Draft Strategy

5 Fantasy Players I’m Avoiding

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A successful draft can give you bragging rights, a little extra spending money, and maybe even a trophy. An unsuccessful draft can result in at least six months of trash talk and banter.

Bust[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’ve all heard it before; the draft is the most important part of a fantasy football season. It can make or break your team. Whether you endorse this philosophy or are more partial to the waiver wire, the draft is crucial nonetheless.

A successful draft can give you bragging rights, a little extra spending money, and maybe even a trophy. An unsuccessful draft can result in at least six months of trash talk and banter.

Anyone who’s ever played fantasy football envisions that perfect draft/season. You get exactly who were planning on getting with every pick, your whole team stays healthy, and you go undefeated. On the other hand, there’s the season that unravels. The players you wanted get drafted a few picks before yours, the players you settled for get injured, and your team is a cellar dweller.

We’ve all had our share of fantasy football disappointments. I enjoy avoiding these types of cellar dwelling seasons, that’s why I will be avoiding the following “five” players in my drafts this year.

2013 Bust Candidates

Rashard Mendenhall

Arizona Cardinals

The new surroundings are a nice change for Mendenhall, at least weather-wise, but I just don’t see him being successful this season. He’s coming off an injury-plagued year and will be running behind arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. The Cardinals totaled an NFL-low 3.26 yards per carry in 2012.

Newly acquired quarterback Carson Palmer should be able to open up the field more for the Cardinals’ offense, but Mendenhall just doesn’t have the surrounding cast necessary to pound his way up the field.

Then there’s the fact that Arizona spent two draft picks on running backs, using their third round selection on Stepfan Taylor and their sixth round selection on Andre Ellington, not to mention Ryan Williams who is coming off a season ending injury himself. Mendenhall just has too many question marks for me to take a chance on drafting him.

DeSean Jackson

Philadelphia Eagles

DeSean JacksonJackson’s receiving yards and receiving touchdowns have gone down every year each of the past four seasons. Even during those seasons his numbers weren’t anything to write home about from a fantasy standpoint. His career high in receiving touchdowns is nine and he has never exceeded 1,200 receiving yards.

With Chip Kelly as Philadelphia’s new head coach, Jackson is anticipated to go back to his role as a punt returner, a role he thrived in. That being said, his punt return duties could take away from his duties as a wide receiver. Even in Chip Kelly’s new up tempo offense, there’s no guarantee that Jackson will thrive. He’s learning a new play-book, as are his offensive counterparts. That takes time to get used to, although speed can make up for time.

Nevertheless, there are just too many questions surrounding D-Jack for me to draft him this year: new offense, inconsistency, durability, etc. He hasn’t even played a full season the last four years, playing in just 11 games last season due to fractured ribs. I understand that he has speed that kills, but I just can’t risk him killing my fantasy team.

DeMarco Murray

Dallas Cowboys

There’s really just one reason why I’m staying away from Murray this year: durability. Teams have just started OTAs (organized team activities) and already Murray reportedly tweaked his hamstring. Let’s not forget he missed six games in 2012 because of a sprained foot. Even if Murray could stay healthy, it’s not like he has a good offensive line, an offensive line that fronted one of the worst yards per carry averages  (3.78) in the NFL last season.

After a successful college career at Oklahoma and a promising rookie season in which he averaged 5.5 yards on 164 carries, the fact that I already want to avoid him in his third season is a tragedy. Murray has top 10 fantasy running back potential when healthy, but I just can’t trust a player with his fragility.

Any Jet not named Chris Ivory

New York Jets

This technically counts as more than five players, but I’m being honest. Mark Sanchez threw three interceptions in a practice. The rest of the offense is atrocious. The only other Jet I would minutely consider drafting is Santonio Holmes, but he doesn’t have a good quarterback and has been a disturbance in the locker room, so that settles that.

I couldn’t be less excited about a team than the Jets this season, both from a viewer’s perspective and a fantasy football perspective, save for maybe the Jaguars. As Mel Kiper Jr. said during the NFL Draft, the Jets are like a glorified expansion team.

Marcedes Lewis

Jacksonville Jaguars

Marcedes Lewis has played seven seasons in the NFL, one of them being productive; that being his 2010 Pro Bowl year when he caught 10 touchdown passes. In his other six seasons he has 11 touchdowns combined. Additionally, his targets have dropped every season the past three seasons, from 88 in 2010, to 85 in 2011, to 77 in 2012.

Lewis has been one of the most disappointing tight ends in fantasy football since that Pro Bowl season and I don’t see that changing in 2013. This is kind of the same situation with Santonio Holmes – he doesn’t have a good quarterback, among other things, so I won’t be drafting him.

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Disclaimer: Everyone has their stud players and everyone has their dud players. This article does not reflect the views of all the writers on the Gridiron Experts team.




  1. Zach Greubel

    July 24, 2013 at Wednesday, July,24

    Thanks for the comments, guys. For the record, Brad, my mother has said nothing of DeMarco Murray. While I disagree with most of the players mentioned, everyone is entitled to their own opinion of course. Although, I’m not terribly excited about Finley this year either as I hinted towards in the Jordy Nelson article. I included Lewis knowing his mother would probably read this before her drafts.

    I think Richardson and Bush have a great shot finishing the season as Top 10 PPR running backs. The risk of avoiding players like Richardson and Bush is too great. I still see Morris as a Top 15 RB in standard leagues. Shanahan offenses are predicated on the running game and Morris is the obvious featured back there. I’m not too worried about Shanahanigans this year.

  2. Brad

    July 24, 2013 at Wednesday, July,24

    Murray is the only simi early pick and everyone and their madre’s have talked about him. Gotta make some big name predictions on a list like this.
    1. Trent Richardson CLE – RB – Injury risk for round 1 pick, plus just ave 3.6 ypc
    2. Alfred Morris WAS – RB – Shanahanigans, plus expected drop in touches regardless
    3. Reggie Bush DET – RB – Playing on turf again (Injury Risk)
    4. Pierre Garcon WAS – WR – Highest ranked WR i wouldn’t draft. Common theme with me, Injury Risk. They can kill your team and Garcon has never been that great anyway
    5. Kyle Rudolph MIN – TE – I don’t expect 9 tds again and without them he is average at best. He would have to drop WAY below his current spot to be worth it.

    Sorta 6 but not so definite. Tom Brady NE – QB – He was not a top tier QB until Moss. Now without all his weapons, and his top 2 weapons with injury ?s all over them, i expect him to return to a middle of the road fantasy #1 QB. I would draft Matt Ryan (ranked 4 QBs later by NFL.com) over him.

  3. tom

    May 30, 2013 at Thursday, May,30

    Well, the last pick seems a little out of left field. Of all positions, a TE? And Marcedes Lewis?? Who exactly has this guy on his list anyway? If you must go with a TE to bust this year, I would lean towards the obvious choice, jermichael Finley, or Martellus Bennett on the Bears. Cutler is afraid to throw to anyone not named Marshall. I also think Cobb is universally overrated. Good athlete, but really seems to get only the scraps, even without the Old Spice guy in town.

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