Welcome to our 2018 NFL Mock Draft for Fantasy Football purposes! I’ve joined together with writers from a handful of other Fantasy websites to preview the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, from the viewpoint of how these picks will affect Fantasy Football owners. The mock draft is a slow draft, and we’ll be updating all of the picks here.
2018 NFL Mock Draft For Fantasy Football Players
My opinions about each pick are listed here, but I also added a link after each draft pick to the site that made the pick, so you can see the pick from their perspective — why did they pick that guy at that spot for that NFL team?
1.01 Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Gonos’ Take: The Browns have to stop making Draft Day mistakes, and they have to finally get a franchise quarterback this spring. Sure, a great running back can make your team a contender for five or so years, but a franchise QB can give your team a chance for 10 years, allowing for multiple regimes and rebuilding efforts, if need be.
1.02 N.Y. Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Gonos’ Take: Maybe the Giants (and Tomlin) like QB David Webb more than we think they do? Why else pass on this great set of QBs to replace Eli Manning? If a team like the Giants takes Barkley, where he’ll be the featured back, he’s likely going to be a first-round Fantasy pick, just like Ezekiel Elliott was a couple years ago. The trend of taking rookies early continues on in 2018 Fantasy Football drafts. Of course, I’m against taking a rookie that high — take a look at how many of the first rookies drafted end up as the best Fantasy rookie.
Featured Photo Credit: MGoBlog
1.03 N.Y. Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Gonos’ Take: The Jets would be happier with Josh Darnold, but they settle for their second choice in Mayfield. The kid has swagger that should either be a huge plus in Gotham, or just an absolute nightmare. Has there been a more perfect pick for a team than Mayfield-Jets since Manziel-Browns? I’m not saying the two players are similar in ability, but the bad-team/risk-player combo is comparable. The Jets have been getting whipped in the wind for years, so they choose a small-ish, spread QB with attitude and issues to save the day? Brilliant!
1 more week until Baker Mayfield is the quarterback of the New York Jets. pic.twitter.com/hmUy440CJg
— DRUPERCHARGED (@drubov) April 19, 2018
1.04 Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
Gonos’ Take: While I like the idea of the Browns taking a top-five pick for both their offense and defense, I just don’t see them going for another star defensive end to go with Myles Garrett, and passing on improving another offensive position. With Barkley gone, I can see them trading this pick down.
1.05 Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Gonos’ Take: Rosen’s stock seems to float up and down a lot — remember, that he was considered the likely No. 1 overall pick late last fall. Now, his stock is high gain — Mile High! WHOAH!!!! HEYYY!! He’s a big cat drawing comparisons to fellow pocket passer Eli Manning, and Fantasy owners will want to pay attention if Denver makes this pick (more so for how it affects Broncos wide receivers. John Elway and Co. signed Case Keenum this offseason, who could very well turn back into a pumpkin in yet another offense, and Paxton Lynch hasn’t made many happy up there yet. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah believes Rosen could fall all the way to Buffalo’s pick at No. 12.
1.06 Indianapolis Colts: Quenten Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Gonos’ Take: The franchise is still nursing shoulder problems, so why not get the best offensive lineman in the draft to protect Andrew Luck if/when he returns?
1.07 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, FSU
Gonos’ Take: The Bucs defense was pretty rough outside of linebacker, and they shored up the defensive line pretty well in free agency, adding DE Jason Pierre-Paul and others. That should soften up some opportunities for a horrible secondary that needs James‘ playmaking skills big-time. James is a local kid, and he has drawn comparisons to both Malcolm Jenkins and Eric Berry. The interesting thing here will be if the Bucs try to trade down and hope for James later, or Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick.
1.08 Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Gonos’ Take: The Bears surprisingly ranked ninth among Fantasy DSTs last season, mostly due to their 42 sacks and an NFL-high 14 fumble recoveries. Smith is versatile and the City of Broad Shoulders is always excited when they draft a linebacker.
1.09 San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Gonos’ Take: Edmunds and Smith are expected to go in some order to the Bears and 49ers, and the latter had one of the five worst Fantasy DSTs in all of 2017. They need more pieces than just this Hokies LB.
1.10 Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Gonos’ Take: I wouldn’t be mad if the Bucs ended up taking Ward at seven, considering their problems at cornernback, with an aging Brent Grimes and a not-so-good Vernon Hargreaves. Who doesn’t need the best cover corner in the draft?
1.11 Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Gonos’ Take: The Dolphins hope Tremaine Edmunds falls to them, but if not, they’ll go to whichever safety is left for them, in Fitzpatrick or Derwin James. Fitzpatrick is a quality person, with playmaking ability on the field, but it’s not likely going to make the Dolphins DST draftable in 2018. They ranked among the bottom echelon last year, but Fitzpatrick should be able to help their secondary numbers immediately.
1.12 Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Gnoos’ Take: The Bills get their quarterback without having to trade up? Doesn’t sound likely, but we’re not allowing trades in this mock draft. If things stand pat, they have to take Allen. The big kid from Wyoming has prototypical NFL QB measurements, but he also might be one of the riskier quarterbacks to go in this draft, much like Carson Wentz was a couple years ago. From a Fantasy perspective, he has a lot to learn once he hits the bigs, like Wentz did, but it’s tough to imagine him doing enough to warrant Fantasy consideration here. Plus, the Bills brought in A.J. McCarron as their current stopgap.
