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Fantasy Players to Avoid at Each Position

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystAugust 6, 2012

Fantasy Players to Avoid at Each Position

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    The key to success in fantasy football isn't just knowing which players to target in your draft.

    It's also knowing which players not to target, whether it's due to injury risk, the probability of a "letdown" year, an inflated asking price or some combination of those factors.

    So, while a couple of these names may surprise you, here's a look at one player at each position who is on my "ten foot pole" list.

    As in wouldn't touch them with one.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

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    This is the first name on the list that may seem rather puzzling, especially given that I have Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ranked number one at his position in my latest fantasy football player rankings here at Bleacher Report.

    That said, the very fact that he's ranked number one is probably the biggest reason why I'm steering clear of him this season.

    Rodgers' average draft position according to MyFantasyLeague.com is fifth...overall.

    The next time I spend that high a pick on a quarterback will be the first time.

    Simply put, unless other owners in your league make reaches that allow you to compensate if you take a quarterback in the front end of the first round you'll spend the rest of the draft chasing your tail trying to make up for it.

    There's just too much positional scarcity at say running back relative to quarterback to justify it.

    Will Rodgers have a great season? Yep.

    Is it worth that lofty cost? Nope.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is an immensely talented ballcarrier who tallied a league-leading and career-high 1,606 rushing yards in 2011.

    Unfortunately, Maurice Jones-Drew is also an immensely talented ballcarrier who feels last year's numbers merit a change in the numbers on his paycheck, a view that Jaguars management not surprisingly doesn't share.

    If you'd like to know how spending a first-round pick on a running back that's holding out works out, ask folks who drafted Chris Johnson last year,

    Sure, Johnson came on down the stretch and finished the season in the top 10 in fantasy leagues that award a point for receptions, but by the time he did most of the squads that drafted him were already out of the playoff hunt.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

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    Putting a second Green Bay Packers player on this list will probably get me labeled a "Packers hater" by some, but the team that Jordy Nelson plays for has nothing to do with why he's listed here.

    The fourth-year pro had a career year and then some in 2011, hauling in 68 passes for 1,263 yards and 15 scores, which was good enough for a top five fantasy finish at his position.

    However, given that Nelson scored more than twice as many touchdowns last year as he did in the three years prior put together and that his breakout a season a year ago was borne of a perfect storm that included fellow Green Bay wideout Greg Jennings getting hurt, the odds of Nelson backing up last year's stats just aren't very good.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

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    I feel like I've beaten this horse to death, raised it from the dead and then beaten it to death again but here we go.

    I love New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as a player. He's an absolute monster, and a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.

    With that said, burning a first round pick on a tight end in the hopes that he'll repeat a record-breaking season just isn't a good idea.

    Best case, you're going to need to pull rabbits out of your hat for the rest of the draft to compensate for the hole you dug yourself into or that "advantage" you think Gronkowski gives you at the position won't mean spit.

    Worst case, his numbers regress for any number of reasons (injury, the myriad of options in the Patriots passing game, etc.) and you're left hoping that the rabbits you pull out also pull out rabbits that pull out rabbits.

    In other words, you're toast.

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