It’s draft week! With the NFL Draft only days away, it’s time to look at the running backs and tight ends who should hear their names called in the first few rounds. You can also check out my look at the quarterbacks and wide receivers to get yourself fully caught up. I’ve broken down my full mock draft here and you can also find the full list printed at the bottom of this article. If you have any questions, comment below or hit me up on Instagram @thefantasyfirstdown or Twitter @FantasyFirstDwn. You can also find my rankings at ffdfantasyfootball.com


Tight Ends

This is a one man tight end class. Brock Bowers will likely go in the top ten picks of this week’s draft, while we may not see another tight end until day three. Nevertheless, here’s the main names to know for fantasy this year:


  • Player: Brock Bowers
  • School: Georgia
  • Projected Pick: 1.10 to New York Jets

There is only one stud tight end in this draft and he’s truly elite. Brock Bowers is one of the best tight end products we’ve seen this decade from a pure pass catching perspective. He’s a speed mismatch against linebackers and a size mismatch against cornerbacks meaning he can line up anywhere. In college he regularly took end-arounds and handoffs while his route running is at wide receiver levels of fluidity and subtlety. He’s got a natural knack for finding himself in space but is also great at contested catches with his body positioning and hands meaning he can reel in most passes. Consider him a big slot receiver. The Georgia man’s greatest weakness is his blocking. He’s willing but his size means he’s unlikely to be an option in clear run situations. While it will likely limit his production if he’s off the field on early downs, I expect there’s a good chance he’s an every down receiving weapon from day one. For fantasy, Bowers’s landing spot will dictate his ranking for this year. If, as expected, he goes to the Jets, he’ll be a top ten option. For dynasty, he should be drafted after the top three receivers and in superflex, after the top three quarterbacks too.


  • Player: Ja’Tavion Sanders
  • School: Texas
  • Projected Round: 3-4

 Ja’Tavion Sanders may not be the second tight end off the board, but for me he’s the favorite to be my second tight end in dynasty drafts. But there’s a huge drop-off compared to Bowers. Sanders was underused at Texas given he was competing with Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy for targets, but when given the opportunity he shined. Sanders has impressive speed for a 6’4”, 245lb monster and can be a real weapon down the seam. He didn’t show enough in the red zone in college but on paper, he should produce there too. His landing spot will dictate his future production but he’s likely a 3rd-4th round guy in dynasty.


  • Player: Ben Sinnott
  • School: Kansas State
  • Projected Round: 3-4

 The bookmakers’s favorite to be the TE2 in this year’s draft, Ben Sinnott is likely years away from a fantasy-relevant role. Only 21-years-old, he looked very raw in college but still managed to be one of the top receiving weapons for the Wildcats. If you’re in a deep dynasty league, he’ll be someone you can stash and hold. Just be willing to wait a couple of years.


  • Player: Jaheim Bell
  • School: Florida State
  • Projected Round: 4-5

 You’ll hear more buzz about Cade Stover and Theo Johnson but for me, Jaheim Bell is more likely to be a fantasy gun. He’s a potential mismatch weapon who can make strong catches in coverage down the field. Bell’s landing spot will dictate his value but he’s certainly a name to keep an eye on.


  • Player: Theo Johnson
  • School: Penn State
  • Projected Round: 3-4

Theo Johnson could easily be the second tight end off the board but that doesn’t mean he should be drafted in fantasy. He could develop into a very good blocking tight end but I think he has less receiving upside compared to the others in this group. Having said that, Johnson does have solid speed and mismatch size so if he gets the right landing spot, he might be an injury away from a role.


Running Backs

This is a very weak running back class, especially for fantasy. For context, Kendre Miller would have been the top prospect if he were in this class and he hardly saw the field in his rookie season. Having said that, there’s a lot of Day 3 quality that means a couple of these players will probably pop up and surprise. Others will also fall into useful roles but until the draft, the deeper guys aren’t worth discussing.


  • Player: Trey Benson
  • School: Florida State
  • Projected Round: 2-3

There’s no clear number one running back in this class so don’t overthink the order here. Trey Benson is my personal favorite but he may not be the best fantasy option. Benson had a fantastic combine, showcasing 4.39s speed at a good height and weight. He combines power and speed to break through arm tackles and burst downfield, though he’s not particularly instinctive and misses holes at times. He was rarely used as a receiver in college which badly hurts his upside for fantasy. For dynasty, his landing spot will dictate whether he’s likely to get an every down role or whether he’s a pure power back with goal line work.


  • Player: Jonathon Brooks
  • School: Texas
  • Projected Round: 3

Jonathon Brooks is the total opposite of Benson, despite being the same height and weight. Brooks has great vision with the top speed to fly into the secondary once he hits the hole. He’s also a better pass catcher and can be a true three down back. The Texas star’s limiting factor is his November ACL injury. His age should mean a quick recovery but we’ve seen some players take years to truly return to their former selves and that makes Brooks a risky choice in fantasy.


  • Player: Blake Corum
  • School: Michigan
  • Projected Round: 2-3

Many experts rank the national champion as the best back in the class, but he’s likely to go behind at least Benson and Brooks. Blake Corum has the best running feel in the class, but his short stature limits him. His superior receiving and pass blocking mean he is more likely to be used on third downs, but there are question marks around whether he can function as a true three down back in the NFL. His landing spot will give us a great hint as to what we should expect. Many expect he’ll follow his college coach to the Chargers but I’m not convinced he really fills their need of a true receiving back. For fantasy, he’s likely to go in the first round of dynasty drafts and that may be too early for me.


  • Player: Jaylen Wright
  • School: Tennessee
  • Projected Round: 3-5

Jaylen Wright could slip into Day 2 as an agile receiving back who can fulfil a change of pace role too. His size and power somewhat limit his upside but we’ve seen smaller backs thrive in an every down role. I wouldn’t be going out of my way to draft Wright in fantasy, but in PPR he may find a useful role.


  • Player: Braelon Allen
  • School: Wisconsin
  • Projected Round: 3-5

Braelon Allen is a one-cut, power runner who is a real liability on passing downs. It’s hard to project him to be anything but a rotational back but he certainly has goal line usage written all over him and that has some fantasy value. His lack of upside is a concern though.


  • Player: Marshawn Lloyd
  • School: USC
  • Projected Round: 4-5

Another shorter receiver, Marshawn Lloyd at least has the weight to play on early downs. He’s a solid receiver who profiles as a backup and could play an every down role if required. His landing spot will be vital.

I’ll be back in a fortnight to discuss the impact the NFL Draft will have on fantasy.

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