Your dad would tell you not to draft rookie receivers in fantasy football.
After all, only eight first-year wideouts from 1995-2014 went over 1,000 yards. But the times, they are a changin'. Last year, five of fantasy’s top-25 WRs and three of the top-25 RBs were rookies. These are strong candidates to break into that echelon this year:
Not only did the Chargers use a first-round pick on Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon, but they traded away a fourth and fifth round pick to get him. MG3’s lack of experience in the pass game (both blocking and receiving) means Danny Woodhead will still have a major role on third downs, but it’s clear who will lead the way on early downs. Gordon, whose incredible burst led to a 7.79 YPC in college, is a great bet for 250 carries. He’s well ahead of Todd Gurley, who will be fighting an ACL tear, Tre Mason and the Rams’ brutal schedule.
IN CHIP AND TREST
All the hype will go to Amari Cooper and Kevin White. Wiser owners will wait and pounce on less talented receivers in better situations: Nelson Agholor and Breshad Perriman. Agholor will step right into the Jeremy Maclin role that produced a career-outlier 85-1,318-10 line last year. As an every-down player in Chip Kelly’s space-creating scheme, the USC product will return mid-round value. Meanwhile, Perriman and his 4.26 speed will immediately fill Torrey Smith’s “X” role, an ideal fit for Joe Flacco’s big arm. Pass-happy Marc Trestman, now calling the plays in Baltimore, is the cherry on top.
SHANNY SIGNS OFF
Kyle Shanahan, now in charge of Atlanta’s offense, is going to produce successful run games. We’ve seen it with Arian Foster, Alfred Morris and even Isaiah Crowell/Terrance West at times last year. Tevin Coleman doesn’t profile as a typical Shanny back because he doesn’t excel at beating contact and is more about long speed than one-cut grinding. But Shanahan obviously signed off on taking Coleman in the third round and will almost certainly install him ahead of change-of-pace/third-down man Devonta Freeman. Coleman and new Jags feature back T.J. Yeldon both bring serious upside in Year 1.
NFL Veteran Losers
The stock of these players took it on the chin during the draft:
1. Joique Bell, RB, Lions – Athletic freak Ameer Abdullah is going to earn lots of reps quickly – more than Reggie Bush did.
2. Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins – Landry’s slot role is intact, but the Dolphins are absolutely loaded at wideout after taking DeVante Parker 14th.
3. Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts – Any second-year breakout thoughts were completely squashed when Ryan Grigson shockingly selected Phillip Dorsett 29th.
The Bucs declined their 2016 team option on Doug Martin, the latest signal that this Lovie Smith regime is down on the muscle hamster. It’s understandable, as Martin has been among the league’s worst backs in terms of both running and pass protection over the last two years. The name that continues to come up is Charles Sims, the back Lovie took 69th overall in 2014. After the Bucs used zero draft picks on the position over the weekend, Sims qualifies as a sleeper.