We all have players we can't quite get on board with. Maybe there's an off-the-field reason, maybe there isn't, but there are guys we just can't make ourselves draft.
In baseball, I have a Cubs-fan friend who flat refuses to own a Cardinal or a Yankee. A few years ago, when Lance Berkman was traded to the Yankees, and he owned Berkman, I was able to take advantage by getting Berkman from him for a pittance (the fact that Berkman was less than useless from that point forward is not really germane here, so just pretend I won the trade, please).
What follows are mine. I'm in five leagues this year, and the players you will read below are on exactly zero of my rosters. Don't consider this advice. Marshawn Lynch, just to name a name, could well outperform all my Doug Martin, Ray Rice, Alfred Morris types. Instead, as you read this, remember that fantasy football, above all else, is going to be fun. Every time you draft a player, you're deciding between him and someone else who, almost by definition, is ranked similarly. So, all things being equal, why not draft the guy you want to root for? I don't care for Marshawn Lynch. It's nothing against him; I'm sure he's a perfectly nice fellow. It's just one of those things. So when I had a choice of Lynch and LeSean McCoy in one league, I went McCoy. Maybe there was some strategy there, but at its core, it was a decision of "I don't want to spend my year rooting for Lynch."
A lot of drafts will be taking place over the next couple days. As you go into them, who are your irrationally disliked guys? Who do you pass over in the draft for no real reason? Share them in the comments; maybe together we'll work out our issues.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA
I really don't know what it is about Lynch. I owned him on a team I had in 2008 that went 3-10, but it certainly wasn't his fault. Not when he had 1,036 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns. I had Steven Jackson on that same team, and I own him in our SB Nation league this year. No, my Lynch distaste doesn't come from anywhere in particular. But still...five fantasy teams, five chances at Lynch, and zero buy-ins. Sorry, Beast Mode.
Demaryius Thomas, DEN
I can actually pinpoint this one. I love me some Eric Decker, and the only thing that's been holding Decker back recently has been the fact that Thomas is actually ridiculously good at football. So no, it's not fair, and it doesn't make sense, but every time I see Thomas, all I can think is "he's keeping my poor little Eric down," and it makes me look somewhere else.
Eddie Lacy, GB
A few years ago, in a moment of desperation because of bye weeks, I traded for and subsequently started James Starks. Last year, I drafted Cedric Benson in several leagues, and picked up Alex Green in several others. Basically, Green Bay Packers running backs have hurt me. Now, this isn't a surprise, as they've hurt everyone, as a result of being generally terrible at football-related activities, but if you own four Camrys, and all four leave you stranded on the side of the road, eventually you stop buying Camrys, even if the new ones are much better cars. The sharps will tell you that Lacy is a good buy this year. They are probably right. But someone else will do the buying.
Ryan Mathews, SD
Two seasons ago, with literally only minutes to go before the trading deadline, I pulled off a group of three trades all at once in one of my leagues. It changed almost my entire roster, as I sent away Mike Tolbert, Calvin Johnson, LeGarrette Blount, Tony Gonzalez, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Michael Crabtree, and Andre Johnson, and got back Danny Woodhead, Aaron Hernandez, Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, Steven Jackson, Dez Bryant...and Ryan Mathews. It was complicated, it was ludicrous, and it was ultimately unsuccessful, as I lost three of my last four games and missed the playoffs by a tiebreaker. Last year, I literally didn't own a single one of the players I acquired in those trades, and, while I have Woodhead, Bryant, and Jackson on various rosters this year, Mathews for whatever reason hasn't moved back into my esteem.
Stevie Johnson, BUF
As a Kentucky graduate, I should love me some Stevie. And it's true, I like for him to be successful. But - and this is without even considering the fact that Jeff Tuel, Matt Leinart, and E.J. Manuel are likely to be targeting-and-missing Stevie this year - it was that tweet three years ago that turned me off to him. You remember the tweet - after a drop in overtime against the Steelers, Johnson tweeted "I praise you 24/7!!! And this how you do me!!! You expect me to learn from this???How??? I'll never forget this!! Ever!! Thx Tho." While I do love the perfunctory expression of gratitude at the end of the tweet, and am absolutely fine with anyone believing whatever they choose, the idea that any god will be out there deciding that Stevie Johnson should drop a deep pass in overtime of an NFL game is definitely off-putting to me. I'm out on Stevie.
Kenny Britt, TEN
This is the last sentence of Britt's Wikipedia page: "The incident marks the ninth time Britt was involved with police since he joined the NFL." While he's not the only athlete with law troubles, his are so overt. I have no interest in rooting for him to be successful.
David Akers, DET
Akers has had a great career, and is by all accounts a great guy. I would never denigrate his character. Know that up front. But I'm a central Kentucky boy, and a friend's wife went through school with Akers, and she has told stories of how he bullied her as a youngster. Like I said, I think he's almost certainly a terrific guy these days, and I have absolutely nothing against him. People grow up. But the difference from kicker to kicker is so small that I avoid Akers as a sort of silent support of my friend. This one's for you, Janie.
Like I said, those are my avoidance guys. They might well be good fantasy players this year. I just don't feel like rooting for them. Who do you have like that? Or, if you have no one like that, how crazy am I? Feel free to tell me I'm dumb. You won't be the first.
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