Fantasy Football: Risers/Fallers Post-NFL Draft (AFC)
The NFL Draft has come and gone. All in all, there were 253 draft picks and now it’s time to look at the aftermath on every team’s depth chart, finding out who gained value, and who lost value. You see, just because a team did or didn’t address a position of need, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other factors that can help or hurt a player.
We’re going to be talking about all those factors throughout this article, highlighting the top player on each team that gained value, as well as one player from each team that lost value. This is going to be from a dynasty perspective, but it’ll also apply to redraft leagues in a lot of ways. We’re dividing this into two separate articles, so if you’d like to see the NFC teams afterward, click here.
Riser: Ben Roethlisberger (QB) – Not that he needed it, but the Steelers got him another stud wide receiver prospect in JuJu Smith-Schuster. When the Steelers go four-wide, it’ll be Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers, and JuJu Smith-Schuster out there as targets. Good luck, secondaries.
Faller: Sammie Coates (WR) – This is likely the end of the line for Coates, who led the league in drop percentage in 2016. While he had a few big games in fantasy, the rest of his short career has been very underwhelming. If you can get anything for him, do it now.
Riser: Breshad Perriman (WR) and Kenneth Dixon (RB) – The Ravens said they believed in Dixon and they weren’t lying, seeing as they didn’t draft a single running back. They also drafted a run-blocking offensive guard in the fourth-round. He’s going to be an RB2 when he comes back from suspension. As for Perriman, he’s going to get targets by default. He’s not a 120-target type guy, but he doesn’t need that many to break some big plays. Opportunity is king in fantasy football and he’s going to get plenty of it.
Riser: A.J. Green (WR) – It’s not a massive bump, but Green is finally going to see some single-man coverage this year. Not only will Tyler Eifert be healthy, but newly acquired John Ross will draw the free safety over the top more often than he won’t. This is a nightmare combo to defend and Green is entering the prime of his career.
Faller: Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard (RB) – When Rex Burkhead left via free agency, the duo of Hill and Bernard likely breathed a sigh of relief, considering he put together a better game than either of them had all season in just one start. Well, it only got worse for them as the Bengals drafted the three-down running back Joe Mixon. He can do it all and doesn’t need to come off the field very much. Their stock is dropping, and fast.
Riser: Corey Coleman (WR) – Not only did the Browns not draft a wide receiver, but they drafted their future quarterback in the second-round with DeShone Kizer. He may not start right away, but this does nothing but improve Coleman’s stock as he heads into his sophomore season. With only Kenny Britt to compete with, Coleman can sneak inside the top-30 at wide receiver as soon as this year.
Faller: Cody Kessler (QB) – It’s unknown if Kessler will start for them to begin the season, but his value definitely took a hit when they drafted DeShone Kizer, who I’ve compared to a lesser version of Ben Roethlisberger.
New England Patriots
Riser: Tom Brady (QB) – It’s hard to say anyone considering they only drafted four players, though two of them were offensive tackles. Brady has had one of the best off-seasons in terms of what has happened around him, and the draft was no different.
Faller: Leonte Carroo (WR) – It’s been a disappointing year for Carroo, as he fell to the third-round in last year’s draft which was much lower than where he was expected to, and since that time we’ve heard nothing but bad reports. The Dolphins drafted slot wide receiver Isaiah Ford in the seventh-round, and although it’s late, he’s not a bad prospect. Carroo’s days in Miami appear limited.
Riser: Tyrod Taylor (QB) – Even though it appears that the Bills aren’t set on keeping Taylor longer than this season, he should be able to increase his value now that they’ve added wide receiver Zay Jones to play alongside Sammy Watkins. Taylor is going to throw a bit more this year with the defense looking to be in shambles.
Faller: Corey Brown (WR) – Brown came over in free agency and appeared to have a lot of targets coming his way. The addition of second-rounder Zay Jones figures to change that immediately. Not that he won’t still play in three wide receiver sets, but that’s not a common occurrence in the Bills offense.
New York Jets
Riser: Their future quarterback who’ll be drafted in 2018
Faller: Robby Anderson (WR) – It was a really odd draft for the Jets, as they have plenty of holes to fill, yet they continually drafted skill-position players. Four of their first six picks were on wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends. The additions of wide receivers ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen are enough to move Anderson down the totem pole in all fantasy formats.
Riser: DeAndre Hopkins (WR) – Most would want to know why Will Fuller isn’t included in this one, but it’s because Deshaun Watson isn’t known to have a big arm to get it downfield. He does however know what it’s like to have a No. 1 wide receiver like Hopkins, as he just has to throw it in the general vicinity as Hopkins and he’ll probably come down with it, similar to the way he did with Mike Williams at Clemson.
Faller: Lamar Miller (RB) – As soon as you found out that D’Onta Foreman was drafted by the Texans, you should’ve been on the phone with your leaguemates trying to move Miller. He was a massive disappointment last year and may just be better as a timeshare running back. He simply doesn’t offer the game-breaking potential that Foreman does.
