In the coming weeks, you’ll be inundated with fantasy football advice. Good and decent people have crunched the numbers every conceivable way and truly believe they alone hold the keys to make-believe football glory. They’ll tell you who to draft and why.
Not me, though. I have one job and one job alone: to tell you which players should never, under any circumstance, come within 40 yards of your roster.
Here is a handy team-by-team guide. Don’t call me a hater. I’m just trying to save you a fall of rage drinking and remote control destruction.
Buffalo Bills: Brad Smith. Every year, someone in your league realizes this guy lines up behind center a dozen times a season and also returns kicks. They envision him as some sort of Kordell Stewart. That is not high praise. Ol’ Slash didn’t exactly set the league ablaze. Also, Smith once played for the Jets. There’s no washing away that stink.
Miami Dolphins: Brian Hartline. Just because he’s the No. 2 receiver doesn’t mean he is, in reality, a No. 2 receiver. The only thing he has in common with Wes Welker is his skin tone, which is not a quantifiable metric.
New England Patriots: Any running back. Bill Belichick changes his backfield personnel at a much more frequent rate than I imagine he changes any other garment. Dude picks one hoodie at the beginning of the year and wears it rain or shine. As of now, there are no fewer than eight running backs listed on the Patriots’ depth chart. Avoid at all costs unless you’re an unreasonably stubborn Masshole.
New York Jets: Do not take anyone from this team. Last year, I picked up Gang Green’s defense before realizing they’re resting on laurels earned three years ago. And that was before they lost Darrelle Revis. Plus, keeping your team Jet-free increases the chances you’ll watch any of their games.
Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco. Don’t believe the hype. Yeah, he is one rich motherfucker and the reigning Super Bowl champion. All of that past prestige won’t do anything for you after one of his 8-for-23, 154-yard, 2 interception performances. Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, Flacco’s two trustiest security blankets, won’t be there to tuck him in all warm and tight this year. This won’t end well, I promise.
Cincinnati Bengals: Mohamed Sanu. Why in the world would Andy Dalton ever not throw the ball to A.J. Green? Like, ever? Poor Sanu has no business being a No. 2 wide receiver the NFL. Even for a team that employed both an aging Chad Ochocinco AND Terrell Owens.
Cleveland Browns: Couldn’t tell you. The team’s official website refuses to list a depth chart. Probably better that way so no player kills himself finding out he HAS to start for this barnfire of a franchise.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger. The guy is a winner on the actual field but a giant liability in the fantasy world. His singular big-play threat, Mike Wallace, is gone. Do you know who the Steelers’ No. 2 wideout is? Something names Markus Wheaton. Yeah, good luck with that.
Houston Texans: Keshawn Martin. What could possibly go wrong with selecting a 5-foot-nothing wideout? Oh, AND he’s catching passes from Matt Schaub on a team with Arian Foster on the roster? If you take Keshawn Martin in your draft, go ahead and have a deranged mental patient handle your finances because, either way, you’re throwing money away.
Indianapolis Colts: Vick Ballard and Donald Brown. Together, these two barely do the work of one competent running back. And you’ll never know which one will be getting the lion’s share of the carries because the Colts seem to determine this with the spin of a roulette wheel.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trick question. Going to have to go with Maurice Jones-Drew. I know what you’re thinking. He’s supposed to be a fantasy football stud. He even plays. Well, good fucking luck slogging through a Jags game when they’re down 38-7 in the third quarter and are throwing the ball on every play. Why does this city even have a team?
Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson. Stop pretending he’s going to rush for anywhere close to 2,000 yards again. It ain’t going to happen. If there’s ever been a more overvalued fantasy entity, I’m blissfully unaware.
Denver Broncos: Ronnie Hillman. Ronnie Hillman? Sounds made up. Montee Ball will be getting a bulk of the carries by Week 5. Plus, Peyton Manning is going to want to play with new toy Wes Welker until his right should disintegrates. And who wouldn’t? Wes is such a cutie.
Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Smith. He is not the best quarterback in the league. He’s not even in the top half. Also, Andy Reid lives in a city famous for barbecue. That’s not a joke, it’s a fact. Things are about to go horribly wrong.
Oakland Raiders: Darren McFadden. This dude will be injured before the leaves turn. Take that to the bank. Never trust anyone even tangentially related to this franchise. Those people are maniacs.
San Diego Chargers: Philip Rivers. What? You going to cry about it, big guy?