The NFL draft is a wonderful time. Rookie fever is in full swing. Hot takes are flying off on twitter every day. Analysts and scouts’ brains are fried from watching tape. Biases are formed and emotions are at an all-time high. It truly is a wonderful time for the NFL and for dynasty owners. The only problem is we live in a world where everything tends to balance out. To quote my dear old friend Sir Issac Newton’s Third Law of Physics:
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”
Now Newton was a very bright man, who is famous for being hit in the head with an apple and discovering gravity, but even still this can apply to dynasty owners everywhere. Now that the NFL draft has unfolded there will be a litany of heated debates over who has the best landing spots and who is going to explode right out of the gate, but this article doesn’t care about those people. This is about the losers. The guys who you loved when they were a freshman, and you were the first to discover them amongst your friends and you’ve been pumping them up all season, and then they get drafted as a WR to the Baltimore Ravens and you won’t blow your brains out because that’s a nightmare scenario in recent memory. Then there is that sleeper running back that you view as a day 2 guy but man if he lands in the perfect spot he will absolutely fly up draft boards, but instead is stuck behind another stud and it just doesn’t look good for him at all. I’m sorry to say this may not be an uplifting and happy article for all you dynasty owners, but it will be lots of fun. I’ll do my best to dig deep for some light at the end of the tunnel despite maybe looking like losers in the short term. Now we commence with the 2018 Biggest rookie losers from the NFL draft:
Josh Allen QB, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen is probably the most polarizing quarterback this year with people either loving his potential or hating his inaccuracy. No matter what side of the Josh Allen love/hate train is this was the spot I really didn’t like for any quarterback. The bills are in a lot of trouble and didn’t really do a whole lot to improve the situation for their quarterback of the future. The guy has very little weapons around him. LeSean McCoy is on the wrong side of 30, and with no receivers to help stretch the field both McCoy and whatever quarterback is out there are going to face a lot of stacked boxes and exotic blitzes from some great defensive minds in the division. To top it off, they had arguably their top two offensive linemen retire leaving two big holes in the middle of their line at center and left guard. For a guy who has been inaccurate throughout his college career, he’s got a big hill to climb as a developmental prospect and it won’t help that he has to do it all in Buffalo. AJ McCarron, the teams likely starting quarterback week 1, also has something to prove and won’t give up the spot easily, certainly doesn’t view himself as a bridge to Allen. At only 27 years of age McCarron as I previously mentioned doesn’t have the best team to showcase his skills but Josh Allen certainly will have to look to another QB for mentoring. It’s going to be the biggest challenge between all five quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the NFL draft and I am not sure if he has what it takes.
Hayden Hurst & Mark Andrews TE, Baltimore Ravens
For one prospect this would be a decent landing spot. The Ravens have a makeshift receiving game, a decent QB who can support a good TE. For many, Mark Andrews was ranked far ahead of Hayden Hurst because he’s a much more polished route runner, receiver, and just overall playmaker. The issue now is you have Hurst, the first round TE vs Andrews who was taken in the third round. Hurst is likely to get the first shot being the higher draft choice but many believe that despite his lack of blocking technique, Andrews will be the real fantasy asset. Hurst being older definitely doesn’t help his case which makes selecting him in the first round even more puzzling. This is going to need to be monitored going forward but unfortunately for current drafters, this situation isn’t going to become clear any time soon. Both are definitely going to take a downtick in drafts due to the competition and lack of clarity. I feel Andrews could be a decent pickup in the 3rd but I would pass on Hurst even despite the draft capital invested. I just don’t really see a major fantasy impact for him.
Cortland Sutton WR, Denver Broncos
Sutton is a guy a lot hoped could be a Dallas Cowboy and go in as the Dez Bryant replacement, and so by not going there or another attractive destination, I see Sutton as a loser. While the guys ahead of him are older and probably on their way out I am just not a firm believer he will be able to solidify himself. I was much more a fan of the DaeSaun Hamilton pick because he’s going to be able to establish himself in the slot more quickly than Sutton who will need much more time to develop as a route runner. There is still lots of potential with Sutton I just think some of the receivers with nicer landing spots will give a slightly quicker return for a similar investment and why I will move Sutton slightly down my board just because his clear path to playing time isn’t as clear as many hoped it could be with a better fit. I feel it will be a lot more rushing and defense then Air-raid with Case Keenum under center.
Dallas Goedert TE, Philadelphia Eagles
This was easily the greatest pick introduction, selection, and execution by David Akers, the former kicker for the Philadelphia Eagles. In fantasy football terms, it’s not looking great. Goedert was another top 3 rookie TE that ended up in easily the worst situation behind a top-tier fantasy TE making his chance of production in the early stages minimal at best. For projections look to the numbers trey burton put up and maybe even deflate those slightly. Dallas is very talented but with a steep learning curve for TEs and a stud ahead of him the outlook on his potential looks to be very much in the distance. His only chance is really if somehow, they end up as a Gronk/Hernandez tandem, which is highly unlikely. Ertz isn’t a UFA until 2022, so it may not be until at least 2021 you see the transition from Ertz to Goedert and even at that is seems like wishful thinking. Ertz has been a favorite target of Wentz since he got to Philly and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Carson could potentially support two TEs if the receivers don’t command as much action, but like I said Gronk/Hernandez is not impossible but seems highly unlikely for Ertz/Goedert.
