Well, that happened.
After much anticipation over the last couple of months, the draft finished up a couple of weeks ago, and now that everything is settled, it is time to look back at the 7 rounds to see what went right for teams, what went wrong, and to analyze some great, and some terrible picks.
Just like every year, there are many questions about which rookies will have the biggest impact this year. Especially in Fantasy.
I was definitely intrigued to see how my mock stacked up against the real thing, and to be honest, it was almost 100% wrong. Prospects slipped, there were many trades, and many reaches, but each prospect we looked at did get drafted, but now we have to analyze how their team fits their playing style, and vice versa.
Here, in the official draft recap (for our purposes), I will break down the fantasy relevance of each prospect that has significant fantasy relevance and maybe even talk about where we should draft them, if/when we find them in the draft. It’ll be split up into two parts instead of one long big one, one part being the sure-thing prospects, and the second edition will be about the maybe’s, and the sleepers/breakouts that will win you championships.
I’m excited, so let’s get to it.
Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Paxton Lynch
Even though all of these 1st-round QB’s were elite at the collegiate level, and all of them are starting at the NFL level (Lynch could be), I don’t believe that they should be actively sought after in drafts, like most rookie QB’s are (and this includes Christian Hackenberg, even if he may start). Goff has to face Seattle and Arizona, arguably the top defenses in the NFL, twice a year, Carson Wentz, even if he does start, doesn’t have the best receivers or running backs (so opposing D’s can’t stack the box against the rush), and Lynch may not even start (and has even shown some inconsistency at Memphis).
The best thing going for Wentz is that the Eagles’ D/ST is downright terrible, and Wentz may find himself down a lot in his games, forcing him to throw the ball a ton. It should be noted that Wentz faces the New York Football Giants in Week 16, a.k.a Championship Sunday in the fantasy world. The best case scenario for Wentz is to be a streaming option for the Championship Game, it the case you find yourself without a QB for the big day.
Rookie QB’s are never players you want to have on your roster, most simply because of the unknown. Wentz played D-II ball, Lynch played in the American Conference with very weak teams, and Goff struggled a bit against the powerhouse Pac-12 teams like Stanford and Oregon. Scouts notice this.
As of right now, FF Toolbox has Goff’s ADP at 173, Wentz’s ADP at 174, and no ADP for Paxton Lynch. I think this are the perfect ADP’s for each player. We aren’t looking for Week 1 starters when drafting Rookie QB’s, especially Lynch, Goff or Wentz. Jay currently has Goff at 32, Lynch at 35, and doesn’t have Wentz ranked at all.
Not many people liked this pick. The argument in opposition to selecting Elliot went something like this- “What?!?! At 5?!?!? That’s way too high!!! He has to be the next Barry Sanders to make that pick pay off!!” Well, I disagree. First off, he doesn’t have to be a HOFer for the pick to pay off. He just has to be better than Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris for the pick to pay off, which he has already done by just showing up to Rookie Minicamp. The hard thing is, he also has to be better than Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and the picks selected after him, which may be a bit hard to do. Not the other backs.
There’s a pretty big drop off after Elliot at the HB position. Hypothetically, if the Cowboys weren’t selecting Elliot here, and instead spend a 2nd, 3rd or even 4th round pick, then instead of Elliot, on a back, you’re looking at guys like Kenneth Dixon, C.J. Prosise, and Alex Collins. Even the Derrick Henry is a significant drop off from what Elliot brings. And I’d prefer Zeke.
Enough about draft analysis, let’s talk fantasy. FF Toolbox currently has Elliot’s ADP at 22.04, which is about right. Again, I would stay tuned for Jay’s HB rankings to get a better idea of who should be drafted above him, and below him. In my eyes, I think Zeke cracks the Top-10. He himself brings tremendous upside to the table, mainly because of the superior O-Line he’s running behind. We all want Elliot to produce like DeMarco did a few years ago, however don’t expect it, as it’s hard to see any rookie getting 30 touches per game.
Elliot also benefits tremendously if Romo and Dez play at high levels, which they should be able to do with full health going into Week 1. It also helps that the NFC East isn’t the best at defending the run.
Corey Coleman, Will Fuller and Laquon Treadwell
For our purposes, we only want WR1’s, as they earn more YPC, workload %’s, and plain total targets on their respective teams, which is why I am excluding Josh Doctson from this list. Not only are there too many mouthes to feed in Washington with the addition of Doctson (which also definitely benefits Kirk Cousins tremendously), I don’t believe he’ll the the WR1 there, and even if he is, he’s sharing too much to have significant relevance. Don’t get me wrong, I think Doctson should be drafted, but most of our energy and strength should be focused on WR1 who earn more snaps and targets, not someone who should be the #3 guy on the depth chart.
I’ll start in order of my favorites to least favorites. My favorite Rookie WR is Laquon Treadwell, which is an opinion that is definitely a little unique considering many that do not like Teddy Bridgewater throwing it to him. But let’s think about it from a logical perspective. What QB would you prefer throwing the ball to your new shiny toy? Out of Robert Griffin III, Teddy Bridgewater and Brock Osweiler? We can easily eliminate RGIII from the group, so that leaves Bridgewater and Osweiler. Yes, I prefer Bridgewater. Before you get mad, here’s why-
|Player||Total QBR||Comp. Rate||DYAR|
|Bridgewater||62.7 (13th in NFL)||65.3%||187 (21st in NFL)|
|Osweiler||48.8 (27th in NFL)||61.8%||153 (22nd in NFL)|
Now by no means necessary are both of these QB’s are elite, and I am not trying to prove that they are. Especially if you take a look at their DYAR (Defensive-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement, great stat measuring how valuable a QB is on a team, for more info check out Football Outsiders), both QB’s are no where elite out of the top QB’s.
