Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
2013 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Veterans feeling the rookie pinch

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

In the days leading up to the draft, you saw plenty of footage of the rookies-to-be smiling bright and gazing into a future of promise and success.

Notice how you didn't see many veterans smiling. For many of the seasoned vets, the draft represents a wake-up call: Roughly 250 jobs will be turned over in the coming months. In a league of 1,500 players, that's close to 20 percent of the entire player workforce that will be out of work because their employers "hired" someone else to do their jobs.

Rough life.

But it's not all bad for veterans: Many of them not only keep their jobs, but are now put in a position to do better at it thanks to the draft. Their teammates might be out of work in favor of younger, fresher talent, but they're still working. And smiling.

Here are five veterans whose Fantasy stock improved following the draft along with five veterans who likely weren't doing cartwheels after the NFL Draft wrapped up.

Positive impacts

Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco

With two new blockers in the mix and no new competition, Frank Gore could enjoy a career year. (US Presswire)  
With two new blockers in the mix and no new competition, Frank Gore could enjoy a career year. (US Presswire)  
Before the draft there were whispers that the 49ers were going to look at C.J. Spiller and other rookie rushers to help take the load off of Gore. Not only did the team not draft a rusher with a prominent pick but they spent both of their first-round picks on offensive linemen. Thanks to the drafting of tackle Anthony Davis and guard Mike Iupati, Gore's line should be the best it's ever been for him. The team's drafting of power back Anthony Dixon in Round 6 does nothing to make us think Gore won't get the work to be a 300-total-touch running back in 2010. And as an aside, the same logic for Gore applies to his quarterback, Alex Smith, who himself was rumored to be receiving company at his position via the draft. Without an extra rookie passer, Smith will enjoy his O-line just as much as Gore will.

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas

It's tough to imagine Romo throwing for more than the 4,483 yards he had last season, but the addition of Dez Bryant to his receiving corps will do nothing but improve his totals. Bryant is a receiver I had pegged as an NFL-ready player in spite of his off-the-field missteps at Oklahoma State. While Bryant himself might have had more stats somewhere else, he'll help contribute to Romo's totals and thus create a fourth playmaker for Romo to target. Imagine trying to defend the Cowboys with Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten and Roy E. Williams on the field at once! Romo could potentially set career-highs in completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns (and interceptions) this season thanks to the addition of Bryant. That puts him in the conversation as one of the best Fantasy quarterback options after the elite guys (Brees, Rodgers, Manning) are off the board. As Fantasy drafts go, that makes Romo a tremendous bargain.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, N.Y. Giants

Like Gore, pre-draft rumors suggested that the Giants wanted to bring in another running back. That didn't happen, a sign that they are indeed content with Jacobs taking up a sizable portion of their run game. Though there is an expectation that Ahmad Bradshaw will see a little more work in 2010 compared to 2009, Jacobs should still see his fair share of touches and be a force at the goal line. Now that he's past his post-big contract year, a rebound is certainly not out of the question.

Jason Campbell, QB, Oakland

Obviously Campbell regains some Fantasy value as he goes from a clipboard holder in Washington to the presumed starter in Oakland. And now that the Raiders have extended his contract, their investment in him is stronger, thus necessitating him becoming the starter in place of JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski. Campbell has been labeled a bust because he didn't help the Redskins much, but he's coming off a career year and has shown some good ability. Moreover, one could argue that the talent he'll have to throw to in Oakland is just as good as the talent he had in Washington. Zach Miller will quickly become a favorite of his, but the likes of Louis Murphy and Chaz Schilens should help him acclimate to the Raiders' offense. Even Darrius Heyward-Bey could blossom a bit with a better passer. Campbell has a good shot to match his 3,618 passing yards and 20 scores from last season.

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers' decision to draft two receivers with excellent size and good ability should go a long way for Freeman. Arrelious Benn of Illinois is considered the better option over Mike Williams of Syracuse, and Benn is the one who should crack the lineup first. He'll warrant coverage that no one else in the Bucs' wide receiving corps deserves, and that's saying something about what the Bucs had before the draft. Freeman was already considered a decent sleeper thanks to his own playmaking ability, but the arrival of these receivers along with Kellen Winslow patrolling the field lend hope that Freeman's passing totals can be markedly improved.

Other veterans on the rise: Cardinals QB Matt Leinart, Raiders TE Zach Miller, Bengals QB Carson Palmer

Draft downers

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City

First, Charles saw Thomas Jones come to town to take a chunk of his carries off of his plate. Now the Chiefs have added the unique talents of Dexter McCluster via the draft to take receptions off of his (and Jones') plate. McCluster is expected to be a slot presence for Kansas City, and his combination of quickness and hands will be irresistible for offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to ignore. The short-area receptions McCluster will get might have otherwise gone to Charles, and there's even a chance the converted running back from Ole Miss will get some carries here and there. So what's left for Charles to do? Get about 15 carries and a couple of catches per game, which is a shame since he proved in '09 that he was extremely versatile and talented. He's more of a No. 2 Fantasy rusher with some risk -- a far cry from the low-end No. 1 stud we pegged him as at the start of the offseason.

