The NFL Draft helps the fantasy values of rookies and hurts the fantasy values of veterans.
Earlier this week I penned a column about five fantasy stars, including Miami’s Reggie Bush and New York’s Ahmad Bradshaw, whose values had dropped thanks to the players their NFL teams selected during the draft.
But those five were not the only players affected by the draft picks their NFL organizations made. There were some other, lesser-known players who were on fantasy rosters last season who might not be on fantasy rosters this season because of the first-round choices their clubs made.
So here are five more players whose fantasy values dropped due to the recent NFL Draft:
You think Pittsburgh’s James Harrison lowered a boom on McCoy last season with that forearm smash to the head? What Cleveland did to McCoy by drafting Brandon Weeden in the first round just concussed McCoy’s fantasy value even worse.
McCoy has become either trade bait or a backup thanks to Weeden’s arrival. Now I know McCoy did not have fantasy owners thinking he was the next Steve Young, or even the next Bernie Kosar, during his first two seasons. His 20:20 touchdown-to-interception ratio was far from awe-inspiring, and last season he only had one game where he threw for more than 250 yards.
But to me the jury is still out on McCoy. The poor guy never had any decent receivers to throw to (don’t say Mohamed Massaquoi!) and last year Cleveland was trotting out third and fourth-string running backs, so there was no running game to help him out.
McCoy was nothing more than a No. 3 QB on fantasy teams, anyway. Maybe that would change if he had better skilled position players around him. Maybe that would change if he was traded. With Weeden now at the helm, though, McCoy’s fantasy stock drops now that he has gone from starter to reliever with the Browns.
Montario Hardesty, Cleveland Browns (RB)
If you were planning on holding onto Hardesty in your dynasty league because you thought he would be Cleveland’s top tailback with Peyton “Strep Throat” Hillis moving to Kansas City, you can flush that plan down the toilet along with your “Newt Gingrich For President” buttons.
Hardesty blew his opportunity last season when Hillis was sidelined by running for a paltry three yards per carry in 10 games. He tore his ACL in 2010 before even playing a game, and the explosiveness he showed in college has not returned yet.
Now with Cleveland drafting Trent Richardson with the third-overall pick, Hardesty is at best Richardson’s understudy, and could possibly be given his walking papers. Unless Richardson pulls a Chris Johnson and holds out and Hardesty runs like Gale Sayers during training camp, Hardesty’s fantasy worth will be nil.
Washington was a lifesaver last season when Kenny Britt wrecked his knee in Week 3 and Matt Hasselbeck was left with just Washington, underrated tight end Jared Cook and several no-names to throw to. Washington demolished his previous career-highs by catching 74 passes for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns.
Washington never had more than 50 receptions or 700 receiving yards in any of his previous six seasons, so his 1,000-yard year last year was as surprising to fantasy owners as the one-year suspension for Bountygate was to Jonathan Vilma this week.
Washington’s offensive outburst did not curb Tennessee’s desire to improve is receiving corps, however. The Titans drafted Baylor speedster Kendall Wright in the first round. Coupled with the hopefully-returning Britt, Washington will likely not have the amount of targets in 2012 that he had in 2011.
Look for Washington’s numbers to tail back down to the 55-catch, 800-yard area. He is still worth a late-round look in fantasy drafts, but Wright will definitely hinder his fantasy prowess.
Early Doucet, Arizona Cardinals (WR)
Doucet did a decent job as Arizona’s No. 2 receiver beside Larry Fitzgerald last season (54 receptions, 689 yards, five TD), but he did not make Cardinals fans forget Anquan Boldin and an upgrade was needed.
In comes first-round pick Michael Floyd, a wonderful wide receiver when he lays off the sauce (three alcohol-related run-ins with the cops to his credit), so Doucet is back to being relegated to third receiver.
Fitzgerald could help turn Floyd into a superstar real quick by taking the rookie under his wing. Both guys have similar size, leaping ability and other attributes. Meanwhile, Doucet and Andre Roberts will be battling for the leftovers Fitzy and Floyd leave behind in the passing attack, and Doucet will not be draftable in fantasy leagues.
Mike Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (WR)
When Jacksonville signed Thomas to a multi-million dollar extension during last season, most fantasy owners and football experts asked the same question—why?
Thomas is no Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, or heck, Mike Sims-Walker! He has scored six touchdowns and has a 10.7 yards per catch average in three NFL seasons. Yes, those numbers are worthy of a team breaking a bank and messing up their salary cap, aren’t they?
Thomas was the top target in Jacksonville’s laughable passing attack, but with the Jags shrewdly trading up to draft Justin Blackmon with the fifth-overall pick, along with signing Laurent Robinson as a free agent, Thomas suddenly finds himself as the No. 3 wideout.
Considering Jacksonville had the worst pass offense in the NFL in 2011 and is built around Maurice Jones-Drew’s runs, being the No. 3 receiver is akin to being the least annoying Kardashian. Thomas was not worth in fantasy leagues before, but now he is worthless