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2017 NFL Draft: Recapping Round 1 from a fantasy perspective

Breaking down everything fantasy owners need to know about Round 1.

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Well that was a heck of a night.

For everyone who joined me on Twitter and checked out our Draft updates, I hope you guys had as much fun as I did. That was one of the most exciting drafts I can remember in a long, long time.

Now that the dust has settled and I have the bandwidth to write a coherent paragraph, I decided to look at all the skill positions drafted and share my thoughts on the team fit from a fantasy perspective. Let’s start with the surprise of the night...

Mitchell Trubisky to the Bears

Firstly, did anyone see this coming? If you did, can you please tell me what six numbers will win me the next lottery, because clearly you can see the future. I do not like this pairing at all. Sorry Bears fans. I’m surprised that the Bears, after giving him a fair amount of change this offseason, didn’t let Mike Glennon take a single snap before aggressively going after a quarterback. But they did and now John Fox has hitched his wagon on the shoulders of Glennon and Trubisky. Not exactly two guys I’d want leading the way. We’ll see how Trubisky pans out and what kind of playing time he’ll get in 2017 but he’s not high on my list of fantasy quarterbacks this year. Dynasty might be a different story, but not this year.

Leonard Fournette to the Jaguars

I touched on this briefly both on Twitter and in my Draft updates but Fournette is going to be the workhorse in Jacksonville. Which is great. They will change their offense to fit Fournette and Fournette can handle whatever work load they give him. You want to know what’s even better? Adding a back like Fournette takes the pressure off Blake Bortles to do everything for the offense which might—MIGHT—help him return to the fantasy dominance he experienced just a year ago. This does mean that I’m buying zero stock in TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory. This is Fournette’s backfield now and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jaguars are hoping for a Ezekiel Elliott level rookie year out of him.

Corey Davis to the Titans

Quick version: Titans needed a number one receiver and they got one in Corey Davis. I was hyping up Mike Williams to Tennessee but I also love what Davis brings from a YAC perspective. Davis has the elite ability to turn short passes into big gains by breaking tackles and making people miss. With no clear number one receiver in Tennessee, don’t be surprised if Davis becomes Marcus Mariota’s favorite target within the hour. Get excited for all the training camp headlines that inform us the chemistry between Mariota and Davis is phenomenal and they’re already in midseason form. Davis is a high level WR2 for me, I’d probably have him in my top 30 fantasy receivers right now without even catching a pass.

Mike Williams to the Chargers

Initially I never thought of this pairing because Keenan Allen. But then, when I was listening to Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock talking during the broadcast, they brought up a really good point: the Chargers offense was at it’s best back when they had Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd roaming on the outside. It’s true. Adding another big bodied receiver to the Chargers’ offense is a great idea for Philip Rivers in his twilight years. Also, Allen has yet to really prove to us that he can stay healthy for a full year so now at least when he gets injured, the Chargers have a number one guy to take over in his place. Williams is to me again another high level fantasy option, though I don’t have him as high as Davis.

Christian McCaffrey to the Panthers

I saw this rumored in a ton of mock drafts and didn’t really want to pay it any mind because I wasn’t so sure on the fit. However, my opinion has changed in hearing some of the whispers out of Carolina:

McCaffrey does add a versatile offensive weapon that the Panthers were sorely missing last year. He’ll instantly add value as a kick returner and will I’m sure be heavily involved in the Panthers’ game plan. Also he kinda sneaky helps both Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart’s fantasy value. Cam gets a security blanket out of the backfield and Stewart gets to play when he’s well rested.

John Ross to the Bengals

What can I say, sometimes I even amaze myself. I came up with this pairing when I was writing Ross’ rookie profile and ever since then, I couldn’t get it out of my head. And now I don’t. It’s perfect. Adding the speed of Ross to an offense that already has receiving threats like A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert is almost unfair. But it’s beautiful. With his game changing speed, Ross will be built into the Bengals’ offensive game plan but I wouldn’t expect him to be a fantasy world breaker from day one. He’s going to be a boom-or-bust guy but with hopefully more booms than busts. That being said, long term in dynasty formats, he could become similar to Brandin Cooks so I’d certainly get him if you can and see what he can develop into.