Jerome Harrison, RB, Cleveland

We learned what the league thought of Harrison this offseason when no one lifted a finger to sign him as a restricted free agent at the second-round level. Now we know what the Browns think of him after they traded three picks to move up in Round 2 and draft running back Montario Hardesty. We took another look at Harrison and noticed a few things: His strong finish last season came in games where he had at least 33 carries -- practically an anomaly in the NFL today. They also came at the expense of some awful run defense teams: the Chiefs, Raiders and Jaguars. And in the final two games he averaged 3.8 yards per carry, which hints that he needed every bit of those 33 or more carries to rumble to over 100 yards per game. Now we see what the rest of the NFL, including the Browns, see: Harrison can't do it alone. Anyone who drafts him with visions of how he ended 2009 dancing in their heads is legitimately dreaming.

Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, RBs, Buffalo

The Fantasy universe was already sour on Marshawn Lynch, and there's a decent chance he'll be on a new team before the season starts in September. But the drafting of C.J. Spiller with the ninth overall pick also puts a big dent in the expectations of Fred Jackson. One of our favorites last season, Jackson can wave goodbye to the 275-touch totals and 1,400 total yards he had last season; 1,000 total yards seem more likely now that he'll be losing totes and catches to Spiller (and maybe Lynch if he sticks around). Really, on a team riddled with holes on offense, the last thing the Bills should have done is pick a running back when they already have an answer there in Jackson.

Julius Jones, Justin Forsett, LenDale White, Leon Washington, RBs, Seattle

If there weren't enough questions about the Seattle run game before the draft, there certainly are enough now. The team held on to Julius Jones and Justin Forsett, last year's running backs, and acquired LenDale White and Leon Washington during the draft. That's four running backs of relative ability vying for reps -- a Fantasy owner's nightmare. What's worse is that Washington was considered a deep sleeper candidate once he got off the Jets' roster, but he seems locked into a third-down type of role with the Seahawks. The guy with upside is Forsett, but with that crowded backfield, who's to say he'll have a chance to reach that upside? Until the situation plays itself out this summer, Fantasy owners should be skeptical of all Seahawks rushers.

Roy E. Williams, WR, Dallas

Williams was headed for Fantasy benches before the draft, but the selection of Dez Bryant by the Cowboys (who moved up to get him) suggests that Williams' role is headed for a serious reduction. That only makes sense after his inconsistent play last season. The expectation now is that Williams still has a chance to start but will share playing time and give up targets to Bryant. Before the draft Williams was slotted as a quality Fantasy reserve. Now? It wouldn't be a surprise to see drafts go by without the receiver selected at all. He might still be a decent source for touchdowns and work as an acceptable one-week replacement, but that's the kind of receiver you can find off waivers.

Other veterans on the decline: Bills WR Lee Evans, Ravens TE Todd Heap, Panthers QB Matt Moore, Texans RB Steve Slaton, Lions RB Kevin Smith, Chargers RB Darren Sproles

Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Rookies in the subject field. You can also follow Dave via Twitter at @daverichard.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Marcus Lattimore eager to start pro career
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4/20/2014) 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore is ready to start his proffesional career. After blowing out his knee in a gruesome injury in October of 2012 at South Carolina, Lattimore told The State on Sunday that his knee rehab is complete and that he's "ready to play."

Lattimore, who will attend the first day of the team's offseason workouts, will enter a crowded backfield with Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James already backing up current starter Frank Gore. However, James has expressed his desire for a bigger role and could be dealt, opening the door for the No. 3 spot in the backfield.

"If that happens, it does put me in that No. 3 spot," Lattimore said. "But I've just got to go in there and work hard. I can pass-protect and run the ball. I've got to show that."


Raiders bring back Kaelin Burnett
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Raiders have inked exclusive-rights free agent Kaelin Burnett to a one-year deal. He's expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

Dekoda Watson moving to strong-side LB
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) In the wake of the release of veteran linebacker Russell Allen, the Jaguars are expected to make Dekoda Watson their new starting strong-side linebacker, ESPN reports. He'll also play as a pass rusher and potentially line up as a defensive end on third downs. 

Watson had 42 total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt with the Bucs last year. 


Brandon Gibson begins light jogging
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Brandon Gibson has begun light jogging as he works his way back from a torn patellar tendon, the Miami Herald reports. The Dolphins are expected to keep him on the roster, if only because of the cap hit he'll cost, per the report. He said recently he expects to be ready for Week 1. 

'Humbled' Richardson explains 2013, promises a better 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a new playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the official team website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014. 

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big -- timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. ... This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key. 

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign."


Saints bring back Robert Meachem
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Saints announced Friday that the club has re-signed veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract.

Meachem is a seven-year NFL veteran who was originally the club's first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007. He re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said.


Can Chris Johnson turn into Tomlinson?
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, reports ESPN.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came within one game of the Super Bowl.

Maybe Johnson, who was let go by the Titans, can do the same thing.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," he said Thursday.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010.


Aikman worried about Tony Romo
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Dallas quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, reports the team's official website.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back -- everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April."


Bengals, A.J. Green not talking extension - yet
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Bengals are expected to exercise the fifth-year option on receiver A.J. Green's contract by May 3, reports Pro Football Talk. But the sides have yet to discuss a long-term contract extension, according to the report.

The Bengals hold the rights to Green through the 2015 season. And in 2016, if a long-term deal hasn't been signed yet, the Bengals can use the franchise tag on Green for that season.

The report says Green can force the issue by trying to boycott offseason workouts or hold out from training camp. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is confident Green will be there.


Chris Snee will give it a shot this spring
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Giants guard Chris Snee will attempt to go through the Giants offseason program once he's healthy, the New York Daily News reports. Snee had hip surgery last season and an elbow surgery earlier this year. There is no timeline for him to be at 100 percent but he is expected to be on the field for the "bulk" of offseason activities. 

 
 
 
Rankings