I’m watching the 2015 NFL Draft, as any red-blooded American Fantasy Football player should be, and I decided to do up a quick reaction to some of the offensive draft picks.
While I’m not ready to lock in these reactions as gold for the rest of the draft season, I look at these reactions as a starting point for the rest of my rankings – which I’ll actually be working on for a magazine on Sunday.
As we saw last year, rookies can certainly make a big impact in Fantasy Football, although, most of last year’s action came from the wide receiver corps almost exclusively.
While we might have a few break out from this WR class, there’s no chance it comes close to the production of Odell Beckham Jr., Kelvin Benjamin, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Jordan Matthews, Sammy Watkins – and a few others!
2015 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Perspective
I’m just sharing my views on the offensive skill position picks, and not how an offensive lineman will help the running game, or how this linebacker will make this Fantasy DST a top-15 choice.
1.01 Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay
While he’s certainly not draftable, outside of 2-QB leagues, Winston will definitely be a good bye-week replacement in the middle of the season. The talent around him (three 6-foot-5 pass catchers) means he can throw jumpballs all day long, and the Buccaneers will likely be passing a lot again this season.
Positive Fantasy Effect: Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Negative Fantasy Effect: Mike Glennon, Publix Seafood Dept. in Tampa-St. Pete area
— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) May 1, 2015
1.02 Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee
The Titans already had Mettenberger, who was coming back from a knee injury last season, but the Titans felt Mariota was a franchise QB they couldn’t pass up. Either way, Mariota needs some playing time – and then some help from a very inconsistent receiving corps last season – before he’s a Fantasy option. Also, since Bishop Sankey can’t pass protect, a mobile Mariota is his dream come true.
Positive Fantasy Effect: Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter, Delanie Walker, Bishop Sankey
Negative Fantasy Effect: Zach Mettenberger
It won't take long for Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston to square off in the NFL, as the Bucs and Titans play each other in Week 1.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 1, 2015
1.04 Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland
Cris Carter was talking up Cooper as the best WR to enter the draft since Randy Moss during the college football season last fall. He’s probably the most complete receiver, and he joins a young offense on the rise. Derek Carr was the best rookie QB last season, throwing 21 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions, and now he has a superstar to throw to. I had Sammy Watkins as a top-35 WR last year (he finished as a top-25 WR), and that’s about where I have Cooper. The Raiders will be throwing a lot, once again, in 2015.
Positive Fantasy Effect: Derek Carr
Negative Fantasy Effect: James Jones, Andre Holmes, Michael Crabtree
Proposed over/under on Amari Cooper targets this season with the Raiders ONE QUINTILLION.
— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) May 1, 2015
1.07 Kevin White, WR, Chicago
The star of the NFL Combine, White made himself a couple extra million with that long weekend of workouts. He essentially replaces Brandon Marshall in Chicago’s offense, and will serve as Alshon Jeffery’s caddy in Year 1. (Remember, it took Jeffery a year before he became a Fantasy asset.) If the Bears do trade Martellus Bennett, then they’ll need White to pick up some red-zone targets, too.
Positive Fantasy Effect: Jay Cutler
Negative Fantasy Effect: Marquess Wilson
Kevin White measured 6' 2.5" at NFL Combine w/ a 4.35 40. Last player w/ a 40 that fast at that size? Calvin Johnson. pic.twitter.com/1Y75e2iZZf
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 1, 2015
1.10 Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis
It’s crazy to me how the Rams just keep picking running backs relatively early in every draft. How many running backs are they going to run through? Gurley, Tre Mason, Benny Cunningham, Zac Stacy, Isiah Pead, Daryl Richardson, and on and on and on. Gurley is coming back from a torn ACL, and he’s playing behind a pretty bad offensive line, so he might be slow to start the season. I have him as a late RB3.
Positive Fantasy Effect: Girly men in St. Louis that can feel extra manly now.
Negative Fantasy Effect: Tre Mason, Zac Stacy
— theScore (@theScore) May 1, 2015
1.14 Devante Parker, WR, Miami
Parker has decent size and he ran a 4.45 40-yard dash. They were telegraphing this pick for weeks, and they finally got their man. We’ll see how he does in the retooled Dolphins offense that has been built for the passing game. Ryan Tannehill is giggling himself to sleep tonight.
Positive Fantasy Effect: Ryan Tannehill
Negative Fantasy Effect: Greg Jennings
Nice day for a deserving Tannehill: His option gets picked up (duh), and he lands a new weapon in DeVante Parker. Big year ahead for No. 17.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) May 1, 2015
1.15 Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego
He’s healthy. He’s fast. He’s explosive. He’s likely the first rookie from this class going off the draft board in your Fantasy Football league. His hands aren’t the best, however, which makes Danny Woodhead still useful. Let’s figure Gordon as the Week 1 starting tailback in San Diego, which makes me like him as a late RB2, available in Round 3 of 12-team leagues. Marshall Faulk compared him several times to Jamaal Charles, which is definitely an overstatement, but it’s nice to hear.
Positive Fantasy Effect: Your Fantasy team’s score.
Negative Fantasy Effect: Branden Oliver
In 2014 Melvin Gordon also broke LaDainian Tomlinson's NCAA record, rushing for 408 yards in a single game.
— Alex Flanagan (@Alex_Flanagan) May 1, 2015
1.20 Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia
He’s not big, at 6-foot-0, 198 lbs., and he’s not exceptionally fast. But what he does do is run routes well and catch everything thrown his way. Someone should really introduce Chip Kelly to Fantasy Football. I think he’d love all the attention to the offensive side of the ball. The guys on NFL Network remarked how similar his measurables are to Jeremy Maclin, who is the guy he’ll be replacing in this Eagles huddle. Picking him as a WR5 sleeper isn’t a crazy idea.
Positive Fantasy Effect: Sam Bradford
Negative Fantasy Effect: Riley Cooper, Josh Huff
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) May 1, 2015
1.26 Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore
The Ravens took Brett Perriman’s son, who blew away people with his speed (4.26 40!?!) and hands during his pro day. Flacco has a cannon, and should try to out-throw this kid often. Torrey Smith is gone, but Steve Smith remains, to play on the other side. We mentioned Alshon Jeffery earlier, and Perriman is probably a little better prepared to play in Marc Trestman’s offense than Jeffery was in his first year. He looks like a player to take a chance on late in Fantasy drafts.
Positive Fantasy Effect: Joe Flacco
Negative Fantasy Effect: Steve Smith, Marlon Brown
Ravens liked Breshad Perriman from the start … Great fit as a vertical threat for Joe Flacco, has the size that Trestman likes.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 1, 2015
1.29 Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis
The rich get richer, as Andrew Luck will find one of the fastest players in the draft looking back at him in the huddle. Dorsett and T.Y. Hilton will spread this offense pretty wide, with Andre Johnson making tough catches down the middle and on the sideline. For Fantasy, though, he’ll have to fight for touches, so he’s likely a waiver pickup in most leagues.
Positive Fantasy Effect: Andrew Luck
Negative Fantasy Effect: Donte Moncrief
Colts now have three legit 4.4 guys in TY Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett for Andrew Luck, plus the TEs. Gotta block for 'em tho.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 1, 2015
So don’t take my analysis as gospel at this point, as we haven’t seen the rest of the 2015 NFL Draft, and we haven’t done any Fantasy Football mock drafts with these new depth charts. But this is where I stand if I had to draft today!
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.