5 Players to Avoid in Early Rounds

Year to year, there is the inevitable changing of the guard among the elite in fantasy drafts. However slight the change may be, there will always be a few players that drop off to join the second-tier players in the middle rounds. Wasting an early draft pick can prove fatal for a season so predicting early round flops is crucial to your draft success. These are the 5 Elite Players that I have been avoiding in drafts and will continue to shy away from as the season draws near:

1.      Dwayne Bowe, WR Kansas City Chiefs

Quite aware of what the Boweflex did for fantasy teams last year, Im completely avoiding him as an elite receiver. Bowe will remain as inconsistent as the KC passing attack (NFL’s run-heaviest offense) as long as Cassell is under center. You can see that Cassel’s performances suffered when he finally started facing legit defenses later in the year, and I can’t picture Bowe duplicating his insane 2010 numbers. With the addition of Steve Breaston and rookie Jonathan Baldwin to the team I see no chance of Bowe leading the NFL in touchdowns again.

2.      Marques Colston, WR New Orleans Saints

Marques Colston has never started more than 14 games in a season, missing eight games in 2008 and five in 2010. He’s had five knee surgeries in the last five years but has still been able to average around 70 catches and 1,000 yards per season. He’s looking healthy coming off micro fracture surgery but his issue with staying healthy along with New Orleans unorthodox offense is keeping me from drafting Colston in the early rounds. He’ll have his few weeks of PPR glory, but Drew Brees’ targets will continue to change week to week, breeding inconsistency.

3.      Ryan Mathews, RB San Diego Chargers

Everyone makes the occasional first round mistake, but teams and analysts nationwide made terrible Top 10 picks when they selected Chargers rookie Ryan Mathews in 2010. The biggest bust of last season hands down, Ryan Mathews played in just 12 games and carried only 158 times. Healthy, he will certainly pick up the production this year barring injury, but has too many worthy teammates that will handicap a breakout season. Even with Darren Sproles gone, Mike Tolbert will still bumble along this year, stealing goal line carries and the overall fantasy worth of Ryan Mathews. Oh yeah and Phillip Rivers likes to pass.

4.      Tony Romo, QB Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo missed 10 games last season with a broken left clavicle and missed three games in 2008 with a broken finger. Knowing that he is the foremost reason the Cowboys underachieve year in and year out combined with his history of injury, Tony Romo will stay out of my Top 10 QB’s. At age 31, Romo wouldn’t be my choice at quarterback but promises he’s in the “second stage” of his career as a professional so we shall see Tony…we shall see.

5.      Chris Cooley, TE Washington Redskins

Except for missing nine games to injuries in 2009, Chris Cooley has remained very healthy throughout his NFL career but is expected to miss the majority of the preseason and possibly the start of the regular season with a knee injury. This immediately knocks Captain Chaos off the board for me with Redskins TE Fred Davis picking up the first-team practice reps with Cooley hobbled.

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