It’s no secret the NFL Draft has a major impact on player value. This includes not only the incoming rookies but, in many cases, the veterans who are displaced as a result of the pick. From January through April, every fantasy football article, podcast, video focused on rookies will include a reminder that everything changes once we get the final piece of information that comes once players are drafted.
After what feels like an eternity, we have finally reached the NFL Draft. We no longer need to speculate on landing spots or draft capital and the value of our coveted rookie picks are quickly taking final shape. At DLF, this is our busiest time of year. Over the coming days, our team will be busy churning out written, audio, and video content, updating our dynasty rankings and rookie rankings, and updating our annual Rookie Draft Guide. A majority of your dynasty rookie drafts will kick off in the coming days, so it’s important to absorb and process the information the NFL Draft provides us. With the final piece of the evaluation puzzle in place (draft capital) I’ve recruited some of DLF’s brightest minds with their thoughts on the draft.
1) Who is the QB1 of this class in superflex drafts?
DaddysHomeFF – It has to be Bryce Young. He has the coach and you have to figure they’ll add weapons around him even though they are pretty weak right now. I considered Anthony Richardson but I think Jonathan Taylor caps his rushing upside a bit, so I’m betting on the talent and Reich’s offense to end up producing the QB1.
Kev White – Anthony Richardson. Nothing changed for me on draft night, he ended up with great draft capital and landed in an excellent spot to develop. New head coach Shane Steichen has worked previously developing and maximizing Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts, I’m hoping for similar results in dynasty. We can breathe a sigh of relief that this is not a Malik Willis situation. Hopefully better than the last first-round Richardson to play on the Colts.
Rich Cooling – Anthony Richardson. The elite draft capital is enough for me to raise Richardson over my predraft QB1 of Young. A lot of talk will be based around the elite upside and ceiling of Richardson. However, for me, it is more about his floor. The rushing potential gives him the highest floor of any quarterback in the draft and means he will be a fantasy starter the second he starts a game for the Colts.
Eric Flynn – The fact I nearly fell off my seat when the selection came in and how I’m still giddy that Anthony Richardson went at 4 to the Colts, it’s pretty clear to me now that we know for sure how the NFL perceives him, that he’ll be the first QB I’ll be looking to draft in upcoming rookie draft season. I’m not worried about floors, or sitting behind a bridge QB. I’m staring up at the ceiling here and all I can envision is all those lovely fantasy points, nom…nom..nom 🍪
Nick Muzzillo – I am still going to say Bryce Young here. The ceiling of Richardson is extremely enticing and he couldn’t have landed in a better spot for his development. I think Richardson has moved up to my QB2, but I will still take Young. Frank Reich is no slouch when it comes to developing quarterbacks and he will get the most out of Young. I love Young’s ability to make throws out of structure and command an offense. The only concern is who will he have to throw to. But I think he has the talent to elevate the people around him.
John Di Bari – I had Anthony Richardson as the QB1 in the class pre-draft and he remains there now after landing with the Colts. I initially didn’t like the thought of Richardson in Indy pre-draft, but I have since been convinced Shane Steichen worked wonders with Jalen Hurts, and he could do the same with Richardson. Even if Richardson flops as a passer at the NFL level, he brings enough with his legs to remain fantasy relevant for years.
Aaron – Bryce Young. The landing spots didn’t sway me at all. Young went into the draft as my QB1 and that’s where he stayed. The Panthers will need to get him some help on Day 2, but Frank Reich is going to turn him into a superstar.
Addison Hayes – I’ve gone through all draft season with Bryce Young as my rookie QB1, but I have to say that the landing spot for Anthony Richardson is super enticing, and was one of the big reasons I wanted Will Levis to go there. Of the rookie QBs drafted so far, Richardson has the best weapons to throw to, the best run game, the best offensive line, and the best coaching staff. Sure, Carolina and Houston can continue to grow their offenses out to support their rookies, but Richardson has a lot in place to start on Day 1, plus he offers the rushing upside that neither Bryce Young nor C.J. Stroud can even touch, which is extremely important for fantasy football. While I’m still skeptical of Richardson the player, the landing spot and fantasy upside are too enticing to not have him as my rookie QB1.
Brandon Haye: I think CJ Stroud right now was the best prospect but the weapons aren’t there. Bryce Young was second nd but I don’t love the offense there either. So give me Anthony Richardson with JT running the ball and two good receivers in Pittman and Pierce.
2) On an offense that already includes Drake London and Kyle Pitts, is Bijan Robinson going to be able to produce at an elite level (22+ points per game), and is he still the undisputed 1.01 in all formats?
