Sometimes it’s just best to stay away.
Why waste a draft pick on a player who has repeatedly let down fantasy owners or has plenty of question marks about him? Let some other owner deal with the headache.
Here are four players I’m dodging this year. Unless you’re in one of my leagues, I recommend that you do the same.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville
MJD is coming off major knee surgery after he developed a bone-on-bone condition last season, fueling speculation that he might never be quite the same runner. Meanwhile, the Jaguars seem intent on getting third-year running back Rashad Jennings more involved in the offense. Jones-Drew is being selected late in the first round of 12-team drafts, according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com. He’s far too risky to warrant a selection that early.
Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati
It’s strange that anyone would shy away from drafting one of the league’s few true featured running backs. But last season, Benson had 12 games in which he failed to top 3.5 yards per carry and nine games in which he scored seven or fewer points in standard fantasy leagues. If Benson keeps that up, it could be a matter of time before Bengals coach Marv Lewis decides to give backup Bernard Scott a whirl.
All Saints running backs
New Orleans coach Sean Payton loves to fill his toy box with offensive playmakers and then bombard opposing defenses with them. The Saints didn’t sign Pierre Thomas to a long-term contract, spend a first-round draft pick on Mark Ingram and acquire Darren Sproles in free agency so that they could hand the ball to one guy 20 times a game. Chris Ivory is also in the mix. No New Orleans running back has topped 800 yards rushing since 2006.
Plaxico Burress, WR, Jets
Burress turns 34 tomorrow, hasn’t played in a game since November 2008 and suffered an ankle injury before ever hitting the practice field as a Jet. Randy Moss’ retirement earlier this month at age 34 proves that elite receivers can drop off sharply in their mid-30s. And adding to the concerns, Burress was only on pace for 681 receiving yards before he accidentally shot himself in 2008.
Ryan Chatelain (firstname.lastname@example.org) is amNY’s fantasy football columnist.