The fantasy football values of the college stars who were just selected in last week’s NFL draft might be going up, but the same cannot be said for some of their new teammates.
There are a lot of first-and-second rounders who are poised to take playing time away from many NFL veterans next season, and less playing time means fewer chances to rack up touchdowns and yards for fantasy owners.
Here are five players whose fantasy value has gone down because of the 2012 NFL draft.
Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins (QB)
Moore was one of the few shiny spots during another dreary year in South Beach. He was just Chad Henne’s backup and had an unimpressive 16-to-17 lifetime TD-to-INT ratio entering 2011. But, by season’s end he proved he could prosper in a short passing attack and obliterated his previous personal bests by throwing for 2,497 yards and 16 touchdowns.
And what did Moore receive as a vote of confidence? Miami drafting Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill with the eighth-overall pick to replace him.
Moore might hold onto the starting job for the first few weeks of the season while Tannehill picks up the offense, but eventually he will be pushed aside. And even when Moore is playing, he no longer has Brandon Marshall as a target.
The Dolphins organization must agree with most fantasy owners that the chances Bush stays healthy for a second year in a row are slimmer than a nail file.
After coming off the most productive year of his career, Bush now finds himself fighting with three other running backs for touches. Second-year bruiser Daniel Thomas returns along with another between-the-tackles monster, Jerome Messam, one of the top running backs in the Canadian Football League. Messam ran for 1,000 yards in the pass-happy CFL, which is the equivalent of a vegetarian winning a hot dog eating contest, so it is a pretty impressive feat.
And if the Dolphins did not have enough running backs, they drafted Miami greyhound Lamar Miller in the fourth round, a talented tailback many experts predicted would go in the second round. Miller has the same home-run ability Bush has and is a local favorite.
It all spells doom and gloom for Bush’s fantasy value, and who knows how Miami’s new coaching staff is planning on utilizing him? I think we will see less of Bush, either due to his own injuries or the running backs behind him, and his fantasy worth will be tackled for a loss.
Gore went from being the main man in a run-first scheme to being the lead runner of a four-back attack in an offense that appears to be intent on passing more often. Coming off a 2011 campaign where he had 1,211 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, Gore will be hard-pressed to duplicate those numbers next season.
San Francisco already had shifty Kendall Hunter as Gore’s backup, then went out and signed bulky Brandon Jacobs as well. And for the cherry on top, the 49ers drafted LaMichael James in the second round. S.F. will need a mathematical genius to devise a way to split the carries in some way where all four will be happy.
But, the bigger problem is the 49ers didn't sign Mario Manningham and Randy Moss and draft A.J. Jenkins in the first round so they could keep running the ball more often than most teams.
Alex Smith obviously will be called upon to pass more frequently, and with Gore’s receiving yards declining (career-low 114 in 2011) and his role probably dwindling, expect his yards and touchdown totals to get cut down.
Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (RB)
Just when fantasy owners thought Bradshaw might have finally had a chance to be the Super Bowl champions’ featured back after years of sharing carries with Brandon Jacobs, they had the rug pulled out from under them faster than Colt McCoy did.
New York surprised several pundits by drafting Virginia Tech RB David Wilson with the final pick of the first round. Wilson scampered for 1,709 rushing yards with the Hokies last year and has loads of quickness. He is short yet powerful, just like Bradshaw, and is as elusive as all heck when in the open field.
Bradshaw has more metal in his foot than Iron Man, so it is no surprise the Giants figured they needed another RB to compliment him. But many thought it would be a guy who was a sure backup, not a first-rounder with the skill to be a starter.
Bradshaw should see a slight increase in his rushes and receptions during the first month or two of the season, but Wilson will eventually take a large chunk of his time and touches once the rookie gets acclimated. Wilson might even play more often than Jacobs did since he is a more well-rounded player.
If you own Bradshaw in a dynasty league and thought he would turn into another LeSean McCoy, put those projections on hold.
LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RB)
Fantasy football’s favorite fumbler has gone from being Tampa Bay’s sole starter to possibly losing his job to a Boise State standout quicker than you can say, “I’m crossing Jonathan Vilma off my cheat sheet.”
Blount was one of the starting running backs around without much competition, but after rushing for only 781 yards last season and having problems with his fumbling, blocking and catching, he now finds himself battling Doug Martin for the top tailback spot on the Bucs.
Because Martin can do a little bit of everything, Blount might be stuck being an early-down situational back or someone who splits the carries with Martin 50-50. At best, Tampa drafted Martin to light a fire under Blount and get him running like he did during his first year when he broke the 1,000-yard barrier.
If only Blount could hop into a hot tub time machine and turn the clock back to 2010 when he, quarterback Josh Freeman and wide receiver Mike Williams were beloved by dynasty-league owners who thought the trio would be stats stalwarts for the next five to 10 years. Oh, how quickly things change in the NFL.
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