2018 Draft First Round Winners and Losers

A look at the biggest winners and losers on the first day of the 2018 draft.

The first round is in the books, and while the second day will still shake up the fantasy landscape, we can still gauge the early winners and losers from the first day fallout.


Jarvis Landry, WR, CLE - Baker Mayfield is outstanding at making quick, accurate, short throws, and that’s where Landry succeeds. He might not approach the triple-digit reception numbers he posted in Miami right away, but Landry’s future appears brighter with Mayfield than it would have with Josh Allen or probably even Sam Darnold. If the Browns don’t keep Josh Gordon and/or Corey Coleman long term, Landry could be even more central in the pass offense. He has a real chance to live up to his contract with fantasy WR1 production in 2-3 years with Mayfield throwing him the ball, assuming rational coaching from Todd Haley and Hue Jackson (don’t laugh).

Eli Manning, QB, NYG - Manning is still just a fringe matchup bye/injury quarterback in redraft leagues and tournament play in DFS, but the addition of Saquon Barkley to his offense enhances his weekly ceiling via the advanced pass catching skills. Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Barkley comprise one of the most varied and youngest sets of core weapons in the passing game and give Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula something to emphasize in their scheme, which can only add to Manning’s bottom line.

Robby Anderson, WR, NYJ - There’s a place here for Quincy Enunwa, Ardarius Stewart and Chad Hansen here in deeper dynasty leagues, too. Of course this mostly applies in dynasty leagues, Darnold falling to #3 after widely being considered the favorite to go #1 is a win for Anderson in redraft because of the upgrade in deep passing if Josh McCown gets hurt again. Teddy Bridgewater was still more of a unknown, while Darnold can take shots downfield even after having to outlast the rush in the pocket or after extending the play. Even though it was a foregone conclusion that Anderson and company were going to get a rookie quarterback, they got a 20-year-old who has a lot of room to grow who should err on the side of taking chances and can create fantasy value for his receivers early in his career a la Jameis Winston.

Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson Jr, RB, CLE - Saquon Barkley didn’t fall to #4 and the Browns backfield is intact… for now. They could still take a running back from this deep class on the second or third day that will complicate the short and long term picture, but Hyde and Johnson’s 2018 redraft value is much more likely to maintain its level through the weekend than Peyton Barber, Devontae Booker, and Marlon Mack, the other current “starters” on teams that were in play for Barkley if the Giants passed on him.

Andrew Luck, QB, IND - Luck still needs to, you know, throw a football to have value in 2018, but Quenton Nelson is an instant impact offensive lineman who gives the team increased flexibility to deploy the rest of their line in a more effective way. He is the best at pass blocking, he is the best at run blocking. The whole Colts offense gets a lift from this pick being invested in the offensive line instead on defense with off ball linebacker Roquan Smith, who was linked heavily to the team in mock drafts this week.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI - How many games should we be expecting from Sam Bradford? Last year, we got two. Mike Glennon was the backup to Bradford going into Thursday night, and it should be Rosen sooner than later. Rosen is the best pure pocket passer in this class and Fitzgerald has maintained a big share of his value with much worse lined up under center. His redraft stock is bolstered with the Cardinals successful trade up.

Allen Hurns, WR, DAL - The Cowboys will surely add a receiver on day two, but the caliber of receiver and team investment in the rookie(s?) isn’t first-round, and that gives Hurns a greater chance to staying atop the pecking order, assuming he riffs with his new quarterback. Considering that he had a 1000 yard/10 touchdown season with Blake Bortles, Hurns should adjust to Dak Prescott just fine.

Tom Brady, QB, NE - There wasn’t a stud left tackle on the board to replace Nate Solder, so the Patriots stayed put at 23 and 31 and took a pair of Georgia Bulldogs. Isaiah Wynn will likely instantly improve the line and could stay at his college position of left tackle or shift over to the right side, either way being an upgrade from the motley crew on the roster at tackle right now. Sony Michel can contribute as much as a receiver as he does as a runner and he only makes Brady’s job of moving the offense down the field easier.

