It seems that every year the giddy excitement surrounding the deeper sleepers finds its way to the mainstream news outlets and the air is slowly let out of the balloon until it’s a shriveled up prune-looking hunk of strange smelling rubber. All disappointing birthday imagery aside, it’s time we scale back expectations in the on-coming preseason buzz machine that I can hear starting up.
Below are 5 players whose Buzz may have gotten too loud. Keep in mind I like most if not all of these players, but not nearly as much as THAT guy in your draft… you know who I’m talking about.
Ameer Abdullah, RB – DET: A nice player who has a lot of upside in that Detroit offense, the overwhelming exposure in light of Joique Bell’s nagging preseason injury has become so bright he’s in danger of burning up. There is a scenario here where Abdullah pans out; but that would involve Bell being on the shelf for an extended period of time, and I’m not sure we’ve reached that point yet. Draft Abdullah with the understanding that the likely committee in Detroit will hamstring his ability to be a viable starter for much of the season but as a keeper/dynasty target will return the investment in spades down the road.
Nelson Agholor, WR – PHI: Agholor has the potential to be a top 10 WR, this much is true, but as we’ve found in the past, hitching your wagon to a rookie can be a precarious thing. At his current ADP (94) he’s an excellent value, but don’t be the guy who drafts him in the 6th round thinking you have the next Jerry Rice on your hands; keep in mind Chip Kelly will spread the ball around, and as such temper year one expectations.
CJ Spiller, RB – NO: Spiller seems to be a buzzy player nearly every off-season, and this year is no exception. The idea that the team has to replace the departing Tavares Cadet and Pierre Thomas is a sound one, but consider that they’ve shown commitment to 3rd year pro Mark Ingram and it finally paid off last year as he quietly turned in a top 15 season and you see why Spiller is more of a middle to late round handcuff in standard leagues (and slightly more valuable in PPR). If you’re looking at Spiller in the 3rd round, and I’ve seen some mocks that reflect this, I think it’s too early for a player who has NEVER turned in a full productive season.
Martavis Bryant, WR – PIT: A huge red zone target, Bryant seemed to be flying under the radar earlier with the talk about how good Bell and Brown were in this Pittsburgh offense, but every time his name pops up on a sleeper list is bad news for those looking to snag the 8-10 TD’s he’ll bring on the cheap. Bryant is certainly a specimen, but this offense has two studs with very large expectations, and to think that Bryant will contribute significantly beyond TD’s may be a mistake in the long run. He’s a nice cuff to Brown owners and a possible semi-flyer, but his numbers don’t suggest a huge breakout in my opinion despite what the pundits would have you think.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB – MIN: At a position with very few Elite options, fantasy owners are constantly on the look out for players poised to break out, and Bridgewater seems to be the name of the day. While he’s certainly poised to improve on an impressive start to his NFL career, to expect him to provide fantasy starter level production might be a reach. Sure, the chance exists that he blows up to the tune of 4,000 yards and 28-30 TD’s but he should be drafted with an eye to the future, not necessarily as the guy for the present. A fine player, Teddy will likely be drafted too early thanks to the buzz.
We’ve examined the top of the RB draft class earlier in the week, but this year featured another above average WR class. Several of the top players were drafted early in the first round, so lets take a look at the guys who may get snagged on Fantasy Draft day. For the purpose of the article, I’ll seperate the WR’s from the TE’s
Amari Cooper / Oakland Raiders: Being the first WR off the board at the third overall pick, Cooper finds himself as the defacto day one WR1 in an improved Oakland offense. With the emergence of Derek Carr, Cooper finds himself in an enviable position to produce from day one. His ability to run most routes and quickness to beat DB’s, Cooper will be leaned on heavily to produce for the Raiders.
Kevin White / Chicago Bears: You can’t teach size, or at least that’s what I’ve heard. Kevin White is a big, physical reciever with 4.3 speed who will terrorize DB’s with Jay Cutlers big arm. His ability to adjust to the ball and catch at it’s highest point will be invaluable to an offense that often times relies on it’s recievers to make plays for their QB. On day one will be a red zone threat, and with Alshon demanding the double teams, expect White to breakout early.
DeVante Parker / Miami Dolphins: What the Dolphins were lacking was a sizable reciever to be a redzone threat, and that’s exactly what they got when they drafted Parker in the first round. He will pair well with the current stable of receivers, offering a different look for Ryan Tannehill when looking down field. Depending on how often he’s used in the endzone, Parker’s value could fluctuate from week to week in this offense.
Nelson Agholor / Philadelphia Eagles: A much improved Eagles offense snagged Agholor toward the end of the first round. With a huge buzz building heading into the draft, Agholor presents a wonderful weapon to an offense that has plenty. His ability to run crisp routes and play both inside and outside will be a boon for a Sam Bradford lead offense, but temper your expectations as DeMarco Murray should dominate the touches early on as they work toward offensive balance.
Breshad Perriman / Baltimore Ravens: This pick makes a ton of sense for the Baltimore Ravens. With Torrey Smith gone, they needed a speedy WR to pair with Flacco’s monster arm. In Perriman they got a kid that ran a 4.2 at the combine and impressed scouts and experts with his ability to make plays on third and fourth down. As we’ve seen in the past Baltimore will attempt to balance their offense but with new OC Mark Trestman, they may throw the ball more than ever. This will certainly help Perriman offer better value to Fantasy owners.
Phillip Dorsett / Indianapolis Colts: Dorsett is a fine player with a ton of speed and ability, the problem I have with this pick from a fantasy perspective is that he’s going to be buried on a Colts roster featuring TY Hilton and Andre Johnson. If there is an injury to either of those players, Dorsett’s value sky rockets, so keep tabs on how he’s used to see when if at all you should draft him.
