Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Just like you, I have listened to many of the so-called "draft experts" on multiple channels since the NFL held their three-day draft in New York from April 26-28, but the facts are that their opinions, unless you are in a league with them, really aren't relevant to your situation.
You need to know what the "public" is thinking. What the guys in your league think?
So I checked out fantasyfootballcalculator.com this morning to see what the real fantasy players thought about various rookies. It's my favorite off-season site for gathering information into the minds of next year's most ardent and active fantasy participants.
I set the page for mock drafts with 12 fantasy owners using standard scoring methods.
Ignoring the veterans whom we all know so much about (do you really need a list to tell you that Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees are the top-three quarterbacks?), I scan down the page until I spot a rookie.
Below you will find the 12 rookies who made it into the 12-team, 15-round drafts, but my first thought was that those who participated in 653 drafts between May 1 and May 4 are nuts. Or maybe they simply haven't seen these guys enough and were influenced by the "talking heads" on Draft Day.
Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland, ADP 16.4 - The middle of the second round for the Browns rookie is simply too high. Sure Richardson has talent, but he's running behind the Cleveland offensive line with very little in the way of a passing attack to distract the defense from keying on him. Better value running backs selected after Richardson include Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles, Steven Jackson, Michael Turner and Frank Gore.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville, ADP 84.5 - This equates to an eighth-round selection and the 32nd receiver off the board. It's a fair spot for the Jaguars' new No. 1 receiver, between Robert Meachem and Pierre Garcon, given that he'll be catching passes from the likes of Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne or Dan LeFevour.
Robert Griffin, QB, Washington, ADP 88.4 - This one confuses me more than any other player. In this spot, he's ahead of proven talents like Matt Schaub, Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler. Call this the "Cam Newton effect" as the only reason fantasy owners could believe he'll produce big numbers is because that's what Newton did and owners think they have similar styles. In a non-keeper league situation, give me the veterans drafted after him every time.
David Wilson, RB, New York Giants, ADP 110.9 - At least Wilson makes a little bit of sense. The Giants have an opening in their shared backfield and Wilson should step right into the backup role behind Ahmad Bradshaw. Given Bradshaw's propensity for injury, Wilson's role could easily morph into a starting job and starter production.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis, ADP 118.4 - Most experts think Luck has been better prepared to take over a pro offense than Griffin, but fantasy owners obviously don't appear to be sold on that fact. My thought is that the Colts will be behind on the scoreboard more often than the Redskins which means while Luck may not post as many wins as Griffin, he'll be throwing the ball more often and should accumulate a better fantasy point total.
Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis, ADP 133.4 - With all the great tight ends currently in the league, it's surprising the Stanford rookie is the 13th tight end off the board. It's all about the propaganda of the Luck-Fleener combination. Luck completed 297 passes last year for the Cardinal and Fleener caught just 34 of them (11 percent).
Isaiah Pead, RB, St. Louis, ADP 133.7 - Pead appearing at this level has more to do with incumbent starter Steven Jackson than Pead. Jackson's big contract and his frequent injuries (he's played 16 games just once in the last five seasons) make having the handcuff an important part of any Draft Day strategy.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee, ADP 148.0 - When Kenny Britt went down to injury last season, it exposed the Titans' lack of talent at the wideout spot. Journeyman Nate Washington was forced into a major role, but most think his 1,000-yard season isn't repeatable. The combination of a healthy Britt and a talented player like Wright could be good for both Wright and whichever quarterback wins the job - Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker. As a 13th-round pick, Wright has huge upside with little risk, particularly if Britt is slow in recovering from his ACL surgery.
Stephen Hill, WR, New York Jets, ADP 149.5 - Selecting Hill at this point is complete nonsense. Neither Mark Sanchez nor Tim Tebow is going to lead the Jets to victory via the pass. And when they do look to throw, the important passes will be headed toward Santonio Holmes or Dustin Keller. I would much rather take my chance with Austin Collie (149.6) or the rookie listed next, Brian Quick.
Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis, ADP 152.4 - Quick, name a Rams receiver? I'll wait. Quarterback Sam Bradshaw has been waiting, too, although he did use Brandon Lloyd (signed with New England for 2012) well last season. As the team's No. 1 option and with a quality quarterback, Quick has the opportunity to be one of the best fantasy rookies in 2012. As a 13th-round pick, he could and should be a steal.
LaMichael James, RB, San Francisco, ADP 152.9 - It's difficult to figure out where the touches will come from for James, so selecting him in all but keeper leagues is likely a mistake. Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs and Hunter Kendall all get the nod over James. Barring multiple injuries, James figures to be a special-teamer.
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