Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Draft Implications: Play Em Again Rookie Biotch!

In fantasy as in Super Troopers, the Rookie will always have an impact on the squad. Whether he be a bust like Ryan Leaf or an integral part of the offense like Adrian Peterson, selecting a rookie on draft day must be done with care and precision. A pick too early could ruin your year, while a pick too late may force you to miss out on the steal of the draft. The following names are a few you should consider on draft day.

Darren McFadden, OAK: McFadden will have a lot to live up to if owners continue to think that he will produce like Adrian Peterson. In an offense with a weak passing game and a focus on the run, the running backs will get plenty of carries on Sunday. The only question is which running back will get them. Fargas entered the year as the starter but strong performances from Bush and McFadden will convince the Raiders that a running back committee may be the right way to go. If there is an injury to one of the backs, look for the others to improve significantly. Keep an eye on the running back situation and draft McFadden as a great sleeper with a pick in the middle-to-low rounds.

Chris Johnson, TEN: The speed of this kid is something you have to see in order to be convinced that he is the real deal in Tennessee. He provides a great change of speed that the Titans will be able to utilize out of the backfield. LenDale White will remain the starter in Tennessee, but there is a very good chance that Johnson will be able to eclipse 800 yards in his rookie season. Add in a few touchdowns and receptions and this will be one of the best rookie campaigns in 2008.

Matt Forte, CHI: The Bears are putting a lot of faith in Forte to help them re-emerge as a solid running threat in the NFL. The truth is the passing game is a joke, the lack of a deep threat will allow defenses to stack the box, and a low scoring offense in Chicago will force them to throw the ball late in the game, limiting the amount of touches for Forte. The addition of Kevin Jones will only hurt Forte if he is able to recover from an injury in 2007. Draft Forte with a late pick in all drafts and hope that he will be the sleeper that helps your team make it to the big show.

Felix Jones, DAL: Get rid of one Jones and then bring in another. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys plan on using Jones in the offense this year. Barber became a top eight running back when the announcement trading Julius Jones occurred. Since drafting Felix Jones, owners are now wondering how he will impact the fantasy value of Barber. In my opinion, Barber is still a top-eight running back and to think that a rookie will steal that many carries from a proven back such as Barber is ludicrous. Only draft Jones if you need some insurance for your starting running back Marion Barber.

DeSean Jackson, PHI: Jackson leads all Eagles in receptions with twelve receptions for 122 yards during the preseason. A recent injury that will sideline Curtis indefinitely also adds to the upside of DeSean Jackson. The Eagles will be forced to rely on the rookie more than original anticipated, so plan on drafting Jackson with a late round pick and hope he emerges as McNabb's favorite target.

James Hardy, BUF: Hardy provides the Bill's offense with a tall receiver having the ability to go up and get the ball. Opposite of Evans, Edwards will look for an easy target and it is difficult to make a bad throw when your target is 6-5/212. He will be a great change of pace receiver from Lee Evans out of Wisconsin and should succeed immediately in Buffalo. Snag Hardy with a late round pick in all drafts and let him go up and get the ball for your squad as a reserve until he can prove he deserves otherwise.

Matt Ryan, ATL: Mike Smith announced that he will start Matt Ryan in the next preseason game against Tennessee. This will be a great opportunity for all viewers to see the composure and skill of the rookie quarterback. The lack of offensive weapons in Atlanta will make it difficult for any Atlanta quarterback to become a fantasy starter, but monitoring him in his first preseason start may indicate his outlook for the future. Do not draft Matt Ryan and if he gets the nod as the starter and performs well, he will be waiting for you on the waiver wire with Chris Redmond and Joey Harrington.

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