The NFL draft has a massive impact on the fantasy football landscape. The influx of new players has a ripple effect across the league’s depth charts. In total, 77 skill position players were selected over the three days of this year’s draft. Let’s take stock of all 32 teams and how each of these players factors in.
We thought the Cards selected their signal-caller of the future in Josh Rosen last year, but things move quickly in the NFL. Rosen is now in Miami, and Kyler Murray is the new face of the franchise. His dual-threat ability bodes extremely well for fantasy purposes. Murray is an immediate QB2 with top-12 upside. Arizona also added in three wideouts: Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, and KeeSean Johnson. Given the state of the depth chart, we could see either Isabella or Butler on the field in three-wide sets this season, but neither is likely to provide immediate fantasy value. Arizona capped off the draft with TE Caleb Wilson, who has some pass-catching chops but will take some time to develop.
After using a Day 1 pick on Calvin Ridley last year, we had to wait until the fifth round for the Falcons to break the seal on skill position players this year. With that pick, Atlanta grabbed RB Qadree Ollison out of Pittsburgh. There is some opportunity on this dept chart with Tevin Coleman out of the mix, but Ollison won’t threaten Devonta Freeman for touches. The Falcons also grabbed Marcus Green in the sixth round. Undersized but fast, Green figures to contribute more on special teams than as a wide receiver.
Entering the draft, the Ravens had one of the thinnest wide receiver depth charts in the league. Baltimore addressed this issue with the Day 1 selection of Marquise Brown and Day 2 pick of Miles Boykin. These two wideouts offer very different skill sets for Lamar Jackson to utilize. Brown is the ultimate speed receiver in this year’s class with the ability to stretch the field and make plays. Boykin is an athletic big-bodied receiver who can play above the rim and make contested plays. Of the two, Brown is more likely to have immediate fantasy value, but Boykin is an intriguing dynasty prospect. The Ravens also added Justice Hill in the fourth round. This pick likely signifies the end of Kenneth Dixon’s reign as a perennial dynasty hype candidate. Hill can very much be the lightning to Mark Ingram’s thunder. Baltimore rounded out the draft with QB Trace McSorley, who offers a Lamar Jackson-like skill set at the position.
With two running backs over 30 years old, the Bills needed to get younger at the position. They attempted to do so with Devin Singletary in the third round. While he tested poorly in the pre-draft process, Singletary put up big numbers in college and could very well take over this backfield once LeSean McCoy is out of the way. Buffalo also took two tight ends: Dawson Knox in the third and Tommy Sweeney in the seventh. Charles Clay is now in Arizona, so there’s opportunity on this depth chart. Of the two, Knox is the more likely to hit the ground running, but it’s unlikely we’ll find much fantasy value in any Buffalo tight end this year.
The Panthers selected just three skill position players in this years’ draft. They snagged Will Grier near the end of the third round. Some had mocked Grier as early as the first round, so this is good value for Carolina. That said, this selection shows us that the league likely views him as more of a backup talent. Keep that in mind for dynasty purposes. Speaking of backups, the Panthers really didn’t have one for Christian McCaffrey. That could change with fifth-rounder Jordan Scarlett out of Florida. Scarlett could beat out Cameron Artis-Payne for No. 2 duties. Carolina rounded things out in the seventh round with Terry Godwin, a slot receiver out of Georgia. There’s a crowded house at wideout in Carolina, so Godwin isn’t likely to make an impact.
Jordan Howard wasn’t a fit in Matt Nagy’s offense, but third-rounder David Montgomery is. The former Iowa State back has a three-down skill set and figures to step right in as the lead early-down option. While Tarik Cohen will still see the lion’s share of targets out of the backfield, Montgomery has the potential to be an instant RB2. The Bears also added to their backfield with the athletic Kerrith Whyte in the seventh round. In addition to the two backs, Chicago drafted Riley Ridley in the fourth. While he isn’t his brother, Ridley is a capable receiver who adds some depth to the roster.
The Bengals addressed the skill position in Day 2 with the second-round selection of Drew Sample. While Tyler Eifert can’t ever stay healthy, Sample doesn’t profile as a long-term dynasty option. Cincinnati then took QB Ryan Finley in the fourth. He won’t threaten Andy Dalton’s job, and should be viewed as a backup option. Interestingly, Cincinnati took two running backs in the sixth: Rodney Anderson and Trayveon Williams. With Mark Walton off the roster, Williams figures to slide into that role in the offense, but Anderson is a bit more intriguing. Injury-plagued in college, Anderson flashed major ability when he was on the field. Some even comped him to Joe Mixon in the pre-draft process. There’s a good chance he emerges as Mixon’s handcuff.
The Browns didn’t select any skill position players in this year’s draft, but can you blame them? Cleveland is loaded up on the offensive side of the ball.
Ezekiel Elliott is one of the league’s rare bell-cow backs, but the Cowboys really didn’t have much behind him on the depth chart entering the draft. While Dallas didn’t use any early picks on running back, they did snag two of them on Day 3 in Tony Pollard and Mike Weber. Pollard was overshadowed by Darrell Henderson at Memphis, but he did catch 104 balls and can also contribute on special teams. Weber is a more traditional back who offers early-down ability. Neither player has much juice for dynasty purposes.
