For this edition of the Fantasy Football Q&A I’ve Assembled the Draft Analysts from Inside The Star. These NFL Draft Avengers will help us understand the fantasy football implications of the new homes for the 2017 draft class. Offering their insight will be ITS Staff Writers Kevin Brady, Brian Martin, and Sean Martin; and the newest addition to the ITS writing team, Contributor Marcus Mosher.
Make sure you follow them on Twitter for all things Cowboys and NFL Draft related.
Now, let’s dive in.
Since the draft has come and gone (sorry guys), we now see where each of the prospects have landed. Who was your favorite offensive skill player before the draft?
Kevin (@KevinBrady88): Before the draft my favorite offensive skill player was Alabama tight end OJ Howard. With the ability to play inline, flexed out, or even in the backfield, Howard is a versatile threat who can improve any offense. He’s in Tampa now, joining Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson to create a really strong passing attack.
Brian (@bmart0204): I was personally a big fan of Corey Davis. He reminds me a lot of Dez Bryant, but is a better route runner coming out of college. It wasn’t that big of a surprise that he was the first wide receiver and he lands in a really good situation with the Tennessee Titans.
Sean (@ShoreSportsNJ): My favorite offensive skill players in this draft were now Titans WR Corey Davis and Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer. Both are different players that excel at projecting their athleticism to the position; getting open, using their body, and making impact plays. Their tape was a joy and I love the fits that both players found in the NFL.
Marcus (@Marcus_Mosher): In just terms of talent, I thought Joe Mixon was the best running back in this class. He has every tool you would want from a starting running back. He showed he can run between the tackles, but he also has the speed to get outside. He’s gifted as a receiver and is certainly willing to block. I think he was a top-five overall player in this class when you just look at his on the field talent.
John (@john9williams): There was a lot of talent at the skill positions in this class, especially at running back. Who was the number one running back for you heading into the draft?
Marcus (@Marcus_Mosher): Joe Mixon; see above.
Kevin (@KevinBrady88): My top running back was, and still is, Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon. Outside of his assault incident, Mixon was the clear-cut RB1 in my eyes. His film speaks for itself, and he should get enough opportunities in Cincinnati to warrant a top-three pick in a Dynasty league draft this year.
Brian (@bmart0204): Leonard Fournette was my top running back, but by a slim margin over Christian McCaffrey. I like all of the different ways that McCaffrey can be used, but Fournette is more of a prototypical featured running back in the NFL. I don’t know if he is a three-down back yet, but that is something he is capable of doing.
Sean (@ShoreSportsNJ): My top running back in the 2017 NFL Draft was Florida State’s Dalvin Cook. I’m not nearly as concerned as some about any medical issues with Cook, and there’s no denying his tape against top competition shows a player who should transition smoothly to the next level. Cook runs with elite balance and power, and his ability to set up defenders in the hole could make him a special player for a long time.
John (@john9williams): Landing spot a lot of times can be just as important as talent. Which running back landed with the most favorable situation?
Sean (@ShoreSportsNJ): Christian McCaffrey is just a damn good football player, and he went in the top-ten to a Panthers team starved for the offensive services of anyone with his talent. Carolina also passed on plenty of defensive talent at positions of need to grab the Stanford product, so I feel pretty confident about the role he’ll have alongside Cam Newton as an elusive runner and effortless receiver.
Marcus (@Marcus_Mosher): Alvin Kamara. The Saints backfield looks crowded now, but Kamara’s best fit was on a passing offense that heavily utilizes the screen game. He probably won’t start as a rookie, but he’s in a great situation that fits his skill set.
Kevin (@KevinBrady88): Not to go for the cop-out answer, but all four of the top backs are in good situations. Being top-10 picks, Fournette and McCaffrey should each get ample opportunities to touch the ball. Dalvin Cook seems like a perfect fit for the Vikings, and Mixon is already the best running back on the Bengals’ roster. Given their offensive line struggles, I have to worry about Cook’s year one production. To me, Mixon is the safest on-field bet.
Brian (@bmart0204): You have to go with Fournette, because he is probably the only rookie running back guaranteed to start from day one. I think he’s going to be the identity of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense and help take some pressure off of Blake Bortles.
John (@john9williams): There was a lot of debate between the top two wide receivers throughout the draft process. Who you got … Mike Williams or Corey Davis?
