After months of analysis and projections leading up to the April 25-26 NFL draft followed by days of draft recap and team grades, we focus on what really matters to us; how the draft affects our fantasy football leagues. While we may have thoughts on the absurdity of the contracts signed by high draft picks, it has no effect on our fantasy football team’s payroll. Players may have been drafted higher or lower than projected, but that has no impact on where they will be drafted in our leagues. What matters most to us is if the player will play and if it will be this year or in upcoming years. Let’s take a quick spin through the AFC and look at each team’s new additions that could factor into our fantasy football drafts.
Baltimore – Baltimore’s best pick was on the offensive line with G Michael Oher. I cannot see this changing the draft position of any of the Ravens’ three-headed backfield. DE Paul Kruger was a nice addition to an aging defense.
Buffalo – Buffalo added players across the board, except for the offensive skill positions (Terrell Owens was added via free agency). DE Aaron Maybin will be a stud on defense, bumping the defense up a few positions. They did add TE Shawn Nelson who could have a sneaky year catching passes underneath. Hopefully, Owens won’t catch him conspiring with QB Trent Edwards on individual plays.
Cincinnati – The Bengals had a great overall draft, but their improvements on the offensive line OT Andre Smith and defense with LB Rey Maualuga and DE Michael Johnson does little to make their defense draftable or increase the draftability of any offensive players. I do love TE Chase Coffman and will take my chances on him with a late round pick.
Cleveland – Rookie wide receivers rarely do much in the NFL, but the Browns added two that I would recommend taking as a late round pick; Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi.
Denver – The Broncos addressed their biggest weakness; their defense. However, their defense should only be rostered when facing Kansas City and Oakland. RB Knowshon Moreno is worth drafting, but I would not draft him too high as Denver signed 4 free agent RB’s so I don’t see Moreno as their primary back.
Houston – The Texans added a few starters on defense to help out Mario Williams. The jury is out on whether or not it makes the position draftable or not because they were the 27th-ranked fantasy defense in 2008.
Indianapolis – DT Fili Moala helps the defense immediately, but the player to focus on is RB Donald Brown. Brown quietly lead the NCAA in rushing yards in 2008 and will step in right away for the Colts. Joseph Addai is still the number 1 running back, but has proven to be injury-prone, so Brown will get reps right away to minimize Addai’s touches. He should be selected in middle rounds and a few rounds higher in Keeper Leagues.
Jacksonville – The Jags grabbed a pair of offensive tackles to help restore their running game. This should keep Maurice Jones-Drew as a second round pick. WR Mike Thomas is worth a late-round flier.
Kansas City – The Chiefs signed a few good players on defense in DT Alex Magee and LB Tyson Jackson, but they will not make their defense worth drafting.
Miami – You will read a lot about how well QB Patrick White will fit into the Fins’ Wildcat offense, but how many touches can you realistically expect? They grabbed 6′ 5″ WR Patrick Thomas outta USC to help their passing game, but if their offense does not make Ted Ginn Jr an every week starter, Thomas has no chance.
New England – Much like Dallas, New England worked multiple trades to fill multiple holes, but none of them will help us in the fantasy world. No offensive players to note and their D will not change draft perception with the new additions.
New York Jets – The Jets were the most daring team during the draft and landed two draftable players out of their three picks in QB Mark Sanchez and RB Shonn Green. Many people questioned the Green pick, but I love this kid. He is as tough and powerful as they get. Thomas Jones is in his early 30s and threatening to hold out if he doesn’t get more cash and Leon Washington may become too expensive, so Green is not a bench warmer. Sanchez had a short starting career at USC, but excelled in a pro style offense and seems polished and ready to tackle the New York media. I would recommend Sanchez as a mid-round pick and can see taking Green as a double digit round pick. Bump Sanchez up considerably in Keeper leagues and bump Green up a few rounds in Keeper leagues as well.
Oakland – Oakland would receive much more ridicule for its draft choices if Detroit wasn’t in the league. However, in fantasy football, who cares if Oakland drafted a guy a round too early and bypassed a much better receiver to do it. WR Darius Heyward-Bey is a burner and can put up some serious numbers if JaMarcus Russell can get him the ball. A good mid-round pick.
Pittsburgh – The Steelers didn’t really do much to change fantasy football except add another solid DT to its defense in Evander Hood. They should still be the first or second defense drafted.
San Diego – The Chargers added DE Larry English, but will probably move him to LB, especially if Merriman is slowed from his knee surgery and Shaun Phillips can’t stay out of trouble. No impact on fantasy in the least.
Tennessee – WR Kenny Britt was their best pick, but he will be a third option in a run first, second and third offense. They replaced Albert Haynesworth with DT Sen’Derrick Marks (no misspelling on the name). He is a slight step back, but won’t change the location in the draft for the Tennessee D.
Bill Parsons is the owner of http://www.maximumfantasysports.com and a rabid fantasy sports participant. He began creating his own football and baseball fantasy leagues at the ripe old age of seven; tracking stats and standings on paper. Bill decided to create a real-time fantasy football league website that includes all of the best features and some of which have never been attempted at any other website. Join Maximum Fantasy Sports today by visiting http://www.maximumfantasysports.com Membership is Free!