The NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of league, so it should come as no surprise that 2 former Miami Hurricane standouts and key members of the 2001 National Championship team, Clinton Portis and Jeremy Shockey have found themselves cut by their respective teams over the past week. Both players have been to their share of Pro Bowls and have had impressive careers for which they should be proud, but nagging injuries and a heavy workload have slowed both of these players down.
Remembered just as much for their off-field antics as their production on the field, Portis and Shockey are at the point in their career where many veterans have found themselves before- at a point where they are irrelevant to fantasy owners. As Portis and Shockey look for new places to play in 2011, let’s take a look at what we can expect from a fantasy perspective in New Orleans and Washington after their departures, including one player that you will not want to pass up on draft day.
Draft Jimmy Graham. Do not worry if you are picking him too early, this fellow Miami alum will have a monster season for the Saints. Jeremy Shockey is no longer standing in his way and taking his snaps and the Saints offense will continue its aerial assault in 2011. Do you realize what happened the last time Drew Brees teamed with a tight end with as much athletic ability as Graham? Antonio Gates had 89 catches for 1100 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl as well as a first team All-Pro. Graham has many of the same skills as Gates (while standing at 6’8″) and he showed flashes of greatness late in 2010. As a former basketball player, Graham is still learning the position and defenses will suffer as he gets more and more comfortable as an NFL tight end.
The Redskins backfield without Clinton Portis does not offer the same opportunity for fantasy owners. Ryan Torain would seem to be the back with the most to gain by the departure of Portis, but his inability to stay on the field will keep him from being a early fantasy pick in 2011. Mike Shanahan has always liked to mix things up in his backfield. Keiland Williams and James Davis both saw action in 2010 while Torain nursed injuries, but I do see either one emerging as the every down back in Washington. I would not be shocked to see Shanahan draft a player like a Dion Lewis from Pitt or a Jacquizz Rodgers from Oregon State and to look at a running back by committee (the fantasy football owner’s nightmare) in 2011. We will have to keep an eye on this situation before making any conclusions.
More cuts are sure to come throughout the off-season and we will do our best to keep you informed on the fantasy implications for both the player that has been cut as well as for the players on the team that did the cutting.