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Ray Rice among 2013's fantasy football heartbreakers


Every year, one of your fantasy studs is bound to let you down. Oh Percy Harvin, don't think the last statement was directed at you. It clearly was. Just don't think about it.

Sometimes you can see it coming, other times it's a complete shock. But since we're in the Valentine's Day spirit on, here's a look at some potential heartbreakers for the 2013 fantasy season.

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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A number of enthusiasts on Twitter have asked if Vick would be a great person to run the pistol for Chip Kelly's offense. Yes, because after I watched Vick hobble around the field last year the one thing that struck me was, "This guy needs to run more and take extra unnecessary hits." Yes, that's the perfect plan for Vick. So don't expect Vick to be your No. 1 quarterback, at least not at the start of the season. I'd take a flier on him as a QB2 later in drafts, but let's not go crazy about this.

Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Fantasy enthusiasts don't often agree on much, but most believed Cam Cameron needed to be replaced as Ravens offensive coordinator last year. We all rejoiced when Jim Caldwell got the job. But lost in the euphoria of this switch was the emergence of Bernard Pierce as a potential detriment to Rice's fantasy value. Pierce was huge for the Ravens in the playoff run (he was so-so in the Super Bowl, but credit the 49ers defense) and that could lead to more carries in 2013. Rice is still a first-round running back for me, but I'd take guys like Marshawn Lynch and C.J. Spiller ahead of him in fantasy drafts.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Kelly announced he wanted to use more of a two-back approach with the Eagles. Though some are confident McCoy will continue to be the guy, just look at Kelly's history at Oregon where he exclusively used a two-back approach. If Bryce Brown can handle his fumbling problems, he's going to pose a serious risk to McCoy's production. Plus McCoy was seemingly the only player on the Eagles' team not thrilled with Kelly's arrival. This has started to look like a toxic situation and I might let somebody else take this problem if I have a very high first-round draft pick.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers


Luckily for me, I play in leagues with Michael Fabiano, which means Mathews will be gone by the fifth round and I'll never be tempted to draft him. You will not be so lucky. So let's just pledge to each other right now, no drafting Mathews.

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

If you watched "NFL Fantasy Live" at all last season, you no doubt must have Cecil Shorts Fatigue Syndrome (trust me, it's a real thing. I can get a doctor's note). With the way many of our hosts went on about Shorts, it seemed like we were witness to the rebirth of Don Hutson. (Google him, Hutson was awesome.) But we weren't. And if Blaine Gabbert is really going to be given one more chance, well, then it's time to move on and let somebody else draft him.

Wes Welker, WR

Nobody quite knows what is next for Welker. He's a solid pick if he remains with the Patriots. He's a decent bet if he ends up with one of the Patriots' rivals because he will have that Welker "chip on the shoulder" mentality. But if he goes on to play for a team like the Bears or something, pass. Besides, check out Deion Branch in Seattle to see how Patriots receivers do without Tom Brady.

Greg Jennings, WR

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Jennings is another receiver who is likely to have a new home in 2013. But after he knocked it out of the park with his Old Spice (among other) commercials, it's not hard to imagine he has his mind on life after football. That's not to say he won't get a big-time money deal. The Dolphins do have cap space after all. But when you consider his age (30) and recent injury history, Jennings likely won't garner many fantasy points. Unless your league gives points for doing push-ups with a jet ski on your back (which was pretty cool, BTW).

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers

Make sure you're always prepared during your fantasy drafts. Because when the run on tight ends starts at the appropriate time, you might panic and look at one of the more recognizable names available. Don't do it. "But the Chargers have a new coach." Well, unless Mike McCoy can make Gates younger, there is no reason to reach for him at all.


A lot of fantasy people like to say things like, "Don't sleep on a defense." No, you can sleep on a defense. Remember how I won my fantasy league? I picked up the Titans defense to beat Matt "Money" Smith. In fact, over the playoff stretch, I used a combination of the Titans, Colts and Chargers defenses to win my championship. The point is, don't ignore your defense, it is important. But playing the matchups can be so much more prudent.