As the NFL and fantasy world welcomes a new exciting class of rookies to the game, it’s important to take a look at the veterans that will be affected. There is a finite amount of snaps, carries, and targets to go around, and each rookie who sees the field will be impacting a veteran. Now that the landing spots for the 2018 rookie class are clear, it’s time to take a look at some veterans who should find themselves downgraded headed into 2018.
A.J. McCarron, QB, Buffalo Bills
A.J. McCarron was the last quarterback standing after the game of free agent musical chairs before the draft, so his fantasy value may not have been through the roof, to begin with. While McCarron may be the assumed starter in Buffalo, Josh Allen, and his big arm, will be battling for the starting job, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he won the job sooner than later.
Curtis Samuel, WR, Carolina Panthers
Samuel was never able to capitalize on opportunities in his rookie season in 2017, catching only 15 passes for 115 yards. While he looks to take a step forward in 2018, he has to deal with veteran speedster Torrey Smith. On top of that, the Panthers used their first-round draft pick on receiver DJ Moore, further burying Samuel on the depth chart.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta spent their first round pick on Calvin Ridley, widely regarded as the top receiver in the 2018 class. Sanu had been the number two option behind Julio Jones in Atlanta, but it would appear that Ridley will take over that role. Sanu should still have some value as a slot receiver, as he lined up in the slot nearly 45% of the time in 2017, but his overall value takes a hit with the arrival of Ridley.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos
Sanders saw a dip in production during his injury-plagued 2017 season, and now the veteran will have the second round pick Courtland Sutton eating into his target share. Demaryius Thomas will likely be less affected, but Sutton’s arrival due to his red zone prowess, and the rookie out of SMU is sure to see his share of targets in 2018.
JJ Nelson, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona parted ways with both John Brown and Jaron Brown this past offseason, leaving JJ Nelson as the presumptive number two receiver behind legend Larry Fitzgerald. After selecting their quarterback of the future with Josh Rosen in the first round, Arizona grabbed Christian Kirk from Texas A&M in the second round. Kirk should be an ideal number two receiver in Arizona, which will severely hurt Nelson’s prospects of being a true number two receiver in 2018.
Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay receiving depth chart was crowded and a bit unclear before the draft. Allison appeared to be the leader for increased targets this season, but with the Packers using three late round picks on receivers the depth chart is just as murky as ever behind top dog Davante Adams.
Chris Carson/Mike Davis, RB, Seattle
Chris Carson looked like a promising rookie in 2017 until he lost the majority of his season to injury, and Mike Davis came on strong at the end of the season. They both figured to battle for the bulk of Seattle’s carries until the Seahawks used their first-round pick on Rashaad Penny, who will be given every opportunity to be the Seahawks lead back in 2018.
Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants
It should be pretty obvious that Gallman will be the odd man out with the arrival of stud running back Saquon Barkley. Veteran Jonathan Stewart will retain some value as a short yardage and goalline back, but Gallman will be relegated to a pure backup role. With Barley’s arrival and his elite receiving ability tight end Evan Engram may actually see fewer targets as well in 2018.
New England Patriots Running Backs
You never know what you’re going to get with New England’s backfield. The fact that they were willing to spend a first-round pick on running back Sony Michel should signal that they plan to use the talented back out of Georgia, stealing some value from veteran backs Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee, and Jeremy Hill.
Carlos Hyde, RB, Cleveland Browns
While the Browns decidedly passed on Saquon Barkley with the top pick of the first round, they used the third pick in round two to select Georgia running back Nick Chubb. The powerful running back from Georgia will compete all season with Hyde, and is likely to snipe a few goalline touchdowns from the former 49er.
Peyton Barber/Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Both Barber and Rodgers shined when given opportunity in 2017, with Barber appearing to be the top candidate for the lead back role in 2018 if the Bucs didn’t add to the backfield. However, Tampa used their second-round pick to select Ronald Jones out of USC, who should immediately step into the starting role.
Ameer Abdullah,RB, Detroit Lions
Abdullah is another example of a talented prospect that was never able to take the reigns of a backfield when given ample opportunity. Detroit traded up in round two to select Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson, which would appear to be the final nail in Abdullah’s fantasy coffin. Johnson will seemingly be the workhorse back, while Theo Riddick plays the role of pass catcher and LeGarrette Blount handes short yardage and goalline situations.
Samaje Perine, RB, Washington Redskins
Perine, a fourth-round pick in 2017, wasn’t able to impress when given ample opportunity in 2017. Derrius Guice fell into Washington’s lap near the end of the second round. While Chris Thompson will hold value as a pass-catching back, Perine and Rob Kelley will likely fall behind the talented Guice on the depth chart.
Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos
When C.J. Anderson found himself released in mid-April, Devontae Booker seemed like a lock to take over in Denver. The Broncos selected Oregon running back Royce Freeman in the third round, however, and the explosive former Duck will be pushing Booker for touches in 2018.