2018 NFL Draft fantasy football fallout
With the 2018 NFL Draft in the books and teams fresh off mini camps, what do all the new rookie additions mean for each team in fantasy football?
The dust from the 2018 NFL Draft has settled, Memorial Day weekend is here, and fantasy football drafts are just around the corner. Quarterbacks were the story of the first round, with five going early, but few QBs make a significant fantasy impact as a rookie. Instead it’s the running backs and receivers that have the fantasy community buzzing.
So which names look worth the early hype, and which rookies are already being overdrafted? What did the draft results mean for other veterans on teams who may have lost some playing time — or unexpectedly found some? Let’s go around the league and see what the NFL Draft means for each team…
Cardinals fans will hear Rosen-to-Kirk for a long time after investing a pair of high draft picks in QB Josh Rosen and WR Christian Kirk, but neither will likely make much of an early fantasy impact. Expect Arizona to stick with Sam Bradford and Larry Fitzgerald until they’re out of any playoff race. Fitz could lose value late if Arizona moves Kirk into the slot or Rosen into the lineup.
The Falcons added Alabama WR Calvin Ridley in the first round, but don’t expect him to make a big immediate fantasy impact. He should replace Taylor Gabriel’s role and probably won’t be worth a big investment in redrafts, but his presence should help Julio Jones.
Lamar Jackson is the future, and his legs make him a target in keeper leagues, but Joe Flacco will start for now. Rookie Hayden Hurst could get a chance at tight end but is only a flier. Michael Crabtree solidifies his spot as Baltimore’s go-to WR with no significant draft investment there.
The Bills invested heavily into Josh Allen as the QB of the future, but that should keep A.J. McCarron in the starting role most of this season. That’s good enough news for McCoy and Benjamin, but it could be trouble for their fantasy playoff value if Buffalo gives Allen run late in the year.
Get excited for D.J. Moore, a player many compared to Steve Smith and now a chance to take Smith’s role in Carolina. The addition of Moore and veteran Torrey Smith and the healthy return of Greg Olsen spells trouble for the value of Devin Funchess, probably not worth his current 7th round ADP.
The Bears completely remade their offense under new head coach Matt Nagy, and that could mean a big opportunity for speedy second round WR Anthony Miller. Allen Robinson will be the go-to WR in Chicago, but there will be plenty of targets to go around, and Miller could end up second in line if he moves ahead of Taylor Gabriel. Mitchell Trubisky will be a popular QB sleeper as he continues to add weapons.
The Bengals offense will look very familiar, but they’re hoping first round C Billy Price will upgrade the offensive line. There’s a lot of reasons to be hopeful for a Joe Mixon breakout, but at his current high third round ADP, he’s already being drafted at peak value and looks quite overrated.
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The Browns could be tough to figure out in fantasy football. Rookie RB Nick Chubb will have to fight Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde for touches. He might end up less of a fantasy value as much as a nuisance to Hyde’s potential value. Cleveland added a couple late WR picks but that shouldn’t impact Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, or Corey Coleman. But the big name, of course, is #1 pick QB Baker Mayfield. He should not be on fantasy radars, but he could see time quickly if Tyrod Taylor falters. Chubb and Mayfield may not be worth much in fantasy, but they could really muck up the value of Hyde, Gordon, and Landry, currently all drafted among the top 50 picks.
The Cowboys are lacking receivers in a big way, so that could present an opportunity for rookie Michael Gallup eventually. Dallas worked on its offensive line early in the draft instead of focusing at WR, so that should add up to a possible monster year for Ezekiel Elliott.
The Broncos drafted a pair of impact fantasy rookies in RB Royce Freeman and WR Courtland Sutton. Sutton is a Demaryius Thomas clone but will likely have to wait his turn behind Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but Freeman could be a steal as a 10th round ADP. Only Devontae Booker stands in his way for serious playing time, so he’ll surely get a chance at some point.
Detroit spent the #43 pick on Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson, and he could be the starter. But he’ll lose time on passing downs to Theo Riddick and at least short yardage touches to LeGarrette Blount, and Detroit has struggled to produce RB fantasy value. Johnson has upside as a 12th round ADP but he’ll need to break recent Lions history to be worth much.
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay drafted a trio of receivers starting in the fourth round, but it’s tough to see any of them making an immediate impact even without Jordy Nelson around. That could make Randall Cobb an interesting sleeper with his versatility and opportunity and just a 10th round ADP for now.
The Texans didn’t add any impact rookies on offense. That spells value for Lamar Miller. He has a clear path to touches with only the still-recovering D’Onta Foreman in his way, and Houston gives a lot of work to its RBs and could have a top offense with a healthy Deshaun Watson. Miller is being drafted outside the top 50 and looks like a terrific sleeper for now.
