The NFL draft is now behind us and there is a lot to digest. The Bears made the worst trade in the history of the draft and teams were able to find some value later on Thursday night. I’m going to pick a couple handfuls of the picks throughout the draft and let you know what you can expect from a fantasy football standpoint.
It’s very difficult to gauge rookie production going into a new season but there are players who were drafted to play a big role right away. Training camp and the preseason obviously will be the biggest deciding factor for every player’s participation in the regular season, but what is the fun in waiting? We should talk about football now, we should try and make projections all of the time. Plus, the more that I write, the more opportunities there are for you to tell me that I’m wrong…
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars made this pick to take pressure off of Blake Bortles and the rest of the passing game, but what have the Jaguars done to be able and support a running game? Not very much. The Jaguars got great value being able to draft Cam Robinson in the second round but offensive lineman rarely are serviceable in their first NFL season. Fournette may end up being Trent Richardson 2.0. He’s a big downhill runner who doesn’t exactly have ankle breaking moves to make tacklers miss.
In college, Fournette wasn’t putting up numbers from shotgun and from what I’ve watched of the Jaguars in the past couple seasons, they play quite a bit of shotgun. Injuries are tough to project, nor would I want to predict the misfortunes of professional athletes. That being said, Fournette didn’t have the cleanest bill of health in college. I would let your league mates over pay for Leonard on draft day and find value elsewhere. We aren’t looking at the next Ezekiel Elliot.
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans
I love this draft pick. Marcus Mariota needs a big bodied weapon who can be atrue WR1 target. Davis has all of the traits to be an elite talent in the league. He has plus tools all over the board with athleticism and physicality. I can see a scenario where Davis is able to put up Mike Evans or Kelvin Benjamin type rookie year numbers.
Christian McCaffery, RB, Carolina Panthers
This is a great draft pick for the Panthers. Carolina is making it clear that they want to get creative in gaining yards while keeping the ball out of Cam Newton’s hands on running plays. McCaffery is going to get plenty of touches in both the running and the passing game. If you are in a dynasty league with a rookie draft and it is PPR, McCaffery should almost certainly be the first off of the board.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon made a terrible decision in college and whether or not you choose to forgive or overlook his choices, he’s going to be fantasy relevant. He’s too talented of a running back to not get touches right away. He was elite in college in both the running and passing game and should have very little trouble cutting into Jeremy Hill’s production.
John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
John Ross is going to give the Bengals the vertical threat WR2 that they have been lacking in their offense. On top of his big play ability, I think he will be relevant right away in the short passing game and should have room to work opposite of A.J. Green. I think he’ll end up being an asset in redraft, especially in PPR formats.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings traded away their first-round pick, but found first round value, regardless. Dalvin Cook is a true three down back, who like Joe Mixon, had his draft status hurt by his off the field choices. My concern here is the run blocking that the Vikings have provided the past couple of seasons. The Vikings were 32nd in the league in total rushing yards and rushing yards per attempt (3.2) in 2016. Soon we will find out if the previous running backs or the offensive line were the problem.
Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Mike Williams will be a good fit for the type of passing game that Philip Rivers likes to execute. I don’t know how great William’s numbers will be in his rookie season because of how crowded the receiving corps is in Los Angeles. William’s best chance at immediate success is Keenan Allen not being ready to return in September, allowing him to establish himself as a sure-fire starter.
David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns
Njoku is going to put up great numbers no matter who is under center at the beginning of the 2017 season for the Browns. He’s going to be one of the two most talented options on the team to catch balls after the departure of Terrelle Pryor.
O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is a great real football draft pick for the Buccaneers. He’s going to give them immediate production as a true tight end and it’s going to help Jameis Winston AND the running game immensely, being that Howard is multi-faceted. His fantasy relevance is a tough call. He could be the fourth option in the passing game behind Evans, Jackson, and Brate.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Watson has the best opportunity at being this year’s Dak Prescott. I would never rank a rookie quarterback inside of the top 20 quarterback rankings, but there is plenty of talent around him in that offense that could make the sky the limit.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid said that if Mahomes out plays Alex Smith in training camp, then he wins the starting job. How hard can that truly be?
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears
Trubisky is not going to start the season as the starter in 2017, and he would be my 4th QB off of the board in a dynasty rookie draft.
Deshone Kizer, QB, Cleveland Browns
I don’t see Kizer winning the starting job this season, but I could be wrong. Kizer is very young and more inexperienced than your average rookie quarterback. He would be my 3rd quarterback off of the board in a dynasty rookie draft.