Like my disdain for spiders (no, that's just a straight-up fear) … Like my disdain for black olives, left-lane governors and Oregon Ducks (save Steve Prefontaine), here are 10 fantasy football players I hate more than you for '11
Kevin Kolb(notes) – This is a case where the community has it right and my fellow experts are drinking the Kool-Aid. Kolb is going 17th at QB in average Yahoo! drafts, but he's ranked no worse than 13th by my three cohorts. I'll agree that it's nice that he's found himself a starting gig, but Arizona is not Philadelphia. The Eagles have finished in the top 10 in fantasy scoring at the QB position in each of the past seven years, twice finishing first and four times finishing in the top three. Kolb threw an underwhelming 11 TDs to 14 INTs in 20 games played in that very friendly system. Taking Kolb ahead of Eli Manning(notes), Josh Freeman(notes) or even Jay Cutler(notes) is dangerously presumptuous, in my opinion. Stick to your guns, gamers.
Daniel Thomas(notes) – For a big guy, Thomas doesn't have much of a power game, and his upright style is a concern. I don't see him as a back that will make much more headway than he's afforded by the big hogs in front of him. So it's worth mentioning that Miami produced the third-worst yards per carry mark last season (3.7). And then there's the curious case of Reggie Bush(notes), who is listed at No. 1 on the team's depth chart. Thomas is still expected to get the majority of carries, but the Dolphins appear to be set on giving Bush more play than most of us were ready to believe.
Ryan Mathews(notes) – Mathews is going No. 18 among running backs, but that's tough to justify in what will once again be a two-back approach, as head coach Norv Turner recently confirmed. Count on Mike Tolbert(notes) stealing another 200-plus touches, including goal-line carries. And we're still not sure if Mathews can hold up for a full year even in a split-role situation, as his ability to play through even minor injuries as a rookie left a lot to be desired. Each time I re-rank Mathews, I find myself pushing him down further.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) – The Law Firm was one of the biggest surprises of '10, and New England rewarded his efforts by drafting two running backs in the first three rounds of April's draft. As Yahoo! writer Jason Cole pointed out in his camp report, the Patriots lacked a big-play threat in the backfield – New England was one of four teams without a 40-yard run in '10. Expect BJGE to share the load more in '11. At his current draft price (No. 21 at RB), owners are chasing his '10 returns, and that's a mistake.
Washington Redskins running backs – In '04, I drafted three Broncos running backs in Rounds 4-6 (Tatum Bell(notes), Garrison Hearst and Quentin Griffin), foolishly believing I could harness the production of the Broncos running game while thwarting the whims of Mike Shanahan in the process. In the end, I was done in by the left-field emergence of Reuben Droughns(notes). This is par for the course with Shanahan. Hang your hat on Ryan Torain(notes), Tim Hightower(notes) and/or Roy Helu(notes) and don't be shocked if you end up whiffing on a James Davis(notes) curveball. My best advice is to avoid 'em all.
Miles Austin(notes) – I like Austin a lot, but I hate his draft price given the many mouths to feed in Dallas. Dez Bryant(notes) has a year under his belt and will demand a much bigger piece of the passing pie in '11. Then there's Jason Witten(notes), who was the most targeted TE in '11. And if Felix Jones(notes) is to truly be featured, as expected, he's a dynamic receiving weapon (he caught 48 of 52 balls thrown his way) that can't be ignored.
Vincent Jackson(notes) – V-Jax is not an ideal No. 1 receiver because he doesn't have much of a possession game. He's never caught more than 68 balls in a season and his career 56 percentage rate of targets caught is poor. He's never had a 1,200-yard season or scored double-digit TDs. No doubt he's a fantastic vertical weapon, but I'm not willing to pay a top 10-ish price for someone with such a limited bag of tricks.
Austin Collie(notes) – I benefitted from Collie's early-season breakout in '10 as much as anyone. But, heading into '11, the injury risk from his two brutal concussions suffered at the end of last season outweighs the price it costs to acquire his services. Given his role as a slot machine in the Colts offense, he runs the kind of underneath crossing routes that are more susceptible to crushing blows than those that work on the outside – his two concussions came on similar plays. An athlete who suffers a concussion is three times more susceptible to a recurrence. When they suffer a second concussion, that rate climbs even higher. I don't see this is an "if he gets hurt" question, it's a "when" scenario.
Tony Gonzalez(notes) – Gonzo's 6.4 fantasy points per game mark in '10 was the lowest of his career. And his 70 targets were the second-lowest of his career. He's 35 years old. And he's likely to be the third-most dynamic passing threat in a run-heavy offense. Gonzo is the No. 8 TE drafted on average, which is where he finished in TE scoring last season. But I don't see him being able to improve on that rate, and there's plenty of TEs to get later that should be at least in his production neighborhood – Kellen Winslow(notes), for example, is going about 30 picks later .
Minnesota Vikings defense – The Vikings weren't a top 20 fantasy defense last season and they lost second-leading sack man Ray Edwards(notes) in free agency while doing little to nothing in the draft or free agency to help. Yet they are going among the top 10 defenses drafted in many leagues. I'm sorry, but Jared Allen(notes) alone does not validate that level of respect.