How will the top picks in this year's NFL draft impact your fantasy strategy in 2006 and the years to come? We analyze Round 1 from a fantasy perspective, and tell you how many picks could impact yearly, keeper and dynasty leagues.
1. Houston: Mario Williams, DE, NC State: The Texans' defense/special teams ranked last in ESPN fantasy leagues in 2005, and a rookie who needs some work on his every-down consistency won't suddenly turn the defense into a starting unit in fantasy leagues. More importantly to fantasy players, Domanick Davis now remains a very desirable fantasy starter as the Texans' No. 1 RB. He is rehabilitating his knee and should be ready for minicamp, making Davis a very good fantasy pick early in the third round of 10- and 12-team leagues.
2. New Orleans: Reggie Bush, RB, USC: While Bush is widely regarded as an explosive weapon who could become an even more amazing version of a younger Marshall Faulk, he might not be an instant fantasy superstar. There are concerns about Bush's lack of ideal size and bulk, and he will initially share a lot of touches with Deuce McAllister. Both could appear in the same backfield often, and Bush can line up as a receiver when McAllister is in the backfield, further increasing the rookie's fantasy appeal. Both RBs could coexist and produce above-average fantasy numbers in 2006. Bush can score any time he touches the ball, so he will certainly be worth a third-round pick. McAllister, who is coming off a major knee injury, now sees his value drop to the point where he must be considered a flex player and fifth-round pick. If McAllister has any setbacks in his recovery, it would obviously bump Bush up on fantasy cheat sheets, but the Saints would prefer to not overwork him. Because of his tremendous scoring potential, Bush is obviously a prime pick in dynasty leagues, but don't take him over a more established veteran superstar (Shaun Alexander, Clinton Portis) in a new keeper draft.