Adam Levitan: Analyzing NFL draft from fantasy perspective

The fantasy football world has adapted a value-based drafting approach, leading to the top quarterbacks slipping way down boards. NFL general managers are following suit at a different position.

The first running back in last week’s draft didn’t come off the board until the second round. The highest profile college back saw 60 names come off the board before he was called. And a player many draftniks had as their No. 2 runner (Johnathan Franklin) lasted until the fifth round.

However, the loss of real-life value hasn’t affected the fantasy value of rookie running backs. This year has a chance to be a special class:

 

1. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers
The Steelers gave up on Rashard Mendenhall, have identified Isaac Redman as a complementary piece and are trying to trade Jonathan Dwyer. Add it all up and we have a potentially monstrous workload for Bell. The Michigan State product isn’t the most talented rookie, but he projects to play on all three downs and averaged 4.99 YPC in the rugged Big Ten.

 

2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
Lacy fell to No. 61 overall due to medical concerns. He had toe surgery in 2012 and showed up out of shape to his Pro Day thanks to a hamstring pull. Still, Lacy is entering a high-upside situation. At the very least, the powerful 231-pounder will be the clear-cut goal-line in arguably the league’s best offense. At the very best, he’ll get the 14.2 carries per game Cedric Benson was getting last year and be far more productive.

 

3. Montee Ball, RB, Broncos
As of now, both Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno are on the Broncos’ roster. Thanks to a combination of injuries and salary, they are both candidates to be released at some point before the season. So John Elway grabbed Ball with the No. 58 overall pick and clearly expects him to be able to protect Peyton Manning out of the gate. Ronnie Hillman is nothing more than a change-of-pace option.

 

4. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals
The man with the most wiggle turned out to be the first running back selected. Bernard is explosive with a 4.53 forty at 202 pounds, but he’ll start off as the speed complement behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis. There’s a ton more Dynasty appeal in Bernard than re-draft value.

 

5. Tavon Austin, WR, Rams
No player generated more buzz than Austin ahead of the draft. By the time Thursday night came around, you would have thought a fair trade would have been Austin for the No. 1 pick and Joe Montana. The Rams certainly bought into the hype, as they traded up to No. 8 overall to select a 5-foot-8 slot receiver. It’s a wise move, however, as Austin is a Percy Harvin/Randall Cobb kind of talent. He’ll make plays right away in the Rams’ revamped offense.

 

6. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
Andre Johnson has never played across from a legit No. 2 receiver. At long last, the Texans got him some help. Hopkins is a Roddy White clone, one that isn’t the fastest guy but knows how to get open. He’ll step right in as the starting “Z” and benefit from single coverage all day long.

 

Thumbs down: Veteran losers on draft day

 
1. Kenny Britt: The Titans used a second-round pick on Justin Hunter after using a first-round pick on Kendall Wright last year.
2. Kevin Kolb: The Bills shockingly used a first-round pick on E.J. Manuel. You can bet they hope the massive rookie starts Week 1.
3. Brian Quick: Once thought of as an intriguing small-school gem, Quick is getting lost in the shuffle. Tavon Austin and newly-acquired Jared Cook will get more targets.

 

Sleeper alert: Jordan Cameron

 
The Browns run a tight-end centric scheme and they didn’t use any picks on a tight end. Jordan Cameron, a natural pass-catcher, is the man. Coach Rob Chudzinski has squeezed career seasons out of Kellen Winslow, Antonio Gates and Greg Olsen at previous stops.

 

2013 NFL Draft
The Bengals traded up and grabbed Tavon Austin with the No. 8 pick.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…