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2011 Draft Fantasy Impact

by Jared Belson on May. 1, 2011

Every year there will be a handful of rookies who have a major impact on your fantasy season. Last year it was drafted players such as Mike Williams and Sam Bradford, and undrafted players such as LeGarrette Blount and Chris Ivory. This year it could be a number of different prospects, and since its never too early for fantasy, here's a list of players at each position that could have a major impact for your fantasy team during the 2011 NFL Season:

 

Quarterbacks:

Cam Newton: Assuming he beats out Jimmy Clausen, which should happen given that the coaches won't have much of a choice, Cam Newton could be an intriguing option to have on your bench. He might have a similar impact that Vince Young and Michael Vick did a few of their early years; Poor touchdown to interception ratio, but a large amount of rushing yards and touchdowns to counteract it.

Andy Dalton: Dalton was drafted into a great situation. Not only does he get the top wide receiver prospect in the draft, but he also has two young receivers in Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell who absolutely took off in their last two games with a total of 428 yards combined. Add in Jordan Shipley as another viable option, and he's got himself plenty of targets on gameday.

Honorable Mention: Jake Locker: This is more of a crapshoot, because if Tennessee signs a veteran Locker might not get his shot next year. However, he's got a solid, young receiving core to work with, and a superb running attack to take the pressure off of him, so when he gets in he'll be in a position to succeed.

 

Wide Receivers:

A.J. Green: A.J. Green might be in the best position because he gets to work out and a build a rapport all summer with his rookie quarterback, while being drafted by a team that is not afraid to throw the ball.

Leonard Hankerson: Washington will want to throw the ball downfield, but all of their receivers are short. Hankerson gives them an element they didn't have last year and he could very well become their red zone target.

Honorable MentionGreg Little: Colt McCoy is dying for a big, reliable receiver, and assuming Greg Little did not forget too much in his year off, he very well could be that guy.

 

Running Backs:

Daniel Thomas: With Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams free agents this year, it looks like the Dolphins are going to give Daniel Thomas every opportunity to be their feature back next year. He showed in college that he could rack up yards and touchdowns, so maybe it will be a similar situation in Miami.

Mark Ingram: Ingram might have some company in the backfield, but they will use him early and often to bust down the opposing defenses. Given the way big bruising backs have performed the past few years, he's liable to be very successful or at least get some goal line tds.

Honorable MentionShane Vereen: Vereen is an explosive player that the Patriots will try to get on the field in a number of different ways. Considering their needs at running back, he should get plenty of opportunities to break free and pick up a lot of yards.

 

Tight Ends:

Lance Kendricks: Sam Bradford tried to make Michael Hoomanawanui a pass catching tight end, but he would have been better off trying to turn lead into gold. However St. Louis drafted arguably the best pass catching tight end in college football last year, and Bradford might be kissing his GM for giving him Kendricks as a security blanket.

Rob Housler: He might not be the best blocking tight end, but he can catch the ball, and whoever is throwing the ball in Arizona is going to find Housler. Considering Arizona does not really have any other options, Housler should get plenty of opportunities.

Honorable Mention: Virgil Green: Julius Thomas might have been the sensible pick here since he was drafted earlier and the Broncos probably expect more out of him, but I expect Virgil Green to emerge as the starter by the regular season. Tebow will likely look to his tight end to bail him out often during games, and Green could benefit greatly from that.