For fantasy owners in yearly leagues, there isn't too much concern yet about this year's incoming rookie class. Players in such leagues can simply focus on the very early selections, see where they land, then rank them accordingly. A handful of running backs and wide receivers will make an impact in their first pro seasons; most quarterbacks will be risky picks as rookies; and, if we're lucky, a tight end or two could be worth a late pick. Any potential sleepers can be targeted as free-agent additions during the season.
For keeper and dynasty league owners, though, this weekend's draft will have a major effect on many roster decisions, and the draft class at skill positions will be viewed with a much keener eye and evaluated much more deeply. Not only will rookies be instantly analyzed for short and long-term success but where they end up will have a considerable effect on the outlooks of many veterans, especially in dynasty leagues.
In keeper leagues, the first two running back selections will have an instant impact. If Adrian Peterson is picked by Cleveland third overall, he likely will share carries with Jamal Lewis in his first pro season, slightly lowering his early appeal. If Peterson is selected by Arizona at No. 5 overall, the keeper appeal of Edgerrin James will take a big hit and many owners will choose not to retain his rights. Marshawn Lynch figures to be the second running back off the board, and if he goes to a team that needs to fill an instant need, such as Buffalo or Green Bay, he will have immediate appeal as an early pick in upcoming keeper drafts.