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Fantasy Football: 5 Players You Can't Afford to Have in Your Playoff Lineup

Giancarlo Ferrari-KingFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2013

Fantasy Football: 5 Players You Can't Afford to Have in Your Playoff Lineup

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    It's that time of year again. The 2013 fantasy football playoffs are here, and that means fantasy general managers around the globe will be staying up late trying to put together the best lineup possible to win big.

    With so much on the line, making those crucial lineup decisions can be the difference between moving on in the playoffs or crying yourself to sleep after a tough loss.

    Taking a look at player matchups, statistics and past performances, this list of five players you can't afford to have in your playoff lineups was complied.

    So without further delay, it's time to start the slideshow and get on your way to winning a fantasy football championship.

    *All stats and fantasy football scoring information courtesy of ESPN.com unless noted otherwise.

Colin Kaepernick

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    One of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football this season has been San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

    A dual-threat quarterback who's been blessed with a rocket launcher for an arm, Kaepernick has been outscored this season by the likes of Alex Smith, Andy Dalton and Robert Griffin III.

    Still, if you are one of those fantasy owners who made the playoffs with Kaepernick as your starting quarterback, congratulations are in order.

    But now that the playoffs are here, it's time to find another quarterback to help guide you to a fantasy football championship.

    Going up against the Seattle Seahawks and their top-ranked pass defense in Week 14, Kaepernick will once again struggle to have a big game. Remember, this is the same Seahawks team that held Kaepernick to just five fantasy points in Week 2.

Wes Welker

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    After catching eight touchdown passes in the first six weeks of the season, Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker has seen his production dip.

    Recording just 18 receptions for 162 yards and zero touchdowns over his past four games, Welker really hurt his fantasy owners down the stretch this year.

    Surrounded by a plethora of offensive weapons, Welker has become a victim of his team's success. With guys like Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas all out there catching passes, it's becoming harder and harder to count on Welker with each passing week.

    Although he's tough to sit, because of his poor production over the last four games and all of the weapons on the Broncos offense, fantasy owners must consider looking at other wide receiver options for their playoff runs.

Chris Johnson

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    Despite his success last week against the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is a risky player to start during the fantasy football playoffs.

    Having rushed for more than 100 yards just once this season, Johnson's real value has come when he's out there catching passes. Registering 27 catches for 236 yards and two touchdowns, Johnson is averaging just 2.25 receptions a game.

    For fantasy owners looking to get the most out of their starters, Johnson's value this season has been predicated on his ability to make a big play.

    That's why if you have another productive running back stashed on your bench, it's worth starting him over the inconsistent Johnson.

Andrew Luck

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    Even though Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is one of the most dynamic young players in the NFL today, the second-year pro has struggled to put up big numbers in recent weeks.

    Scoring less than 20 points in his past four games, Luck is no longer a "must-start" option for fantasy owners.

    If you watch Luck and this Colts offense on film, you can tell they really miss having star wide receiver Reggie Wayne out there on the field. Struggling to move the football in his absence, Luck has looked like a different quarterback since Wayne suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 7.

    With the Colts facing a Cincinnati Bengals defense that held the San Diego Chargers to just 10 points in Week 13, Luck owners will have to seriously consider benching the former No. 1 overall pick.

Marques Colston

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    Playing in one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL, you would think New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston would be a must-start fantasy option every week.

    Instead, fantasy owners have struggled with Colston's inconsistent ability to put up big points. With just 569 yards receiving and two touchdowns to his credit, Colston is currently 46th overall in points for the wide receiver position.

    Going up against a tough Carolina Panthers team in Week 14, Colston will continue his disappointing fantasy season against the No. 1 overall defense in the NFL.

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