Dynasty Draft Winners and Losers - Part 1
By Jeff Tefertiller
May 24th, 2010

The NFL Draft has come and gone. Like every year, it wreaks havoc on dynasty teams. The NFL teams showed the fantasy players what they think of their veteran players. Many presumed safe veteran starters are now on a short leash after the selection of a promising rookie while some teams showed confidence in a player by not drafting their future replacement. We will identify and address the winners in this article and the losers in the next installment.

The Patriots gave Tom Brady more weapons this year. After signing Torry Holt to be a possession receiver earlier in the offseason, New England selected a very athletic receiver Taylor Price in the third round. Price may need a season to transition before making an impact, but he has upside. A big, physical receiver with 4.41 speed and good hands, Price has a chance to be special. He will need time adjusting from Ohio University to the NFL. Learning from Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and company, can only help his development. The Patriots also added two gifted tight ends in Rob Gronkowski in the second round and Aaron Hernandez in the fourth. Each of these tight ends has a different skill set to offer. Gronkowski is a big body and will help as a blocker and receiver. He does have some injury risk, but the Patriots must be convinced he is healthy in order to use a second round pick on Gronkowski. Hernandez is purely a receiving tight end that will line up all over the field in an attempt to take advantage of mismatches. He is very quick in the open field and is able to make a play after the catch. By the middle of the season, Brady could have more options in the passing game than he knows what to do with. Brandon Tate should be back to full strength by then. Wes Welker will be working his way back into the lineup after the nasty knee injury late last year. The Patriots have done a great job assembling young offensive talent to develop. Tate and Welker- clone Julian Edelman were 2009 NFL Draft selections. Randy Moss is under contract for just one more season. The team could re-sign him next offseason, or let him walk, depending on the progress of the youngsters. Either way, Brady is a huge winner from the 2010 draft.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had few viable options for their young quarterback Josh Freeman last season, only Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow. After trading for Reggie Brown this offseason, the drafting of Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams should give a big boost to Freeman. These two talented rookies have a chance to start from the outset. There is little talent on the depth chart. The two first-year receivers offer big targets and the ability to make a play after the reception. They should be considered the favorites to be in the starting lineup week one. The selecting of these rookies should cause many dynasty players to bump Freeman up their rankings. He was raw coming out of Kansas State and will improve with another training camp under his belt. The Buccaneers have upgraded the weapons for their young passer.

Coming into the draft, Tony Romo was thought of as an very good dynasty quarterback. How can he be bumped higher? The addition of a play-making pass-catcher like Dez Bryant is enough to solidify Romo along side the game's elite passers. Bryant is a huge upgrade over Roy Williams as the team's starter opposite Miles Austin. Romo has arguably the best weapons at his disposal of any quarterback in the league.

The Kansas City Chiefs are entering year two of the Matt Cassel era. There was talk of the team bringing in competition after the former Patriot's very average 2009 season, but it never materialized. In less than a year, the Chiefs have upgraded the weapons at Cassel's disposal. Chris Chambers played well after signing during the middle of the season. It remains curious why the Chargers released him. After becoming a Chief, Chambers was the team's best receiver ... even without the benefit of training camp with the team or work with Cassel. In 2010, he will be paired with Dwayne Bowe as the starting receivers. Kansas City selected the shifty Dexter McCluster in second round of the draft. McCluster will be moved around the formation to take advantage of the diminutive receiver's tremendous quickness. He will garner attention from the defense. Adding another weapon, the Chiefs drafted receiving tight end Tony Moeaki in the next round. Moeaki is very athletic and will give Cassel another player to attack opposing defenses. Kansas City thought there was a need to use two high picks upgrading weapons in the passing game. Cassel now as two good outside receivers in Chambers and Bowe, with McCluster in the slot or on the move, and Moeaki at tight end. This is a good receiving group for Cassel. He could have a big year.

Shonn Greene is the running back who saw his value shoot up the most this Spring. The Jets showed immense faith in their second-year player by letting a very capable Thomas Jones walk while only replacing him with an ineffective LaDainian Tomlinson. This move alone was a sign to fantasy owners that the Jets were putting their eggs into Greene's basket. Then, during the draft, the team traded away the talented, but gimpy, Leon Washington for peanuts. The Jets did add Joe McKnight, but his talent pales in comparison to the shifty Washington. When looking at the net effect for the offseason, it becomes very apparent Greene will get every opportunity to get a large workload. The Jets lost Washington and Jones and replaced them with only a declining LaDainian Tomlinson and a very average Joe McKnight. Greene will get his chance to produce in a big way this season.

