NFL Draft Round 1 – Fantasy Recap
Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft saw 8 skill position players selected. Some were pretty brilliant landing spots, some were quite questionable, but really every fan base is excited.
Let’s take a look at these selections simply from a fantasy perspective. We’ll go in the order of which they were taken.
Pick #1 – Kyler Murray – QB – Arizona Cardinals
Let’s face it. Kliff Kingsbury wants his guy at QB, and Josh Rosen was certainly not his guy. So barring some sort of catastrophic injury or unbelievably poor preseason play Murray is your starter at QB for the Cards in Week 1.
He’s got a few things going for him.
- An offensive minded head coach
- A dual threat running back
- Amazing mobility
- Not a completely bare WR corps
Yeah, I hear the height argument. This dude is just an athlete. You’re looking at Murray heading off the board in redraft leagues in the high QB2 range (QB 12-18), and this could jump higher if he impresses in the preseason.
Redraft: QB15ish, but we’ll hear about a few leagues where he’s like QB8
Dynasty/Empire: top 6 rookie pick
Pick #6 – Daniel Jones – QB – New York Giants
The STEAL OF THE…. no wait. The comps I’ve heard to Jones are Christian Ponder, who was also a first round draft pick, also a Senior Bowl MVP, and also left a fan base simultaneously uttering “What the f–?” and “Alright he can’t be much worse than Eli.”
My co-worker and co-host Brian Johnson (from Fantasy Football Weekly – KFAN 100.3 in Minneapolis & Fanball Weekly – Saturdays 8am ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Channel) actually renounced his NYG fandom with this pick. It had been a long and miserable road for him to get to this point, which included the Odell Beckham trade, but he’s now a Bengals fan and arrived to the office with shouts of “who dey?
Any way you slice it, Eli is starting the season as the QB. Could they work in Jones halfway through the season as the Giants did with Manning and Kurt Warner back in the day? Sure. But I’m not holding my breath for this era to begin.
Dynasty/Empire: second round
Pick #8 – TJ Hockenson – TE – Detroit Lions
This one seems almost too obvious. Matt Patricia has done nothing but try to mimic everything he saw in New England, and rightly so. They’ve signed a handful of former Pats players, and Hockenson is about to become the Lions version of Gronk. Right?
Well, there’s a ton of people who remember how well the Eric Ebron top ten pick went for the Lions just a few years ago. Look at how well he blossomed as soon as he left the Detroit system. Is this an issue with Matthew Stafford? Is he just not a guy who targets the tight end well?
Either way, Hockenson’s talent is undeniable. He deserved to be picked higher than any running back or wide receiver in this draft class. But as we all know, it’s rare to see a rookie tight end have a successful season. Evan Engram and Hunter Henry are really the only outliers here. It took Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, George Kittle a year to learn their blocking schemes and offenses at an NFL level. It’s a tough jump to make. I won’t bank on him in redraft leagues this year because of that, but he’s a guy that I’d love to stash on dynasty rosters.
Redraft: TE16 in my mind, but he’ll go higher, just not to my team
Dynasty/Empire: top 6 rookie pick
Pick #15 – Dwayne Haskins – QB – Washington Professional Football Team
The most pissed off guy at the draft, but let’s be real. This isn’t a bad landing spot for him. Alex Smith likely never plays again. His only competition is Case Keenum, who has played well, but been replaced at basically every stop in his NFL career.
He’s not known as being a super mobile quarterback, but he’s athletic and can solidly run an offense as evidenced at Ohio State. Kind of reminds me a bit of former Washington QBs Kirk Cousins and Donovan McNabb. So there’s definite pro potential here.
I think Washington still gives the nod to Keenum out of the gate, but if they go anything less than 2-2 in September, we’ll see Haskins on the field.
Redraft: finger in the wind, undraftable, but someone will take him
Dynasty/Empire: Late first/early second rookie pick
Pick #20 – Noah Fant – TE – Denver Broncos
This one kind of all lines up with good talking points. Joe Flacco has significantly favored the tight end in his career. The Broncos have a history of creating some fantasy viable tight ends. Fant is a stud in the receiving game, coming out of TEU (Iowa). And frankly, Denver needs some weapons on offense besides Philip Lindsay and the aging Emmanuel Sanders.
While I think Hockenson is ranked higher two to three years from now, if you’re going to make a one year gamble on a rookie tight end, for me it would be Fant getting the safe money.
Dynasty/Empire: mid-to-late first round rookie pick
Pick #24 – Josh Jacobs – RB – Oakland Raiders
There’s a few landing spots for running backs that are super attractive, this has got to be one of them. While it might have been early for the Raiders to make this pick (they could have waited until #27 or even into the second round), the quality of player and fit seems undeniable.
The biggest competition in the Raiders running back room just retired and the offense should be locked and loaded with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams helping to stretch the field. The worry is that the Raiders defense can’t hold up their end of the bargain and we see far too much Carrbage time. Still, he’s one of the few running backs in the NFL that probably won’t see less than two-thirds of his touches, that makes him a bellcow and at the minimum and RB2.
Dynasty/Empire: Top 5 rookie pick
Pick #25 – Marquise “Hollywood” Brown – WR – Baltimore Ravens
Clearly jumps into the fold in Baltimore as the top WR, and as we entered draft day he felt like my favorite WR of the rookies, but the landing spot is shaky at best.
Baltimore hasn’t produced nearly any fantasy stud wideouts in the John Harbaugh era. Granted, he was saddled with Joe Flacco for most of that time, but the passing game has always seemed to be an afterthought in Baltimore. Lamar Jackson is not Joe Flacco, but are we sure he’s a good passer? And are we sure that Harbaugh wants him to be?
This team might run the wishbone this year. So while I really like the player, the landing spot leaves my stomach churning a bit.
Dynasty/Empire: mid first round pick
Pick #32 – N’Keal Harry – WR – New England Patriots
He was a consensus top two dynasty rookie pick before the draft and now he gets to join the Patriots. Enter all the “Bill Belichick can’t draft a wide receiver” jokes now. But when you drill down to this, Harry gets Tom Brady as a quarterback on a team with TONS of vacated targets (Josh Gordon, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan).
The Pats tend to zig, when the market zags, and drafting a running back late in last year’s first followed up by a wide receiver this year, maybe there’s value to be found. Sony Michel looked pretty good from a fantasy perspective for much of the year, I think Harry can do the same.
I see more positivity in this pick than the flip side. I’m buying.
Redraft: low end WR2, like WR 22
Dynasty/Empire: Top 2 rookie pick