Dynasty Winners/Losers this Offseason - AFC
By Jeff Tefertiller
May 24th, 2012

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Each and every year, fantasy owners attempt to analyze the results of the NFL draft and free agency. There are a few win-stable fantasy situations are now in flux while other are now solidified. Below is a breakdown of the fantasy situations for the AFC teams. There will be a coming article for the NFC teams.

New England Patriots

Quarterback

The only quarterback news was really non-news at all as New England could not find a trading partner for backup Brian Hoyer. So, the trio of Tom Brady, Hoyer, and Ryan Mallett is intact for another year.

Running Back

The departure of BenJarvus Green-Ellis in free agency could mean more pass attempts for Tom Brady as team searches for a bell cow. The loss of Green-Ellis leaves only Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, and Danny Woodhead in the backfield. Yes, Joseph Addai was signed, but he showed little last year and may not even make the team. There is no clear favorite for the starter's job and the trio of youngsters will likely share the role and play on a situational basis.

Wide Receiver

The Patriots concentrated on the defensive side of the ball in the draft, but made some waves in free agency on the offensive side of the ball. The biggest move was the signing of Brandon Lloyd which re-united him with Josh McDaniels. The only productive seasons in Lloyd's career have come with McDaniels calling the plays. The lack of a deep threat hurt the Patriot passing game in the Super Bowl. Lloyd will help in this area. New England also brought back Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney for depth. In addition, they took a chance on ex-Colt Anthony Gonzalez. The Wide Receiver position is very deep for the defending AFC champions with Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Chad Ochocinco, and Julian Edelman already on the roster before the new additions. For fantasy purposes, Welker and Lloyd are the only ones worth a roster spot, even in the deepest of dynasty leagues. Jeremy Ebert was drafted very late in the draft but has little chance of making the roster as a slot receiver. The big question will be whether or not the bevy of receivers will make an impact on the pair of young tight ends. The answer is not likely since Branch had 700 receiving yards and five touchdowns as the WR2. What happens if Lloyd and Welker have banner seasons? Does it impact the two young tight ends?

Tight End

The dynamic duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez remains together for 2012. Each is a big part of the Patriot offense. Daniel Fells is just fodder at this point.

New York Jets

Quarterback

The Jets began the offseason by trading for Tim Tebow. He could take over the starting reins from Mark Sanchez by preseason. It is difficult to believe he was brought in to play other positions - as was reported - or hold a clipboard. The question is not if - but when - Tebow replaces Sanchez in the lineup.

Running Back

Running back Terrance Ganaway was selected late in the draft but could make an impact as a rookie. He is a tough runner between the tackles and could play more than many expect given Shonn Greene's ineffectiveness. It is not as though there is much in front of Ganaway on the depth chart. Keep an eye on the running back rotation during the preseason. Joe McKnight, per his own admission, ate many a Big Mac and packed on the pounds and veteran LaDainian Tomlinson opted for retirement.

Wide Receiver

In the draft, New York selected wide receiver Stephen Hill in the second round before taking a late flier on and wide receiver Jordan White. Hill was the big acquisition as he will add a physical dimension to the Jet receiving corps. After allowing Plaxico Burress to exit in free agency, there was a definite need at the position. Hill has the size and speed to make a big impact in the passing game. New York only has Santonio Holmes at receiver and needed another big-play player. Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens are far from formidable to opposing defenses. Hill addressed a big need. White is a raw prospect who will fight for a roster spot.

Tight End

Dustin Keller still is the only note-worthy tight end on the Jet roster. He is a player to keep an eye on as the New York tight offense will look to replace Burress as the red zone threat.

Buffalo Bills

Quarterback

The Bills recently signed Vince Young to back up Ryan Fitzpatrick. The starter began the 2011 season on fire but struggled down the stretch. Under Chan Gailey, Young is intriguing but of little value unless Fitzpatrick is injured.

Running Back

Now that Fred Jackson is healed and received a contract extension, the Buffalo run offense could be very dangerous with the Jackson-Spiller combination. They make a great 1-2 punch and will take the heat off Fitzpatrick.

Wide Receiver

The only skill position player Buffalo drafted was the very speedy T.J. Graham. The pick surprised many analysts, including Mike Mayock, who opined that Graham was merely a seventh-round prospect with track speed. With so many possession receivers, the Bill offense needed a deep threat. Graham certainly fits that description. The passing game gets another weapon in his cache. The other news-worthy item in Buffalo was the new contract signed by star receiver Steve Johnson. Returning from injury, Marcus Easley could easily emerge to be a fantasy force.