Brian (@bmart0204): I like Corey Davis better, but I think Mike Williams has a better rookie season. Philip Rivers is just a more established quarterback and knows how to get big receivers like Mike Williams involved in the passing game. Davis is probably at a disadvantage because the Titans will probably have a run-first mentality.
Sean (@ShoreSportsNJ): Corey Davis is Randy Moss. I am on Twitter @ShoreSportsNJ. The way he gets in and out of his breaks with leverage against seemingly any defender will instantly make him a favorite target of Marcus Mariota in Tennessee. The Titans have no need to force Davis the ball, and you can say the same about Williams in San Diego, but I expect the open man downfield for the Titans to consistently be their big rookie out of Western Michigan.
Marcus (@Marcus_Mosher): I love how Mike Williams was paired with a quarterback that will trust him and allow him to make plays on the ball down the field. Williams and Philip Rivers should make for a nice combo early in 2017.
Kevin (@KevinBrady88): These two are different types of WRs, but each is a potential WR1 in their own right. Williams is not going to create the separation Davis can, though he can go up and out-muscle defenders at the catch point. I believe Corey Davis is the best receiver in this draft class, and he will prove to be so in Tennessee.
John (@john9williams): Outside of the top two wide receivers, which wide receiver do you think has the best chance to make a big time impact in the NFL?
Kevin (@KevinBrady88): John Ross seems like the obvious answer here, but I am going to go a different route (no pun intended). Zay Jones saw his stock rise during the pre-draft process, performing exceptionally at the Senior Bowl and testing pretty well. Going to Buffalo, Jones will have the chance to play opposite Sammy Watkins, and should draw some one-on-one coverage that he can exploit. Another name to look out for is Carlos Henderson in Denver.
Brian (@bmart0204): I have concerns about his small frame and injury history, but I think I’m going to have to go with WR John Ross. The Cincinnati Bengals offense got more explosive with that selection and he will be playing opposite A.J. Green. I don’t know if he could have landed in a better situation. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was the best rookie wide receiver at the end of the 2017 season.
Sean (@ShoreSportsNJ): Chris Godwin’s fit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is just incredible. Jameis Winston has absolutely no shortage of weapons to throw the ball to, including a rookie on the outside in Godwin that truly is “open when he’s covered.” Chris Godwin uses his body at the catch point better than some of the receivers that went ahead of him, and he’ll get the benefit of facing defenses that have to account for Mike Evans and first round pick OJ Howard as well.
Marcus (@Marcus_Mosher): I think the easy answer is John Ross. He found himself in a perfect situation in Cincinnati as he’ll step into the No. 2 role opposite A.J. Green. But the right answer is Zay Jones in Buffalo. He will see a lot of volume as a rookie and should be able to immediately replace Robert Woods, who left for the Rams. If Sammy Watkins can stay healthy, he will thrive as the Bills Z-receiver.
John (@john9williams): There seemed to be a lot of debate over quarterbacks in 2017. Who was your favorite quarterback in the draft?
Marcus (@Marcus_Mosher): Mitchell Trubisky. Despite his limited starts in college, I thought he showed the most poise of any quarterback. He’s got the physical tools to be a top-15 QB in the NFL.
Kevin (@KevinBrady88): My QB1 was Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, for reasons I explained over at Slant Sports in my scouting report. Kizer reminds me a lot of both Jameis Winston and Ben Roethlisberger in his play style, though he still lacks the accuracy that Big Ben has showcased. Out of this class of QBs, he is clearly the most comfortable QB in the pocket, and showed no panic when pressured by defenders. His footwork is exceptional, and if he can improve on his accuracy, he has a chance to be a really good player.
Brian (@bmart0204): I didn’t really like any of the quarterbacks in the 2017 draft class. I especially didn’t think any of them were worthy of being drafted in the first round. But, I guess I would go with Patrick Mahomes. He still has quite a way to go until he is ready to start in the NFL, but he is the most talented with the highest upside of any quarterback in this draft.
