The anticipation of the NFL Draft has been building for months in dynasty leagues and were finally able to whet our appetites a little with round one on Thursday night. As expected, the story in fantasy and reality revolved around the quarterbacks as no fewer than five were taken in round one for only the third time in history. In addition, we had one of the most coveted dynasty assets to come around in a decade find his new home and had some very intriguing positional players taken late in the night. Let’s run though the picks and discuss their dynasty impact.
1 (1) = Baker Mayfield, QB CLE
After being rumored to be interested in Saquon Barkley, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen, the Browns finally settled on Mayfield to be their (next) quarterback of the future. There is risk with Mayfield, as he does have a volatile personality. However, the Browns were obviously overwhelmed by his playmaking ability that led to a ridiculous 4,627 passing yards and 43 touchdowns against just six interceptions last season for Oklahoma.
Mayfield will likely start his career behind incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor in Cleveland and here’s to hoping they’re a little more patient with Mayfield than they were with DeShone Kizer last season. If he hits, it will be great for players like Jarvis Landry, Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon. Mayfield is likely going to be a late second round pick in dynasty leagues but one that certainly has a high ceiling.
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1 (2) = Saquon Barkley, RB NYG
Yeah, you know that once in a generation player I was mentioning? Well, he’s going to play for the Giants. Barkley is one of the most coveted dynasty rookies in the past twenty years (and we’ve been running this site and playing in dynasty leagues that long) and will be the unquestioned 1.01 in virtually every upcoming rookie draft. In startups, it won’t be uncommon to see him taken in the top ten, despite never taking an NFL snap. Explosive, strong and elusive, Barkley will step right in as New York’s featured back, pushing the likes of Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins and Jonathan Stewart to the side and destroying their dynasty value in the process.
With an offense featuring Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, defenses won’t be able to stack the box against Barkley and this landing spot should prove to be a good one. He may not have the fantasy career of LaDainian Tomlinson, Priest Holmes or Le’Veon Bell but there’s a chance he could be in that class – that’s enough to pay a King’s ransom for the 1.01 this year.
1 (3) = Sam Darnold, QB NYJ
The Jets really needed a player who can sense pressure in the pocket and make decisions in a calm and cool manner – they should have that in the form of Darnold. Once the unquestioned favorite to be the first overall pick in this year’s draft, Darnold was ultimately passed over for Baker Mayfield. There are questions about if he or Josh McCown will be the opening day starter but I wouldn’t bet against Darnold’s talent breaking through. If the Jets have the Sam Darnold we saw against Penn State in the Rose Bowl, they have a once in a generation player. If they have the Darnold who seemingly took a step back last year, they should at least have a very solid starter. New York hasn’t put this kind of faith in a quarterback since Mark Sanchez, so this will be fun to watch. Much like Mayfield, Darnold will likely be a late second or early third round rookie pick. At the very least, the skill position players for the Jets shouldn’t see a dip in value.
1 (7) = Josh Allen, QB BUF
The first thing Allen may want to do is refrain from ever posting anything again on social media as some potentially racist comments surfaced on draft day. To make things even worse, it was revealed he also made some interesting comments about the wife of fellow Bills quarterback AJ McCarron on twitter years ago as well. It may not be the best starter Allen off the field but also shouldn’t overshadow the fact he has immense upside on the field, perhaps boasting the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this year’s draft. There are serious questions about his accuracy and he’s going to be best served as a backup to McCarron initially. However, if you’re looking for a quarterback to roll the dice on in the hopes you have the next Carson Wentz, Allen is likely your guy in the third or fourth round in rookie drafts – he has truly special athletic ability.
1 (10) = Josh Rosen, QB ARI
The Cardinals scrambled after the retirement of Carson Palmer but ended up landing on their feet with the additions of veteran Sam Bradford and now adding Rosen. He is going to be a very interesting player to roll the dice on in a dynasty league draft. Rosen has all the talent in the world and is likely the best pure quarterback in the draft. However, there are questions about his leadership ability and passion for the game. He’s already made some very interesting comments about his draft night experience that have raised some eyebrows. Still, Rosen landed in a really nice spot with the Cardinals and could find himself starting sooner rather than later, especially with the injury history of Bradford. He’s another quarterback prospect who will be taken in the same area as the likes of Mayfield and Lamar Jackson, somewhere late in round two or early in round three.
