Ahh, the end of August.
This is the time where the hard core dynasty owners begin to reflect on their off-season moves and also look forward to the year, knowing they’ve worked all off-season in order to turn their respective franchises into dynasty juggernauts. While many other owners are just now coming out of hibernation, savvy veterans who didn’t abandon their teams are now in the final evaluation stages, likely comparing their teams to one another. Just as we all have our favorite players who we often target in new dynasty start-up drafts or through trades in existing leagues, we also have players we simply do our very best to avoid. Many of these players are taken before we choose in start-up drafts, only to have all the other owners in the league hear us breathe a great big sigh of relief in the draft room, knowing we don’t have to be forced to select them even if they start to really slide (side note: breathing a sigh of relief is a really bad “tell” during a draft).
For me, there are many players out there I just want no part of. That’s not say they don’t have worth, but I’m much more comfortable seeing them on another squad because their perceived value is just too high for my liking or because I simply feel they’re just too risky to own. When I scour my own rosters, there are twelve names I don’t find on many of them and if I do see them, you can bet I’m working diligently to move them while you’re reading this very article today.
Here are the twelve players missing from my dynasty league rosters:
1. Michael Vick, QB PHI
Dynamic. Electric. Thrilling. There are many words you can use to describe Vick. For me, those words are “sell” and “now.” Yes, I realize he just won the job for the Eagles and looks rejuvenated. However, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Do we really feel like Vick is going to run this new offense without making critical mistakes or leaving himself open to crushing blows from the defense? There may be no other player who’s seen their value fluctuate as much as Vick has over the past few seasons. For me, there’s just too much that could go wrong here. If you own him and can’t get any decent value in trade, just wait until Vick puts up some monster performances, then move him as fast as possible – you’ll be thankful when the inevitable “fall apart” stage happens again in the near future.
2. Ronnie Hillman, RB DEN
The thought of Hillman actually being the lead back for the Broncos this year has been pretty laughable to most of us this off-season. Fact is, Hillman has just never shown he has the ability to be a true bell cow running back in the NFL. His recent fumbling issues have likely demoted him and getting value for him may now be next to impossible. The Broncos are looking like a nasty committee attack at running back this season and Hillman is fading quickly. Let others draft him or move him to the Montee Ball owner if he feels like Hillman is needed as a handcuff.
3. Daniel Thomas, RB MIA
Speaking of laughable running back “competitions,” anyone who has seen Daniel Thomas play at this level knew there was really no chance of him overtaking Lamar Miller in Miami. To me, Thomas is the ultimate “DRE,” or “Dynasty Roster Eater.” He has enough value to merit having him on a roster (especially with Miller being unproven), but he’s someone you’d never likely play even if Miller was to fail or get injured – let someone else burn a valuable roster spot for him.
4. Rashard Mendenhall, RB ARI
When you start feeling looseness in your knee, it’s a bad sign. Perhaps Mendenhall was watching film of the Cardinals’ offensive line when he starting feeling some pain again. Regardless, many have jumped on the Mendy bandwagon this season since he’s seemingly the unquestioned starter in Arizona. Unfortunately, he just isn’t the same player he was in Pittsburgh. While the Cardinals don’t exactly have a veritable plethora of great backs behind him, he’s one player I’d rather see someone else roll the dice on, with or without Ryan Williams on the roster. I could be wrong, but I just don’t see a band being formed called “Mendy Rejuvenation” coming to a theatre pub near you any time soon.
5. Daryl Richardson, RB STL
Wait a second. He just won the battle to start for the Rams, right? Yes, he sure did. However, I’ve yet to see anything from Richardson that would tell me he’s a special talent. Sure, he had a good yards per carry average last season, but he had more than ten carries only twice last year and also had the same total number of touchdowns last season that I did. Richardson is a fine prospect, but I’d much rather move him for something like a first round rookie selection next year. I just don’t see how his small frame (5’10″, 196 pounds) holds up to really allow him to be a bell cow. I see Isaiah Pead becoming a factor here early on after he serves his suspension. Again, these players have value, but not at a price tag I personally like at the moment.
6. Terrelle Pryor, QB OAK
Wait a second #2. He probably just locked up the starting quarterback job for the Raiders, right? Yep. The problem with Pryor is really two-fold. First, Matt Flynn face planted as much as Pryor shined this preseason. Second, Pryor is nowhere near accurate enough to be consistently special at the NFL level. He has the raw athleticism to make some games exciting (and earn some fantasy points along the way), but there aren’t many scenarios I can see where the Raiders aren’t starting someone like Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback next season. Of course, they are the Raiders, so we can never rule out Jeff George playing there next year.
7. Jonathan Dwyer, RB PIT
Wait a…well, you get the picture. Yes, Dwyer and Isaac Redman get a second lease on life with the injury to Le’Veon Bell this preseason, but I’ve seen enough of this dynamic duo to tell me they’re no Batman and Robin, Luke and Han or even Luke and Beau (if you don’t get that last one, you really need to buy a Dodge Charger, paint it orange, put a confederate flag on it, find a friend named Cooter and let the wind blow your hair back). See, I couldn’t even write five sentences without becoming distracted when thinking of Dwyer’s dynasty league prospects and even found myself disenchanted enough to find this little gem to illustrate my point:
8. Greg Jennings, WR MIN
In the biggest understatement I’ve ever made in the six years I’ve been with DLF, I’ll say I haven’t been impressed with Christian Ponder this preseason. Jennings is going to prove once and for all this season that a player being the third or fourth option in an offense with a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback can actually be better than being the first option with a, well, non-Hall of Fame caliber quarterback.
9. Knowshon Moreno, RB DEN
If Moreno somehow gets elevated to the first team due to the fumbling trouble of Hillman or the early blitz pickup challenges of Montee Ball, I’d move him faster than I can type Christian Ponder or find a Dukes of Hazzard video clip. Moreno needs a lot of touches to be consistently productive and has proven to be injury prone – that’s not a really great combination to work with there.
10. Mike Wallace, WR MIA
On pure talent, it’s pretty easy to see Wallace as having the most of any player on this list. In fact, he can rival most every other athlete in the league when it comes to athleticism. The problem is Wallace has been notoriously dependent on the big play to score his points. While his year end totals may look great, I’d much rather have players who can give me 45 points in a three week span by scoring around 15 each week than Wallace who can give you 30, followed by two total duds of five.
11. Antonio Gates, TE SD
There was a time when Gates was the most freakishly gifted tight end in the league. That time is not 2013. As his feet continue to morph into those of Bill Walton, it’s time to create a contingency plan.
12. Santonio Holmes, WR NYJ
In his defense, I really wouldn’t want to go out and play for the Jets, either. Problem is, it’s kind of his job. Holmes will always be remembered for his great Super Bowl performance, but I’m much more apt to let someone else take a chance on him having a renaissance at some point down the line. I just don’t see it happening, especially in the short term with the Jets.
Who are some players you’re avoiding this year?