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NFL: The Riskiest Fantasy Picks

Some players in fantasy football may seem like good players to draft, but then when the season comes around they just don’t perform the way you intended. Here are some players that you may want to watch out for or completely steer clear from in your fantasy draft.

Photo via: Facebook- Eric Decker
Photo via: Facebook- Eric Decker

-Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets

Decker is a talented receiver don’t get me wrong, but receiving from Geno Smith and Peyton Manning are two totally different things. We have seen this same situation several times, where talented receivers are picked up or traded to a team where the quarterback isn’t great and they wind up performing poorly because of it. Take Santonio Holmes for example. After a big season receiving for 1,248 yards with the Steelers he was signed by the Jets that offseason, where he found his yardage decrease by 500 yards. That was the difference between receiving from Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Sanchez, what will the difference be for Decker? Also in Denver, Decker was not the best receiver. Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Julius Thomas were all players that were able to make big plays in the passing game, where as the Jets now have Decker but no one to take pressure off of him.

What Decker does have going for him is favorable after-the-catch talent, which should allow him to still get quite a bit of yardage off of screens and slant plays. Decker is not a do not draft, but a very risky pick. Make sure you have at least one other receiver to be your number one guy before you draft Decker.

-Ryan Matthews, RB, San Diego Chargers

The Chargers running back situation is a mess for fantasy owners. Last season Danny Woodhead came in and played a Darren Sproles type role that they had with LaDanian Tomlinson, and this season they added another talented back in Donald Brown to their backfield.

With Matthews, Woodhead, and Brown all in the backfield, none of the three will get huge numbers like the 1,255 yards that Matthews ran for last season. We saw this last season with the Saints, as Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, and Khiry Robinson were all splitting time in the backfield. Even though Sproles was in the backfield most of the time, he was more of a receiving back and would have close to no carries most games, whereas Ingram, Thomas, and Robinson would all split time, making them all terrible fantasy options. Like Decker, I believe that Matthews is a very talented player and worthy of being drafted, but make sure that you realize the situation before you draft him.

-Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Gronkowski is one of the two best tight ends in the league, the only problem is that he is unable to stay healthy. If the Patriots had a dollar for every injury that Gronk has, then they could afford an injury free starting tight end. When healthy, Gronkowski is one of the performers you could ask for, but since he has had more surgeries (6) than seasons (4), he is definitely a risky pick if you are looking at him in the third or fourth round of your fantasy draft.

I can almost guarantee that if Gronk stays healthy he will be Tom Brady’s leading receiver this season, especially considering he averaged almost 20 yards more per game than the second best player on the Patriots; he was ninth in the NFL. Gronkowski is a great pick if you can get another good tight end just in case, but if you are in a league with a small bench then I definitely recommend against this pick.

-Any Oakland Running Back

A few years ago if Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden had been on the same team it would have been a nightmare for opposing teams, unfortunately that’s not the case now. The two former stars combined for 1,182 rushing yards, which happens to be less than Oakland’s quarterback and backup running back last season.

Now with the two splitting time, neither will be a good fantasy selection, especially considering Oakland lost their best offensive lineman this offseason. Not to mention McFadden has been taken over by injuries his entire career, and Jones-Drew has not rushed for more than 1,250 yards the past two seasons combined, where as he rushed for more than that total the three years before that.  Where as the players above deserve to be picked even if they could be a risky selection, I would steer clear from these two.

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