2017 NFL Draft: AFC Fantasy Football Winners & Losers
On Tuesday’s special “Happy Birthday, Jason” episode of The Fantasy Footballers Podcast, Andy, Mike, and Jason reviewed the NFL draft picks for each AFC team and determined the Winners & Losers from a fantasy football perspective. For the full experience, be sure to listen to or watch all of Episode #374.
WR, Zay Jones – Rookie wide receiver from East Carolina. The Bills moved up in the 2nd round to draft Jones. There will not be a lot of competition for Jones in the position and should be utilized alongside Sammy Watkins as another valuable weapon for Tyrod Taylor. Some viewed him as the best WR in the draft.
RB, LeSean McCoy – The biggest winner for the Bills. Mike Gillislee, McCoy’s touchdown vulture last season is now with the New England Patriots. Unless the Bills make a move to get some more help at running back, you can expect McCoy to consume the majority of the snaps.
Zay Jones and Sammy Watkins should see the bulk of receptions as there isn’t much else for Tyrod to throw to. It’s safe to say that LeSean McCoy’s value is skyrocketing without other RB competition threatening to take snaps from him.
RB, Jay Ajayi/Kenyan Drake – The Dolphins like what they have at the running back position as they did not target an RB with any of their picks. This allows Ajayi to continue his bell cow role with the team. Drake gets more exposure in his sophomore year as the change of pace back potentially adding to his fantasy value this season.
WR, Jarvis Landry/Kenny Stills – These two wideouts will be the focus of the passing game and will see the bulk of targets from Ryan Tannehill. Their fantasy value should be safe as there are not too many mouths to feed on this offense. The Dolphins did draft another wide receiver, however. Isaiah Ford from Virginia Tech was drafted in the final round of the draft.
The Miami Dolphins went defense heavy in this draft. This is great news for the offensive players. Everyone wins. Even if Isaiah Ford proves himself and gets an expanded role, don’t expect that to dramatically affect the value of Landry and Stills.
New York Jets
RB, Matt Forte/ Bilal Powell – The Jets did not draft an RB until the 6th round which likely means both Matt Forte and Bilal Powell are safe for 2017. Their fantasy value will remain unaffected.
WR, Eric Decker – Decker is a WR2 no matter his situation. A bad QB and/or team should not effect his WR2 status.
WR, The rest of them – The Jets drafted 2 WRs. One in the 3rd round (ArDarius Stewart, Alabama) and one in the 4th round (Chad Hanson, California). With the quarterback situation where it stands, it does not offer a lot of hope for either of these WRs to make a huge impact in their first season in the NFL.
Presenter, Tony Richardson – Failing to spell Jets correctly when he yelled out “J E T E, Jets” while announcing the Jets 3rd round pick during the NFL draft.
The New York Jets have too many holes to fill that could take years to address. There isn’t much promise on offense. Take caution if considering any WR outside of Eric Decker in 2017.
New England Patriots
QB, Tom Brady – The Patriots traded their 1st round pick to acquire Brandin Cooks. Brady wins.
The Patriots drafted 2 offensive linemen and a defensive end with the only 3 draft picks they had. With that said, their offense is changing as we speak. The Patriots have added RB, Mike Gillislee which all but tells us that the are moving on from LeGarrette Blount.
RB, C.J. Anderson – The Broncos did not draft a running back until the 6th round of the draft. This told everyone that the Broncos are happy with Anderson as their workhorse back.
RB, C.J. Anderson – After the podcast was recorded, The Denver Broncos signed Jamaal Charles. This move obviously hurts Anderson’s ADP and overall value in fantasy.
The Denver Broncos did improve their offense before they signed Jamaal Charles. They drafted a talented WR in Carlos Henderson in the 3rd round and a tight end in the 5th round (Jake Butt, Michigan). This will be a fun team to watch but don’t expect a deep playoff run.
Los Angeles Chargers
QB, Philip Rivers – The Charges beefed up their offensive line in this draft to protect their QB. Rivers gained another talented target when his team drafted WR, Mike Williams, in the first round to complement Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates, and Hunter Henry.
RB, Melvin Gordon – No RB drafted by the Chargers essentially putting him in line to be the workhorse again this season. Between all of the receiving options on this offense and the much improved offensive line, Melvin Gordon should have himself a highly productive season.
The Los Angeles Chargers did not mess around in this draft. They added another big time WR weapon while providing improved protection on the offensive line. Philip Rivers has a ton of mouths to feed which increases his fantasy value while slightly lowering the value of the receivers and tight ends.
Kansas City Chiefs
RB, Spencer Ware – The Chiefs traded up into the 3rd round to draft another running back (Kareem Hunt, Toledo). Between the rookie and Charcandrick West, Ware will likely not see a heavy workload. He still remains the lead back but in a decreased role.