1 (24) = DJ Moore, WR CAR
After Saquon Barkley, we had to wait all the way up until pick #24 to see another skill position player drafted. It ended up being none other than DJ Moore, who ended up being the fast riser throughout the draft process, vaulting the momentum all the way to being the first receiver taken in the draft. Moore blew up the combine this year and the Panthers obviously took notice. Moore has all the measurables you can possibly want in a receiver and the Panthers should throw him into the fire early and often after Devin Funchess led the receiving corps with 63 catches and no other wideout posted more than 17 last year. Yikes. He’ll join a depth chart that features Funchess, Jarius Wright and Torrey Smith, which isn’t exactly scary. I’m usually pretty wary of the fast riser in the draft process but this was a pretty good landing spot for Moore. He seems destined to go in the latter part of round one in rookie drafts and should battle the likes of Calvin Ridley and possibly Courtland Sutton to be the first receiver off the board.
1 (25) = Hayden Hurst, TE BAL
Hurst ended up being the first tight end taken in the draft, beating out players like Dallas Goedert, Mark Andrews and Mike Gesecki, among others. The Ravens have seemingly been looking for a great player at the position for years and haven’t really had a consistent tight end threat since Todd Heap. There is some danger with Hurst in dynasty leagues as he’s an older rookie after unsuccessfully chasing a baseball career. He’s intriguing as a pick in the third round or beyond if you’re looking for a player who is seemingly very motivated and has a whole host of talent as well.
1 (26) = Calvin Ridley, WR ATL
Ridley’s slide ended with the Falcons taking him at #26 overall. Heralded as the best route runner in the class and possibly the most pro ready receiver in the draft, Ridley will land in an offense where he won’t be asked to be the main weapon and that could help him post some immediate dividends. Unfortunately, he’ll also be playing second fiddle to Julio Jones and possibly even Mohamed Sanu. Ridley’s decorated career with the Crimson Tide featured 224 career receptions to go along with 2,781 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. While those numbers aren’t going to exactly blow you away, he did it on a team with a dominant defense and run-first mentality. He’s an older rookie and that’s a concern. There are also some who believe he’s already hit his ceiling and won’t likely improve too much as a professional. However, Ridley offers a pretty high floor and is a safe bet for production early and often in his career. Ridley will be in the mix to be the first receiver taken off the board in dynasty drafts, likely late in round one.
1 (27) = Rashaad Penny, RB SEA
The stunner of the draft comes at pick #27 as the Seahawks traded back, ignored their offensive line woes yet again and selected Rashaad Penny of San Diego State, making him the second running back off the board ahead of more heralded runners from draft pundits like Derrius Guice, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Still, Penny was dominant last season with 2,248 rushing yards on 7.5 yards per carry. There are concerns about his pass catching ability and long speed but he was extraordinarily productive and even showed great return game chops. He should have the ability to make people miss and has the build to be a true three down threat in the league.
Penny will step right in to be the workhorse in Seattle (crushing Chris Carson’s dynasty value in the process) but there are some issues here. The Seahawks still boast a poor offensive line and Penny is going to have his work cut out for him because of it. Seattle did a great job of getting their running backs punished last season so Penny should be hoping their offensive line is addressed later in the draft. Penny was our sixth ranked rookie going into the draft and that could actually rise a smidge based on Seattle’s huge investment in him. This was truly a shocker, though.
1 (31) = Sony Michel, RB NE
The Patriots hadn’t taken a running back in the first round since Laurence Maroney back in 2006 (there was a time I believed I would never type that name again) but they took the plunge with the uber-talented Michel with their second first round pick. This selection is very interesting as the Patriots are known for using multiple backs and destroying fantasy value of their players in the process. At worst, Michel should be able to replace the production of the departed Dion Lewis. At best, he becomes a dominant player like Corey Dillon was for New England so many years ago. The concern over his possible bone-on-bone condition of his knees and volatile history of New England will make Michel a risky pick in dynasty leagues. Still, he’ll be squarely in the mix for a pick in the middle part of round one in dynasty rookie drafts and has the potential to become either a serious dynasty contributor or another running back in the ongoing Patriot carousel, though clearly the most talented one we’ve seen in some time. Feel lucky?
1 (32) = Lamar Jackson, QB BAL
The quarterback with the most dynasty upside may very well be the last one taken in round one. Ironically, the draft’s first round started and ended with Heisman Trophy winners with Jackson going to the Ravens, who traded back up into round one to get their hands on him. Jackson should sit behind Joe Flacco for the foreseeable future, learn a little from Robert Griffin III (as long as he doesn’t give him lessons on how to get out of bounds) and be the quarterback of the future for the Ravens. There are legitimate concerns about Jackson’s ability to play the position at the highest level. However, if he can improve his accuracy and decision making, he could ironically be what RGIII never was and become a true dual threat the likes we haven’t see since one Michael Vick – that’s going to likely be enough for a dynasty team to take a chance on him late in round two or early in round three of their rookie draft.
We’ll see you tomorrow as the draft continues!
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK
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