2017 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

2017 NFL Draft Day One: Lots of Offense

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On what was supposed to be an NFL draft featuring defense out the gate, the Chicago Bears boldly changed the dynamic of the draft and created a quarterback stampede that no one could foresee. So it switched around instead to a top half dominated by offensive players and the bottom half with defense.

The Cleveland Browns opened the draft with an idea of pursuing groundwork and for once eschewing any temptation to throw popcorn into the fireplace by drafting a hopeful for a quick fix. Myles Garrett, likely to be a fearsome blind side pass rusher will give the Browns a very different character on defense if the label fits the goods. A prudent choice that immediately gives Cleveland a thumbs up for serious team building. So far, so good. The opening clock went as expected.

After the first pick, the Bears immediately decided that a dogmatic draft is no fun at all. So they traded a bucket of picks to San Francisco to move up a single spot. To put this into perspective, there were likely many teams hunting for that second pick and the 49ers took the best offer which happened to be the Bears. Bears fans grumbled when Mitchell Trubisky was announced and the idea of a drafting a quarterback got a mixed reaction from everyone.

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2017 NFL Draft Day One

As for fantasy, I’m seldom interested in rookie quarterbacks except for dynasty impact. Even then, they are still down the list. I freely admit that I’m an RB-aholic when it comes to the NFL draft, so my interest centers around the players that can have immediate fantasy influence. That usually only happens with rookie running backs. Wide receivers are next, but much depends on them on their chemistry and connect with the quarterback.

Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback, Chicago Bears

1st round, No. 2 overall: A collective gasp went around the room when the Bears aggressively went for this rather untested quarterback that only had 13 starts at North Carolina. The real focal point here is Mike Glennon, who the Bears secured with a rather respectable contract in March. Cameron Meredith is the best receiver they have unless we see a surge in Kevin White. So this offense has to gain growth first through the ground game and Jordan Howard, who to my thinking is the only fantasy beneficiary of this pick – albeit mildly.

Overall, the Trubisky pick looks like a major hedge bet on Glennon. That’s just too obvious. If the Bears were solidly behind Glennon, then they would have waited for a lesser light to carry the clipboard. So I guess like it or not, there’s a competition for the Bears signal caller with a cast of average receivers. Sometimes I wonder whether the Bears have more interest in putting a production on Cadillac Palace than Soldier Field. John Fox has his work cut out for him.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

1st round, No. 4 overall: I think we can safely say that the TJ Yeldon experiment is over in Jacksonville. What bothers me about Fournette is that we’ve seen experiments tried and failed so many times before. I still get grumpy when I hear the name, Toby Gerhart. But since Maurice Jones-Drew there really hasn’t been a great talent to fill your fantasy team from Duval County. Maurice Jones-Drew proved that bigger isn’t always better and Yeldon certainly showed that.

The Jags decided to go bigger anyway. Fournette is a massive back at 6’1″ and 240. He has amazing speed for a man that big by doing the 40 in 4.51 seconds. That’s impressive. It would be that is if the Jaguars could open holes so a running back could break runs into the secondary.

The guys at FNTSY call him the first impact Fantasy player taken.

All eyes will be on this rookie from LSU to see if he can take the lead back duty without Yeldon eating into the production. No worries about Chris Ivory; he’s off the committee I suspect. Fournette’s ADP rises or falls depending on how we decide to interpret the camp news this summer. There will be hype, but keep your head cool on Fournette for now.

Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans

1st round, No. 5 overall: One of my biggest pet hates about Dorial Green-Beckham was his slow learning ability for route running. When Green-Beckham played at Tennessee, I thought this guy had all the makings of a fantasy stud. Except for one thing – football smarts and his limited capacity for playbook receiving routes.

Corey Davis is not quite as big as Green-Beckham, but he is smarter. The average score for an NFL receiver on the Wonderlic IQ test is 17. Corey Davis scored 31. This guy can run routes. Davis is an All-American and left the NCAA holding the all-time yardage receiving record. Davis is the player I hoped DGB would be and I think that’s what the coaches of the Titans feel as well. Put me officially on the Davis hype train because I want this player on my fantasy team come August.

Mike Williams, WR, LA Chargers

1st round, No. 7 overall: One of the things that distinguish the best from the rest is catch radius. Related to this, Mike Williams has an ability for those over-the-shoulder grabs that so few can master. Plus the determination to make yards after the catch. You really need to watch the video to appreciate these receiving attributes of Williams.

It’s all good. However, the Chargers have a crowded enough receiving group already. Philip Rivers will no doubt appreciate the opportunity to test out his new receiver, but with Keenan Allen returning and the impressive work of Tyrell Williams, there’s no other place but third receiver he can occupy. It’s really fourth or fifth because Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry count as receiving workhorses as well.

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The guys over at FNTSY have their take on Williams and compare his stock to Davis.

In fantasy, you are best to temper expectations for rookie wides anyway. You might pick up Williams as a flier in a later round, but that’s about it as things stand. For dynasty leagues, a much hotter property.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

1st round, No. 8 overall: One of the more interesting players to go high in this year’s draft. The Panthers desired McCaffrey and got him without having to deal away other draft picks. The question is… why do they want him? The missing dimension in the Panthers backfield is a solid pass catching running back. He has intangibles of having a knack for finding the end zone.

Fantasy outlook is pretty good, but not altogether a guy you must go out and draft. Jonathan Stewart still holds the main duties and McCaffrey likely changes little of that. The PPR possibilities have strong potential with a third down back capable of scoring touchdowns from scrimmage 20 yards out. A player to watch in preseason games.

John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

1st round, No. 9 overall: I like the speed quality of a receiver, but the primaries of the passing offense, AJ Green and Tyler Eifert, still hog the fantasy interest on the Bengals. Tyler Boyd held a similar position last season to what Ross is coming into, but Brandon LaFell took the next man up.

Tyler Boyd held a similar position last season to what Ross is coming into, but Brandon LaFell took the next man up spot while Green recovered from injury for a few games. Ross is a good player, but not for fantasy in this offense.

The guys over at FNTSY were surprised as well

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas city Chiefs

1st round, No. 10 overall: The Chiefs traded way up from No. 27 to swap with the Bills; with a deal that included giving their top pick in 2018. I don’t think this is an Alex Smith coup, but it does look like the Chiefs want to move from game management to dynamic playmaking at the quarterback position.

Mahomes is your Brett Favre style of quarterback. This from Steve Mariucci who was Favre’s quarterback coach in his first season in Green Bay. We shall see…

No fantasy value except for dynasty.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

1st round, No. 12 overall: This was the other drama from opening night of the draft. Houston has really stacked up Cleveland in 2018. Another first round pick for 2018 go to the Browns. The Browns need a quarterback themselves, so it was sort of a surprise when they gave their spot to the Texans.

The Texans have no reason to not start Watson out the gate. Watson actually has a plum situation. He has a fine table set for him. Comparing the receivers Trubisky has with the Bears, Watson has the far easier road to stardom. I have no doubt Watson has the better chances at fantasy greatness down the road. Dynasty leaguers, listen up. Get this man on your roster.

About Richard Savill

Richard is an NFL Fantasy Football Writer and Editor of Fantasy Six Pack. Host of The Fantasy Edge Podcast. FantasyPros Contributor. Member of the FSWA. Richard is known for his "outside the box" insight into NFL fantasy football. Winner of the 16-Team 2015 FSWA challenge.

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