Fantasy Impact of the First Round of the 2017 NFL draft

27 Apr, 2017
Fantasy Impact of the First Round of the 2017 NFL draft

Hello, friends!  Jimmie Maverick here and I am always super excited to see where all the young talent ends up for the upcoming season.  Last year there were several significant fantasy rookies that emerged including:  Ezekiel Elliott; Jordan Howard, Dac Prescott and Michael Thomas.  Which of the players situated tonight are in the best situation to become fantasy stars and help you win your league in 2017?

#2 Mitch Trubisky (QB - CHI) – For some odd reason, the Bears gave away three future draft picks to San Francisco to move up one spot (I think the trade was unnecessary).  So I guess the Mike Glennon era is already over in Chicago before it even starts.  There’s not much to report here fantasy wise, Trubisky will be behind Glennon on the depth chart, but if the team falls apart like the Rams did last year, expect Trubisky to be thrust into the starter role before he is ready.  This pick negatively impacts every offensive player on this team and you’ll probably be better off completely avoiding any Chicago player in 2017.

#4 Leonard Fournette (RB - JAX) – No surprise here as this pick has been telegraphed by Jacksonville for the past month.  Jacksonville got their guy and I expect them to put him to work immediately.  I’m guessing he’s going to go in the 3rd or 4th round of most drafts and he’s been pretty heavily hyped so far.  He is dealing with a chronic ankle injury that may require surgery, so that makes me very wary to want to take him for my fantasy team.  Of course, both Chris Ivory (ADP #169) and TJ Yeldon (ADP #175) are barely fantasy relevant here and I expect one of them to be cut before the season begins.

#5 Corey Davis (WR – TEN) – Tennessee surprised me when they took an elite wide receiver with their first pick.  However, before you get too excited, understand that this team is run first – which means they are a low volume passing team.  Last season, the team passed the ball 504 times.  What this means is that there’s often not enough volume of passes to sustain receiver production.  This leads to wildly inconsistent usage of their receivers.  You see this on other low volume passing teams like Kansas City and Carolina.  You’ll probably get 1,000 receiving yards out of Davis, but his usage is going to be so uneven he will be impossible to trust from week to week.   I also expect Rishard Matthews (ADP #99) and Tajae Sharpe (ADP #176) to start dropping down the draft board.  Don’t bother with any of the Tennessee receivers this season, if you want a pass catcher on this team, get Delanie Walker (ADP #73).

#7 Mike Williams (WR – LAC) – Another surprise as I figured that the Chargers were already well equipped at wide receiver.  They might be telegraphing that Keenan Allen (ADP #37) is in worse shape than they are leading on with taking such a highly regarded receiver.   I expect to see Williams appear in the 6th or 7th round of most draft boards and he is a real intriguing pick.  I’m guessing he could produce WR2 numbers in his rookie season and if Keenen Allen goes down again his ceiling gets much higher.  The biggest player hurt by this is Tyrell Williams (ADP #81), who had a great season last year but is now probably going to be relegated to the #3 and I expect his ADP to drop at least 20 points from where it is now.

#8 Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)- If there is one player who is in the best position for fantasy it’s this guy.  Carolina is the perfect fit, they need someone to replace rapidly aging Jonathan Stewart (ADP #65) and his versatility will give him many ways for him to score points on your fantasy team.  I also expect McCaffrey to appear in the 30s or 40s on the draft board and he seems like a no brainer to get on your team and produce RB2 numbers (borderline RB1 in PPR leagues).  Look for 1,100 scrimmage yards, 7 TDs and 500 return yards in his rookie season.  Obviously, Stewart’s ADP should drop at least 20 points from where it is now in response. 

#9 John Ross (WR – CIN) – Another surprise as Andy Dalton gets another weapon to throw to.  I thought with the addition of Brandon LaFell (ADP #181) in free agency they wouldn’t need to get another receiver but I was wrong.  The big issue here is that the second receiver has never been able to produce fantasy relevant numbers, they usually end up at the 800 yard, 5 TD range and that’s where I expect to see Ross at the end of 2017 unless AJ Green gets hurt again.  He will be a low risk player to draft as I expect his ADP to be in the 80s or 90s, so he might be worth a bench slot.

#10  Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC) – Nothing to see here, Alex Smith is still the QB.  I don’t expect to see Mahomes play this season.

#12 Deshaun Watson (QB – HOU) – This guy is going to immediately have an impact on this team.  No matter what Watson does as a rookie, he’s going to be better than Osweiller.  This means we can upgrade all of the offensive players including:  Lamar Miller (ADP #21); DeAndre Hopkins (ADP #27); CJ Fedorowicz (ADP #139) and Will Fuller (ADP #142).  Fuller is looking like a steal at his current ADP.

#19  O.J. Howard (TE – TB) – This was another surprising move because TE Cameron Brate (ADP #108) had a breakout season in 2016.  Now they’ve added another TE which basically means that neither of these guys are going to be fantasy relevant next season.  Now, Brate is on a contract year, so I’m thinking they are not planning on renewing his contract at the end of this season and Howard will be an awesome TE to own in 2018.

#23 Evan Engram (TE – NYG) and #29 David Njoku (TE – CLE) – It’s never a good idea to draft a rookie TE onto your fantasy team.  There is a learning curve and you never know if they’re going to be a decent pass catcher or if they’ll just do run blocking.  There’s not going to be enough pass volume on either of these guys anyway, so don’t worry about it.  However, if one breaks out during the season, you should be able to grab them off of the waiver wire if you’re fast enough.

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Author: Jim Kutsko