Fantasy Football: Risers/Fallers Post-NFL Draft (NFC)
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 AFC teams afterward, click here.
Green Bay Packers
Riser: Davante Adams (WR) – Not much changed with Adams’ outlook, outside of the fact that he is locked and loaded as the No. 1 wide receiver in this offense once Jordy Nelson decides to hang up the cleats (he’ll be 32 this month). The Packers not spending any of their draft capital on wide receiver until the end of the fifth-round tells you that they feel very comfortable moving forward with him.
Faller: Ty Montgomery (RB) – We all kind of knew that the Packers needed to address the running back position in the draft, though most Montgomery owners had hoped it wouldn’t be someone as talented as BYU’s Jamaal Williams or Texas-El Paso’s Aaron Jones. Montgomery can still be a solid flex player, but the draft picks take away his massive ceiling.
Riser: Laquon Treadwell (WR) – It isn’t much, but knowing that the Vikings didn’t spend really any draft equity at wide receiver (two taken outside the top 170 picks), it should tell us that they’re at least planning to get Treadwell on the field this year. He’s No. 3 on the depth chart behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, and Diggs has been popping up on the injury report quite often. Don’t give up hope on the second-year wide receiver.
Faller: Jerick McKinnon (RB) – Once looked at as a top-10 running back in dynasty formats, McKinnon should be looked at as a possible trade candidate for the Vikings. We were supposed to just wait until Adrian Peterson was done, then it became Matt Asiata, then Latavius Murray, and now Dalvin Cook. The dream for McKinnon in Minnesota is over.
Riser: Ameer Abdullah (RB) – It’s been a nightmare start to his career, after struggling to see major playing time in his rookie season, Abdullah was looked at as a breakout candidate heading into 2016. His injured his foot just two games into the season, leaving the Lions in a position to draft a running back in a deep class. Fortunately for Abdullah, it appears the Lions haven’t lost hope because they didn’t draft a single one.
Faller: Eric Ebron (TE) – There had been rumors about the Lions looking into drafting a tight end, which turned out to be true when they drafted Michael Roberts in the fourth round. It’s not a massive blow to Ebron’s value like O.J. Howard, David Njoku, or Evan Engram would’ve had, but if he has a few good games to start the season, you may want to seek out possible trade partners. The Lions seemingly aren’t convinced he’s the answer.
Riser: Kevin White (WR) – After losing Alshon Jeffery via free agency, you might have thought the Bears would try and replace him in a deep wide receiver class. Instead they added a tight end, a running back, and a quarterback. By all accounts, Mitch Trubisky (in 2018) should be an upgrade over the recent quarterbacks that have thrown White the ball. He’s a sneaky pick for a guy who could see 120 targets this season. If you buy in his talent, you should be buying now in dynasty.
Faller: Jordan Howard (RB) – It’s not much of a drop, but it’s enough to knock him out of the top-tier of running backs. The Bears drafted running back Tarik Cohen, a Darren Sproles-esque type player who can do some work in the passing game. This was likely due to the fact that Howard dropped a league-high eight passes in 2016, despite seeing just 50 targets. They also added passing-down specialist Benny Cunningham in free agency.
Riser: Terrance Williams (WR) – This was a shocker, as most expected Jerry Jones to go for a playmaker at wide receiver to play opposite Dez Bryant. Instead, they drafted a slot wide receiver to eventually take over for Cole Beasley. Williams is the boring player that you don’t ever want to play, but in a pinch, he may score you a touchdown, as he’s still in the starting lineup.
Faller: Cole Beasley (WR) – It was a solid year for Beasley with Dak Prescott throwing him the ball, as he totaled career-highs in receptions (75), yards (833) and touchdowns (5). He’s only 28 years old, but the Cowboys drafted a clone of him in Ryan Switzer. It’s clear that Beasley’s years are limited with the Cowboys.
New York Giants
Riser: Eli Manning (QB) – Most fantasy players don’t overvalue the quarterback position like they used to, so settling for a late-round one typically is the path they choose. With all of the additions throughout the off-season and the draft, Manning makes for an ideal target for a dynasty team that’s built to win now, as newly-drafted Davis Webb will take over at some point.
Faller: Paul Perkins (RB) and Sterling Shepard (WR) – This one was so close, I decided to put both here. Perkins never appeared to be someone they wanted to trust with the workhorse role, so they drafted Wayne Gallman who played in a similar offense in college. He’s able to play on all three downs, which hurts Perkins’ shot at ever getting the keys to the offense. Shepard’s role continues to diminish with the addition of Evan Engram, who is essentially a big slot wide receiver, the position Shepard plays.
Faller: Torrey Smith (WR) – Not that we were overly excited about Smith in Philadelphia with both Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Matthews there, but the additions of both Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson who are both vertical downfield receivers, it’s clear that Smith isn’t in their plans for long.
Faller: Rob Kelley (RB) – There is nothing good about what happened in the draft for Kelley. If there was one running back that was similar to his power-running style in this draft, it was Samaje Perine, the player they drafted in the fourth-round. Most thought they’d add a change of pace running back in the draft, but this was far worse, because Perine is likely better than Kelley.
