Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 NFL Draft - Round 1 - Fantasy Football Impact

Now that the 2015 NFL draft is complete. Let's take a look at the Fantasy Football impact.

Best Situation- Kevin White has an opportunity to be an immediate factor in Chicago. In 2015, White will be working against CB2s, with Alshon Jeffrey taking on the top cover corners, creating some early mismatches. Additionally, White gets to play in an offense with a dynamic running game (Forte) and work in a division that scores a lot of points. Even though the QB position is not perfect, Cutler loves to let it fly, and knows how to work with large receivers (Marshall and Jeffrey) making White a younger version of Brandon Marshall. Look for White to be a 1.02 to 1.05 pick in all rookie dynasty drafts.

Opportunities Galore- Todd Gurley was chosen by the Rams to be the focal point of their offense. Once fully healthy, we expect Gurley to be a workhorse, #1 RB for a coaching staff (lead by Jeff Fisher) committed to running the ball and playing solid defense.  Playing in a tough, run stopping division will make things a bit tougher for Gurley early in his career, but don't be surprised if his rare blend of speed and power (similar to Marshawn Lynch) make up for the schedule.  We expect Gurley to be a 1.01 pick in most rookie dynasty drafts.

Solid Pick-  Melvin Gordon is a great fit for the San Diego Chargers. Taking over for the departed and injury prone Ryan Mathews, Gordon will be the #1 RB from day one of training camp. The Chargers won't rely on Gordon all that much in the passing game (Woodhead, Oliver), but will give him most of the carries this season, including goal line opportunities. We don't predict LT numbers coming immediately for Gordon, but in a few years, he could be a perennial top 5 FF RB just like the former Charger great. Expect 1.02-1.05 ADP in rookie dynasty drafts.

Slow Start Situation- Amari Cooper has all the tools to become an impact player at the NFL level, but don't expect his production to be elite early in 2015. Hopefully Oakland has found their franchise QB in Derek Carr with which Cooper can create some chemistry this year, but with a lackluster running backs, and below average offensive line, we don't see Oakland's offense exploding.  No doubt, Cooper is the Raiders WR1, but can the offense produce enough to make Cooper a WR1 in Fantasy Football? We aren't convinced... Expect 1.01-1.03 ADP in Dynasty leagues with less than stellar stats early in Cooper's career.

Boom or Bust- Marcus Mariota was selected by the Tennessee Titans with the 2nd pick in the draft. Speculation leading up to the draft was that Tennessee would trade the pick to Philadelphia, San Diego, or Chicago for a king's ransom, which would have been good for his FF stock. Unfortunately, that did not happen, so now Mariota gets to start his career in a very young, inexperienced offense in Tennessee. To their credit, the Titans did try to surround Mariota with talent in this draft, choosing WR Dorial Green-Beckham in round 2, and RB David Cobb in round 5, which could both be solid value picks. If Mariota can build confidence early, and the young roster gels, Mariota could be a really good QB, we're not sure that will happen as a Titan, as they have not been lucky with QBs in recent years (Locker, Young, Mettenberger).  Expect late 1st round-early 2nd round ADP for Mariota in rookie dynasty drafts.

Lucky Landing - Breshad Perriman is the perfect fit for the Ravens offense. Baltimore loves designing plays for deep threat players and Joe Flacco is a master at getting the ball downfield. With Torrey Smith out of the picture, there will be plenty of targets for Perriman throughout the season. Perriman will have to work on his route running and cut down on the drops, but for his skill-set, Baltimore is a great place for him to play. Expect mid 1st round ADP for Perriman.

Immediate Starter- Jameis Winston was the #1 pick for months leading up to draft night last Thursday. Winston has all the natural ability to be a star in the NFL, but he needs to become more mature. Winston is in a great position to be a top 15 Fantasy Quarterback as a rookie. He has the ability to read defenses, big and fast targets (Jackson, Evans, ASJ), and will likely get plenty of garbage time scoring as the TB defense will give up plenty of points. We expect mid 1st round ADP for Winston in Tampa Bay.

Patience - Phillip Dorsett was selected as the Colts first round pick in 2015 but unfortunately for him, there are a ton of talented pass catchers already on the Colts roster (Hilton, Moncrief, Johnson, Fleener, Allen). However, Indy has Andrew Luck, who is the top FF QB in the NFL, and will work tirelessly to get the ball to his playmakers. We see Dorsett eventually becoming a starter for the Colts, and when he does, becomes a top 20 Fantasy WR. If you have the time and space to stash Dorsett, we think he'll pay dividends down the road. Expect late 1st, early 2nd round ADP for Dorsett.

Biggest Surprise- Nelson Agholor wasn't always expected to be a first round pick in this draft. Some had him as a second or third round grade early in the NFL draft process. However, Agholor showed quickness, route running precision, and an ability to play multiple positions that moved him up the draft board. Agholor is a great fit for the Eagles offense, who will be running Chip Kelly's offense with all new pieces in 2015 (Bradford, Murray, Mathews,). There may be a few growing pains as this offense develops, but look for a high paced, high scoring attack once they do get things going. We see Agholor as a middle to late 1st round ADP selections in Dynasty drafts.

Sleeper- DeVante Parker is likely to take over as the Miami Dolphins #1 WR and top redzone threat as Miami trade away their former WR1 (Mike Wallace) to the Vikings earlier this year. Unfortunately, as the top guy in Miami, Parker will have to match-up against, and likely struggle with the top CBs in the NFL, which could hinder his production. However, as the top guy, we expect 6-8 TDs from the mid 1st round pick as he becomes Ryan Tannehill's top target.  His ADP will likely be early to mid 1st round in Dynasty Rookie drafts.

IDP Watch List- 
Shane Ray- With Ware and Miller providing guidance, we expect 6-8 sacks from Ray in 2015. As long as he can stay away from the drugs, we see long term success out of Ray. If he is designated a DE, his ADP end of 2nd-early 3rd round, if LB, then 4th or 5th round ADP.
Stephone Anthony - The Saints have a solid playmaker and poised for a three down role. He will be the starting linebacker right away, so expect LB2 numbers as a rookie.  ADP will be early 3rd round. 
Arik Armstead- Is a huge guy, at 6'7" and 292 pounds, he projects as a DE for the 49ers and he’ll get a shot at Justin Smith’s role in SF. He is raw, but could become a viable FF defensive end.  Expect 4th round ADP
Dante Fowler Jr.- Will be worked in as a LEO pass rushing specialist. Won't get a huge number of tackles, but will get some sacks.  If designated as a defensive lineman, could be more valuable. If designated a DE, his ADP will be 3rd round, if LB, then 5th round ADP.
Vic Beasley- Will get plenty of playing time for the Falcons, who were putrid on defense last year. In IDP formats, Beasley is stuck in the same situation as Fowler and Ray. If designated a DE, he is more valuable and his ADP will be 3rd round, if designated a LB, then he becomes less valuable.
Leonard Williams- The media had pegged Williams as the top overall prospect in this year's draft. However, the league didn't have him quite that highly ranked.  New York is a good spot for Williams, and even better if Wilkerson gets traded. As of right now, as the 3rd DE on the depth chart, we don't see top production from him. Look for 4th round ADP for Williams.

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