The NFL draft was a boon to the fantasy football values of all the college players entering the league, but not be for the veterans who will be losing playing time and possibly their jobs to the talented rookies joining their teams.
Consider this a companion piece to my column last week about players whose fantasy values went up after the NFL draft. Now we are going to take a look at the flip side of the coin, because while some draft picks will help enhance the fantasy values of their new NFL teammates, other first-year players will be ruining the fantasy values of some guys on their roster.
Here are four players whose fantasy values went down after the NFL draft:
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (QB)
Just when you thought Sanchez’s fantasy value could not get any lower, the NFL’s favorite turnover machine now has to fight and claw just to start in 2013.
Injury-prone comeback story David Garrard was already signed during the offseason, so Sanchez at least had a little competition since southpaws Mark Brunell and Tim Tebow never really had Sanchez shaking in his boots when they were around.
But with New York drafting Geno Smith in the second round, now Sanchez might not even be on the team when the season starts, let alone be the No. 1 quarterback. Even though Smith is a walking question mark and by no means a sure thing like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were when they were drafted, his presence will apply more pressure on Sanchez than any Buffalo Bills blitz has the past few years.
The Jets will probably not be a ground-and-pound team in 2013. New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg always favored passing over running when he and Andy Reid ran the Philadelphia Eagles offense the past several seasons. That would be great for Sanchez if he starts. That “if” is bigger than D’Brickashaw Ferguson, though.
With Smith and Garrard forcing Sanchez into a three-way dance for the starting QB gig, Sanchez’s fantasy worth has definitely been concussed.
Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals (TE)
By drafting Notre Dame standout Tyler Eifert in the first round, Cincinnati could now have one of the most potent tight-end twosomes in the NFL. But is that really a good thing for Gresham’s future fantasy value?
Sure, there have been times where two tight ends on the same team have both had great fantasy values, like Indianapolis’ Dallas Clark and Marcus Pollard in the past and New England’s Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in the present.
But Cincinnati does not have a high-powered offense and a future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback throwing the passes like with those two teams. The combination of Cincinnati’s somewhat conservative system and the very average Andy Dalton at QB makes it less likely that two tight ends can both rack up enough yards and touchdowns to be viable fantasy-wise.
Gresham’s receiving yardage has improved over his first three seasons, so he appeared primed for an 800-yard, eight-TD campaign if the trend held true in his fourth year. But with Eifert on board it is more highly questionable than Dan Le Batard that Gresham can reach those plateaus.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (RB)
Green-Ellis is good at what he does—running between the tackles, finding the end zone and defending criminals on The Good Wife.
Sorry, got him confused with another law firm!
The problem is Green-Ellis has receiving skills equal to Jose Canseco’s boxing skills. He has never had more than 22 receptions in a season and has never scored a receiving touchdown. This limits his fantasy value, and now it seems he will never get a chance to get on the field on third down again.
Enter second-rounder Giovani Bernard, who has speed in spades and the ability to take a harmless swing pass and turn it into a touchdown faster than you can say, “Hush up, Geno Smith!”
Bernard averaged 5.8 yards per carry and caught 92 passes for 852 yards and six touchdowns over his two seasons at North Carolina. He has speed and hands, the two things Green-Ellis sorely lacks.
Green-Ellis should continue to be Cincinnati’s primary ballcarrier in 2013, but Bernard has the tools and talent to keep Green-Ellis off the field a little more often next season, which means “The Law Firm” might not have as many fantasy football clients.
Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers (RB)
Pittsburgh’s running-back-by-committee system last season worked about as well as Van Halen using Gary Cherone as its lead singer for an album.
Nobody out of the motley crew of Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Rainey played well enough to stand out from the pack and become the top tailback, but heading into the offseason Redman looked like the favorite to become the most valuable fantasy-wise in 2013 due to his all-around skills.
But with Pittsburgh selecting Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell in the second round of the draft, Redman’s worth is drowning in the fantasy toilet bowl. Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley is already gushing about him, so it looks as if Redman and Dwyer will be fighting over part-time touches, while Bell could get the full-time touches.
Redman can still be a decent late-round handcuff pick in fantasy drafts since is good at putting up receiving yards and because Bell could be a rookie flop. But his ranking on preseason cheat sheets certainly has been tackled by Bell’s arrival.