Riser: Austin Hooper (TE) – There was rumors that the Falcons may draft a tight end with the lack of depth at the position, and they did, though it was at the end of the fifth-round. Eric Saubert has some skills, but Hooper has a head-up in the competition and will walk into 2017 as the starter.
Faller: Tevin Coleman (RB) – Two of the things that Coleman relied upon for his success in 2016 included long touchdown runs and goal-line carries, and one of those things is hard to sustain, while the other is goal-line carries. With their fifth-round draft pick the Falcons chose Brian Hill, a big physical running back who is going to get some goal-line carries, taking away some of Coleman’s opportunities in the process.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Riser: Jameis Winston (QB) – He isn’t just the riser on this team, but he might very well be the biggest riser in the entire league post-NFL Draft. The Buccaneers have made it a point to surround him with talent, starting with DeSean Jackson this off-season, and leading into the draft where they added the No. 1 pro-ready tight end in O.J. Howard, a pro-ready wide receiver in Chris Godwin, and a pass-catching running back in Jeremy McNichols. He’s a QB1 in 2017, no question.
Faller: Cameron Brate (TE) and Mike Evans (WR) – It’s pretty obvious why Brate is a faller (O.J. Howard), but I wanted to include Evans because he’s one of the fallers that most seem to have missed. It’s a scenario where there are only so many targets to go around, and while it’s great from a football standpoint, it’s not for fantasy football. He doesn’t belong in the conversation with Julio Jones and Antonio Brown atop of the fantasy rankings.
New Orleans Saints
Riser: Drew Brees (QB) – It wasn’t a great addition when the Saints signed Adrian Peterson, as you figured he may steal some goal-line work that usually went to Brees in the short passing game. But when they added offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk and running back Alvin Kamara, it was more positive than Peterson was a negative. Brees is going to close out his career strong over the next few years.
Faller: Mark Ingram (RB) – Most already know this one. Not only did the Saints sign Adrian Peterson earlier in the week, but they drafted Alvin Kamara in the third-round. Most were expecting Ingram to at least get most the receptions out of the backfield, but Kamara is a much better receiver. He should honestly be a trade candidate for the Saints, though running backs don’t seem to get much in return these days.
Riser: None (Cam Newton would go here, except for the fact that his rushing totals and touchdowns are going to go way down)
Faller: Kelvin Benjamin (WR) and Jonathan Stewart (RB) – The Panthers didn’t even really add a wide receiver, so why is Benjamin here? Well, he doesn’t offer you anything as a deep threat and is more of a possession/red zone wide receiver, and the Panthers can now run their offense through both Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel, which takes away a lot of underneath stuff that used to go to Benjamin. He was always a volume wide receiver, so he’s going to feel the decrease in targets more than most. Stewart might as well be handed his walking papers, considering the equity they dumped at his position.
Riser: Nick Vannett (TE) – Once Jimmy Graham retires, the only player standing in between Vannett and the starting job is Luke Willson, who is a former fifth-round pick that offers nothing significant. Vannett was a third-round pick and is extremely athletic. They still haven’t added a top-tier wide receiver in the draft, making the tight end position in Seattle very valuable.
Faller: Russell Wilson (QB) – I’m not sure how else to say this, but Wilson may not make it out of the season alive. Their offensive line needed replacements at every position except center, yet that’s the only position they drafted with their 11 draft picks. It was mind-blowing watching them continually pass on solid offensive lineman.
Riser: John Brown (WR) – Most had the Cardinals selecting either a top-three wide receiver or quarterback in the draft, but all of them were gone by the time they drafted at No. 13. The only receiver they drafted was Chad Williams at the end of the third-round, and it’ll be difficult to envision him seeing significant playing time. Larry Fitzgerald is going to be 34 when the season starts and Brown is entering a contract year.
Los Angeles Rams
Riser: Jared Goff (QB) – Before you laugh, the Rams are doing everything in their power to help develop Goff, stacking up offensive players around him. They selected three offensive skill players with their first four picks in the draft, including big-slot wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
Faller: Robert Woods (WR) – It appeared that Woods would see 100 targets almost by default, but the Rams added two wide receviers in their first four picks, including Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds. While Reynolds may not squeeze into the starting lineup right away, Kupp can lead the team in targets in his rookie year. Woods isn’t irrelevant, but his targets don’t come by default anymore.
San Francisco 49ers
Riser: Pierre Garcon (WR) – The 49ers didn’t take a wide receiver until the end of the fifth-round, and that’s despite having a depth chart of Jeremy Kerley and Aldrick Robinson behind him. Garcon is going to see at least 120 targets in this offense, with potential for 140 of them.
Faller: Carlos Hyde (RB) – It isn’t much of a hit to his value, but it’s enough to ding his upside. There have been rumors about the 49ers not loving Hyde under the new regime, though it can all be heresy. They did select running back Joe Williams in the middle of the fourth-round and Kyle Shanahan loves his two-back systems, so Hyde is likely in somewhat of a timeshare, though it’s probably closer to 70/30 than a true split.