2017 Draft: Fantasy Football Winners and Losers

May 1, 2017

The Bears’ lack of quality weapons severely dampens Mitch Trubisky’s fantasy outlook

After months of prospect evaluation, the NFL draft has come and gone. Now that we know which rookies have landed on which teams, we can begin to assess the fantasy football landscape for 2017. Here are two winners and losers – one rookie and one veteran – at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver.

Practice fast mock drafts with our fantasy football software >>

LOSERS

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

1. Mitch Trubisky (QB – CHI)
On the surface, he’s a winner. The Bears are obviously invested in him, and his competition for starting reps is just veteran backup Mike Glennon. Dig a little deeper, and things don’t look as good.

The best way for a young quarterback to be successful is to be surrounded by real weapons. Chicago has a good running back in Jordan Howard, but he isn’t a primary pass catcher. At wide receiver, Chicago has a lot of bodies, but all have significant question marks.

Tight end has capable but brittle Zach Miller, low-ceiling Dion Sims, and some young guys that need time to develop. All of Trubisky’s pass catching options are suspect, which makes it hard for him to succeed. The problem is compounded because the Bears traded away so much draft capital (that could have been spent on other weapons) to acquire Trubisky.

2. Alex Smith (QB – KC)
Mahomes could win the starting job outright, or, if their season goes poorly, might get the starting gig during the year. Either way, Smith could lose his starting job at some point in 2017. Even if Smith keeps the starting job this year, his career as a starter could be over.

After this season, cutting him will save Kansas City $17 million dollars against the cap. Given what Kansas City paid to acquire Mahomes, expect Smith to hit the street at the end of the season.

3. Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)
Another situation that looks good on the surface; New Orleans is a prolific offense. But Kamara isn’t likely to threaten Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson as runners, and both Ingram and Travaris Cadet are capable receivers.

Kamara doesn’t have much special teams background either. Barring injury, it will be hard for him to find fantasy-relevant usage.

4. Latavius Murray (RB – MIN)
Murray already went from one of the league’s best offensive lines (Oakland) to one of its worst. Now Murray’s opportunity will get squeezed hard from both ends. On one side, Jerick McKinnon isn’t great, but he’s more established than the rookies Murray had to compete with last year.

On the other, he now he has to compete with Dalvin Cook, one of the better prospects in this class. Cook didn’t go in the first round, but the Vikings did use their first pick on him, which tells us how much they like Cook, and also suggests they’re not sold on the idea of Murray as their workhorse.

5. Dede Westbrook (WR – JAC)
Westbrook fell to the fourth round and was the 15th WR off the board. Regarding draft capital, not many players taken that late in the draft go on to have fantasy success. And Westbrook landed in Jacksonville, which has three good, established veteran WRs.

It will be hard for Westbrook to crack that rotation. Even if he does, the selection of Leonard Fournette with a top-four pick signals that Jacksonville plans to run more and pass less.

6. Tyrell Williams (WR – LAC)
Williams gets hit with a double whammy — the return of Keenan Allen and the addition of top-10 pick Mike Williams. Travis Benjamin is still on board, as is Dontrelle Inman. Williams had a successful 2016 based on volume he’s unlikely to see in 2017 if everyone else stays healthy.

WINNERS

1. Deshaun Watson (QB – HOU)
Watson may not be the best prospect at the position, but he arguably ends up in the best position. Competing against just Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden, it’s quite possible Watson becomes the starter at some point this year. If he does, he’s got quality weapons at WR, RB, and TE, and a playoff caliber defense to back him up.

2. Jameis Winston (QB – TB)
In addition to young stud Mike Evans and free agent acquisition DeSean Jackson, Winston gets top tight end prospect O.J. Howard to go along with last year’s breakout Cameron Brate. He also gets the productive wideout, Chris Godwin, and versatile back Jeremy McNichols to provide depth.

3. Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)
He should quickly supplant Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whittaker in the change-of-pace/third-down role. He should also be able to take a healthy portion of Jonathan Stewart’s rushing work. At 29 years old, limiting Stewart’s workload seems like a good idea.

The common concern is that Cam Newton doesn’t throw much to RBs. The rebuttal is simply that he hasn’t had receiving backs like McCaffrey before. Given the top-10 draft capital,

I think it’s safe to assume that Carolina has a plan to get McCaffrey heavily involved in the offense. McCaffrey can also contribute as a receiver and returner, a boon in return-yardage leagues.

