I’ll keep it short so we can dive right back in from where we last left off, but first, I’d like to apologize. I have been absolutely slammed in my numerous events outside of Razzball, but now I am back and ready to roll now more than ever! Today we’ll take a look at the teams picking at the bottom of the draft today, and analyze how their season and off-season acquisitions will effect their strategy come draft night.
Let’s get to it!
17. Washington (8-7-1)
Throughout the entire 2016 season, Washington was the ultimate version of the NFL’s “Will They or Won’t They?” couple. For the longest time, Washington had yet to make up their mind if they were a playoff team or not, continuing a season of mediocrity. However, their offense did improve greatly from the year before in terms of their receivers. Led by the tremendous efforts of Jordan Reed and Pierre Garcon, the team is only likely to get better from last year when 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson returns from injury this season with the arrival of free agent acquisitions Brian Quick and Terrell Pryor. Who is this DeSean Jackson you speak of? And their defense? Well, that’s a whole different story, but the good news is that at the positions in which they need the most help are also those positions that are the deepest in this year’s draft class. So let’s get to it.
Team Needs: Defensive Lineman, Linebacker, Safety
At the time of this writing, Kirk Cousins is still playing in Washington. So for now, I won’t mention that a team need is at the QB position, and as long as he’s there, I won’t add it in. To be 100% truthful, I don’t really mind Cousins, and I think he’ll get better as time goes on. He’s already started. As for the rest of their team, there are numerous questions on defense. As DE Chris Baker has left for Tampa Bay, it’s time for Washington to address their concerns on the defensive front. Unless they believe Terrell McClain will solve all of their issues, they could be looking at guys like Derek Barnett (Tennessee) or Taco Charlton (Michigan). The biggest thing to know for us regular fantasy folk is that I highly doubt Washington will spend this pick on an offensive weapon, either at receiver or in the backfield. They have too many questions to address on defense.
18. Tennessee Titans (9-7)
Much like Washington, the Titans failed to capitalize on many chances during the year, and although they may have clearly been the best team in the very weak AFC South, they failed to win early in the year, and when it mattered the most down the stretch (in which they beat some very impressive teams), an injury to Marcus Mariota was all she wrote. I have stated numerous times on the Razzcast that I truly believe the Titans are a very talented squad, and are heading in the right direction for years to come. Sprinkle in a few acquisitions in free agency like they have done, and you’re looking at a very talented football team.
Team Needs: Safety, Defensive End, Wide Receiver
When looking at their team needs for the upcoming draft, I honestly see the Titans going with best available. Yes, they could use a DE or Safety (although they did get CB Logan Ryan, who should definitely help), they may just want to grab a WR at 18. yes, Rishard Matthews did play very well at times, but they could give Mariota all the help he needs. If they want to add an offensive weapon here, look for guys like Mike Williams (Clemson), John Ross (Washington), or even Corey Davis (Western Michigan). It’s a pretty crowded receiver corps in general, with plenty of mouths to feed, so I’m not convinced that a rookie here will make a big impact in fantasy come fall. It would definitely help Mariota though.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)
I’m sensing a pattern here. Again, if the Bucs win a few crucial games they should have won, we’re looking at a playoff team. However, I’d be stupid not to mention that the Bucs made a very large leap from a production point 2 years ago under Lovie Smith, so big time props to Jameis and Dirk Koetter.
Team Needs: Running Back, Safety, Cornerback
To talk a little bit about myself and MB, you’ve got to know that he’s a huge Bucs fan, and I’m like a 80% Bucs fan (I live down the road from Raymond James). Because I haven’t truly been tortured over the years from past disappointments, I have some big expectations heading into the draft. Which means I think they’ll go for a back, particularly a guy like Dalvin Cook (FSU) or Christian McCaffrey (Stanford). And if that’s the case, I really do think you can make an argument for them in the late rounds of fantasy drafts in the fall. However, MB would probably tell you that this is the same team that picked a kicker in the 2nd round, so they’re probably going with a Safety. Or another kicker.
20. Denver Broncos (9-7)
To say that the 2017 season was disappointing is an understatement. While Peyton Manning was soaking up some rays at a beach somewhere, the Broncos defense and offensive line was figuratively doing the same. Each unit had issues all season, and now Denver must make some crucial additions to start the tenure of new HC Vance Joseph in the right direction.
Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Defensive End, Inside Linebacker
Honestly, when pick #20 is on the clock come draft night, Denver’s decision will most likely be based on who the best available prospect is of the three positions mentioned above. With the loss of Malik Jackson (to Jacksonville) and DeMarcus Ware (retirement), one could say that their biggest need is on defense, and while that might be true, it seemed like both right tackles are non-existent. There are a few different notable prospects Denver could turn to, but this pick will likely have little fantasy impact. You aren’t really playing Trevor Siemian/Paxton Lynch, and their defense is largely the same as last year’s unit, even with the two departures.
21. Detroit Lions (9-4)
There’s the saying “Any given Sunday” for a reason, but I don’t truly feel like the Lions should have been a playoff team last year, and I don’t think it’s a guarantee that they’re a playoff team this year. In fact, if Washington doesn’t choke, they don’t make it in to begin with. However, I was a big Matthew Stafford fan heading into the season, and he definitely delivered. However, Detroit is going to have to make some additions on defense if they want to continue to play football when it gets cold outside.
Team Needs: Defensive Tackle, Linebacker, Cornerback
The Lions did sign some names over this off-season in Akeem Spence, Jordan Hill and Paul Worrilow, but if they truly want to make a bigger impact on defense, I believe they’ll have to take a DT or Linebacker at the 21st spot. If they do that, you’ll be looking at a guy like Haason Reddick (Temple) or Taco Charlton (Michigan). Again, it’s all the usual for this Lions defense in fantasy next year, you’re most likely only gonna use them in streaming situations (unless their secondary continues to grow).
22. Miami Dolphins (10-6)
To say that the Dolphins turned it on when it mattered the most coming down the stretch is an understatement. They were definitely one of the nice surprises of the 2016 season, and if it weren’t for some costly injuries in the second half of the second half of the season, then they definitely could have given some AFC teams a run for their money in the playoffs. Throw in some very nice free agent acquisitions such as Nate Allen, Lawrence Timmons, Williams Hayes, and Julius Thomas, in addition to a very talented Jay Ajayi and a great offensive line, not to mention a very solid defensive unit, and you’re looking at possibly a very dangerous Miami Dolphins in 2017.
Team Needs: Defensive Tackle, Guard, Center
The Dolphins’ O-Line was definitely a bright spot in their 2016 campaign, and if they want Ajayi to continue to do some damage and keep Tannehill healthy, they should definitely upgrade at the Guard and Center spot. If they choose to go that route, keep an eye out for a guy like Forrest Lamp (Western Kentucky) or possibly even Dan Freeney (Indiana), although it might be a stretch.
23. New York Giants (11-5)
After the signing of Brandon Marshall a few weeks back, many analysts have been quick to predict that the Giants will be the team to beat in 2017 behind a loaded offense and a fantastic defensive unit. And you know what? I really want to say that they are right, because they probably are, but that’s what everyone said last year with a healthy Victor Cruz! I really bet heavily on a great year from Eli Manning, and boy did he let me down. And now I’m supposed to forgive him because he now has a 33-year old Brandon Marshall? I really don’t like fantasy football.
Team Needs: Left Tackle, Linebacker, Tight End
Ereck Flowers is a fine enough OT, but he could definitely use some help after some performances that left a lot of us scratching our heads this past year. If they choose to upgrade their O-Line, it could definitely help Eli’s chances this year (as much as it pains me to say it). However, they could definitely look to a Tight End after putting up with Will Tye and Larry Donnell for a little bit too long, although it would shock me that they would use a 1st-round selection on one.
24. Oakland Raiders (12-4)
Me: How do you think the Raiders will attack the draft? Any thoughts on the season that was?
Son: Defense. Middle LB’s, Safety and Cornerbacks. Reggie likes building both sides of the line so probably some hybrid defensive linemen. 2016 was a great season. Carr’s injury was unfortunate but I think we were a year or two away anyways. I just wish they were able to experience the playoffs all together because that’s invaluable for growth and taking steps forward.
Me: Thanks man!
Son: Shut up. I hope Brandin Cooks tears his ACL.
Team Needs: Linebacker, Defensive Tackle, Running Back
I agree with Stan ten-fold, however I would like to mention that in the scenario in which Oakland doesn’t sign either AP or Marshawn Lynch, I think an early round pick would solve their issues at the position. Look for one of the guys that Tampa Bay doesn’t take to land in the bay area.