Devin Smith / New York Jets: A good all around WR, Smiths fantasy value takes a hit just being in Jets’ green. With as questionable the QB position is I wouldn’t expect Smith to produce, at least not early in the year with Decker and Marshall ahead of him on the Depth Chart.
Dorial Green-Beckham / Tennessee Titans: One of the most contriversial skill players in the draft, Beckham may have the best set of tools in the draft for WR’s. Pairing him with Marcus Mariota may mean some inconsistency early, but if he continues to be a beast on the field, he could put up monster numbers for fantasy owners brave enough to ignore his off the field issues.
Jaelen Strong / Houston Texans: Not your typical deep threat despite good size, Strong has been knocked for being “too raw” as he seems to still be finding his stride as a wideout. With questions at QB and DeAndre Hopkins and Cecil Shorts being the go to’s, strong may be a project for Houston, and should be viewed as a draft and stash in keeper and dynasty leagues rather than a contributor this year.
Maxx Williams / Baltimore Ravens: Last year the TE position was in such flux and left so many questions, Baltimore went out and grabbed the top TE in this years class. Williams should be a day 1 starter, and given Baltimores use of TE’s in past season with Joe Flacco, I expect there to be a fairly good return on investment with this player.
Clive Walford / Oakland Raiders: Lauded as a young combo TE, Walford has some work to do if he wants to steal the starting gig from Mychal Rivera. A sizable TE with good catch radius, may be worth watching in camp if he can win some playing time.
The TE class is really light this year. Several other players graded in the same range but may not have the ability to contribute this year and as thus will not be spotlighted.
There are plenty of players on the above list that will appear on championship teams come the end of this years Fantasy leagues, but the question is who and how do you get them. Will a player like Dorial Green-Beckham explode like we hope he will? Will Phillip Dorsett let down owners who are enamored with his 4.2 speed because he can’t crack the roster? Only time will tell.
With the first overall pick, the Tampa Bay Bucaneers select… QB Jamies Winston *queue the applause*.
Just like that, the first round of the 2015 NFL draft got underway. On day one we saw 10 skill positions find their first NFL immediately impacting the fantasy landscape surrounding several NFL players. As Zac Stacy so elequently put it on twitter: “yikes”.
What do these picks mean for the teams making them? Keep reading to find out.
Jameis Winston-QB / Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay had two talented WR’s that put up good fantasy numbers in rookie Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. What Tampa Bay lacked on offense was a steady QB under center. What Winston means to this team is that at some time down the road, consistency will develop and those guys will continue to beat defenses down the side lines. More importantly, it could open up the field for oft-maligned RB Doug Martin. Martin has had to deal with a sub par offensive general and constantly stacked boxes. I expect him to bounce back this year with an added focus on a QB who should be able to contribute.
Marcus Mariota-QB / Tennessee: I’m not sure that Mariota has the tools to be a good fantasy QB right away. Physically he’s gifted but he’s not your prototypical pocket passer, and with the issues Tennessee had keeping it’s QB’s healthy last year, Mariota is going to have to be doing a ton of scrambling. May have some value late, but I imagine inconsistinceny will keep him from being relevant right away. Expect some down weeks out of Wright and Douglas.
Amari Cooper-WR / Oakland: Oakland needed a WR to pair with QB Derek Carr, and they grabbed the best one on the board. What Cooper lacks in speed, he makes up for in crisp route running, good body control, and the ability to beat defensive backs. He’ll make an immediate impact as the defacto #1 receiver in an offense that had too many 2’s and 3’s.
Kevin White-WR / Chicago: This is a perfect marraige of player and team. Chicago has had most success when Jay Cutler can use his big arm to hit long, physical recievers down the side lines. To replace Brandon Marshall, the Bears snagged Kevin White who’s size and speed match up perfectly across from Alshon Jeffery. Expect Mike Evans kind of numbers.
Todd Gurley-RB / StL: I’m not sure this wasn’t just a pick and pray selection hoping Gurley pans out at number 10. His ACL injury clouds his ability to contribute this year, but when healthy he should be a workhorse back. In contrast, Zac Stacy, an in-vogue pick last year has aske to be traded, and if so could throw a wrinkle in elsewhere.
DeVante Parker-WR / Mia: A raw talent with elite skills, Parker won’t be asked to do too much in an Miami Offense that has two solid WR’s in Landry and Stills, and a top end pass catching TE in Cameron. A late grab and stash candidate, would only be relevant in fantasy terms if there were an injury ahead of him.
Melvin Gordon-RB / SD: I like this pick in the same vein as Chicago’s Kevin White pick. What SD likes out of it’s backfield is a quick, shifty back that can play in both running and passing downs. Most experts have pegged Gordon as the early “offensive rookie of the year” leader and in San Diego he should have plenty of opportunities to touch the football.
Nelson Agholor-WR / Phi: So much for the “future to Tennessee for Mariota” tade. Agholor makes a ton of sense to a Philly team that hadn’t replaced DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin but still found a way to win games. The big question will be who starts under center. Mark Sanchez hurts any one’s fantasy value in terms of consistency, but who knows if Sam Bradford would be any better in Chip Kelly’s offense. Expect power outages along with huge fantasy weeks.
Breshad Perriman-WR / Baltimore: Not a big physical receiver, Perriman has + speed (ran a sub 4.3 40) and will slot in nicely where Torrey Smith left. Paired with Joe Flacco’s monster arm, expect moderate fantasy numbers mostly in bunches.
Phillip Dorsett-WR / Idianapolis: Small and speedy, Dorsett may make the Colts a more formidable offense, but it does him no favors to be buried on an offense with TY Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief and Dwayne Allen eating up a chunk of the passes. With as deep as the talent pool is and as many sleeper candidates as there are, Dorsett won’t be on my draft watch list.