Tight End

Scott Chandler also returns from injury and could surprise fantasy owners in the pass-happy Bills offense.

Miami Dolphins

Quarterback

The selection of Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick is interesting given the overall lack of weapons for him to use. Who will the rookie throw to? This is a good question with Brian Hartline and Devone Bess as the best receivers on the roster. The rookie will compete with Matt Moore and former free agent David Garrard for the starting gig. Not much competition for the rookie.

Running Back

Miami also drafted local product Lamar Miller in the fourth round. He is a big, fast running back who has encountered issues trying staying healthy throughout his collegiate career. From this selection, it appears as though the team has lost faith in second-year player Daniel Thomas - who looked plodding last season. Overall, the offense will struggle to move the ball as a one-dimensional team with a rookie quarterback.

Wide Receiver

Miami made waves by trading superstar - and super troubled - wide receiver Brandon Marshall to Chicago before the draft. This left a huge void at the wide receiver position that fans hoped would be filled in the draft. This was not the case as sixth round pick B.J. Cunningham and seventh rounder Rishard Matthews were the only receivers added at the position via the NFL draft. Tannehill's college teammate Jeff Fuller was signed as a free agent after the draft.

Tight End

A pass-catching tight end, Michael Egnew, was added in the third round of the draft. He should help some in the passing game, but the Dolphin pass offense will be atrocious this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Quarterback

At the quarterback position, it was nice to have a offseason without Ben Roethlisberger making news for his off-the-field actions. Status quo this year.

Running Back

In the fifth round, the team selected Chris Rainey. He is very small - but FAST - and will help on special teams and gadget plays. Rashard Mendenhall is still rehabbing from injury so Isaac Redman looks to the opening day starter.

Wide Receiver

The Mike Wallace saga seemed to last forever. He is now a Steeler - or will be once he signs his restricted free agent tender. Pittsburgh was quiet in free agency but added depth in the draft. Another fast pass catcher, wide receiver Toney Clemons, was taken in the seventh round. He is worth consideration given Pittsburgh's recent success drafting receivers in the middle and late rounds of the NFL draft. Lastly, Jerricho Cotchery was re-signed for depth as Hines Ward was let go.

Tight End

Also in the seventh round, Pittsburgh selected a good athlete in tight end David Paulson. He should not see the field much for a year or two as tight end is one the deepest positions for the Steelers.

Baltimore Ravens

Quarterback

The only quarterback news has centered around Joe Flacco's contract demands and how he thinks he is the best quarterback in football. Nothing like contract posturing since Flacco's own mother - and the rest of the free world - know better.

Running Back

After the retirement of Ricky Williams, the Ravens were seeking a backup behind Ray Rice. They found their guy in the third round with Bernard Pierce. He is a bruising runner with decent feet.

Wide Receiver

Baltimore also added a late round prospect in receiver Tommy Streeter. He is a big receiver with outstanding speed. While a little raw, Streeter was a great pick in the sixth round. After the draft, the team signed Jacoby Jones to help the return game and potentially serve as the WR3 for the conservative Raven offense.

Tight End

Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta will continue to battle for targets, thus canceling out any fantasy upside.

Cincinnati Bengals

Quarterback

Many expect Andy Dalton to make big strides with a full offseason to develop. The Bengals added even more weapons, so expectations are high for the red-headed passer.

Running Back

Cincinnati made a couple of moves in free agency at the running back position. Cedric Benson was allowed to exit and the team signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis as its lead back. He will team with Bernard Scott at the running back position. Benson struggled running the ball last year so it is no wonder why he has yet to find a home.

Wide Receiver

Cincinnati also let wide receivers Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell to leave in free agency. In an effort to fill the void, the Bengals selected Mohamed Sanu in the third round and Marvin Jones in the fifth. For fans, Sanu may remind you of T.J. Houshmandzadeh with his size, hands, and lack of long speed. Jones is a fluid receiver who could make an impact if he can develop in the next year or two.

Tight End

Cincinnati also added tight end depth in fourth round by choosing Orson Charles. The rookie tight end is fast for a man his size and could allow the Bengals to use more two-tight end sets to take advantage of what the defense allows. His red flags led to a draft-day fall. So, it is fitting that Cincinnati is the team who drafted Charles.

Cleveland Browns

Quarterback

The success of the Browns' draft will come down to the team's first two picks: running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden. Both were drafted to start right away. Weeden will not have to do much to beat out Colt McCoy to begin the season as the starter. He has a big arm and does not lack confidence.