After grabbing two wideouts in last year’s draft, the Broncos added a pass-catching tight end this year with Noah Fant in the first. Fant has the makings of a future fantasy standout, but it could take him a few years to develop. Of course, I may be burying the lead a bit right here, because Denver likely drafted their quarterback of the future in Drew Lock. The second-rounder has a big arm, which will pair well with the Broncos corps of young pass catchers. That said, it’s tough to say when Denver will ultimately pull the plug on Joe Flacco. Denver also added WR Juwann Winfree in the sixth.
Like Denver, the Lions also drafted two tight ends this year: T.J. Hockenson at eight overall and Isaac Nauta in the seventh. Hockenson is a strong bet to emerge as a future elite fantasy option, but astute fantasy players will know that it’s extremely rare for rookie tight ends to be consistent fantasy options. Nauta didn’t do a lot in the passing game at the college level and isn’t worth dynasty consideration. In addition to the two tight ends, Detroit added WR Travis Fulgham and RB Ty Johnson, with both picks coming in the sixth round. While Fulgham doesn’t really pop for fantasy purposes, Johnson’s blazing speed and productivity at Maryland make him a player to monitor in dynasty leagues.
This was more of a defensive draft for the Packers, but they did add an interesting tight end in Jace Sternberger on Day 2. Ultra-productive last year, Sternberger should be viewed as Jimmy Graham’s long-term replacement. Green Bay also scooped some value in the sixth with Dexter Williams. Though plagued by off-field issues, Williams has the size and athleticism to compete for touches in the backfield. It’ll be interesting to see if he can leapfrog Jamaal Williams for No. 2 duties.
If there’s one thing we know about the Texans, it’s that they love drafting tight ends. This year, Houston plucked Kahale Warring in the third. Warring is super athletic, but also extremely green. He’s likely to be buried on the depth chart. The Texans also grabbed RB Cullen Gillaspia in the seventh round. In the pre-draft process, we evaluated 53 running backs for fantasy purposes and Gallaspia was not one of them. His chances of ever emerging as a fantasy option are extremely thin.
Parris Campbell was the lone Colts skill position pick in this year’s draft, but the second-rounder is very interesting for fantasy purposes. His blazing speed getting pair up with Andrew Luck could push Campbell into the back end of the first round of dynasty rookie drafts.
Tight end was one of the biggest needs for the Jags entering the draft, and they managed to select an intriguing option in Josh Oliver. The third-rounder has NFL size and impressive athleticism. Better yet, he has the opportunity to hit the ground running with a very real shot at being the Jags top pass-catching tight end this season. Jacksonville also added former Temple RB Ryquell Armstead in the fifth. Armstead tested extremely well in the pre-draft process and should slide right in as Leonard Fournette’s handcuff. The Jags also picked Gardner Minshew, who figures to be a career backup.
Uncertainty surrounding Tyreek Hill’s future loomed largely over the Chiefs at this year’s draft, and the Chiefs did attempt to address wide receiver with the second-round pick of Mecole Hardman. Though extremely dynamic, Hardman is no Tyreek Hill. That said, his dynasty stock skyrocketed after getting paired with Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City also added more play making ability with Darwin Thompson in the sixth. More of a complementary back, Thompson has some appeal in deep dynasty leagues.
We saw only one skill position selection from the Chargers this year: Easton Stick in the fifth. The former North Dakota State signal-caller isn’t a strong bet to replace Philip Rivers over the long haul and is more likely a career backup.
Like the Chargers, the Rams also only made one skill position pick, but it was a very interesting one. LA grabbed Darrell Henderson in the third round, a pick which only furthered the speculation on the extent of Todd Gurley’s knee ailment. To be fair, Henderson isn’t a replacement. But he a player who could take some of the workload off Gurley’s plate. Gurley’s redraft stock continues to fall.
Three in a row with just one skill position pick. Miami’s lone skill guy came near the end of the draft with Myles Gaskin in the seventh round. Gaskin won’t threaten Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage for the top two spots on the depth chart.
With 12 picks in this year’s draft, the Vikings had ample opportunity to load up and used four of them on skill position players. Irv Smith came off the board in the second round. While Kyle Rudolph is still very much in the building, Smith figures to be Rudolph’s long-term replacement. We don’t think Alexander Mattison is Dalvin Cook’s replacement, but he is a good bet to slide into the No. 2 spot ahead of Mike Boone and Roc Thomas. The Vikings also picked two seventh-round wideouts in Dillon Mitchell and Olabisi Johnson.
The defending champs closed out Day 1 by grabbing N’Keal Harry. Some had Harry as the top wideout in this year’s class in the pre-draft process. He should see the field right away and is arguably the top dynasty wide receiver among the rookies. Of course, we often can’t have nice things in fantasy football, as the Patriots threw a wrench into Sony Michel’s fantasy outlook with the third-round selection of Damien Harris. He’ll likely eat into Michel’s workload. The Pats also grabbed a Day 3 quarterback in Jarrett Stidham.
