Dynasty players have been looking forward to this weekend for weeks, months, maybe even years due to the talented class loaded with running backs and tight ends that should impact the way we build our teams. The first round certainly did not disappoint with multiple trades and eleven fantasy relevant players coming off the board.
With impact players entering the league, NFL veterans will feel the impact, some fearing for their respective jobs while others breathe a sigh of relief, at least for 24 hours. Let’s take a look at some of the players who could see their dynasty value affected by this first round rookie class.
Carlos Hyde, RB SF
In recent days, there was some growing sentiment the San Francisco 49ers could actually take former LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Despite what you think of Fournette, that would’ve been bad news for Hyde based on draft capital alone. Instead, the Niners traded down a spot and focused on the defense. There are still some backs available in this draft who could threaten Hyde’s job and his dynasty value, but he dodged an early bullet.
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Marcus Mariota, QB TEN
Titans’ youngster Marcus Mariota is already off to a great start in his career and that was with Dorial Green-Beckham and Rishard Mathews serving as his top wide receivers in his first two seasons. Wide receiver was clearly a need for Tennessee, but there were doubts if they would use a top five pick on that position. Of course, they made the leap, drafting Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick. We’ll talk more about his outlook in upcoming pieces, but this is clearly good news for Mariota, who has to be considered a top five dynasty quarterback going forward.
Philip Rivers, QB LAC
At 35 years old, Chargers veteran quarterback Philip Rivers doesn’t have the room to grow like Mariota does. The addition of former Clemson wideout Mike Williams, whom the team added with the seventh overall pick, will help him maintain his status as a fantasy QB1 entering 2017. In fact, Rivers also gets Keenan Allen back and tight end Hunter Henry will now have a season under his belt. The crowded depth chart could create some tough decisions for fantasy owners, but presents Rivers with a load of options on each possession.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU
We all knew how this story needed to play out. The Texans had already shipped free agent bust Brock Osweiler out of town and were now left with Tom Savage and not much else. That did not instill confidence for Hopkins owners hoping for a bounce back season in 2017. With multiple teams making moves to add their quarterback of the future, Houston pounced on the chance and selected former Clemson star Deshaun Watson. While he has his share of doubters, Watson should get an immediate opportunity, which may not be the case for other first round rookie signal callers. In the end, this should be a huge upgrade over Osweiler and that is excellent news for Hopkins, along with Will Fuller, CJ Fiedorowicz and others.
Robert Kelley, RB WAS
I hesitate to include Redskins running back Robert Kelley, who surprised with a nice rookie season after going undrafted in 2016. The entire fantasy football world has acknowledged Kelley has almost no chance to keep the starting job for the Redskins, but for one night, he retains it. The Skins had the chance to select a back like Dalvin Cook in the later portion of the first round, but went defense instead. There are still many rookie backs who could snatch the job away from Kelley, so don’t be surprised to see him make an appearance in the “Losers” section of tomorrow’s version of this article.
Eric Ebron, TE DET
If you are an avid reader of NFL mock drafts, it became a forgone conclusion the Lions would be adding a tight end, potentially former Hurricane David Njoku, who was available when their turn came around at #21 overall. Like so many other teams in the back half of the draft, Detroit targeted a defender – this is excellent news for Ebron, whose dynasty value could’ve taken a major hit with the addition of a first round tight end. While there are many talents left at the position for the upcoming rounds, none would be an obvious upgrade over the former first rounder.
Jameis Winston, QB TB
Mariota was not the only young quarterback to add a new weapon to his offensive arsenal. When the Bucs 19th pick came around, they jumped at the chance to select former Alabama tight end OJ Howard, who was expected to go as early as sixth overall. As friend of DLF Rich Hribar pointed out on Twitter, Winston had a huge role in his college teammate Nick O’Leary winning the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in college and we know he wasn’t an NFL-caliber talent. Winston loves to use his tight end and both he and Howard should benefit from the relationship.
