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Commentary From the Edge
Kevin Ratterree
August 20, 2004

Every football season, as I begin to prepare for my fantasy draft there are some players that send up a red flag in my head.  Call it intuition.  Call it premonitions.  Call it common sense.  Call it total BS. 

The point is that while I am not an expert on which players to target for your draft day I feel I am pretty good at sniffing out potential fantasy team doom.  Here is a list of 10 players that I would either avoid or make sure I draft cheaply, some I have sound reasons for, others just a gut hunch.

Eddie George:  I've been an Eddie George guy since he was a rookie.  He has been a mainstay on several of my fantasy teams for years.  The man is a warrior.  A true professional in every sense.  But he's through.  He already left it all on the field.  Bill Parcells may be a miracle worker, but he isn't a holistic healer.  Don't take a chance on him too high in the draft.  I don't think it's going to get any prettier from this point on.

Kevan Barlow:  I was really high on this guy before this season.  Every year he's everybody's sleeper pick.   Every year Garrison Hearst refuses to relinquish his role.  Now that Garrison Hearst has packed his bags and headed for Denver, (I wouldn't bet against the elder Hearst succeeding in Denver by the way) the way is clear for Barlow to be the star.  The only problem is that the offensive talent has disappeared from this team like the weapons of mass destruction after our boys hit the sand.  Now I have stashed Barlow on two of my keeper teams, and though I'm going to keep him on both, I'm just not as excited about his chances as I was when the San Francisco offense had actual talent.  How long will we have to wait for this guy.....or could we have been wrong all along?  I'm getting that sick feeling like I get when the finance guy at the car dealership starts throwing in document fees and processing fees.

Michael Vick:  Hey I was as hyped about this guy as anybody.  He's unbelievable.  But his passing doesn't seem to be improving much and we all know the sad place that one dimensional QB's end up.  Yeah.  But he sure is going be fun to watch for awhile.  I just want to watch him while he's on someone else's fantasy team.  I have plenty of excitement in my life without holding my breath every time Vick starts motoring down the field.  If you're a gambler though.........

Kurt Warner:  I was among the first to declare Kurt Warner a goner in the cyber publishing world.  But I must admit a small part of me thought that in the right situation he might one day be a decent QB again.  The right situation would have been an offensive line built like a Brit Shickhouse.  Unfortunately Kurt ended up with the N. Y. Giants and if he steps under center in a real game this year, he and his wife may be recovering from a severe concussion until week 12.  Kurt, Thanks for coming.  That was amazing.  You are an NFL legend.  Just walk away.  Eli's a comin'.

Keyshawn Johnson:  Key has been one of my favorite whipping boys.  Every year I see him drafted too high, and every year the owner that picked him wonders why they can't win a championship.  KJ is a cancer on your fantasy team.  And with the creaky Testaverde behind center, just say no.

Thomas Jones:  Okay, enough is enough.  He couldn't be a star in Arizona because there were other running backs in his way.  He couldn't be a star in Tampa for some reason or another.  Now he's in Chicago and people are still crossing their fingers and drafting this guy way too high.  I don't get it.  I don't see it. I don't recommend it.  He is one of those guys.

LaDainian Tomlinson:  Okay now you are thinking I'm off my rocker but please hear me out.  Tomlinson is awesome.  He's a bull.  But he's playing for a miserable team and a coach whose best coaching days are a decade behind him.  Tomlinson has a lot of miles on the odometer the last few years.  I'm not saying that I wouldn't pick him with a top 2 pick.  But to me his situation makes him a less than rock solid top pick.  I think I'd go Holmes with the #1 pick.  And yes I realize Holmes is older and has a ton of touches the last few years as well but his offensive line doesn't let him take much abuse.

Edgerrin James:  Another stud that will be picked in the top 8 of most drafts.  Once again I'm not saying Edge isn't a great player but there are a few issues with this guy that make me want to look elsewhere.  First of all, Edge is a buddy of Ricky Williams.  And I wonder if his head may be in a similar place.  I'm not so sure Edge really is into all the violence, and bodily destruction that takes place weekly in the NFL.  And he has had some durability issues as well.  How much more will he be willing to sacrifice of his body?  I don't see him as a guy that loves the game he plays with as much intensity as a guy like Eddie George or Curtis Martin.  A great and talented player to be sure.  But he just makes me nervous.

Jeff Garcia:  The little guy has just been pummeled due to his playing style.  I think whatever talent he had was beaten out of him in San Francisco, and it's not coming back.

Hines Ward:  I'm finally a believer in Hines Ward.  It took awhile but I'm finally on the bandwagon.  The guy is rock solid.  I'll draft him this year if I get him at a fair price.  And when I get on the bandwagon late you can bet the player will fall.  I finally got into card collecting right before it crashed.  I finally got in the stock market right before it crashed.  I drafted Curtis Martin for the first time ever 2 years ago when I entered the World Championship of Fantasy Football.  As you may remember the durable back injured his ankle in Week 1 and racked up the worst year of his pro career.  Don't question me.  I know of what I speak.  Once I believe, soon I will grieve.  Don't follow me there.