Running Back

Richardson is a star in the making. Expect him to get the majority of carries with the Peyton Hillis departure. Montario Hardesty is not in the same hemisphere as the rookie. The Cleveland offense will revolve around the first-year runner. He is the lone play maker.

Wide Receiver

Fourth round pick of under-sized, but fast, Travis Benjamin will add speed to the Cleveland offense. Still, another addition was expected as Greg Little is the only relevant receiver on the team.

Tight End

Ben Watson, Evan Moore, and Jordan Cameron will battle for targets again this season. It will be difficult for any of the three to be worth a fantasy roster spot splitting time.

Indianapolis Colts

Quarterback

The team did not want to pay Peyton Manning's bonus this offseason so he was allowed to walk. With the first pick of the NFL draft, Andrew Luck became the face of the franchise. The Colts are now his team, and not Manning's. While a great prospect, the road for Luck will not be easy on a rebuilding team.

Running Back

Joseph Addai was allowed to depart and he recently signed in New England. This leaves Donald Brown as the de facto starter over Delone Carter. Vick Ballard was added late in the draft for depth purposes but he does not have much talent in front of him on the roster. Ballard could see time in year one. Deji Karim was signed after Jacksonville released him. Karim may surprise in a scat back role.

Wide Receiver

Pierre Garcon left in free agency and signed the Washington Redskins. On a young team, his presence will not be missed given the Colts re-signed Reggie Wayne. This Indianapolis offense will not be the same as in the past. The speedy - but tiny - T.Y. Hilton was added in the third round to give the offense a much-needed play-making threat. LaVon Brazill was added on the third day of the draft to add depth at receiver. Donnie Avery will try to prove he is finally back from his injuries. There will be opportunity for Avery if he is finally healthy.

Tight End

The top two tight ends (Jacob Tamme and Dallas Clark) from last year are both gone. In the second round of the NFL draft, Indianapolis drafted Luck's college teammate tight end Coby Fleener to fill the void. In the third, another tight end was selected in Dwayne Allen. Look for Indianapolis to run a two-tight end set often, utilizing the two rookie tight ends, given the lack of proven wide receivers.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterback

Blaine Gabbert had an awful rookie season. The lockout did him no favors, so look for improvement from the Jacksonville starter as he goes through his first real offseason. Chad Henne was signed to provide a veteran leadership to the position after his release by Miami. Henne could possibly beat out Gabbert in preseason. He will play some this season ... just a matter of when.

Running Back

Backup running back Deji Karim was released, as stated above, and the team did not address the position in free agency or in the draft. This bodes well for Rashard Jennings' comeback from injury. He is a player to watch as Maurice Jones-Drew threatens to hold out looking for a new contract.

Wide Receiver

The Jaguars needed to upgrade their receiving corps this offseason ... and they accomplished the goal. The first move was the signing of wide receiver Laurent Robinson who is coming off a solid campaign in Dallas. Jacksonville then used the fifth overall draft pick on Oklahoma State wideout Justin Blackmon. The pair of new play makers should help Blaine Gabbert tremendously. These two additions will move Mike Thomas to the slot. The Jaguars also signed veteran Lee Evans for depth.

Tight End

The tight end position looks the same as in the past with Marcedes Lewis the starter, but far away from fantasy radars.

Houston Texans

Quarterback

John Beck was signed to be the veteran reserve behind Matt Schaub until T.J. Yates develops and matures.

Running Back

Adrian Foster and Ben Tate will anchor the running back position once again this season.

Wide Receiver

After years of having little at the receiver position other than Andre Johnson, the Texans addressed the need in the NFL draft by selecting DeVier Posey in the third round and Keshawn Martin in the fourth. Houston needed to add big play receivers and they succeeded with these two mid-round selections. The team seems to be happy with the two rookies since Jacoby Jones was released soon afterward.

Tight End

Backup tight end Joel Dreessen signed with Denver in free agency so there might be opportunity for the versatile James Casey if Owen Daniels struggles again with the injury bug.

Tennessee Titans

Quarterback

The situation is the same as last season, veteran Matt Hasselbeck will battle youngster Jake Locker for the starting job. The odds are in favor of Hasselbeck beginning the season as the starter and the second-year player taking over by midseason.

Running Back

Chris Johnson and Javon Ringer are both back atop the depth chart. Johnson is a rebound candidate this season after a disappointing 2011 campaign.

Wide Receiver

Kendall Wright was a great pick by the Titans in the first round. He is able to get behind the defense and make big plays with the ball in his hands. Expect Wright to play in the slot mostly and work the middle of the field with Kenny Britt and Nate Washington on the outside.

