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Gridiron 11

Gridiron 11

The Bengals and Terrell Owens reportedly agreed to a one-year deal on Tuesday that unites two of the most outspoken and entertaining gridiron orators of the time, T.O. and Chad Ochocinco. It's also an untenable horror show for Carson Palmer, Antonio Bryant and the Bengals coaching staff, not to mention the fantasy owners of both Owens and No. 85.

Over the last two seasons, more often than not, Owens has been a detriment to his team. The legendary talent that launched him to the top of the NFL's receiving mountain in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas is quickly abandoning him because of sloppy routes, a lost step or two and the inability to hold onto the ball in traffic or even when wide open for that matter. That mountain, while steep even for the strongest player on the way up, has a slippery slope on the decline, and players even greater in their day than T.O. have come crashing down in a hurry. Once that descent begins it's virtually impossible to stop.

Owens is just one of the aging big-name veterans who'll you'll come across on your draft lists but are better off leaving alone. Let someone else worry about whether or not they have anything left in the tank. Although there are a few long-in-the-tooth players who are projected to be good fantasy players, such as Thomas Jones, Randy Moss and LaDainian Tomlinson, for the most part, the running back and wide receiver positions are best manned by the young. Keep telling yourself this during your draft, you'll never go wrong. Here are 11 oldsters to let go by.

For more insights, follow SI's fantasy expert David Sabino on Twitter at SI_DavidSabino.

1Terrell Owens, Bengals
Terrell Owens, Bengals
The latest of Cincinnati's VH1 reality stars reached double-digit fantasy points just five times in standard PPR leagues while playing for Buffalo last season, a harsh reality to owners who thought they were getting one of the league's best pass catchers. The Bengals want to run the ball and already have a star receiver in Chad-85 with Antonio Bryant and rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham serving in supporting roles. Given his recent spate of drops, five or six targets per game will leave Owens with just three or four catches -- both liberal estimates -- and cause problems for all involved. Stay far away.
 
2Brett Favre, Vikings
Brett Favre, Vikings
At this point even the Vikings aren't sure that Favre, still bothered by pain after offseason ankle surgery, will be their starting quarterback. But everyone in the football universe is making the assumption that he will be under center again after coming so close to leading the Vikings to the Super Bowl. Once you make that leap of faith you then have to convince yourself that having a 41-year-old with a the longest track record of any passer in league history and just two years removed from being a flop with the Jets will be a better call than someone like Kevin Kolb, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, even Eli Manning.
 
3Antonio Bryant, Bengals
Antonio Bryant, Bengals
Knee troubles aren't the only worry for Bryant owners, who now have to deal with a T.O. problem that will cut into, if not totally take away, Bryant's touches. That, of course, hinges on the talented journeyman's ability to get onto the field to begin with.
 
4Donald Driver, Packers
Donald Driver, Packers
Driver, 35, is coming off his sixth straight 1,000-yard season. Still, his sore knees, the development of tight end Jermichael Finley and a challenge from the depth chart from younger James Jones and Jordy Nelson, two receivers on the verge of breaking out, make him much less of a sure thing than he's been in the past. Most owners who'll draft him will expect a WR2, but he's just as likely to top out as a fantasy reserve for 2010.
 
5Steve Smith, Panthers
Steve Smith, Panthers
The former Pro Bowl receiver has become "the other" Steve Smith, partly because of the emergence of the Giants version who led the NFC with 107 catches last season and also because he has been trapped by a run-centric offense with shoddy quarterback play. That has frustrated Smith at having to wear the bulls eye as the team's only reliable pass catcher. Bringing in Matt Moore should be an improvement over the dead-armed Jake Delhomme, but with so many quality young receivers on the market in much better offensive situations, there's no need to be concerned with the drama.
 
6Torry Holt, Patriots
Torry Holt, Patriots
The NFL's leading receiver of the 2000s, with 868 catches and 12,594 yards, was a far cry from his usual self during his first season away from St. Louis. It's not an understatement to say that Holt's Tennessee stay was an abject failure as he slogged through his worst season as a pro: 51 receptions (60th in the league), 722 yards (50th) and as many touchdowns as you or I had (none, nada, nil, not one). Now playing with Tom Brady in a role that Joey Galloway failed to grasp last season, Holt's prospects would seem to be looking brighter except for the fact that the step the former speedster lost two or three years ago won't come back.
 
7Julius Jones, Seahawks
Julius Jones, Seahawks
He's become one of fantasy football's all-time underachievers and most frustrating assets, and is now in position to trick owners into drafting him again as the potential feature back in Pete Carroll's new Pacific Northwest attack. However, with the more driven and effective Justin Forsett still around, and intriguing former Redskin Quinton Ganther available, Jones' stay atop the depth chart should be short-lived at best. You're much better off drafting Jones' overachieving brother, Thomas, the 2009-10 AFC rushing champion who'll split carries in Kansas City with Jamaal Charles this year.
 
8Larry Johnson, Redskins
Larry Johnson, Redskins
The news keeps getting worse for LJ, who just over three short years ago was considered the best back in fantasy football. Now he's in a committee situation with fellow graybeard Willie Parker and the not so graying Clinton Portis. The former Bronco has taken the challenge of playing again for Mike Shanahan, the man who traded him to Washington in the first place, and run with it, reporting to camp in incredible shape and determined to prove that he and his myriad alter egos will remain the main man in Washington's offense. Perhaps Johnson can carve out a short-yardage role for himself, but it's more likely he'll sit back and collect a paycheck for an occasional series and perhaps play one or two big games. Good luck trying to set your lineup while guessing when those will come.
 
9Willie Parker, Redskins
Willie Parker, Redskins
By the way his tenure in Pittsburgh ended so quietly, you probably didn't realize that only Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis had more career rushing yards in Steelers Black and Gold than Parker, who went from being the starter on one of the league's top rushing offenses to roster filler in the nation's capital. Those who remember Parker's Pittsburgh days will be tempted to spend a valuable pick on him, but you'd be much better off saving yourself the disappointment and reaching for someone younger like Cleveland's Montario Hardesty, Indy's Donald Brown or even Washington's own Ryan Torain.
 
10Donte' Stallworth, Ravens
Donte' Stallworth, Ravens
Even before his unfortunate traffic incident in Miami that led to his incarceration and one-year absence from the NFL, Stallworth's career was on the skids, catching just 17 balls for 170 yards in Cleveland, a performance that is a red flag in itself. Then you take into account Ray Rice, Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, and three good tight ends vying for Joe Flacco's attention and you have reason enough to let him go.
 
11Byron Leftwich, Steelers
Byron Leftwich, Steelers
He may look like a nice stopgap until Ben Roethlisberger returns, but there's a very good chance that the cement-footed journeyman will be beaten out during the preseason by promising signal-caller Dennis Dixon, who, if Roethlisberger's off-field problems don't disappear to the Rooney family's liking, could even supplant Big Ben as the full-time starter.
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