7 Players About to Rise or Fall After the Draft (Fantasy Football)
The Free Agency flurry saw a number of players’ values impacted not only by their own movement but also the movement of other players. We saw Terrelle Pryor’s value increase with his move to Washington. We saw Thomas Rawls’ value decrease with Eddie Lacy’s arrival in Seattle. We saw the entire Texans’ offense improve with the departure of Brock Osweiler. Next week, we have another event that is sure to send some shockwaves through player valuations – the NFL Draft.
For those in keeper or dynasty formats, the quality of your team is going to be affected. The work of a fantasy owner never ends, and one of the most important parts of the job is understanding when and how to extract value out of situations. This is the last time we are likely to see substantial movement in player values until the preseason. With that in mind, here are a handful of players that are likely to be impacted by what their teams do next weekend.
Corey Coleman (WR – CLE)
I’m pretty confident the Browns are taking Myles Garrett first overall. I’m equally as confident that they are going to draft a quarterback with their next pick. What they should do is pay whatever it costs to pry Jimmy Garoppolo away from the Patriots, but that is highly unlikely to happen. While I’m not enamored with any quarterback in this year’s draft class, Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler are currently atop the team’s depth chart. Regardless of the passer they choose to go with, he can’t possibly be worse than what they currently have, which will be a boon for Coleman’s value.
Sammy Watkins (WR – BUF)
The Bills should take a wide receiver next week with one of their first two picks. Right now, they pretty much have nothing behind Sammy Watkins. Andre Holmes and Walter Powell are currently listed as the number two and three receivers on their depth chart. If that carried over to the start of the season, opponents would have no trouble zeroing in on Watkins and making life incredibly difficult for him. To alleviate that potential problem, the Bills will likely grab Corey Davis (the correct choice) or Mike Williams (the “we love Clemson” choice) in the first round or perhaps one of Zay Jones, Cooper Kupp, or Juju Smith Schuster in the second. Whoever it ends up being will be an immediate upgrade on their current number two situation, which will help open things up for Watkins. It’s still early, but I am a big time buyer of Watkins in 2017. The sooner you can get on board, the cheaper it will likely be.
T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory (RB – JAX)
I am buying into the Leonard Fournette to the Jaguars narrative. Wherever Fournette goes, he will immediately be the starter and the workhorse. Yeldon may still have a role catching passes, but talents like Fournette don’t come around too often – he will be on the field a lot. As for Ivory, he may not even be on the team come August, but even if he is, he will likely fall to third on the depth chart as Fournette does everything Ivory does, but better. As an added problem for the incumbents, even if the Jaguars do not draft Fournette, it’s hard to imagine them going more than three rounds without taking a running back. Given how poor their run game has been the past two seasons (Ivory 3.8 ypc in 2016; Yeldon 3.6 ypc in 2016), any rookie taken will be given a chance to compete. If you can extract any value out of these two before next weekend, do it.
Jonathan Stewart (RB – CAR)
Another team I fully expect to draft a running back is the Carolina Panthers. I think they take Fournette if the Jaguars pass on him, but Christian McCaffrey is also likely. I wouldn’t rule out Dalvin Cook as well (although they may wait until the second round if Fournette and McCaffrey are both gone). The last time the Panthers spent a top pick on a running back was in 2008…on Jonathan Stewart himself. Since that year, the Panthers have only spent four picks on running backs and none higher than round four. It’s time. Stewart has been steadily declining each of the past three seasons (4.6, 4.1, 3.8 ypc). Carolina is ready to draft a true replacement and once it happens, Stewart’s value will dip considerably.
C.J. Anderson (RB – DEN)
Given GM John Elway’s relationship with Christian McCaffrey’s father, Ed, I fully expect Elway to grab McCaffrey if he’s there at pick 20. If not, one of his first three picks will likely be on a running back anyway. I didn’t intend for this to turn into the list of running backs poised to take a hit, but that’s just the way it goes. Running back is typically the position most immediately impacted by the draft and that’s no different this year. Anderson was a revelation for the Broncos in 2014, but there’s only so long a player can cling to a hot stretch. He’s hardly been the pinnacle of health the past two seasons. He was hampered by an injured ankle in 2015 and ended up missing nine games in 2016 as well. The Broncos have experimented with replacements for Anderson already, but just haven’t been able to find one. This year, I anticipate a more deliberate attempt to find someone better beginning with the draft.
Riser or Faller
Jordan Matthews (WR – PHI)
This is an interesting situation that I more want to call attention to rather than offer a prediction. The signing of Alshon Jeffery saw Jordan Matthews’ value take a bit of a hit. I expect the Eagles to draft a wide receiver, which will be yet another hit to Matthews’ value. However, we could very well see his value shoot back up should the Eagles trade Matthews to the right team. I think Matthews is an incredible talent and do not quite understand why the Eagles are so averse to making him the focal point of the passing attack, but given the way the Eagles have been run the past few years, it’s not surprising. Nevertheless, Matthews will be an intriguing name to follow over the course of draft weekend as we could see a significant change in value in either direction.