The dynasty trade value chart is tailored specifically to a 12-team PPR league that starts one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end and a flex. It is meant to serve primarily as a guide for trades but is also a great resource during startup drafts. If the players and picks on each side of the trade offer add up to approximately the same number, the trade would be considered even. If you receive a trade offer that sends you players with a higher total number value than the players you are giving up, that is a trade offer worth strongly considering.
This instant post-draft update is focused entirely upon the value of the rookie selections. Both in comparison to what the picks are worth in trades for veteran players and in stacking the board into value tiers to better understand the value in making moves up and down the draft board during your dynasty rookie drafts.
Expect a full updated Dynasty Trade Value Chart including updated values for veterans impacted by the draft in Mid-May. It will also incorporate post-draft MFL10 ADP and post-draft redraft rankings. In the meantime, use the April updateas a rough guide for comparing the numerical trade values placed on each rookie pick below to the value of veterans in potential trades.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Philosophy
Long-term success centers around value and correctly placing players into tiers based upon their skill sets, the role their team envisions for them and the amount of draft resources their team has invested in them. Once the tiers are set, you can focus in on specific players you like and positional needs you hope to address. Within each tier, you can lean both upon expert scouting reports and your gut feeling to separate similar prospects. Footballguys provides fantastic resources including Matt Waldman’s prospect articles (and the RSP), the Bloom 100, rookie rankings from each of the dynasty contributors and countless other articles breaking down the skill sets of each top rookie to help you set your own draft board.
Dynasty Trade Value Three-Step Approach
A common-sense approach to valuing rookies is to (1) figure out what role each team expects the rookie to fill, (2) decide how much fantasy upside is possible in that role and (3) make judgments as to whether the player (skill set and mental makeup) and team (surrounding pieces) are equipped to fulfill their vision for the player in the offense.
The first step in this process after each NFL draft is always an attempt to understand what role each team envisions for their rookie picks. The best way to do this is actually listen to or read what the team’s coaches and front office executives say in their post-draft press conferences about why they picked the player over other options and what role they envision for him. Below, you will read what the teams actually had to say about the expected roles of each player.
You will also see each rookie broken into one of six tiers, ranked in order and assigned a dynasty trade value (listed in parentheses).
Tier 1-Elite Prospects
Somewhat surprisingly, the top tier of six remained intact after the draft. Each of the top six prospects went about where we expected or higher. Mike Williams has the most competition for targets and enough questions about his overall skill set that he ranks at the bottom of this tier. While the other four prospects in this tier went in the top-8 overall, Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook slid to the second round due to off field concerns, both are elite talents with tremendous fantasy upside. There is more risk attached to both players than there is with the safer players in this tier, but the upside with each is immense. The off-field issues push them below the top three. Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey are safe, clean prospects and now have top-10 draft pedigree. Flip a coin when deciding between the two if you have the 1.02. Corey Davis narrowly edges out the top backs due to the greater longevity of the receiver position, though specifics of league starting requirements or team needs could push the backs ahead of him.
1.01 Corey Davis (Ten, 28) The landing spot in Tennessee is ideal for Davis. He immediately becomes the top passing target in the Titans offense and is paired long-term with an ascending franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota. His best attribute according to Mike Mularkey is his run after the catch ability, which pairs well with the accuracy and timing of Mariota. While the top of the 2017 draft wasn’t as loaded at the top as some others, the fact Tennessee invested a top-5 overall selection in Davis is still significant. He fits the mold on and off the field of what GM Jon Robinson is trying to build. They made a former walk-on (Jack Conklin) their top pick last season and used three of their four early picks in 2017 on players who had just one Division I college scholarship offer coming out of high school and play with a chip on their shoulders. The biggest fantasy concern for Davis is that he goes to a run-oriented offense that ranked in the bottom-5 of the NFL with just 31.5 attempts per game. Plus, there are suddenly a lot of mouths to feed in Tennesse with Davis, Rishard Matthews, Taywan Taylor, Demarco Murray, Derrick Henry Delanie Walker, and Jonnu Smith.
1.02 Leonard Fournette (Jax, 26) Fournette is the consensus top back in the class and Jacksonville clearly will try to build their offense around him. Many other GMs (even teams that drafted other backs) seemed to acknowledge Fournette as the top talent, with Minnesota, Cincinnati and Carolina saying either explicitly or strongly implying that their back was #2 on their board and their team “got one of the top two backs.” There is little doubt about Fournette’s role. He is going to be fed 300+ carries and should get at least some work in the passing game as well. As Tom Coughlin said when talking to Fournette, “you’re here for one reason young man—put the ball in the end zone— we don’t have enough scorers.” While Fournette has much better receiving ability that he’s often given credit for, his upside in PPR leagues might rank below McCaffrey and Mixon who have WR-like skills and the potential to rack up the huge reception numbers that made David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell the dominant fantasy backs last season. Aside from the general injury risk inherent with any player (especially a running back), the only real concern with Fournette is that the Jaguars offensive talent is too poor for him to thrive. We saw what Jared Goff and a poor offensive line did to Todd Gurley last season and that has to be a concern here as well with how badly Blake Bortles struggled last season.
