Adam Levitan

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Never again?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Perhaps it was too early. Maybe the wounds of a hard-fought 2012 fantasy football season were just too fresh.

But we did it anyway, taking to @Rotoworld_FB's Twitter followers for an informal poll. The question: What player would you never draft again, and why?

Of course, this question leads owners down the path of emotional, knee-jerk kind of responses. I'm really peeved at Danario Alexander for his airball in Week 15, but his future remains bright. Vick Ballard isn't a future Hall of Famer even though he has been a savior down the stretch.

The point is that at some juncture, a player's perceived value is going to intersect with his actual value. We saw a similar thing happen in the real NFL, when everyone was ready to call the Cardinals the worst team in NFL history after they lost 58-0 to the Seahawks in Week 14. In Week 15, they went out and beat the Lions 38-10. And based on the vitriol directed at Ryan Mathews in our poll, he's a candidate to drop to the middle rounds next year.

It's clear that Mathews isn't the dominator I and many others thought he was. But never again? Nah.

And as the poll showed, a lot of this never again stuff comes down to the idea of "injury prone." Is there really such a thing? I don't believe it, but there's certainly an argument to be made for the idea of compensation with lower-leg injuries. X player's right ankle was never truly healthy, so he overworks his left ankle and that one breaks down on him.

Anyway, thanks to the hundreds that replied to @Rotoworld_FB for the poll. Here were the top-5 most-named players:

1. Ryan Mathews
@wickedmpulse: I will never again draft Ryan Mathews because he is a delicate flower.
@Brian_Farley7: More clavicle breaks than touchdowns
@TheCajunTiger: I've seen twigs that take more pressure to break than he does.

2. Darren McFadden
@cjsnowman: He is supposed to have a breakout year every year and it never happens. My team was better with Marcel Reece.
@sandiegosmp: Because I wasted too many years on Fred Taylor.
@peterahu: You can only trust him to do one thing, and that's to suffer a debilitating leg injury.

3. Jermichael Finley
@shyamuw: Potential always outscores actual.
@GStew13: That guy is one of the most athletic guys in the NFL, and can't catch a cold with a snot rag.

4. Michael Vick
@palejo: Vick. Doesn't matter if the offensive line was bad. If it was good he would STILL hold on to the ball for too long and get hurt.

5. Chris Johnson
@steinman: You have to start him every week and half of them it looks like he'd rather be taking a nap in the locker room.

Also receiving multiple votes: Vernon Davis, Hakeem Nicks, Philip Rivers, DeMarco Murray.

A Grade 1 sprain of a LCL or MCL is typically a 1-2 week injury. Sunday will mark two full weeks since Robert Griffin III's tweak.

Therefore, it's not a surprise that RG3 has put in two strong practices already this week and doctors have cleared him barring a setback. Expect him to be close to 100 percent Sunday. Remember that last time Griffin faced the Eagles, he completed 14-of-15 passes for 200 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed 12 times for 84 yards.

Bryce Brown is going to return kickoffs for the Eagles Sunday. No, we're not suddenly catering to return-yardage leaguers. I bring this up because it's a sure sign that LeSean McCoy is in for a majority of the workload in his return Sunday. With Brown only likely to get 8-12 offensive touches, he can't be trusted against the Redskins' suddenly stout run defense.

Alex Green (concussion) still hasn't gotten clearance. But we'd have to be really desperate to trust Ryan Grant or DuJuan Harris. ... Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) and Rashad Jennings (concussion) are both almost certainly out. Montell Owens will start, but he's a really weak play against the Patriots. ... Ahmad Bradshaw (knee) could be headed for a game-time call.

Dez Bryant is practicing again this week and should have a little more flexibility in his finger. ... Rob Gronkowski (forearm) continues to practice on a limited basis. I still don't think he plays until Week 17. ... Torrey Smith (concussion) has been cleared for practice. He should be ready for Sunday, but owners need to watch reports on Friday. ... Roddy White (knee) is back working out. Expect a bounce-back outing. ... Jordy Nelson (hamstring) may not be back until the playoffs. ... Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) won't be ready for Saturday.

Terrelle Pryor is expected to see an increased role this week at quarterback. Avoid Carson Palmer. ... Ryan Lindley will draw another start for the Cardinals. ... The Jets are expected to release Tim Tebow if they can't trade him this offseason. It's only fair.

Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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