High Fives: Feeling out a draft

Brandon Funston
Yahoo! Sports

Have you had enough of the Tim Tebow(notes) post-draft analysis? If so, you'll be happy to know that Tebow is no more than an afterthought in the minds of the Yahoo! fantasy experts when it comes to how the NFL Draft has impacted the 2010 fantasy football landscape. In this special NFL Draft edition of High Fives, myself and fellow experts Andy Behrens and Brad Evans reveal the rookies expected to hit the NFL gridiron running, and the veterans who saw their stock rise or fall the most based upon what transpired over the three-day draft affair. Here's our Tebow-less take. Enjoy!

Top 5 rookies you expect to have the biggest 2010 fantasy impact?
Brandon Funston Says: Andy Behrens Says: Brad Evans Says:
  1. Ryan Mathews(notes) – This is the ultimate plug-n-play pick as Mathews immediately becomes the primary workhorse for a potent, playoff-caliber team.
  2. Jahvid Best(notes) – Will have to hold up against a rugged schedule, but his greased lightning qualities will play especially nice in those 10 indoor games.
  3. Dez Bryant(notes) – "When you look at the type of talent that he brings to the table, we're very excited about how he helps us right now," said Jerry Jones about Bryant, who could very well end up being a modern spin on the Randy Moss(notes) story.
  4. Golden Tate(notes) – Expect Seattle to use Tate in a Percy Harvin(notes)-like fashion, moving him all over the field to take advantage of his run-after-the-catch skills.
  5. C.J. Spiller(notes) – No denying his electric talents, but the current Buffalo setup is a tough place to maximize those skills.
  1. Ryan Mathews – An obvious choice for the top spot, as he'll be the lead back in an offense that produced 17 rushing scores last season. It would be a surprise if this guy didn't reach 1,100 yards and 8 TDs.
  2. Jahvid Best – OK, maybe Mathews at No. 1 isn't that obvious, because Best is a huge talent. He's an undeniably special player with crazy speed.
  3. C.J. Spiller – Like Best, Spiller has elite speed and terrific instincts. He offers highlight potential on every touch. The only concern with Spiller is that he'll only have a piece of the rushing workload.
  4. Demaryius Thomas(notes) – Perhaps you've heard that there's an opening at WR in Denver. There's a learning curve here, no doubt, but Thomas could be a fantasy starter by November.
  5. Arrelious Benn(notes) – He's the lone player in this draft class who immediately becomes the No. 1 WR for his new team. It's a shame he's moving from a horrid college offense to a horrid pro offense, though.
  1. Ryan Mathews – Starting role, terrific offense, improved line – Mathews is the supreme object of the Noise's fantasy desires; 1,500 total yards, 10-14 TDs possible
  2. Jahvid Best – The Lions' turnaround could be spearheaded by the former Cal standout. With Kevin Smith(notes) PUP bound, he should thrive out of the gates.
  3. Ben Tate(notes) – Tough interior runner is exactly what the Texans needed. Given Houston's explosive passing game, he's a strong candidate for 8-10 TDs.
  4. C.J. Spiller – Oozes potential from every pore, but expected timeshare with Fred Jackson(notes)/Marshawn Lynch and dreadful Bills passing game curtails initial worth.
  5. Demaryius Thomas – Will be thrust into action immediately with Brandon Marshall(notes) in Miami. If he can enhance route-running in camp, an Aquan Boldin-like rookie season is fathomable.
Top 5 players most negatively impacted in fantasy by the draft? (players already in the NFL)
Brandon Funston Says: Andy Behrens Says: Brad Evans Says:
  1. Buffalo RBs – All Spiller does is split the backfield pie of the fifth-worst scoring offense three ways. The passing game still stinks, and that kills the upside that Spiller brings to the table.
  2. Matt Moore(notes) – Jimmy Claussen is his reward for closing out final month of '09 with 8 TD passes sans an interception against the likes of the Patriots, Vikings, Giants and Saints.
  3. Roy Williams – By drafting Dez Bryant, the Cowboys are finally admitting what most of us have known for a while – that Williams is a natural-born underacheiver.
  4. Kevin Smith – When he does come back from his knee injury, he'll find that the nameplate on the backfield office door now reads "Best" instead of "Smith."
  5. Jamaal Charles(notes) – With the addition of speedster Dexter McCluster(notes), Charles gets dissed once again. We've seen how the merry-go-round running game works in a Charlie Weiss system when he was in New England, which is to say, "Ugh … "