1.03 Christian McCaffrey (Car, 26) The case for McCaffrey as the 1.01 in dynasty PPR rookie drafts was there to be made before the Panthers used a premium pick (#40 overall) on Curtis Samuel. While Samuel will likely slot in primarily as a receiver, much of his skill set is duplicative of McCaffrey’s and probably lowers McCaffrey’s ceiling for touches. McCaffrey is clearly going to rack up a bunch of catches and should easily be at least a high-end fantasy RB2. But the question will be how many carries he is able to manage and if he can handle enough to be a consistent RB1. In the post-draft press conference, GM Dave Gettleman compared McCaffrey to Curtis Martin and said he was one of the best “tackle-box runners” he’s ever seen. Martin had 10-straight seasons of 300+ touches, so the comparison should be an eye opener for dynasty owners. If McCaffrey can get even 200 carries per season, he will be a high end RB1 due to his pass game usage. On the other hand, head coach Ron Rivera compared McCaffrey to Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles. Sproles has never had a 100+ carry season and Bush reached 160 carries just three times in 11 years. Both were valuable fantasy assets in PPR leagues regardless, so McCaffrey looks to have the highest floor of any of the top prospects.
1.04 Joe Mixon (Cin, 24) The Bengals press conference after picking Mixon understandably focused almost entirely upon the off-field questions surrounding the awful incident in 2014 when Mixon assaulted a female student. But there was one short moment where the football aspect of Mixon was discussed and Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese seemed giddy. “I’m so excited, I can hardly stand myself,” said Zampese. “This guy can flat go — very, very good football player — strong, explosive, change of direction, feel and instincts, catches the ball, can move him around on different places of the field, interviewed football very well, protections, explained his offense well ... I think he has a very, very bright future.” The Bengals wouldn’t have braved the onslaught of negative media attention if they didn’t feel they were getting an elite talent who could be an offensive star. While there are some definite questions about the Bengals offensive line (especially whether Cedric Ogbuehi can hold up at LT), this offense still sets up very well for a running back like Mixon to have success. The duo of John Ross and A.J. Green will keep opposing Safeties out of the box and the Bengals like to run down around the goal line. Mixon clearly has immense fantasy upside and the potential dynasty reward of drafting the 20-year old talent is massive if he can avoid any future off-field issues. Giovani Bernard is signed long-term and will likely settle in as a change-of-pace option. Jeremy Hill is in the final year of his deal and looks to be on the outs in Cincinnati.
1.05 Dalvin Cook (Min, 23) The Vikings made a move up the draft board to take Cook at #41 overall. “We felt that he was definitely one of the top two running backs in this class,” GM Rick Spielman said. Not only is he an explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands, as a running back, he has great balance, great vision. I think watching him catch the ball out of the backfield and the explosive plays he makes out of the backfield as a receiver are another threat. There’s always going to be some things these running backs have to clean up like pass (protection) and things like that. But, overall as a talent with the ball in his hands and as a receiver, we felt he was one of the most complete backs in this draft.” Cook, like Laquon Treadwell, will be another fascinating case study in analytics vs. tape for the Vikings. He tested poorly at the combine, with surprisingly poor change of direction numbers and solid but unspectacular size/speed ratio. By nearly all accounts his tape is very impressive though. Spielman said the Vikings spent did a lot of due diligence on Cook’s off field issues and he even followed up with Cook and talked to him on the phone for 45 minutes prior to the start of the second round to get further assurances that Cook would not allow some of his bad influences to come with him up to Minnesota. When asked what convinced him that Cook would leave those people behind, Spielman said, “he told me, and I believed him.”
1.06 Mike Williams (SD, 20)In a video breakdownof Mike Williams, Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt talked about how adding another weapon that can beat single coverage like he believes Williams can will be big for the Chargers offense. NFL offenses continue to spread out and having multiple receiving (like Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Williams) that can win in single coverage can make an offense very hard to stop. Williams’ game is a nice fit with Philip Rivers, one of the league’s most accurate passers and a gunslinger who is unafraid to throw it up and let his guy go fight for the contested catch.
Tier 2-The Near Elite
It was tempting to slide Ross into the top tier. He was a top-10 overall draft choice with significant upside. However, the injury concerns and suddenly stacked roster of skill position talent which could limit his targets makes him a better fit in the second tier. Still, he’s a top-10 draft choice with elite speed and excellent route-running ability. Evan Engram also has a case to be included with the top tier. He is not much of a blocker, which makes his top-25 draft selection all the more notable and from a fantasy perspective is actually a positive pushing him ahead of the more well-rounded O.J Howard and David Njoku. Howard and Njoku are athletic freaks and worth a selection in the late first round for patient owners. Curtis Samuel and Alvin Kamara are talented players who landed in nice spots. Samuel will get overlooked due to Christian McCaffrey. But he could emerge as the #1 receiver in Carolina and is a big-play waiting to happen. Kamara is flying under the radar just a bit due to the crowded backfield in New Orleans. But the Saints love to throw to their running backs and Kamara is a special receiver out of the backfield. He could put up prime Darren Sproles numbers, especially if either of the injury prone veteran backs misses time with an injury. Plus, he will likely be the last man standing at the RB position in New Orleans at some point in the next couple seasons.
