Now that the draft is over, it’s time to see who won and lost. Not from a team perspective, but which players benefitted from their team’s draft in terms of fantasy value. On the other hand, some lost their spot or are facing a diminished role. With mock draft season approaching fast, lets look at the fantasy football winners and losers of the 2017 NFL draft.
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Newton was sacked 36 times last year, and dealt with questionable hits that put him at risk for injury. The helmet to helmet hits are partially due to Newton’s style of play but his offensive line didn’t help. The 2015 MVP went from 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions to 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The Panthers also failed to make the playoffs after reaching the Super Bowl the previous season. In the 2017 draft, the Panthers gave Newton two weapons he can get the ball to when under pressure. Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel played running back primarily in college but will see some snaps at slot wide receiver in the NFL. Receivers Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess and tight end Greg Olsen all need time to get open. McCaffrey and Samuel offer Newton targets to look for when pressure is coming. Look for Newton to end up somewhere between his MVP numbers and last year, but avoid taking as many sacks.
A few things are certain in life; death, taxes and Phillip Rivers being there late in your draft if you wait on a quarterback. Rivers is always good for a roller coaster season, where he’s a top 10 quarterback one week, then a bottom 20 quarterback the next. The Chargers are opposed to developing their defense, which is a plus when drafting your quarterback. They continued that this draft, grabbing a wide receiver and two offensive lineman with their first three picks. More weapons and protection for Rivers is music to fantasy owner’s ears. With Keenan Allen returning from injury and Melvin Gordon coming off a breakout season, the Chargers offense has potent potential. Rivers has a lot of weapons and will need to score a lot to make up for their defense, making for a potentially big season.
Last year Winston was forced to stare down Mike Evans every time he needed to make a throw. This offseason Tampa Bay gave their quarterback some new toys with signing of DeSean Jackson and drafting of O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin. With a stable of running backs and breakout tight end Cameron Brate also there, Winston is a sleeper candidate next season. Winston has potential to be a top 12 quarterback next season, and should be drafted in all leagues this season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the most improved teams after the draft, check out some others here.
After the Vikings decided to move on from Adrian Peterson, it looked like Latavius Murray would have top 20 upside in Minnesota. But the Vikings decided to trade up and draft Dalvin Cook, leaving Murray’s role up in the air. Cook offers three down potential, offering Murray only consistent goal line work. Cook may initially split carries with Murray but will overtake him during the season. A huge blow to Murray’s value, his only chance of finding rosters is as a potential handcuff for Cook.
One year into a three-year deal with the Jaguars, Ivory has seen his role on the offense all but eliminated. With the drafting of Leonard Fournette, Ivory offers little upside heading into the season. T.J. Yeldon will handle third down and pass situations when Fournette is off the field. With a large cap hit, Ivory may hold onto his roster spot for this season but a trade may be an option if a running back gets injured. Ivory should go undrafted this season.
With over 3,000 total yards and 30 total touchdowns in his first three seasons, Hill looked to be a top 20 back again this season. But the Bengals felt otherwise, drafting Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon in the second round. Mixon offers three down potential and has much higher upside than Hill. Like Murray and Ivory, Hill is not a third down weapon so he offers little to the team if not the starting back. With Giovani Bernard looking at passing down work, Hill is the odd man out in Cincinnati. Hill is in the last year of his deal so the Bengals may look to move him before the season to a team in need of a running back. At age 24, Hill still has many productive years left, but they won’t be as a Bengal. Unless a trade happens this offseason, Hill is not someone who should be drafted.