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Published: Aug. 22, 2014 at 12:55 p.m.
Updated: Aug. 29, 2014 at 01:02 p.m.

Big name fantasy players to beware of

Everyone loves stars. Their past production has made them the type of players that fantasy owners covet on draft day. But for some guys, that past production is just that ... the past. For those guys, it's worth being wary that what's to come might not equal what once was. For that reason, here's a list of name-brand players who should make you wary in 2014.

10 Photos Total

  • Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins 10

    Evan Vucci/Associated Press

    Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins

    It's great for RGIII that he has a couple of new weapons in DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. It's nice that his new coach, Jay Gruden, helped turn Andy Dalton into a top-five fantasy quarterback. What's not nice is that Griffin has looked increasingly uncomfortable in the pocket and still takes far too many big hits when he scrambles. His talent is enough to make him a top-10 fantasy quarterback this year. His risky style of play means you'll need to always have a good backup at the ready.

  • Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks 9

    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks

    Beast Mode has been, well ... beastly over the past three seasons. He's also been worked quite heavily during that time. His 901 regular season carries are more than any other NFL running back during that same stretch. There aren't many guys who historically have carried that type of workload without suffering some sort of setback in the year or two to follow. There's also the issue of Robert Turbin and Christine Michael lurking for carries. Lynch comes with plenty of concern in 2014.

  • Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots 8

    Charles Krupa

    Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

    Gronk has said all the right things about getting healthy and wanting to play a full season. But eventually all of the injuries and surgeries are going to begin to take a toll. And after spending half of last season waiting for Gronkowski's eventual return, fantasy owners have to be suffering flashbacks after hearing reports that the tight end isn't a certainty to play in Week 1. Gronk's all-out style of play is what has made him successful, but it also makes him a risk -- especially at his current fourth-round ADP.

  • Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers 7

    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

    Heading into training camp, it's likely that Newton forced his receivers to wear name tags just so he could get to know them. Granted, his last batch of receivers didn't exactly strike fear in the hearts of men but at least he had a rapport with them. But Newton can rely on his running ability, right? Maybe. The Panthers quarterback is still recovering from offseason ankle surgery and now has a hairline fracture in his ribs, but should be ready for Week 1. Furthermore, his rushing totals have declined each season he's been in the league. There's a lot that Newton can do on his own, but he'll need some help if he's going to continue on as a top four fantasy QB.

  • Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers 6

    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

    During the offseason, fantasy enthusiasts had big expectations that Bell could make the leap to being a top 10 fantasy running back. Then the Steelers signed LeGarrette Blount. Not long after, Bell admitted that Blount could be the team's choice around the goal line. Finally, there was Pittburgh's third preseason game -- the dress rehearsal -- in which Bell and Blount were used equally in the first half. Oh, and the duo could be facing legal troubles, although it remains to be seen if that happens this season. The timeshare is officially on in Pittsburgh, which could dampen Bell's chances of making the fantasy leap in 2014.

  • Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles 5

    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

    Drafting Foles is all about managing expectations. If you select him expecting a do-over of his 27:2 touchdown to interception ratio you'll be sorely disappointed -- especially since he's already thrown three picks in three preseason games. Part of what made Foles so successful last season is that he was able to protect the football and avoid those minus-twos from interceptions. If that negative number goes up this season, Foles' overall value goes down.

  • Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals 4

    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

    For a long time, Fitzgerald was one of the best receivers in the NFL. Now he might not be the best receiver on his own team. The Cardinals star hasn't posted a 1,000-yard season since 2011 and is now being challenged by Michael Floyd to be the top target for Carson Palmer. The days of Larry Fitzgerald as a No. 1 fantasy receiver are in the rear view mirror.

  • Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions 3

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions

    Bush saw his opportunities decrease last season as Joique Bell gained prominence in the Lions offense. Bell will likely toll even louder in 2014 as Detroit considers a more even division of labor in its backfield. Bush should see a number of carries and will still catch passes out of the backfield, but his total touches could be lessened this season.

  • Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers 2

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers

    Gore has continually defied the odds and held off a list of younger running backs who have been gunning for his gig. But the walls could be closing in on the Niners star. He's entering his age-31 season in an offense that might lessen its emphasis on the run. And then there's Carlos Hyde, who has run well during the preseason and could help to lighten Gore's load as San Francisco begins its transition to the future. 2014 could be the last hurrah for a longtime fantasy star.

  • Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys 1

    James D. Smith/Associated Press

    Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys

    After 11 seasons, the Cowboys stalwart is starting to see his numbers fall. While he scored eight touchdowns last season, his 73 catches and 851 yards were Witten's lowest numbers since 2006. Even in Scott Linehan's pass-happy offense, the amount of mouths to feed in Dallas could push Witten down the list of Tony Romo targets. The decline comes for us all and Witten is no exception.

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