Saturday, April 28, 2012

2012 Draft second day observations

Here are my initial thoughts on several of the players taken in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the 2012 Draft:

Ratings key: 5 - Instant Fantasy Stud
                        4 - Solid Fantasy Contributor
                        3 - Bench Depth Only
                        2 - Maybe in 2013
                        1 - Could Be a While

Round 2
No. 33: Brian Quick, WR, Rams.  No team needs help at receiver more than St. Louis.  Quick has a chance to be an instant starter, if he can develop some rapport quickly with Sam Bradford.  Rating: 3

No. 34: Coby Fleener, TE, Colts.  Two things going in Fleener's favor: He'll team up with his Stanford QB, Luck.  And he'll step into an offense in desperate need of another good set of hands.  That said, it's hard to see him as a consistent fantasy contributor in his rookie season.  He's not a draftable option, but it wouldn't be shocking to see him as a mid-season free agent pickup.  Rating: 2

No. 43: Stephen Hill, WR, Jets.  Hill is a true speedster, but it will take him some time to break into the lineup.   He has fantasy potential if Mark Sanchez ever takes the next step in his progression.  If Tebow takes over, though, all bets are off.  Rating: 1

No. 45: Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears.  Brandon Marshall is the only sure thing among Chicago receivers.  That means Jeffery will have a chance to contribute as soon as he's ready, especially if Johnny Knox (back) doesn't return from surgery completely ready.  Rating: 2

No. 50: Isaiah Pead, RB, Rams.  Meet S-Jax's new handcuff.  Unless the Rams' offense improves markedly, or Jackson gets hurt, that's about the extent of his value in his rookie season.  He'll make his mark mostly on special teams in his first year.  But he's worth strong consideration in keeper leagues.  Many project him to be Jackson's heir apparent. Rating: 3

No. 54: Ryan Broyles, WR, Lions.  He's coming off ACL surgery, so it's not clear when he'll even be available.  The Lions' starting receivers are also pretty secure.  Broyles is a project.  Rating: 2

No. 57: Brock Osweiler, QB, Broncos.  Will compete with Peyton Manning for the starting job in Denver.  Wait a minute.  No he won't.  Rating: 1

No. 61: LaMichael James, RB, 49ers.  The Oregon star will really have to dazzle during training camp and preseason to work his way into a legitimate role in this offense.  At best, he's a third-down back; but both Brandon Jacobs and Kendall Hunter are already lining up behind Frank Gore.  Rating: 1

No. 63: Rueben Randle, WR, Giants.  As with James, Randle has some other players to vault over before he will even have a chance to contribute.  Rating: 2

Round 3
No. 64: Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts.  Fuggetaboutit.  If any rookie TE is going to prosper in Indy, it's Fleener.  This ain't Peyton Manning's Colts (or Brady's Patriots).  Rating: 1

No. 67: Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos.  There's a backlog of RBs in Denver, but nobody is truly secure besides Willis McGahee.  Hillman is a small but quicker version of Knowshon Moreno.  His name could surface later in the 2012 season if injuries or mediocre play infect the Broncos' backfield.  Rating: 2

No. 68: Devier Posey, WR, Texans.  Say goodbye to the underachieving Jacoby Jones, and hello to Matt Schaub's third WR.  It's not out of the question that he could jump ahead of Kevin Walter at some point in the season.  Rating: 2

No. 69: T.J. Graham, WR, Bills.  He's a burner who will mostly serve as a kick/punt returner in his rookie season.  Considered a reach in the 3rd round.  Rating: 1

No. 75: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks.  No thanks.  Rating: 1

No. 78: Michael Egnew, TE, Dolphins.  None of Miami's receivers are likely to be fantasy relevant in 2012.  Rating: 1

No. 83: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals.  There's room in Cincinnati for another starting WR opposite A.J. Green.  Sanu will get his shot, but it's hard to imagine he'll make a meaningful impact as a rookie.  Rating: 2

No. 84: Bernard Pierce, RB, Ravens.  With Ricky Williams bidding farewell, Pierce will presumably be given every chance to be Ray Rice's primary backup.  Rating: 3

No. 88: Nick Foles, QB, Eagles.  He'll provide depth for Philly, but not for your fantasy team.  Rating: 1

No. 92: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts.  Andrew Luck needs a fast, young receiver, and Hilton is both.  But don't expect a lot of highlights right away.  Rating: 2

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knee jerk reactions to the NFL Draft -- Round 1

As the 2012 NFL Draft unfolds, we're finally learning where the latest crop of young blood is heading.  Here's my initial, knee-jerk analysis of the fantasy prospects for the offensive skill-position players selected in the 1st round.