Kev White – Yes. He lands in an offense with questions at QB so there is potential for a value spike in the future, but we know Arthur Smith will look to use Bijan as the cornerstone of the offense – he has to with the draft capital invested. Immediate impact starter, and a safe pick even for a running back. Full confidence in Bijan at the 1.01.
Eric Flynn – Will he get the touches to produce to an elite level? Probably. The Falcons were the third-ranked rushing attack last season and they look like leaning heavier on the run game with their inexperienced and less vaunted QB, Desmond Ridder. He’s the 1.01 in single QB leagues, in superflex leagues… I’m not so sure.
NickMuzzillo – In single-QB leagues, Bijan is still 1.01 – but I don’t see that any longer in 2QB/superflex formats. I think this is one of the worst possible landing spots for Robinson from a fantasy standpoint. Desmond Ridder feels very much like a bridge quarterback and defenses will gameplan to stack the box and dare Ridder to beat them through the air. The presence of Drake London will help, and Robinson will certainly have his “wow” moments. I think the key to this whole thing is Kyle Pitts. Can he bounce back and be a difference-maker like he was in 2021? If he is, then it should all come together as we think it will.
John Di Bari – Yes. Volume + opportunity = fantasy points. Arthur Smith was the same coach who force-fed Derrick Henry in Tennessee for several years, and if they’re using a top-eight pick on a running back, they’re going to use him heavily. The only negative is that the Falcons were bad a year ago, and will likely be bad again, so there might not be a ton of opportunity late in the game to hold onto a lead.
DaddysHomeFF – Without question, Bijan is the 1.01. He’s going to an offensive system that uses a bell cow running back and has an unproven quarterback under center which will lead to huge volume and that is all a star like Bijan needs. I’m still moving the pick if I’m not a competitor to expedite my rebuild but the value only went up tonight. Draft capital and landing spot were a dream come true for Robinson.
Aaron – Yes, Bijan is still the 1.01, Arthur Smith loves to run the ball. If anything this takes a bit away from the ceiling of Pitts and London. Bijan is the dynasty RB1 and probably a first-round pick in redraft, Tyler Allgeier on the other hand should serve as a cautionary tale of why to sell day three running backs.
Addison Hayes – He absolutely is. This was probably the best landing spot for Robinson in the entire NFL in terms of just raw potential volume. He can and most likely will play a Derrick Henry role in the Arthur Smith offense. Honestly, the best argument in favor of Bijan in Atlanta is Tyler Allgeier, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in this offense last year, and from Weeks 9 on, was on a 17-game pace of over 1,300 yards on 238 carries. The main reason Allgeier wasn’t great for fantasy was that he only scored four times and caught just 16 passes. But Bijan Robinson is IMMENSELY better than Tyler Allgeier, so he will be able to score more often just on his sheer talent alone sometimes, plus he is a much bigger receiving weapon than Allgeier was too. He really could have an Ezekiel Elliott-level rookie season with immense rushing volume and enough receptions to supplement his fantasy floor and ceiling.
3) Which first-round pick was the worst for either fantasy or real NFL value?
Eric Flynn – Jahmyr Gibbs. I love the guy. I’ve got buckets of devy shares I was so excited about turning into dynasty value, but why did the Lions take him where they did? Surely they took him at least a half round early, ríght? I was impressed by how the Detroit organization was going about building up the franchise, but this pick has destroyed that opinion. The move may be salvaged from a fantasy perspective by trading away D’Andre Swift, but I’m just shook.
Nick Muzzillo – I am going to agree with Eric here and say Jahmyr Gibbs. The first thing I thought was… what are the Lions doing? My only guess is that they’re out on Swift and will look to trade him during the spring/before camp starts. Swift and Gibbs feel like the same kind of player, and the Lions swapped out one for the other – and the other is an inch shorter and ten pounds lighter. It feels as if this will be a thunder and lightning 1-2 punch between Montgomery and Gibbs, with Montgomery getting early down work. This could also be a rotation where they split each series. Oy vey.
As for real-life football, I absolutely LOVE what the Eagles did. Both the picks of Carter and Nolan Smith can be viewed as draft-day steals. I am also flabbergasted at the decision Chicago made – not only to pass on Carter – but to agree to a day-three pick next year in return to move back one spot. It doesn’t matter, because the Eagles hit out of the park on day one.
