I hate to do this. I love writing the “Should You Draft Him?” articles and want to give all 32 teams their due, but the fact of the matter is fantasy drafts are rapidly coming up and we would probably be somewhere in Week 2 of the regular season by the time I got every article written and posted. I hate to short half of the teams, but I would hate it even more if I failed to give advice for the entirety of the league, so I have no choice but to condense my analyses for the 16 teams of the east and west into four articles.
It’s especially disappointing that the AFC East got the short end of the stick, because no division has experienced more fantasy upheaval this offseason. The total decimation of the New England Patriots receivers gives Tom Brady the stiffest challenge he’s ever faced in his career, new quarterbacks look to take over and transform the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, and the addition of Mike Wallace and departure of Reggie Bush significantly alters the face of everything fantasy-related in Miami.
A division that is so completely seeped in uncertainty can cause headaches for owners looking for safe studs, but it is also one of the most likely sources for late-round fantasy gold. So, without further ado, let’s see who lives up to the draft position and who should be left alone. In other words, “Should You Draft Him?”
(ADP = Average Draft Position. Data is based on current results from 12-team standard scoring drafts. I would analyze kickers and defenses, but the whole point of these columns is not to overthink.)
New England Patriots
Tom Brady (ADP: Mid-Round 5):
He lost Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Danny Woodhead and Aaron Hernandez. Rob Gronkowski may miss the first six weeks as well. Still, he’ll find a way. He’s made stars out of nobodies before, and he’s been a stud for the last decade and counting.
Stevan Ridley (ADP: 16th Overall):
He’s going way too high in points per reception drafts, but he proved himself last season as the ninth-highest scoring back in standard leagues. Expect him to be leaned on even more.
Shane Vereen (ADP: Mid-Round 6):
The Patriots are known for squeezing every last drop of value from their players. Lots of holes need to be filled, and Vereen is just the right multitalented player to fill them. That playoff performance against Houston was a preview of things to come.
Aaron Dobson (ADP: Mid-Round 10):
He’s the present favorite to be the Patriots’ primary downfield threat. I repeat: you can get Brady’s main downfield target in Round 10.
Rob Gronkowski (ADP: 47th Overall):
It’s looking like he could miss the first six games while on the Physically Unable to Perform List. That’s fine. Get one of the many quality tight ends that will be available in the later rounds as a fill-in and ride one of the most lethal red zone targets in NFL history from Week 7 on.
Do Not Draft
Danny Amendola (ADP: 45th Overall):
I don’t care whose job he’s taking over. Receivers who missed 20 games over the last two seasons and don’t have a 700-yard season to their name shouldn’t go in Round 4.
Julian Edelman (ADP: Early Round 12):
I can only attribute his draft position to what he might do if Amendola gets hurt. I’ve never seen a wide receiver handcuff before, but this might be what we have here. Some points per reception sleeper appeal exists, but the potential is too low to be worthy of a pick in any standard draft.
New York Jets
Do Not Draft
Mark Sanchez (ADP: Undrafted):
You’re reading this article so I know you’re functionally literate. Therefore I know you’re intelligent enough to understand that you shouldn’t draft Sanchez.
Geno Smith (ADP: Undrafted):
As I write this, Smith is regarded as the favorite for the job because he’s Sanchez’s equal and everyone doesn’t hate him yet. Here are the only two words you need to take from that sentence: “Sanchez’s equal.”
Chris Ivory (ADP: 48th Overall):
He put up good stats in limited action as a New Orleans Saint. The thinking behind this draft position is “well, somebody has to carry the rock.” It’s true he’ll probably get first crack at starting, but thanks to injuries he’s only played in 24 games over the last three seasons, and that was in extremely limited action. Furthermore, his stats in New Orleans were skewed by the fact that he closed out lots of games in garbage time. Do not want.
Mike Goodson/Bilal Powell/Joe McKnight (ADP: Undrafted):
There’s no clear starter for when Ivory gets hurt. Powell has the most potential. He has a big advantage over Goodson because we actually know where Powell is. Still, I’m not drafting any.
Santonio Holmes (ADP: Undrafted):
He expects to miss the first four games as he recovers from his Lisfranc fracture. He knows he’ll be released after the season and he has no interest in jeopardizing his next payday by getting hurt in what will almost assuredly be a losing season. Avoid this situation.
Stephen Hill (ADP: Undrafted):
He’s a quality physical specimen and de facto No. 1 receiver, but he failed to impress as a rookie, he’ll be learning a new offense, and he’ll have either Sanchez or a rookie throwing to him.