Another NFL Draft is on the books and at first glance, the fantasy community knows less now then we did before it started. Some mysterious injury concerns popped up from out of nowhere causing a few players to drop down the draft board and out of the draft completely. For those of you drafting rookie drafts this week, lets look at some rookies that are in much better spots to produce and some rookies that are worse off then before the draft.
The risers are:
TE Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts- Reunited and it feels so good... Fleener gets his college quarterback, Andrew Luck, throwing him the rock. Sometimes it takes years to build chemistry with a player..oh wait they already have that. The Colts are not a stout defensive team yet, so count on Luck passing a lot and his best dump off receiver should be Fleener. In premium tight end scoring leagues, Fleener is the best option for a limited class.
RB Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos- Hillman got the opportunity of a lifetime playing with Peyton Manning who has made many running backs fantasy gold. He is a very quick/agile guy that has great footwork, but so does Jeremiah Johnson, the second year running back from Oregon. Hillman will need to work on his pass blocking before he gets the chance to be on the field during passing downs. He is definitely worth a first round rookie pick now.
RB Isaiah Pead, St. Louis Rams- This electrifying, elusive back will be complementing Steven Jackson in the Rams backfield. I'm not that impressed with his tackle to tackle running, but he has great vision and works well in space. Pead is a great investment in the future, similar to Jacquizz Rodgers, as he has the skills to be a #1 running back, but needs a bit more seasoning. Pead will get that playing with Jackson, but don't expect much year one.
WR Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears- I don't know about you, but I am excited that Jay Cutler has Jeffery and Brandon Marshall as his receivers. While I don't see him being a dominate #1 wide receiver, Jeffery will do well with single coverage as the defense will have to account for Marshall and Matt Forte roaming around. This is especially true twice going against the weak secondaries of Green Bay, Minnesota, and Detroit that didn't improve much in this year's draft.
And now some fallers:
RB LaMichael James, San Francisco 49ers- He is a great guy in space and can accelerate on a dime, but I don't know how he can leap-frog Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Ted Ginn, and Brandon Jacobs for playing time. This could be a patience play as Gore doesn't have much left and Jacobs only signed a one year deal; however, I don't see James bringing a better or much different skill base than Hunter does.
WR Stephen Hill, New York Jets- He is a great run blocker and that will come in handy as he came to an offensive that will run more than most with Tim Tebow in the mix. I have a hard time believing that Hill will see more targets (28 catches in 2011) than he did in college. Mark Sánchez and Tebow do not have cannons for arms to get the ball deep and that is Hill's game. He is looking like a poor man's Alvin Harper at best and is not worth a top rookie pick.
RB Chris Polk, Philadelphia Eagles- He dropped out of the draft due to concerns about his shoulder, knee, and hip. Polk is a gifted receiver out of the backfield who runs with power and may be the answer if LeSean McCoy goes down, but if the entire NFL passed on him during the draft..maybe you should as well. Polk is a later round flier instead of a top 12 rookie pick now.
RB Michael Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- If new Head Coach Greg Schiano has his way, all of his running backs will get carries which will dilute all their values. To make things worse, Smith has the very talented Doug Martin (who does everything Smith can do, but better) and LeGarrette Blount (more of a battering ram like college teammate Robert Turbin) in front of him on the depth chart. Smith is another running back that is almost undraftable now.
Andy Miley is the host of Dynasty Blitz Podcast on Blog Talk Radio, Dynasty/Keeper Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Alarm and can be found on twitter @AndrewMiley