John Di Bari – Real football: The Bears traded down from 1 to 9 to 10. Before Jalen Carter got involved in a ton of off-season legal drama, he was in play as the 1.01 to the Bears. Then, they trade down and he still falls in their lap at 9. Instead of taking arguably the best player in the entire draft, they trade down (again) one spot and only pick up an additional 2024 fourth-round pick in the process. The Eagles take Carter at 9, and the Bears draft Darnell Wright at 10. The Bears need a RT and Wright fits the bill, but he was the OL3 at best in this draft. The Bears passed on the best player in the 2023 class for the third-best offensive lineman and a 2024 fourth, yuck. Fantasy football: Zay Flowers to Baltimore is heartbreaking.
Kev White – Promise I’m not hating on the Ravens, but not a fan of the Zay Flowers pick for dynasty. I’m still a believer in Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews is an elite TE. Think this is excellent from a real-life point of view, a great day in that respect for Baltimore with the news of Lamar Jackson re-signing – but the third guy on this offense is not someone I want to be betting on in dynasty.
Aaron – As far as the NFL goes, Jahmyr Gibbs was a terrible pick. I’m not sure why the Lions would make a smart play by trading down only to essentially light the pick on fire. Just terrible and on top of that it could turn the Lions backfield into a total mess for fantasy. Yuck!
Brandon Haye – Jaxon Smith Njigba. I love his talent and in dynasty formats, he still holds great value. But next year will have to fight DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett for targets on a run-first offense.
Addison Hayes – I think everyone wants to label this as Jahmyr Gibbs, 1) because it was a big reach at 12 overall and 2) he landed on a team that already has a Gibbs-type of back in D’Andre Swift, PLUS they just signed David Montgomery to a 3-year/$18m deal. However, I think for fantasy, this situation will wind up clearing itself up when Swift is dealt either this weekend or soon after, leaving Gibbs to play the D’Andre Swift role while Monty plays the Jamaal Williams role, which will be good for fantasy (maybe not ideal, but good). So instead, my pick here is Zay Flowers from a fantasy perspective. I think Flowers was an excellent NFL move for Baltimore to give the newly signed Lamar Jackson another weapon in the passing game. However, I just don’t know if Flowers can be anything more than a weekly WR3 in this offense competing for targets with Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham, and Mark Andrews. I do believe all of these moves for Baltimore mean they want to throw more, but I think we’ll need to be patient with Flowers from a fantasy perspective as this offense figures out what it is under Todd Monken.
4) Which rookie has seen the biggest increase in their fantasy value after the first round?
Kev White – Quentin Johnston. Excellent landing spot tied to franchise QB Justin Herbert. Really pleased for him to land comfortably in round one, despite not being invited to the live event in Kansas City. Also, disrespectful to see him sliding into the second round of rookie mocks. It could be a slow transition initially with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams around, but wheels up long-term, and not long before he’s outproducing the latter.
Aaron – For me this was a coin flip between Quentin Johnston and Jordan Addison, give me Addison. A 1-2 punch of Justin Jefferson and Addison is elite, add in TJ Hockenson and there will simply be a wealth of opportunities for Addison to produce as a rookie.
John Di Bari – I guess I’m going to go with Quentin Johnston, too. There were plenty of rumors about him falling out of the first entirely, so for him to even get the first-round draft capital it’s a big win. The Chargers won’t have Keenan Allen and Mike Williams forever, and Johnston fits their preferred “style” of big-bodied wide receiver. His ADP in rookie drafts was at the tail end of round one, and now I suspect he goes in the top-6 in most leagues.
Brandon Haye – Quentin Johnston landed in a great situation and has a great QB. He will be great in dynasty formats because after this year he will be the Mike Williams of the future.
Addison Hayes – I think this has to be Quentin Johnston, not only for the landing spot but just for the solidification that he was/is a first-round talent. His dynasty stock had been falling recently because of rumors and reports that his NFL Draft stock was falling potentially out of Round 1 so that now not being true is a win for Johnston. But then there’s the landing spot of the LA Chargers, pairing him with Justin Herbert on an offense where both main receivers have not been the most reliable health-wise. Johnston can now come in and work the outside with Mike Williams while Keenan Allen is in the slot, which is a great role to play when all three are healthy, but if/when there are games where either or both Williams and Allen are out with injuries, Johnston can play that WR1 role for Herbert like we saw Josh Palmer have to do at times during the season last year. Overall, Johnston’s dynasty value has certainly increased in terms of confidence and potential overall success.