It was a relatively quiet draft for the Saints this year with just five picks. Only one of them was a skill position player: Alize Mack in the seventh. Mack flashed at times at Notre Dame, but he’s a long shot to ever emerge as a fantasy option.
Love it or hate it, the Giants selected their quarterback of the future in Daniel Jones. The similarities to Eli Manning are very real, and Jones could end up having a similar long-term fantasy arc. New York also grabbed WR Darius Slayton in the fifth round. The former Auburn wideout offers downfield ability with his blazing speed.
Nothing really to see here. The Jets took TE Trevon Wesco as their lone skill position pick in the fourth round. Chris Herndon fantasy owners shouldn’t be worried. Wesco simply doesn’t have the upside to match Herndon and won’t threaten his workload.
Mike Mayock’s first draft was certainly an interesting one. The 24th overall selection of Josh Jacobs was one of the better fantasy landing spots of any of the skill position players in this year’s draft. Jacobs is locked in as a the 1.01 in rookie drafts and should threaten for immediate top-15 production among the running backs. The Raiders also drafted TE Foster Moreau in the fourth and WR Hunter Renfrow in the fifth. Moreau is a blocking tight end who lacks fantasy juice, and Renfrow is extremely undersized for the NFL.
Despite only having five picks, the Eagles managed to load up on the skill positions. Philly grabbed both Miles Sanders and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round. Sanders is one of the most complete backs in this year’s class. His three-down ability will get him on the field right away, and he actually has more short-term appeal than Jordan Howard in that backfield. While the path to playing time is a little less clear for Arcega-Whiteside, his long-term outlook is bright. Getting pair with Carson Wentz makes Arcega-Whiteside one of the more appealing dynasty wideouts in the class. The Eagles also picked Clayton Thorson, who will compete with Luis Perez for No. 3 duties at quarterback.
Antonio Brown’s departure opened up a big need at wide receiver for the Steelers. They attempted to address this need with Diontae Johnson in the third. While not overly fast or athletic, Johnson drew praise from our team here at PFF for his route-running. He’s an interesting name to monitor. The Steelers also added RB Benny Snell (fourth) and TE Zach Gentry (fifth). Snell isn’t particularly dynamic but could slide in as the early-down handcuff to James Conner with Jaylen Samuels as the passing-down option.
Wide receiver continues to be a priority for the 49ers, as they added Deebo Samuel in the second and Jalen Hurd in the third. Samuel is a tough receiver who could step right in an see time in three-wide sets. It’s fair to view him as one of the better dynasty wideouts in this year’s class. Hurd only has one year of experience at wide receiver, but he has size you can’t teach and appealing long-term profile. The 49ers also added Kaden Smith in the sixth. The former Stanford tight end has no impact on George Kittle’s fantasy value.
The news that Doug Baldwin is considering retirement makes Seattle’s second-round selection of D.K. Metcalf very interesting. PFF Fantasy’s No. 1 rookie wideout before the draft, Metcalf has the potential to step in as an every-down wideout in Year 1. He’s right behind N’Keal Harry for dynasty purposes and could be the first rookie wideout selected in redraft leagues this year. The Seahawks also added field stretcher Gary Jennings in the fourth and undersized WR John Ursua in the seventh. Additionally, Seattle added to their backfield stable with the sixth-round selection of Travis Homer. He’s a deeper name to know but won’t push Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny for touches.
With a fairly loaded offense, the Bucs spent just one pick on the skill positions: WR Scott Miller in the sixth. Miller ran sub-4.4 at his pro day, but profiles mainly as a possession slot receiver. He isn’t likely to be a fantasy option at the pro level.
A.J. Brown was one of the top dynasty wideouts in this class heading into the draft, but landing with the Titans didn’t help his cause. Tennessee’s run-heavy approach puts a cap on Brown’s value, as doesn’t the fact that he’ll slide in as the No. 2 behind Corey Davis.
Last, and certainly not least, we have the Redskins, who loaded up on skill position guys thus year. Washington snagged their quarterback of the future in Dwayne Haskins at No. 17 overall. While it could be a bit rough for Haskins in the short term, he has top-15 fantasy potential over the long haul and is still the No. 2 dynasty quarterback in this year’s class. Washington attempted to get him some weapons as well with Terry McLaurin in the third and Kelvin Harmon in the sixth. McLaurin was Haskins teammate at Ohio State. He brings impressive speed into the fold. Harmon isn’t a speed guy, but he possesses plus ability in the short and intermediate areas of the field. Of the two, McLaurin is the more appealing dynasty prospect. Washington also took a chance on Bryce Love. Once viewed as a potential first-rounder, Love’s stock fell following a lackluster 2018 campaign and a torn ACL. He’s far from guaranteed to get back on the field this year, but Love’s presence on this depth chart could depress Derrius Guice’s long-term fantasy stock.