When NFL franchises go about evaluating players for the upcoming draft in April their primary focus is usually on one thing – the amount of talent a player possesses.
There are other factors that come into play, such as a player’s mindset, intelligence, and how much they fit a team’s positional needs. But for the most part it’s a player’s physical capabilities and how they carry over onto the field that ultimately determines where they are selected in the NFL Draft.
When it comes to rookie drafts within the dynasty format of fantasy football, however, talent alone isn’t what owners should always place their primary focus on when making their selections. It is important, and here at DFW we have quite a few writers keeping readers abreast of the top talents available at each position, but paying attention to the situation a player lands in upon being selected should never be overlooked by fantasy owners.
Sometimes a player more talented than another coming out of the draft lands in a situation where so many “road blocks” are in his way that his chances of achieving success in the NFL more rapidly than a player at the same position selected anywhere from one-to-three rounds later are significantly diminished.
Between tracking those situations and reading up on the rankings provided by some of our writers, fantasy owners here at DFW will have a leg up on their peers come draft time.
Listed below are a few notable situations where players who land with the stated team, and play the position noted, will be worth keeping an eye on regardless of the round in which they may be selected (this is especially true if they are selected before the sixth round).
PRIME QUARTERBACK DESTINATIONS
Kansas City Chiefs
It’s possible that new head coach Andy Reid may look to deal for Nick Foles, or possibly even Kevin Kolb, but if the Chiefs don’t acquire Foles through a trade chances are Andy Reid will look for his next starting quarterback with a selection in this year’s draft.
Given Reid’s track record throughout his years in the NFL, there is good reason to believe that whoever becomes Kansas City’s starter under Reid he will develop into a relevant fantasy option no worse than a high end number two option at the quarterback position.
Like the Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills have a new head coach in town. Doug Marrone last worked in the NFL as an offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints under Sean Payton from 2006-2008.
Payton deserves credit for being the offensive mastermind of the system Drew Brees has thrived in, but serving as Payton’s offensive coordinator for three years before taking over as the head coach at Syracuse from 2009-2012 is a notable part of Marrone’s resume.
During the past season Buffalo’s general manager, Buddy Nix, had already stated his desire to bring in a new quarterback through the draft to challenge and eventually succeed Ryan Fitzpatrick. Chances are high that Fitzpatrick will no longer be the Bills starting quarterback at the start of the 2014 season. He may not even hold that title for most of the year ahead.
PRIME RUNNING BACK DESTINATIONS
BenJarvus Green-Ellis performed well enough in his time with the Patriots that it earned him a role last season as the Cincinnati Bengals starting running back, but he isn’t dynamic enough to retain that role long term.
The Bengals are looking to add a more explosive back to pair with the “Law Firm,” and chances are if they find one he’ll become the more fantasy relevant option amongst the Bengals backfield.
New York Jets
Rex Ryan remains the head coach of the New York Jets, but it’s doubtful the franchise has much interest in bringing Shonn Greene back as their starting running back. And with the hiring of Marty Mornhinweg as the new offensive coordinator Greene isn’t a fit for the new scheme anyway.
Bilal Powell has a skill set that fits better within the offense Mornhinweg will orchestrate, but chances are they don’t view him as a starting caliber back either. It should come as no surprise if the Jets use the draft to find their next starter at the position.
Rashard Mendedhall wasn’t able to prove himself as being as capable as he once was prior to offseason knee surgery in 2012. As such he is now slated to be a free agent with an unknown future as opposed to being locked in as the starting running back of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There is a chance he resigns with Pittsburgh, but if not it seems well within reason to believe the Steelers will use the draft to help fill their vacancy at the position.
PRIME WIDE RECEIVER DESTINATIONS
Andrew Luck is a young franchise quarterback with a big arm. He made the most of veteran Reggie Wayne last season, but soon enough Wayne’s skills will diminish considerably and Luck will have a new top receiver emerge as his top wide out.
TY Hilton showed promise as a rookie in 2012, but he doesn’t project as a true number one receiver in the NFL. Any young additions to the Colts core of wide receivers deserve immediate attention amongst dynasty leaguers.
The Dolphins top priority in the offseason may be finding themselves a true number one receiving threat to pair with the young Ryan Tannehill. Speculation is that they will attempt to fill this need through free agency, but don’t overlook any of the receivers they add on draft day.
PRIME TIGHT END DESTINATIONS
Kansas City Chiefs
Tony Moeaki has the skill set to be a notable piece within Andy Reid’s offense, but he has had numerous issues with injuries throughout his career which date back to his days as a collegiate athlete.
With that being the case it wouldn’t be too surprising for Reid to select a tight end in this year’s draft. Brent Celek, Andy Reid’s last starting tight end in Philadelphia, wasn’t taken until the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Green Bay Packers
Reports continue coming out that the Packers are uncertain as to whether or not they will release Jermichael Finley or have him play out the remaining year on his contract.
Finley’s had some ups and downs in his career, but has given us a glimpse as to just how valuable a fantasy commodity a starting tight end within the high powered offensive attack of the Packers can be.
If they choose to let him go, or even if the Packers select a pass catching tight end in this year’s draft as Finley’s eventual successor, it’s something dynasty owners should keep an eye on.
New York Giants
Martellus Bennett had a good one-year stint with the Giants and it seems reasonable to expect he’ll re-sign with the franchise. Should the team and player part ways, however, keep an eye out for who succeeds him.
Eli Manning hasn’t had a stellar tight end option since being paired with Jeremy Shockey, but he always gets the most out of the capabilities possessed by whoever holds the position.
If the Giants add a gifted pass catching tight end Eli will get him the ball enough to make him a notable option in dynasty leagues.