4. Wendell Smallwood (RB – PHI)
Many pre-draft mocks had the Eagles taking a running back early in the draft, but that didn’t happen. Their only acquisition at the position was the dynamic but pint-sized Donnel Pumphrey, who doesn’t seem a likely workhorse.

Ryan Mathews is still on the roster, but he hasn’t played a full season since 2013 and may get cut. Smallwood should have a decent role on offense and could end up as the lead back.

5. Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR)
The Rams lost 188 targets when Kenny Britt and Brian Quick left in free agency. Lance Kendricks took another 87 with him. That’s 275 targets.

The Rams brought in Robert Woods, but otherwise, Kupp’s competition is all lower-drafted rookies or second-year players that didn’t do much last year. Oh, and they’ve upgraded their coach from Jeff Fisher to Sean McVay, so they should play at a faster pace as well.

6. Breshad Perriman (WR – BAL)
The argument for Perriman is largely the same as the one for Kupp. Now that Steve Smith has retired, and Kamar Aiken left in free agency, Baltimore has 151 vacated targets. With a full season finally under his belt, the opportunity is there for Perriman to take a big step forward.


Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Google Play | TuneIn | RSS

Charlie Kleinheksel is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Charlie, check out his archive.

What's your take? Leave a comment

Fantasy Games
DRAFT photo
Get a FREE FantasyPros upgrade with first deposit
Sleeper photo
Play on the best fantasy football platform. Get the free Sleeper app.
Mock Draft Lobby photo
Mock draft with other FantasyPros users. Drafts starting now!
Get our Mobile App!

Enter your phone number below, and we'll text you a link to download the app.

1Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
2Le'Veon Bell (PIT)RB
3Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
4David Johnson (ARI)RB
5Antonio Brown (PIT)WR
6DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
7Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
8Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
9Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)WR
10Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
 View All Rankings 
11Kareem Hunt (KC)RB
12Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
13Julio Jones (ATL)WR
14Michael Thomas (NO)WR
15Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
16Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
17A.J. Green (CIN)WR
18Davante Adams (GB)WR
19Devonta Freeman (ATL)RB
20Jordan Howard (CHI)RB
21Rob Gronkowski (NE)TE
22Mike Evans (TB)WR
23Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
24Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
25T.Y. Hilton (IND)WR
26Jerick McKinnon (SF)RB
27Doug Baldwin (SEA)WR
28Stefon Diggs (MIN)WR
29Travis Kelce (KC)TE
30Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
1Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
2Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
3Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
4Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
5J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
6Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
7Manny Machado (LAD)3B,SS
8Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
9Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)LF,RF
10Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
 View All Rankings 
11Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
12Chris Sale (BOS)SP
13Andrew Benintendi (BOS)LF,CF
14Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)1B
15Trea Turner (WSH)SS
16Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
17Clayton Kershaw (LAD)SP
18Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
19Bryce Harper (WSH)CF,RF
20Alex Bregman (HOU)3B,SS
21Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
22Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
23Matt Carpenter (STL)1B,2B
24Christian Yelich (MIL)LF,CF
25Javier Baez (CHC)2B,3B
26Starling Marte (PIT)LF,CF
27Aaron Nola (PHI)SP
28A.J. Pollock (ARI)CF
29Rhys Hoskins (PHI)1B,LF
30Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B,2B
1Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
2Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
3James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
4Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
5Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
6Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
7Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
8Kawhi Leonard (TOR)SG,SF
9LeBron James (LAL)SF,PF
10Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
 View All Rankings 
11John Wall (WAS)PG
12DeMarcus Cousins (GSW)PF,C
13Chris Paul (HOU)PG
14Damian Lillard (POR)PG
15Jimmy Butler (MIN)SG,SF
16Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
17Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
18Hassan Whiteside (MIA)C,PF
19Myles Turner (IND)PF,C
20Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
21Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
22Draymond Green (GSW)SF,PF
23Kristaps Porzingis (NYK)PF,C
24Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
25CJ McCollum (POR)PG,SG
26Mike Conley (MEM)PG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Klay Thompson (GSW)SG,SF
29Marc Gasol (MEM)C
30Gordon Hayward (BOS)SG,SF
Follow the Pros!

Follow us on Twitter @FantasyPros for exclusive advice and contests