Sean (@ShoreSportsNJ): My “favorite” quarterback was probably Patrick Mahomes. You just don’t sit down to study a QB, and analyze his projection to the NFL, and get blown away by the sheer arm talent as often as you do when watching Mahomes. Sure, I have the same concerns as most draft analysts did, with Mahomes essentially already hitting his ceiling and failing to improve the mechanical issues that translated to questionable decision-making too often at Texas Tech. I’ll still take his traits over all but two other QBs in this draft though.
Seems like the quarterback group from this class is going to be an interesting one to watch over the next several years.
Going back to the wide receiver. and running backs, which running back or wide receiver drafted after the second round do you think has the biggest fantasy potential?
Sean (@ShoreSportsNJ): I’m no fantasy football expert, but I know that wide receivers with the potential to take every catch to the house is good for fantasy purposes. In Detroit’s pass-happy offense, I love Kenny Golladay’s potential to gel with Matt Stafford instantly and continue to make the explosive plays he did on tape at Northern Illinois.
Marcus (@Marcus_Mosher): Joe Williams in San Francisco. Anytime a Shanahan coach picks a running back, I’m paying attention. Williams was selected in the fifth round, but his talent was day two worthy. If it weren’t for a few off-field issues, Williams could’ve been a second round pick. He should see snaps early in 2017 and it wouldn’t be surprising if he stole the job away from Carlos Hyde by the end of the season.
Kevin (@KevinBrady88): The best skill players taken in round two were Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon, so I would go with them first. Mixon is the clear answer here, though I am excited to see how Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara does in New Orleans.
Brian (@bmart0204): This is a tough question, but I think Samaje Perine has the biggest fantasy football potential with the Washington Redskins. I think he is a day one starter and improves an already talented roster.
Everyone seemed to like OJ Howard, David Njoku, and Evan Engram. Tight end was as deep as any other position in the draft and there was a lot of value after the first round. Who is another tight end that we need to keep our eyes on?
Brian (@bmart0204): He is still raw and may need some time to develop his skill set before he can be relied upon as a starter, but Adam Shaheen is someone I’m interested to see in the NFL. He has rare size and speed for a tight end, but it’s a big jump from a small school to the NFL.
Sean (@ShoreSportsNJ): Let the record show that I didn’t like Evan Engram. But to answer the question, I do consider myself a member of #ShaheenHive. Adam Shaheen was a premier pick for the Bears after they landed their QB in the first round, and there’s nothing not to love about his ability coming out of Ashland. A large man with wheels, Shaheen is the classic match-up nightmare that teams covet at TE.
Marcus (@Marcus_Mosher): Look out for George Kittle in San Francisco. He will get on the field right away because of his blocking skills, but he’s athletic enough to be a deadly weapon as a receiver. He should unseat Vance McDonald sooner, rather than later.
Kevin (@KevinBrady88): Jake Butt earned a second round grade from me, and if it weren’t for his knee injury, he would’ve went much earlier. If healthy, he has high-end fantasy potential in Denver for sure. Though I am not sure how high that potential is in year one.
To keep it Dallas Cowboys related, what do you think of Dak Prescott’s fantasy football outlook after the 2017 NFL Draft?
Kevin (@KevinBrady88): Admittedly, I am not a big fantasy guy, but I see no reason for a big drop off from Dak Prescott in year two. No matter what the national media or Eagles fans want to tell you, Dak already proved he can be the franchise quarterback of the Cowboys for years to come. Knowing he can provide both rushing and passing production, you have to love the opportunity to add Prescott to your fantasy team.
Brian (@bmart0204): After the fantastic rookie season that Dak Prescott had, I don’t think we can really expect anything less in his second year in the NFL. I don’t know if his numbers will improve much, so I’m expecting about the same as 2016.
Sean (@ShoreSportsNJ): I think the sky is the limit for Dak Prescott’s output this season. Scarily enough, I think there is room for improvement with Ezekiel Elliott and the running game in year two, which will significantly help Prescott get the ball to Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and even rookie Ryan Switzer. A lot of offenses around the league look ready to break scoreboards on paper, but the Cowboys have already proven they can score with this unit.
Marcus (@Marcus_Mosher): With Dallas’ tough schedule, I expect Prescott will be asked to carry more of the offense in 2017. Look for a big jump in passing yards from him this season.
Thank you, fellas for taking the time to share your thoughts on the incoming rookies. Looking forward to seeing what kind of impact the 2017 rookie class will have on the fantasy football world.