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Top 10 Players to Avoid

Posted: Thursday August 12, 2004 5:51PM; Updated: Thursday August 12, 2004 7:29PM
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By James Quintong, SI.com

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Kurt Warner is the starter for now with Big Blue, but how long until Eli Manning takes over the job?
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Name recognition will go a long way in fantasy football, but astute owners know that some marquee players no longer live up to the hype. However, because they're so well-known, you'll still see some fantasy owners reaching for these players as if they're caught in a time machine.

So here are 10 players whose best days are behind them and probably should be avoided.

Drew Bledsoe, QB, Bills: He was sacked 49 times last season and threw just 11 TD passes, his lowest full-season total as a pro. He's starting to progress from seasoned veteran to over-the-hill QB and now has rookie J.P. Losman waiting in the wings. He could really use some rejuvenation from Eric Moulds and Josh Reed, not to mention production from rookie Lee Evans.

Kurt Warner, QB, Giants: He may be a two-time MVP, but you've got to wonder if he's washed up. The finger issues supposedly are behind him, but it's hard to think a move to the Meadowlands will help. If he couldn't get the job done with Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Marshall Faulk, can he do it with Amani Toomer, Ike Hilliard, Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber? And then there's the Eli Manning situation. Manning could have the job by midseason.

Eddie George, RB, Cowboys: Even though George has left Tennessee for Dallas, it's still tough to really recommend the veteran back. He's been averaging about 3.5 yards per carry the past couple of years, and while he's in a Bill Parcells offense that emphasizes the run, rookie Julius Jones should still get a lot of good looks.

Marshall Faulk, RB, Rams: Many fantasy owners will still bank on the Faulk name, but his value is at its lowest in a long time. He's missed time over the past few seasons with knee problems, and he's just not the same explosive force out of the backfield as he used to be. And now with rookie Steven Jackson on board, Faulk's touches will decrease even if he stays healthy. Faulk will have his moments, but they'll be fewer and more far between.

Stephen Davis, RB, Panthers: He's a perfect fit for the offense, but his own injury issues, plus the emergence of DeShaun Foster will hurt his stats. Instead of being among the elite running backs, he's falling into the second and third tier of backs. And unfortunately for Davis, there are a number of players in that level with a lot more upside such as Domanick Davis, Kevan Barlow and Brian Westbrook.

Thomas Jones, RB, Bears: A nice end-of-season spurt with the Bucs earned him a huge deal with Chicago, but this is still the same Jones who was a major bust in Arizona. Can you really rely on him for a full season? In fact, can he even outperform his brother Julius, who was drafted by the Cowboys?

Rod Smith, WR, Broncos: He failed to break the 1,000-yard barrier for the first time since 1996 and finished with just three TDs, despite Ed McCaffrey fading away and Ashley Lelie still not living up to expectations. With McCaffrey and Shannon Sharpe retired, there isn't much of a buffer zone for Smith anymore, and there's a fear that Smith could join those Denver receiving stars in retirement sooner rather than later.

Joey Galloway, WR, Buccaneers: The good news is that he averaged more than 19 yards a catch last season. The bad news is that he had just 34 total catches and two TDs. He can be speed-burner and score on the long ball, but he's nowhere near the receiver he was with the Seahawks. Moving to Tampa Bay might get him a few more catches in a pass-friendly offense, it's hard to see Galloway being all that productive, even as a No. 1, depending on Keenan McCardell's situation. In fact, newly acquired Tim Brown could outperform Galloway.

Koren Robinson, WR, Seahawks: Seattle should have a nice 1-2 combination at receiver with Robinson and Darrell Jackson, but Robinson has been maddeningly inconsistent, and he finished with a disappointing 896 yards last season. Jackson ended up being the go-to guy, with nearly 1,200 yards and nine TDs, and there's a good chance he'll continue to be Matt Hasselbeck's favorite target. Robinson has loads of potential, as seen with his 1,200-plus yards in 2002.

Jeremy Shockey, TE, Giants: Despite all the hype, Shockey has just four career TDs in 25 regular-season games. The yards are nice, but for tight ends, scoring TDs is still the thing. Shockey also has injury questions surrounding him. First, a knee injury knocked him out for the second half of 2003, and was a hampered by a foot injury earlier in the spring.

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