The 2018 NFL Draft has concluded and with landing spots determined for 256 players, it is time to take a look at the rookie class ahead of training camp and assess whether they should be on your redraft team for the upcoming season. This article will provide the viewpoint of five DFF analysts to the questions posed and give some insight as to what the reactionary thought is just after the completion of the NFL’s Player Selection Meeting. Make sure to give each a follow so you are in the know as we get closer and closer to redraft season.
Spend an early to mid-round pick on Nick Chubb?
Shaun Crandall (@WhiskeyD0G): Don’t – Chubb is unlikely to unseat a veteran in Carlos Hyde or Duke Johnson. Hyde will likely be the mainstay on 1st and 2nd downs with Johnson continuing his role on 3rd down and passing situations. Chubb will see his share of action, however, I wouldn’t look for him to be a contributor in redraft leagues until 2019.
Logan Whaley (@_edubaseball): Don’t – While I like the landing spot in Cleveland for Nick Chubb, the addition of Carlos Hyde, along with change-of-pace back and pass-catcher Duke Johnson will make it difficult for Chubb to see legitimate enough opportunity to be fantasy relevant. Fantasy football is all about opportunity share, and I just don’t see Chubb getting the touches.
Michael Stephenson (@DFF_Mste): Don’t – Not in the early to mid rounds, but Chubb will be in my late round considerations as he is only a Carlos Hyde injury away from a hefty workload. It is worth noting that Hyde did find himself losing snaps to rookie Matt Breida in SF last year and Nick Chubb is a far superior runner to Breida. In all reality, I would not recommend investing in any piece of this backfield in 2018.
Kyle August (@kyleFFfellas): Do It – Obviously all fantasy owners were hoping for a more ideal landing spot for Chubb who will be competing with newly acquired Carlos Hyde for the starting job, and facing the likelihood of losing out on passing downs work to Duke Johnson. However, I believe Chubb has the talent do it. While 2017 was a great year for Hyde who finished as an RB1 in all formats, it was the first time in his career that he was able to put together a 16-game season. As of now, heading into 2018, I’m going to treat Chubb as the Browns’ starter on draft day and have no issue spending a 5th or 6th rounder on him for the upside. I view this similarly to the Latavius/Cook situation from 2017.
John Di Bari (@dibari22): Don’t – It pains me to say that. I love Nick Chubb, and he was potentially going to be my RB1 among rookies in this class depending on how everyone’s landing spots shook out. For dynasty, I’m happy with that landing spot, but for 2018 in my redraft leagues, I’m not interested in Chubb unless he falls into the late rounds. The Browns will probably bring him along slowly, and there is no need to rush it when they can grind Hyde & Johnson into the ground this year as Chubb gets his feet under him.
Draft Chase Edmonds to handcuff David Johnson?
Shaun Crandall (@WhiskeyD0G): Do It – Regardless of DJ missing nearly all of the 2017 season, Edmonds profiles as a change of pace back who could eat into shares of Johnson’s receiving production. Johnson saw a league-high 80 receptions for running backs, and the Cardinals should look to reduce the load on Johnson to keep him fresh on 1st and 2nd downs.
Logan Whaley (@_edubaseball): Do It (but late) – Personally, I am not a huge proponent for handcuffing running backs in fantasy, regardless of prior injury history. Edmonds is an interesting case, which is why I believe he is worth it but only as an option in the last couple rounds. The landing spot is fantastic; with the likes of Kerwynn Williams, Elijhaa Penny, and D.J. Foster backing up David Johnson, it is difficult to imagine that Edmonds won’t be in play as the immediate backup. He dominated at Fordham, racking up over 5,000 total yards in his four years along with 86 receptions. Edmonds is worth a late-round flier.
Michael Stephenson (@DFF_Mste): Don’t – I have a personal rule of never drafting handcuffs, regardless of injury history. Any handcuff you draft will either be: A – the first player you drop come waivers or B – a player you feel committed to holding onto come waivers, leading you to drop someone startable. The handcuff will most likely be lying on waivers. If your starter goes down, man up and spend the FAAB, and if someone else does draft your handcuff, let them have the burned roster spot. Even if DJ goes down there is no guarantee Edmunds will be the guy, I say this as a man who spent 40 FAAB on Darren McFadden last season.
Kyle August (@kyleFFfellas): Don’t – First off, I’m generally against the handcuff strategy to begin with, but in situations when the projected handcuff is an unknown commodity, I’m definitely not wasting a draft pick on him. The problem with the theory, in general, is that when you use a draft pick on a handcuff, he’s generally the first guy cut from your roster for the week one waiver wire wonder. Could Edmonds have value if Johnson went down? Sure. But I’ll let that play out first. Johnson is coming back off a wrist injury, which as a fantasy owner, I’m not going to let affect his 2018 value. Spend the pick elsewhere.