Nick – I am on the other side of the fence here with Zay Flowers. I see this differently than my colleagues at DLF. Let’s just look at the big picture – you have a former MVP quarterback. An uncertain wide receiver room (in which both top two receivers have serious question marks going into next season), and an offensive coordinator who was highly sought-after, with prior NFL experience, that wants to push the ball vertically downfield. Now, they get a guy who can be used in so many different ways that you will find a way to get him involved and can develop into a significant contributor. I don’t believe this will be the same old Ravens offense that is a run-first team. I will most likely find myself having a lot of Zay this year, due to the ‘meh’ landing spot. It’s never a bad idea to zig when others zag.
Daddy – It is Jordan Addison by a landslide for me. Pairing him up with Jefferson is a dream scenario for the rookie and he should thrive against the second cornerback and minimal safety attention in a high-volume offense. I expect Addison to end up with the best rookie season of all the wide receivers and consistently put up WR2 numbers moving forward. I absolutely love how the draft went for Addison and now it’s wheels up from here!
5) Which veteran player will see the biggest increase in fantasy value after the first round?
Aaron – I have a duo of aging running backs. Austin Ekeler and Joe Mixon were plummeting in value as they approached the age apex and were rumored to see their teams draft a first-round running back. Both teams instead opted to add a rookie wide receiver to their roster and left their aging starters in the driver’s seat for now.
Kev White – Geno Smith. Avoided a potential landmine of an early-round one QB and added the best WR in the class – Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Even if there was a day two selection of Levis or Hooker, I think Smith has been a big winner and has seen his job security improve over day one of the draft.
John Di Bari – I’m not thrilled with many of the picks from a fantasy perspective. I guess I’ll go with Justin Herbert. He gets an heir apparent to his WR1 role with the addition of Johnston since Allen and Williams with both likely be gone after 2024, and he’ll be able to step right into a prominent role once one (or both) of them inevitably miss time to injury this season. The team seems to be keeping Ekeler for another season too, so Herbert is in a great situation now and later.
Addison Hayes – I would just like to throw this out to all the quarterbacks that got a new receiver in the first round. Sure, Justin Herbert probably won’t gain value, and Kirk Cousins will just remain that perennially undervalued QB2, but Lamar Jackson should have gained value today both from his massive new contract and a new weapon in Zay Flowers, and Geno Smith definitely gained value from both a new weapon standpoint and job security. Even with his own new contract, it was possible that Seattle could’ve hedged that bet and taken a quarterback with one of their two picks in Round 1, but they didn’t, and instead took the rookie WR1 in the class to give Geno arguably the best receiver room in the entire NFL. I think Smith has entered a tier of quarterbacks that can be consistently relied upon for QB2 production with QB2 spike weeks because of the talent he has to throw to now, so he has definitely gained the most dynasty value after tonight.
Nick – The chalk answer is probably Justin Herbert, but I am actually going to agree with Addison here and say Lamar Jackson. As Addison mentioned, Lamar gets a fat, new contract and another dynamic weapon to play with. He also gets a new offensive coordinator who will certainly prioritize throwing the ball first rather than run and has prior NFL experience. The Ravens aggressively pursued Todd Monken to be their new OC and will want him to unlock the passing upside that we have seen in flashes from Jackson. I think Lamar has a chance to rise back up to that upper tier of dynasty QBs, but may be just a tick below the top four (Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, and Hurts).
Daddy – I am going with Kev and saying Geno Smith. His own team prepped him for the possibility of being replaced with the 5th pick and instead, he gets the WR1 in this class? That’s an amazing turnaround for a guy going for pennies this off-season. The combo of Lockett, DK and JSN should make repeating what looked to many like a fluke season so much easier and we should consider Geno a QB1 for the 2023 season and possibly beyond. Big win for one of the best stories of last year.
6) Is there anyone you thought would be drafted in the first round that wasn’t?
Aaron – Will Levis. After seeing quarterbacks fly off the board early and hearing the rumours of Tennessee attempting to trade up with Arizona, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Levis would go in the top 10. Instead, he spent the night in the green room and did not hear his name called at any point.
Kev White – Will Levis. All the talk of him being taken early, linked to many different teams – it was a shock to see him slide. I personally don’t think the talent is there so I’ll be happy to avoid this landmine in my rookie drafts.
John Di Bari – I suspected Jalin Hyatt would go in the first. He had gained a lot of steam over the off-season, although his sub-par combine performance dinged him in the eyes of many. I was not a huge fan of his and wanted the first-round draft capital so someone else could overdraft him in all my leagues.
