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Fantasy Football 2017 NFL Draft Grades

Jake Ciely Senior Writer May 2, 2017 12:30PM EST
Everyone loves NFL Draft grades despite the fact that we won’t have the full valuation until three years from now. Just as with pre-draft rankings though, people want and love to debate them. So, here they are, the Fantasy Football 2017 NFL Draft grades. Notice this says “Fantasy Football”. I’m not grading non-skill position players, and the grades are purely based on each player’s Fantasy potential for 2017. Dynasty is another story, and we’ll talk about those values throughout the offseason.

Listen below for the call-in/audio version of many of the NFL Draft first round picks.

 

If you want even more NFL Draft Fantasy Football info, here are the pre-draft QB & RB and WR & TE pieces, plus the live blog pick-by-pick analysis through Round 4.

With each pick, I included their 2017 NFL Draft pick position and two grades. The first grade is their 2017 Fantasy Football redraft value. The second draft grade is their future potential.

Arizona Cardinals

Chad Williams, WR (3.34) D-/C+
T.J. Logan, RB (5.36) C-/B

Williams has good size and great speed but sluggish footwork and poor route running. He won’t push J.J. Nelson or the Brown’s. Logan will be in the mix with Kerwynn Williams for backup duties and could reach RB3 value if David Johnson ever got hurt, although, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cardinals add LeGarrette Blount or another piece.

Atlanta Falcons

Brian Hill, RB (5.12) D+/B-
Eric Saubert, TE (5.31) F/C

Hill is a powerful back with good speed, but he won’t have value unless Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman misses time. Saubert comes from a spread offense and will need at least a year or two before having value.

Baltimore Ravens

N/A

The Ravens did not draft any skill position players but they drafted two offensive lineman. They made still add a LeGarrette Blount or Jamaal Charles in free agency, but for now, it appears they are content with the Danny Woodhead/Kenneth Dixon duo, and this draft gives a boost to their values.

Buffalo Bills

Zay Jones, WR (2.5) C+/B+
Nathan Peterman, QB (5.28) F/D+

Jones left the FBS as the all time leader in receptions. The Bills are a run-heavy team, as we all know, but Jones could have deep PPR value as a rookie with a higher ceiling if the rumors are true that Sammy Watkins‘ fifth-year option won’t be picked up. Peterman has a good arm but needs development, is more of a game manager and could start as early as 2018 if the Bills try to move on from Tyrod Taylor again.

Carolina Panthers

Christian McCaffrey, RB (1.8) A-/A
Curtis Samuel, WR (2.8) C-/B-
Harrison Butker, K (7.15) F/F

Don’t fool  yourself. McCaffrey can do it all. He can certainly run through the tackles and is a good bet for 50-plus receptions, giving him RB2 value and upside for an A- in PPR this year. Samuel is still developing as a receiver, but he gives Cam Newton a replacement for Ted Ginn alongside the big boys and should flirt with WR4 value. At least the Panthers waited until the last round for a kicker… nevertheless, #bankickers.

Chicago Bears

Mitchell Trubisky, QB (1.2) F/B
Adam Shaheen, TE (2.13) D/B-
Tarek Cohen, RB (4.13) D/C-

Trubisky has all of the enviable characteristics for a NFL quarterback, except for his mechanics and experience. He’s sitting behind Mike Glennon this year but has a high ceiling, especially with his rushing ability. Shaheen is one of the numerous “hybrid tight ends” this year that is more of a slot/wide option than in-line tight end. Behind Zach Miller and being at a position that takes time to produce in Fantasy Football makes Shaheen a dynasty option. Cohen could be Darren Sproles one day, but that appears to be his ceiling.

Cincinnati Bengals

John Ross, WR (1.9) C+/B+
Joe Mixon, RB (2.16) B+/A
Josh Malone, WR (4.22) D-/C-
Jake Elliott, K (1.9) F-/F-
Brandon Wilson, RB (2.16) F/D
Mason Schreck, TE (4.22) F/D

Ross is lightning fast and gives the Bengals a nice option alongside A.J. Green. However, Ross will likely be the third option and big-play threat (hello, DFS) behind Brandon LaFell as a rookie. Mixon was the most talented running back in the draft, the Bengals soured so much on Jeremy Hill that they talked trades and Giovani Bernard can’t stay healthy. Mixon will lead this backfield. Malone was a reach, a kicker before the last round deserves banishment from the league and Wilson and Schreck are special teamers. #bankickers