John Di Bari (@dibari22): Don’t – Edmonds is a small school guy, and was a 4th round pick, so it’s not as if the Cardinals have a ton invested at this point. Already on the roster is Elijhaa Penny who can be used as a short yardage thumper and don’t forget about last year’s 5th round pick T.J. Logan, who was one of the faster running backs clocking a 4.37 40-yard dash time. Logan is a solid receiver and can sub in for Johnson on 3rd downs if need be. Until we see more from Edmonds, he’s not even on my radar at this point as a handcuff or otherwise, as he’s not even locked in as the handcuff at this point.
Roster any of the quarterbacks drafted in the 1st round?
Shaun Crandall (@WhiskeyD0G): Don’t – The enticement to draft one of the five quarterbacks taken shouldn’t be enough for you to do so. Though each has the possibility to unseat the projected starter on their respective teams, it’s unlikely anyone has the season Deshaun Watson had in 2017. Let someone else draft Lamar Jackson, who has the highest ceiling in 2018 among the group.
Logan Whaley (@_edubaseball): Do It – To caveat, the only two rookie quarterbacks I believe are roster worthy are Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen, simply based on landing spot. I could be completely off-base here with my thought process, but out of everyone in their current situations as rookies, Mayfield and Rosen will seem to have the highest upside to me. Please hear me that I am not discounting Lamar Jackson; he simply has an already established quarterback in front of him this season. Despite the rumblings from Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson that Mayfield will sit behind Tyrod Taylor, I struggle to believe that this will actually be the case. In my mind, Baker Mayfield is already better than Tyrod Taylor and Mayfield should make the decision to start him an easy one for Hue come training camp.
Josh Rosen, meanwhile, is in a perfect scenario, in my opinion. Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert, and Matt Barkley dominate the depth chart, however with the cunningness of Rosen, and his ability and drive to get in and immediately get to work, I struggle to believe he won’t be starting day one. David Johnson should help Rosen’s production as a strong pass-catcher as well, especially if Rosen finds himself in trouble out of the snap.
Kyle August (@kyleFFfellas): Don’t – If you’re in a keeper league that uses round penalties as keeper value, then go for it. But if you haven’t done so already, jump in a mock draft. Unless you’re in a Superflex league, you’ll find that there are players with far more upside at the position that will more than likely go undrafted come August. For example, as of now, Prescott, Carr, Mariota, and Winston are all going outside the top 15 at the position. I’d rather take a shot on those guys than the rookie crop.
John Di Bari (@dibari22): Do It – In redraft, I always try to wait on drafting quarterbacks as late as reasonably possible and I’ll never draft more than one. As of today, none of them are going to be day one starters, so if that is still the case, then I’ll be avoiding them. But, with questionable players ahead of all of them, there’s a real chance at least two of them might be starters Week 1. If any of them (Mayfield or Rosen in particular) are named starters heading into the year, I’ll happily fill out my roster with running backs and wide receivers and grab one of them around the 14th round or later. If they flop, I’ll just stream off of waivers all year or trade for someone else with the depth I was able to build by waiting so long on a quarterback.
Spend an early pick on Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II?
Shaun Crandall (@WhiskeyD0G): Do It – The fantasy community has been optimistic at the potential production of a Bucs running back since the departure of veteran Doug Martin. Considering the lack of free agency signings at the position, whichever rookie drafted by the team was going to be thought of as an immediate producer. Jones will be that in 2018. Jacquizz Rodgers will be in on passing situations for his receiving and pass blocking abilities, however, Jones should see nearly 200 carries this year with goal-line opportunities.
Logan Whaley (@_edubaseball): Do It – The departure of the muscle hamster Doug Martin is a huge boon for Ronald Jones II. Jones can now come in and hopefully establish himself as the lead back out of the gate. Jacquizz Rodgers is still in Tampa, however, Jones II should compete immediately and is worth a back-end pick-up in all formats.
Kyle August (@kyleFFfellas): Do It – Tampa Bay was one of a few landing spots people had circled as an ideal situation for a rookie RB to come in and have an instant fantasy impact. Unlike with Chubb, Jones is entering a backfield that is very limited on competition. I had Jones as the RB6 or 7 coming into the draft, but with this landing spot, he could compete to be the 2nd or 3rd best rookie RB this season. I have no issue spending a late 3rd or 4th rounder on him.
