Biggest Losers From the 2016 NFL Draft

A happy event for fans, rookies and most teams, the NFL Draft is far more stressful for many of the league’s veterans. We always hear about “winners” and “losers” from a team perspective, but the only clear losers at this point are the players that now face tougher paths to earning roles and/or roster spots.

Naturally, we’re most interested in potential fantasy contributors that seem less likely to be valuable commodities in 2016 due to the results of the recent draft. Without further ado, here are the tough-luck losers from an otherwise fun weekend:

Cowboys running backs Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris

Dallas used the No. 4 overall pick on Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott, one of the top running back prospects in recent memory, boasting an ideal combination of size (6-0, 225 pounds), speed (4.47), college production (3,961 rushing yards) and pass-catching ability (27 receptions in 2015).

The Cowboys will obviously want Elliott to lead their backfield from day one, which likely leaves McFadden and Morris to fight for whatever scraps are left over. Given Dallas’ strength up front, there may still be some handcuff appeal if one of the veterans separates himself from the other during training camp and the preseason.

Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford

Already assured of a spot on this list, Bradford decided to skip voluntary team activities after the Eagles traded up to No. 2 overall with the clear intention to select Carson Wentz. Bradford reportedly even requested a trade, but the only real fit would have been in Denver, and the Broncos moved up to No. 26 overall to draft Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.

While the Eagles may still envision Bradford as their Week 1 starter, it’s clear the veteran isn’t pleased to be used as a bridge to Wentz. A trade would be rather difficult to work out, with Bradford having recently signed a two-year, $35 million contract that includes a reported $22 million in guarantees.

He should probably just accept his situation, as the Eagles have obvious alternatives in the form of Wentz and Chase Daniel, who signed a three-year, $21 million contract this offseason. If he ends up spending a year on the bench, Bradford will be released the following offseason with his stock down the drain. Even if he won’t be in Philadelphia beyond 2016, he has a clear financial incentive to prove that he’s at least an acceptable low-end starter.

Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson

The Broncos stumbled into some nice value in the supplemental portion of the fourth round, picking up Utah RB Devontae Booker, who was widely viewed as a top-five running back in the draft. Set to turn 24 in May, Booker likely stumbled down boards because of his age and recent meniscus injury. However, he should be healthy for the start of training camp, and he has the skill/athleticism/production profile of a top-75, or even top-50, selection.

Anderson signed a four-year, $18 million contract this offseason and still figures to lead the backfield, but he could lose a good chunk of snaps to Booker and/or Ronnie Hillman. Granted, the Broncos will likely run the ball a ton, as they have an excellent defense but major questions at quarterback. Despite the size of Anderson’s contract, this backfield bears close watching throughout training camp and the preseason.

Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon

When the Redskins drafted TCU WR Josh Doctson at No. 22 overall, my initial reaction was to think that the team would surely release Garcon, who carries a non-guaranteed $7.6 million base salary for the final year of his deal. At that price, there was a decent case to release the veteran even before Doctson was drafted.

Redskins GM Scot McCloughan apparently sees things differently, having said in his post-draft comments that he will retain both Garcon and DeSean Jackson for the last season of their respective contracts.

Assuming McCloughan doesn’t change his mind, Garcon should retain his starting job but will now have to fend off Jackson, Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed in the competition for Kirk Cousins targets. Already a fringe player in most formats, Garcon will be nothing more than a deep-league flier if the Washington receiving corps stays healthy throughout camp. And I’m still not totally convinced he won’t be cut or traded.

Get Your Week 5 FAAB Results Here

Derek Dietrich

It was a very active bidding week, and I felt better in touch with the available player pool because I wrote the NL FAAB Factor this week. Let’s get after it:

NFBC Main Event

Team Player Bid Runner-Up
El Scorchos Main Joe Smith (MR) 225 189
Las Vegas Blvd. Brandon Drury (LF) 187 135
CC’s Desperados Derek Dietrich (3B) 117 64
Money 2 Nathan Eovaldi (SP) 111 35
Ozville Flying Monkeys Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF) 96 47
Doctor Who Danny Santana (RF) 77 64
Doctor Who Anibal Sanchez (SP) 58 19
Doctor Who Aaron Blair (SP) 48
Team enfield Michael Fulmer (SP) 45
HARRY CRUMB Tyler Duffey (SP) 44
Las Vegas Blvd. Alex Meyer (MR) 43
CC’s Desperados Dioner Navarro (C) 32 31
El Scorchos Main Rubby De La Rosa (SP) 29 26
HARRY CRUMB Orlando Arcia (SS) 28
Team enfield Tyler Chatwood (SP) 27 10
Doctor Who Seth Smith (LF) 27 11
Strike Force ME Kevin Plawecki (C) 21
Ozville Flying Monkeys John Jaso (1B) 18 1
Ozville Flying Monkeys Yonder Alonso (1B) 18
Team Keikoan Justin Nicolino (SP) 16
Team Keikoan Matt Wisler (SP) 16 5
Ninja squirrel Mallex Smith (CF) 12
Ninja squirrel Kurt Suzuki (C) 11
Strike Force ME Jeremy Hellickson (SP) 10 8
Ninja squirrel Jason Castro (C) 5
Ozville Flying Monkeys Mychal Givens (MR) 4
Arthur Digby Sellers Hector Neris (MR) 2
El Scorchos Main Tucker Barnhart (C) 1
Strike Force ME Martin Perez (SP) 1
Money 2 Gregor Blanco (CF) 1
Money 2 Ichiro Suzuki (RF) 1

My pitching is in crisis mode. My ace is Chris Archer, and I only got one ace due to my draft position. My #2 starter is Adam Wainwright. Making matters worse, I have two closers – Zach Britton and Huston Street! So getting Smith was pretty much an imperative for me, even though I have some misgivings about his skills. As Liss likes to say, possession 9/10ths of the law. Now go watch Fernando “You Don’t Win Friends With” Salas (and yes, I stole that joke from Scott Pianowski – but don’t blame him, I use it and variations thereof all the time).

Two Rationales for Vetoing Trades

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while, and got into it in detail on Jonah Keri’s podcast last week. In short, most leagues require outright collusion, i.e., one team purposely making a bad trade with another for some outside consideration, in order to veto a trade. In practice, that standard is almost never met – few people in friendly leagues are corrupt enough, for example,  to agree to split the winnings at the end of the year in exchange for an advantageous deal. Instead, most bad trades that distort league outcomes are of the negligent variety.

NFL Draft: Breaking Down the Day 2 Skill Players

With only eight skill position players coming off the board in Round 1, there was plenty of fantasy-relevant talent available in Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday. While 14 total skill position players came off the board Friday night, several of the names called surprised fans and draft analysts alike, such as the Jets selecting Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg with the 51st overall selection.

Western Conference Round 2 Preview: Sharks vs. Predators

 

How the Sharks got here:

The Sharks must’ve heard the rumblings after losing Game 3 on home ice after taking a 2-0 lead. “The Sharks are going to choke again,” they said. “The Kings aren’t just going to go away,” they said. But, sure enough, with a new goalie, a new coach, and straying from a “just survive” mantra that has dominated the teams psyche in years past, the Sharks exorcised their demons and look like they could be on their way to another lengthy playoff run. San Jose’s big guns, oft criticized for becoming shrinking violets when the team needed them most, delivered: Brent Burns led with eight points in five games while Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, who was probably the best forward of the series, had six points each. The most underrated member of the Sharks offense, however, was probably Tomas Hertl, whose first healthy season since a serious knee injury has provided a much-needed element of speed to the top line.