But these 3 simple stats show that Bridgewater is playing on a higher level than Osweiler, which is great for Treadwell. Treadwell lacks the ability to stretch the field, which concerned many teams, causing Treadwell to slide, with other teams selecting guys who could stretch the field, as Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson, and Will Fuller all going ahead of him. However, that ability, while extremely valuable in the NFL, may hurt their fantasy impact. The “get up and get it” talent that Treadwell brings is extremely valuable, and with a talented offense of Adrian Peterson, Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, and a solid defense should only help. Not too mention the fact that he’ll face weak secondaries in: Tennessee (Week 1), NYG (Week 4), and Houston (Week 5), not too mention that he’ll be facing Chicago and Detroit twice a year. I’m sold.
Next up for me is Coleman. Yes, RGIII isn’t a QB that instills confidence in me, nor should he in you. However, we’ve seen WR’s turn it up with sub-par (and RGIII isn’t even that bad) QB’s under center. Here’s a few-
- Josh Gordon in 2013 with Hoyer and Brandon Weeden
- DeAndre Hopkins in 2015 with Hoyer, Ryan Mallet, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden
- Mike Evans in 2014 with Mike Glennon
- Larry Fitzgerald in the years with Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley, etc.
- Calvin Johnson in his entire career
As the above will argue, it can be done. Coleman was an absolute stud in College, with a stat line of 74 receptions for 1,363 yards and 20 TD’s. He put on a clinic at the combine with impressive strength and field drills, and solidified his status with a 15th-overall pick.
Cleveland isn’t the ideal situation to land in, but Coleman will make the most of it, as the Browns did everything necessary at the Draft to give Coleman a bit of a supporting cast with 3 other WR’s drafted to ago along with Gary Barnidge and Duke Johnson out of the backfield. That should take a little pressure off of Coleman, but he’ll still be the #1 guy. If the Browns want him to make a success almost immediately, they’ll have to have him get snaps almost immediately, and it’s always hard to see how much coaches and their staffs trust rookies nowadays.
Finally, we have Will Fuller. Think of him as a Torrey Smith-type player, but when he was still with Baltimore. That’s what we have with Fuller. Fuller’s incredible speed got him landed in the first round, and perfectly compliments DeAndre Hopkins and fits in with other great talent in him in the likes of Lamar Miller and Brock Osweiler.
Back to the Torrey Smith comment. Remember what you got when you drafted him? I certainly do. Smith would have two 40-yd TD’s, followed up with a 3-point game, a 0-point game, and then two straight weeks of 20 and 30-point games with 30 and 50 yard TD’s on only 2 or 3 catches, but it was enough for a great outing. That’s what we have here with Fuller. There’s no doubt that he’s a phenomenal athlete, he’s in the NFL, but the best case scenario with him is a high-upside,deep threat who will frustrate the heck out of you. Because when you bench him, he’ll have two TD’s, and when you start him, he’ll have 1 reception for 50 yards.
I hate to say this, but for the first time in a long time (that at least I can remember), not selecting Gronk in the 1st may not be a bad idea. We’re looking at a group who, in the past, usually can be summarized by “Gronk and then everyone else”, but that’s not the case this year. There’s a whole bunch of talent, especially in the later rounds, at the TE position, some of my favorites being: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tyler Eifert (maybe not as late round as one would like), Jordan Cameron, Eric Ebron (Stud.), Colby Fleener (Stud.), Clive Walford, and now Hunter Henry.
This pick (Round 2, pick 35) shocked me a little bit. I didn’t think they would draft him this high, but they saw their TE of the future, which makes perfect sense for the guy who won the Best TE in All of America award last year. So sue me if it wasn’t called that, but hey, he was the best TE in America, and the Chargers prefered him over Gates and Ladarius Green to lead the team.
In terms of fantasy impact, it is hard to say. He isn’t going to be SD’s #1 receiver, and even if he finds himself proper snaps and targets, he’ll still have to share with Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson and newly-acquired Travis Benjamin.
As I look at San Diego’s matchups right now, it’s looking pretty good for Henry, who’s main tough matchup comes Week 1 against Kansas City, but after that, it’s smooth sailing for him, with easy matchups coming in Week 4 against New Orleans, Week 5 against Oakland, and then against Oakland again in Week 15, a.k.a the Semi-Final of your league. Something to keep in mind. Other than that, San Diego faces middle-of-the-road D’s against Tight Ends, something that is good nor bad.
He’s a deep deep sleeper.
Alright guys, thanks for checking out the first edition of the rookie preview, stay tuned for the second edition, where I’ll go over the under-the-radar options and plays that could possibly send your team to Week 16 of the NFL Season. As always, if you have a question about any particular rookie, feel free to leave a comment below, and I’ll get to it in under 15 seconds.
Well, maybe not that long.
Go read a book.
You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @ohuhave12.