1.07 John Ross (Cin, 15) There’s a perception by some that Ross is only a deep threat. But as Matt Harmon has noted, he is also a polished and very talented route runner. In addition to the deep speed, it was the ability to separate on the shorter routes that really appealed to the Bengals coaching staff. “On the speed note, it’s impossible to not talk about how his speed ranks as one of the fastest forty times. But he can stop,” said Bengals receiver coach James Urban. “That is equally important. So if he can go out there and stop, then transition… then you don’t just have the ability to go up top, but also to separate underneath. That’s where he jumps out on film.” While Ross’ upside is probably capped a bit over the short-medium term by the presence of A.J. Green, it is worth noting that Green turns 29-years old this summer and isn’t going to remain the top target in Cincinnati forever. Long-term, Ross could develop into a #1 receiver in the mold of T.Y. Hilton.
1.08 Evan Engram (NYG, 13) Engram had elite athletic ability even in comparison to the top wide receivers. Of all the tight ends drafted, he is the one most likely to produce WR-type fantasy numbers that could be hugely valuable in the TE spot of dynasty lineups. "We think this guy can be a dynamic weapon in our offense," said Reese, who compared Engram to Redskins star Jordan Reed. "A matchup nightmare for teams trying to cover him with linebackers and safeties. He's a guy we liked a lot, our coaches liked a lot." The Giants struggled against Cover-2 defenses last year and Engram is the speed receiver down the middle that gives those defenses so much trouble, according to Reese. The Giants do have a glut of pass catchers in the short term with Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall also on the team. Eli Manning turned 36-years old in January, so Engram’s long-term outlook is tied to Davis Webb (or whoever the long-term answer ends up being for the Giants).
1.09 O.J. Howard (TB, 12) Howard is a well-rounded tight end with impressive size and speed. “Obviously we took O.J., and we are beyond excited about him,” Licht said at One Buc Place. “It was a little bit of a pipe dream during the process that he would be there. We got a little itchy, but we decided to stay patient, which we did. That was the most excitement I’ve seen in the entire room since we’ve been here, since we picked Jameis.” Head Coach Dirk Cotter noted that he wants the Bucs to be in a two tight end personnel on first and second downs and believes that Howard will be the perfect compliment to receiving tight end Cameron Brate. It’s possible that Howard could develop into a top fantasy option like Greg Olsen. However, there is also a chance that his blocking ability and the threat of his deep speed give him more NFL value than fantasy value in PPR leagues. Don’t discount the presence of Brate who will continue to play a big role as an offensive weapon as the flex tight end. "We love Cameron," said Licht. "Cameron is a heck of a player. In our offense and a lot of offenses in today’s day and age, you have two tight ends: one ‘Y,’ one ‘F.’ If you can establish that, then it really – you can dictate what you’re doing with the run and passing game."
1.10 Curtis Samuel (Car, 11) GM Dave Gettleman compared Samuel’s impact as a deep threat to the that of Ted Ginn, who played exclusively at receiver, but also praised Samuel’s inside run skills and toughness as a runner. .“This is a matchup league,” said Gettleman. “Is my guy better than your guy? These two guys (Samuel and McCaffrey) can give us matchup advantages from a variety of positions, and that ain’t bad.” Coach Ron Rivera mentioned his ability to line up in a multitude of spots. Samuel could end up being a high-volume slot receiver who gets a few deep targets per game and also handles the ball as a running back on occasion.
1.11 Alvin Kamara (NO, 11)Kamara could be a strong fantasy option in the Saints scheme for PPR leagues New Orleans gave up a 2018 second round pick to move up and grab Kamara. “He was a player that we coveted on offense that Sean (Payton) will have a great vision for and I would expect (him) to fill the role that Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles had for us in the past,” said GM Mickey Loomis. “That is a player that we had going much higher on our board and we talked about (selecting him) much earlier.” The presence of Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram will scare many dynasty owners away, but Kamara has youth on his side and more juice in his legs than the older backs.
1.12 David Njoku (Cle, 10)It will take some patience for Njoku's fantasy owners. He is raw and still very young and the Cleveland passing game is probably at least a couple years away (particularly at quarterback) from being able to support a fantasy TE1. From a physical standpoint, Njoku has everything you look for. “He has the ability to make plays down the field,'' said Browns coach Hue Jackson. "He's a three-down tight end.”
Tier 3- The Best of the Rest
These are the not-quite elite talents who either didn’t get drafted quite as highly as the players ranked above or who have skill sets that limit their fantasy upside to some extent. There will be plenty of debate about where the cut off is at the bottom of this tier. There’s also a case to be made for some of the other second round receivers to rank higher, but this is where they seem to fit based upon projected roles. Some of the players in this tier will likely settle in as consensus first rounders.
2.01 Kareem Hunt (KC, 8)The Saints traded up to #86 overall to grab Hunt. “We had to go up or else we would have not have gotten that running back, so we decided to go up,” said GM John Dorsey. “I was sitting there and I said, ‘We have to go up and get this running back. Otherwise, we’re gonna miss out. Take out the top tier running backs, this was the next best guy.”“We really like his running style, his contact balance, his ability to run the ball. He had 48 receptions this year. Early on, he weighed a little bit heavier than he normally does, then he goes to the Senior Bowl and displays, at 206 pounds, that he’s a hard man to stop. He’s a pretty good running back. You guys will like him.” Based upon Dorsey’s comments, it’s probably wise not to overvalue the 3rd-round back. He is likely to challenge Spencer Ware for the starting role in the short term, but may profile best as a committee back.
