Now that the 2018 NFL draft has come and gone it’s time to focus on the upcoming season. With 11 offensive relevant fantasy players selected in the first round, most of them are expected to have an impact at some point this coming season. A lot of things will change by the time the season starts but below I give an early outlook for each first round pick.
Baker Mayfield is going to be fantasy relevant soon but how soon no one knows. He is my QB#2 in Rookie Dynasty Drafts. Big play potential is off the charts with his improvisational skills!@EatSleepFF @TheBrownsWire @OU_Football #Baker #BakerMayfield #Browns #Sooners pic.twitter.com/fG5jnvX6BQ
— John Chapman (@JL_Chapman) May 19, 2018
- Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
To some this was a surprise pick while the Browns feel like they have finally got their franchise quarterback. However, Mayfield isn’t likely to have a fantasy impact as a rookie given that Tyrod Taylor was brought in to be the starter, at least to start the season. Even if Mayfield starts from week one, there are so many good fantasy options at quarterback that Mayfield isn’t likely to have an impact in re-draft leagues. For dynasty leagues, Mayfield has a great supporting cast around him all under the age of 27. For me, Mayfield is QB1 in rookie drafts.
- Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
In rookie drafts Barkley has been pick 1.01 since he declared for the draft and that remains the same as he landed in a very good spot. The Giants have improved their offensive line and with a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. on the outside, Barkley will rarely see an eight man box. Thanks to his ability as a three down back, Barkley joins a small group of running backs who could see over 350 total touches this season. Barkley is clearly a RB1 in 12 team leagues and is currently my RB5 in re-draft formats.
- Sam Darnold, QB, Jets
Reportedly the Browns were the only team picking in the top five who had Mayfield over Darnold, while everyone else had Darnold as their top quarterback. However, Darnold’s landing spot is concerning. The Jets have several spots on the roster that need upgrading; mainly at wide receiver, tight end and on the offensive line. Furthermore, the Jets have struggled to develop rookie quarterbacks. In re-draft leagues Darnold isn’t even worth a late round flier. For dynasty leagues, he is my QB4 in rookie drafts as I have major concerns about his supporting cast. Hopefully Darnold doesn’t play this year and the Jets can improve the team around him in time for the 2019 season.
- Josh Allen, QB, Bills
Even those who liked Allen pre draft can’t be happy about his landing spot. The Bills have a bunch of areas on their roster that need upgrading. Four of their starting offensive lineman from the start of last season are no longer on the team and the Bills didn’t draft one until the fifth round. The Bills have one of the worst receiving cores in the league and LeSean McCoy will be 30 years old when the season starts. For re-draft leagues Allen shouldn’t be considered at all, while in rookie drafts he is my QB5 with a lot of risk.
— J.R. (@JReidDraftScout) May 16, 2018
- Josh Rosen, QB, Cardinals
While Rosen was the fourth quarterback taken, he landed in the best spot possible. The Cardinals have one of the best wide receiver/running back duos in the league with Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson. Rosen also has the best defense of any of the top four quarterbacks taken. Rosen very well could beat out Sam Bradford for the starting spot in training camp. Otherwise, he will just have to wait till Bradford gets hurt (probably in week one). Adding Christian Kirk to the combo of Fitzgerald and Johnson makes Rosen the only rookie quarterback I would consider drafting late in a re-draft league. For dynasty leagues, Rosen is my QB2 in rookie drafts and has the best chance to succeed early on in his career.
- D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers
Since Cam Newton’s rookie season he has failed to produce a fantasy WR1. The highest fantasy receiver he has produced was Kelvin Benjamin in 2014 as the WR16. While Moore could easily step in as the top wide receiver on the depth chart, Newton isn’t likely to turn him into a WR1. Since 2013, no Panther wide receiver as finished as the WR20 or better other than Benjamin in 2014. Moore is my WR2 in rookie dynasty drafts and in the low WR3/high WR4 range for re-draft leagues.
- Hayden Hurst, TE, Ravens
After the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2013, Joe Flacco has failed to live up to his contract and it shows in his receiver’s fantasy production. Many believed Hurst was the best tight end in the draft but the Ravens have struggled to produce a fantasy TE1 in recent years. Since the 2013 season the Ravens haven’t had a tight end finish higher than TE16 in any season. In rookie drafts, Hurst is my TE2 but I wouldn’t consider drafting him in re-draft leagues unless it’s a two tight end league.
- Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons
Ridley landing with the Falcons was a great spot for him with Taylor Gabriel now in Chicago. In re-draft leagues Ridley is a WR4 with upside for me mainly because Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu have struggled with injuries in the past. However, for rookie drafts, Ridley is my WR1 and a top six rookie pick. Both Jones and Sanu have easy outs in their contracts after the 2018 season. If one of them is cut, Ridley potentially steps into a WR1 role.
— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) May 24, 2018
- Rashaad Penny, RB, Seahawks
This was almost the most surprising pick of the first round. However, Penny landed in a pretty good spot for fantasy owners. The Seahawks struggled to run the ball last season as the running backs on the roster: Chris Carson, Mike Davis, C.J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic combined for just 236 touches last season. Penny should take over as the lead back and finish with over 300 touches with Carson as his handcuff. In re-draft leagues Penny is a low RB2 with some upside even with Seattle’s offensive line woes while in rookie drafts he is my RB4.
- Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
I loved Michel entering the draft. However, his landing spot seriously hurts his fantasy value. The Patriots don’t care about where a player was drafted and will put the best performing player on the field. Furthermore, both Rex Burkhead and James White are under contract through the 2020 season. However, I think Michel has a good chance to overtake the Dion Lewis role at some point this season. Last season Lewis scored 197 fantasy points. For re-draft leagues Michel is a low end RB3 with upside while in dynasty he is my RB6 due to the competition in that backfield.
- Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
There is almost no chance Jackson plays this season unless it’s in a special “wildcat” package. However, the Ravens traded back into the first round to make Jackson their quarterback of the future. The Ravens will likely release or trade Joe Flacco next offseason and make Jackson the starter entering the 2019 season. In re-draft leagues Jackson isn’t worth a look except for crazy three quarterback or double Superflex leagues. For dynasty leagues Jackson is my QB3 with the most upside. Jackson was clearly the most polarizing prospect in the draft and his fantasy value is very much the same.