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Topic: Fantasy Football Impact from the NFL Draft: Which Teams Upgraded Their Fantasy Situation Most
 Russ Bliss_108
Membership: Starter
Joined: September 04
Total Posts: 19878
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Post Date: 05/01/10 07:02
The NFL draft has come and gone. And on paper, most teams have to be pretty pleased with how their drafts turned out. It seems that every season there is renewed optimism by fans after the draft, and this year is no different. But when looking back at the draft with an eye towards the impact to the offenses in terms of fantasy football projections, a couple of teams did better than others.

Iím going to look exclusively at the draft, and not the trades or free agent acquisitions each team made. Teams like Washington, Baltimore, Seattle, and Oakland certainly have made themselves better with the acquisitions of Donovan McNabb, Anquan Boldin, LenDale White, and Jason Campbell, but those are veteran players. I want to look at the rookies drafted here.

The first team that stands out to me is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay (correctly) identified that they lacked any type of playmakers at the WR position and on the offensive side of the ball, thatís the only position they drafted for. Drafting Illinois WR Arrelious Benn in round 2 and Syracuse WR Mike Williams in round 4 was not just addressing need; it was also getting great value in my opinion as both players could be big time playmakers for a team that was bereft of any at the WR position going into the draft. There is a good chance both of these rookies could be starting week 1 since the competition consists of Michael Clayton, Reggie Brown, Sammie Stroughter, and Maurice Stovall. Benn and Williams are both bigger WRís with good pass catching abilities and solid run after the catch skills and are clearly more talented than any of those four. This will give Josh Freeman better weapons to throw the ball to as he continues to develop as an NFL quarterback. Freemanís development is key to the success of the Bucs for fantasy football player projections, and entering only his second season, he will have his struggles so Benn and Williams may not pay immediate big dividends, but after losing Antonio Bryant in the off-season, the Bucs have reloaded, and reloaded with solid football talent at WR to help him out. Depending on what happens throughout the OTAís and training camp, both Benn and Williams could be nice fantasy football sleepers as bench WRís in 2010. In dynasty style fantasy football leagues, both are clearly players to target as one (or both) could emerge as top talents in a couple of seasons.

The second team that stands out is the Carolina Panthers. Needing to get a QB and having no first round picks, the Panthers got a gift when Notre Dameís Jimmy Clausen fell right into their lap in the middle of round 2. Clausen fell because of concerns about his attitude and a lingering toe injury, but his strong arm should provide a boom to Carolinaís offense. WR Steve Smith has to be happy as Clausen certainly canít be as bad as Jake Delhomme was last season. But it didnít end there for Carolina. They may have finally found a good young complimentary WR to Smith when they drafted LSUís Brandon LaFell in round 3. LaFell reminds me of a young Muhsin Muhammad both in terms of size and in type of game he plays. LaFell can make plays but scouts were concerned about his small hands and lack of big time speed. However he blocks well and his only real competition for the starting spot is former second round bust Dwayne Jarrett and Kenneth Moore. If the light bulb comes on for LaFell, he gives the Panthers the number 2 WR they desperately needed. Former Appalachian State QB Armanti Edwards was also drafted in round 3. Considered too small (5í11Ē, 187 lbs) to be a QB in the NFL, Edwards projects out as a WR and potential wildcat style QB. Edwards has excellent speed and could provide the Panthers with a new wrinkle in certain offensive situations. He could turn into the slot WR if he picks up the position quickly. Another WR drafted by Carolina, in round 6, was Baylorís David Gettis. Gettis is a former track star who is a better athlete than WR, but with his size and speed, he certainly has intriguing dynasty value as a fantasy football sleeper. And the Panthers also covered themselves in case Clausen doesnít turn out to be a solid NFL QB by taking Cincinnatiís Tony Pike in round 6 as well. Pike was very successful at Cincinnati although he has some accuracy issues, he possesses the prototypical size desired in a QB at the NFL level.

In terms of improving their situation for potentially providing hopes of being better than last year, the St. Louis Rams need to be mentioned as a team that could help fantasy football players in coming years. Even if Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford never develops into an elite QB, he certainly cannot be any worse than what the Rams went through last season. Bradford likely steps in and starts right away. I would not be surprised at all if Bradford provides the same type of hope of better things to come that Matt Stafford showed in Detroit last year. The Rams grabbed Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard in the 4th round and he will compete for a starting job with a young, talented, but inconsistent WR corps. Upgrading their offensive line by drafting Rodger Saffold in round 2 was smart as Bradford will need to be protected. Blocking TE Michael Hoomanawanui in round 5 helps along the line and while I have my doubts about former basketball player turned to converted TE Fendi Onobun in round 6, weíve seen tall, fast athletic types like Onobun turn into quality TEís in the NFL.

Two teams that definitely addresses big needs offensively that will garner a lot of attention in fantasy football drafts are the San Diego Chargers and the Houston Texans. San Diego grabbed Fresno State RB Ryan Mathews, and like I stated in my rookie RB preview article, Mathews is the complete package and will start right away. Houston drafted Auburnís Ben Tate in round 2 and probably is the second most complete package of any RB in this draft. Both of these RBís are likely to fall in the top 25 of the 2010 fantasy football rankings when it comes time for fantasy drafts.

An honorable mention needs to go to the San Francisco 49ers. While I think RB Anthony Dixon and WR Kyle Williams could turn into decent role players, it was the drafting of the 2 offensive linemen with both of their first round picks that has me intrigued. Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati upgrade the 49ers offensive line. This bodes well for dynamic RB Frank Gore and the development of QB Alex Smith. Sometimes the biggest fantasy football impact isnít made by the skill position players a team drafts, but rather the offensive linemen drafted who block allowing both rushing and passing plays the time to develop and succeed.
On any given Sunday any fantasy team can beat another, only to still lose Monday night.
 Niner Flower Power_6
Membership: Starter
Joined: September 04
Total Posts: 10072
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Post Date: 05/01/10 11:18
Like† your honorable mention and can not forget Ginn, he could surprise some teams as the Niners have not had outside speed since Bryant.
Winning isn't everything- its the only thing!
Membership: Bench Warmer
Joined: October 09
Total Posts: 7
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Post Date: 05/02/10 19:18
Nobody mentioned the Denver Broncos. They shored up their defense with new CB and LB talent. Tim Tebow and the controversy of his faith and strength of character should be an invaluable asset to this team. Does all this matter in the second half of the season when San Diego becomes red hot? I hope so. Replacing WR lost to dolphins with new draft pick is tough too. I hope Eddie Royal is past his sophmore slump.
Broncos Rule
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