John Kelly RB, Los Angeles Rams
For all the John Kelly truthers, not only are they all silent they, are pretty much dead inside. Kelly was a very talented running back who was a mid-second round selection in rookie drafts heading in and could go much later. Anyone who plays fantasy football knows who Todd Gurley is and being the ultimate bell cow with age not being a concern it doesn’t look very promising for Kelly at all. On the bright side, he goes to a high flying Rams’ offense with a young, creative head coach who probably has a plan for him. There is at least some comfort in that and if I was a Todd Gurley owner I would definitely look into targeting him late in the second round just because he could be viable on his own as a deep flex and gives some insurance if anything were to happen to Gurley. Horrible for non-Gurley owners and guys who love John Kelly but I am still excited to see how he will be utilized, just…not for fantasy.
James Washington WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
The 2017 Biletnikoff winner, who was one the most productive players in college football history! Is now stuck behind one of the greatest wide receivers of all time in Antonio Brown and an emerging star in Juju Smith-Schuster. This seems like a death sentence simply because how is he going to get a target with these guys ahead of him on the depth chart. It’s not going to be easy that’s for sure. He’s almost certainly going to be on everyone’s taxi for his first season or two but I am here once again to tell you there is some good news here. If there is one team I trust more than ever to develop a wide receiver, it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers. This team has been hitting on a lot of guys and has developed some great talent internally to consistently have one of the top receiving corps in the NFL. It’s not the best spot as far as opportunity with so many targets going other directions but as a deep ball specialist and the departure of Martavis Bryant, there are reasons to be optimistic that there will be some value to be had in the long term. In case somehow you missed it, they also drafted his college quarterback to be Ben’s backup. So, both Mason Rudolph and James Washington will be learning and grow together in the NFL which I think will be mutually beneficial for both and if for some reason Ben gets hurt, they may continue their stellar production to the next level earlier then you think.
Mark Walton RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Mark Walton much like John Kelly was another middle tier back who with a good spot could jump up ranks or with a bad one could fall into potential irrelevancy. This is more likely the later. Walton is a talented back who is very shifty on tape, can catch the ball and run after the catch. Except oh wait, Giovanni Bernard already does that…lucky us. For the time being it is very difficult to see how this will play out. I have yet to even mention Joe Mixon who many hope can take an additional leap this season and become a near every down back. He has probably the best hands and open field ability of his backfield mates and will also receive the early down work. This is not quite a John Kelly situation because Mixon is not an established stud but tread lightly when you think about drafting Walton because if it is too high in a year you may regret it. It’s unfortunate that only one guy can catch the ball and Walton is likely third in this trio to get a chance unless an injury occurs or he really impresses coaches.
Chase Edmonds, RB Arizona Cardinals
Chase Edmonds is back I absolutely loved watching at Fordham. While he didn’t face the toughest competition, he was a monster who could do it all. Now he is behind a real monster who can actually do it all at the NFL level. That’s not so great for Edmonds value going forward. David Johnson is a bell cow, fully loaded back who will probably go over 2000 all-purpose yards this season. While I like Edmonds a lot he would have to do a lot with very limited snaps and touches this season to be at all fantasy viable. I would probably stay away from Edmonds until late 3rd, early 4th of rookie drafts because he could make an impact just the fit is not good at all with stud runner right in front of him. Even his potential as a third down back is questionable at best and at this time it’s very hard to see how all those touches will be distributed.
Bo Scarbrough, RB Dallas Cowboys
This spot was really puzzling, even for a 7th round selection I was hoping this could be like a Philly, New England, Baltimore, San Francisco, Miami, type of destination. A place where he could be a goal-line back and could return some potential value that way. I just don’t see any scenario where this is anything other than Zeke insurance and even still he was much more limited then Zeke is. If you are a Zeke owner maybe grab him at the end of your drafts, other than that don’t even bother, he will be essentially useless. I really only mentioned him because of his name and with a stud ahead of him and no real threat as a third-down back, just stay completely away.
- Honorable Mentions (Good spots that are a little crowded):
Antonio Callaway, WR Cleveland Browns
Has loads of potential but depending on what happens with Corey Coleman it may be difficult to break his way into targets with so many weapons in the world. Loads of upside but a lot going on and I’m sure a lot more will change in the coming months for the Browns.
Justin Watson, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Watson is likely unknown by a lot of people but he could be the potential break out that nobody (except you) saw coming. He was highly productive out of the University of Pennsylvania. No, not Penn State the ivy league school. So, the kid is smart and will likely be a quick study of the playbook and impress early. Of course, this is a crowded WR group with Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries, OJ Howard and Cameron Brate to name a few. It’s going to be tough to work his way into a target share but considering the Bucs invested a 5th round pick in him I would say they believe in him a little bit and is worth looking at late in rookie drafts, or if he goes undrafted even better.