Tight End

Tennessee added a developmental tight end in Taylor Thompson. He is a raw player who has all of the physical attributes scouts - and dynasty owners - drool over. Expect Thompson to struggle for a year or two behind Jared Cook before breaking out in the 2014 season. He is a gifted athlete who could be a star in a few years.

Denver Broncos

Quarterback

Denver made a huge move this offseason by bringing in Peyton Manning to quarterback the team. John Elway was not comfortable with Tim Tebow as the face of the club so he was sent to the Jets for much less than what the Broncos paid. Given Manning's age and neck issues, Brock Osweiler was drafted in the second round to be Manning's understudy.

Running Back

The Broncos still had a huge hole at the running back position with Willis McGahee over 30, and a litany of past injuries, as the only viable ball carrier on the team. So, the team added the shifty Ronnie Hillman in the third round to give the running game a spark. Knowshon Moreno may be in the mix after returning from injury.

Wide Receiver

Denver let Eddie Royal leave and signed Andre Caldwell in his place. Caldwell will compete to start in the slot with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker locked in as the starters on the outside.

Tight End

With Manning under contract, the team brought in his former teammate Jacob Tamme to help with the passing game. Tamme could be huge in Denver. Joel Dreessen was added for depth at the position.

Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback

Brady Quinn was signed to back up Matt Cassel. The Chiefs are asking for trouble with this dynamic duo leading the team. Kansas City will upgrade the position next offseason.

Running Back

After signing Peyton Hillis to bolster the running game, the Chiefs focused on the trenches with their first three picks of the draft. Hillis will take on the role that Thomas Jones held in the past. The Cleveland castoff is much superior to the aging Jones. Hillis will split time with Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs selected Cyrus Gray late in the draft and he will is a longshot to make the team with Dexter McCluster also on the team.

Wide Receiver

The first receiver to be drafted was slot receiver Devon Wylie. He will learn behind Steve Breaston for a year, but the rookie is a player to watch. Wylie is a strong playmaker with the ball in his hands. Junior Hemingway was added late in the draft and is a strong candidate for the practice squad to develop. He is behind Dwayne Bowe and second-year player Jon Baldwin.

Tight End

Kevin Boss joins a now-healthy Tony Moeaki, giving the Chiefs a solid pair of tight ends. Boss is known for his blocking while Moeaki excels as an athletic pass catcher.

San Diego Chargers

Quarterback

Charlie Whitehurst was signed in the offseason to hold the clipboard behind Philip Rivers. Earlier in his career, he was a Charger before being traded to the Seahawks so the bearded quarterback knows the system.

Running Back

Mike Tolbert signed with Carolina in free agency. This left a big hole behind starting tailback Ryan Mathews. Former Michigan State tailback Edwin Baker was selected in the seventh round to provide depth behind Mathews. The only other ball carriers on the roster are Le'Ron McClain, Curtis Brinkley, and Jacob Hester. Expect the team to sign another back in the summer. Given Mathews' injury woes of the past, the Chargers are taking an unnecessary risk with no viable reserve.

Wide Receiver

The Vincent Jackson drama went on for a few years so it was not a shock that he bolted for greener pastures - and a bigger bank account - in Tampa Bay. With the top receiver now departed, San Diego replaced him with a solid, yet unspectacular, players in Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal. The Chargers are banking on veteran Malcom Floyd and youngster Vincent Brown playing well. Meachem and Royal are far from the threat Jackson provided. Brown is the player to watch long term.

Tight End

San Diego gets Antonio Gates back healthy and drafted his clone in Ladarius Green in the third round. Green is very athletic but will take time to transition to the NFL.

Oakland Raiders

Quarterback

Matt Leinart was signed to backup Carson Palmer. Hopefully, Palmer will stay healthy for the sake of fantasy owners of the Oakland pass catchers.

Running Back

The Raiders lost Michael Bush in free agency, but traded for Mike Goodson to address the position. The move was a very shrewd one as Goodson was stuck after the Panthers signed former Charger Mike Tolbert. He has flashed some potential in limited action and could produce if McFadden continues to struggle with durability.

Wide Receiver

With no picks before the third round, Oakland could not address all of the holes on the offense. The lone fantasy-worthy pick was Juron Criner in the fifth round. Criner is the anti-Al Davis pick since he is anything but fast but catches the ball well and adds depth to a young receiving corps. The Raiders have built a solid young offense for Palmer to orchestrate.

Tight End

After the loss of Boss, Kevin Ausberry steps into the starting tight end role. He is a good receiver and a player to watch this preseason.

Please feel free to email tefertiller@footballguys.com or tweet Twitter with any questions or comments.

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