You know the only thing better than an NFL mock draft? An article that breaks down the potential fantasy implications of the mock draft.
Hyperbole? Maybe a little. But in the same right, it is important to consider the potential fantasy implications of the NFL draft before it happens. That’s especially true in dynasty leagues where the action never stops. This a great time of year to assess NFL the landscape and address areas of your roster where you may need to trim the fat.
Keeping your finger on the pulse of mock drafts is one way to do so. Of course, there are no shortage of mock drafts across the interwebs right now, but we’re going to break down the fantasy fallout from Steve Palazzolo’s most recent mock draft.
1. Cleveland Browns — QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Mayfield may not be the best fantasy option in this year’s class, but he has intriguing long-term appeal giving his play at the college level. In Cleveland, he’d likely be thrown right into the fire, but wouldn’t be a good bet to put up viable fantasy numbers in Year 1. That said, Mayfield would get a nice one-two combo at receiver in Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman. Both wideouts can get downfield, which is an area where Mayfield excelled in 2017 with 1,452 yards and 13 scores on balls traveling 20-plus yards downfield.
Projected rookie draft ADP: Early third round
2. New York Giants — QB Sam Darnold, USC
For fantasy purposes, this is one of the better spots for Darnold. Unlike Mayfield, Darnold would get the luxury of sitting for at least a year in this landing spot. He’d also have some premium weapons in Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram.
Projected rookie draft ADP: Middle of the third round
The 2018 NFL Draft Guide is here! For PFF Edge & Elite subscribers, a comprehensive guide featuring player profiles of signature stats, grades and exclusive PFF content including position by position rankings. Find out more information here and join PFF now!
3. Indianapolis Colts — DI Maurice Hurst, Michigan
Defensive interior picks don’t move the fantasy needle much, but the Colts would shore up the middle of their defense with Hurst. Indy surrendered the sixth-most rushing yards to running backs in 2017, so the addition of a strong run defender like Hurst would certainly make Indy a tougher matchup for opposing backfields. Regardless of landing spot, Hurst will have fantasy appeal in deep dynasty IDP leagues with a DT-required starting roster spot.
4. Cleveland Browns — S Derwin James, Florida State
Like Indy, the Browns would address a weakness with this pick. James is a movable chess piece who would help make things more difficult opposing quarterbacks. The Browns allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing signal-callers last season. In IDP dynasty leagues, James’ playmaking ability will make him one of the top defensive players off the board in rookie drafts.
5. Denver Broncos — QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
The third signal-caller off the board lands in a spot where he could potentially be under center in Week 1. Of course, that hinges on what the Broncos do in free agency. Regardless, this is one of the better landing spots for Rosen’s fantasy value thanks to Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. While neither player is an elite option at wide receiver, together they form one of the league’s best duos.
Projected rookie draft ADP: Middle of the third round
6. New York Jets — QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
A dynamic playmaker, Jackson is certainly one of the most polarizing players in this year’s draft. That sentiment is likely to spill over into fantasy circle. However, it’s important to consider the impact of scoring systems, most of which tend to favor dual-threat quarterbacks. While this isn’t the best landing spot for Jackson, he’d likely be under center in Week 1 and in the QB2 conversation in redraft leagues given his major big play upside.
Projected rookie draft ADP: Early second round with the chance to slide into the back of the first round.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
The Bucs get a gift from the five teams who have already picked and land the best all-around fantasy prospect in this year’s class. While the Bucs offensive line struggled at creating yards before contact in 2017, this is still a solid landing spot for Barkley. He’d be paired up with an ascending Jameis Winston in a potentially explosive Bucs offense.
Projected rookie draft ADP: No. 1 pick overall, regardless of landing spot.
8. Chicago Bears — CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
With 26 plays on ball, which is the combination of pass breakups and interceptions, Jackson is a playmaker in the secondary. While Chicago was a mid-pack matchup for opposing wide receivers, the addition of a corner won’t help the cause for fantasy purposes.
