Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Draft Prep: Players to Avoid

Avoid these players. Whether it's for injury concerns, fluke seasons, or being drafted too high, I would recommend a rethink if you are wanting to draft any of these guys.

As 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, "Avoid every kind of evil". While these players are not evil by any means, the things they may do to your team may seem evil. And while you are at it, avoid using Bible verses out of context. Psh, I mean, who does that? But seriously, those who use individual verses to prove points miss the context and point of passages. In order to not do that, it helps to use the ladder of abstraction, which helps us find an underlying universal principal in context. For instance, when there is foot washing in the Bible, it is not proper to extrapolate and say that we, in today's culture, need to wash our neighbors' feet. Instead, we see how foot washing was a way to keep your house clean. We also can take away the theme of serving one another with humility and being hospitable.

Um, well, how does this connect at all? It does not really. But for those who find research saying that  Eric Dickerson tanked after a 380 plus carry season does not necessarily mean that Maurice Jones-Drew cannot handle it. Times are different. Athletes are built differently. In short, the game has changed. So when it comes to finding research about current situations, like Adrian Peterson's torn ACL, it can be good to look into the past for reference. Just do not hold it as truth for what will happen next.

So. Back to the actual point of this article. Here are players you should avoid on draft day.

Peyton Manning (QB, DEN, ADP 42.1): For a career filled with twice as many indoor games as outdoor games, Manning now faces 15 outdoor games this year. His outdoor numbers, while not terrible, do in fact drop significantly from his indoor numbers. That plus his age, his neck, and a brand new team makes me want to avoid Manning this year. While being the eight quarterback selected sounds like a bargain, there are much better, surefire options.

Eli Manning (QB, NYG, ADP 31.9): Both Mannings make this list as this year Eli is actually being overvalued. While he did produce a stellar 5,000 yard season last year, he still was one of the more inconsistent quarterbacks. He had six games with under 15 points and finished the year with only 29 touchdowns. Good, but not great. Of the eight other quarterbacks to ever throw for 5,000 yards in a season, they averaged 41 touchdowns. So the question: where were Manning's?

Matt Stafford (QB, DET, ADP 13.0): For a guy going borderline first round, I do not want to touch him. No doubt he has the talent to be a top five quarterback. And he has Calvin Johnson. But, he has played only one full season in his career, has a poor offensive line, and little running game. Do I want to pick a player in the first round based on one great season? Nope.

JaMarcus Russell (QB, Biggest Losers, ADP (average donuts per day) 12): Avoid him. He may just eat you, too.

Darren McFadden (RB, OAK, ADP 25.5): The thing about McFadden is that he is one the best fantasy running backs out there. The other thing is that he can rarely stay on the field. If you are feeling dicey, then McFadden could be one of the biggest steals this year. He is the epitome of a high risk, high reward player.

Frank Gore (RB, SF, 35.2): No longer viewed as a number one running back, owners should see Gore as a solid number two. Gore finally lasted a full season, but saw his workload decrease as the season went on. That said, he now has Brandon Jacobs, LaMichael James, and Kendall Hunter all in the mix to steal carries. Don't be surprised if there is another decline in Gore's carries and productivity.

Roy Helu (RB, WSH, 52.6): I love this guy. He showed immense potential in his rookie campaign by compiling over 1,000 all-purpose yards to go along with 49 catches. In PPR leagues, he will be a great option. But anytime Mike Shanahan is your coach, we actually have no idea who will get the bulk of carries. For all I know, Terrell David could come out of retirement and Shanahan will give him the carries. Any Redskins' running back is risky, although Helu hopes to break the Shanahan curse and be the go-to guy.

Willis McGahee (RB, DEN, 54.3): Remember Joseph Addai in the high powered Colts' offense. Remember his incredible numbers? . . . Oh, wait. Well, McGahee, who turns 31 this year, could end up a replica of Addai, only worse. McGahee does not catch well and is poor in pass protection, which means he may not do too much this year with Manning. Before you think McGahee will ride on coattails of last year, think again.

Calvin Johnson (WR, DET, 6.8): Madden curse? Is it true? Does it affect a robot? Who knows? Other than the curse, there are no actual viable concerns for this beast of a player.

Mike Wallace (WR, PIT, 26.5): This man is still holding out. So watch out come draft day. Wallace did very little toward the end of last season and Antonio Brown emerged as a favorite of Ben Roethlisberger. In Wallace's last 9 games, he scored double digits just TWICE! For the consensus top eight wide receiver, he is one to be drafted with caution. He still has lights out potential, but has a moderately high risk component.

Vincent Jackson (WR, TB, 53.8): He has never caught more than 68 passes in a season. Or double digit touchdowns. Or 1,200 yards. A guy that always seems slightly overrated, Jackson now leaves his comfort of Philip Rivers and goes to run-heavy, Josh Freeman led Tampa Bay. Things do not look good, my friends.

Victor Cruz (WR, NYG, 31.8): This is more based on draft position than on talent or production. Cruz has the ability to replicate last year's numbers. But he almost surely will not. He scored on touchdowns last year of 68, 72, 74, 74, and 99 yards. Think he can do that again? I like Cruz and think he can still produce like a top 20 receiver, just not the top 10 where he is currently being drafted.

Andre Johnson (WR, HOU, 14.3): Yup, you read it right. For a guy who has failed to stay healthy the past two seasons, I cannot advise taking him so high this year. He has played just 20 games the past two years and while he has been productive, he has been a headache to deal with. And now Houston has become a run first team, meaning Johnson will have less chances to produce like he once did. I am not saying that Johnson is done by any means, I am just saying he is no longer the Andre we knew and used to draft first of wide receivers.

Vernon Davis (TE, SF, 52.5): He's a great talent hurt by his quarterback Alex Smith. While Smith is by no means a bad quarterback, Davis just does not get the same chances that a Jimmy Graham or even a Jason Witten get. Davis was very inconsistent last year and that is due to him getting mainly underneath throws from Smith. If Smith can air it out more, perhaps Davis will return to the top five. Till further notice, he is just a solid top 10 option.

Jermichael Finley (TE, GB, 67.0): At least he is not being drafted as early as Davis, but Finley was perhaps the most inconsistent of all fantasy players. He was plagued by drops and had only four double digit games. He has ridiculous potential, but still has not reached it.

Stephen Gostowski (K, NE, 110.1): WHY ON EARTH DO PEOPLE PICK KICKERS THIS EARLY? Wait till the LAST ROUND, close your eyes and point at the screen. There, you have your kicker! Last year, if you removed David Akers' season, there was only a 15 point difference between the 1st and 10th kicker! Even with Akers, it was still only 49 points.

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