- Scott Engel, ESPN Fantasy Games
Now that the NFL draft is over, fantasy owners in keeper and dynasty leagues can move forward with their offseason strategies. In keeper formats, the decisions about who to retain for next season become clearer, and in dynasty leagues, there will be rookie drafts in the near future. Recent trades have also altered the outlooks of some players.
Of course, the most scrutinized position in both formats will be running back. Marshawn Lynch instantly becomes a top pick in both formats, with many owners retaining top veterans at the position. Lynch will go off the board by the second round of keeper drafts, and in a dynasty league, with his versatility and potential in both the long- and short-term, he will be a top-five pick for sure in rookie drafts, going as early as third overall. Adrian Peterson is expected to share touches at the pro level initially, but his upside will slot him higher than Lynch in a lot of leagues, especially in dynasty formats.
Outside of Lynch and Peterson, not many other rookie running backs will go off the board very early in keeper drafts, although Green Bay's Brandon Jackson will be selected no later than the fifth round in most drafts. For dynasty purposes, however, there are some fine prospects to consider. Tennessee's Chris Henry has great long-term potential. Oakland's Michael Bush will be an eventual fantasy starter. And New Orleans' Antonio Pittman will become a viable fantasy starter later in his career as the longer-term projected backfield complement for Reggie Bush. Philadelphia's Tony Hunt has immediate potential as a short-yardage runner. Henry and Michael Bush will be two of the top running backs selected in dynasty drafts after Peterson and Lynch are taken, maybe even before Jackson in some leagues, with Pittman and Hunt coming off the board next. Cincinnati's Kenny Irons doesn't have much appeal in the short term and that will hurt his stock.
10hTristan H. Cockcroft