2017 NFL Draft Review – The Philly Cheese Steak Edition

Another year and another NFL draft is in the books…well a few weeks ago to be exact. It has been a very busy time here at the Trotta household with my daughters 1st birthday & wife’s surprise B-Day party 4 weeks apart from each other. You tie-in work, other holidays and I have been one busy guy but you are not here to read about what I have been up to. No, you are here to read what my thoughts are about this year’s top crop of NFL draft picks. This was a draft that was top heavy with elite offensive talent but hidden in the later rounds were gems to be had.

The combine and draft are the start of any good fantasy owners research for the upcoming league year, especially if you play in a dynasty league. This is how I break down my off-season review of players and how much it means to my total grade for a player out of 100%;

  • 25% on Game Tape & College Production (Who did they play? What system did they excel in? How much of their team’s production did they have a hand in?)
  • 25% on Combine Results (How good are you against the elite players in your position?, What are your weaknesses?)
  • 40% on Draft landing spot (Scheme, depth chart battle, quality of skill position players around you)
  • 10% on my gut feeling of a player (I know the landing spot is questionable but I love the player and think it can work if X, Y, and Z Happen!)

Things change quickly in the NFL but the landing spot of a player is extremely important. Does he fit the scheme? How far down the depth chart is he? When will he be able to produce for my team? In a re-draft league, the last question is most important as you don’t have the time to wait. In a dynasty league, you have more time but I like to look at my rosters in 3 to 4-year windows. I’m always looking at will the prospect produce at my rookie draft capital in that 3-year time frame? If yes, draft him but there are times that high college producing players with better combine numbers fall to bad landing spots. It’s in these moments my gut has to come in to help. You have to get creative sometimes to determine what the future might look like for a player because it’s not always obvious.

Let’s take a look at the top rookie prospects for this fantasy season and see who fell into a great landing spot & who fell into a good landing spot!

Great Landing Spot

Corey Davis WR, Tennessee Titans – My Consensus #1 WR off the board & #1 rookie in dynasty drafts. With such high draft capital, he will be a starter from day 1.

Mike Williams WR, Los Angeles Chargers – Bad real draft pick but a great landing spot for a fantasy WR. The Chargers love to air it out and Rivers has a few good years left in him. He has little competition to see the field but far more than Davis.

Christian McCaffrey RB, Carolina Panthers – McCaffrey is a tough prospect to gauge so you have to be creative in evaluating him. Phenomenal athlete and college producer who will be a stud in PPR leagues. Non-PPR his stock drops a little but I will buy in and think the OC in Carolina will know how to utilize his skill set from day 1.

O.J. Howard TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The most complete TE in the best draft class potentially ever. Couldn’t have fallen into a better situation on a good passing offensive with major weapons around him. Howard is the consensus first TE taken off the board in rookie drafts.

DeShaun Watson QB, Houston Texans – Of all the QB’s in this draft Watson landed in the best situation. Playoff caliber team with a line of sight to the starting job from day 1 and great skill position players around him. The Clemson connection to Deandre Hopkins doesn’t hurt either.

Evan Engram TE, New York Giants – Engram is not a true TE and couldn’t have landed on a better passing offense than the Giants. McAdoo will get creative and utilize Engram’s raw athletic ability. Engram could be the best producing TE in year 1 of this elite group.

Joe Mixon RB, Cincinnati Bengals – Mixon might be the best RB in this entire draft class and he fell into a great situation in Cincy. Mixon will have an opportunity to compete and be the lead RB from day 1. The Bengals need to improve in the run blocking department but the opportunity is what makes Mixon a top rookie pick IMO.

Taywan Taylor WR, Tennessee Titans – Taylor is a steal for the Titans in the 3rd round and just bolsters a stellar skill position group. Taylor is a great pick to help produce even in year 1.

Alvin Kamara RB, New Orleans Saints – Kamara’s value is in PPR leagues only but when you get drafted by the Saints, a team who throws to the RB more than almost any other team, then you hit the jackpot! Depth Chart battle in front of him for playing time is the biggest concern as well as the lack of college production.