2.02 Zay Jones (Buf, 8) The Bills gave up three picks to move all the way up to #37 overall to snag Jones. They are very familiar with what he brings to the table since their new WR coach Phil McGeoghan coached Jones last year at East Carolina and helped develop his ability on some specific routes that would translate to the NFL. “When you look at his position flexibility, he can move inside, he can play outside and that was also a big part of it as well,” McDermott said. “You’re not just talking about a guy that can play one position, so he does have position-flex. That said, as a young player, we’ve got to progress him at the right pace. He’s going to come in and learn the system then go from there and I’m sure he’s already on the phone with Phil at this point.” Despite having size, 4.45 speed and owning the all-time FBS record for career catches, many feel Jones might not have the fantasy upside to justify a 1st-round dynasty selection. He’s probably just a supporting player in the mold of Robert Woods, but there may be some hidden upside if Jones continues to develop. Especially with the uncertainty surrounding Sammy Watkins.
2.03 JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pit, 8) The biggest news surrounding this pick may have been the twitter reaction of Martavis Bryant: “lol that’s Sammie coates replacement not minds take it how you want to I am back.” From a fantasy perspective, the uncertainty regarding Bryant complicates the valuation of Smith-Schuster. If Bryant can keep his head on straight (not a great start in that department), then Smith-Schuster is stuck behind two of the most talented receivers in the NFL. If Bryant was out of the picture, there’s a clear path to fantasy relevance for the 20-year old rookie out of USC. Todd Haley noted they like that Smith-Schuster was the youngest player in the draft and that he excels at “50/50 balls.” His blocking ability outside was also noted as a major positive. He feels like a safe choice for the Steelers who need some more reliable secondary options behind Brown. But the upside is potentially limited due to the other talent on the offense and a skill set from Smith-Schuster that probably fits best as a supporting role player.
2.04 Chris Godwin (TB, 7) With Desean Jackson signed to a big-money deal to start opposite of Mike Evans and the Buccaneers poised to run mostly two-tight end sets with the arrival of O.J. Howard, the immediate role for Godwin isn’t clear. He will compete to be the third receiver in an offense that may use three receivers on less than half the downs. In the longer term, it is quite possible that Godwin develops into Evans’ top running mate and one of the key targets for Jameis Winston. He is big, fast and was productive at Penn State and the Bucs like him as a player. "You can’t have enough speed," said GM Jason Licht. "During this year – I know I’ve mentioned this before – speed was one thing that we felt like we needed to add … to this team. "We felt like he was a great addition to our depth," said Licht. "He’s got a big upside, he’s a tough guy as well. He’s got good hands, tore it up in that bowl game versus USC. But he also played well throughout the year, nice two-year career as a starter there. He’s got an upside, he’s going to compete for a role."
2.05 Gerald Everett (Rams, 6) Everett is the the type of hybrid WR/TE in the mold of Jordan Reed that could potentially give his fantasy owners WR2 production in the TE spot of their lineup. He likely will fly further under the fantasy radar than he should given his skill set and the draft capital the Rams invested in him. The Reed comparison is especially apt since Everett will be coached by former-Washington coordinator Sean McVay. With no first rounder, Everett was the Rams top pick in this draft at #44 overall and reportedly one of Mcvay's favorite players in the draft.
Tier 4-Situational Upside
Once you get to the middle of the second round, it makes sense to start taking some chances on mid-round draft choices who landed in especially intriguing spots. While Samaje Perine will get more buzz than some of the other backs, there’s a case for a player like Joe Williams ahead of him due to Kyle Shanahan’s impressive track record with mid-round backs. Bruce Arians also earns the benefit of the doubt when it comes to small school speedsters in the third round. Marlon Mack landed in a best-case spot and has a chance to carve out at least temporary fantasy value. Deeper into this tier are a number of mid-round wide receivers with the possiblity to become lower-end fantasy contributors.
2.06 Joe Williams (SF, 5) The 49ers initially weren’t interested in Williams when learning he walked away from his team to retire early in the 2016 season. “I was like, ‘uh uh -- not interested,’” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. But the film was impressive enough that Lynch wanted to find out more about Williams before completely dismissing him. “We got really comfortable with the kid and (had) a better understanding of what his story was,” Lynch said. Off-field concerns aside, Williams has intriguing talent. “He has the ability to make all the cuts, the ability to be a very good ‘back in this league,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Now he’s got to do it and be consistent. And after talking with him … we feel very good about the guy. We know there are things we do have to help him with, but I think he can have a very bright future for us and for himself in the NFL.” With rumors that the 49ers aren’t sold on Carlos Hyde’s fit in the new offense and Kyle Shanahan’s proven history of turning mid-late round (and even undrafted) running backs into fantasy stars, Williams is the rare Day 3 running back who is worth bumping up a tier or two in rookie drafts.
