The 2017 NFL Draft will begin on April 27. This will be an important time for fantasy football because it will determine the value of every rookie in the league. A talented rookie can have a lot of value in fantasy football if they go to the right team, but they can also be worthless if they spend most of the year as a backup. These are the best fantasy fits for five of the top players entering the NFL this year.
Almost everyone agrees that Deshaun Watson is the best quarterback in the draft this year. While quarterbacks often struggled in their rookie season, Watson has enough speed to make up for a few poor throws. Watson can turn into a solid fantasy quarterback this year, but he needs to get drafted by the Jets. New York has shown they will stick with a struggling young quarterback. They also have several big targets for Watson to hit. If Watson slips in the draft, then he will likely spend 2017 as a backup.
Ezekiel Elliott’s success last year will help Leonard Fournette get selected with an early pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Fournette will have the best chance to succeed if he is selected by the Carolina Panthers. They may Jonathan Stewart on their roster right now, but Carolina loves to use multiple running backs to move the ball down the field. Carolina’s power running scheme is perfect for Fournette’s game, which is expected to translate perfectly for fantasy football production. No reason to worry about a poor combine. Leonard Fournette is nearly unstoppable on the football field.
There are three great wide receivers in the draft this year. The Buffalo Bills are the first team that is desperate for a receiver, and they would be foolish to pass on Mike Williams. This would allow them to pair a physical receiver opposite of Sammy Watkins. Mike Williams has the skills to succeed anywhere, but playing with Sammy Watkins is going to let him exploit single coverage all season.
John Ross is another one of the great wide receivers in the year’s draft. While he can easily be selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 10th overall pick, falling eight picks to the Tennessee Titans will be great for fantasy football owners. Ross’s speed and big play ability is something the Titans desperately need on their team right now. Ross can easily take a short pass from Marcus Mariota and turn it into a huge gain. Replicating his 81 receptions and 1,150 receiving yards from college last year should not be hard with Mariota feeding him the ball.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be able to compete for a playoff spot this year if they can find a running back. Doug Martin’s four-game suspension leaves the team without a proven player at the position. Dalvin Cook may be getting overshadowed by Leonard Fournette, but he still scored 46 touchdowns during his three seasons at Florida State. If Tampa Bay uses Dalvin Cook as a workhorse back, then he will be near the top of the NFL rushing list in his rookie season.
Each player mentioned here has some serious upside potential, so let’s hope they land on teams that are ready for them to make a splash right away. A strong rookie season can set these guys up for serious contracts in which they’ll make more in a year than most of us could hope to make in a lifetime, even if we hit the lottery.