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NFL Draft 2018 - First Round Reaction


Well, I said it was going to be a wild draft and it did not disapoint. 2018 had twists and turns around every corner. There were unexpected players to plummet, several trades that caught us off guard and some picks we may question for years to come. From a fantasy football standpoint, this could have been one of the most frustrating drafts I can remember in quite some time.

Breaking down the first round won’t be easy. It could be a few years before we truly know the outcome of picks one through 32. We saw a record four quarterbacks go in the top 10 this year before turning to a defensive focus and only 11 offensive players were taken in the first round.

I have a feeling most of our mock drafts were much like our March Madness bracket… busted. Nevertheless, let's see what kind of fallout is already taking place in the fantasy world after the 2018 NFL Draft.

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NFL Draft - Round 1 Reaction

I have to hand it to the Browns, because they finally made the right decision. I have always believed Baker Mayfield is the QB1 in this draft. He has everything I want in a QB, will have a ton of weapons around him and there is no controversy. Tyrod Taylor will be the starting QB this season and then Mayfield will take over next season. This couldn’t have been a more perfect situation for him. The Browns have only been perfect one other time and, well, it wasn’t actually perfect. Mayfield holds almost no value in 2018, but beyond he has the ceiling of a top five QB and the floor of a low end QB1.

Saquon Barkley will be the best offensive player in this draft before it’s all said and done and he drops into a really good offense. Luckily for Barkley, the Giants also decided to add to the offensive line. This is no surprise, but Barkley will have the opportunity to be a RB1 this season in that offense. If the line is truly improved, then Barkley shouldn’t have any issues.

Sam Darnold goes to the Jets with the third overall pick, which I anticipated being used on Mayfield if he was there. We will see Darnold by the end of the season, but I don’t think he can reach QB1 status anytime soon. The Jets just don’t have as many playmakers on offense as I would like. Robby Anderson, who is the Jets best offensive weapon, is in the middle of a sticky legal situation. Darnold is one of the last rookie QBs I am interested in for dynasty leagues. I would rather use that pick on another QB with more upside that I may have to wait longer on.

The only other QB I may want less than Darnold is Josh Allen, who goes to the Bills at seven overall. The Bills are going to rush Allen which will be horrible for his growth process. He needs time and that’s something the front office or the fans won’t give him. I don’t want any Allen shares on my fantasy teams. Don’t be sucked in by the amazing arm strength. When he is playing in bad weather during the season, it’s going to make his accuracy issues even worse. Hard pass for me.

I love Josh Rosen’s landing spot. This is the only rookie QB I would add in redraft formats right away and is one of my top dynasty QBs as well. He gets to play with one of the best running backs in the game and a hall of fame receiver. Rosen will make an impact in 2018 and beyond. Plus, who doesn’t love a QB with a chip on his shoulder.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was in DJ Moore landing in Carolina. I will break this pick down further in my #TrendingNow article coming out next week, but to give you a quick breakdown, Cam Newton will not support this many fantasy weapons. I would be okay owning Moore in a dynasty league if I have the ability and patience to wait a couple years, but I see no immediate impact here. I will forever curse the Cowboys for passing on him.

The Ravens decided it was time to beef up their TEs with the selection of Hayden Hurst at 25th overall. I don’t believe buying into rookie TEs, but Hurst could have some sneaky value as a bye-week fill in. I don’t see a TE1 season coming in 2018, but if the Ravens receivers just don’t turn out to be as good as they hope, Hurst could steal some of that. The long term question is how Hurst fits into a Lamar Jackson offense.

As down as I was on Calvin Ridley heading into the season, I am right back up. I don’t think he could have landed in a more perfect position. This pick actually moved Ridley back up in front of Moore on my boards, but the key is where Ridley will play. If the Falcons play him in the slot as much as possible, he has the potential for some WR3 with WR2 upside in PPR leagues. If they play him outside more often, you could be looking at only a flex play most weeks. Regardless though, this was the pick needed to save Ridley’s value. He’s a mid-first round selection in dynasty leagues and will be a late round steal in redraft leagues.

There was only one other player I loved in this draft more than Rashaad Penny, so I couldn’t have been happier with this pick. Penny is going to be a volume monster in 2018. Yeah, I understand the Seahawks have issues with the line, but the Seahawks would not have made this bold pick if they truly didn’t believe Penny was a difference maker. He is going to start, he is going to play and he is going to be fantastic. In PPR leagues, Penny has so much RB2 upside.

As much as I loved Penny’s landing spot, I hated it for Sonny Michel. However, in redraft leagues, I am all over Michel if I can get him at the right price. The Patriots are going to do something they are known for here, use up Michel as much as possible in the first couple of seasons and then trade him before the knees become a worry. The Patriots backfield is always an unknown each week which will limit Michel in some capacity, but as long as he doesn’t put the ball on the ground too many times, he should see decent volume in 2018.

The pick with the most upside in the first round is Lamar Jackson. He has the upside of the QB1 and a top dynasty asset. You are going to have to wait awhile to see what comes of this. It’s going to be at least a couple of years if not longer before Jackson unseats a healthy Joe Flacco, but it could be spectacular when it finally happens. He has so much potential through the air and on the ground that he may reach Russell Wilson status or higher. In the same breath, he could be one of the worst first round picks in history. There are a lot of concerns, but it is worth taking a flyer in dynasty leagues and waiting on his time.

 

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