The Bengals allowed veteran Larry Johnson to depart this offseason. The NFL Draft gave the Bengals an opportunity to show the fantasy public their faith in primary ball carrier Cedric Benson and change-of-pace back Bernard Scott. Interestingly, the Cincinnati front office thought it was more important to upgrade the receiver position so Antonio Bryant was signed and two receivers (Jordan Shipley and Dezmon Briscoe) were drafted. But, there was no activity at the running back position. The Bengals gave Benson a huge vote of confidence in not bringing in any competition for carries. This should make dynasty owners feel better about the futures of the ex-Bear and his speedy backup.

Many were surprised that the New York Giants did not upgrade the running back position in April. There was even talk of the Giants trading up for the speedy C.J. Spiller. So, it was very unexpected for the Giants to go through the draft without selecting a back. Brandon Jacobs is now assumed to get the lion's share of the carries once again with Ahmad Bradshaw used on third downs and obvious passing situations. Both New York running backs are coming off injury-plagued seasons and should be healthy by the start of training camp. The Giants are a running team and will look to pound the ball once again now that both backs are healthy again.

The Tennessee Titans showed tremendous confidence in second-year ball carrier Javon Ringer. Ringer was overused at Michigan State but looked decent in spot duty last season. With the Titans giving away LenDale White for practically nothing during the draft, and not selecting another back, Ringer vaults into the role of primary backup to superstar Chris Johnson. This is a bigger deal than most realize. There are a couple of reasons why Ringer might be thrust into action this season. First of all, Johnson carried a monster workload last season in route to his monster production. He toted the ball 358 times and added 50 receptions. Yes, that is right. Johnson touched the ball over 400 times. Not many ball carriers can carry the ball this often and remain healthy. Durability might be difficult for a running back of Johnson's stature carrying such a heavy load. Add in the fact that Johnson has threatened to hold out this summer and it is easy to see the opportunity for Ringer to see the field. The Titans knew of both of these issues before the draft and chose to roll with Ringer as the backup. He is a big winner.

After a fast start in 2009, Mike Sims-Walker cooled off down the stretch. Much of the blame could be laid at the feet (and hands) of quarterback David Garrard. Garrard does little to help his receivers. But there is good news. Gone is the inefficient Torry Holt and his 103 pass targets. So, the worry for Sims-Walker dynasty owners was whether the Jaguars would address the position in the draft. Jacksonville drafted Mike Thomas and Jarrett Dillard last season and could add youth once again. The 2010 Draft would show if the team had confidence in Sims-Walker and the youngsters. Troy Williamson's coming back from injury, but is not a threat for targets. Jacksonville had a shallow receiver corps so there was a chance for upgrade via the draft. The NFL Draft has now come and gone with no new receivers in Jacksonville. For the Jaguars to not select a wideout, Sims-Walker instantly becomes a big winner. He is the top receiving option for 2010 and an underrated fantasy option if he can remain healthy.

Mohamed Massaquoi emerged last season after being selected in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He, and fellow rookie Brian Robiskie, were thought to be long-term answers for the Browns after trading away Braylon Edwards. Well, Robiskie was slow to perform and was relegated to the bench. Meanwhile, Massaquoi was able to be effective when the quarterback play allowed. The signings of Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace were a step in the right direction. The new passers will run Mike Holmgren's version of the West Coast Offense. With so many holes to fill on both sides of the ball, would the Browns take a wide receiver early to compete for a starting job? The answer was a resounding "no" after Cleveland addressed running back with Montario Hardesty but not the wide receiver position. The only wideout selected by the Holmgren-led Browns was Carlton Mitchell late in the draft. Mitchell is a big, physical receiver who was less than productive at South Florida. He is still raw and will not be a threat to Massaquoi's targets for a couple of seasons. Massaquoi is a player who will slowly rise up dynasty rankings this season. Cleveland has few weapons and will be throwing often from behind. Expect the Browns to find ways to get their top wide receiver open.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to tefertiller@footballguys.com.