Rookie Nyheim Hines should make an impact on the field with his speed and versatility, and you could see an impact similar to Chicago’s Tarik Cohen last year, but it’s tough to see him taking on too many carries. That means a green light for sophomore RB Marlon Mack’s sleeper status, currently an 8th round pick. He’ll get a lot of help up front from star rookie guards Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith, who could remake this offensive line.
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The Jaguars will look about as expected. They did use their second pick on D.J. Chark, but he starts the year fifth or sixth on the WR depth chart and probably won’t make an impact early on.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs didn’t have a first round pick and didn’t use a single draft selection on any offensive position. Carry on.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers didn’t address the offense in the first five rounds, so there’s no rookie news, but the loss of TE Hunter Henry to a torn ACL this week was a big blow. That should solidify Keenan Allen as a target monster if healthy.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams didn’t draft an impact offensive player because they traded a high pick for Brandin Cooks instead. Look for Cooks to replace Sammy Watkins’s stats, which could make him an unreliable fantasy option. He looks way overvalued with a high 4th round ADP.
The Dolphins used the #42 pick on TE Mike Gesicki and he should step in as a starter immediately, but rookie tight ends do not tend to do much in fantasy. Miami has a trio of receivers that will eat up plenty of targets while Gesicki learns the ropes.
Not much to note in Minnesota, though the addition of second round T Brian O’Neill should help Dalvin Cook’s rising star.
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New England Patriots
The Patriots surprised everyone by investing a first round pick on RB Sony Michel, and he’s getting some early fantasy buzz with an 8th round ADP. But Michel probably won’t be on the field much for passing downs, and he has to fight for playing time with Rex Burkhead, James White, Jeremy Hill, and Mike Gilislee. That may be a situation to avoid unless one RB steps forward.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints traded a lot of draft stock to move up for a pass rusher, so there were no big additions on offense and not much to report here.
New York Giants
The Giants used the #2 pick on stud RB prospect Saquon Barkley, and fantasy owners are investing major capital on Barkley too. He’s the 17th player off the board in drafts with stock rising. Barkley should get a massive workload, but be careful. The Giants haven’t had a top 15 fantasy RB since Ahmad Bradshaw in 2010.
New York Jets
The Jets took Sam Darnold with the #3 pick, and he’ll likely find his way into the lineup at some point this season. That could mean decent early value for Josh McCown, who was the #8 QB in PPG last season when healthy and is currently going undrafted.
The Raiders traded a pick for Martavis Bryant, so he joins Jordy Nelson and Amari Cooper in a talented receiving corps. That trio is being drafted in the 9th, 5th, and 3rd round ADP right now, and each one of them may be overvalued, but that could mean another chance for Derek Cook to break out. An early investment in a pair of rookie tackles should stabilize the line.
The Eagles used their top draft selection on TE Dallas Goedert, a Zach Ertz clone. That shouldn’t present any threat to Ertz’s immediate value, but Goedert could be a decent fill-in if Ertz misses time again.
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The Steelers may have drafted their future QB-WR combo in Mason Rudolph and James Washington, but it’s tough to see either of them making a fantasy impact this year. Pittsburgh is pretty well set, though Washington could be a nice keeper value the way the Steelers have developed receivers recently.
The Seahawks may have the second most enticing fantasy rookie in first round RB Rashaad Penny. Penny is a small school guy but a big time player, and he could start from Week 1 with only Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise in his way. Penny had 25 TDs and almost 2400 yards from scrimmage last year, and he has monster upside as a late 8th round ADP.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers used a second round pick on Dante Pettis, but Pettis looks more likely to make an impact in the return game for now. San Francisco also added the draft’s top T Mike McGlinchey, and of course they technically added Jimmy Garoppolo with a draft pick too. The 49ers will be a popular sleeper, and fantasy values are already rising, but it might be one year early.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It wasn’t a surprise that the Bucs drafted a RB early, but not many expected it to be Ronald Jones from USC. Jones steps into a great opportunity with only Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers in his way. He’s a speedy dynamic player in an offense that may be ready to take a step forward. He’ll be a popular sleeper with big upside in the 10th round.
The Titans went defense early and often, with no offensive player taken before the sixth round. They’re all in on the current regime.
RB Derrius Guice took a dive on draft day but steps into the perfect situation, a Washington team desperate for a good runner. He looks like a day one starter over Samaje Perine and Robb Kelley, but don’t forget about Chris Thompson taking a ton of snaps and all the passing work. Guice could struggle to meet his 6th round ADP unless he racks up scoring opportunities.