25. Houston Texans (9-7)
I’m going to make this very quick because I’m hoping you know what the Texans were all about in 2016. They were not supposed to make the playoffs, but alas, they play in the worst division in football, so they made it in. The Patriots beat them by 16, and they pretty much cut Brock Osweiler (they actually gave him to Cleveland for $1 and a coupon to McDonald’s). So this is an easy selection. The rest of their team is actually not that bad compared to their QB, so let’s get it over with.
Team Needs: Quarterback
They need a gunslinger and a commander of their very young offense, so look for guys like Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame) or Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina), whichever one falls to them at 25. In terms of fantasy, I can only advise to use them as streaming options until we’re proven wrong.
26. Seattle Seahawks (11-6)
It’s the same old story for Seattle: play like crap for games 1-7, completely turn it on for games 8-17, and become one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL during that time period. It’s actually become quite boring. The Seahawks may have actually been very likely candidates to go the distance in 2016 if it weren’t to injuries to Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and C.J. Prosise. However, each upcoming season looks like a bright one in the Pacific Northwest, so they won’t have to do much to get themselves back into Super Bowl contention.
Team Needs: Offensive Tackle, Guard, Defensive Tackle
I’ll make this pretty brief. You could have put the members of the Razzcast on the offensive line and we would have done a better job at protecting Russell Wilson last year. There isn’t much fantasy analysis to be had for offensive linemen, but it definitely helps Wilson’s stock if they make some much needed changes to their O-Line.
27. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
The Chiefs should have done more in January than they did against the Steelers at home, yet some pretty bad offensive performances was the deciding factor. Looking onward to the 2017 season, there isn’t much that needs to be accomplished in this year’s draft to get the Chiefs back to where they found themselves last year heading into the playoffs, so much like the Seahawks and the rest of the 1st round teams upcoming, we’ll keep it brief.
Team Needs: Linebacker, Cornerback, Guard
28. Dallas Cowboys (13-3)
The Cowboys had a fantastic season when many did not think it was possible after Tony Romo’s preseason injury. However, the fact that they were starting two rookies in the backfield showed in the playoff loss to Green Bay. However, to say that the future is bright is an understatement.
Team Needs: Defensive End, Defensive Tackle, Wide Receiver
If one of the top receivers falls to Dallas, they’ll take him here, but because that is unlikely to happen, it looks like they’ll have to settle on upgrading their defensive front.
29. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
Each year it seems that the Packers and Seahawks have a competition for who can change things around the quickest, and currently, that title seems to belong to Green Bay (although it’s definitely close). The good thing about the Packers 2017 season is that they have Warren Buffett money when it comes to cap-space, so I’ll definitely be interested in other names they’ll bring to Wisconsin.
Team Needs: Cornerback, Inside Linebacker, Guard
Anyone who isn’t blind could tell you that their secondary was an absolute joke in 2016, and lucky for them, there are plenty of primer secondary talent in the draft class. See what I did there?
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
To recap: Ben Roethlisberger was injured AGAIN, Le’Veon Bell was suspended AGAIN, Antonio Brown got into a social media debacle AGAIN, and they lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game AGAIN. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Team Needs: Defensive End, Linebacker, Safety
31. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
What can I say that hasn’t already been said before? Yes, they probably should have won the Super Bowl led by a fantastic and deep offense, and a very young and fast defensive unit. They’ll be back, regardless of who their new OC is. But you probably already knew that. A few extra additions at the draft and they’ll be on their way.
Team Needs: Defensive Tackle, Defensive End, Linebacker
The great news in the wake of Kyle Shanahan’s depature is that the offense won’t have to play as good as they did last year to bail out their defensive, because with a few draft picks or too, they’ll have one of the best young units in the NFL.
32. New Orleans Saints (7-9)
Wait, so you’re telling me we don’t have a 1st round pick… but not due to DeflateGate? Interesting. And apparently Brandin Cooks is good?
Team Needs: (See MB’s Article, Team Previews Picks: 1-16)
Alright you guys, thanks for keeping me company as we start the week ahead of us. As always, if you have a question or a comment about something your read above, please do not hesitate to leave a comment down below!
You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @ohuhave12.