We haven’t even started the pre-season yet and some big-name NFL players have caught the injury bug. This is why it is imperative to wait until September to have your fantasy football drafts if you don’t want to get burned by a high draft pick taking a dirt nap. Here are the players to avoid in your fantasy football leagues for the 2015-2016 season:
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
Arian Foster injured his groin, will undergo surgery, and will be out until Week 8 if not longer. Foster’s early ADP had him going in the late first to mid second round in most fantasy drafts. Avoid Foster like the plague, and keep an eye on Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes, and whoever the Texans inevitably sign to take the perennial fantasy stud Arian Foster’s roster spot. Then again, all signs point to an RB committee in Houston, so don’t stress out over these guys too much.
Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Floyd just dislocated several fingers with multiple breaks in practice. This usually isn’t a good sign for a player whose job is to catch the football. Floyd has been decent fantasy WR the last couple of seasons, but I’m going to pass on him in favor of the Cardinals’ WR3 John Brown.
Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Orange Julius is now Teal Julius, and that’s a very, very bad thing. When you go from Peyton Manning to Blake Bortles, it doesn’t matter how good you are, your numbers are going to suffer. In 2013 Julius Thomas was a monster at the TE position, racking up 788 yards and 12 TDs. The yardage was down to 489 last year, but the 12 TDs remained constant. Expect him to duplicate his yards receiving from 2014, but cut the TD total in half for 2015. I’ll be damned if I’m paying his current ADP of 70, which lands him in the late 6th round. I’d rather draft his replacement in Denver, Owen Daniels in the 11th round, or pay up for a TE who will actually replicate numbers from years past like Martellus Bennett (ADP 67, same round as Julius).
Spray-Tan DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
If you simply sorted last year’s fantasy football stats, DeMarco Murray would be a no-brainer addition to any fantasy football squad. Unfortunately he’s no longer running behind the NFL’s best o-line in Dallas and finds himself in a RB clusterfuck in
Filth Philadelphia. Until Ryan Mathews breaks his collar bone again, Murray’s starting gig isn’t safe. The biggest vulture of fantasy points is actually the RB3 on the Eagles depth chart, Darren Sproles. Sproles may be 32, but he doesn’t have the mileage most 30+ year old RBs in the NFL have, nor has he taken the same amount of punishment. Murray can catch the ball (57 rec last season), but Sproles is the man Chip Kelly will have in the game on those designed RB pass plays. If you’re expecting 2nd round value out of DeMarco Murray, you’re going to be disappointed. The safer bet is Cinci’s RB Jeremy Hill, who has been going right after Murray in fantasy mock drafts.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Jeremy Maclin may have clarified that he does not have AIDS, but being a WR on the Kansas City Chiefs is the fantasy football equivalent. Kansas City WRs scored 0 touchdowns last season. ZERO. The last time a Chiefs WR broke the plane with the pigskin was Week 14 of the 2013 season. Don’t get me wrong, Maclin will score in 2015, but not often. We’re talking 3-4 TDs tops. TE Travis Kelce is the only pass catcher on Kansas City you should care about come draft day.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
If your league gives bonuses for scoring the highest points each week, Stafford will win you about 3 of those on his own. Detroit tends to air the ball out a ton, and Stafford posted QB Ratings of over 115 on 4 separate occasions last season. The downside is if your league penalizes the lowest scoring team each week, as Stafford has been known to shit the bed as often as he plays well. The Detroit QB posted sub-65 QB Ratings 4 times in 2014, pretty much negating the quality games provided. Tom Brady is out the first 4 games of the season, and he’s still (rightfully) being drafted ahead of Stafford. If I’m not paying up for a fantasy QB and want someone around the same ADP as Stafford, I’ll wait a round or two and take Miami’s Ryan Tannehill or San Diego’s Philip Rivers.