes away from Forte's touchdowns.

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6. Steven Jackson

Falcons
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Jackson is supposed to replace Michael Turner and give the Atlanta Falcons a legitimate running game finally. The problem is, the run game wasn't the fault of Turner last season. The offensive line is not one that is good at run blocking. They only had a 40.3 percent good block rate on running plays last season. On top of that, Jackson is running on legs that have already had 2,395 carries on his career. Jackson hasn't had less than 1,000 yards in the last eight seasons, but that ends this season. The Falcons will not give Jackson the kind of workload he was getting in St. Louis. He will be good when he plays, but I just don't believe they will play him to the point that would warrant a late first or early second round selection.

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5. Robert Griffin III

Redskins
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The most enigmatic player in the NFL last season was Robert Griffin III. The problem is he tore his ACL only seven months ago. Everybody expects these magical recoveries after the season that Adrian Peterson had, but it isn't realistic for every player. The Washington Redskins used their entire future to move up to get RGIII, so they are going to be very careful when it comes to his playing time. They are going to teach him to run less, so those numbers will decrease. That is if he can stay on the field for the entire season. This guy needs to be good for the next decade or Redskins fans will have a fit. Injury ridden cannot be a label under Griffin, but after two knee surgeries by the age of 23, I would steer clear until he proves he can play on that bad wheel.

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4. Demaryius Thomas

Broncos
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

This section should just be called "insert Denver Broncos wide receiver here". Whether it's Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, or Joel Dreessen there are only so many passes to go around. Yes, that number may be 400, which is a ton of passes, but the numbers are going to be a little watered down with the additions of Welker and Dreessen. Thomas seems to be the candidate to regress the most. With Peyton Manning at the helm, he saw nearly all of his stats triple. His previous career high in yards was 551; he got 1,434 last season. His previous career high in touchdowns was four; last season he had 10. His previous career high in receptions was a measly 32, yet last season he caught 94, including catching 67 percent of his targets when the season prior he only caught 45 percent. ESPN has Thomas projected as the sixth best receiver, but I just don't think he can replicate those numbers again.

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3. Rob Gronkowski

Patriots
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The fears within this pick have to be pretty obvious. Understood that Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in the league when healthy, he just isn't at the moment. It is very likely that he will start the season on the PUP list, meaning he is going to miss the first six games of the season. You don't want to waste a pick on the second overall tight end when the guy may miss half of your fantasy season. Also, we have no idea what his chemistry will be like with the new tight ends when he does come back. There are too many question marks surrounding Gronk for fantasy and the New England Patriots. It is either Jimmy Graham or bust when it comes to tight ends this season.

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2. Darren McFadden

Raiders
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Darren McFadden is one of the most explosive runners in the game today. When he is on the field, it is a complete difference maker. He can run the Raiders offense by himself. Too bad he has never stayed healthy for a full season. You read that correctly, McFadden has never completed a sixteen game season in his five year career. It is a shame really, because he is so super talented that you want to trust that he is finally healthy and you're getting a first round guy in the third round. It never works out that way and he ends up on your IR for most of the season. He needs to show that he can work a full sixteen before you trust him with your team. Stay far away from this guy.

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1. Arian Foster

Texans
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

You are going to use the second overall pick on a guy who has yet to even practice this preseason? Really? Arian Foster is the biggest risk in fantasy football this season. Of course with all risks, his upside is wonderful, but the downside could be a complete wasted pick and a ruined team. There are much safer routes you can go, especially with a pick so high. If that isn't scary enough, the guy has touched the ball more in the last three seasons than any skill player in the NFL. The touches are catching up, his offensive line is getting worse, and his yards per carry has gone down every year. It is catching up to him. Plus, back injuries are hard to predict. I wouldn't want to take a chance on this guy when I wouldn't pick again for another 22 picks.