2.07 Chad Williams (Ari, 5)Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the team was looking for a big receiver, and he believes Williams fits the role. He also fits a recent trend of the Cardinals taking chances on players from small schools with elite measurables in the third round (like John Brown and David Johnson). “When you look at his tape, screens, making people miss at that size and running people over and doing all the things,” he said. “And then you look at that 40-yard dash without his shirt on, and you go, ‘whoo, this looks like a linebacker and not that fast wide receiver we were looking at on tape.'” “I’ve always said, because you pick guys that you like and you feel like this guy is going to make our team and he can do the things that we want to get done,” Arians said. “To me it has always been easy when you are looking at that guy in the third round, especially at wide receiver.” His combination of size and speed is not necessarily easy to find, especially in the third round. Arians likes the player’s physicality, but said without his wheels, the pick would not have been made. “No, I don’t like slow guys,” he said. “I don’t give a shit how big they are. You’ve got to be able to run past people and if you come in a big, strong, physical package that’s even better.” Williams may fly under the radar in dynasty drafts, but given his physical upside and the Cardinals track record in this part of the draft, Williams is a sneakily strong dynasty draft target.
2.08 Samaje Perine (Was, 5) Washington was rumored to be in the market for a back and finally drafted one in the fourth round (114th overall). “The running back situation, we weren’t really necessarily looking for a new addition, but we couldn’t pass up on Samaje,” said Jay Gruden. “We were happy to get him, man. We really enjoyed his interview, his toughness watching him on tape. You feel his presence when he runs the football. He’s a hard guy to get down, and if you do get him down, you’re going to get up holding your shoulder or something because he’s going to hit you.” Perine has some similar characteristics to starter Rob Kelley . He will compete directly with Kelley for carries, while Chris Thompson will stay involved as the third-down back. Jay Gruden noted that their draft wish list in general called for “attitude and size.” Perine fits the bill in both departments. The “size and toughness is what drew us to him,” said Gruden. From a fantasy perspective, the landing spot for Perine is close to ideal. He can beat out Kelley for the starting job. But the upside for PPR leagues is still questionable. Like Kelley, Perine projects as a two-down back in a pass-heavy offense.
2.09 Marlon Mack (Ind, 4) With Frank Gore turning 34-years old, all eyes were on the Colts to see who they would add at running back. Indianapolis focused upon rebuilding their defense during the first two days of the draft, but finally took a Marlon Mack early on Day 3. “I knew the Colts loved me,” the South Florida running back said. Before Mack got the call, there was a debate in the war room over which running back to take. “At the end of the day, we went with Marlon because of the speed, and the explosive play-making ability,” GM Chris Ballard said Saturday evening. “He can flip the field,” Colts scout Jamie Moore said. “And he can create chunk plays.” Mack brings an element to the Colts backfield that has been missing with his sub-4.5 speed and ability to make plays in space. He isn’t a complete back and that’s why he fell to the mid-4th round despite top measurables and plenty of highlight plays. Whether Mack ends up being the long-term answer for the Colts is highly debatable, but there’s a good chance that he will make enough plays to convince some dynasty owners of his future, making him a top option to draft and trade when the hype occurs.
2.10 Adam Shaheen (Chi, 4)The Bears were able to slide back nine spots and recoup some picks from the Mitch Trubisky trade to snag Shaheen in the mid-2nd round. ”For a guy of his size, his athleticism jumps out," GM Ryan Pace said. "He's one of those guys when you're watching tape, you have to keep looking down and saying, 'Man, this guy's 6-6, 278 pounds and he moves like that?" His basketball background is noticeable, Pace said. "Half the time, it’s like these tight ends are going up for a rebound and boxing out..when we talk about body control and catching radius, the ball is not always going to be on target. And Adam has the ability to do that." Shaheen is a freaky size/speed prospect at the tight end position who may take a couple years to develop, but the upside is there for him to become one of Trubisky’s favorite targets and a major red zone weapon.
2.11 D’Onta Foreman (Hou, 4)General manager Rick Smith said Foreman "adds balance to the offense, is a gained powerful runner, good vision, good feet, good foot quickness, so we like the addition for our running game." "He was an inside runner," O'Brien said. "He was a very productive inside runner that broke a lot of tackles for Texas this year. He ran to the outside. He ran to the perimeter. They attacked the defense with him in different ways, but he was a productive first- and second-down, tackle-to-tackle runner and that was impressive to me.” The description of Foreman’s skills isn’t particularly exciting for owners in PPR leagues, as two-down backs generally lack RB1 upside (except in rare cases). The Texans also seem committed to Lamar Miller as their starter.
2.12 Cooper Kupp (Rams, 4)The Rams seem flush with possession receivers with Kupp, Robert Woods, and Tavon Austin. The fantasy upside might be hard to see with Kupp, especially if you don’t believe in Jared Goff. Though McVay’s offense in Washington was slot receiver friendly, so there may be some modest PPR upside if Goff develops. Kupp's slow 40-time at the combine didn’t deter the Rams. “You take his agility work — the three-cone drill and the short-shuttle — they’re elite,” GM Les Snead said. “They match up with some of the elite slot receivers in our league.” For new head coach Sean McVay, it is the mental aspect of Kupp’s game that he finds most impressive. “His above-the neck approach, in terms of the way that he sees the game, it’s almost through the quarterback’s perspective,” McVay said. “You can see he’s always got a plan at the line of scrimmage with how he’s going to work versus different coverages and where the holes are in that coverage. And he’s got great hands.”
