NFL Draft: Landing Spots Revisited

img By: Bart Wheeler / @bartonwheeler

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a lengthy pre-NFL draft article to give you an idea of landing spots to consider before the actual draft happened. Now that we know where everyone ended up (including some undrafted players who have since signed with teams), I thought I’d do a follow up to talk about the fantasy-relevant players for each squad. I’ll leave my header for each team from my pre-draft article to show you a position I was highlighting heading into the draft, but I’ll get into more than just one player per team.

I referenced a list of all draft picks from ESPN, which put them all together in a nice format.

Let’s dig in.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: RB (dynasty)
Not only did Buffalo draft a running back, but they snagged James Cook in the second round! The 22 year old is an obvious dynasty value and likely a first round pick in rookie drafts. Considering Devin Singletary is in the last year of his rookie contract, Cook could have an even bigger role in 2023 and beyond. Even for redraft, he will be someone to keep an eye on especially in PPR leagues. The Bills also drafted WR Khalil Shakir in Round 5, but I have a hard time seeing any redraft value there with such an established WR room.

Miami Dolphins: QB
They had the fewest number of draft picks of any team in this year’s draft, but the Dolphins actually drafted a QB in Round 7. Skylar Thompson is an older rookie who will turn 25 before training camp even begins, but he also comes from Kansas State where they ran a very pro style offense. He likely won’t even get selected in dynasty superflex rookie drafts, but I can see a path for him to get some reps in 2023 if they by chance move on from Tua. I don’t have any interest in 4th round pick Erik Ezukanma in redraft leagues, as Miami added both Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson this offseason. It’s just very hard to see the rookie get many targets in an offense that already has Jalen Waddle and Mike Gesicki getting their fair share as well.

New England: WR (dynasty)
The Patriots were busy in this draft, and I was happy to see them add Tyquan Thornton in the second round. We all know Bill Belichick doesn’t have the best track record drafting WRs, but maybe he’s due! New England’s WRs are all basically under contract through 2022 or 2023, so I like Thornton as a dynasty stash who likely won’t pop until Year 2. The Pats also used two draft picks on running backs: Pierre Strong (Rd 4) & Kevin Harris (Rd 6). That was a bit odd to me since they already have multiple good RBs, and I can’t see adding either in redraft leagues this season. They also made odd choices selecting OG Cole Strange in Round 1 and QB Bailey Zappe in Rd 4, so who knows what they’re doing up there in New England.

New York Jets: RB
I went 4 for 4 with team needs/landing spots in the AFC East, as the Jets took Breece Hall as the first RB off the board in Round 2, just a year after selecting Michael Carter in Round 4. I have Carter in a superflex dynasty league I’ve joined this year (I’ve taken over an abandoned team), so I’m hoping for like a 60/40 timeshare. But in reality, Breece Hall could end up looking like Jonathan Taylor by the end of his rookie year. I really think that’s his ceiling. Of course the Jets don’t quite have the offensive line the Colts do, but Hall is going #1 in most rookie drafts for a reason. Backing up to Round 1, the Jets got help at WR with Garrett Wilson out of Ohio State. I’m not too crazy about him for redraft purposes, but he should be a first round pick in dynasty rookie drafts as well. They also grabbed another Buckeye in the third round: TE Jeremy Ruckart. He just went in the very last round of my 5 round rookie draft, but he shouldn’t be on the radar in redraft leagues this year with the Jets adding Uzomah and Conklin this offseason.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: WR
The post-draft consensus was that Baltimore crushed it, but as far as WR goes, not so much. They traded Marquise Brown and didn’t use any of their 11 picks on the position. I was a bit surprised to say the least. They did draft a pair of tight ends in the fourth round: Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely. Even though they drafted Kolar first, Likely is actually the one to pay attention to for fantasy. Of course Mark Andrews is the main guy there, but without established WRs, you could see Likely having a role if he can improve his blocking and get on the field. He LIKELY won’t be relevant in redraft formats this year, but you never know. To be thorough, I’ll point out the Ravens used their last pick in the draft on RB Tyler Badie in Round 6. With Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins both returning from serious injuries, it’s certainly relevant to point out.

Cincinnati Bengals: TE
Not only did the Bengals not draft a tight end, but the only offensive player they drafted this year was a tackle. From a real football perspective, I’d say it’s fine they focused on defense and didn’t draft position players. From a fantasy perspective, not much to see here.