9. San Francisco 49ers — Edge Harold Landry, Boston College
Another defensive pick for the 49ers in the first round. Landry will have some appeal in IDP leagues, especially if he gets a DL position designation from the fantasy commissioner sites. In that case, he’d be a good bet to be one of the first defensive players off the board in IDP rookie drafts.
10. Oakland Raiders — Edge Bradley Chubb, NC State
Unlike Landry, Chubb lands in a spot where he has the chance of being designated as a linebacker by the fantasy commissioner sites. This outdated position designation methodology saps fantasy value from edge rushers on teams that run a 3-4 base defense. More sites need to get on board replace the traditional DT, DL, and LB position with the DI, EDGE, and off-ball LB designations
11. Miami Dolphins — G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
The Dolphins offensive line produced the fewest yards before contact per rushing attempt in 2017, so this move would certainly help out Kenyan Drake. Nelson is massive (6-5, 329) and strong (35 reps on the bench at the combine). Better yet, he was the top-graded run-blocker in the nation at guard last year.
12. Cincinnati Bengals — T Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Joe Mixon and company get some help with this pick. Like Nelson, McGlinchey graded out tops in run-blocking at tackle last year. He’s also a massive human being (6-8, 312). And fun fact, he’s Matt Ryan’s first cousin. Mixon struggled for much of his rookie season, but getting a run-blocker like McGlinchey in the mix would be a nice boost to his 2018 fantasy outlook.
13. Washington Redskins — CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Fitzpatrick is very interesting prospect given his versatility. His IDP value hinges heavily on where he’s drafted. Most likely, we’ll see Fitzpatrick as a hybrid safety/slot corner, which would be a very good thing for his fantasy value. However, as Palazzolo notes in his mock, Fitzpatrick could be viewed by some teams as a possible outside corner. That would be the worst-case scenario for his IDP value.
14. Green Bay Packers — LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
This year’s top off-ball linebacker has the makings of a future IDP stud, but this isn’t the best landing spot for Smith’s fantasy prospects. In Green Bay, he’d face plenty of competition for tackles from Blake Martinez, who tied for the league lead with 144 total tackles last season. That being said, Smith is still likely to be the top rookie linebacker selected in dynasty rookie drafts.
15. Arizona Cardinals — CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
In IDP leagues that don’t separate corners from safeties, you typically want to stack your defensive back spot with safeties. However, there are a few exceptions, and this would be one of them. If Ward ended up starting opposite Patrick Peterson, he’d be all but guaranteed to see heavy target volume thrown into his coverage. That means ample opportunity to make tackles, and in turn, put up fantasy points.
16. Baltimore Ravens — WR Michael Gallup, Colorado State
Get to know this name for dynasty rookie drafts. Gallup was very productive last season with an impressive 3.47 yards per route run. In Baltimore, he’d likely step right in as an immediate contributor given how thin the Ravens are at the position. Gallup would likely surface on the redraft radar and would be one of the top rookie wideouts off the board in dynasty drafts.
Projected rookie draft ADP: Late first round.
17. Los Angeles Chargers — LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
We’ve seen Chargers linebackers put up strong IDP numbers in recent seasons, but none of them have been able to stick as consistent fantasy options. That means the door would be open for Edmunds to step right in. Absolutely massive (6-5, 253) and fast (4.54 40 time), Edmunds could threaten Smith for the top rookie linebacker spot. He’d also be a good bet to be a redraft option in IDP leagues in this landing spot.
18. Seattle Seahawks — T Connor Williams, Texas
It’s no secret that the Seahawks need help along the offensive line. Adding Williams would be a nice step toward solidifying things for Russell Wilson, as Williams did not allow a single sack in 2017. He also would help the fantasy prospects for whoever emerges as the Seahawks’ lead running back.
19. Dallas Cowboys — DI Vita Vea, Washington
There isn’t much IDP appeal to this pick, but Vea’s strength against the run would make the Cowboys an even tougher matchup for running backs. Last season, Dallas surrendered the ninth-fewest fantasy points to the position with just six rushing scores allowed to running backs.
