2013 Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Injury-Prone Players to Avoid at All Costs

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIAugust 25, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 04:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders in action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at O.co Coliseum on November 4, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Great fantasy football potential isn’t worth much when it is outweighed by the risk of injury. Knowing when to take the gamble on high-risk/high-reward players is important.

Sometimes fantasy owners can strike gold, but more often than not, you’ll go bankrupt. It is best to steer clear of these players entirely.

Here’s a short list of players you’d be better off avoiding.


Darren McFadden

Everyone knows McFadden is a beast when he’s healthy, but that’s the problem: He spends too much time inactive.

Over the last two seasons, McFadden has missed 13 games. He’s currently battling a shoulder injury that forced the Oakland Raiders to hold him out of the third preseason game against the Chicago Bears on Friday, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com.

While it is easy to salivate over McFadden actually producing at a clip that is on par with his great physical tools, you’d be better off letting someone else worry about him staying healthy.

Despite his prototypical size and blazing speed, McFadden has had just one year with more than 1,000 yards rushing, and he’s never had more than seven touchdowns in a season.

If you can grab him with your last pick, then it may be worth it. But nine times out of 10, another owner will snatch him up hoping this is the year he stays healthy.

Don’t be that guy.


Mike Vick

As a personal fan of Vick, it pains me to put him on this list. Much like they will with McFadden, fantasy owners will grab him perhaps earlier than they should because of his enormous potential as a dual threat.

In order to get him, you’ll have to take him fairly high and because of his injury concerns, it wouldn’t be a smart move. 

Vick has missed at least three games in each of the last three seasons. The new offense in Philadelphia seems to be ideal for him, but he’s already talking about running more, per Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com.

That should scare fantasy owners to death. Vick doesn’t have the frame to absorb the punishment he’ll take, and he still doesn’t seem to be ready to accept that reality. Take a pass.


Ryan Mathews

Mathews has missed 10 games in his three-year career and that has prevented him from becoming one of the best all-purpose backs in the NFL. He ran for 707 yards in 2012 after rushing for 1,091 yards in 2011.

Missing 10 games isn’t the most alarming total through three seasons. The type of injuries Mathews has sustained is what makes him a big risk.

Mathews broke his collarbone in Aug. 2012, and then broke his other clavicle four months later. Some may see these as freak injuries, but it seems like this could lead to recurring upper-body injuries for Mathews.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com loves Mathews this year because of his preseason performance thus far, but those injuries should serve as a deterrent for fantasy owners.


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