Top Fantasy Football Storylines – Rookie Edition (Round 1) 2017
The Draft has come and gone it’s time to talk fantasy football outlook for they players drafted in the First round this year!!! Who should I target? Why him? It’s right here for ya!!!
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – Running Back
With the loss of Tedd Ginn Jr. the Panthers were down to one dynamic player, their QB Cam Newton who they are trying to lessen his load and put it into the hands of others. Case and point they drafted Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. Out of all the first round players Christian McCaffrey is the most versatile player. He has been pegged as a Swiss Army knife in fact. He was Stanford’s offense for the past 2 seasons and did it in the backfield as well as at the WR position particularly in the slot. McCaffrey is a nightmare matchup and will present plenty of problems for whoever is assigned to cover him due to his ability to run routes with such precision and quickness. Somebody out there in the Fantasy verse is salivating over the thought of having this man on their team. I believe McCaffrey will get more opportunities (touches) than any player in the first round, to do what he does, perform in the open field. McCaffery is not a volume back but he WILL be a volume player.
Mitchell Trubisky – Chicago Bears – Quarterback
The Bears are in the perfect situation to allow Mitchell Trubisky to sit and learn with the signing of Mike Glennon this off-season to a 3-year $43.5 million contract which is essentially a one-year deal worth $14 million. Trubisky played just 13 games in college while at UNC and is slated to be the Bears starter at some point this season I would imagine, unless the Bears and Glennon are in the midst of a playoff run. Or maybe just maybe, Trubisky pulls a Carson Wentz and starts day one (highly unlikely; really criteria doesn’t fit the circumstance). From a dynasty perspective this is a long play but a play nonetheless.
John Ross – Cincinnati Bengals – Wide Receiver
Last season was a year to forget for the Bengals, missing the playoffs, starting the season without Tyler Eifert who got hurt playing in the Pro Bowl from the previous season, losing A.J. Green for the last 6 games , allowing Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones to walk; but drafted Tyler Boyd and signed veteran Brandon LaFell. Green was on pace for 1548 yards on 106 receptions but got hurt and finished with 66 receptions for 964 yards. Now plug in “Sonic the Hedgehog,” John Ross into this offense and now you have created a scenario of pick your poison. Ross is not only the definition of speed but offers the ability to take a short pass the distance. A player of Ross’ talents will allow other players to eat whether that be A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert or Gio Bernard out of the backfield due to his ability to stress the defense. I am expecting big things from from Ross and the fact that he has talent all around him including a future Hall Famer in Green bodes well for his fantasy prospects.
David Njoku – Cleveland Browns – Tight End
Last year the front line was nothing short of a turnstile at the amusement park of the Browns QB carousel, from Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan and Robert Griffin III and it was free of charge. Not sure who is playing QB for the Browns yet but they sure as hell will protect whoever that will be with the signing of C JC Tretter and RG Kevin Zeitler. Hue Jackson once had a TE named Tyler Eifert who caught 13 TDs. Enter David Njoku an unpolished diamond that is waiting to be cleaned up and shown off to the world. Much like his counterparts in this daft Njoku can play outside, in the slot, as well as at the traditional inline TE position . But Njoku’s bread and butter will be in the red-zone where I believe he will eat and eat well. I know TE is one of the most difficult positions in the league to come in and make an instant impact from a statistical standpoint in your rookie season but the way Hue uses the TE tells me all I need to know about what they were thinking when they drafted Njoku. I’m looking for 10 TDs at a minimum!!!
Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans – Quarterback
Having the worst QB in the league last year in Brock Osweiler the Texans were really only one position shy of making some noise in the playoffs and posing a threat to the eventual Super Bowl champs. It’s said that Bill O’Brien isn’t one of the easiest guys to get along with and is somewhat of a hardass and wants the most out of his QB and this might be the reason why Osweiler struggled. Some folks perform better when kid gloves are applied while others need a kick in the pants. Watson seems to be the guy who can perform under any circumstance welcoming challenges far and wide. Hell, look at his performances in both National Championship games. Out of all the QBs that got drafted this year he is the one most likely to play come day one. Unlike Osweiler, Watson is willing to pull the trigger and get his playmakers the ball. Just like Mike Williams, DeAndre Hopkins is a player that will high point the ball and is open when he doesn’t appear to be to the untrained eye. Dynamic second year pros Will Fuller and Braxton Miller are itching to take it to the next level but are lying in wait for the signal caller to get them the ball. I know Watson is a rookie and there’s a chance Tom Savage could be the starter but I’m betting on Watson and believe he is the QB that you can roll with if you are willing to stack your team with talent and pick him up late in your fantasy leagues. Go get him in dynasty leagues.
Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – Running Back
Here it is year four for Blake Bortles and the moment of truth has arrived. I think most at this point have realized Bortles ain’t the guy. That, that tree will never bear the fruit of a franchise QB that was thought of that day back in 2014. But for those who think the opposite the Jags, drafted a player whose fantasy value is that of a RB 1 in Leonard Fournette and even though they have a T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory. Fournette is the type of player that you can build an offense around and take the pressure off of Bortles. Hell, look at what he did at LSU with those QBs and that offense. Give him an Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marcedes Lewis, DeDe Westbrook and Marqise Lee and watch the fireworks. You can truly say he is in a better situation than he ever was with his college team. And yes I am very aware of how bad the offensive line was but that may be in part due to QB play as well as RB play that no defense feared. But with Fournette in the backfield, a player given a crease of any kind will make defenses fear and dread the thought of tackling him especially in the open field on the second and third levels punishing anyone in his path on the way to the end zone. At the very least he will be a TD magnet.
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs – Quarterback
Unless you see the Chiefs not making the playoffs this year I truly don’t see a scenario where Mahomes plays. Although he is in the perfect place to learn how to be a NFL QB, with a QB guru in Andy Reid and a QB friendly scheme to boot year one is not the place to think there is any fantasy value at all. Think keeper/dynasty leagues rather than re-draft formats.
Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers – Wide Receiver
So many weapons so many mouths to feed. How will they divvy it up? What we do know is Philip Rivers will get it to whoever is open. Even with Keenan Allen coming back from injury again, Travis Benjamin “the field stresser”, emerging players Dontrelle Inman and Tyrell Williams as well as TEs Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry the Chargers drafted arguably the best WR coming out (he was # 2 for me) in Mike Williams. Williams brings a particular set of skills that makes it very easy for a QB like Rivers to get the ball to the massive human being that is Mike Williams especially vertically. Although many believe Williams doesn’t have the ability to separate consistently (I disagree on that) what most do agree on is that Williams has the ability to “be” open when he doesn’t appear to be due to his catch radius and let’s not forget about his ability to make contested catches with an attitude to boot. Williams’ fantasy outlook will be one that may be a week-to-week roller coaster that may drive you crazy as an fantasy owner but because he was drafted so high you have to believe he will get every opportunity to show his skill set.
Evan Engram – New York Giants – Tight End
An offense that has a WR core of Odell Beckham Jr, second year pro Sterling Shepard, and the newly added free agent Brandon Marshall with Eli at the head running the show. Now insert a dynamic TE in Engram who some think (me included) is a WR who creates mismatches with almost any defender assigned to cover him due to his speed and size, one Fed Ex nor UPS can deliver. With the “quick, rhythm, get it out offense” Engram should get his fair share of opportunities once Eli identifies who is tabbed with that responsibility. I would say there are many mouths to feed but because the Giants don’t see running the football as a priority there will be enough to go around.
O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tight End
The Bucs run a down field vertical offense that matches the mindset and abilities of their QB Jameis Winston which shows obviously with him throwing for 4000 yards each of first two seasons. With 63% of those yards this past year going to just 3 players Mike Evans, Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries with no true depth the Bucs this offseason went out and signed DeSean Jackson via free agency drafted WR Chris Godwin and TE O.J. Howard. I truly think Howard was a caged beast at Bama doing most of his damage in a handful of games, not allowing the 6’6 251 lbs TE to get out and show his versatility whether that be in the slot, at wideout, or TE. Although the Bucs used 2 TE sets a plenty last season only 12 of the 69 TE receptions were caught by a name other than Cameron Brate for just 82 yards. What Howard will allow the Bucs to do is keep 2 TEs on the field and catch teams with base personnel thus creating mismatches between not only WRs but TEs. I do believe Howard has fantasy value but that value will be diminished due to the many mouths that have to be fed. What I will say is Jameis has an affinity for TEs, remember the name Nick O’Leary at FSU and the Brate who caught 8 TDs last year may find that link with Howard as well.
Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans – Wide Receiver
This couldn’t have been better fit when you talk need versus the talent. Last year the Titans ran with the likes of Tajae Sharp, Rishard Matthews, Andre Johnson, Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas, and the lone bright spot Delanie Walker. The Titans run what many are calling an “exotic run game”, yeah I like the name too. In which it’s heavy run in many ways that helps them to take shots down the field with play-action or quick timing routes that keep the receiver on the move. Insert Corey Davis, a true #1 WR who amassed 331 catches and 5278 yards as a four-year starter while at Western Michigan. Davis has the ability to not only run crisp and precise routes but his best quality is his ability to do damage after the catch whether it be breaking or eluding would be tackles or just running pass everyone. Now to be placed within an offense that is lacking a #1 WR that can run the ball even when defenses know it’s coming. Combine that with one of the most efficient QBs in the league in the redzone. I see nothing here but TDs and yards, fantasy gold!!!!