From identifying draft-day values/busts all offseason to the start/sit and waiver-wire advice to lead you to the playoffs, the Redraft Roundtable has you covered. All year Anthony Zaragoza, Mitch Lawson, Aaron Larson, Michael Stephenson, and John DiBari answer all the questions that have the fantasy football community abuzz. Have a specific fantasy football issue you want to be addressed? Tweet your questions to @DFF_Redraft or any of our Roundtable experts using #RedraftRoundtable. Today, we share our impressions of the recent NFL Draft and pinpoint players at each position who have the potential to make an instant impact this season for their respective teams.
Which Quarterback drafted are you most excited about and why?
Anthony Zaragoza: Josh Allen. Along with Sam Darnold, Allen will be a bonafide starter week one of the 2018 season. The Browns can start Tyrod Taylor, allowing Baker Mayfield time to adjust to the NFL life. Josh Rosen is in a great situation in Arizona but they acquired Sam Bradford this off-season on a one year deal. Thus, Allen has the best chance of starting the most games from this rookie group.
Mitch Lawson: Josh Rosen is who I’m looking at in redraft as he’s in the best position to produce this year. Sam Bradford is going to put up such a small amount of competition that I wouldn’t be surprised if Rosen was the full-fledged starter come Week 1. Bradford’s $20 million contract with $15 million guaranteed will be the only roadblock. But the Cardinals signed that 1 year deal not knowing for sure who they would get in the draft. With Christian Kirk added to the mix and veteran Larry Fitzgerald at his disposal, plus Ricky Seals-Jones likely taking a step forward in production, plus the return of a healthy David Johnson, Rosen is primed for a decent season.
Michael Stephenson: It has to be Josh Rosen for me, Sam Bradford is not known for his ability to play 16 games in a season, and even if healthy Rosen has a chance to beat him out for the job. Looking at the weapons he will have in Arizona, he has one of the safest pair of hands in the game in Larry Fitzgerald, and one of the most dynamic pass-catching backs in the league to check the ball down to in David Johnson. Fitz and DJ will allow him to build his confidence early and he’ll go from strength to strength.
Aaron Larson: Josh Rosen was already high on my radar headed into the draft, and he landed in a great spot after Arizona traded up to select him with the tenth overall pick. Sam Bradford should begin the season as the starter, but the Cardinals aren’t likely to win many games. If (when) Bradford gets injured Arizona will likely turn to the rookie, who will be able to lean on future Hall-of-Famer Larry Fitzgerald.
John DiBari: I’m obsessed with Baker Mayfield, and I have no doubt that if the Browns are truly going to have an open competition at the position in camp to name a starter that Mayfield opens the season under center. He comes in with a strong offensive line, tons of weapons in the passing game with Landry, Gordon, Coleman, Higgins, Callaway and Njoku plus Hyde, Johnson and Chubb in the backfield too. If he can’t succeed, it’s hard to blame anyone but the coaching staff.
Which Running Back drafted are you most excited about and why?
Anthony Zaragoza: Saquon Barkley is the obvious choice here. But if I had to pick the next running back I’m very excited for, I’m going with Kerryon Johnson. The Lions coaching staff tried the Ameer Abdullah project for three years now and each year the former Nebraska Husker has failed to live up to that featured back role. This season, you can insert Johnson. Johnson did it all for Auburn last season. The 2017 SEC Offensive Player of the Year dominated in his two regular-season games against Georgia and Alabama in 2017, two defenses full of NFL talent. Johnson should have no issues beating out Abdullah for the starting job next season and will split third down responsibilities with Theo Riddick. The potential is there for Johnson.
Mitch Lawson: Saquon Barkley. I know I’m supposed to go for a deeper play here and suggest Guice, Penny or Jones…But I can’t deny the talent he has and the position he is in to succeed. He will step into 3-down work and he is going to be playing behind a vastly improved Giants O-Line. The Giants should be greatly improved on offense in 2018 with OBJ fully healthy and Evan Engram slated to continue his dominance. Barkley is my no-doubter pick here, and he should be an RB1 right out of the gate. He’s well worth a back-end first-round pick in redraft.
Michael Stephenson: Royce Freeman. Freeman was one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft and I’m still not sure why he wasn’t higher up more people’s boards going in. He could not have landed in a much better situation, with only Devontae Booker and D’Angelo Henderson to contend with you have to expect a massive workload from week 1. While the Broncos don’t have the best O-Line, when it comes to run blocking they rank 9th overall according to footballoutsiders.com. The Broncos ran the ball 457 times in 2017, and C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles leave 314 of those carries up for grabs. Freeman is a beast and he is going to be a massive value this year – RB2 floor.
Aaron Larson: I know Saquon Barkley is the higher pick and will likely be the top performing rookie ball carrier in 2018, but I’m most excited about Ronald Jones II. Jones will go much later in fantasy drafts than Barkley and I think he could produce nearly as many points. He should step right in as the every-down back in Tampa and has home run potential every time he touches the ball. Go ahead and overdraft Barkley, give me the value of Jones.