Ozzie Newsome, GM, BAL - For his encore, Newsome played the draft to the tune of jumping picks up 89 and 90 slots in the draft to the third and fourth round of this year’s draft and still getting Hayden Hurst to restore the team’s tight end depth chart, and then gave up only a 2019 second to use this year’s second to land the team’s quarterback of the future, Lamar Jackson - while gaining a fifth-year option by getting him at #32. As a Steelers fan, I won’t miss Newsome running the show on draft day in Baltimore.

Derek Carr, QB, OAK - Martavis Bryant will extend the field and he might make up for the net loss of going from Michael Crabtree to Jordy Nelson in one of Carr's wide receiver spots. Bryant can at least help create room for Nelson and Amari Cooper, and will likely add some splash plays to a pass offense that lacked a dangerous #3 option last year.

Cam Newton, QB, CAR - Newton not only got his tight end extended for two more years on Thursday, he gained the top drafted wide receiver, and one that should help at multiple wide receiver positions and levels of the passing game. Moore helps Newton’s long-term picture even more than his short-term outlook, while he does make 2017 second-rounder Curtis Samuel seem like a wasted pick as he’s coming back from an ankle injury.

Matt Ryan, QB, ATL - Ryan was a disappointment in 2017, but the addition of Calvin Ridley should boost his value immediately. Ridley is one of the most NFL ready receivers in the draft, and he can provide a downfield threat in addition to an excellent option on timing routes, including out of the slot. Steve Sarkisian should be a better playcaller in his second year and adding Ridley makes more of the options at his fingertips the right call.


Wayne Gallman, RB, NYG - The Giants were probably taking a running back in the first three rounds this year, but Saquon Barkley’s arrival ensures that Gallman will be one of the least used #2 backs in the league. Gallman still flashed sure hands as a pass catcher and finished on a high note as a runner, but might be a draft pick room cut in dynasty leagues with a four year wait for relevance unless Barkley goes down.

LeSean McCoy, RB, BUF - McCoy got a quarterback who could sit for a year, and then his team traded up in the first round again, only to take a linebacker. He lost three members of his offensive line this offseason, and probably the three best in center Eric Wood, guard Richie Incognito, and left tackle Cordy Glenn. It looked like it might be a long year for McCoy when Anquan Boldin retired and Sammy Watkins got traded last summer, but they overcame with Tyrod Taylor and made the playoffs. It’s even more difficult to see McCoy making something out of this situation this year, and he’s a year older.

Rex Burkhead, RB, NE - Burkhead was in line for the most valuable role in the Patriots backfield before Bill Belichick uncharacteristically spent a first-round pick on a running back. Sony Michel will probably take up the touches vacated by Dion Lewis instead having some of them fatten Burkhead’s weekly opportunity. He could still have weekly value via touchdowns if he holds off Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee to keep goal line looks, but Michel could also figure into the picture there and rob him of scores.

Joe Flacco, QB, BAL - Flacco should still have 2018 to pilot the Ravens pass offense, and Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead IV are probably better than what he had to throw to last year, but Lamar Jackson could also take over at some point this year if Flacco falters or the Ravens offense stalls out. For the long haul, Flacco should get another opportunity to start, but his brief time in the limelight is small in the rearview mirror. I hope Jim Caldwell got a cut of his huge contract.

Chris Carson, RB, SEA - Let’s be fair, none of us were going to be eager to invest in the Seahawks running game in fantasy drafts, but any chance Carson would have to carry over his not-so-bad-in-hindsight early season numbers to 2018 evaporated when the Seahawks shocked everyone by taking Rashaad Penny in the first round. Penny will have a lot of buzz in fantasy circles as a first-rounder, but his pass blocking is an adventure to say the least, which keeps rookies off of the field. The Seattle backfield and running game remains off limits for fantasy despite the investment.

Mohamed Sanu, WR, ATL - Sanu generated surprising value for a long stretch of 2018 and was in line to be a more frequently targeted #2 option with the Falcons allowing Taylor Gabriel to walk in free agency without acquiring anyone significant to replace him. Ridley is very significant as a superior route runner to Sanu and better vertical threat. He could supplant Sanu as the #2 option by the end of the season.

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