Cleveland Browns: WR
The Browns signed Amari Cooper this offseason, but as of this writing the #2 receiving option is fairly wide open for new signal caller Deshaun Watson. The Browns actually drafted two WRs, and David Bell in Round 3 is pretty interesting to me. Now, if they bring back Jarvis Landry and/or add Will Fuller, Bell might be less interesting. But either way, he may be a value in dynasty rookie drafts that are happening right now. As for Michael Woods in Round 6, you can disregard him for redraft purposes. Cleveland did add RB Jerome Ford in Round 5, but I see him just as a dynasty stash as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers: QB
I really thought they were going to take Malik Willis at pick #20, but they went with Kenny Pickett instead. Then with their next pick in Round 2, the Steelers grabbed a receiver for him with George Pickens. In fact, they double dipped at both positions drafting WR Calvin Austin III in Round 4 and QB Chris Oladokun in the final round. If you’re in a superflex dynasty league, Pickett should go in the first round of rookie drafts. Beyond that, not so much. In fact, I fully expect Mitch Trubisky to start Week 1 and keep the job as long as the Steelers are winning games. It’ll be interesting to see how the season unfolds though, and we could see Pickett sooner rather than later. As for Pickens, I don’t see a ton of value in redraft, but Diontae Johnson is on the final year of his contract, so he and Austin are both interesting in dynasty to varying degrees.

AFC South

Houston Texans: RB
Houston’s running back depth chart is gross, even after acquiring Marlon Mack this offseason (maybe especially after acquiring him). They selected Dameon Pierce out of Florida in Round 4, and I like his chances to be a three down back for this rebuilding team right away. They also drafted Alabama WR John Metchie III two rounds earlier, and I like him much more in dynasty than redraft formats. He tore his ACL in December, and while he’ll likely be good to go in Week 1, the Texans could certainly ease him in this year.

Indianapolis Colts: WR
Indy didn’t have a first round pick, and they used their second rounder on WR Alec Pierce out of Cincinnati. I love the draft capital and opportunity, and I likely need to move Pierce up my redraft rankings quite a bit from where I had him pre-draft. The Colts also drafted two tight ends to help fill the void of the now-retired Jack Doyle. Of the two, I’m much more excited about UVA standout Jelani Woods, who they selected in Round 3 (their second pick in the draft). The fact that Indianapolis used their first two picks at these positions tells me everything.

Jacksonville Jaguars: RB
The Jags used most of their picks on defense, but one of the two offensive players they selected was a running back! Snoop Conner just might fill the role of James Robinson if the veteran isn’t fully recovered from his Achilles injury by Week 1.

Tennessee Titans: RB (dynasty)
Obviously Derrick Henry is still carrying the mail in Tennessee, but they did add Hassan Haskins in Round 4 as future insurance. We could see Henry slow down in the next couple of years, so Haskins isn’t a bad dynasty stash. The big news on draft day though was the trade sending A.J. Brown to the Eagles. The Titans then used their first round pick on Treylon Burks who instantly became a top-5 selection in dynasty rookie drafts. He should have plenty of redraft value too, as the Titans don’t have a ton of options at the WR position outside of Robert Woods, who is now 30 years old and recovering from a torn ACL. Of course they also added Kyle Philips in Round 5, but I don’t see much value there. The Titans also used a third rounder on QB Malik Willis, who many (like myself) thought would go in the first round. I doubt he’ll be draftable outside of dynasty leagues this year, but seeing QBs like Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan get moved this offseason makes me think Ryan Tannehill could easily be somewhere else in 2023.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: TE
With Noah Fant off to Seattle in the Russell Wilson trade, Albert Okwuegbunam quickly became someone who everyone was talking about. But I had a feeling Denver would draft a tight end, and they took Greg Dulcich in the third. Not only do I think he could be the best tight end on his team this year, but I think he could easily end up being the best tight end in this draft class, especially considering he’s being paired with a QB like Wilson.

Kansas City Chiefs: WR
The Chiefs drafted Skyy Moore in the second round to hopefully replace Tyreek Hill, at least in the long run. It will certainly take some time, but Moore is in a great spot starting his career with Patrick Mahomes. He’ll be viable in redraft formats and a borderline first round pick in dynasty rookie drafts. KC also signed Clemson WR Justyn Ross who went undrafted largely due to medical concerns. You shouldn’t let him go undrafted in your dynasty rookie drafts though because if he can actually stay healthy, he could provide huge dividends.

