2017 NFL Draft Round 1 – Fantasy Football Implications

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Pick 2 – Chicago Bears (via trade) select Mitchell Trubisky, QB
The Bears traded the #3 pick, the 67th pick, the 111th pick and a 2018 third rounder to move up one spot to grab Trubisky. While this shows how much they like him it’s hard to see him having a huge impact immediately. Though he has potential to be a good NFL quarterback he is likely a year away. My guess is Chicago will go with Glennon this year and give Trubisky a year to learn the NFL before handing over the reigns to him in 2018.

Pick 4 – Jacksonville Jaguars select Leonard Fournette, RB
No surprise here as the Jaguars had been leaning towards Fournette at the 4 spot for a while now. Fournette should easily become the lead back on this team which is a blow to TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory’s fantasy value. The Jaguars have a much improved defense which could keep them in games and increase the likelihood of him seeing 20 touches. If he sees that kind of workload he should be in the high end RB2, low end RB1 range for 2017.

Pick 5 – Tennessee Titans select Corey Davis, WR
Love this pick for Tennessee and for Corey Davis’ fantasy outlook. Davis was arguably the best wide receiver in this draft and the Titans desperately needed help at the position. He should have an immediate impact alongside Rishard Matthews and gives Marcus Mariota the type of target he has not had in the NFL. It would not be at all surprising to see Davis end up as Mariota’s #1 option before the season is over and he’ll carry tremendous upside entering fantasy drafts. He should be a solid WR2 in 2017 and has WR1 upside.

Pick 7 – Los Angeles Chargers select Mike Williams, WR
Philip Rivers will have no shortage of talent around him in 2017 and is now looking like a top 10 option. Williams joins a loaded WR group with Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman. Mike Williams has great physical talent but needs to improve his route running. I think he will have to work hard to get snaps in this offense but I could see him taking over the WR3 position on this team behind Tyrell Williams. I see his outlook as a WR4 in 2017.

Pick 8 – Carolina Panthers select Christian McCaffrey, RB
The Panthers had been leaning towards McCaffrey for a while now and they went with their plan. I think this is about the worst spot he could have landed from a fantasy impact. Yes, McCaffrey is good and can do it all, talent is not the issue. Carolina historically just doesn’t use RB’s in the passing game and mobile quarterbacks like Cam Newton tend to hurt the value of pass catching RB’s. Unless he overtakes Jonathon Stewart and gets 15+ touches I can’t see him as more than a low end RB2 in 2017 given the situation unfortunately.

Pick 9 – Cincinnati Bengals select John Ross, WR
Well this was a big surprise. Ross is a burner who broke the 40 yard dash record at this year’s combine. I can see him overtaking Brandon LaFell for the outside WR position alongside AJ Green with Tyler Boyd in the slot. He is capable of hitting home runs but I can’t see him doing much more in this offense in year one. He’s a boom/bust WR4 in 2017.

Pick 10 – Kansas City Chiefs (via trade) select Patrick Mahomes II, QB
The Chiefs traded up with the Bills to land Mahomes. He is an athletic quarterback with a big arm but there are doubts about whether or not he can play from the pocket. There is no chance he will be playing ahead of Alex Smith in 2017 so he will get time to develop before being thrown into the fire. He has no value in fantasy leagues in 2017.

Pick 12 – Houston Texans (via trade) select Deshaun Watson, QB
The Texans desperately needed a quarterback and Watson could be that guy. He could certainly compete for the starting job this year and has the makings of a good NFL quarterback. He gets the added benefit of playing opposite a great defense which carried Brock Osweiler into the second round of the playoffs last year. He should be a mid QB2 in 2017 but could certainly evolve into a QB1 in a few years. Oh and this is a nice boost for Deandre Hopkins too.

Pick 19 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers select OJ Howard, TE
Howard was the top tight end in this draft and landed in a good spot. The Bucs ran plenty of 2 TE sets last year and will likely do the same now. This definitely hurts Cameron Brates value, however as he will be competing for targets and could play second fiddle to Howard. I could see Howard being a fringe TE1 this year while Brate should be no more than a TE2 now. Jameis Winston has a lot of weapons now with the additions of Howard and DeSean Jackson and should be locked in as a QB1.

Pick 23 – NY Giants select Evan Engram, TE
Engram is undersized for a tight end but he is athletic and does have soft hands. He’ll have an immediate impact in the passing game but this is a loaded offense with Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall. I would have him as a high end TE2 entering 2017.

Pick 29 – Cleveland Browns select David Njoku, TE
Njoku is a bit raw but he is athletic and will be a big target in the red zone for whoever is the Browns quarterback in 2017. Gary Barnidge gave them basically nothing last year so this is an upgrade at the position. I still can’t put Njoku into the TE1 mix but he should be in the high end TE2 range.