3.01 Carlos Henderson (Den, 4)John Elway focused on Henderson’s ability to make an impact both as a receiver and returner in explaining why the Broncos felt he was worth a mid-third round pick. Henderson should immediately compete for the third receiver job behind Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. If Henderson can develop into a player like Sanders, himself a former third round pick from a small school, he has a chance to make a fantasy impact.
3.02 Taywan Taylor (Ten, 4) The Titans traded up near the top of the third round to snag Taylor. “He’s had a ton of production,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson said of Taylor. “He’s really good with the ball in his hands. He can play inside receiver, he can play outside receiver. He visited here and I had a really good meeting with him. He felt comfortable with us and we felt comfortable with him.” Head Coach Mike Mularkey noted that Taylor is more suited to play on the inside and will start out primarily in the slot.
3.03 James Conner (Pit, 4)GM Kevin Colbert pointed out that when you are a Steelers’ running back not named Le’Veon Bell you need to help the teams in other ways and that means special teams. And Colbert is excited to see what Conner can do in that role. The local kid who survived cancer to get drafted by his hometown team is an awesome story. “I know it’s surreal. I know it’s an unbelievable thing, but you’ve got to get over that,” Mike Tomlin told him. “We got work to do.” Conner is a handcuff who will barely see the field if Bell is healthy. But we’ve seen the Steelers backups post huge numbers when Bell goes down. And Bell’s injury history is extensive.
3.04 Jonnu Smith (Ten, 3) The Titans coaches noted that it’s a misconception that Smith’s only a flex because he runs in the 4.5s, but he can really block too. Smith has a lot of similarities physically and in playing style to Delanie Walker (who turns 33-years old this summer). “I hope we can find someone as productive as Delanie,” Mularkey said when discussing Smith. “I think Jonnu is a guy we feel can compete and play not just an F, we are going to see if he is going to be a point player, point blocker. Certainly with his speed and his ability in the passing game, we hope that translates to what Delanie has done for us since he has been here.” As with Derrick Henry playing behind DeMarco Murray, it will take some patience for dynasty owners. But we’ve seen Walker excel in this offense and Smith has similar upside.
3.05 ArDarius Stewart (Jets, 3) The Jets slid down the board from 70 to 79 and were still able to snag an upside receiver in Stewart. The 5’11, 204-pounder out of Alabama does not lack for confidence. "I'm bringing a load of, you know, awesomeness," he said. "That's all I can tell you." Jets head coach Todd Bowles likes Stewart’s physicality. ”He has toughness for the ball. He's tough, he can run routes, he can run with the ball in his hands after the catch, he's a good teams player," Bowles said. "He brings a lot of attitude to that side of the ball." Devin Smith tore his left ACL again and the Jets wide receiver chart is relatively wide open, though it’s tough to get excited about the team’s passing game in general.
3.06 Kenny Golladay (Det, 3)The Lions like to spread the ball around and have a deep crew of young pass catchers including Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, Eric Ebron and Theo Riddick. With Anquan Boldin a free agent, the depth chart at receiver is favorable for Golladay to get on the field early as the third or fourth receiver. “He's a versatile player that we think can play outside and inside," GM Bob Quinn said. "He's going to come in and compete. He's never played in this offense before, so that's what the spring is about, that's what training camp's about. To kind of use his skill-set, to kind of fit him into our offense. "I think primarily we'll start him off on the outside, but he has some pretty unique route-running skill-sets for a big guy that can kind of do some inside things. So we'll work him in there and we'll see how it plays out here in the next couple months." Golladay is a nice size/speed prospect at 6’4 and running a 4.50-forty.
3.07 Amara Darboh (Sea, 3) Darboh surprised at the combine with 4.45 speed at 6’2, 215 pounds. On top of the physical attributes and decent production at Michigan, Darboh’s personality and inspiring story really attracted the Seahawks to him. ”He’s young in football and looks like a professional wide receiver," Seattle general manager John Schneider told reporters after the third round." That’s probably the most amazing thing about his story. He’s seen as a grit kid who’s been through a ton in his life. I’ve never met anyone from Iowa I didn’t like. He was living in Des Moines, Iowa, right? He’s really a good route runner, he’s got good ball skills, he’ll block, he’ll play on (special) teams. He’s one of those kids that checks off all the boxes. There’s still a lot out there in front of him.” There’s certainly some opportunity in Seattle with a relatively open depth chart behind Doug Baldwin. But Darboh is just one of a number of players drafted in the 2nd-4th round range in recent years who will compete for playing time and he has an uphill battle to achieve fantasy relevance.
3.08 Jamaal Williams (GB, 3) The Packers came into the draft with very little on the depth chart behind Ty Montgomery and surprisingly didn’t address the RB position until late in the 4th round (134th overall) when they took Williams. They also used a 5th rounder (182nd overall) on Aaron Jones and a 7th rounder (238th overall) on Devonte Mays. There will certainly be plenty of competition for the backup roles, but Montgomery is the starter. Mike McCarthy declared Ty Montgomery the definitive leader of the bunch – “He will be our starter,” he said. The head coach believes BYU’s Jamaal Williams, UTEP’s Aaron Jones, and Utah State’s Devante Mays “can play three downs.” “The more the merrier,” GM Ted Thompson said. “This is a tough business. This is an awful tough position to play.” Williams comes in as the highest-drafted of the trio, but it should be an open competition.
