Five players to stay away from in fantasy football

Don’t let your fantasy season blow up!

Every year in fantasy football there are major draft busts that can derail your season from the beginning. Last year there were injuries to players like Jordy Nelson, Jamaal Charles, Le’Veon Bell, etc. were the biggest wasted draft picks, but players like number four on our list screwed owners just by being terrible.

5. Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders, ADP: 41

Murray doesn’t have the issue that frustrates most fantasy owners. He is one of the few workhorse running backs in the NFL, with no clear backup to takeaway carries. Problem is Murray was horrible with that opportunity.

Murray was actually worse than horrible. All-time there have been 93 running backs who recieved the same amount of touches that Murray did last year. He ranked dead last in fantasy points of that group.

The way David Carr and the Raiders pass attack looked last season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Oakland throw the ball more. That isn’t going to fare well for Murray, especially when Roy Helu and Taiwan Jones are capable pass catching backs.

Drafting Murray as an RB2 is overvaluing him, while it’s more appropriate to draft him for your FLEX spot.

4. Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers, ADP: 72

Nothing about Melvin Gordon makes me excited this year. His situation is basically the same as last season, except for the fact that he had microfracture surgery in his knee over the offseason.

To start, the Chargers have not improved greatly from last year on defense. They drafted Joey Bosa, but theres little beyond him that will stop the Chargers from playing from behind all the time. That’s good news for Danny Woodhead, bad news for Gordon.

With the Chargers likely throwing the ball at least 40 times a game, the offense should look identical to last years’. And last year Gordon had zero touchdowns, and just two games where he touched the ball 20 times.

The fact that Gordon is the 26th RB being drafted right now is kind of amazing. There are so many reasons to think nothing will change from last season, yet some are buying in. Gordon shouldn’t be trusted to start on Week 1 at all.

3. Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets, ADP: 20

Marshall is coming off a monster 109 catch, 1,502 yard, 14 touchdown season that placed him 3rd among WR’s in fantasy points. That all came with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, who is  not currently signed.

If Geno Smith is going to be the Jets starting quarterback, Marshall will be one of the most overvalued players this season. Smith might open the season as the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. That has the potential to be the iceberg that sinks the whole offense. Marshall will not be immune from that.

Think back to the days of Marshall in Miami when a combination of Matt Moore, Chad Henne, J.P. Losman, and Tyler Thigpen were throwing him the ball. Marshall was decent with a combined 166 catches, 2,228 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Other than his rookie season, they were the worst years of Marshall’s career. While he was still relevant in fantasy, he dropped from a WR1 to a FLEX play. A similar fate could be in store for him this season.

Add in the factor that Marshall should be past his prime at the age of 32, the fact that Eric Decker commands a lot of targets, and a Fitzpatrick-less Marshall could drop out of WR1 and WR2 talk just like he did in Miami. That puts his Round 2 draft price way too high. Until Fitzpatrick is signed, if he is at all, the earliest I’d feel comfortable drafting him is Round 4. Even that is a bit of a reach if Geno Smith is starting, but I’m adding in a hope that Fitz does get signed at some point.

2. Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets, ADP: 34

The long time Bears running back had another superb season last year, finishing as a top 10 running back despite missing three games with injury. The Bears didn’t want to bring Forte back, so now the 30 year old back is with the Jets.

Last year both Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell were effective fantasy starters when healthy. Ivory was the workhorse running back and Powell was the pass catcher. Many think Forte will take Ivory’s role, and eat into some of Powell’s touches. Powell should not be overlooked.

Last season Bilal Powell had 47 catches in 11 games. He was a PPR monster when healthy and was a high end FLEX in standard. The Jets brought him back at almost the same money as Forte. They wouldn’t pay him nearly the same if he wasn’t going to see the field. Chan Gailey has liked using two running backs, see Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller during his days in Buffalo.

The New York Post’s Brian Costello believes that Powell will see “major touches” this season. Couple that with the presence of Khiry Robinson in short yardage situations, and Matt Forte has found himself smack dab in the middle of a committee.

As of right now Forte’s ADP (average draft position) is in the third round. That’s way too high for a guy that has no guarantee to see even half of his backfield’s touches. The high value is what should make owners stay away. Forte will likely have a nice season and there are many reasons to be optimistic. However, the reality is there are too many red flags to bank on him as your RB2, and should be drafted as a FLEX.

1. Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks, ADP: 108

Everyone should take Jimmy Graham off their draft board. Tearing your patellar tendon is maybe the worst injury a football player can get.

Before we even get into Jimmy Graham, let me give you two recent examples of players who tore their patellar tendon. Two seasons ago Victor Cruz sustained this injury. He has yet to play a game since. The other example is former Cardinals running back Ryan Williams. Williams was a promising 2nd round pick in 2011 that had his career derailed when he ruptured his patellar tendon in the 2011 preseason. Williams was never able to recover. He’s had 58 attempts in his career and averaged under 3 yards per carry.

The American Journal of Sports Medicine almost 23% of NFL players that have suffered this injury, never played another down in the NFL. Thats an astounding rate. That’s before mentioning that the injury has the greatest negative effect on players over all other injuries.

Pete Carroll says he is hoping to have Graham back by Week 1, but given that he was injured in Week 12 of last year, that might be too optimistic. Even if Graham is back, it’s hard to believe he will be anywhere near his former self.

Beyond his injury, Graham wasn’t fitting in with the Seahawks anyway. He had just two touchdowns and had less than 5 fantasy points in half of his games.

If he was 100% there’d be doubts with Graham. The fact that he has suffered the worst injury possible, makes him undraftable in my opinion.

Written by Joe DiBiase

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