Recently, my wife and I changed the way that we eat. We’ve taken a lot of the “bad” foods out of our diet. Other people would call these foods “tasty”. A new staple in my daily eating is the morning smoothie. Since we both have one in the morning, I have the need to buy new bananas. When our current bunch starts to get those brown spots, it’s time to buy a new one. I buy the green ones, knowing that they will ripen in a few days.
A rookie draft is like buying a green banana. Your roster’s starting to show brown spots and it’s time to invest in the future. Unlike bananas, some NFL players stay green and never ripen. Other ones ripen too quickly and by the time you’re ready to eat them, they are brown and inedible.
Just like NFL teams that plan for roster vacancies a year in advance, you too can prepare for the aging of your roster. I picked up Cam Newton in last year’s rookie draft as a speculative move. Now he’s my QB centerpiece. QB value has changed as Andrew Luck and RGIII were picked with the second and third picks of this year’s draft.
I felt set at running back this offseason with Ray Rice, Matt Forte, DeMarco Murray and Michael Bush. Bush was really green when I selected him. He was put on IR his rookie year and started 16 games in three years for the Raiders. Sadly, he signed with the Bears, giving me a nice handcuff but torpedoing his current value. I’m a little worried about Murray’s injury history. Forte and Rice are top-ten guys. Rice turned 25 this offseason and finished his fourth season. Forte’s a year older and has missed only four games in four seasons. Both guys are signed to the franchise tag. After the Chris Johnson fiasco last offseason, the potential of a running back holding out does not fill my heart with joy. Having three starting running backs who are 24, 25, and 26 years old seems good.
Other guys on the roster of note are Peyton Hillis, looking a bit brownish but with the potential to get a lot of touches in Kansas City. Montario Hardesty probably is never going to ripen. Second-year guys Jacquizz Rodgers, Taiwan Jones, and Bilal Powell may never be edible.
At receiver, my starters are Marques Colston signed an extension with the Saints and should be a starter for another three years if his knees hold up. He’s the kind of player that you like to pair up with a less injury prone guy. I have the Giants duo of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Nicks is 24 after three years in the league. Cruz is 25 and a tough player to rate after he shocked the fantasy world with a top-five wide receiver finish. Otherwise, I have the perpetually injured Sidney Rice, the perpetually underperforming Michael Crabtree, Oakland boom-bust candidates Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, second-year guy Vincent Brown, and returner Josh Cribbs. Three rookie drafts ago I got Nicks and Crabtree in the first round.
Tight end needed a makeover like wide receiver did three years ago. I added Fred Davis, Heath Miller and Zach Miller. Davis looks like my 12-week starter, although he did have a four-game suspension last season, so I’m a little dubious. Heath is a backup/bye week guy. I’m hoping that Zach Miller gets more than 25 catches this year. The Seahawks signed him to be more than a blocker, in theory. The dark horse is Tony Moeaki, coming off a n ACL tear. I have Julius Thomas and D.J. Williams as my long-shot young guys.
My defense may need some green. I’m set at defensive end. At linebacker, guys like David Harris, James Harrison, and Will Witherspoon are getting older. Donald Butler, Colin McCarthy, and Kelvin Sheppard are guys I’m looking at to step in.
I neglected my defensive backs last year, other than the draft pick of Jaiquawn Jarrett who did nothing. This year’s rookie class seems thin so I’m probably going to troll the waiver wire.
I have a pretty ripe roster. I have 16 second-year players out of 53. I only have seven players older than 30, and three of those are on my defensive line. My oldest player is Rob Bironas, and kickers can go until they’re 40.