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Post NFL Draft Fantasy Football Risers/Fallers (Dynasty)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
May 2, 2018

Despite countless trade rumors, Bears running back Jordan Howard will be the featured back in Matt Nagy’s offense

There’s been a lot of action taking place in the NFL over the last two months between the NFL Draft and free agency, depth charts have started to take shape. Because of all the player movement (there’s been more trades than ever), dynasty player stock is being affected now more than ever.

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Because of all the movement, we’ve put together a list of players whose stock has gone up, as well as those who have witnessed their stock tumble. If you play in a league where some don’t pay attention until your rookie draft comes around, this could be your chance to buy/sell some of these players before their actual cost is revealed.

QB (Risers)

Case Keenum (DEN)
With the fifth-pick in the draft, most thought the Broncos were bluffing when they said they wouldn’t take a quarterback. Well, they didn’t draft a single one. Not just that, but looking closely at Keenum’s contract, I predicted they’d pass on quarterback because his contract is essentially fully-guaranteed for two years. They added Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton in the top four rounds, adding to the Carlos Henderson draft pick last year, giving them a trio of young receivers. Keenum’s stock is rising.

Matt Ryan (ATL)
After Ryan lost Taylor Gabriel in free agency, we figured the Falcons would replace him in the draft. What we didn’t know is that they’d land the best wide receiver in the class. Yes, Calvin Ridley is my No. 1 receiver in the class. Now Ryan has a true weapon all over the field opposite Julio Jones. Ryan is absolutely in the QB1 conversation once again.

QB (Fallers)

Sam Bradford (ARI)
Some thought that the Cardinals would be content to see how Bradford played before committing to another quarterback. Not only did they draft one, but they traded up for one, and it just happens to be one of the safer picks in the draft with Josh Rosen. It’s possible that Bradford never starts a game for the Cardinals, though I think he may just because of the $20 million he’ll make this year.

A.J. McCarron (BUF)
It’s hard to say that McCarron’s stock dipped because we all knew the Bills were drafting a quarterback, right? They did, but even if he beats out Allen, it’s not going to be pretty. The Bills added no wide receivers in the first five rounds and they added just one offensive lineman in the entire draft, which came at the end of the fifth-round. This is not a team you want to quarterback for right now.

RB (Risers)

Marlon Mack (IND)
Sure, the Colts added a couple running backs, but they’re not high-round picks. The underrated part of all this is that the Colts are likely to have a rock-solid run-blocking unit for the first time in a long time. If they don’t add C.J. Anderson or DeMarco Murray in free agency, Mack is likely going to be an RB2.

Cameron Artis-Payne (CAR)
This one may change very shortly, as you have to think the Panthers snag a veteran like C.J. Anderson or DeMarco Murray for the job. But as of now, Artis-Payne is locked into the Jonathan Stewart role that received 206 touches last year. That’s an awful lot for a running back who may be on waivers in your league.

Jordan Howard (CHI)
After so much talk about Howard being traded and not fitting Matt Nagy’s system, they didn’t add a single running back in the draft. They have no other running back on the current roster who could handle 15-plus carries per game, so they believe in him a lot more than most thought. In what looks to be a high-scoring offense, you’ll want him on your side.

Lamar Miller (HOU)
We heard rumblings about Miller being released this offseason, but with news about D’Onta Foreman potentially starting the season on the PUP list combined with the fact that they didn’t draft a running back, Miller’s job is safe. Getting a running back who is likely to get 200-plus touches for as cheap as you can is never a bad thing.

RB (Fallers)

Devontae Booker (DEN)
One of the better 1-2 down running backs in this draft was Royce Freeman, who the Broncos spent an early third-round pick on. Booker had his shot to run with the job in 2016 and blew it. Think about it – if they were playing C.J. Anderson over Booker, and then cut Anderson, what do you think his chances of starting over Freeman are? Little to none.

Wayne Gallman (NYG)
Umm, Saquon Barkley. I don’t need to say anything else. Gallman is strictly a handcuff.

Samaje Perine (WAS)
We kind of figured the Redskins wanted to address the running back position after Perine and Rob Kelley plodded along in 2017, though we didn’t know they’d land Derrius Guice. He didn’t fall due to his talent, so knowing that the Redskins will handle the off-the-field concerns, they’ll put him on the field. Perine saw his stock plummet with the acquisition of Guice.

Chris Carson (SEA)
So much for the talk about Carson being their guy after he flashed in 2017. The Seahawks made one of the most mind-boggling decisions in the draft to take Rashaad Penny in the first-round when they had so many other holes. Penny isn’t a good pass-blocker right now, either, which makes it even more nuts. But knowing they spent the No. 27 pick on him, he’s got the starting job, which means Carson is a backup.

Carlos Hyde (CLE)
This one makes very little sense to me. If you were going to draft a running back, why pick up Hyde in free agency? I know his contract is built so that they can get out of it after 2018, but to bring in Nick Chubb (who is a similar running back – usage-wise) with a high second-round pick is odd. Whatever the case, Hyde is likely to be a free agent again in 2019 and knowing how much the league values younger running backs, his value is going to plummet.

Rex Burkhead/James White (NE)
The Patriots drafted a running back in the first-round? Yep, and he was my No. 2 running back coming into the draft. The Patriots rarely use capital on the position, so you know they absolutely love Sony Michel. While Burkhead is still likely to have a decent role in the passing game after signing a new contract with them, White’s outlook is looking grim. Both should be considered sells in dynasty formats.

Austin Ekeler (LAC)
This one might go overlooked, but it seems like the Chargers know who Ekeler is, and that’s a third-down type guy who can contribute a bit on earlier downs. But we heard they wanted to upgrade Melvin Gordon‘s backup, and they did with Justin Jackson who is a three-down player. If someone believes Ekeler is still a stash, sell while you can.

