From a fantasy football perspective, the top three rounds of this year's NFL Draft were pretty tame. By my count there are only five potential rookie fantasy starters at the end of the day, and few veterans moved around.
SAFEST ROOKIE FROM A FANTASY PERSPECTIVE: Assuming he signs his contract and shows up to minicamp and training camp, RB Marshawn Lynch should be a Day 1 starter for Buffalo. There are reasons to like this player in this situation: He's the No. 2 RB in this year's class, has a good combination of skills and talents, and he goes to a Bills team that has a good young QB-WR combo in Losman and Evans. Also the Bills invested in offensive linemen during free agency. Lynch doesn't look like a sure-fire NFL star, but he's the kind of guy who could gain 1,100 yards and score eight to 10 times in 2007.
BOOM-BUST PICK: Adrian Peterson dropped to the Vikings at No. 7, and since Minnesota just picked up former Baltimore backup Chester Taylor for big bucks in 2006 free agency, that puts the draft's top RB in an RBBC with a guy coming off a 1,200-yard season. Combine that with his indeterminate recovery from a broken clavicle and it's pretty obvious that Peterson is a high-risk fantasy pick, particularly in teams that don't carry-over players from season to season.
But here's the way I look at it. Bottom line on Peterson is that he'll play. His floor is about 600 yards and five touchdowns. His ceiling? Nobody knows. Peterson comes into the league with powers and abilities far above those of mere mortals.
It says here that he'll split time with Taylor his rookie season, post No. 3 RB fantasy stats, and then move into a true feature-back role in 2008.
GREAT PLAYER, BUT CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: Everybody in the world agrees that Calvin Johnson is a once-in-a-generation prospect, but his fantasy situation is murky at best. In the first place, he'll be playing alongside the closest thing to a Calvin Johnson clone in the league (Roy Williams). His Mad Scientist offensive coordinator did a poor job of keeping the Lions balanced in 2006, which means that situations, competition and poor QB play could do more to shut down Johnson than any defense opposing coordinators are likely to devise.
Johnson should become a great fantasy player, but it might take him two or three years. Had he gone to Tampa I'd have considered him a potential Top 20 WR in 2007, but right now he looks more like a No. 3 with upside.
TIGHT END CONTRIBUTOR: One of the under-reported stories of Day 1 was the plunge taken by Miami TE Greg Olsen. Considered the No. 11 pick overall by Mel Kiper, Olsen was considered a mid-first-rounder in most mock drafts. When he slid all the way to the Bears at No. 31, Jerry Angelo abandoned his plans to trade down and took the tight end he has been looking for since 2005.
Olsen will not be the starter in Chicago. That distinction will belong to Desmond Clark, who is coming off his Mentos year. But don't get too hung up on that. Olsen will see plenty of action in 2007 and could wind up being a valuable pickup in leagues that require a TE. Just don't overspend to get him, because he's not likely to score like one of the top six NFL TEs.
SITUATIONAL SLEEPER: Brandon Jackson doesn't strike me as an NFL fantasy stud, but he's a first-day rookie in a good situation. Green Bay can move the football, and Jackson is in position to contend for the starting job. Doesn't mean he'll take advantage of the opportunity, though.
NOT THIS YEAR: Jamarcus Russell and Brady Quinn might start for their prospective teams at some point this season, but they're not worth drafting in most fantasy leagues. Picking up as free agents during the season? That's more like it.
VETERANS WHOSE STOCK JUST DROPPED: If you've got Chester Taylor on your roster, today was a bad day. Not only did Taylor finish 2006 weak after a strong start, but now he starts the 2007 season as the guy competing with Peterson, one of the most dynamic RBs to come into the league in a decade. He was a protectable player on Friday, but he's a toss-back-in-the-pool guy as of Saturday afternoon.
Steven Jackson is universally recognized as a Top 5 (if not Top 3) fantasy RB. But the Rams may have created a bit of an RBBC when they drafted FB/RB Brian Leonard in the 2nd round. Leonard (who would have been an intriguing fantasy prospect had the Giants drafted him on the previous pick) is just too good to leave on the bench.
VETERANS WHOSE STOCK JUST ROSE: Josh McCown moved from backing up Jon Kitna in Detroit to an open competition for the starting QB job in Oakland. McCown is a journeyman, but he could easily be the opening day starter for the Raiders. Just don't expect to see him keep that job all season.
Jamal Lewis and Edgerrin James should both benefit from nice OL upgrades.
SHOES WAITING TO DROP: Somebody is going to trade for Michael Turner, but who? Randy Moss should be moving to Green Bay on Sunday, also.