Last year’s draft fallout edition had significantly more candidates taking a value hit in Dynasty leagues. This time around, the two can’t-miss quarterbacks and the top tight end landed on teams without starters. Of the highest-drafted wide receivers, one joins a team with no established starter (Jacksonville) while the other can’t realistically hope to take significant touches away from the established No. 1 receiver (Arizona).
As always, running back is the position hardest hit by the early-round additions. As the NFL continues to morph into a pass-heavy league with a proliferation of backfield tandem attacks, though, the hit at tailback is no longer so direct.
On to the list. Below are ten Dynasty losers from the 2012 draft.
1. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers - The Bucs didn’t trade up for a third-down specialist. Doug Martin is a well-rounded back who will immediately play more snaps and see more touches than Blount. It’s been obvious since early last season that Blount’s failures in pass protection, ball security, and goal-line opportunities would kill his fantasy value. After circling the toilet for months, Blount’s Dynasty value finally flushed with the Martin pick.
2. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants - There’s always been a dichotomy between Bradshaw’s redraft and Dynasty value. Chronic foot and ankle injuries leave the coaching staff with little incentive to expand his role beyond a tandem attack. The problem with Bradshaw’s Dynasty value is that he’s going from sharing the pigskin with a declining player to a tag-team approach with a runner more gifted than himself in first-rounder David Wilson. As has been the case for years, Bradshaw’s Dynasty value lacks stability.
3. Mike Thomas, Jaguars - Of fantasy’s trendy breakout candidates as Jacksonville’s nominal No. 1 receiver last offseason, Thomas entered this year’s draft period with questions about his commitment level. After overpaying for Laurent Robinson, the Jags traded up to ensure that Justin Blackmon would lead their receiver group into the future. Thomas may have to hold off competition to remain the slot, where he belongs.
4. Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins - Bush nearly defied the odds last year, making it 15 games as the feature back before a knee injury kept him out of the season finale. Over the previous four seasons, Bush missed four, six, two, and eight games due to lower injuries. The next time he goes down, there will be a pair of talented young runners in Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller ready to put their stamp on the job.
5. Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals - Roberts was beginning to garner consideration as a 2012 sleeper after more than doubling his first-half production in the final eight games. The addition of Michael Floyd will ultimately push Roberts into a battle with Early Doucet for the slot role. Larry Fitzgerald is locked into 90+ receptions, leaving precious few for the winner of the slot battle.
6. Earl Bennett / Johnny Knox, WR, Bears - Bennett entered the offseason as Chicago’s default No. 1 thanks to Knox’s career-threatening back injury and Devin Hester’s annual disappearance from the offense. If Alshon Jeffery emerges as the long-term No. 2 opposite Brandon Marshall, Bennett will be remaindered as a 50-catch slot receiver and Jay Cutler’s No. 3 or 4 option in the passing game. There remains little fantasy upside for Bennett.
7. Damian Williams / Nate Washington, WR, Titans - As an offensive leader, Washington should stick as the No. 2 receiver even with the addition of explosive slot machine Kendall Wright. With Kenny Britt returning and Jared Cook emerging, though, Washington has no prayer to match last year’s career numbers of 74/1,023/7. Williams may eventually replace Washington, but his talent level is not close to being on par with Wright’s.
8. Kendall Hunter, RB, 49ers - It remains to be seen if second-rounder LaMichael James is more Darren Sproles or Dexter McCluster, but he figures to see plenty of time on third downs regardless. The 49ers reportedly view Hunter as a “change-of-pace” back, leaving open the question of Frank Gore’s successor. While Hunter remains a “hold” in Dynasty circles, his path to future playing time isn’t as clear following the early-round selection of a passing-down specialist.
9. Montario Hardesty, Browns - The No. 59 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Hardesty is no lock to make the Browns’ 2012 roster following the selection of three-down back Trent Richardson. The coaching staff reportedly prefers Brandon Jackson and Chris Ogbonnaya as change-of-pace types, and Hardesty doesn’t contribute on special teams. With an extensive injury history and a per-carry average of 3.0 on 88 rushing attempts, Hardesty is a roster albatross in Dynasty leagues.
10. Ramses Barden / Jerrel Jernigan, Giants - Once a Dynasty darling, the snakebitten 6’6” Barden has missed his window to nail down a starting job with the Giants. GM Jerry Reese expects third-rounder Rueben Randle to play right out of the gates, leaving Barden to battle for scraps in the passing game. Victor Cruz will remain in the slot for three-wide sets, road-blocking Jernigan’s path to playing time.
Others: Colt McCoy, Braylon Edwards, Greg Salas, Austin Pettis, Danario Alexander, Matt Moore