Here's a listing of prominent fantasy prospects, aka The Avoidables, that I pledge to bypass within their specially earmarked slots on draft day.
For the sake of continuity here, I'll work exclusively off Mock Draft Central's current Average Draft Position values.
It bears repeating: I am not condemning the fantasy talents of the stars below. I simply won't be taking them at their present ADP.
However, I'm sure that little disclaimer/factoid will fall upon blind eyes when receiving harsh emails or tweets on this subject.
Meet The Avoidables
Round 1—QB Drew Brees, Saints
Rationale: Obviously, Brees has a long-standing track record of excellence in the fantasy realm; he's a shoo-in for 4,700 passing yards and 36 touchdowns on a bad season. But I'm just not a fan of taking quarterbacks in Round 1, with the notable exception of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (4,643 yards passing, 48 total TDs in 2011).
Bottom line: I would happily take Rodgers at No. 7 overall.
Round 2—RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Rationale: My stance on Peterson has remained consistent for a while. Given the time frame of his torn ACL from last season (Christmas Eve against the Redskins), I simply refuse to draft any high-end running back or wide receiver—who hasn't had at least 10 full months to recover from a major knee injury—in the first two rounds.
That said, I wouldn't say boo to landing Peterson (1,109 total yards, 13 TDs in 12 games last year) in Round 4 of a 12-team, standard-scoring draft.
Round 3—RB Isaac Redman, Steelers
Rationale: As established in last week's Top 40 Running Backs In Standard-Scoring Leagues, I'd be thrilled to have Redman (142 total yards vs. Denver in the playoffs last year) as my No. 4 back (12-team league). But anything before doesn't seem too appealing.
For all I know, Redman could be the next great rusher in Steelers history and a candidate for 1,400 total yards in his first season as the Pittsburgh starter. But to roll the dice between picks 25 and 36 just won't happen. There's no value in that strata.
Round 4—WR Miles Austin, Cowboys
Rationale: In a standard-scoring draft, there's a 90 percent chance I'll have only one receiver in the first four picks. If that's the case, I most certainly wouldn't want Austin (and his balky hammy) as a clear-cut No. 1 wideout.
When healthy, Austin (43 catches, 579 yards, seven TDs in 10 games last year) remains a formidable prospect in the fantasy realm...but only as a mid-Round 5 pick.
Round 5—RB Mark Ingram, Saints
Rationale: Looking at the ADP value chart, basically every quarterback, receiver and tight end seems like a good fit for Round 5. By the process of elimination, either Mark Ingram or BenJarvus Green-Ellis would then get the rusha non grata treatment on draft day.
As much as I appreciate Ingram's capacity for double-digit touchdowns in 2012, I would prefer to avoid Saints tailbacks for any of the inaugural 60 picks.
Round 6—WR Antonio Brown, Steelers
Rationale: I reserve the right to change my mind here if Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace continues his contract holdout through Aug. 20. But for the time being, I simply favor other standard-scoring options at receiver from picks 61-72.
That talent list includes Steve Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Reggie Wayne and the enigmatic Kenny Britt (for now).
Round 7—TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
Rationale: My draft strategy for standard-scoring leagues is pretty simple: If I can't land Rob Gronkowski (Round 2), Jimmy Graham (Round 3) or Antonio Gates (Round 5) at their parenthetical slots, then I will automatically wait until Rounds 9, 10 or 11 to secure a group of potential gems like Brandon Pettigrew, Fred Davis, Dustin Keller, Brent Celek, Jermaine Gresham or Jared Cook.
For this position, there will be no draft-day gray area.
Round 8—WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
Rationale: In a PPR draft, I would be thrilled to land Heyward-Bey (60 targets, three TDs in his final six games last year) between picks 85-96. But Round 8 seems a tad high in standard-scoring setting, given that DHB only has six career touchdowns.
If he should fall to the latter portion of Round 9, though, all bets are off. I'll enjoy the mini-coup.
Round 9—WR Robert Meachem, Chargers
Rationale: I have nothing against Meachem...or his lucrative contract with San Diego during the offseason. But when subtracting that five-game spurt of 21 catches, 346 yards and six touchdowns with New Orleans in 2009, Meachem's averages for the other 57 games are 2.02 catches, 33.73 yards and 0.30 touchdowns.
Very few GMs would invest a Round 9 pick for subpar production like that.
Round 10—TE Owen Daniels, Texans
Rationale: Simply put, I would rather have Dustin Keller, Jermaine Gresham, Kellen Winslow, Jacob Tamme or Ed Dickson over Daniels as, presumably, my No. 1 tight end.
Heck, I might even covet Minnesota's Kyle Rudolph or Colts rookie Coby Fleener more after a preseason game or two. The point is, Daniels just doesn't have Round 10 value in my mind, even with Bleacher Report analyst Arian Foster's air-tight prediction of "Pro Bowl" for his Houston teammate.
(I'll have that video in the coming days.)
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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