Fantasy Sports R Us

2010 NFL DRAFT FANTASY FOOTBALL IMPACT by Jeff Mans

Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams, Round 1, Pick 1
With the release of Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller and the amount invested in Bradford the Rams have little choice but to start Bradford right from the start. By drafting Rodger Saffold (OT – Indiana) in the second round and having taken Jason Smith in the first round in last years draft the Rams have given Bradford some adequate protection to begin his career. Bradford will be throwing to a talented receiving corps in Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson, Donnie Avery and Mardy Gilyard. The overall talent in St. Louis is good but it will take time for this group to gel and that begins with Bradford. Like most rookie quarterbacks, Bradford will struggle at times in 2010 but he will also benefit from a soft schedule and playing his home games indoors as the weather become a factor.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills, Round 1, Pick 9
Spiller has great vision in the hole and even better straight away speed. Comparisons to Chris Johnson however are not built on accuracy. Spiller does not have the lateral speed nor the size or strength of Chris Johnson but then again very few do. What Spiller will be able to do for the Bills is give them a breakaway threat every time he touches the ball. In fantasy leagues where long TD are rewarded with bonus points Spiller has even more value. Head coach Chan Gailey plans to use Spiller in the passing game frequently too in order to get him the ball in space.

Ryan Matthews, RB, San Diego Chargers, Round 1, Pick 12
Matthews walks right into the feature RB role for the explosive Sand Diego offense. He is an upright powerful runner who will be very useful near the endzone and in short yardage situations. He is a one cut runner who would be at his best in a zone blocking scheme but will not dance or get caught in the backfield as much as LaDanian Tomlinson did at times. You can count on Matthews stockpiling yards and TD’s which has always been a trademark of a Norv Turner offense.

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati Bengals, Round 1, Pick 21
This was a great pick for the Bengals as it gives Carson Palmer another weapon in the passing game and more importantly takes a linebacker out of the box or a defensive back off of Chad Ochocinco. Gresham has outstanding speed that will stretch the middle of the field and great pass catching skills as well. He’ll be a big weapon also in the red zone and on the goal line where he can use his size and athletic ability to make plays on passes thrown up to him. This could translate into plenty of TD's for the first round TE.

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos, Round 1, Pick 22
The Broncos needed a replacement for the disgruntled Brandon Marshall and decided to take the raw physical specimen in Thomas over the more polished but more volatile personality in Dez Bryant. Thomas is a big target at 6’3” and reminds me of a younger Brandon Marshall in many ways. He is strong enough to get out of the break and quick enough to beat top corners in a foot race. His route running ability is poor however that is a strength of the Denver coaching staff and something that they will work with Thomas on throughout the offseason and training camp. He is still a bit of a project at this point but one who is now in a situation to become a true #1 WR in short order. Thomas broke his foot during offseason workouts but should be fine by Broncos minicamps. If he suffers no setbacks, Thomas will make a run for the starting WR slot opposite Eddie Royal right from the start.

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys, Round 1, Pick 24
This is the perfect situation for the immensely talented Bryant to wind up. His character issues were far over analyzed before the draft and are nothing compared to that of current Cowboy WR Roy Williams. Bryant will become Tony Romo’s most reliable target early on and will be an exceptional complement to Miles Austin’s downfield ability. If Roy Williams were to be retained, Bryant would be positively dominating as a slot WR and thus a matchup the Cowboys would exploit frequently. This kid is big, fast, strong and makes adjustments on routes very well for a young WR and was by far and away the best receiver in this years draft. His fantasy potential here in Dallas is immense and thus he’ll be almost as big a steal in your fantasy draft as he was for the Cowboys in the NFL Draft.

Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions, Round 1, Pick 30
If not for concerns over two very severe concussions, Best may have been the #1 RB chosen in this years draft. Best has a tremendous balance of size, speed and vision that allow him to be productive in nearly every running system. Most runners with his speed are smaller and will go down or be slowed by arm tackles but Best has a very strong leg drive and midsection that keep him upright and balanced while running through holes. He will most likely be Detroit's feature RB this season and will have the best fantasy numbers of all the RB's chosen if he can stay healthy. Having Best in the backfield will keep defenses honest and allow Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the rest of the Lions offense room to work.

Arrelious Benn, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Round 2, Pick 7
Benn will be a much better pro receiver than he was a college receiver. He has the size and strength of a top notch NFL wide out and just needs to improve upon his route running ability. Benn lands in the perfect spot here in Tampa where they are always looking for a quality WR every year. It is easy to see a natural fit here between Josh Freeman and Arrelious Benn which will help both young players fantasy value as well. Benn will be the Bucs top WR right from the start this season and should be quite productive once he gets acclimated to life as an NFL player.

Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans, Round 2, Pick 26
Tate is a perfect fit for the Texans zone blocking scheme. He has terrific one cut ability and once he sees daylight could outrun the defense and take it to the house. He is a better big play runner than anybody the Texans have ever had at the position. Tate will compete with Steve Slaton to be the primary RB in Houston but with Slaton fumbling and injury history and Tate's better size and speed this will be a no brainer for the coaching staff. Expect big numbers from Tate in his rookie campaign while being a centerpiece in one of the NFL's most prolific offenses.

Golden Tate, WR, Seattle Seahawks, Round 2, Pick 28
Tate benefits from playing in a pro style offense at Notre Dame. He is an exceptional route runner and pass catcher who possesses top end speed that can beat a defense deep down the field. He is limited however by his size (5’10”) from being a true #1 WR as he won't be a consistent first down or red zone target. Still, Tate should be able to make enough big plays down the field to warrant a late round fantasy selection.

Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers, Round 3, Pick 14
The Panthers were beneficiaries of several top offensive players falling down the draft board this year. Not only did they pluck QB Jimmy Clausen in the middle of the second round but they got LaFell in the middle of the third round as well. LaFell is often compared to former LSU WR and current Kansas City WR Dwayne Bowe. The comparison is credible too as both are great physical specimens who underachieved a bit in college but are equipped to be much better in the pro game. LaFell is the receiver the Panthers have been looking for to line up opposite Steve Smith since they spent a high pick on the disappointing Dwayne Jarrett several years ago. LaFell will start right away and benefit from seeing a lot of single coverage as well. Although the QB play of either Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen may struggle at times the offensive line and running game will put the offense and the WR’s in position to succeed often enough to make a positive fantasy impact.

Carlton Mitchell, WR, Cleveland Browns, Round 6, Pick 8
If Mitchell had attended a bigger school he would have gone in the top half of this draft easily. He has great size and speed combination and is one of the best all around WR's in this draft. He is fast, strong, makes adjustments well, has huge hands, great body control, leaping ability and is willing to go over the middle and take a hit. Mitchell is also a good run and downfield blocker which is a skill coach's love at the pro level. Expect Mitchell to leap second year WR's Mohammad Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie early on this season and become a force in the Cleveland passing game. Watch his progress during training camp and if he is making strides consider taking a late round shot on Mitchell.