So uh, Josh Allen’s best comp all around might just be E.J. Manuel. It’s definitely his best athletic comp… pic.twitter.com/OeEkN0s4PE
— Scott Carasik (@CarasikS) April 14, 2018
1.13 Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Gonos’ Take: If the Bills don’t get a QB they’re comfortable with, they might go with Vea at 12. Six-foot-five defensive tackles with great athleticism don’t come around often, which makes us think he might not even be available this late.
1.14 Green Bay Packers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Gonos’ Take: The Packers might need to reach here for the best available cornerback after trading Damarious Randall to Cleveland for Deshone Kizer.
1.15 Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Gonos’ Take: With Carson Palmer gone and Larry Fitzgerald back, the Cardinals had to bring in a quarterback in the offseason — so they got Sam Bradford AND Mike Glennon. One will likely be injured and done for the season by Week 5, and the other they’ll wish was done for the season by Week 6. Bringing in Jackson gives them a face for the offense after Fitzgerald is gone, and a threat the defense will have to respect, opening up space for David Johnson… and Lamar Jackson won’t even have to change his helmet much. From a Fantasy perspective, owners will be hoping for a Deshaun Watson debut season, but that might be too much to expect. If Bradford were on the Texans last year, we might not have seen Watson until later in the year.
— Zesty NFL Cardinals (@zesty_cardinals) April 16, 2018
1.16 Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Gonos’ Take: I was much more excited about this kid during the fall, but he underwhelmed at the NFL Combine.
1.17 Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Gonos’ Take: The Chargers can bolster an already solid defensive line by adding some beef in the middle. And who doesn’t want some “PAYNE” on their pass rush!?!
1.18 Seattle Seahawks: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Gonos’ Take: The Seahawks have been spinning their wheels at running back in recent seasons, and adding Guice, the second-best RB in the draft, should change all of that. Out of Leonard Fournette’s shadow last season, Guice proved to be a beast in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, the Seahawks have so many other holes to fill, including on their offensive line, which doesn’t bode well for whoever is carrying the rock. Guice would be a nice top-25 Fantasy RB, in my opinion, if this is his landing spot.
1.19 Dallas Cowboys: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Gonos’ Take: Tomlin gave some great analysis on this pick, so I’m just pointing you over there —
Evans has the versatility to play inside or outside at the next level. He had 10 sacks over his last two seasons (which he did not even start his junior year) as well as three pass break-ups in 2017. While he did not run a forty-yard dash at either the combine or his pro day, he will add athleticism to a linebacking corps that is needing it badly with Jaylon Smith still a step slow. — Tomlin at SCFE
1.20 Detroit Lions: Taven Bryan, DL Florida
Gonos’ Take: The Lions could use like three or four picks like Bryan to help their defensive front.
1.21 Cincinnati Bengals: James Daniels, C, Iowa
Click here for Tony Reimer’s analysis of this pick on FLAFFLHouse.com
Gonos’ Take: An above-average center is underrated in my opinion, and the Bengals add the best one in this draft class to help anchor their offensive line for the next seven years. I’m cool with this.
1.22 Buffalo Bills: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Gonos’ Take: Time to go defense after the Bills locked up their franchise quarterback earlier in the draft. Vander Esch is a playmaker that has drawn comparisons to Luke Kuechly — but the fact he lasts this late in the first round means enough teams disagree with that comparison.
1.23 New England Patriots: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Gonos’ Take: Once again, the Patriots have a solid player fall to them who other teams should have drafted. The Pats need to replace Malcolm Butler, but they have a second first-rounder coming up to grab a cornerback.
1.24 Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Gonos’ Take: Remember when they had Josh Norman? That was cool. And then Bashaud Breeland failed his physical? Awesome.
1.25 Tennessee Titans: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
Gonos’ Take: Things just keep getting better for encumbent running back Derrick Henry, who I predict will go from the third round in Fantasy drafts this summer to the second round by late August.
1.26 Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
Click here for Craig Talley’s analysis of this pick on FLAFFLHouse.com
Gonos’ Take: A solid interior offensive lineman staying in-state to protect Matt Ryan and make holes for Devonta Freeman? What’s not to like?
1.27 New Orleans Saints: Dallas Goedart, TE, South Dakota State
Gonos’ Take: Tomlin makes a great pitch for how Goedart can make a huge impact for the Saints, but from a Fantasy perspective, I can see him getting overdrafted on the tails of Evan Engram’s big season in the Big Apple.
1.28 Pittsburgh Steelers: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Click here for Tony Reimer’s analysis of this pick on FLAFFLHouse.com
Gonos’ Take: The Steelers have to make a move to replace Ryan Shazier defensively, and Ben Roethlisberger believes he’ll be playing for at least another three years. But Rudolph would’ve been a top-10 pick in either last year’s draft or next year’s draft — but he’s stuck in a QB-heavy draft class.
1.29 Jacksonville Jaguars: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Gonos’ Take: I have no qualms with this choice, as the Jaguars have to replace both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns (and Donte Moncrief still needs to prove he can do it consistently). Moore might be worth a late flier in larger leagues if he ends up in J-Town, since he could work his way into the starting lineup.
1.30 Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, C, Ohio State
Click here for Keith Lott’s analysis of this pick on WeTalkFantasySports.com
Gonos’ Take: The big guy tore his pectoral during the NFL Combine, which could have dropped him a few spots, but not enough to say this is some amazing steal here.
1.31 New England Patriots: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Gonos’ Take: I would think the Pats would go with CB Jaire Alexander here, but picking this raw pass rusher could be a nice pick that pays off dividends a couple years from now.
1.32 Philadelphia Eagles: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Gonos’ Take: When the Super Bowl champs add a player that can start from Day One, that’s never a good thing! (Unless you’re an Eagles fan, I guess.)
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.