John Di Bari (@dibari22): Don’t – I loved the landing spot and couldn’t wait to see who was going to get drafted there and shoot up my rookie boards. Sadly, it was USC’s Ronald Jones II. Jones was one of the few players that are on my do not draft board (at their given ADP). I just don’t see what everybody else sees in him. I’ll have no shares of him in any leagues at all this year. It might burn me, but I’ll stick to my guns and live with the consequences. I think he falls flat in Tampa and they take another running back early within the next two years after they fire awful Dirk Koetter.
Draft one of the 1st or 2nd round tight ends (Hayden Hurst, Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert)?
Shaun Crandall (@WhiskeyD0G): Don’t – The narratives have been written numerous times on rookie tight ends. Regardless of the fact that Hayden Hurst will be 25 when the season starts, his age and maturity will not fast-track success in his rookie season. Let others draft them and take the likes of George Kittle, Cameron Brate, or Tyler Eifert.
Logan Whaley (@_edubaseball): Do It – My belief here could be contrarian, but because the tight end position can be such a replacement level position in fantasy football, taking a chance on uber-athletic rookies with amazing landing spots makes it worth it to me to take a guy like Mike Gesicki or Dallas Goedert. As Gesicki is in Miami, and Goedert is in Philadelphia, the landing spots couldn’t have been better as far as rookie tight ends are concerned. The departures of Julius Thomas and Trey Burton will respectively give Gesicki a ton of opportunity share, as well as allow Goedert to see production. For the record, I am much higher on Gesicki than Goedert moving into the season, however these are the two who I will look for at value in drafts.
Kyle August (@kyleFFfellas): Don’t – Let some else make the mistake. TE will be a crapshoot again in 2018, but rarely do we see a rookie TE have an impact year one. I know we’ve had rookies show up big the last couple seasons, but those appear to be the exception to the rule if you keep looking back on history. I don’t think that any of these guys are elite talents, and while I liked Hurst’s potential after Round 1, the selection of Mark Andrews later in the draft muddies things a bit in Baltimore for me.
John Di Bari (@dibari22): Do It (Only Gesicki) – I refuse to waste draft capital on tight ends. The top three guys are overpriced and unless you get Gronk, Kelce, or Ertz, there is no real difference between the next 9-12 guys. I’m a big proponent of streaming tight ends, so based on an early season match-up, I’d have no problem taking Gesicki as my early season streamer as the Dolphins open the season against the Titans and Jets who both allowed nearly 12 fantasy points to opposing tight ends. I’ll cut him after that and find someone with a better matchup in Week 3. Goedert is buried behind the aforementioned Ertz, and Hurst was over-drafted and is a lesser prospect that Mark Andrews who was also selected by the Ravens later in the draft.
Participate in the Patriots’ RBBC madness and draft running back Sony Michel?
Shaun Crandall (@WhiskeyD0G): Do It – It appears the Patriots may look to become a more run-heavy team this year, and decrease the 55.9% pass plays in 2017 as New England spent their first 1st round pick on offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (replacing Nate Solder), allowing Dion Lewis to leave in free agency, and adding Jeremy Hill. That would leave swiss-army knife Rex Burkhead and Hill as the only obstacles for Michel, who is a versatile back. I don’t expect Hill to contribute much this year, if he remains on the roster, and Michel to take on the type of workload that would make him an RB2 in 2018.
Logan Whaley (@_edubaseball): Do It – As frustrating as we all have been in the last handful of years with running backs in Bill Belichick’s offense, I believe Sony Michel could actually make an impact this season. As Michel was a first round selection for the Patriots, despite the likes of Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill, I struggle to believe that he won’t be instantly integrated as the possible starter. Michel just seems like such a pure rusher with no strings for Belichick to pull, and I feel he will get excellent opportunity, especially with the departure of Dion Lewis. I would look for him as an complimentary depth option this season.
Kyle August (@kyleFFfellas) – Do It – Unlike with Chubb, I’m not as confident that Michel will be worth his draft day price tag this season. If we’re talking value, I’d like to take a lotto ticket on whoever is going later in drafts between Michel and Burkhead. Despite the common narrative that the New England backfield is a mess that fantasy owners should just avoid, the Patriots have produced an RB1 each of the last two seasons. So with that, I’m fine taking the high upside pick, as long as the price tag is reasonable.
John Di Bari (@dibari22): Don’t – I summed up my feelings in a tweet on draft day when I saw the Patriots select Sony Michel. I’m not falling for it. In redraft, I steer clear of murky situations, and with Michel coming into the fold already filled with recently re-signed Rex Burkhead and new signee Jeremy Hill plus incumbent James White and last year’s free agent darling (and disappointment) Mike Gillislee I’m not interested at all. In best ball leagues, he might be worth a flier, but I’m not playing the “guess who the Patriots are using this week” game in my non-best ball leagues.