The bigger news for the Chiefs in this draft was taking Texas Tech QB, Patrick Mahomes with the 10th overall pick. Alex Smith is no doubt the QB for 2017 but Mahomes is someone the Chiefs would like to see on the field sooner rather than later.
The Oakland Raiders drafted mostly defense so the offense remains intact. With a healthy Derek Carr and the addition of Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, this Raiders team will be a force on offense. Improving their defense is what they needed to do to make a playoff push in 2017. There are just no fantasy implications when this happens.
QB, Andy Dalton – The Bengals improved their offense by adding 2 wide receivers (John Ross, Washington in the 1st round and Josh Malone, Tennessee in the 4th round). They also drafted a pass catching back in Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) in the 2nd round. Dalton will have plenty of options in 2017 making him a big winner in this draft.
RB, Jeremy Hill – The addition of Joe Mixon all but took away any value that Jeremy Hill had heading into the 2017 season. Between the rookie and Gio Bernard, Hill will have very little carries left.
Although Andy Dalton’s value has increased for 2017, the wide receivers outside of A.J. Green will have to divide all other passes amongst each other. Tyler Boyd, Brandon LaFell, John Ross, Josh Malone, and tight end, Tyler Eifert will have to snack on A.J. Green’s leftovers.
RB, Isaiah Crowell/Duke Johnson – The Browns did not draft an RB until the last round of the draft so both Crowell and Johnson’s value does not take a hit.
The Cleveland Browns may have won this draft. They had plenty of picks, 10 to be exact. They drafted smart and improved in many areas. They still have a big question mark on their plans at quarterback which will not help the receivers on this team. The future is looking brighter than it looked before this draft.
WR, Mike Wallace/Breshad Perriman – The Ravens elected not to draft a wide receiver in this draft leaving the table set for these two wideouts to gobble up the majority of the targets from Joe Flacco.
RB, Kenneth Dixon/Terrance West – These two backs will likely share the load in this backfield but they do not have to share that with any rookies as the Ravens did not draft at the running back position. Their value remains as it was prior to the draft.
QB, Joe Flacco – Flacco did not get any new weapons to throw to after losing Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken this offseason. Unless he establishes great chemistry with the options he has on offense, he may not be a QB to consider on your fantasy team.
The Ravens did not draft any offensive position players. The fantasy value does not change for all of the above. Even if Joe Flacco is listed as a loser, he is not typically a QB people are scrambling to get on their team anyway.
WR, Martavis Bryant – After the Steelers drafted USC WR, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Bryant took to Twitter with an ill-advised (and grammatically poor) tweet saying that “lol that’s Sammie Coates replacement not minds take it how you want to I am back.”
The Steelers also drafted RB, James Conner from Pittsburgh in the 3rd round. He immediately becomes a great handcuff to Le’Veon Bell should Bell get injured, Conner would step in as the lead back in a good offense.
RB, Frank Gore – The Colts drafted Marion Mack, running back out of South Florida in the 4th round. Mack could act as a change of pace back that can catch the ball. This draft pick does not affect Gore negatively.
There is not much to say about the Colt’s when it comes to the 2017 NFL Draft. Andrew Luck played injured last year so the wide receivers could see a boost in value if Luck can remain 100% in 2017.
RB, Leonard Fournette – Drafted with the 4th overall pick, LSU running back, Leonard Fournette will be on the field early and often for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
RB, Chris Ivory – Leonard Fournette as the feature back and T.J. Yeldon likely to take on the 3rd down back role, leaves little to nothing for Chris Ivory.
The Jaguars had a great draft. Helping out Blake Bortles by padding their offensive line and getting a true feature back they desperately needed.
WR, DeAndre Hopkins/Will Fuller – They are not big winners here but if/when Deshaun Watson takes over as the starting quarterback for the Texans, these wideouts will receive a slight boost. Anything is better than Brock Osweiler.
RB, Lamar Miller – Miller will not have as many carries as he did last season with the addition of Texas RB, D’Onta Foreman. Expect both backs to share the load as Foreman chips away at Lamar Miller‘s fantasy value.
The Texans still have a lot of question marks heading into this season. If Watson can live up to the value that Houston has invested in him, they will be in a much better position than they are now.
WR, Corey Davis – Davis was drafted with the 5th overall pick. He should immediately see targets from Marcus Mariota.
WR, Tajae Sharpe – With the addition of 2 rookie WRs in the early 1st and early 3rd rounds and Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe could find himself without a role in this offense. Expect Sharpe’s snaps to decrease.
Marcus Mariota has some new weapons to utilize in 2017. The Titans will be an exciting offense to watch this season. Which wide receiver will step up as the clear WR1 in this offense? Stay tuned.
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