August 30, 2012

Fantasy Football Draft Day Risks

By - Tim Swift

Last week, we covered late-round steals who could help put you over-the-top in your respective league.

This time around, we're going to hit on some players who will all be drafted, but come with red flags (injuries, contract issues, possible suspensions).

QB - Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles: Vick has played a full 16-game schedule only once in his career, and he's thrown for over 3,000 yards and 20 TDs just twice. In this day and age where several QBs go over 4,000 yards and 20+ TDs a year, his running numbers aren't good enough to balance those suspect passing stats. Vick should only be a starter in 12-team leagues or 2 QB leagues, and if you do start him, have a competent backup ready -- or it could be a long year for your squad.

Photo by: Getty Images
Worth Mentioning: Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), Jay Cutler (CHI), Mark Sanchez (NYJ)

RB - Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars: Last year's NFL leader in rushing remains out of camp because he is seeking a better contract than the one that will pay him a base salary of $4.45 million this year. Team owner Shad Khan has refused to budge on his stance, because Jones-Drew still has 2 years left on his deal. Jones-Drew believes he has outperformed a deal that pays him less than backs such as Reggie Bush and DeAngelo Williams. The bottom line is that Jones-Drew has been away from the team long enough that there is no way he's in football shape. Right now he should be considered as your 2nd RB, and if you do draft him, his backup Rashard Jennings, who is slated to start Week 1, needs to be taken as a handcuff late in your draft.

Worth Mentioning: Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG), Beanie Wells (ARI), and the crowded backfields in Washington and Carolina

WR - Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys: Bryant has all of the talent of a future All-Pro WR, but has not shown the maturity or durability that it takes to be consistent in the league. Recently the Cowboys have placed a set of rules on Bryant to prevent him from losing his focus, including hiring a 24-hour security detail to watch his every move. Bryant could approach the 1,000 yard 10 TD mark, or he could miss multiple games with injuries or suspensions. This year the WR crop is very deep, so if you can select Bryant after you already have two legit starting WRs, the risk factor goes down.

Worth Mentioning: Santonio Holmes (NYJ), Steve Smith (CAR), Kenny Britt (TEN)

TE - Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons: Possibly the greatest pass catching TE of all-time, Gonzalez has slowed down considerably in the last 3 years. 799 yards and 6 TDs are his average in that time, and with Roddy White, Julio Jones and Michael Turner all taking away scoring options from him, there are much better starting options at the position. At this point, Gonzalez is only good as a bye-week option during the middle of the year.

Worth Mentioning: Brent Celek (PHI), Kellen Winslow (SEA), Jason Witten (DAL)

D/ST - Detroit Lions: Last year the Lions had 34 takeaways, 7 TDs, and 41 sacks. Those numbers were all in the top 10 of the NFL. I have them ranked as a risk because a horrible secondary got worse, with the defections of Eric Wright to Tampa Bay and Aaron Berry who is a free agent after being released because of multiple DUIs. The linebacking core could struggle again against the pass, which will put a lot of pressure on a talented front four to produce the same numbers as last year.

Worth Mentioning: New Orleans, San Diego, Denver

*Catch me on Fantasy Football Live every Sunday morning beginning September 9th from 8:00-9:00, and on the Thom Abraham Show every Wednesday afternoon starting at 3:40 for even more Fantasy Football talk on Sports Radio 560 WNSR Nashville.


  1. Curious as to why Cutler makes your list? I know he got injured last season, but I wouldn't call him injury proned by any means.

  2. The biggest thing for Cutler, is the offensive line its been in the bottom 5 over the last 2 years and the Bears have made no changes. Also over the last 5 years his accuracy has dropped, he's not injury prone but if the line doesn't get better he might struggle.