With a new crop of NFL talent, comes questions about their fantasy value in the upcoming season. In fantasy football we are biased to the offensive players, so we’ll focus on that side of the ball here. Let’s look at the fantasy value of some of the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends selected in rounds two and three of the 2017 NFL Draft.
DeShone Kizer: Cleveland Browns
The Browns may have their quarterback of the future. Kizer has the tools to be a great quarterback but is far from ready. Without much competition in his way, a strong camp from Kizer could win him the starting job. With David Njoku, Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman, Kizer has some weapons to work with. Still, more of a dynasty league pick, Kizer’s potential as a fantasy quarterback is in future seasons.
Dalvin Cook: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings may have replaced Adrian Peterson with the running back of their future. Cook was a first-round talent but slipped due to injury and character concerns. Latavius Murray signed with the Vikings in the offseason, but his contract structure and Cook’s drafting suggests he could be looking for a new team next season. Cook is a three-down back, who can hit a home run with every touch. He will end up as the lead back in this offense which would like to run the ball and offers top-25 upside.
Joe Mixon: Cincinnati Bengals
There was never any question about Mixon’s talent, and the Bengals are a team that primarily value talent. Jeremy Hill has been inconsistent and his contract is up following this season. Mixon will overtake him as the lead back, with his three-down ability. Giovanni Bernard will get third down reps but Mixon should see 15-18 touches per game, giving him top-25 upside.
Alvin Kamara: New Orleans Saints
Kamara continued the trend of teams drafting running backs after signing veterans in the offseason. With Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson on the roster, Kamara doesn’t figure to be guaranteed a lot of touches in his rookie year. His role will be on third down and pass situations, but in New Orleans that could be a lot.
D’Onta Foreman: Houston Texans
Lamar Miller was very consistent in his first season in Houston, but struggled to get in the end zone. Foreman offers a bruising, goal line back who can punch it in and can spell Miller to ensure he doesn’t slow down like last season. Foreman could see 8-12 carries per game and will be a touchdown vulture. With Miller’s injury history, he’s a strong handcuff candidate.
Zay Jones: Buffalo Bills
With reports that Sammy Watkins’ fifth-year option won’t be picked up, the Bills needed to add an offensive weapon and did so with Jones. With 399 receptions in four years, Jones is a sure-handed target for Taylor. With the exit of Robert Woods as well, 50-60 catches are available for Jones. If Watkins’ injury history continues, he could elevate to the top wideout spot and be a must start.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Pittsburgh Steelers
Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers, Markus Wheaton all failed to step up and fill the void of Martavis Bryant last season. Smith-Schuster could dominate the slot in Pittsburgh and adds another talented weapon for Big Ben. Even in an explosive offense like the Steelers, they have a lot of depth at wide receiver. Smith-Schuster is worth a late-round flier and if Bryant is suspended again, he could be a top-30 receiver.
Chris Godwin: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston continues to be the big winner this offseason. Adding Godwin to DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans, OJ Howard and Cameron Brate is great for Tampa Bay but not for Godwin. With so many weapons at his disposal, Winston won’t be forced to stare down Mike Evans anymore and will spread the ball around. Godwin doesn’t offer top 50 wide receiver upside and shouldn’t be rostered.
Curtis Samuel: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers selected the most versatile player in the draft in round one, Christian McCaffrey. In round two they may have selected the second most versatile. Samuel was used in a very similar way to McCaffrey but projects to fill the slot wide receiver role vacated by Ted Ginn. Samuel is a playmaker with game-breaking speed but may not have enough of a defined role to be someone you can trust in fantasy.
Gerald Everett: Los Angeles Rams
Apparently blocking has become optional from the tight end position in the NFL. Everett figures to play the role of Jordan Reed in Sean McVay’s offense with the Rams. Jared Goff could use a big red zone target and Everett provides that. Joining the three first round tight ends, Everett is worth a look later in drafts but Jared Goff hasn’t proven he can provide consistent play yet.
Adam Shaheen: Chicago Bears
If you’re drafting a quarterback who needs to develop why not get him a massive tight end to develop with? Shaheen is 6’6 and stop me if you’ve heard this before… is a former basketball player. Zach Miller turns 33 during the season and with Alshon Jeffrey no longer in Chicago, a lot of targets are up for grabs. Mike Glennon could be checking the ball down a lot and eventually, Trubisky may see the field and will need a security blanket. Shaheen will be a popular sleeper pick in drafts but tight end will be full of boom/bust options late in drafts.