April 22, 2010

First Round Fantasy Impact

I could not be happier with the NFL Draft's move to prime time. Not only does it give us time to over-analyze every pick, but it finally isn't depressing if you are drinking during the first round. Which might actually explain the Jaguars' Alualu pick *ba-dum-chhh*. But this isn't a sports blog. It's a fantasy sports blog! That means we don't care about the 18 defensive players (unless you're in an IDP league), and we especially don't care about the 5 O-Lineman that flew off the board (even though I love the Bulaga pick for the Pack). Instead, we focus on the skill players, and the touchdowns that they score. That's why I picked those guys apart and ranked them in terms of who I think will be the most productive in 2010.

8. Tim Tebow QB, Denver Broncos (25th Overall)
The pick was a surprise, but it isn't much of a shocker that he's at the bottom of this list (well, top if you want to get picky). Sure Tebow is a great leader, has a lot of heart and is a proven winner but, unlike baseball, fantasy football doesn't care about wins. If he does find a way to becoming a starter, I don't think he will be a guy worthy of a QB1, or even QB2 slot.
Projection: 150 Passing Yards, 85 Rushing Yards, 1 TD

7. Sam Bradford QB, St. Louis Rams (1st Overall)
Sure there has been a lot of rookie QB success over the last few years, but most of those guys have had some weapons around them to allow for them to be fantasy relevant. He will definitely be a starter, unless Keith Null makes a miraculous improvement this offseason, but Donnie Avery is a headache and Steven Jackson can only do so much. Unless the Rams find an offensive diamond in the rough in the next few rounds, I think Bradford will be a low QB2 option, but if you want to take a longshot as a backup, why not?
Projection: 2,300 Passing Yards, 15 TDs, 15 INTs

6. DeMaryius Thomas WR, Denver Broncos (22nd Overall)
The departure of Brandon Marshall leaves a gaping hole in the Broncos' offense. Eddie Royal and Brandon Stokley are far from #1 wideouts, so Thomas has a chance to become a top target in a mediocre offense. Unfortunately, I don't think Thomas is ready to do that just yet. He has the physical skills, but thanks to Georgia Tech, he might not know what to do without 3 running backs on the field. I have faith that he can become a big offensive weapon in the future, but not 2010.
Projection: 700 Yards Receiving, 5 TDs

5.  C. J. Spiller RB, Buffalo Bills (9th Overall)
He is probably the most talented, and most exciting offensive player of this draft. He is also the guy with the most competition at his position. Neither Marshawn Lynch nor Fred Jackson seem to be true star running backs, but they will definitely poach some carries and touchdowns along the way, and that'll hurt his value. If the Bills decide to deal one of those guys, Spiller jumps up this list.
Projection: 650 Rushing Yards, 240 Receiving Yards, 6 TDs

4. Dez Bryant WR, Dallas Cowboys (24th Overall)
Let's see... a wide receiver with well known character problems goes to Dallas to join the circus that is Cowboys football. It's gotta work, right? Alright, enough with the TO comparisons. He falls just behind Spiller as the most talented offensive player in the draft, but I don't like the fact that he sat out so much of last season. Unless he shakes off the rust, it will get knocked off of him by the defensive heavy NFC East.
Projection: 750 Yards Receiving, 5 TDs

3. Jahvid Best RB, Detroit Lions (30th Overall)
If Best didn't end the season hurt, he could have been one of the top picks this year. He is explosive, and will be the focal point of the improving Lions offense behind Megatron. Running backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield are a great asset to have, especially in PPR leagues, and Best will definitely provide in that category. The two things that scare me about him is the fact that he plays in the NFC North, which should be very stout against the run, and plays for the Lions. And let's face it, that will not be a good thing any time soon.
Projection: 800 Yards Rushing, 300 Yards Receiving, 7 TDs

2. Jermaine Gresham TE, Cincinnati Bengals (21st Overall)
The Bengals have never been a major tight end using team, but they've never really had a great pass-catching option there. As long as Gresham's knee holds up, he could be a huge addition to an already powerful offense. It's great that he has Carson Palmer throwing him the ball, and since the Bengals struggled to pick a #2 option behind Chad Ochocinco last year, he has a chance to get quite a few looks. If he and Best stay healthy, which is a big if, they could be the best options for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Projection: 600 Yards Receiving, 7 TDs

1. Ryan Matthews RB, San Diego Chargers (12th Overall)
Everyone in San Diego is excited to have Matthews in town, and I agree that he is a great fit. But let's face it, moving all the way up to 12 seems a bit over the top for a guy most people projected would fall to the Chargers at 28. With that aside, the former Bulldog now resides in America's Finest City and a top-5 offense. He will lose 3rd downs, and maybe more, to Darren Sproles, but should get the majority of the carries and catches in a very balanced attack. Matthews will be owned in all leagues, and can probably be a good #2-3 back.
Projection: 1100 Yards Rushing, 225 Yards Receiving, 8 TDs

As you can see, I'm not exactly huge on this year's rookies, but I do think they have a place on fantasy teams everywhere. Guys like Best, Gresham and Matthews could bring your team to greatness, but don't pay too much for them.