The NFC West made a lot of moves in this year’s draft. The entire division took four offensive skill players in the top 100 picks – those four players could shake up the dynasty landscape within a few years. Let’s look at what these teams did in the draft and analyze how these picks could affect your dynasty team this year and beyond.
Los Angeles Rams
John Kelly, RB Tennessee (Round 6, Pick 176)
The Rams spent most of their picks adding talent to their defensive and their offensive line. In the sixth round, they decided to take a stab on John Kelly, the running back from Tennessee. Going into the draft, a lot of draft analysts pegged Kelly as one of the top running backs in this class. It makes some sense as he does an exceptional job at catching the ball out of the backfield and making plays in the open field.
The catch here, is his landing spot is less than desirable because Todd Gurley will be the Rams’ workhorse running back for the foreseeable future. The Rams’ running back situation may not be as horrible as it sounds for Kelly, though. Outside of Gurley, the talent at running back is limited at best. The roster is loaded with late-round players like Kelly, so there’s a chance he works his way up the roster to be the team’s main backup running back.
Due to him being a sixth round pick, I’m not overly optimistic about his future but I’m still willing to stash him on my taxi squad for a year to see what happens. He’s a player I wouldn’t mind holding for a while in deeper leagues just to see if he can put anything together. Simply put, he’s a good talent in a bad situation.
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There were a few picks left in the first round before the draft closed for the night. Before the round ended, the Seahawks shocked everybody by drafting Rashaad Penny with their first selection. The team has other positions of need they could’ve pursued but they drew their line in the sand and went ahead and drafted the talented running back from San Diego State.
From a fantasy football perspective, I have mixed feelings about this pick. Penny led the NCAA with 2,027 rushing yards last year. He also has the size and athleticism to make things happen at the next level. I like how he’s able to accelerate to a different gear once he hits the second level of the defense. Penny is a threat to score from anywhere on the football as well.
On the flip side, it’s not a secret the team needs to add some talent to the offensive line. They also need to get Russell Wilson more weapons in the passing game so the offense can consistently move the chains through the air. Seattle is currently experiencing a transition phase that could limit Penny’s fantasy impact. Then again, he could receive enough touches to make all those threats obsolete. Still, the team drafted Penny in the first round for a reason and it’s obvious the team believes he has a ton of potential. The Seahawks should give him every opportunity to be the team’s three down workhorse back. With that being said, I’m not afraid of burning a high first round pick in rookie drafts to get him on my team.
Seattle drafted Dissly to be more of a blocker than an offensive weapon. He only has two years of experience playing at tight end. Dissly previously played on the defensive line before making the move to tight end in 2016. The kid is still very raw and he will need to develop all facets of his game if he ever wants to see considerable playing time. He’s not roster worthy in dynasty leagues because the odds are severely stacked against him. In short, Dissly needs to make up a lot of ground when it comes to his development if he ever wants to be a key piece of Seattle’s offense.
Russell Wilson is the team’s franchise quarterback and I highly doubt McGough can climb all the way from obscurity to become a highly sought-after dynasty asset. Even in deep 2QB leagues, the best play here is to simply avoid him and let him sit on the waiver wire.
Many people, including myself, had Rosen graded as the top quarterback in the draft. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Browns took him with the first overall pick. Instead, Arizona snagged him and it’s a great landing spot for Rosen. He will get to work with Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson during the developmental stages of his career. The team is dedicated to building a solid offensive line around him and they are already starting to get him some new offensive weapons as well.
Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon are on the roster, but they’re not a threat to Rosen’s long-term fantasy value. If anything, the two veterans will help smooth out his transition from the college game to the pros. According to our Rookie ADP, Rosen is routinely the third quarterback off the board in rookie drafts and he’s usually being selected somewhere around the late second round – this is good value if you need a quarterback in 1QB leagues. He’s easily a first-round pick in 2QB drafts and will be worth the value, considering he’s likely going to be Arizona’s starting quarterback for a very long time.
Arizona’s receiving corps is aging and to prepare for the future, the team needed to infuse some young blood into the depth chart. The team utilized their second round pick to draft Christian Kirk, who was considered one of the top wide receivers in the draft. He profiles as a highly effective slot receiver, but does have the athleticism to play on the outside if the team needs him too.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Kirk leads Arizona in targets in a few years. He may not be able to consistently win on the outside but he might develop into one of the best slot receivers in the league. He’s currently being drafted in the late first to the early second round of rookie drafts which is a very palatable price tag considering his draft pedigree and Arizona’s depth chart.
Edmonds profiles as a change of pace back at the NFL level. He was very productive at Fordham, rushing for 5,862 yards and 67 touchdowns during his four-year collegiate career. It would take an injury to David Johnson for him to see a large enough workload for him to be fantasy relevant, though. Johnson is the best receiving back in the league and is rarely on the bench. Arizona is not going to let him come off the field on passing downs, making it extra hard for Edmonds to get work as a receiving back. I wouldn’t touch him in rookie drafts because there’s very little upside to his dynasty stock.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers traded up in the second round to draft Dante Pettis – this means they are infatuated with him and should give him every opportunity to succeed. From a fantasy standpoint, the most exciting thing about Pettis is his landing spot. He will be paired with Jimmy Garoppolo who is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. Once he becomes a starter, Pettis should be one of the 49ers main target hogs because he’s one of the most talented receiving threats on the team.
Pettis is currently going in the second round of rookie drafts – this seems like a very fair price to pay for him because he’s a savvy route runner, but he’s also undersized, making him a volume dependent fantasy asset. I think the targets will be there in the future but right now he’s too much of a risk to spend a first round pick on. His ADP of 17.90 is exactly where I want to draft him in rookie drafts because I’m not spending a premium pick to get him. Still, he’s talented enough to yield some production once he gets established in the offense.
With their last pick, San Francisco drafted one of the most talented slot receivers in the draft in Richie James, who had two straight 100-catch seasons before he broke his collarbone last year. If it wasn’t for the injury, it’s hard to tell how high he would’ve been drafted. This could be a steal for the 49ers, because a traditional slot receiver could add a lot of value to their passing offense. Right now, he’s a stash play in dynasty. However, there’s a chance he’s a better NFL player than fantasy asset.
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