It's always difficult deciding who to choose in any fantasy football draft. Whereas some players are perennially strong performers such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Antonio Brown, others may not be a sure thing. Being highly susceptible to injuries, changing teams with a different offensive or defensive structure that requires adjustment, or playing on a team where a particular position is run by committee (think New England's running backs) can all potentially jeopardize your fantasy football draft.
After consulting with many experts, here are my top 10 players to avoid drafting this season, in no particular order.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Even though Smith has led his team to the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, as a fantasy player he is uber conservative and rarely throws the long ball. Additionally, throughout his 11-year career, he has only tossed 20 touchdowns in a single season twice. Given the Chiefs' superstar running backs are Charcandrick West and Kareem Hunt—as Spencer Ware appears to be out for the season with a torn PCL—you should stay away from Smith.
Julius Thomas, TE, Miami Dolphins
Yes, Thomas was a beast in Denver with back-to-back 12-touchdown seasons in 2013 and 2014; however, neither Ryan Tannehill nor Jay Cutler is Peyton Manning. During Thomas' past two seasons in Jacksonville, he managed a mediocre 736 yards and nine touchdowns. Granted, Miami's offense is slightly better than Jacksonville's; however, Thomas just doesn't have the potential to be a solid fantasy pick this season.
Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets
The 31-year-old Forte will be a central aspect of the Jets' offense; however, this Jets' offense has been struggling. With Bilal Powell in New York's backfield demonstrating his versatility, chances are that Forte won't even get the bulk of the snaps. And let's not forget Forte's propensity for injury.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Blount was a beast last year for the New England Patriots with nearly 1,200 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns; however, that was the Patriots. Blount isn't the epitome of versatility and the Eagles' offensive attack is rather mediocre. Even though there isn't much depth behind Blount, the Eagles' pass-heavy offense will likely not give Blount the 200-plus carries he needs to make any sort of fantasy impact this season.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
Don't get me wrong, Benjamin is a great player and a strong target for Cam Newton, especially at the goal line; however, he did arrive at training camp not in optimum condition. Compounding the problem is that Newton has several other receiving weapons in TE Greg Olson, WR Devin Funchess and versatile RBs Jonathan Stewart and rookie Christian McCaffrey.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben is oft-injured and has been flirting with retirement. While still a top-notch QB, he isn't a legitimate fantasy option.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos
Trevor Simian and Paxton Lynch are not Peyton Manning. 'Nuff said.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Green Bay Packers
Even though Bennett is a decent TE and was relatively successful in New England, Aaron Rodgers seems to prefer his WRs like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders
This 31-year-old rusher didn't play in 2016 and was severely underwhelming in 2015.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Seattle Seahawks
The oft-injured Lacy will be competing with a healthy Thomas Rawls for the starting job and, coupled with the very mobile Russell Wilson and a great receiving corps, Seattle RBs shouldn't be high on anyone's list, frankly.