NFL Draft - First Round Fantasy Recap
Typically, running backs make the biggest fantasy impacts for rookies, and like last year, none were taken in Round 1. That leaves receivers, quarterbacks and tight ends, none of whom usually alter the fantasy landscape too significantly. Consider that when Keenan Allen had 1,000 yards last year, he was only the fifth rookie wideout to do so since 2000 (Anquan Boldin, Michael Clayton, Marques Colston, A.J. Green). And the track record of rookie tight ends is even worse.
We've seen unusually good quarterback play from rookies in recent years, but with the exception of Robert Griffin, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson in 2012 and Cam Newton in 2011, few are worth using in 12-team leagues.
That out of the way, let's take a look at some of the key developments from Round 1 as they affect the fantasy landscape.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars took Bortles third overall, and it's only a question of whether he starts right away or a few games into the season with only Chad Henne as his principal competition. With Justin Blackmon's status up in the air, Cecil Shorts returning from groin surgery and a below-average offensive line, it's not a good situation for a rookie quarterback. Bortles has good size, a good arm and above-average mobility, but his chance to be relevant in 1-QB leagues are slim.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
Watkins should start opposite Stevie Johnson from the outset and give EJ Manuel a downfield playmaker with decent size, something the team had lacked. Watkins has the talent to be the sixth 1,000-yard WR this millennium, but that will likely hinge on Manuel's development in Year 2.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The 6-5, 231-pound Evans is cut from the mold of most elite NFL receivers - big, strong, physical and just fast enough. He'll start opposite Vincent Jackson who has similar specs, but Evans' success will hinge on Josh McCown being able to recreate his Chicago magic away from Marc Trestman. Either way, Evans should make for a nice red-zone target at the very least.
Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions
Ebron has good size and speed for the position, and with Brandon Pettigrew proving to be a better blocker than receiver, Ebron could be the team's top receiving tight end. That said, tight ends almost never produce as rookies, and there are a lot of options in the Detroit passing game.
Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants
The Giants needed someone who could hurt teams down the field, and Beckham fits the bill. He's also dangerous in the return game. But Beckham's a small receiver so we'd expect Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz to see most of the red-zone work, and it's unclear if Beckham will even start out of the gate.
Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
The Saints traded up to get Cooks, and given his top-shelf speed and quickness, he could fill the void left by the departed Lance Moore and Darren Sproles. If he does, there's a lot of PPR upside here.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns
The Browns did pretty well for themselves on Day 1 getting a top corner and arguably the best quarterback in the draft. Manziel will compete with Brian Hoyer for the starting job in camp, but should take over at some point. Should that happen, there's plenty of upside here given the presence of Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron and of course, Manziel's ability to make plays with his legs.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
At 6-5, 240, Benjamin is massive, and he'll get an opportunity for significant targets right away in Carolina with only veteran journeymen Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant atop the wide receiver depth chart. Benjamin is slow for a receiver, but given his size, catch radius and strength, he doesn't have to be particularly open to make plays.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings
It's unclear whether Bridgewater will start out of the gate, but the job should be his eventually, and he'll have above-average weapons in Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings and Kyle Rudolph. Even Adrian Peterson vows to get more involved as a pass catcher. The NFC North is also stacked with offensive weapons, so the Vikings could be in some shootouts, but chances are Bridgewater won't be especially useful until 2015.