  1. Roy WilliamsMiles Austin's(notes) breakout season left Williams with only modest fantasy value, and the addition of Dez Bryant should make him an afterthought.
  2. Marshawn Lynch(notes) – The Spiller pick destroyed Beast Mode's value, at least in Buffalo. His only hope is a trade. If Lynch's days as a fantasy asset are over, at least we'll always have this shining moment.
  3. Jerome Harrison(notes) – You might have thought that a guy who ran for 561 yards over the final three weeks of the season would be safe, but no. Montario Hardesty(notes) will compete for touches immediately.
  4. Steve Slaton(notes)/Arian Foster – Not that you were terribly excited about them anyway. But the Texans have added another back to the pileupin Auburn's Ben Tate.
  5. Justin Forsett(notes) – I could include Julius Jones(notes) in this one but, c'mon, you weren't drafting that dude, right? The arrival of LenDale White(notes) and Leon Washington(notes) make things very difficult for Forsett, late-season hero of '09.
  1. Kevin Smith – Will likely be an afterthought once he returns from injury; Jahvid Best is the dynamic runner the Lions have been searching for post-Barry Sanders.
  2. Fred Jackson – Marshawn Lynch is the biggest loser, but Jackson's value dented when the Bills surprisingly selected the ultra-versatile/explosive Spiller.
  3. Steve Slaton – Writing was on the wall after disastrous season; acquisition of Ben Tate banishes him to the clearance rack.
  4. Jerome Harrison – Many fantasy pundits believe he'll be a steal in Round 3, but Browns' Montario Hardesty pick says GL touches could be limited.
  5. Roy Williams – His targets will most certainly drop with Dez Bryant donning The Star. At this point, he's nothing more than bench fodder.
Top 5 players most positively impacted in fantasy by the draft? (players already in the NFL)
Brandon Funston Says: Andy Behrens Says: Brad Evans Says:
  1. LenDale White/Leon Washington – Went from the discard pile for their former teams to being the thunder/lightning headliners of Seattle's extreme backfield makeover.
  2. Matt Hasselbeck(notes) – Blind-side help – check; receiving help – check; backfield help – check.
  3. Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) – Countless mock drafts had C.J. Spiller going to the Jags. The Bills squashed that idea, all but assuring another 350-plus touches for MJD.
  4. Aaron Rodgers(notes)Bryan Bulaga(notes) isn't elite in pass protection, but he's still a big help for the Pack in that regard. And any QB that was sacked 57 times will take all the help he can get.
  5. Jason Campbell(notes) – He was able to carom nicely off the Donovan McNabb(notes) wall he hit in Washington by landing in Oakland. I'm taking Tom Cable's comments – that Campbell shouldn't assume he'll start – with a grain of salt.
  1. Frank Gore(notes) – The Niners drafted a 6-foot-6, 325-pound offensive lineman with the 11th overall pick in the draft, then a 6-foot-6, 330-pound lineman with the 17th. So yeah, that helps Gore.
  2. Alex Smith – First of all, you like that San Francisco upgraded the O-line. (See above). Secondly, the Niners declined to draft any of the marquee QBs, a clear vote of confidence in Smith.
  3. Donovan McNabb – If Washington would have failed to address the need at left tackle, McNabb might not have survived the Week 1 match-up with Dallas.
  4. Tony Romo(notes) – Did the Cowboys' offense need to add another wideout? No, probably not. But nonetheless, they drafted a potential all-world talent in Bryant.
  5. New York Jets DEF – A great defense with no obvious need for another corner nonetheless selected the best one available in the draft (Boise State's Kyle Wilson(notes)). This is a terrifying D.
  1. LenDale White – Should regain double-digit scoring form under Pete Carroll; only two years removed from a 15-TD campaign.
  2. Tony Romo – Very productive even with Miles Austin/Jason Witten(notes) as only legit receiving threats. He will surge into position's top five with Dez Bryant on the roster.
  3. Steve Smith – In terms of competency, Matt Moore was light years ahead of epic weeper Jake Delhomme(notes); Jimmy Clausen(notes) could be significantly better than both.
  4. Carson Palmer(notes) – Has never truly had a legitimate pass catcher at TE until now. Jermaine Gresham(notes) is a JerMichael Finley(notes)-type who could pay instant dividends.
  5. Jason Campbell – McNabb's change of address foreshadowed Campbell's fate in D.C. Playing for the Shriveled Prune (Al Davis) gives him a new lease on life