JuJu Smith-Schuster WR, Pittsburgh Steelers – I love JuJu’s game and no team is better at scouting WRs than the Steelers. Great fit with little competition ahead of him except for Bryant and Brown.

Samaje Perine RB, Washington Redskins –  Perine along with Mixon landed in the best possible situations. Samaje has the potential to be the starter from day 1 if he can beat out Kelly but if anything he will be a goal line contributor in year 1 with a bright future on a top 5 offense in the league.

Jamaal Williams RB, Green Bay Packers – Ty Montgomery is the starting RB and plays with Aaron Rodgers. Both Williams and Jones hit the lottery with their landing spots. Production will be limited in year 1 for both unless an injury occurs.

Marlon Mack RB, Indianapolis Colts – Mack is a personal favorite of mine and like Mixon & Perine has a great shot of becoming the lead RB quickly. Gore is an aging dinosaur who might be in his last year of his career. If the Colts struggle look for them to turn to their shiny new toy sooner rather than later.

Chris Godwin WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Godwin is an exceptional athlete with limited college production but the landing spot is perfect for his skill set. He might not be a big contributor in year 1 but his 3-year window looks bright.

Kareem Hunt RB, Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs made a statement that they don’t believe Spencer Ware is the answer at RB with this pick. I believe a camp competition will determine who gets the lead back role but Hunt seems to be the guy of the future on a team who loves to run the ball.

 

Good Landing Spots

John Ross WR, Cincinnati Bengals – I am a big fan of John Ross’s game and think that the Bengals landing spot could turn into a great one if things go correctly. Injuries to either Green or Dalton over the past few years have impacted the fantasy value of the Bengals offense and you tie that with injury history & it’s cause for a little concern.

Patrick Mahomes QB, Kansas City Chiefs – Mahomes is the most gifted thrower in the entire draft and was my favorite QB to watch tape on. The Chiefs are a playoff team but the reason this is only a good landing spot is because of the depth chart obstacle Mahomes is going to face early on. It’s uncertain how long Alex Smith will be behind center in KC and so it’s hard to project when he will give you a return on your investment.

David Njoku TE, Cleveland Browns – Like Mahomes above him, Njoku could be the best player at his position when everything is said and done. The similarities stop there as Njoku went to the worst team in the NFL multiple years running. Things look bright on the horizon in Cleveland but until they can prove it on the field & get a QB, Cleveland is a tough place to produce fantasy stars in.

Leonard Fournette RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – Fournette was the first RB taken in the 2017 NFL draft but the landing spot left a sour taste in your mouth. Fournette is going to be the starting RB in 2017 but the O-Line is not good and no defender in the league is scared of Blake Bortles and his awkward throwing motion. Fournette is a special player but it could be tough sledding until they can upgrade the O-Line & quarterback position in Jacksonville.

Dalvin Cook RB, Minnesota Vikings – As a die hard Florida State Seminole fan I have seen every one of Dalvin Cooks carries over his 3-year career and I think he is the best RB in this class but I am super bias! His combine sucked, his tape is amazing, my gut is going crazy with warm fuzzies but then he goes to Minnesota…gut punch. Cook is the best RB from day 1 but the depth chart is crammed & the O-Line didn’t improve too much. Cook is a top 5 pick in rookie drafts & only higher if you are like me and believe he can run behind any line.

Mitchell Trubisky QB, Chicago Bears – Trubisky was the first QB taken off the board but his landing spot is not the best in the world. The Bears are a team in a complete rebuild but they do have some nice pieces in Cameron Meredith and my favorite Jordan Howard. Trubisky might be better than anyone can imagine but it could take a few years before he can live up to his draft price.

DeShone Kizer QB, Cleveland Browns – Kizer is a tough player to scout because of his inconsistent play and accuracy issues. Cleveland was smart by not investing in a 1st round QB so they are not tied to Kizer if he can’t improve over the course of the season. The brown are on the up but it’s still a tough landing spot for a player who needs a lot of work.

