When you are a fantasy football owner, you know going in that every draft pick you make and every waiver wire you take has risk attached to them.
There is always risk in fantasy football. No sport has more injuries, especially the season-ending kind. Between concussions, torn ACLs and broken bones, your fantasy roster could be decimated because of injuries no matter how well you draft.
And besides needing to be lucky with the amount of injuries your players suffer, you have to hope they get the right playing time, the right teammates and the right system that helps them gain the yards and score the touchdowns they need to succeed.
While all NFL players have some sort of risk attached to them, there are a few superstars who are riskier to hang your helmet on than others entering the upcoming season. Here are eight players whom fantasy owners should know are risky propositions heading into the 2012 NFL season:
Peyton Manning, QB (Denver Broncos)
Hey, he's back!
Manning fans are all pumped up about what new commercials he may appear in and how quickly he will throw his first 300-yard game. But the guy is coming off a zillion neck surgeries, and we just do not know if his accuracy and arm strength will ever be what they once were.
Plus, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are not part of Manning's receiving corps in Denver.
Michael Turner, RB (Atlanta Falcons)
Turner is coming off a 1,340-yard year, and he rushed for double-digit touchdowns for a fourth consecutive season, so you probably think everything is hunky-dory for him.
However, Turner is 30 years old, he has taken a harder pounding than a veteran UFC fighter and he could have his carries lowered in 2012. Inside runners like Turner do not normally do better after age 30.
Santonio Holmes, WR (New York Jets)
I have more faith than most in Holmes. I just cannot see someone as talented as he is having back-to-back average (at best) seasons where he is underutilized by offensive coordinators.
Antonio Gates, TE (San Diego Chargers)
It feels like Gates has been battling plantar fasciitis longer than Batman has been battling the Joker. It just never ends, and every season Gates and his fantasy owners are robbed of some games because his feet are not right.
Gates is 32 years old and has missed nine contests over the past two seasons. Not having Vincent Jackson around to keep secondaries honest will not help Gates, either.
Mario Manningham, WR (San Francisco 49ers)
Manningham is the reigning Super Bowl hero and was signed for multiple millions to be part of San Fran's passing attack, but how big of a part?
The lack of insight on what exactly Manningham's role will be makes his impending fantasy value a big question mark right now.
Matthew Stafford, QB (Detroit Lions)
Before you start crowing about Stafford's 5,038 passing yards and 41 touchdown tosses in 2011, remember that he has had more season-ending injuries than superb statistical years to his credit. He has not yet proven that he can get shellacked without separating a shoulder.
If you draft Stafford, you better have a decent insurance policy QB on your roster as his backup.
DeMarco Murray, RB (Dallas Cowboys)
Let's not go crowning Murray as the next Emmitt Smith, OK?
While Murray certainly ran like Smith during a four-game stretch in 2011 where he rushed for 601 yards, he followed that up with three-and-a-half lackluster fantasy performances until a fractured ankle prematurely ended his season.
Murray is definitely a risk since he is far from a sure thing.
Jonathan Stewart, RB (Carolina Panthers)
Stewart would be a top-10 fantasy RB if he were on many other teams. Unfortunately, he is with Carolina, who each year finds innovative ways to screw with the fantasy value of their talented tailbacks.
In 2011, it was by having quarterback Cam Newton carry the ball 126 times, which prevented Stewart and DeAngelo Williams from averaging 10 carries per game.
Now Mike Tolbert, a terrific runner in his own right, has been brought in and will even take more of Stewart's touches.
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