John DiBari: The easy answer is Barkley, and although I wanted to look elsewhere, I can’t do it. I loved Detroit and Tampa Bay as landing spots, but I wasn’t fans of Kerryon Johnson or Ronald Jones II coming into the draft and their landing spots did nothing to change my mind. So, I guess I’m going with Barkley. Opposing teams can’t key in on him as they have to defend OBJ and Engram, and the offensive line should be slightly improved.
Which Wide Receiver drafted are you most excited about and why?
Anthony Zaragoza: I really want to pick Calvin Ridley but DJ Moore has the better opportunity at targets in Carolina. Ridley will need to fight with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu at wide receiver next season. No easy task for any rookie wideout. Moore on the other hand can already be penciled in at WR #2 for the Panthers this season. And with Devin Funchess the only guy ahead of him, the former Maryland Terrapin could have some sleeper appeal in 2018.
Mitch Lawson: Calvin Ridley was one of my favorite WRs coming into the draft and he ended up with the Falcons. Sure it’s crowded in Atlanta, bet I think Ridley will still be a performer. Matt Ryan has been a 4,500+ yard QB and he can be again. The best case scenario would be Ridley lining up as the outside receiver opposite Julio, with Sanu moving into a slot receiver role. This is something I can definitely see happening, as Ridley has the speed and route-running ability to operate as an outside receiver. Both Julio and Sanu are entering their age-29 season and could be a touch more susceptible to injuries. If you’re into following the rumor mill, there’s also Julio’s Instagram controversy to consider. In my mind, Ridley’s a WR4 for now, with the potential to be a WR2 if his 2018 season has a positive storyline.
Michael Stephenson: While I think DJ Moore has the most defined role from day 1, I’m going full homer with ESB! Equanimeous St.Brown is a rare combination of tall and athletic, 6’5’’ with a 71st percentile speed score. He was touted by many as a 2nd/3rd round talent so the Packers nabbing him in the 7th was a steal. There are a lot of Aaron Rodgers passes to go around, and if ESB sees as little as 4 targets a game he could be a relevant WR3, I will be spending a lot of late-round picks on him this year.
Aaron Larson: I may be reaching a bit here, but I love the upside of Equanimeous St. Brown on the Packers. I can’t believe the tall, talented receiver from Notre Dame fell all the way to the sixth round of the NFL draft. He’ll have to prove himself in camp and the preseason, but if he does he’ll get to share the field with Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham. We all know Aaron Rodgers will spread the ball around and throw plenty of touchdowns, and it wouldn’t shock me if St. Brown caught his fair share of them. Even in redraft leagues, I could see myself taking a late flyer on St. Brown.
John DiBari: For redraft, you’ve got to love DJ Moore. He is immediately the best receiver not named Greg Olsen in Carolina and is fantasy viable from day 1. I wouldn’t expect true fantasy WR1 numbers in his rookie campaign, but I think he can be fantasy relevant as a bye week fill-in as a WR3 with WR2 upside.
Which Tight End drafted are you most excited about and why?
Anthony Zaragoza: No tight ends from this year’s draft stand out to me, but if I have to pick one, my money is on Mike Gesicki. He’s in the best situation to see the most targets from the rookie tight ends and could even be the red zone guy in Miami. Gesicki is not a TE1 this season but could prove to be a nice late round pick for injuries or bye weeks.
Mitch Lawson: To be honest, I’m not that “excited” for any of these rookie TEs in redraft. The obvious pick is Mike Gesicki, as he’ll be the most likely to produce a fantasy-relevant season. He’ll join a Dolphins receiving corps that has 112 targets up for grabs that Landry leaves behind. Hayden Hurst will be a starter in Baltimore but his value isn’t going to be there unless Jackson is the starter, something I don’t think will happen until at least the second half of 2018. Bottom line; I don’t see myself drafting a rookie Tight End in my redraft leagues, but if you want to take a late-round flier, Gesicki is your guy.
Michael Stephenson: Mike Gesicki is the only one of this year’s rookies with a clear shot at starting from week 1, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews are in direct competition and Dallas Goedert is sat behind a guaranteed top 5 fantasy TE. There are a lot of void targets in Miami and Gesicki is an absolute freak of an athlete so he wins by default, but I expect there to be exactly zero Rookie TEs in any of my teams in 2018.
Aaron Larson: If Baltimore had drafted only Hayden Hurst or Mark Andrews I would’ve picked him. Unfortunately, the Ravens muddied up the issue by selecting both, so all of my excitement goes to combine standout Mike Gesicki. The former Penn State tight end has all the measurables you could hope for in a tight end, and will likely step right into the starting role. Gesicki will see plenty of targets and has a good chance to be Miami’s number one red zone option, so if I’m taking a tight end in redraft it’s going to be Gesicki.
John DiBari: Rookie tight ends are terrible for fantasy. Once we get past that, Mike Gesicki landed in a great spot and is the only one of these rookies I’m willing to use in year 1. He’s got minimal competition at the position for targets, although he will lose snaps in the running game as he is a work in progress at this point as far as blocking is concerned. I can’t imagine him finishing the year any higher than TE20, so my expectations are low, but he does have the athleticism to be a factor in the red zone from day 1 and could eat up a bunch of the short yardage targets vacated by the departure of Jarvis Landry.