Zay Jones WR, Buffalo Bills – I really like the player as he was a major college dominator and has shined through the entire draft process. His college system and the long-term commitment to Tyrod Taylor are what hurt Zay Jones Dynasty value the most. Would you draft him in the 2nd round if Cardale Jones or Nathan Peterman are throwing him the ball this year? The answer is probably not, so the landing spot is good today but tomorrow is still out of focus.

Curtis Samuel WR, Carolina Panthers – Samuel is a talented athlete and he fills the field stretcher void Ted Ginn Jr. once held. Samuel’s value at Ohio State was his ability to hurt you in the backfield, as a receiver, and as a returner. Interested to see how they decide to utilize him in the offensive. He is in a good landing spot that could turn into great if Cam can get back to his MVP throwing form this year. Love the athlete and upside!

Adam Shaheen TE, Chicago Bears – With a surprise pick in the 2nd round the Bears took the Div 2 Eagle from Ashland University (Yes it’s a University, I looked it up) who blew the combine away. Shaheen is a monster and really could be a good player, he has all the physical traits to do so. The depth chart is great as well. As a 2nd round player, he is going to see the field, it’s just as the starter or not is up in the air. A re-build around him is a major cause for concern and how much do you trust Trubisky? His ability to see the field earlier is what make this a good landing spot.

D’onta Foreman RB, Houston Texans – Foreman is coming off his best season at Texas, a season that saw him win the Doak Walker. A 3rd round pick he will be behind Lamar Miller but should see goal line work and has the line of sight to a starting role. Uncertain playing time and role are what hurt Foreman’s draft value right now.

Chad Williams WR, Arizona Cardinals – Williams is a great prospect and fits the Arizona Cardinals offense perfectly. The biggest problem is the depth chart mountain he will have to climb. Larry Fitzgerald, J.J. Nelson, John Brown, Brittan Golden, Marquis Bundy, and Jaron Brown are all in front of him.

Gerald Everett TE, Los Angelas Rams – Getting drafted by an NFL team has got to be the best moment of a player’s life but being drafted by the LAR is like a kick in the nuts to what could be a good fantasy prospect. Everett is a physical freak and falls in this category because of the little competition in front of him on the depth chart. The Rams could surprise everyone and be good on offense but until I see, it pains me to buy into this offense but the talent is there with Everett.

Carlos Henderson WR, Denver Broncos – The Broncos are an offensive that was able to produce two 1k yard receiving WR’s in Sanders & Thomas in 2016 & with limited competition in front of him, I think Henderson might be able to not only see the field this season but be a contributor. The QB carousel is spinning and will Siemian be the starting QB again this year or will Lynch and or Kelly challenge him for it in training camp? The situation is good but with better QB play it could be great!

Other notable draft picks – Kenny Golladay WR, Det, Jeremy McNichols RB, TB, Aaron Jones RB, GB, Ryan Switzer WR, Dal, Amara Darboh WR, Sea, Ardarius Stewart WR, NYJ, Johnu Smith TE, Ten, James Connor RB, Pit, DeDe Westbrook WR, Jax, Josh Reynolds WR, LAR, Joe Williams RB, 49ers, Wayne Gallman RB, NYG, Jake Butt TE, Denver, Brian Hill RB, Atl, DeAngelo Yancey WR, GB, Nathan Peterman QB, Buf, Robert Davis WR, Was, Bucky Hodges TE, Min, Malachi Dupre WR, GB, De’Angelo Henderson RB, Den, Noah Brown WR, Dal

That wraps up the Philly cheese steak edition of my NFL draft recap. I hope you enjoyed it and I appreciate you taking the time to check it out. Don’t forget to show your support by becoming a Patron of The Fantasy Football Gurus on www.Patreon.com/tffgurus). Also, check out & subscribe to our podcast Trophy Time on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher Radio.

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