It’s that time of the year, folks.
With the 2018 NFL preseason officially underway, it’s time to dust off the draft board and decide which player to take with your first-round pick.
Or better yet, which player not to take with that coveted first-round pick.
A fantasy football season can be derailed by a wayward top pick, as anyone who drafted David Johnson or Odell Beckham Jr. in the first round last year can attest. The following list includes players who still could have solid seasons but perhaps are being a bit overrated and, in our opinion, aren’t worthy of a top-10 or top-12 pick.
Here are 10 players you should avoid taking in the first round.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
OK, don’t start throwing things. Brady is coming off a magnificent season at age 40 that saw him win league MVP honors. But 41-year-old quarterback is a year older and lacks weapons on offense other than Rob Gronkowski, so you might want to pump the brakes on spending your first-round pick on TB12.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Jones is a dynamic receiver who can win a fantasy football matchup on his own, but until we know if Steve Sarkisian has gotten better at calling plays — Jones caught just three touchdown passes in 16 games last season — the star receiver can wait until Round 2.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
The LSU product was impressive during his rookie campaign, but a sophomore slump could be in order. The Jags face a tough 2018 schedule and should see a number of teams who will stack the box against Fournette and make Blake Bortles beat them.
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees put up a solid fantasy season in 2017, but the Saints’ offense relied more on running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara than its wideouts. Thomas has all the talent in the world but found the end zone just five times last season, which isn’t worth a top pick.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Cook was poised for a dynamic rookie season in 2017 before an ACL tear cut his year short. The Florida State product has massive upside if he can stay healthy, but a non-contact ACL tear is no joke, so it might be best to snag Cook in Round 2, if possible.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
Shady’s time as an elite RB1 likely is coming to an end. While the veteran running back still will be a valuable fantasy weapon in the frozen tundra of upstate New York, Buffalo’s QB situation — and McCoy’s own legal situation, which could result in discipline — probably should drop him out of Round 1.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Green remains one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, of that there is no doubt. But with a number of talented pass-catchers ahead of him in the rankings and Andy Dalton still running the show in Cincy, Green’s time as a top-tier wideout might be ending.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
The Gronk Spike should be in full effect in Foxboro this season, but given the Patriots tight end’s injury history, it might be best to wait until after the first round.
Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
If you’re thinking about reaching for the guy who would have won the MVP award if his knee had stayed intact, think again. Wentz dazzled last season before going down witn a torn ACL and MCL, but until he shows he’s 100 percent healthy and isn’t affected by the injury, you should draft by the book in Round 1.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Hunt’s numbers tailed off after the midway point last season, and with Patrick Mahomes taking over at quarterback, there’s no way of knowing how effective the Chiefs’ offense will be.
Thumbnail photo via John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports Images
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