First things first, I received a ton of emails from people in regard to my last two articles and I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to write. As a writer it’s always nice to hear from the readers and get feedback on both what they liked and what they didn’t like. I am also more then willing to help you out anyway that I can whether that’s helping you evaluate a trade offer, giving you my opinion on a certain player, or helping you decide who to start and who to sit. All I ask is if you disagree with me please provide an explanation so I can better understand your point of view and learn from any mistakes I may have made.
There is one issue that was brought up in more then a fair share of emails, the fact that I picked up RB Ricky Williams (Miami) in the 3rd Round. Now I want to tell you that I stand by my article and assure you that it is 100% truthful. With that said I know that this type of thing happens next to never and I was prepared to deal with all the naysayers but why put something so unbelievable in the article you ask? Because it leads me to the first point of this article, one that is often over-looked, the unpredictable nature of drafts.
You can do all the mock drafts, predictions and research in the world and it never fails, the draft, at some point, will take a unexpected turn. Someone will take a sleeper way to early, pass up on a 1st tier player, or be too drunk to realize that they just drafted an injured or retired player (I have seen it happen). Something will happen that will throw everything off but if you’re prepared you can take advantage of this golden opportunity. Lets look to this years NFL draft for a perfect example.
Kwame Harris was a monster, 6’ 7” and 310 lbs, offensive lineman coming out of Stanford University. Coming into draft day all the “experts” had Kwame listed as a top 20 pick and as one of the nations top ranked offensive lineman but Kwame was passed up until the 26th pick of the first round before being quickly snagged up by the San Francisco 49ers. Kwame fell 6 picks from his projected spot, why? We can only guess but I can guarantee that the 49ers were jumping up and down when they saw his name on still on the board. The only question is are you going to be ready to take advantage of another manager’s mistakes? Remember drafts never go as planned, they simply won’t. This is one reason why I believe that sticking to one draft strategy is not to your benefit. Be prepared, have your rankings, projections, and tiers but be flexible.
So we’ve done our projections and tiers, we have done our homework, and have a flexible draft plan. What now? Lets look at the off-season moves. Now everyone who is worth half their fantasy football salt knows that David Boston went to Arizona and the impact that he will have there, but we aren’t going to be looking at how this move will effect David Boston’s fantasy value. We are going to look at how this move and some others (both obvious and obscure) affect other players, much like Bledsoe’s move to Buffalo had a great effect on Travis Henry’s fantasy value.
Now, please note that I am not going to discuss defensive moves though there were quite a few major moves in this department. I strongly suggest that you look at how these moves will affect the fantasy value of team defenses.
Lets start with some of the more obvious impact moves.
WR David Boston from Arizona to San Diego.
Affect: This is going to have a huge impact on LaDainian Tomlinson’s fantasy value and a much lesser effect on Drew Brees’. Though this will provide Brees with a freak WR (Boston’s got biceps bigger then my thighs!) more importantly it will keep defenses from shoving eight in the box and focusing on LT.
Result: Look for a steady jump in stats for both Boston and Brees but look for LT’s stats to go through the roof as he faces more honest defenses.
Offensive Tackle Kyle Turley from New Orleans to St. Louis
Affect: At 6’5” and 300 lbs this ruff neck lineman will provide not only good run blocking but also some necessary attitude to St. Louis. With Mr. Orlando Pace, 6’7” and 325 lbs, playing tackle on the other side look for larger holes for the Marshall.
Result: Look for Marshall to return to his old stellar form. As long as he can stay healthy and Kurt Warner can provide a viable passing threat there is no reason for Marshall not to tear up defenses across the NFL.
Now let’s look at two moves that haven’t gotten as much publicity but could provide some big jumps in fantasy football value to other players.
Fullback Lorenzo Neal from Cincinnati to San Diego
Affect: At 5’ 11” and 245 lbs, Lorenzo has become one of the best blocking Fullbacks in the league. All it takes is a quick look at the stats for the Running Backs he has blocked for 4 years to prove it. From two years Lorenzo helped Eddie George push for 1,304 yard and 9 TDs in ’99 and then 1,509 yards and 14 TDs in 2000. Then Lorenzo was sent packing to Cincinnati where he lead Corey Dillion to 1,315 yards and a personal best 10 TDs in ’01 and 1,311 yards and 7 TDs in ’02. So you think that these guys could have done this with out big daddy Zo leading the way, just look at Eddie George’s stats in 2001, the first year after Zo left. George dropped to 939 yards and 5 TDs. Think he missed Zo? I do.
Result: San Diego’s front office must know what kind of offensive weapon they have in LaDainian Tomlinson cause they are providing him with all the weapons and tools necessary to destroy defenses around the NFL. This move will have more of a direct effect on LT’s fantasy stats then Boston’s arrival to the sunny city. Look for LT’s stats to be freakishly Faulk–ish.
Tight End Jay Riemersma from Buffalo to Pittsburgh
Affect: Jay enjoyed quite a few good years in Buffalo notably his 2001 season where he caught 53 passes for 590 yards and three TDs. Though that year Jay had far fewer TDs then one would expect he clearly was a main target in that passing attack.
Result: Look for Jay to have a big jump in stats after a horrible ’02 season where he only posted 32 receptions for 350 yards and 0 TDs. But more importantly, this will provide Tommy Maddox with a clear relief valve and steady handed target in the red zone. Look for Maddox’s number to rise above expectations just slightly due to Jay’s arrival in the city of steel.
It’s easy to see how off-season moves can have a direct impact on another player’s fantasy value isn’t it. This isn’t as difficult as one would think and should not take much time but is definitely something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Whether it’s a lineman, fullback, tight end, wide receiver, prime time, or seemingly irrelevant make sure you know how any players arrival is going to affect any of your fantasy football prospects.