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NFL fantasy football: 10 players to avoid

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Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos: if you've paid any attention the last decade, you know players who leave New England don't typically thrive on the same level at their next stop. The aging Welker will be productive in that Denver offense, but expecting him to put up the transcendent numbers he did with Brady is overly optimistic.

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Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: the forearm thing is bad, but a bad back for a very physical player is worse. Unless he drops to the fifth round or later, I'll pass.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: the big question of this off-season is 'Can NFL defenses stop the spread option?' The answer, of course, won't be known 'til the season actually starts, and by then it'll be too late for owners who've gone all in on Wilson. If he picks up where left off, your team is in business. If not, better luck in 2014.

Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers: (see 'Russell Wilson')

Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens: coming off one of the more improbable playoff runs ever, Flacco may seem like a good QB for your team. Remember, though, that this is fantasy football… and Flacco simply hasn't put up big enough numbers in a pass-first league to have much value on your team.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Wallace is gone and Heath Miller's knee makes the tight end a dicey proposition for the start of the season. Meantime, the o-line has a bunch of young road graders ready to pave the way for rookie Le'Veon Bell. In other words, for the first time since Fast Willie Parker's prime, the Steelers are better built to run than pass.

With Michael Crabtree expected to miss most of the season, Colin Kaepernick lost his top target.
With Michael Crabtree expected to miss most of the season, Colin Kaepernick lost his top target. (David Stluka/Associated Press)

Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins: it's not abject doom and gloom if you own Morris in 2013, but repeating the massive stats he put up in his rookie season are unlikely… especially considering the Redskins won't employ the spread option as much as they try to get away from RGIII running so much.

Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons: the guy was retired just a few weeks ago, and now you're thinking of using him as your tight end? You're a braver soul than me.

Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers: based on the fact he was voted as one of the Top 100 Players of 2013, Gates still has the respect of his peers… but does he still have the skills? Better question: even if he does, how do they stack up with those of younger TEs? Answer: not very well. Gates was a trailblazer at the position six or seven years ago. Now, he's as outmoded as an iPhone 2.

Follow Dave on Twitter @Dameshek.

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