WR (Risers)

Chad Williams (ARI)
After not getting on the field in his rookie year, Williams is set for a big role after seeing John Brown and Jaron Brown leave via free agency. The Cardinals did draft a wide receiver in Christian Kirk, but he’s projected to be slot-only, taking Larry Fitzgerald‘s place in the lineup once he retires. Williams will also have Josh Rosen throwing him the ball, which is definitely a plus.

Kelvin Benjamin (BUF)
I have no idea why the Bills wouldn’t have drafted a wide receiver before the sixth-round, but they didn’t, which means that Benjamin will be a target-hog from either A.J. McCarron or Josh Allen in 2018. I’m not selling the farm to get him because he is likely to be somewhere else next year (doubt Bills pick up his option), but if you want to buy a 120-plus target wide receiver on the cheap, here’s your chance.

Geronimo Allison (GB)
We all know Randall Cobb was close to getting cut this offseason, so it’s likely he’s on a new team in 2019. We also witnessed the Packers pass on wide receivers in the early rounds of the draft, though they drafted three of them in rounds 4-6. Whatever the case, Allison has played well in the shots he’s had, so it’s possible they’re okay with him as their WR3, though Dez Bryant is still a possibility. Allison is just too cheap to pass up right now.

Ryan Grant (IND)
When the Colts had three picks lined up in the second-round, it seemed all but certain they’d take a wide receiver with one of them, especially when we found out who was still on the board. But they didn’t draft one until late in the fifth-round, so Grant’s starting job on the perimeter is safe. He played well in spots with Kirk Cousins last year, so it’s possible that we’ve all been overlooking his potential if Andrew Luck is, in fact, healthy.

Jordan Matthews/Malcolm Mitchell (NE)
Some thought it was possible that Matthews was a cut-candidate when he signed with the Patriots, but after watching them continually trade back with some solid receivers on the board, I think he’s there to stay. Outside of Julian Edelman, who is coming off a bad knee injury at 32 years old, the Patriots have Chris Hogan, Kenny Britt, and Phillip Dorsett on the roster. Matthews and Mitchell should be considered buy-lows.

WR (Fallers)

Mohamed Sanu (ATL)
Once Taylor Gabriel came to the Falcons mid-2016, we saw Sanu’s production dip a little bit. Nothing crazy, but enough to notice. Now replace him with Calvin Ridley, who was easily the most pro-ready wide receiver in the draft, and you’ll see that dip even more in 2018. With Julio Jones and Ridley on the perimeter, Sanu isn’t going to be asked to play a large role. Not that he’s not a solid wide receiver, but in fantasy, you need targets to produce on a consistent basis.

Breshad Perriman (BAL)
It shouldn’t shock anyone if Perriman is cut this offseason with how many wide receivers they’ve added. It’s not like he’ll return you much at all, but maybe get something before the Ravens release him. Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead, Jaleel Scott, and Jordan Lasley are all names that have been added to the depth chart for the Ravens. He belongs on waivers.

Devin Funchess (CAR)
There was always a chance that the Panthers added some talent to the wide receiver corps in the draft, but I don’t know if anyone expected a first-rounder. While I don’t think D.J. Moore can play the “X receiver” role, I do think he’ll be the primary possession receiver in the offense, making Funchess a touchdown-dependent fantasy option with a much lower target total.

Will Fuller (HOU)
This is one that’ll go overlooked by many, but Fuller’s stock took a hit when they drafted Keke Coutee out of Texas Tech. He’s a burner that I compared to Tyreek Hill, and one who has more on-demand speed than most players in the league. While I don’t think this destroys Fuller’s value, I do believe it affects it in a negative way.

Keelan Cole (JAX)
If there’s one player who it seems like the Jaguars are lower on than the fantasy crowd, it’s Cole. They added Donte Moncrief in free agency, then went and selected D.J. Chark in the second-round, sliding Cole further down the depth chart. He had some solid performances last year, but it’s very possible he sees fewer than 50 targets in 2018.

TE (Risers)

Nick Vannett (SEA)
After losing Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson in free agency, you had to assume the Seahawks would add a tight end in the draft and/or potentially a big red zone wide receiver. They did draft a tight end, but Will Dissly is almost strictly for blocking, and they didn’t draft any wide receivers. Vannett is a former third-round pick who is considered to be very athletic. He might just be on the verge of a breakout.

Ben Watson (NO)
So much for the Saints selecting a tight end with their first-round pick, eh? They are apparently okay with using Watson for at least one season, which does present value, even in dynasty leagues. Outside of the top 10-12 dynasty tight ends, you need production on your bench. I’d argue that Watson might just finish as a top-10 option in 2018 after we saw him come on strong when the Saints promoted him in 2015, finishing with 110 targets, 74 receptions, 825 yards, and six touchdowns.

TE (Fallers)

Maxx Williams (BAL)
Those who were holding out hope for this to finally be the year that Williams made an impact, it’s time to officially move on. The Ravens added tons of wide receivers, and then selected two tight ends in the first three rounds of the draft. It shouldn’t shock anyone if he’s cut from the roster with the additions of Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Zach Ertz (PHI)
Not that Ertz is all of a sudden chopped liver, but knowing his injury history, the Eagles decided to pony-up and spend some equity on Dallas Goedert. Granted, the No. 2 tight end seems to have an important role in Doug Pederson’s offense, but Goedert was considered the No. 1 tight end in the draft by many. While many were torn by who to stick atop their dynasty rankings at tight end, this should give the nod to others like Hunter Henry over Ertz.

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.


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