Fantasy Football 2012: 4 NFL Draft Prospects Who Can Be Dynasty Cornerstones
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Which NFL Draft prospects can be fantasy dynasty league cornerstones? I only see a fantastic foursome that everyone knows.
I know there will some fans wondering how a couple names were left off this list. The term “dynasty cornerstone” means these have to be players who fantasy owners can draft and think they will be mainstays on their squad for the next several seasons.
I cannot trust Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He converted from receiver to quarterback just two years ago. The last time there was a highly-drafted quarterback who had such inexperience at the position it was New York’s Mark Sanchez, who has not exactly turned into the next coming of Drew Brees.
Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd is another player I cannot label as a dynasty cornerstone. Questions about his speed and his alcohol-related arrests make it hard to rank him as a definite fantasy franchise player. Maybe he can turn into that type of player, but there is another receiver who is a better bet.
So here are the four NFL Draft prospects who can be dynasty cornerstones:
Andrew Luck, Stanford Cardinal (QB)
If you would like to have a young phenom who could be the next Tom Brady or Peyton Manning for the next 15 years on your fantasy dynasty league roster, then by all means draft Luck, the best prospect to come out of college in a long, long time.
Luck can make all the throws, has above-average mobility (453 rushing yards in 2010), plus he has outstanding leadership qualities and does not wilt in late-game pressure situations. He has pinpoint precision when he throws (71.3 completion percentage in 2011), is the size NFL scouts prefer (6-4, 235) and does not break a bone every time a defender breathes on him.
The only thing we are not sure he can do is kick field goals, although give the guy some time. He might become a modern day George Blanda yet.
If Luck is placed in the right offensive system with a great group of receivers and gets good coaching, there is no reason he cannot be a perennial 4,000-yard, 30-TD QB for the next decade-plus, barring 10 torn ACLs or the NFL folding when the United States becomes a hockey-loving nation.
You might see Luck get taken among the top 10 quarterbacks in fantasy football drafts when late August rolls around, especially in keeper leagues where people can hold onto him for several seasons. He might not be Terry Bradshaw or Joe Montana right away because the Indianapolis Colts do not have much talent to surround him with, but eventually he will be a fantasy demigod.
Robert Griffin III, Baylor Bears (QB)
Did you see what Carolina’s Cam Newton did during his rookie campaign? Do you think he is a dynasty cornerstone? Sure he is, and Griffin will be, too, because he is the same double threat Newton and Philadelphia’s Michael Vick are.
The aptly-named RG3 is a more accurate and a more polished passer than Newton was coming out of college. He completed 72.4 percent of his passes during his senior year at Baylor, had a 59-to-14 TD-to-INT ratio over his last two college seasons and has proven he has can pass in the pocket, pass on the move, throw short and throw long with awesome results.
Griffin’s ability to run, though, is what sets him apart from most quarterbacks and will make him a fantasy force. He ran for 1,334 yards and 18 touchdowns over his last two college seasons. While he is not likely to run as often in the NFL, and he probably will not score the 14 TD Newton scored during his fantastic rookie season, RG3 will rack up more rushing yards and TD than most other quarterbacks, which will elevate his fantasy value and make him a superb player to build a fantasy dynasty team around.
Trent Richardson, Alabama Crimson Tide (RB)
Nowadays it is harder to find a running back who does not split time and share carries with another RB on his team than it is to find laws Pacman Jones has not broken. The running-back-by-committee syndrome has taken over the NFL and has doomed the fantasy values of several running backs.
There are still a few out there who get most of the touches on their teams, though, such as Houston’s Arian Foster, Baltimore’s Ray Rice, Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew and Minnesota’s Adrian Petersen (when healthy). This type of RB is as valuable to fantasy owners as crabs are to the captains on Deadliest Catch.
Richardson should be another one of those touch-it-all-the-time tailbacks. He does not have to be substituted on passing downs because he has great hands and can turn a screen pass into a long touchdown (29 receptions for 338 yards and three TD for Alabama in 2011).
Richardson also does not have to be taken out down by the goal line because he is a powerful back and has a Pinocchio-like nose for the end zone. He scored 24 total touchdowns last season as he led his Crimson Tide to the national title.
Richardson will not be drafted within the top 10 picks in the first round by an NFL team planning on handing him the ball only 10 times per game. He will be the main focus of whatever offense he is part of and become a fantasy superstud.
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State Cowboys (WR)
Blackmon is the most coveted wide receiver available in the NFL Draft. He is the one pass catcher out there who immediately has the look of a fantasy cornerstone. The guy snagged 232 passes, including a mind-numbing 38 for touchdowns, over the last two years of his college career. Blackmon is as adept at catching passes as Skillrex fans are at waving glow sticks.
Some experts claim Blackmon is not tall enough to be an elite receiver. Jeez, the guy is 6-1. He is not exactly a dwarf, and last I looked Wes Welker and Victor Cruz were two of the top receivers in fantasy football last year and are shorter. Not every All-Pro WR is built like Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald.
There have been questions surrounding Blackmon’s speed as well. True, he is no Usain Bolt. But Blackmon’s hands, route running, ability to break tackles and to catch passes in traffic make up for his average-to-decent speed. And again, there are other stat superstars like Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Roddy White, who are not world-class sprinters but still pile on the fantasy points.
Blackmon will be just fine. Maybe the best thing he has going for him is that he supposedly has a good head on his shoulders and stays out of trouble. That’s a switch from most receivers these days. Look for Blackmon to be a premier player to build your roster around.
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