Cleveland Browns

David Njoku, TE (1.29) B-/B+
DeShone Kizer, QB (2.20) F/B
Zane Gonzalez, K (7.6) F+/F+
Matt Dayes, RB (7.34) D+/C-

Njoku will create all sorts of matchup problems for defenses and could buck the trend of first-year tight ends not reaching TE1 value. Kizer has dual-threat ability, the size for the NFL and is good on the move, but he needs work and likely won’t start until 2018. Gonzalez gets the plus because he was at least the NCAA kicker of the year. Dayes could be a change of pace option, but this says more about the Browns’ faith in Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. #bankickers

Dallas Cowboys

Ryan Switzer, WR (4.27) D+/C+
Noah Brown, WR (7.21) F/D

If Switzer had any size (5’8″, 181) he’d garner more attention as he has all of the skills. Switzer’s role will be as a gadget type and returner, possibly for his entire career. Brown has good size and is extremely raw, and the Cowboys are simply looking to hit the lottery.

Denver Broncos

Carlos Henderson, WR (3.18) C-/B+
Jake Butt, TE (5.1) F/C+
Isaiah McKenzie, WR (5.29) D-/D+
De’Angelo Henderson, RB (6.19) D+/B-
Chad Kelly, QB (7.35) F/C

Henderson has nice speed, can break tackles despite his smaller size and shows a good set of moves. He’s behind two top-end receivers, but Henderson could supplant Emmanuel Sanders by 2019. Butt is an in-line tight end unlike many of the others drafted and is recovering from a torn ACL. He has starting-caliber talent though. McKenzie is a return man. Henderson has a nice base and fits a zone blocking scheme and could get touches if C.J. Anderson gets hurt (again) and Devontae Booker fails (again). Kelly has inconsistent talent and likely tops out as a mid-level QB2 one day.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27: The Jacksonville Jaguars select Leonard Fournette of LSU with the fourth pick at the 2017 NFL Draft and poses with jersey at the 2017 NFL Draft Theater on April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Fournette will be a Top 10 running back right out of the gate. Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

Detroit Lions

Kenny Golladay, WR (3.32) D-/C+
Michael Roberts, TE (4.21) F/C-
Brad Kaaya, QB (6.32) F/F

Golladay is a receiver with the physical traits teams love that is a draft and develop pick. He didn’t crack my pre-draft list. Roberts can be a red zone weapon in two tight end sets. The only way Kaaya sees the field is if Matthew Stafford missed time (or a blowout).

Green Bay Packers

Jamaal Williams, RB (4.28) B+/A
DeAngelo Yancey, WR (5.32) F/C-
Aaron Jones, RB (5.39) D+/B-
Devante Mays, RB (7.20) F/C
Malachi Dupre, WR (7.29) F/D+

Williams is the running back steal of the draft and will be this year’s Jordan Howard. That means, while the Packers say that Ty Montgomery is their lead running back, Williams will take over at some point and become a RB1 when he does. Yancey is a deep-play threat, Jones is a big-play waiting to happen, Mays surprises for a big running back and Dupre is a special teamer.

Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson, QB (1.12) C+/B+
D’Onta Foreman, RB (3.25) C+/B+

Identical grades for both of the Texans’ picks, and both have uncertain outlooks. Bill O’Brien insists that Tom Savage is the starting quarterback – partly due to his playbook being impossible to learn – but Watson is the superior quarterback, and I’d be surprised if he’s not starting by the midway point. Lamar Miller failed to impress last year, and Foreman is a powerful back that could easily form a one-two punch with Miller, as the lead and goal line option.

Indianapolis Colts

Marlon Mack, RB (4.37) C+/B+

Frank Gore can’t last forever, can he? Does he have a deal with Ra’s al Ghul or something? (You’re welcome fellow Batman nerds.) Mack is inconsistent, and that’s why he didn’t rank high in the pre-draft list, but Gore has averaged just 16 rushes, under 4.0 yards per carry and under 8.0 yards per catch in his Colts career. Despite the inconsistency, Mack is a great athlete with power. He should step in as Gore’s backup and potentially push for the lead role in 2017.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Leonard Fournette, RB (1.4) A/A+
Dede Westbrook, WR (4.3) F/C+

Fournette has a freak-like size/speed combination and he’s a decent pass catcher; LSU’s offense simply didn’t afford many opportunities. T.J. Yeldon is a better pass catcher as of today and won’t disappear completely, but Fournette is a great blocker as well, giving him three-down upside. He’ll be a Top 10 running back as a rookie with potential to be one of the best if the Jaguars offensive line improves. Westbrook finds space well and has a good set of moves. He could replace Marqise Lee in 2018 or even push Allen Hurns with time.

Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes, QB (1.10) F/A-
Kareem Hunt, RB (3.22) B+/A-
Jehu Chesson, WR (4.33) F/D+

Mahomes has the highest ceiling and most bust potential in this draft, but if anyone can get the ceiling result, it’s Andy Reid. Hunt does everything well, albeit nothing amazing, but with Spencer Ware having sputtered as the lead, Hunt should lead the backfield as a rookie and have RB2 value if not sharing too much with Ware and Charcandrick West. I didn’t rank Chesson, who disappeared last year, but he does have a NFL body and could be a NFL team’s third option one day.

Los Angeles Chargers

Mike Williams, WR (1.7) C+/A-

The Chargers now have Keenan Allen, Williams, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman, Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry is the passing game. Williams will be a red zone presence immediately, using his body and size better than most, but it’s that ol’ “just one ball to go around” adage. If Allen can’t play 16 games, as has become the norm, Williams could sneak into the WR3 range. The real story here is that the Chargers didn’t draft a running back but added three offensive lineman. Melvin Gordon stock = up!

Los Angeles Rams

Gerald Everett, TE (2.14) D/B
Cooper Kupp, WR (3.5) D+/B+
Josh Reynolds, WR (4.10) D-/B-

Everett is athletic with a strong body and is a seam weapon, not a good blocking/in-line option. He should be the passing game option of the future for the Rams. Kupp arguably had the best hands in the draft.

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He could easily be a PPR machine… if the Rams find a new quarterback one day. That plus for the B is in PPR formats. Reynolds is the deep threat for the team and could be a quality, complete receiver with some added size. He has the time to do so as he learns at the NFL level.

Miami Dolphins

Isaiah Ford, WR (7.19) F/C-

Ford lacks speed (4.62 40) and has some concerns with his hands. Ford does have quality body control, intelligence and change of direction skills, but he’s buried in Miami and will have to fight just to crack the Top 3 options for the Dolphins.

Minnesota Vikings

Dalvin Cook, RB (2.9) B/A-
Rodney Adams, WR (5.27) F/D+
Bucky Hodges, TE (6.17) D+/B-
Stacy Coley, WR (7.1) F/D-

Cook is the new lead back for the Vikings, sorry, Latavius Murray. Now, Murray will be in the mix, but super sorry to anyone still holding out hope for Jerick McKinnon. Cook is a RB2 as a rookie. Adams is another receiver I didn’t rank. He has speed, but I’d be surprised if he’s ever on Fantasy radars. Hodges was right in line with Evan Engram for my Fantasy outlooks. He’s an oversized receiver, plain and simple. Hodges won’t block, but he could take over for Kyle Rudolph, as Rudy has failed to live up to his potential. Coley is a special teams player.

New England Patriots

N/A

Thank goodness. Did we really want to see any more skill position players added to the 327 options the Patriots already have?

New Orleans Saints

Alvin Kamara, RB (3.3) D+/B-

Kamara will supplant Travaris Cadet and be what Darren Sproles was for the Saints a few years ago. Mark Ingram still performs well in the passing game though, and Adrian Peterson‘s arrival means there will be few opportunities for Kamara… until Peterson gets hurt. If that happens, Kamara could be an intriguing PPR option, sharing more time with Ingram.

New York Giants

Evan Engram, TE (1.23) C+/B+
Davis Webb, QB (3.23) F/D+
Wayne Gallman, RB (4.34) C/B

Engram and Njoku were neck-and-neck in passing game skills, and just like Njoku, the Giants are going to line him in the slot and even out wide… there won’t be many blocking assignments. The Giants sorely needed a tight end in the passing game, but they run a lot of three wide sets, meaning he might split snaps with Rhett Ellison often. Engram has a certain bit of Quincy Enunwa-ness to him for Fantasy. I am not sold that Webb makes it in the NFL or is the answer to replace Eli Manning with his poor accuracy and decision making. Gallman is a great complementary piece to Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen as he’s intuitive and has good power, but the Giants didn’t truly address the offensive line and averaged 3.5 YPC as a team on 398 attempts last year.

New York Jets

ArDarius Stewart, WR (3.15) C-/B+
Chad Hansen, WR (4.35) D/B-
Jordan Leggett, TE (5.6) F/B-
Elijah McGuire, RB (6.4) D-/C-

Stewart was nice value for the Jets, as he has the opportunity to be the team’s best receiver, especially if the team releases Eric Decker. Stewart gets up to speed with the best and uses his size to its max, both helping him to succeed against man or zone coverage. Hansen has the speed to get deep and is a good ball tracker, but he can struggle against strong corners. Hansen is intriguing for the Jets future. Leggett is great after the catch, and the Jets have been searching for a tight end to utilize in the passing game for years. McGuire is a great receiver and can see return duty as a rookie.

