Dec 29, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at the Georgia Dome. The Panthers defeated the Falcons 21-20. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football Roundtable: What Player Are You Avoiding In 2014?

We asked some of our writers to give an answer to a fantasy football question that could help you win (or avoid finishing dead last) in your fantasy league.

Today’s question:

What player did you draft or target early in your 2013 draft(s) who you might avoid drafting altogether in 2014?

Carter Mulvihill: C.J. Spiller

I was thrilled when I got Spiller eighth overall in my 2013 draft, but I want no part of him in 2014. If you watched any Bills game last season, it’s clear that Fred Jackson is still the better RB on first and second down, making it a time-share at best for Spiller. I get that with his running style he’s going to be feast or famine, but the injuries are a major concern for Spiller as well. With former 49er Anthony Dixon in the mix as well, it looks like Spiller will have yet another veteran to compete with for touches next season.”

Joe Soriano: Cam Newton

“Cam Newton is somebody I’m going to avoid in fantasy drafts this year, because the upside is too capped at this point. He’s still going to get at least the same number of fantasy points as a rusher, but his WR corps cannot be trusted.

Greg Olsen is an underrated stud whom I almost always draft in fantasy, and Kelvin Benjamin is an intriguing rookie. But Benjamin is also an unpolished upside-guy, and Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant aren’t the most attractive No. 2 and 3 guys. If Tavarres King, Tiquan Underwood or even Marvin McNutt ends up  being a surprise player, then Newton could make good on his draft stock. But in all honesty, the tackle duo of Nate Chandler and Byron Bell is enough to scare me off. A simpler offense built on strong blocking (Jordan Gross was a straight-up beast again last year) and a spread-the-wealth approach in the passing game that featured Steve Smith as a decoy helped lead to Newton’s more efficient play, and I’m not sold on the Panthers ability to provide that kind of an environment.

Newton is incredibly talented and will be taken high this year due to his tools, but opportunity is a good chunk of the equation in fantasy. I think his surroundings taper his value enough to make me prefer taking a QB later on. Heck, it’s better to take QBs later on in the draft anyway, as I managed to land two bounce-back guys last year in Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford.”

J.P. Scott: Eric Decker

“Decker was a solid fantasy contributor during the last two seasons. Catching passes from Peyton Manning will do that. He also had the luxury of  being surrounded by three other elite pass catchers, meaning he rarely-if-ever was covered by the opposing team’s best defensive back.

With his move to the Jets, all of that changes. For one, Geno Smith and Michael Vick are not Peyton Manning. Add to that the fact that Decker is the only receiver on the Jets roster with any sort of record of dependability. He’s going to be the first option in the passing game and everyone knows it. As a result, he’ll likely draw the opposing team’s top corner every week. A quick glance at New York’s schedule tells me that’s bad news.

In a traditional snake draft, I can’t see taking him before my roster is almost full — though he’d likely be gone by then. In an auction league, I’d be out the moment someone tried to outbid me for him. There are just too many other solid receivers in the league who are in better situations with more upside.”

Tags: C.J. Spiller Cam Newton Eric Decker Fantasy Football

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