NON-ROOKIE DRAFT WEEK LOSERS
With all the hope and positive vibes that accompanies the NFL draft, there is always the other side of the coin that focuses on the negative outcomes. The players that are drafted within the first 3 rounds of the NFL draft are typically drafted with the intention of being Day 1 starters, or at a minimum key rotational players. Other times, the negative outcomes are a result of the overall direction of teams or just simply the picks themselves. Today, I'll be covering some of the negative outcomes of the 2021 draft.
Part of the dance that comes with selecting a quarterback in the 1st round is the transition from, in most cases, an aging veteran quarterback to the new rookie stud. This year, there are three teams that will be trying to implement the perfect succession plan: the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. Andy Dalton for the Bears, Cam Newton for the Patriots and Jimmy Garoppolo for the 49ers have already been declared the “starters” for their respective teams post draft. All that means is these quarterbacks will likely receive the slight majority of first team snaps when training camp starts. However, with Dalton age 33, Newton age 32 and Garoppolo age 29, these guys are not at the point where age is the main reason for their heir apparent being selected. Dalton had struggled in previous years with the Bengals before being the backup for the Cowboys last season, where he was eventually thrust into starting duties due to the Dak Prescott injury. Cam Newton looked like he struggled to get the ball down the field more than 20 yards, and even when he could, the receivers couldn’t catch it due to his inaccuracy. Garoppolo has probably looked the best of these three guys over the last few years, but he just can't stay on the field, having played 25 of 48 games in the last three seasons. Whether it's talent, accuracy, or just availability, these three veteran quarterbacks are likely to provide little to no value in redraft leagues due to the unpredictable nature of their impending benchings. At best, these quarterbacks are early season streamers, but in reality, they are just placeholders for their rookie counterparts until the coaches have seen enough to make the switch.
At this moment in time, I see only two franchises that are either at a standstill or just have no clear direction for what they’re trying to do: the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions. Now, a huge caveat has to be thrown out here right away; the Deshaun Watson allegations and impending investigation are things that can’t be taken lightly and that whole situation is something I won't be discussing further. The Texans, with or without Watson, would still be one of the most void of talent teams in the NFL. There is only one viable fantasy option that could even peak fantasy manager’s interest on the team and that’s Brandin Cooks. The old saying that if you have two starting quarterbacks, you don’t actually have one, should be transferred to the Texan’s running backs because they have three potential starters. David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram just cancel each other out and provide no value in fantasy whatsoever. On top of that, the first pick that Houston made in the draft was a 3rd round quarterback, Davis Mills, who likely won't be able to beat out veteran career backup Tyrod Taylor. Mills is not the solution for this team who has so many needs that I don’t even know where to begin in terms of prioritizing any of them above another. Rather than have our heads explode from going in circles on that pointless venture, let’s move on to the other of my two stay away teams for the 2021 season.
The Detroit Lions are just going to be a bad team, plain and simple. They fired the coaching staff and general manager, traded away franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford and had their top two wide receivers leave in free agency. Jared Goff was acquired in the Stafford deal along with two-first round picks and a third rounder, which is the direction this franchise needed to head towards. There’s no two ways about it; they are rebuilding. While I like the picks they made in the draft, there were no potential fantasy relevant players selected until the 4th round when they took wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. Even then, he likely won't be fantasy relevant this year. Despite using this draft as part of a major rebuild, they are still so depleted on both sides of the ball, they’ll be lucky to win more than four games this year, especially given they belong to a division where the other three are playoff hopeful teams. They are simply just another team to just outright avoid this year, if possible. Yeah, D’Andre Swift is a talented running back and T.J. Hockenson is a threat in the passing game, but I don’t know how this offense effectively moves the football outside of those two. This team will struggle all year, and with that will come limited fantasy production, even from talented players.
The remainder of the offseason will be filled with hype pieces about teams and players who are going to “breakout” this year, but just remember to focus on a few key things: don’t believe all the hype and sift through the “coach speak.” Yes, veteran players are more likely to start the season over rookies, but that often doesn’t last long. Yes, teams can be improved compared to past performances, but it’s unlikely to see every team improve as some teams will just be bad. It’s now up to fantasy managers to do their research along with the help of fantasy analysts such as us here at the Fantasy Daydreamers of DayDreamer Media. Let us help guide you through the offseason and hopefully into prosperity throughout the season. As always, thanks for reading and stay dreamin’!