The names you’re about to see all are really good football players and worthy of high fantasy draft picks, but that doesn’t mean they’re first-round selections.
Whether it be injuries, suspensions, quarterbacks they play with or other reasons, not every superstar can or should be picked in Round 1.
So, without further ado, let’s look at 10 players you probably should avoid in the first round of your draft.
Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots
You usually never should draft a quarterback in the first round, but that’s especially the case with Brady this year. Yes, he’s still the G.O.A.T., but he won’t be on the field for the first four games because of his Deflategate suspension. Why use your first pick on someone who can’t contribute for the first month of the season?
Le’Veon Bell, Running Back, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell is a first-round talent, even though fantasy football owners are shifting toward wide receivers, not running backs, in Round 1. But Bell is facing a possible four-game suspension of his own, and his appeal hearing isn’t until Aug. 18 — remember how well that went for TB12? So drafting Bell in the first round is a risky move that could backfire if he misses the first month of the season.
Doug Martin, Running Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Martin was a pleasant surprise for many fantasy owners last year, but his ups and downs as an NFL running back make him hard to pick in Round 1. He has played a full 16 games in just two of his four seasons in the league, and he ran for less than 500 yards in each of the two seasons he didn’t. He still could be a great option at running back, just not in the first round.
Cam Newton, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers
Some might be tempted to draft Newton in the first round after his MVP performance in 2015, but Round 1 isn’t for quarterbacks. Let someone else reach for Newton while you fill other needs first, and you’ll still have plenty of good options around the third round, which is the earliest you should start considering QBs.
Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
The hype surrounding Elliott is close to being out of control. The rookie running back is incredibly talented and has a chance to be a superstar right away, but is he already really worth a first-round pick?
Brandon Marshall, Wide Receiver, New York Jets
Marshall is the No. 1 target for Ryan Fitzpatrick, and that resulted in a lot of receiving touchdowns last season (14, to be exact). But he’s still not up there with the elite fantasy receivers such as Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones, so consider picking him in the second round instead.
Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, Green Bay Packers
Again, Rodgers is good, but you should focus on picking a wide receiver or running back in the first round. Rodgers will make fantasy owners quite happy like he usually does, just as a third-rounder.
Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
Edelman returned to practice last week, only to leave Tuesday’s joint practice with the New Orleans Saints with an apparent injury. He missed significant time last season after breaking his foot, and he since has undergone two surgeries. So he’s an incredibly risky pick, especially in the first round.
Mark Ingram, Running Back, New Orleans Saints
If you plan on picking a wide receiver in the first round, Ingram would be an excellent choice for your No. 1 running back in the second round. But picking him in Round 1 would be a stretch, as he’s more likely a second- or third-rounder.
Eddie Lacy, Running Back, Green Bay Packers
Lacy was picked as high as No. 1 in many fantasy drafts last season, but that won’t be the case in 2016. His numbers dropped drastically, as did his playing time and attempts last season. There’s a chance he’ll rebound from his 2015 woes, but he’s still not a first-round pick.
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