Ratings key: 5 - Instant Fantasy Stud
                        4 - Solid Fantasy Contributor
                        3 - Bench Depth Only
                        2 - Maybe in 2013
                        1 - Could Be a While

No. 1 -- Andrew Luck, QB, Colts.  Rookie passers going to crappy teams make lousy fantasy QBs.  Right, Cam?  I suppose if Newton can make chicken salad out of Carolina's chicken scratch, Luck has a chance to produce with veteran Reggie Wayne and, um, the others.  But Cam's rushing ability was the real difference-maker, and Luck isn't similarly blessed.  Not only is Luck not a runner, he won't have any decent RBs behind him.  Rating: 2

No. 2 -- Robert Griffin, Jr., QB, Redskins.  RG3 has a great chance to be this year's Cam Newton.  Or perhaps the next Michael Vick.  He'll have decent talent around him in Washington, and he's equally lethal as a rusher and passer.  It helps that he'll play against three division rivals with suspect secondaries.  Rating: 3

No. 3 -- Trent Richardson, RB, Browns.  The best rusher in the draft will line up behind a solid offensive line for a team that lives and dies by the run.  Jackpot!  Rating: 5

No. 5 -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars.  No matter how talented he is, a receiver can't throw the ball to himself.  Until Jacksonville puts a decent QB under center, I'll pass on Blackmon.  Rating: 2

No. 8 -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins.  As a life-long Miami fan, my reaction to using the 8th overall pick on a not-terribly-impressive quarterback with 19 career college starts can be summed up in two words: Damn it.  Rating: 1

No. 13 -- Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals.  I'm already worried about confusing him with Malcom Floyd, but at least I have four months to figure it out.  Like Malcom, Michael is a big red zone target with good speed.  But Arizona's rookie won't have a QB the caliber of Philip Rivers targeting him.  Lining up opposite Larry Fitzgerald isn't exactly a ticket to fantasy stardom either.  Just ask every Cards WR not named Boldin.  Rating: 2.

No. 20 -- Kendall Wright, WR, Titans.  RG3's favorite target at Baylor won't necessarily claim a starting job in his rookie year, as long as Kenny Britt and Nate Washington are healthy.  Even if he cracks the lineup, his ceiling is fairly low in a rush-oriented offense piloted by either Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker.  Rating: 2.

No. 22 -- Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns.  Will be given a shot at the starting job over Colt McCoy.  Even if he wins it, though, I'm not interested this year.  Probably not for a couple of years.  Rating: 1

No. 30 -- A.J. Jenkins, WR, 49ers.  A huge surprise/reach at this spot, Jenkins definitely has speed to burn.  But the Illinois product will be competing for balls with Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss and Vernon Davis.  And Alex Smith isn't exactly Tom Brady.  I don't expect to see many Jenkins highlights on the Red Zone Channel this fall.  Rating: 2.

No. 31 -- Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers.  Tampa Bay coveted Trent Richardson, but Martin is a heck of a consolation prize.  The Boise State workhorse should seize the lead role in the Bucs' mediocre backfield immediately.  He's not considered explosive, but runs tough between the tackles.  He could be a goal-line stud.  Rating: 4.

No. 32 -- David Wilson, RB, Giants.  The ACC Player of the Year is small in stature, but extremely explosive.  He's a good receiver out of the backfield and in the slot, but the Giants don't seem like the perfect fit for him.  He won't take over the departed Brandon Jacobs' power role, but rather will be more of a complementary back to Ahmad Bradshaw.  Rating: 3.

No doubt, my projections will change over the next few months.  But for now, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.