3.09 Wayne Gallman (NYG, 3)Gallman was drafted late in the 4th round (140th overall). It was the same part of the draft where the Giants snagged Paul Perkins last spring. Gillman will compete with Perkins and Orleans Darkwa for playing time in the Giants’ backfield. He also may have to fight for time with a veteran like LeGarrette Blount who has been connected with the Giants. “(He is a) different type of player (than Perkins),” McAdoo said. “He is a little longer-type player. He has some speed and we feel like he has some upside in the pass game.” Gallman was a workhorse at Clemson and his 65 collegiate catches point to a player who could have some fantasy appeal if he can carve out a role in a wide-open backfield competition.
3.10 Jeremy McNichols (TB, 3) Tampa views McNichols as the top pass-protecting back in the class, an underrated key for young backs to get on the field early. "Jeremy's a three-down guy, he can do a little bit everything," said Koetter. "Really good production, scored a lot of touchdowns. He started off his career as a wide receiver. They moved him around a lot. Really good pass-blocker. Every running back in college, that's their Achilles heel. Good pass-blocker, good chipper, he can catch – just a solid three-down player."The Bucs have Doug Martin (facing a three-game suspension to start the season and still not guaranteed a roster spot), Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims and Peyton Barber, all battling with McNichols for what is likely four roster spots at the most.
Tier 5-The Top Quarterback Tier
Know your league and how it values quarterbacks. If you feel like your roster needs a young quarterback with some upside, anywhere in the third round makes sense. Slotting them in at the bottom of the third feels about right. While this may be too late for the quarterbacks in many leagues, the devaluation of the position in single quarterback formats means it doesn’t make sense to draft any of this year’s mediocre class over position prospects with a better chance for fantasy success. The three top passers are all pretty equal in value and it comes down to personal preference. Watson is the most natural runner of the group, which is a tie-breaker in his favor.
3.11 DeShaun Watson (Hou, 3) The Texans targeted Watson as their franchise quarterback and packaged a pair of first round picks to move up to 12th overall to select him. “He’s a winner, 33-5 as a college quarterback, national champion,” O’Brien said Thursday night. “When I met him at the Combine, very poised guy. I felt that he was a guy that answered the questions very honestly, had a good memory, good recall of specific plays that happened during his college career. One thing that stood out to me was how he played in clutch moments, in big games, games that really meant everything, national championship games, big ACC games, the guy came through,” O’Brien said. “When the chips were down, he was able to lead his team to victory, and I think that says a lot about a quarterback in the end. One of the things we look at.” Watson will have to beat out Tom Savage in camp, but is the odds on favorite to start at some point in 2017. Possibly as soon as Week 1.
3.12 Pat Mahomes (KC, 3)A number of teams were reportedly jockeying to move up for Mahomes. The Chiefs were able to package a pair of first round picks and a 3rd rounder to get up to #10 overall to select the guy who they believe will be their franchise quarterback going forward. He is likely to spend at least his first year on the bench apprenticing under Alex Smith. “He has got unbelievable talent,” Dorsey said. “He’s got the skill set to be one of those truly great players. When you make an aggressive move like that, that’s why you do it. Because players like that, they don’t come around too often.”
4.01 Mitch Trubisky (Chi,3) Bears GM Ryan Pace shocked the world when he gave up three mid-round picks to move up one spot to #2 overall to select Trubisky. “With all these top quarterbacks, it’s just their ability to quickly process defenses, process coverage, find open targets, not panic under pressure, deliver accurate throws when there’s a noisy pocket and things are collapsing,” Pace said. “… And Mitch has those traits.” Trubisky could spend his rookie year learning while $15M-man Mike Glennon serves as a bridge quarterback.
Tier 6-Fourth Round Fliers
There were a number of late-round draft picks who either have intriguing skill sets (like 4th round receivers Josh Reynolds, Josh Malone and Mack Hollins) or landed in potentially strong situations (expect one of the many Day 3 Packers skill position picks to emerge with some fantasy value). Mining for gems in the late rounds is where a resource like Matt Waldman’s RSP can come in handy. Here are a few of the names that standout as potential late round targets.
4.02 Josh Reynolds (Rams, 2)The Rams traded down to 117th overall to pick up Reynolds, their third pass catcher drafted on the day. “When you look at Josh, he’s a little bit of a longer guy. Great ball skills, big catch radius,” McVay said. “I thought he did a nice job in the Senior Bowl when you look at some of the things he was able to do — especially in the one-on-ones. He’s a guy that’s averaged right around 17 yards per catch in his career, so he’s had big production in the SEC,” McVay said. The Rams have a lot of bodies at receiver and tight end in a low-volume passing attack, so it’s not an ideal landing spot for Reynolds.
4.03 Dede Westbrook (Jax, 2)The Jaguars faced criticism for taking a chance on the talented but troubled Oklahoma receiver at the top of the fourth round. “Obviously he’s had some issues early in his career,“ Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said of Westbrook.“We feel that has to be behind him. There is no choice now. Obviously… there is no margin for error for him off the field. On the field, Westbrook brings big-time speed and play-making skills. ”This is a guy that was a Biletnikoff Award winner, fourth in the Heisman running, averaged 18 yards per catch. He is a punt returner. He is a dynamic athlete, speed and with the ball in his hands. Sitting there in the fourth round, he was a guy sticking out there on the board.” The Jaguars have good depth at receiver and are likely to be a low-volume passing game with the offense centered around Fournette.