Riser: Marcus Mariota (QB) – Similar to Jameis Winston, Mariota’s franchise is stacking weapons all around him, giving him every last resource they can to succeed. Not only did they get him the best wide receiver in the draft with Corey Davis, but they also drafted do-it-all receiver Taywan Taylor and tight end Jonnu Smith. If they didn’t have such good running backs, Mariota would be a lock for top-10 production.
Faller: Tajae Sharpe (WR) – This draft all but spelled the end of targets for Sharpe, as they drafted both Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor to be immediately inserted into the starting lineup. Sharpe is exactly what the NFL GM’s thought he was, an early fifth-round pick.
Riser: Donte Moncrief (WR) – This is more because of who they didn’t get, rather than who they did. The Colts were attached to multiple big names in free agency and hosted a few big name wide receivers in the draft process, leading us to believe that Moncrief wasn’t living up to expectations. They didn’t draft a single wide receiver, but it’s now or never for the fourth-year wideout.
Faller: Frank Gore (RB) – It’s not hard to call this one, as I actually suspected Gore might retire after the 2016 season that he had. He’s looking very sluggish, and the Colts just drafted Marlon Mack with a fourth-round pick. He’s a playmaker who can take it to the house at any point, opposite of what Gore and Robert Turbin do.
Riser: Blake Bortles (QB) – I can’t believe I just typed Bortles’ name as a riser, but the Jaguars didn’t draft his replacement. Instead, they drafted guys (Leonard Fournette and Cam Robinson) who can help mask his deficiencies, like throwing the ball. They also added Dede Westbrook, who has some character issues, but can also stretch a field with the best of them. If he can open things up underneath for Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee, Bortles can have a more efficient season.
Faller: T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory (RB) – I almost left Yeldon off this list, because he’ll be active if the Jaguars fall behind in games. But still, it’s a massive blow to his stock as Fournette is going to be a 20-touch running back right out of the gate. Ivory is a cut-candidate and it’s possible that he’s played his last down in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs
Riser: Tyreek Hill (WR) – We all know that Hill produced with Alex Smith under center, and now after the Chiefs spent a lot of equity in order to move up to No. 10 and draft Patrick Mahomes, his ceiling just got a bit higher. Not only can Mahomes heave a ball downfield to match Hill’s speed, but he can extend plays with his legs.
Faller: Alex Smith (QB) and Spencer Ware (RB) – It’s not good when your franchise has to continually come out and say that you’re the starter, as the Chiefs have done since the end of the NFL season. But it only gets worse when they trade up from No. 27 to No. 10 in order to select a quarterback. Smith is on notice, as the Chiefs obviously feel like he has held them back. It’s not the end for Ware, but the drafting of Kareem Hunt in the third-round does provide a bit more competition in the backfield than he had last year.
Riser: Cordarrelle Patterson (WR) – We already know what Seth Roberts brings to the table and that answer is nothing. Well that’s not fair, he brings drops. Nine of them last year on just 77 targets, which was among the league’s highest drop rates. The Raiders didn’t draft a wide receiver, so Patterson has an opportunity to steal Roberts’ job.
Riser: C.J. Anderson (RB) – As expected, the Broncos passed on some of the top-tier running backs in the draft. Instead, they traded away Kapri Bibbs and drafted De’Angelo Henderson in the sixth-round. Anderson is one of the better running backs in the league, but has just had a poor offensive line a majority of the time. Not only did they address fixing it in free agency, but they drafted offensive lineman Garrett Bolles in the first round.
Faller: A.J. Derby (TE) – When the Broncos acquired Derby from the Patriots towards the end of the season, he actually made some noise when given targets. He was a name to keep an eye on until the Broncos selected Jake Butt at the start of the fifth-round. Butt would have been a much higher draft pick if he didn’t tear his ACL at the end of last season.
Los Angeles Chargers
Riser: Melvin Gordon (RB) – The draft couldn’t have went any better for Gordon. At first, the Chargers were rumored to be drafting Christian McCaffrey, which would’ve completely changed the outlook for Gordon. Instead, they drafted wide receiver Mike Williams, and then went back-to-back offensive guards to help block up front for Gordon. They were the No. 1 and No. 2 guards on most analysts lists as well, which means great things for his upside this year. It can be argued that he should be the No. 4 running back off boards in redraft leagues this year.
Faller: Keenan Allen (WR) – Once thought of as a locked in WR1 in dynasty leagues, Allen’s career has been put on hold due to multiple injuries the last two seasons. Not just that, but the Chargers offense was getting better while he was out, adding Hunter Henry and seeing the emergence of Tyrell Williams. Now that they’ve added Mike Williams, Allen may be kicked into the slot, which isn’t bad for the Chargers, but it’s a brutal blow to his fantasy value.