Oakland “Las Vegas” Raiders

Elijah Hood, RB (7.24) F/D

Hood is your prototypical “downhill runner,” and he’s going to have to fight just to make the roster.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Mack Hollins, WR (4.12) F/D
Donnel Pumphery, RB (4.26) D/C+
Shelton Gibson, WR (5.22) F/D

I’m not a fan of the Eagles’ skill position picks, and I will be surprised if we ever talk about Hollins and Gibson in Fantasy Football circles. Pumphery is the new Darren Sproles; it’s really that simple, and Sproles is retiring after this year.

Pittsburgh Steelers

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR (2.30) D+/B
James Conner, RB (3.41) C/B-
Joshua Dobbs, QB (4.29) F/C-

Way to delete those tweets about JJSS and Sammie Coates, Martavis Bryant. Smith-Schuster’s arrival does likely mean Coates is on the roster bubble, but Bryant didn’t have to go there. JJSS will struggle to find opportunities as a rookie but can move up the roster quickly, especially if Bryant has another incident. Conner is a great story and the new must-have handcuff for Le’Veon Bell owners. Conner is a power back with decent speed but struggles to break long runs/get through the second level. Dobbs is likely a career backup; he’s not Ben Roethlisberger‘s successor.

San Francisco 49ers

C.J. Beathead, QB (3.40) F/D
Joe Williams, RB (4.15) C/B
George Kittle, TE (5.2) F/D+
Trent Taylor, WR (5.34) D-/C-

One has to wonder if John Lynch knows his defensive players but needs help on the offensive end. Beathead might be a starter. Williams is the one intriguing pick given Carlos Hyde‘s health concerns, and Kyle Shanahan likes using two running backs anyway. Williams has great speed and good vision, even though he can struggle to find lanes if they aren’t there/clear. Williams is a nice complement and handcuff to Hyde. Kittle is a better blocker than receiver, and Taylor is a return game player.

Seattle Seahawks

Amara Darboh, WR (3.42) D+/B-
David Moore, WR (7.8) F/D
Christopher Carson, RB (7.31) F/D

Darboh has the size/speed combination NFL teams want, but he drops too many catchable passes, which is extremely frustration given his potential. Darboh is a future consideration for the Seahawks and Fantasy, while Moore and Carson will fight just to make the team.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

O.J. Howard, TE (1.19) B-/A
Chris Godwin, WR (3.20) D+/B+
Jeremy McNichols, RB (5.18) C/B-

Howard’s skill as a blocker will actually hurt his value a tad, as with both he and Cameron Brate on the field, the Buccaneers will likely ask Howard to block more often, similar to Martellus Bennett with the Patriots, but he has the all around game to become one of the best option. Godwin was may favorite underrated receiver, and while he’s behind Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, DJax has only two 16-game seasons to his career, so keep close watch and even stash him from draft day. McNichols impressed with his combine with a good burst and lateral movement, but he lacks top-end power and top-end speed. With Doug Martin out the first four weeks however, McNichols is going to have his opportunity to grab a significant role.

Tennessee Titans

Corey Davis, WR (1.5) B+/A+
Taywan Taylor, WR (3.8) D+/B
Jonnu Smith, TE (3.36) F/B
Khalfani Muhammed, RB (7.23) F/D-

Don’t worry about the Titans being a run-first team. Similar to Michael Thomas last year, Davis will take over as his team’s No. 1 option in his rookie season and for the foreseeable future. Taylor has nice speed that he uses to separate and get behind defenders but can get overpowered. He’s the one to worry about on this run-oriented offense. Smith has drawn comparisons to Delanie Walker interestingly enough. It fits that Smith is Walker’s successor. Muhammed will fight to make the team.

Washington Redskins

Samaje Perine, RB (4.7) B-/B+
Jeremy Sprinkle, TE (5.10) F/C
Robert Davis, WR (6.25) F/D

Perine is going to push Rob Kelley for the lead role immediately, and I’m betting on Perine to win out… although, I still expect Kelley to get touches and neither is a passing game threat. Sprinkle blocks better than Jordan Reed, but we care about Sprinkle for Fantasy, and he does have the ability to fill in down the road if Reed misses time again. Davis is a developmental pick.

 

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