Las Vegas Raiders: RB (dynasty)
The Raiders did not pick up the fifth year option on Josh Jacobs, so I fully expect him and Kenyan Drake to be elsewhere after this season. The fact that they used two of their six draft picks on the running back position only supports that theory. I’m not as concerned with 7th round pick Brittain Brown, but you never know I guess. I’m more excited about Zamir White who Las Vegas selected in the 4th round (which was just their second pick of the draft). I liked White a lot coming into this draft, and I feel like this landing spot is great for dynasty. I doubt I’ll consider him in regular redraft formats this year considering Jacobs and Drake are the current one-two punch in that backfield. But like I said, Zamir White could actually be the three down RB for this team in 2023.

Los Angeles Chargers: WR (dynasty)
I was a little disappointed the Chargers didn’t draft a receiver this year, but they did select RB Isaiah Spiller in the 4th round. A lot of pre-draft lists had Spiller as the 3rd or 4th running back selected in this draft, but he ended up being the ninth. Still, this is a decent landing spot because he could find himself being the #2 behind Ekeler and possibly get some of the goal line work. He might not be a great option for 2022 but worth a look in dynasty for sure.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: TE (dynasty)
Since Dallas used the franchise tag on Dalton Schultz, I thought if they drafted a tight end then it could be interesting for 2023 and beyond. Well, they took Jake Ferguson in Round 4, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he becomes Dalton Schultz when Schultz likely ends up on a different team next season.

New York Giants: QB
Well, the Giants didn’t select a quarterback in this year’s draft, so we get another year of Daniel Jones (bleh). I suspected as much anyway, but this was the most interesting position to me pre-draft anyway. A guy can dream, can’t he? They did select WR Wan’Dale Robinson in the second round, but he seems to be a similar player to Toney who they took last year. Maybe with the rumblings about Toney potentially being traded, this was insurance? Either way, I’m actually more interested in TE Daniel Bellinger for dynasty purposes. They scooped him up in the fourth round, and I like his profile for a tight end. I also like the fact that New York’s TE depth chart is weak and Bellinger is still just 21 years old.

Philadelphia Eagles: WR
The Eagles didn’t draft a WR, but they traded away their first rounder (and a third rounder) to get A.J. Brown. So they got a great receiver on draft day. I’m not sure this is an upgrade for Brown, but it’s definitely an upgrade for the Eagles. They did draft a tight end in the later rounds, but I’m not too interested there.

Washington Commanders: WR
Washington used their first round pick on Jahan Dotson out of Penn State, and I like his prospects at least in dynasty formats. With Terry McLaurin there and Wentz now the QB, I’m not digging his 2022 outlook too much. But McLaurin is about to play in the last year of his 4-year rookie contract. so Dotson could be the guy as soon as next year. Of course he could also flop in DC, but the draft capital and opportunity are there.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: WR

As someone with Justin Fields on his roster in my dynasty superflex league, I was really looking forward to the Bears drafting a wide receiver. And then they took a glorified special teams player in the third round who turns 25 years old this week. If you can’t tell, I’m not crazy about the fantasy outlook for Velus Jones, Jr. New GM Ryan Poles might be forming a better team there in Chicago, but I’m not excited about it from a fantasy perspective.

Detroit Lions: QB
Like the Giants, the Lions also didn’t draft a QB this year. And like the Giants, they also selected a wide receiver early in the draft. They took Jameson Williams in the first round, and he was one of six WRs taken in the first 18 picks. He’s definitely a first round pick in rookie drafts, but his redraft value is yet to be seen. We’ll have to see how this WR room shakes out and whether or not Jared Goff is competent enough to spread the ball around a bit and look to the rookie right away.

Green Bay Packers: WR
While they didn’t use a first rounder on the receiver position, they did trade up to select Christian Watson with the second pick in round two (close enough, right?). He didn’t put up big numbers in college, but that could be more about the offense and not about what he can do at the next level. I love the opportunity with Aaron Rodgers as his QB and the best WR ahead of him on the depth chart being Allen Lazard. Watson could be the #1 receiver in this offense in his rookie year, so he’ll have value in all formats. But he also wasn’t the only WR the Packers drafted. They also took Romeo Doubs in Round 4 and Samori Toure in Round 7. Unlike Watson, Doubs actually did put up some good numbers the last two years at Nevada with over 1000 receiving yards in each and 20 total receiving touchdowns. I’d look for Doubs to be a deep sleeper in redraft leagues and a potential dynasty value with most of the focus on Watson.

