Evan Silva

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The Shy-Away Top 40

Friday, August 19, 2011

We've seen each team play at least one preseason game and closely monitored camp reports on every skill player in the NFL. The recommendations in this column are inherently negative (look at the title), but based on the facts we've gleaned, represent an informed and reasoned projection.

Editor's Note: Get Rotoworld's updated rankings, projections, and fantasy analysis in the 2011 Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

These are 40 players to shy away from in fantasy drafts, to varying degrees. We don't pretend to know the future, and would advise to use this as more of a tiebreaker than guideline of who not to pick. Fantasy owners need to be aware of risk factors as they pursue the best possible roster on draft day.

1. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson - Peterson remains a top-five fantasy player, but you have to use a top-two pick to get him according to the latest ADP data. That's awfully rich for a running back set to play behind the worst O-Line of his career. If you're taking him in the top three, you're betting Peterson's talent will consistently overcome a shortage of running lanes all season long.

2. Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew - You already know about his knee. Blaine Gabbert has now closed the gap on David Garrard, meaning a rookie may be under center in Jacksonville early in the season. The Jags had to cut top run-blocking guard Vince Manuwai for reporting out of shape, and right tackle Eben Britton is coming off back surgery. Red flags are piling up on MJD.

3. Colts WR Reggie Wayne - Wayne rode the in-season losses of Dallas Clark, Austin Collie, Anthony Gonzalez, and Joseph Addai to a career-high 111 receptions last year, but he struggled to beat man coverage in the final month while missing large chunks of practice time with a knee injury and resetting a career low in yards per catch. Wayne's big-play ability is declining, and his targets will too with all the above back.

4. Falcons RB Michael Turner - Turner has averaged a league-high 21 carries per game over the past three seasons and is 29 1/2 years old. With Atlanta deemphasizing the run in favor of a wide-open attack, Turner will have to score at the goal line to be start-worthy in a given week.

5. Saints WR Marques Colston - Colston has struggled to stay on the field in camp after the fifth knee surgery of his career, the latest of a microfracture variety. The Saints protected themselves by revamping the running game, re-signing slot receiver Lance Moore to a five-year, $20M deal (Colston often plays the slot), and planning to increase tight end Jimmy Graham's role.

6. Chargers TE Antonio Gates - Gates typically goes in the first few picks of round four, which is extremely early for a player who reported to training camp admitting that last year's foot woes will be an ongoing problem. Tight end is such a deep fantasy position that Gates isn't worth the risk. Vincent Jackson and a healthy Malcom Floyd also return to cut into Gates' pass targets.

7. Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin - Maclin's situation is scary because not even the Eagles know what ailed him all offseason. A prime start-slow candidate after losing a significant amount of weight, Maclin's early sixth-round ADP is alarmingly high. We'd take Mario Manningham, Percy Harvin, Austin Collie, and Kenny Britt before Maclin, and they're all available in the same vicinity.

8. Chargers RB Ryan Mathews - Mathews was the subject of uncontrollable offseason hype, but reality set in when Norv Turner declared the Chargers' backfield a two-man committee. While we like Mathews' talent, Mike Tolbert will steal goal-line TDs and receptions in big chunks.

9. Dolphins RB Daniel Thomas - The Fins plan to give Reggie Bush a legit chance at a feature-back role, and Thomas didn't help himself with a quiet training camp. Perhaps he'll be start-able when Bush gets hurt, but Thomas hasn't shown enough to go in the first six rounds.

10. Redskins TE Chris Cooley - Surgeries are supposed to fix the problematic area, but Cooley's January knee operation clearly didn't. He's been shut down indefinitely, with coach Mike Shanahan conceding Cooley's Week 1 status is in doubt. It's time to take Fred Davis seriously.

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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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