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

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.