Pat Mahomes to the Chiefs

Another shocker! When the Chiefs traded up with the Bills, thought for sure it was for Deshaun Watson, which even still would be kinda silly in my book. But no! It was for Mahomes! Now this is still Alex Smith’s team and I don’t really foresee Mahomes taking any playing time from Smith unless a) he gets injured or b) is just way too Alex Smithy for this offense to function. So not seeing a lot of fantasy value for Mahomes this year. Maybe in dynasty leagues as Andy Reid does have a good track record developing quarterbacks and Mahomes has plenty of arm talent to succeed in the NFL. We’ll see. But much like old Mitchell in Chicago, I wouldn’t be looking for a lot of 2017 fantasy value.

Deshaun Watson to the Texans

Now this move made sense to me. Well, it made sense only because two QBs went in the top 10 picks so the Texans freaked out and traded up quickly to get their guy. But, this to me is the best fantasy pairing if you’re for whatever reason hell bent on getting a rookie quarterback for your fantasy team this year. Watson goes into Houston which already has plenty of offensive weapons and a terrific defense. He won’t be asked to win games, he’ll be asked to manage them. And even if he needs to win them, he’s shown he can do that (college championship anyone?). I’ll be interested to see what is being said come training camp but I would not be surprised to see Watson start for the Texans day one and would not be surprised for Watson to have a decent fantasy year. Plus he hopefully makes DeAndre Hopkins a legit fantasy receiver again. DAMN YOU BROCK LOBSTER!

O.J. Howard to the Buccaneers

I all but lost my mind when this pick came in. LOVE LOVE LOVE this pick for so many reasons. Firstly, you’re adding the best all around tight end prospect since probably Rob Gronkowski to an offense with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Jameis Winston. So, that’s great for Howard’s fantasy value. Winston also gets yet another offensive weapon that he can play with which improves his fantasy value. Howard takes focus away from Evans and Jackson and Howard’s blocking ability helps in the run game. I did not think that Howard would make it all the way down to pick 19 but boy am I glad he did. I love this landing spot and Howard is very high on my list of fantasy tight ends.

Evan Engram to the Giants

Did not think that Engram would go in the first round, let alone before Njoku. But he did. And it’s a great get for the Giants. Engram at his very basic is a matchup nightmare and will be yet another weapon to add to an offense that’s now starting to become flushed with them. I have no idea what kinds of targets Engram will see given that he’ll be sharing the field with target-hoarders Odell Beckham Jr and Brandon Marshall but he certainly has some fantasy relevance. Also, I don’t think the Giants are planning on running the football at all next year given the number of receivers they now have on the roster. Sorry Paul Perkins fans.

David Njoku to the Browns

The Browns traded back into the first round to get Njoku so they have a plan for him. And the Browns are no strangers to fantasy relevant tight ends. However, like any pass catcher, Njoku’s value relies on who’s throwing him the football which currently looks to be Cody Kessler. Not great. It hurts even more that clearly the Browns traded back into the first round—to the pick right before the Steelers—because they wanted to make sure Njoku didn’t go to their inner-divisional rival. It pains me because Njoku to the Steelers would’ve been a cheat code and instantly sent his fantasy stock rocketing. Oh well. A boy can dream.

Who’s left?

  • RB Dalvin Cook - would love to see him go to a team that is needy at running back instead of just joining a running back committee (maybe the Packers at #33?)
  • RB Joe Mixon
  • RB Alvin Kamara

Poll

Which rookie are you most excited for in fantasy?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Mitchell Trubisky
    (0 votes)
  • 41%
    Leonard Fournette
    (39 votes)
  • 21%
    Corey Davis
    (20 votes)
  • 2%
    Mike Williams
    (2 votes)
  • 19%
    Christian McCaffrey
    (18 votes)
  • 2%
    John Ross
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Pat Mahomes
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    Deshaun Watson
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    O.J. Howard
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    Evan Engram
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    David Njoku
    (1 vote)
94 votes total Vote Now