CJ Anderson, RB DEN
Before the Panthers chose running back Christian McCaffrey with the eighth overall pick, there were many rumors the Broncos were interested in trading up with a goal of landing the former Stanford back. When that door was closed, Denver chose to stay where they were and offensive lineman Garrett Bolles fell into their lap. This entire series of events was huge for veteran CJ Anderson. Obviously, the potential addition of an electric playmaker like McCaffrey would’ve sunk his long-term value. Instead, improving the offensive line should benefit the entire offense, especially the run game. Again, there are many talented backs left on the board, and there are at least a couple who could effectively destroy Anderson’s value, but his outlook is much stronger than it was when the McCaffrey rumors were swirling.
Mike Glennon, QB CHI
The Bears had been rumored to be interested in a quarterback for the past several weeks, even after signing former Bucs backup Mike Glennon. Yet when the team overpaid to flip picks with the 49ers, the assumption was they were targeting defender Solomon Thomas. Instead, Mitchell Trubisky was announced as the pick. Since most dynasty owners did not seem sold on Glennon anyway, his value doesn’t have far to fall. It does mean he won’t even get a fair shot to keep the job beyond 2017. I do expect him to begin the season as the starter and could hold the job all season, but it is fair to assume the former North Carolina quarterback will take over in 2018 at the latest.
TJ Yeldon/Chris Ivory, RBs JAX
Much like Glennon and others on this list, the pair of Jaguars running backs, Yeldon and Ivory, had already seen their value fade, based both on their own level of play along with the assumption Jacksonville would be adding an impact runner this weekend. They did just that and wasted no time, using their fourth overall pick on Leonard Fournette. One of either Yeldon or Ivory is likely not even going to make the team as Fournette will be the bell cow runner on a team trying to finally get over the hump. While Yeldon retains some value based on his relative young age, Ivory is essentially done.
Tyrell Williams, WR LAC
One of the surprise breakout players of 2016 was second-year wideout Tyrell Williams of the Chargers, who took over once Keenan Allen went down. There were already some concerns about how much production we could expect from Williams with Allen back on the field, but with the addition of Mike Williams, Tyrell falls out of the fantasy starter range and might need another injury to make an impact.
Jonathan Stewart, RB CAR
After an injury-riddled career, many dynasty owners had already given up on Stewart, though the Panthers continue to keep him around, even renegotiating his deal following last season to keep him in Carolina another season. Since DeAngelo Williams left the team years ago, Stewart has had no competition for touches and still was a RB2 at best. Now, the Panthers have McCaffrey on the roster and although the two backs are nothing alike, his arrival eliminates any remaining value Stewart may have had.
Alex Smith, QB KC
Smith is yet another player who can be considered a “loser” after Round One, yet had little dynasty value anyway. The Chiefs still have to consider themselves playoff contenders, but they made the huge move up to the tenth overall pick to select Patrick Mahomes. Despite the assumption Smith will retain the starting job for the 2017 season, I’d easily prefer to roster the younger, high upside player on my dynasty team. Outside of super-flex leagues, Smith shouldn’t even be on a fantasy roster.
Cameron Brate, TE TB
This one stings! After finishing as the TE7 a season ago, Brate’s long-term outlook is now clouded following the addition of OJ Howard. The typical slow development of young tight ends is well-documented, but many regarded Howard as the safest player in the draft. I like Brate as a buy low after this turn of events, but also wouldn’t be surprised to see him land on some waiver wires in shallow dynasty leagues.
Gary Barnidge, TE CLE
After a breakout season in 2015, Barnidge put himself on the fantasy map, but savvy dynasty owners weren’t buying in. After all, he was already 30 years old at the time and had never been fantasy relevant in previous seasons. He followed up his TE4 season with a TE18 campaign in 2016 and his job just got tougher as the Browns traded up into the end of the first round to select former Miami Hurricane David Njoku. As the Browns entire team is in transition, Barnidge is no longer worthy of a roster spot in dynasty leagues.
Sterling Shepard, WR NYG
The short-term value of Shepard was already in doubt after the Giants added veteran wideout Brandon Marshall via free agency, but it takes even more of a sting on Day One. The Giants spent their first-round pick on wideout, labeled as a tight end Evan Engram. For the Rebels of Ole Miss, Engram lined up in the slot more than he did in-line. In fact, he led all tight ends in this class in slot receptions and slot yardage – this could mean much less opportunity for Shepard both in the long-term and short-term. He’s one of the few players on this list I would be interested in buying low on, though that price range would have to be in the second round of rookie picks to get my attention.
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