NFL players watch the draft just like the rest of us. The only difference is they’re rooting for nothing to happen.
The biggest message an organization can send to a player is using significant draft capital at their position. It speaks to unsatisfactory performance and a need to add talent. With that in mind, these guys got a big vote of confidence coming out of the draft:
SAM I AM
As expected, the Eagles tried to trade up for Marcus Mariota. It didn’t happen, leaving Sam Bradford as the unquestioned starter in a Chip Kelly offense – a role in which we’ve seen middling quarterbacks produce massive numbers. In 2013, Nick Foles was fantasy’s No. 6 quarterback at 22.5 points per game. In 2014, Mark Sanchez was up at 21.3 fantasy points per game. If healthy, Sam Bradford’s ceiling is far higher than both of those players, setting him up as an ideal target for the “wait on QB” crowd in fantasy drafts.
Prior to the draft, questions remained about just how high the Vikings were on Charles Johnson. They answered that by passing on former Teddy Bridgewater teammate DeVante Parker in the first round and only used one pick on a wideout (fifth-round special teams type Stefon Diggs). That locks in Johnson, a 6’2/215 athletic specimen, to an every-down role with an ascending Bridgewater in Norv Turner’s vertical offense. Johnson will also benefit from the arrival of Mike Wallace, who will be drawing safety help over the top consistently.
HANDLE ON RANDLE
The Cowboys’ decision not to draft a running back was the biggest surprise of the draft. This is a team that found tons of success last season by controlling the clock with DeMarco Murray as a battering ram behind a dominant offensive line. Don’t expect Jason Garrett to change that formula. So that means Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and Ryan Williams are left to compete for one of fantasy’s premier jobs – a role Randle should be favored to win. He’s the incumbent and the one that led the NFL in yards per carry last year. McFadden no longer has any wiggle and Williams has not been the same since a patellar tear.
NFL Dynasty Studs
Dynasty leagues value raw talent over short-term situation. The best bets:
1. Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders – Young wideouts that can win both short and deep are gold. Cooper can be an asset for a decade.
2. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams – Gurley is a poor redraft bet thanks to his ACL tear and the Rams’ O-line. Long-term, he’ll be special.
3. Kevin White, WR, Bears – Receivers that stand 6’3/215 with 4.35 speed and elite hands are the exact kind of player to target in Dynasty.
Jimmy Garoppolo shouldn’t be the butt of some Deflategate joke. The Patriots used the No. 62 overall pick on him in 2014 because the kid can really play. He showed some of that last preseason, when he flashed a 5:1 TD-to-INT ratio, 99.0 passer rating and 7.82 yards per attempt mark. Back in 2008, Matt Cassel finished as fantasy’s No. 8 quarterback when Tom Brady missed the entire season.