We’re only weeks away now, from the start of training camp for the 2017–2018 NFL season. That also means we’re also weeks away from many fantasy football leagues holding their draft. Given the influx of new talent in a star-studded 2017 NFL Draft, we wanted to provide a breakdown of the top two rookies at each offensive fantasy football position, so you can keep an eye on them in your draft.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans — It’s not entirely out of the question that Deshaun Watson could actually beat out incumbent quarterback Tom Savage, and win the starting job under center for the Texans. It’s not exactly like Savage lit the world on fire in his few starts last year. Watson is easily the most talented quarterback on the roster, and would have an offense filled with highly capable weapons around him to help him succeed.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears — Sure, Mike Glennon is currently listed as the starting quarterback in Chicago right now, and the plan is for Mitchell Trubisky to have something of a “redshirt” year in 2017. But the Bears didn’t take Trubisky with the second overall pick in the draft to keep him on the bench. Chicago is only one bad game by (or one injury to) Glennon away from declaring “the future is now” for Trubisky, and installing him as the full-time starter.
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars — In 2015, when the Jaguars offense enjoyed a breakout season of sorts, it came as a result of high-flying passing attack that challenged defenses vertically. The addition of Leonard Fournette will give defensive coordinators headaches, as they’ll be forced to choose between keeping more guys near the line of scrimmage to stop Fournette, or risking him running wild through the second level of the defense. Fournette is a borderline superhuman combination of power, speed, balance, agility and vision. He’ll only limited by the imagination of the Jaguars’ offense.
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers — Simply put, Christian McCaffrey is going to add a brand new dimension to the Panthers offense. He’ll be an electric change-of-pace running back to Jonathan Stewart, and he’ll provide a receiving option out of the slot — with a lethal ability to produce yards after the catch — which quarterback Cam Newton hasn’t had at any point in his career. He could easily break 1,500 combined yards (rushing and receiving) his rookie season.
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans — The Titans raised a few eyebrows when they selected Corey Davis with the fifth overall selection in the draft, especially considering Davis couldn’t work out during the pre-draft process, due to injury. But Davis finished college as the all-time leader in major college football in receiving yards (with 5,285 in four years), and was drafted to be the #1 receiving weapon for the emerging Marcus Mariota.
John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals — The Bengals already have a superstar wide receiver in AJ Green, but offenses did everything they could to clamp down on Green last season, and force the Bengals to beat their defense with anyone else besides Green. That could open up a lot of opportunities for Ross to catch passes from quarterback Andy Dalton. Ross clearly has big play ability, as evidenced by his record-setting 4.22 time in the 40 yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine.
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Talk to any NFL draft analyst, and they’ll tell you two things: 1) O.J. Howard might have been one of the 8-to-10 best players in the 2017 NFL Draft at any position; and 2) the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got themselves one hell of a steal. He’s going to have the middle of the field wide open to himself, as defenses try to figure out how to stop Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson.
Evan Engram, New York Giants — Evan Engram might be listed as a tight end, but he’s one of the new-age tight ends who moves more like an enormous wide receiver. With legitimate 4.4 speed, he’s going to provide a target down the middle of the field for the Giants, of the likes they haven’t seen in a long time.
Zane Gonzalez, Cleveland Browns — Zane Gonzalez, whom the Cleveland Browns selected in the 7th round of the draft, left Arizona State University as the the all-time leader in field goals made in a college career. Incumbent Cody Parkey hit only 80 percent of his field goals in 14 games with the Browns last year, and they would be more than happy to see someone beat him out for the job.
Jake Elliott, Cincinnati Bengals — If a team selects a kicker in the draft, they’re usually doing so for a reason. The Bengals want Jake Elliott to come in and at least compete with — if not replace — incumbent Randy Bullock, who cost them at least one win last season.