Addison Hayes – Is there any answer other than Will Levis here? From what was expected to be a top-5 pick, Levis is now a Day 2 pick and that cartoon falling sound effect you hear in the background is the sound of Levis’ dynasty value plummeting in rookie drafts. He is no longer a 1st round pick in superflex rookie drafts, and you can maybe argue he doesn’t belong in the 2nd round either depending on how far he falls on Friday. I still believe we will see Levis start in the NFL at some point, but it may not be more than a backup role or a “let’s see what we have here” role a la Sam Ehlinger or Gardner Minshew, neither of which feel good with a top-18 pick in your rookie drafts.
Nick – Two names that come to mind are Josh Downs and the obvious one, Will Levis. I really thought the spot for him was Tampa at 19, but they went defense with Calijah Kancey (not a fan of that pick, for the record). The fact he slipped out of the first round is noteworthy, as it indicates the NFL isn’t sold on Levis and has the same concerns as #drafttwitter had throughout the pre-draft process. This feels very Malik Willis-like, so it will be interesting to see how far he drops.
Daddy – Obviously Levis, but I was surprised to not see Michael Mayer’s name called. I saw him mocked as high as the top 10 and there was so much made of this “amazing” tight end class that seemed to never materialize. I thought our fantasy dreams came true when Mayer was still on the clock at the Bengals pick but we know how that turned out. We now wait and see if maybe day 2 is a blessing in disguise for his fantasy stock.
7) Did you expect more or less wide receivers to be drafted in the first round?
Haye: I expected the same amount. Addison was a little iffy but all are very talented and teams that drafted them needed talent at receiver.
Aaron- It looked dicey for a few minutes but, in the end, the four receivers that went in four consecutive picks were exactly who I thought would go in round one. Nothing out of order here.
Kev White – Exact. My expectation was four and pretty much went to plan, I thought Jaxon Smith-Njigba would have gone earlier. Crazy to think all four players went on back-to-back picks.
John Di Bari – The gambling lines everywhere had the number at 4.5, so this is exactly where the bookies had it. With one less first-round pick thanks to Miami, the math alone indicated the under was in play, and four was the number I liked coming in.
Addison Hayes – I expected 3-4, no more. This class isn’t good enough depth-wise at the receiver position to warrant more than the four players who went to go in the first round.
Nick – I did not expect four, let alone in consecutive picks. I thought maybe two, three at the most. It was very surprising to see Johnston go where he did. The only first-round grade I had anyway on a wide receiver this draft was Smith-Njigba. The run will most likely come tomorrow on day two.
Daddy – The amount and the names both fell as expected with this class. The surprise was how low they went. While not a great class, I was shocked none went in the top 15 picks. Just not a good night for the position at all.
8) Who are you most looking forward to being drafted Friday?
Aaron – Roschon Johnson. Give me a good landing spot and round two draft capital for Roschon and I’m going to absolutely lose my mind. At the very worst, I would hope he manages to be selected in round three.
John Di Bari – The easiest question of the day, running backs. It will be interesting to see who eventually drafts Will Levis, too.
Kev White – Hendon Hooker. Interesting dual-threat profile, doesn’t throw many interceptions, experienced (a nice way of saying old) – if he can land in round two he becomes an interesting dart in the hope of short-term starts to flip at a value potentially.
Brandon Haye: Josh Downs. I think he is ready-made with great route running and based on the situation could be higher for me than some drafted in the 1st round.
Addison Hayes – It’s not so much one specific player, but just the collection of running backs we have in this class are all super interesting to see when and where they go. You can argue there is a tier of about nine players that are all very similar and all could go on Day 2. I’ve honestly been waiting to let the NFL tell me how I should be ranking all these guys for rookie drafts, plus I really want to know which veteran running backs are getting pushed out and which ones survive. Oh… and also Josh Downs because he’s great and undervalued.
Nick – Running backs and wide receivers will be the story, but I am really interested to see how the NFL values the remaining tight end class. We already saw one (Kincaid-1.25, to the Bills) and it is expected that possibly five to six could be gone by day two. I have mentioned before how deep a tight-end class this is, so I am curious to see if the NFL agrees. Michael Mayer dropping out of the first round was a shocker. No matter where he lands, that is tremendous value for a top-25 player in this class.
Daddy – Whichever running backs go to Cincinnati and Miami, respectively. I think you have a good chance of seeing one or two RB prospects vault up draft boards tonight and I can’t wait to see who it is so I can cash in on the hype. There is a real possibility someone would be willing to trade Gibbs or JSN for a player who goes tonight as we continue to not learn from players like CEH. My favorite part about dynasty is how often we repeat past mistakes. And there are so many opportunities to come after Day 2.