Fantasy
Players to avoid or downgrade

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - We all know the major league baseball season is a marathon lasting from the beginning of April through October, so it's tough to go 162 games without being nicked up at some point in time. But it's particularly tough on your guys if they start the season limping around or on the disabled list, so lets look at those guys you might want to shy away from because they enter the season at less than 100%.

Chase Utley, Philadelphia (ADP 16) - You'll be taking a gigantic risk if you select Utley before you find out whether he needs season-ending knee surgery. He and the team are going to exhaust every avenue before he goes under the knife, but you may not be able to wait until you get that answer before having to make you draft decision. At his point, I can't recommend you spend your second-round pick here.

Grady Sizemore, Cleveland (ADP 114) - He's run some bases and taken batting practice, but has yet to play in a Cactus League game. It appears that he won't be ready for Opening Day, which isn't a big surprise. When healthy he was a 30-30 guy, but you can't expect anything like that. As a ninth-round selection, he's too high a price to pay for what will likely be a 15-15 season.

Kendrys Morales, Anaheim (ADP 50) - I had high hopes that Morales would be hugely undervalued heading into the season because many fantasy owners would skim over his unimpressive 2010 statistics (11 HR, 39 RBI). But he likely won't be ready for Opening Day and my once-high expectations of repeating his 2009 season (.306, 34 HR, 108 RBI) are quickly fading. He's not a fourth-round selection as of the middle of March, but if you can get him around the seventh round you should get "fair market value."

Brian Roberts, Baltimore (ADP 100) - A Roberts back injury kept him out for most of 2010 and he's again dealing with back pain. If you select him, be prepared with a backup plan who can play a full season.

Ian Stewart, Colorado (ADP 200) - Stewart hurt his knee in a collision with Carlos Gonzalez and initial reports were for a trip to the disabled list. He played in Wednesday's exhibition game and should be ready when the season begins. Stewart has 25 HR power, but needs to improve on his .245 career batting average to be a useful fantasy option. Still, he'll be just 26 in April and as a 17th-round selection he's worth a late-round flier.

Johan Santana, New York Mets (ADP 273) - Santana isn't expected back until late June, early July at the earliest and if the Mets aren't in the race, could be shut down for the entire season. Unless you are in a keeper league and willing to carry him for an entire year, he's a last-round pick at best.

Zack Greinke, Milwaukee (ADP 67) - Greinke injured his ribs playing pickup basketball, but hopefully will miss only three or four starts. He's still going to get around 28-30 starts and can win 15-18 games for the Brewers. As a sixth rounder, he should give you your money's worth despite the month wait for his season to begin.

Andrew Bailey, Oakland (ADP 137) - Bailey dodged a bullet - his elbow injury won't require major surgery. The pain was a forearm strain and the breakup of some scar tissue. Bailey has the stuff to be a top-five closer, he just needs the A's to give him enough opportunities to shine. Don't hesitate to pick him because of this injury.

Domonic Brown, Philadelphia (ADP 172) - Brown was expecting to get a lot of playing time this season after the team let Jayson Werth sign with Washington. But the youngster broke his wrist and won't return until mid-to-late April. Meanwhile, Ben Francisco has been knocking the cover off the ball (.341 batting average, 1.083 OPS) and by the time the young lefty returns, his at- bats could be limited. Selecting Brown as anything but a late-round flier is a gamble.

Brandon Webb, Texas (ADP 302) - Webb threw 60+ pitches the other day and though he likely won't be ready for Opening Day, could be a nice bargain as a late-round pick. He's a 15-18 game winner when healthy and you could get him in the last round, or as a free agent pickup.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.