Following every NFL draft there is often quite a large shake up with regards to player values as depth charts begin to take shape. I wanted to highlight a few players who may encounter a decrease in 2017 production due to the way the draft unfolded. In many of these cases it may now be difficult to recoup any value they had pre-draft, but you can sometimes still find players in your league who may not be as locked in as yourself.
There were already many Murray “naysayers” prior to the draft and in free agency. However, in 2017 free agency Latavius signed a 3-year, $15million deal with the Minnesota Vikings with almost $9mil guaranteed. With Adrian Peterson out of the picture there was a glimmer of hope for his owners that he may be the main back in 2017 with a slightly improved Vikings O-line. That was until the Vikings moved ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles to grab Dalvin Cook in the 2nd round. Widely considered to be one of the best backs in this class, I highly doubt that the Vikings moved up to grab Dalvin and don’t plan on using him heavily. Cook has the potential to be a true 3-down back in the league, thus opportunities for Murray could be limited. Having said that, with $9million guaranteed locked up in Latavius, they must be prepared to use him on occasion, so not all hope is lost. In 2016, PFF ranked Murray as the 4th best pass-blocking RB in the league, so there’s a good chance he is used on passing downs.
Following a breakout 2016 campaign, Brate finished as a TE1 in a pass-heavy Tampa offence. Playing in just his 3rd season and only 25 years old, his stock was rising in the dynasty community. Then arrived O’Terrius Jabari Howard. Viewed by many as the best TE prospect to enter the league in the last 5 years, OJ Howard not only has the potential to be the best TE on his own team, but the best TE in the league. A very capable blocker and a freak athlete, it’s only a matter of time before Howard takes over the position for the Bucs. Obviously, this is a substantial dent in potential playing time for Brate and knocks his value down a few pegs. The best chance he has to recuperate his value is if the Bucs decide to trade him to a TE needy team.
Matthews excelled in his first season with Marcus Mariota producing borderline WR1/2 numbers depending on scoring format. However due to the lack of options in the Titans aerial attack, it was widely expected that they would address the WR position early in the draft. And that was exactly what happened. The Titans took arguably the best receiver in the draft (Corey Davis obviously) with the 5th pick overall, and followed that up with Taywan Taylor. Although Matthews will still hold a usable role, the fact that long term he may not be the WR1 on a team that loves to run the ball is a slight concern. The sell high window of Matthews may have already come and gone.
What an interesting offseason for the Saints backfield. What started with just Ingram and Daniel Lasco signed to the roster is now packed with Ingram, Peterson, Cadet, and the draft addition of Alvin Kamara. Adding a highly touted pass catcher who can also run between the tackles makes you wonder if Mark Ingram offended Sean Payton somehow. At this stage the water is very murky and it’s difficult to predict just how each back will be used in this offence. However, uncertainty always leads to decreased value to the masses and unless Ingram moves elsewhere it’s difficult to see him being able to produce the numbers he has done in the past.
It was almost a given that Jeremy Hill would lose his early-down role in the Cinci offence this offseason. Terrible play and solely TD reliant, there was plenty of talk about a RB being selected in the Draft or Free Agency. Along came Joe Mixon who could arguably be the most talented back in the class if it weren’t for his off-field issues. Similar to Dalvin Cook, Mixon has 3 down potential in the league and may even hurt Gio Bernard. With Mixon sure to assume the reigns it seems unlikely Hill continues his average of 10 rushing TDs per season. Combined with the fact that Gio Bernard will be more likely to spell Mixon on 3rd down, the value of Hill has completely deteriorated.
At 24 years of age, Tyrell Williams emerged to become a WR2 from most leagues’ waiver wire. Williams contributed over 1,000 yards and 7 TDs in San Diego and was a reasonably hot commodity in fantasy cycles. However, that was without Keenan Allen in the picture and now Mike Williams. In a crowded situation, it seems unlikely for Tyrell to be targeted 120 times once again. There’s still upside there at such a young age, but short term production will certainly take a hit. With Keenan Allen’s injury history opportunities will still be on the horizon for Williams.