After months of analysis and projections leading up to the April 25-26 NFL draft followed by days of draft recap and team grades, we focus on what really matters to us; how the draft affects our fantasy football leagues. While we may have thoughts on the absurdity of the contracts signed by high draft picks, it has no effect on our fantasy football team's salary. Players may have been drafted higher or lower than projected, but that has no impact on where they will be drawn in our leagues. What matters most to us is if the player will play and if it will be this year or in coming years. Let's take a quick spin through the NFC and look at each team's new additions that could factor into our fantasy football drafts.
Arizona – The Cards happily grabbed RB Chris “Beanie” Wells with the first pick in the second round. He will play immediately as Edgerrin James was released and Tim Hightower appears to be best suited as a goal-line back. Beanie should be drawn in one-season in rounds 4-5 in standard 12-team leagues and rounds 3-4 in Keeper leagues.
Atlanta – Eight picks, all on defense. So, obviously, the Falcons D is the only position that improved. They have some solid additions to support their corners as well as help John Abraham, especially DT Peria Jerry, S William Moore and DE Lawrence Sidbury. This will propel them into the top half of draftable defenses.
Carolina – DE Everett Brown and S Sherrod Martin will help the defense a bit, though not near as much as keeping Julius Peppers will. Their defense should remain in the same draft position.
Chicago – The Bears did pretty well considering they only drafted on Day 2. WR Juaquin Iglesias is a nice addition to a weak receiving core and could be a productive late round pick on draft day. DT Jarron Gilbert will help the Bears D out a bit, though not altering their draft position.
Dallas – The Cowboys traded their way into a lot of worthless picks. Even though the Cowboys had no draftable backup QB last year, I do not believe that QB Stephen McGee is in that category this year. If you draft QB Tony Romo, your backup should be a starting QB on another team.
Detroit – QB Matthew Stafford is giddy knowing that he will be given the reigns to a winless team, so the bar for success in worm-high. It also brings a rare smile to his face when he envisions WR Calvin Johnson in his huddle. However, he is still a rookie QB on a winless team, so do not pick him as your number 1 QB. He should be drafted higher in Keeper leagues. TE Brandon Pettigrew is a must-draft TE in later rounds.
Green Bay – Green Bay's D was productive in the TD category last season, but was a bit of a sieve. Adding DT BJ Raji and LB Clay Matthews enhances this position a few rounds.
Minnesota – The Vikings grabbed WR Percy Harvin to add a new dimension to their offense. The kid can flat-out play, if he adjusts to life in the Twin Cities. I would definitely recommend picking him up in early double-digit rounds.
New Orleans – The Saints' D was startable at certain times last season coming off the waiver wire. That will change a bit this year with the additions of CB Malcolm Jenkins and S Chip Vaughn. I feel good recommend drafting them in the last round.
New York Giants – The G-Men addressed their biggest need right away by drafting WR Hakeem Nicks. He should be drafted in early double digit rounds. I would recommend a late round handcuff of RB Andre Brown if you draft Brandon Jacobs. RB Derrick Ward is now on Tampa so Brown will be taking over for him.
Philadelphia – Philly will have the most rookies drafted this year. They landed WR Jeremy Maclin, TE Cornelius Ingram and RB LeSean McCoy. Maclin may be a DeSean Jackson clone in play making ability, which is good if he waits until he crosses the goal line to celebrate his scores. Ingram will be a favorite target of McNabb when he needs a tough catch across the middle and McCoy is a must-draft handcuff to Westbrook.
Seattle – LB Aaron Curry will definitely help Seattle on defense, but makes no difference in fantasy land. WR Deon Butler was drafted to replace Bobby Engram, but I see no reason to draft him unless you are in a really deep league.
San Francisco – The Niners get a gift in picking up WR Michael Crabtree with the 10th pick. He is the class of the receiving group and will be a flat-out receiving stud in the NFL. I do not think you'll get him if you wait until the middle rounds of your draft. You especially want to grab him early in your Keeper Leagues. In addition to Crabtree, the Niners picked up RB Glen Coffey who should be your handcuff to Frank Gore.
St. Louis – The Rams picked up T Jason Smith to replace Orlando Pace and will show immediate dividends in the passing and running game as Pace is vastly overrated and almost stationary nowdays. That being said, Marc Bulger is a late draft pick and Steven Jackson is still a first round pick. As much as I love LB James Laurinaitis, he does not make the Rams D draftable in any format.
Tampa Bay – Good luck with QB Josh Freeman. If he only played as well as he talks. He has the size for an NFL QB (6 '6 “), but I do not even recommend drafting him in a Keeper League.
Washington – The Skins further enhanced their defensive front by drafting DE Brian Orakpo. In addition to line help, they also grabbed two LBs and CB Kevin Barnes. This greatly enhances the attraction of the Washington D and moves them into the top 8-10 defenses to draft.