Tuesday, April 30, 2013

First Round Winners and Losers: Veteran Edition


The dynasty value of a player can change at a moments notice throughout the regular season or even in the off-season. This is especially true during the last weekend in April when the annual NFL Draft is held in New York City. This year is no different as we saw draft picks who will have a great impact on the value of not only the incoming rookies, but also the veterans already a part of teams. Let’s take a look at some of the specific players whose value might be on the rise or on the decline as a result of a draft pick in the first round.

The Pick: Tavon Austin, WR STL (1.08)
The Rams moved up to select the first offensive skill position player of the draft and made diminutive wide receiver Tavon Austin that choice. Austin’s value has been steadily on the rise throughout the off-season and he should get a chance to start immediately for the Rams, as well as play a crucial role on special teams.

The Winner: Sam Bradford, QB STL
The Rams have tried for the past couple of years to get their franchise quarterback Sam Bradford some offensive weapons. In fact, they have drafted two wide receivers in each of the past two drafts (and this year would continue that trend). Rather than relying on those former draft picks, the Rams have shown they are serious by making moves in free agency and now the choice of Austin. With the weapons he now has on offense, Bradford has no excuse not to be a top quarterback in the NFL and in fantasy leagues. Bradford has never finished higher than QB20 in his three-year career, but now is his time to prove himself. His dynasty stock will see a nice jump in value and expect his ADP to rise as a result. He is now a high upside QB2.

The Loser: Chris Givens, WR STL
A good friend of mine who does a great job of studying every game played throughout the regular season shared something interesting with me after the Austin pick was made. My initial thought was that wide receiver Chris Givens would not be greatly affected by the Austin addition since he is used more as a deep threat, scoring several deep touchdowns in his rookie season. What my friend told me (and what I didn’t realize) was that many of Givens’ targets and catches came from bubble screens. It is natural to assume that Austin will come in and steal many of those targets. Givens’ dynasty value takes a slight ding with the addition of Austin, but unfortunately, this would not be the last time he makes our list.
 
The Pick: EJ Manuel, QB BUF (1.16)
The first surprise pick of the night was the former Seminole quarterback EJ Manuel. With the addition of head coach Doug Marrone, it was rumored that the Bills would choose his former quarterback at Syracuse, Ryan Nassib. Instead, the Bills went with the upside of Manuel.

The Loser: Kevin Kolb, QB BUF
The Bills recently signed veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb, who was expected to start for the team this season. While that is still likely to happen, given the project status some have placed on Manuel, this is just another sign that Kolb is not a starting level quarterback in the NFL. In dynasty leagues, Kolb has no real value now, outside of two quarterback leagues. He could be used as a bye week fill in, but there’s no reason to carry him throughout the remainder of the off-season and pre-season.

The Pick: Tyler Eifert, TE CIN (1.21)
Another surprise pick in the first round was the Bengals’ selection of Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert. Eifert was a hot name leading up to the draft, even being rumored to land in the top ten. Instead, Eiffert fell to the lower part of the first round and Cincinnati scooped him up.

The Winner: Andy Dalton, QB CIN
Much like Sam Bradford in St. Louis, the Bengals just continue to provide their quarterback Andy Dalton with weapons to use on offense. Dalton is being greatly underrated in dynasty leagues and the NFL alike. In his two seasons, he has led the Bengals to the playoffs both years and has also finished among the top fifteen fantasy quarterbacks, landing as QB12 in 2012. With the addition of Eifert, there is opportunity for improvement.

The Loser: Mohamed Sanu, WR CIN
While many might point to Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham as the biggest loser due to the addition of Eifert, I feel Sophomore wideout Mohamed Sanu, and likewise Marvin Jones, take the biggest hit. With wide receiver AJ Green obviously locked in as the team’s top offensive target, Gresham has already proven he can be a solid second option. The hope of many dynasty owners was that one of Sanu or Jones could step up and be a consistent fantasy performer and possibly even overcome Gresham as the second option in the passing game. Now, there is another roadblock, making that unlikely. Sanu and Jones are both still worth rostering in deeper leagues, but their upside just took a major hit.

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