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Ten to avoid in draft picks

It would be easy for me to tell you who to draft week after week.

Most of the time, that's a simple decision. Look at the available players and holes on your roster, fill accordingly. Need a running back and Adrian Peterson is available? Pull the trigger.

The trickier part of fantasy football, however, is knowing who not to draft. Here's a list of 10 players I avoided in a recent draft, in the first 10 rounds (I had the third overall pick). This doesn't mean I wouldn't draft them, it's just that their question marks led me to value other players more.

*Round 1: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars: I deemed the third overall pick too valuable for a 5-foot-7 running back who has yet to rush for 1,000 yards in his three seasons. Sure, Jones-Drew will get more carries with Fred Taylor out of the picture, but he's yet to prove he can handle the load of a 16-game season. I need to see that before I can believe in him.

*Round 2: Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins: Other than Brown's Week Three performance against New England last season (122 yards rushing, four touchdowns), he was just an average running back. He had just three 100-yard games and was held to less than 40 yards six times. Considering where Brown is going in drafts, you'd be better off taking a wide receiver or quarterback in this spot.

*Round 3: Terrell Owens, Buffalo Bills: As mentioned last week, Owens was fourth in the NFL in drops a season ago and saw his receptions total decrease for the second straight year. The bigger concern, though, is the offense he's in. The Bills seem to be in crisis mode before the season has even started.

*Round 4: Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills: Notice a trend when it comes to the Bills? The list of concerns surrounding Lynch is longer than his dreadlocks. Three-game suspension to start the season, inexperienced offensive line and the aforementioned mess of a coaching staff are all good reasons to pass.

*Round 5: Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts: Maybe it's just sour grapes after thinking he would be a star last season, but his thoroughly unimpressive 544 yards and 3.5 yards per rush in 2008 -- plus the addition of first-round pick Donald Brown -- makes Addai a risky proposition.

*Round 6: Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs: More of an indictment of the Chiefs' offensive line than Johnson himself. KC is in such tough shape up front management acquired Miami castoffs Ike Ndukwe and Andy Alleman -- to start.

*Round 7: Julius Jones, Seattle Seahawks: Coach Jim Mora gave Jones the dreaded vote of confidence after the addition of Edgerrin James. Then James got carries with the first-team offense in Thursday's preseason finale. As a low-end third running back, Jones might be OK. Count on him for anything else and you'll be disappointed.

*Round 8: New York Giants defense: Yes, defensive end Osi Umenyiora is back, but former coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is gone. Last year, there were 25 teams that produced the same or more turnovers than the Giants' 22. The Giants are an example of a real-life defense that's better than its fantasy production.

*Round 9: Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans Saints: Of quarterback Drew Brees' 34 touchdown passes in 2008, exactly zero went to Shockey. Though his numbers will probably benefit from the season-ending injury to his primary backup, Billy Miller, Shockey is one of the more overrated players in the game.

*Round 10: Torry Holt, Jacksonville Jaguars: Holt's receiving yardage last season, 796, was the second-lowest of his career behind just his rookie season. He also had a career-low three touchdowns. Leaving the turf in St. Louis for the grass fields in J-Ville will do little to help Holt recover the speed he's lost.

e-mail: jskurski@buffnews.com