Fantasy Implications of the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft took place at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, IL from April 30th to May 2nd. Several players taken will make an impact in fantasy football this season.

  • Jameis Winston (Florida State QB) was taken number one overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Throughout his college career, Jameis has shown immense talent on the field. All of the questions about Jameis have been off the field. Winston will likely be ranked as a low-end number two QB in fantasy drafts. I like his upside this year—he’d be a perfect backup QB to have for fantasy in case he explodes. Winston will be given a plethora of weapons at his disposal: 6’ 5” Mike Evans, 6’ 5” Vincent Jackson and 6’ 6” Austin Seferian-Jenkins. This tall receiving core will allow him to chuck it up in the air similar to what he did with Kelvin Benjamin two years ago. Winston has a strong arm, but might trust it too much; if this speculation becomes a reality, he would put up no better than Jay Cutler numbers. However, his Big Ben-esque mobility and strong receiving core, coupled with the likeliness of starting in week one, make Jameis Winston a high upside QB this year in fantasy.
  • Marcus Mariota (Oregon QB) was drafted second overall by the Tennessee Titans. Mariota will not necessarily start week one for the Titans as there will be a QB competition in Tennessee with Zach Mettenberger (2014 draft pick) vying for the starting spot. Mariota and Winston are both good dynasty picks; I prefer Winston over Mariota for the long haul.
  • Dante Fowler (Florida OLB) was drafted third by the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is not a fantasy relevant pick, but I did want to note that the Jacksonville Jaguars defense could be a sneaky good this year in a deeper league.
  • Amari Cooper (Alabama WR) went to the Oakland Raiders. I like Cooper’s skill set—he’s going to have a great career. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Oakland makes him the primary target on their team. The Raiders haven’t had a 1,000 yard receiver in 10 years; however, they were fourth in the league last year in pass attempts. If this pass-happy offense continues on this trend, this could be the year that Oakland sees another 1,000 yard receiver.
  • Brandon Scherff (Iowa OG) was drafted fifth overall by the Washington Redskins. This will hopefully give Robert Griffin III a chance to do something in the pocket. With the offensive line in shambles in 2014, this is also a good pickup for Alfred Morris owners.
  • The New York Jets went with Leonard Williams (USC DE). The Jets are adding to an already stacked defense. They will be a tough team to run against this year, and, with Revis Island back, the New York Jets defense will be top 10 again in 2015.
  • Kevin White (West Virginia WR) went 7th overall to the Chicago Bears. White will presumably take Brandon Marshall’s spot as the second WR with Alshon Jeffrey on the other side. From a fantasy perspective for 2015, I prefer Kevin White to Amari Cooper because White is in a better offense. Kevin White is 6’ 3”, 215 lbs and runs the 40 yard dash in 4.35 seconds. He is an athletic specimen and a great compliment to what the Bears offense already has in Alshon Jeffrey. In my opinion, White has the highest upside for 2015 of any rookie receiver and his addition to the Bears offense makes Jay Cutler a high-upside number two QB.
  • Todd Gurley (Georgia RB) went to the St. Louis Rams as the 10th pick in the first round making Zac Stacy irrelevant in a standard 10-team fantasy league. Although the Rams might be patient with Gurley and work him into the backfield as the year goes on, Gurley should be the top RB pick for all dynasty leagues.
  • DeVante Parker (Louisville WR) was drafted in the first round by the Miami Dolphins. Did you know that Ryan Tannehill was a top 10 QB last year? Most people don’t. This pick will add to Tannehill’s arsenal in 2015; Parker has a chance to make his mark this year in Miami.
  • Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin RB) was taken in the first round by the San Diego Chargers. With Ryan Matthews out of the picture in San Diego, Gordon has the clearest path to playing time of any rookie RB, making him the #1 rookie RB this year in a redraft league. Melvin Gordon excelled in college—we’ll see if his skills translate to the NFL. Gordon has a lot of upside this season—in a standard 10-team league, he’d be an ideal third RB.
  • Nelson Agholor (USC WR) was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the latter part of round one. With all the pre-draft talks about Philly trying to trade up for Mariota, Agholor seems like an afterthought to Eagles fans. The Philadelphia back office really seems to like Agholor though; and given this optimal situation for a rookie WR on a Chip Kelly offense, Agholor might be this year’s Kelvin Benjamin (or Jordan Matthews) who beats out some of the more hyped rookie WRs.
  • Shane Ray (Missouri DE) was taken 23rd overall by the Denver Broncos. Even though this will help bolster the Broncos defense, this is only included in today’s article because it’s ironic. Just days before the NFL draft, Shane Ray was cited for possession of marijuana. Shane Ray will now be living and working in a state where marijuana is legal. Do the Broncos really think that Shane Ray will not smoke weed simply because it’s banned by the NFL? Again, this is the same player that thought it was a good idea to have some weed just days before the biggest day of his life (to this point), the NFL draft—not to mention, he did this in a state where marijuana is illegal and not nearly as prevalent as in Colorado. It’ll be interesting to see how many games Shane plays before he gets suspended (over/under 8?).

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