4.04 Donnel Pumphrey (Phi, 2)The Eagles reportedly tried to trade up for Davlin Cook to be their starting running back. After missing out on Cook, the Eagles backfield situation remains a bit of a mess. Instead, they had to settle for Sidney Jones in the second round and Pumphrey in the 4th. "Don't let the size fool you," Joe Douglas, Eagles vice president of player personnel, said. "This guy is a little dog that thinks he's a big dog, and he plays that way." The Eagles look to have a messy RBBC situation on their hands. GM Howie Roseman and coach Doug Pederson tried to sell Ryan Mathews as one of the possible answers. ”When he's right, he's right,” Roseman said of Mathews.
"I don't want to say running back-by-committee," Pederson said. "But at the same time, I think we have enough to get the job done, especially with our offensive line and tight ends, too." Between Pumphrey, Mathews, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood, the Eagles have options.
4.05 Aaron Jones (GB, 1) Jones is an intriguing talent and shows up with a chance to compete for a role in the Packers high-powered offense after being drafted in the 5th round. Mike McCarthy declared Ty Montgomery the definitive leader of the bunch – “He will be our starter,” he said. The head coach believes BYU’s Jamaal Williams, UTEP’s Aaron Jones, and Utah State’s Devante Mays “can play three downs.” “The more the merrier,” GM Ted Thompson said. “This is a tough business. This is an awful tough position to play.”
4.06 Tarik Cohen (Chi, 1)Cohen is a small and explosive running back at just 5’6 and 179 pounds. For a team like the Bears with a multitude of needs to draft a backup runner in the mid-4th round, they must have a solid plan in place to get him involved on offense. ”We call him a joker back so really a good third-down back out of the backfield," Pace said. "He can separate with his routes, really a dynamic player that dominated at that level. Really excited to add him. He's one of those guys who's really fun to watch. You start watching one game, two games, three games, pretty soon you're watching his whole season because he's just a really entertaining, electric, exciting player." The upside is limited, but Cohen could have some fantasy value in PPR leagues.
4.07 Josh Malone (Cin, 1) The Bengals depth chart is stacked at receiver, but they were able to afford a 4th round pick on a high-upside speedster after netting the extra pick from the Vikings in the 2nd round trade down prior to taking Joe Mixon. Malone ran the third fastest receiver time at the combine (behind only John Ross and Curtis Samuel) with a 4.40 flat at 6’3, 208 pounds. “He’s got good size, good speed, he’s three years out of high school, check all the character boxes on him that you want,” said WR Coach James Urban. “He’s a great kid, works hard. We think he’s got a bright future, and we think his best football is ahead of him. We’re excited to have him. He is big and long and runs fast. Some of those balls from their quarterback (Dobbs) were thrown pretty far down the field. That’s what they did with him. He transitions well. There’s some route-running techniques that we’ll get him to do our way, but that’s what everybody has. He’s been well coached at Tennessee. He had an injury two years ago that took him off the field a bit, so that’s why his career numbers aren’t what they could be. He had a fine year this year, and we think he can stretch the field at this level as well.”
4.08 Jake Butt (Den, 1) Butt was considered a 2nd or 3rd round prospect going into Michigan’s bowl game against Florida State in January, but he tore his ACL for the second time and saw his draft stock take a dive. ”Jake's not even close to the fifth round if he's not hurt," Elway said during a press conference on Saturday. "So, sometimes that's where you can get good value. If you're willing to be patient with them and give them time to get healthy then we've got a darn-good player." Butt has more upside than the typical 5th round draft pick and is an especially attractive late round target in dynasty leagues with multiple Injured Reserve spots. He may end up missing 2017 to fully recover from his knee injury.
4.09 Mack Hollins (Phi, 1) Hollins is a size/speed prospect with 4.53 speed at 6’4, 220 pounds. He is a top special teams player as a gunner and could make an impact on offense as a deep ball specialist. VP of Player Personnel Joe Douglas described noted Hollins has a “warrior mentality.” “Great size, great speed, range. Plays every play like it’s his last. He was outstanding on special teams in college. His mentality is going to fit in very well in Philadelphia.”
4.10 Jehu Chesson (KC, 1) The Chiefs gave up a pair of 5th round picks to traded up into the fourth round to draft the speedy receiver out of Michigan. “He’s big, he’s fast, he’s tough,” said Pat Sperduto, who scouted Chesson for the Chiefs. “He brings his lunch pail,” Sperduto said. “He’s a polished kid. Some kids need time to develop. He’s not the type who will need too much time to develop.”
4.11 DeAngelo Yancey (GB,1 ) It’s always worth keeping an eye on players with even an outside shot at catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. Yancey went in the fifth round while Malachi Dupre (a bigger name pre-draft) went late in the seventh round. Thompson referred to Yancey as an “all-purpose guy with speed and a big catch radius.
4.12 Malachi Dupre (GB, 1) Dupre was described as a “home-run hitter,” McCarthy recognized his large catching radius. “There’s a lot to work with,” McCarthy said of the new receivers. “In the draft, I look at these guys as prospects. How far can we take them?”