Fantasy Football

2018 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Winners and Losers

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We are more than a week removed from the 2018 NFL draft and with some hindsight, it was quite the eventful draft. Five quarterbacks were drafted in the first round for only the third time ever and the first since 1999. Roger Goodell tried to get cute and go on stage with the hometown Cowboys to avoid booing, only to get booed even louder. Jaire Alexander looking like the happiest man alive when his teammate Lamar Jackson was drafted by the Ravens.

But the best moment of the night was Ryan Shazier presenting the Steelers’ first-round pick. A great football player, but an even better person, it was good to see Shazier in positive spirits and making progress.

Hopefully, each NFL team will draft a guy who can impact their franchise like Shazier. Unfortunately, that might not be the case and it’s up to us to be critical. Here are the 2018 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Winners and Losers!


2018 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Winners and Losers

Winners

The New York Jets

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I hate when somebody does something stupid but is then rewarded with a good result. That’s exactly what happened with the Jets. They made a terrible trade and gave up a ton to jump to pick three. Not only were they not even guaranteed their pick of the litter, but it didn’t seem like they were competing with anybody to move up that high.

In the end, they were rewarded with the guy many thought was the safest in the draft – Sam Darnold. Just adding a potential franchise quarterback makes them one of the biggest winners of the draft.

According to Rotoworld’s Rich Hribar, no matter what we hear from the Jets staff, we should expect to see Darnold starting this season.

Even this year, if Darnold starts, the Jets will be better on offense. They can’t count on 38 year-old Josh McCown or Teddy Bridgewater to stay healthy. Darnold will be able to make some plays to guys like Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, who could each be sneaky-good options – especially Anderson. In the long run, Jets fans should hope that Darnold ends up being better than another USC quarterback who landed with Gang Green – Mark Sanchez.

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts/Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

There’s still a ton of mystery surrounding Andrew Luck’s situation, so maybe Jacoby Brissett is the winner here. Either way, the Colts did their quarterback a huge favor by drafting Quinten Nelson, who pretty much everybody agrees will be an all-Pro level guard. They also added guard Braden Smith in the second round and some intriguing late-round dart throws at the skill positions in RBs Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins and WRs Daurice Fountain and Deon Cain.

If Luck can get past his injury woes, he’ll be set up to continue putting up QB1 numbers.

The Giants made a strong statement of support of Eli Manning not by what they did do, but by what they didn’t. They passed on multiple of the top quarterback prospects to draft Saquon Barkley. They also didn’t pick another quarterback until the fourth round, Kyle Lauletta. So it looks like the Giants intend to move forward with Eli.

Barkley will surely take pressure off Manning with his playmaking ability and will also be a good target for him out of the backfield. The Giants also drafted G Will Hernandez and brought in T Nate Solder earlier this offseason. All of this will ease Manning back into a role where he doesn’t have to do so much.

Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins

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Jones and Guice landed in near-perfect situations. Jones is my early pick to finish as the number 2 rookie running back behind Saquon Barkley in fantasy. Not only did he land in a backfield devoid of much competition, but he’s in an explosive offense that can’t key in on him.

The Buccaneers have also been making moves that suggest they want to run the ball more. Jameis Winston is at his worst when he’s forced to make all the plays. Tampa knows this so they’re bolstering their run game. Jones will run behind an offensive line that added nasty run blockers Ryan Jensen and Alex Cappa.

Meanwhile, although Guice slid in the draft amidst concerns of a Fortnite addiction, he landed in a great spot. The Redskins also don’t employ a runner as gifted as he is and should be healthier along the offensive line. Guice is my third ranked rookie runner and could easily flip-flop with Jones at two.

I anticipate both these guys winning the starting job if not by training camp, at least a few games into the season and being mid-to-low end RB2s.

Losers

Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

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I’m not saying Josh Allen isn’t a cool kid or won’t be a good quarterback. He just did not land in an ideal situation for him to thrive this year. The Bills brought in A.J. McCarron, but only paid him backup quarterback money. And based on Rich Hribar’s research above, we should expect Allen to play this year.

He’ll be playing against a stacked deck. The Bills lost two offensive line starters this offseason and have subpar talent at the pass-catching positions. They didn’t address either of these concerns in the draft until rounds five and seven.

The worst part about all of this is that Allen is, by all accounts, a developmental quarterback. He needs an incubator where he can raise his fundamentals to match his physical talents. Instead, he might be thrust into the fire and exposed early on. Even if he sees the field in his first year, he won’t be a fantasy factor.

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys/Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

Two young passers with nothing but upside were not helped at all by their clubs. Prescott and the Cowboys, having already lost Dez Bryant, were later blindsided by the news that Jason Witten was retiring. Michael Gallup should have opportunities as a rookie, but he’s still a rookie.

Prescott already regressed from his excellent rookie year, and it’s hard to imagine Prescott improving as a passer when he went from Bryant and Witten to some combination of Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Cole Beasley, Rico Gathers, and Deonte Thompson.

In the Emerald City, the Seahawks doubled down on their strategy of not protecting Russell Wilson. They used their most valuable pick on the least valuable position (running back) and drafted a punter before an offensive lineman.

Wilson has been running for his life the last couple of years mostly due to the Seahawks’ resistance to using draft capital on offensive linemen and it looks like that won’t change in 2018. Maybe this adds to his output as a runner as he will be forced to scramble more, but it also adds to his injury risk.



Rashaad Penny could easily be penciled in here as a loser as well due to those same offensive line concerns. Not only that, but he’ll have to live up to expectations as a first-round pick when he was widely considered more of a day two prospect.


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About Kevin Huo

Kevin is a fantasy football writer for Fantasy Six Pack. He considers every angle - whether statistical or theoretical - when weighing his options and isn't afraid to be a contrarian. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMHuo

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