NFL fantasy football: 10 players to avoid

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Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens: If I needed one quarterback to win a playoff game, I'd pick Flacco. If I needed one quarterback to win my fantasy week, there are more than a dozen guys I would rather have.

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Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It seems like only yesterday Freeman was a sleeper candidate at quarterback. Now he's barely holding on to his job with Mike Glennon drafted in the third-round this year.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Writing the Steelers off as a playoff contender seems foolish given their history. But you can't count on Roethlisberger to be a consistent fantasy performer.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Cincinnati Bengals Loved him when he went to Cincinnati last year. He even had some great games for the Bengals (Weeks 11-12). But the addition of Giovani Bernard will eat into the Law Firm's production even more this season.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers: You are going to be tempted to take Mathews in your fantasy drafts. Yeah, don't do that. Mathews has never proven he can be a capable starter.

Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots: Bill Belichick never lets us have anything nice at running back. But Ridley has trouble catching the ball, and holding on to it, so it looks like Shane Vereen will end up cutting into his production. Vereen could be a nice sleeper.

Veteran Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 4,000 or more yards just twice in his entire NFL career.
Veteran Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 4,000 or more yards just twice in his entire NFL career. (Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press)

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers: Gates was upset by his position in the top 100. We've been upset with his fantasy production for years. He still has the name recognition but that's about it.

Blair Walsh, K, Minnesota Vikings: You found a gem in Walsh last year. But that doesn't mean you need to draft a kicker. Just pick one up off the wire. Just like you did with Walsh last year. See the pattern?

Any defense drafted before the last round: Somebody in your draft will draft a defense very early. Don't be that guy. Make sure you wait for a defense. You might even be better off just playing defensive roulette.

Adam Rank has never won an award. For anything. We don't mean to be harsh, but it's true. You can follow him on Twitter @adamrank. Oh, and if you liked this (right!), check him out on the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program". Which, come to think of it won an award. So Rank has won something meaningful. Yes, meaningful unlike this latest post. Am I right? But follow him on Twitter, please. He's taking us to lunch if he gets 25 more Twitter followers today.

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