Minnesota Vikings: RB (dynasty)
With Alexander Mattison in the final year of his rookie deal, it’s at least somewhat interesting that Minnesota drafted Ty Chandler in the 5th round. He’s a dynasty stash only, but it’s possible he pushes Dalvin Cook for touches in 2023 if Chandler can cement himself as the #2 RB for the Vikings by then.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: QB & WR
Atlanta used their first round pick on WR Drake London but didn’t draft QB Desmond Ridder until Round 3. While London could step right into the #1 WR role, it’s likely Ridder will have to sit behind newly acquired Marcus Mariota at least for a while. Still, I like Ridder to get a shot for a Falcon team that’s likely to lose a lot of games this year. As for Drake London, many are viewing the 20 year old as the top pick in rookie drafts (yes, even above Breece Hall).

Carolina Panthers: QB
The Panthers also drafted a quarterback, and like Ridder, they were able to get Matt Corral in Round 3. The main difference here is we’ve seen what Sam Darnold can (and can’t) do in Carolina. You have to think Mariota will at least get a shot to start Week 1 in Atlanta, but I’m not sure Darnold earned that shot here. I think it’s very possible Matt Corral could be the Week 1 starter which could give him more upside for this season. Still, I like the talent of Ridder and see him as the better potential dynasty value. Of course the concern with each of these QBs in dynasty leagues is the fact that their teams could lose so many games this season, they’re right back at the top of the 2023 draft potentially selecting a QB in what is shaping up to be a much better draft class.

New Orleans Saints: WR
The Saints have needed a legit #2 WR for a while, and I think they probably got it in Chris Olave. They’re pairing the Ohio State product with another former buckeye on the current roster who everyone knows well, and that’s obviously Michael Thomas. With a healthy Jameis Winston throwing the ball, I actually like Olave a lot for redraft and he’s a solid first round rookie pick in dynasty too.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB (dynasty)
Leonard Fournette should be in Tampa for a couple more years, but Ronald Jones is gone and Ke’Shawn Vaughn hasn’t been great so far in his young career. And now third round pick Rachaad White has entered the chat. He’s likely a second round pick in dynasty rookie drafts, but he could prove to be a great long term player. He could be the #2 RB for the Bucs as soon as this year, and it’s certainly possible he’s the lead back here in a year or two. It’s also of note that Tampa Bay drafted two tight ends this year, and if Gronk doesn’t return, I could see 4th round pick Cade Otton even having some value this season. Either way, his dynasty outlook is pretty good for the position.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: QB
So “QB” was a bit tongue in cheek, but Kyler Murray wants a new contract so I thought it was at least possible. I was surprised to see Arizona use their first pick of the draft on TE Trey McBride in Round 2. McBride was the consensus top tight end in this draft, and that’s where he went. But Zach Ertz just signed a three year deal, so it’s hard to get excited about the rookie in redraft leagues. Still, if you’re talking dynasty, McBride is most likely the best option at the TE position. I’ll also mention the Cardinals drafted Keaontay Ingram in the 6th round, and there’s a pretty clear path to the #2 RB there. James Conner was re-signed, but Chase Edmonds is gone and Eno Benjamin looked pretty underwhelming last year. Ingram is a deep sleeper in redraft but I think a sneaky good pick in dynasty.

Los Angeles Rams: TE (dynasty)
The Rams didn’t draft a tight end, and the only fantasy position player they did select was RB Kyren Williams in Round 5. It’s hard to see a path to fantasy production this season, but feel free to take a late round shot on him in dynasty rookie drafts and see what happens.

San Francisco 49ers: WR

In my pre-draft article, I said I was all set to go with “RB” here, and then Deebo Samuel decided to say he wants a trade. Well, the Niners took a running back in Round 2 and a wide receiver in Round 3. I’m less excited to take a ride on the Shanahan RB carousel, so I’m relatively down on Tyrion Davis-Price. But Danny Gray out of SMU is pretty interesting to me, especially if Deebo finds his way out of San Francisco.

Seattle Seahawks: QB
I really wanted to see Malik Willis to Seattle, but they ended up not selecting a QB in this weak draft class. They did draft Ken Walker III though, and I actually think it’s a great landing spot for him. This tells me the medical concerns may still be there for Chris Carson, and Rashaad Penny was brought back on just a one year contract. I could see Walker as the lead back this season, and next season feels like a virtual lock. I think he’s worthy of a high first round pick in rookie drafts, and I’ll be excited about him in redraft as well.

 

NCAA FOOTBALL 2020: Pitt at Clemson NOV 28” by ClemsonTigerNet is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Comments (1)
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