20. Detroit Lions — RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
That sound you’re hearing is Ameer Abdullah truthers grasping at straws. If Penny landed in Detroit, Abdullah’s fantasy value, both in the short and long terms, would be essentially non-existent. Of course, this isn’t the best landing spot for Penny, as Detroit’s offensive line struggled to create yards before contact for the run game last season. That said, Penny would be in a position to immediate produce and would therefore be on the redraft radar.
Projected rookie draft ADP: Early first round.
21. Buffalo Bills — QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
The fifth quarterback off the board was tremendously productive at the college level with 13,618 yards and 92 touchdowns in 42 games played. Picked in this spot, Rudolph would be in the mix to be under center in Week 1. Unfortunately, he’d had, as of now, one of the league’s least impressive wide receiver corps. Rudolph would have minimal short-term fantasy value, but could end up being a sneaky long-term option in Buffalo.
Projected rookie draft ADP: Middle fourth round.
22. Buffalo Bills — TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
Rudolph gets paired up with the athletic small-school tight end. While rookie tight ends rarely make an immediate fantasy impact, Goedert would be in a good position to do so in this landing spot. Buffalo’s thin receiver corps makes it a target-rich environment where would could see Goedert put up comparable numbers to what Evan Engram did with the Giants in his rookie year.
Projected rookie draft ADP: First tight end off the board in the early second round.
23. Los Angeles Rams — C Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Perhaps the biggest area of improvement for the Rams from 2016 to 2017 was along the offensive line, and this showed in Todd Gurley’s massive fantasy season. Adding more talent will only help Gurley and Jared Goff.
24. Carolina Panthers — G Will Hernandez, UTEP
Andrew Norwell could bounce in free agency, so this pick would fill that void. Jonathan Stewart is out of the mix, but the question remains as to what the Panthers will do at running back. Christian McCaffrey has a lot of fantasy appeal, but will he get more carries on early downs? That will ultimately be the difference between RB1 and RB2 value for McCaffrey in PPR leagues.
25. Tennessee Titans — LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
A strong performer at the combine, Vander Esch boasts potential three-down chops at the NFL league. IDP players in the know will tell you that staying on the field for all three downs is essential for putting up consistent fantasy numbers. In Tennessee, Vander Esch would step right in and immediately be in the LB2 conversation in redraft IDP leagues.
26. Atlanta Falcons — G Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Guard was a weak spot for the Falcons this past season, so this pick helps out the run game and pass game. Wynn graded out as the No. 2 run-blocker in the nation at tackle in 2017.
27. New Orleans Saints — Edge Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Davenport lands in a 4-3 base defense, which means he would avoid an LB designation in IDP leagues. However, as Palazzolo notes, Davenport “still needs work as a prospect.” That means he isn’t likely to make an immediate fantasy impact and is better viewed as a deep dynasty stash.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers — QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Well, well, well. This is possibly one of the best landing spots for Allen from a long-term perspective. In Pittsburgh, he’d have the luxury of not having to start immediate along with getting learn one of the league’s top signal-callers over the last decade-plus. Allen’s dynasty value would be very intriguing with the Steelers.
Projected rookie draft ADP: Middle of the third round.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars — WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
With Allen Robinson not getting the franchise tag, the Jaguars will likely be in the market for talent at wide receiver. Sutton profiles as a potential No. 1 option at the NFL level, and is one of the most intriguing fantasy prospects in this year’s class. This wouldn’t be the best landing spot, given Blake Bortles’ lackluster performance so far as a pro, but Sutton would still be in a position to immediately contribute. That means redraft fantasy value is a very strong possibility.
Projected rookie draft ADP: Middle to late first round.
30. Minnesota Vikings — DI Taven Bryan, Florida
The Vikings were one of the league’s best run defenses in 2017, and this pick would help to continue that trend. Minnesota allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, so keep that in mind when drafting any running backs for their NFC North rivals.
31. New England Patriots — CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado
As Malcolm Butler’s replacement, Oliver would be a good bet to see a lot of targets thrown in his direction. This landing spot would make him a good bet to surface as a short-term IDP option.