Fantasy football is a fickle game—not only in terms of week-to-week matchups but also in regards to year-to-year performances.
Players perform at ridiculously high levels one year, only to disappoint their new owners the next. Sometimes picking a big-name player is a crap shoot. Other times it involves some serious deliberation and research into year-to-year tendencies and things of that nature.
Some say that the winner of a league is decided through the waiver wire. Others believe that it is all about the picks that an owner makes in the later rounds. Still others—the real fantasy football gurus—know that you can lay the foundation for a successful season in the first two rounds of the draft.
That can only happen if you know who to draft and who to avoid. Here you can find the latter, as we give you three big-name players that shouldn't be drafted early on.
Marshawn Lynch ran for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns last season in 15 games. He was a big reason why the Seattle Seahawks won 5-of-6 games at one point during the season, but you shouldn't expect him to match that output this year.
Two seasons ago, Lynch ran for just 737 yards. Granted, he had to deal with switching teams and learning a new offense midseason, but he wasn't very good on the Seahawks or the Buffalo Bills.
He's definitely going to be the primary back in Seattle this season, but you just never know which Lynch that you're going to get. He ran for over 2,151 yards his first two seasons in the league. Since then, he's totaled just 2,391 in four seasons.
The Seahawks offensive line doesn't bully people by any stretch of the imagination, and we frequently see players in all sports tail off after they get a sweet contract.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
ESPN projected DeMarco Murray to be one of the top running backs in the NFL last season. Plenty of fantasy football players live and die by ESPN projections, but they should definitely avoid drafting Murray in the first two rounds.
There's no doubt that he was a top running back when he was on the field last season, but he has just 164 carries in his NFL career. His 5.5 yards per carry is extremely high, but there is no telling whether he will be able to sustain that as a feature back.
The main issue with drafting Murray so early is the risk-reward factor. At the best, he can be a top-tier running back. At the worst, he could be a bust and fail to produce.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
Ryan Mathews would be a smart pickup in the second or third round—if he could stay on the field.
Last season, Mathews ran for over 1,000 yards and scored six touchdowns, despite missing two games. He reaffirmed our suspicions that he is going to have a hard time remaining in the game when he broke his clavicle on his first carry of the season against the Green Bay Packers.
When you draft a running back early, you need him to be around for the entire season. If Mathews isn't able to make a timely return, you could be kicking yourself if you decide to take him on.
Worse yet, he could get hurt later on in the season.