4:10 pm, October 19th, 2012
We usually give you 11 guys to definitely avoid every week. But with six teams on a bye in Week 7, it seems like just about every player on the free agent list may deserve some sort of consideration. So this week, we’re giving you a rundown of who you should only use if you are completely desperate. Try to avoid these players if you possibly can, but if you can’t, we get that, too. All photos via Getty:
1.Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
Even with so many other QBs on bye, you should steer clear of Cutler whenever you can. There are better plug-in options this week, such as Josh Freeman and Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Lions' pass defense looked better last week with the return of FS Louis Delmas, and Cutler is no sure thing to perform well on Monday Night Football.
2.Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Titans
Some will want to use him because the Buffalo defense looks so vulnerable. But it’s not always about the matchup - a player's fantasy potential in a given week should primarily determine if you start him. Even in his prime, Hasselbeck was a solid but unspectacular fantasy QB, and now he's just a game manager. There’s no upside here.
3.Alex Green, RB, Packers
Yeah, he's starting, but that doesn’t make him an optimum choice. Green is better than James Starks, but that certainly isn’t saying much. Green is a mediocre runner who may only occasionally break off a decent-sized gain. He’s proof that starting in the NFL doesn’t always mean he should start for you, too.
4.Vick Ballard, RB, Colts
Ballard has the opportunity to start with Donald Brown out, but he didn't look like a player who'd do much with the opportunity in Week 6. Ballard was indecisive and didn’t make any defenders miss or slip away. He looks pretty pedestrian, and we would not be surprised to see more of Delone Carter this week.
5.Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
My, how the mighty have fallen. Jackson was once considered a top fantasy RB in his best days, but now he's losing carries to an upstart rookie, Daryl Richardson. Jackson isn’t embarrassing himself and still runs with authority, but he seems to get gang-tackled on nearly every carry and that severely limits his weekly output.
6.Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers
With Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman both iffy, Dwyer could get a chance to start - or at least an opportunity for increased work. We’ve seen this horror flick before in 2012, though: Dwyer starts, we add him and he posts very frustrating totals. He could share some carries with Baron Batch, who looks a little less mediocre.
7.Andrew Hawkins, WR, Bengals
He exploded onto the scene in the early weeks with some big plays, but Hawkins has gone quiet recently. He will still make the occasional splash, but he is really just an undersized mighty mite who won’t be worth a lineup spot in most weeks. He is much less effective now that he has gained more defensive respect.
8.Devery Henderson, WR, Saints
Lance Moore is back this week, so now Henderson can fade back into silence. He is the ultimate picture of inconsistency, as a good game is often followed by several weeks of nothingness. Henderson is much too erratic to put any sort of faith in him, even with so many teams on bye.
9.Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders
One of the worst draft picks in Raiders history, Heyward-Bey has long been overrated and mostly mediocre. DHB represents the downside of Al Davis’ legacy. Even against the Jaguars, you can’t expect much from him. He is not even rosterable.
10.Dustin Keller, TE, Jets
The Jets are struggling to find any dependable targets, and Keller, who was supposed to be one, just isn’t. Don’t be fooled about how good the Jets looked against the Colts last week. They’ll revert back to being moribund on offense this week at New England, and Keller will continue to be ineffective.
11.David Thomas, TE, Saints
He is listed as Jimmy Graham’s primary backup, and if Graham cannot play, you may start thinking about the next man up. Well, hate to break it to you, but Thomas is no attractive handcuff option. The opportunity may present itself, but he doesn’t have the skill set to do much with it.
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