Minnesota Vikings, Pick 2.09- Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State: Sure, the Vikings brought in Latavius Murray during the offseason, but with the selection of Dalvin Cook, Murray just lost his job. Cook is the all-around type back that the Vikings offense needs. He runs strong between the tackles and on stretch plays as well, and he can catch balls out of the backfield with the best of them. Expect Cook to be highly involved in the passing game, as Sam Bradford keeps the ball close to the line of scrimmage on his throws. Temper your expectations for his statistical output behind this offensive line, however, which will ultimately cap his potential. Cook could produce RB3 numbers in PPR formats but in standard leagues, he will likely be no more than a RB4.
Chicago Bears, Pick 2.13- Adam Shaheen, TE Ashland: With all the ridicule the Bears received for the Trubisky selection, this pick will turn out to be the complete opposite. Shaheen comes from a little-known school but he sports big school ability. Mike Glennon will look his way often as the season progresses. He will be a nice player to target in dynasty drafts but in re-draft leagues, he will top out as a TE2 in 2017.
Cincinnati Bengals, Pick 2.16- Joe Mixon, RB Oklahoma: The highly scrutinized pick of Mixon will possibly lead to the release of Jeremy Hill for the Bengals. He was one of the top two running backs in this class on several draft boards, but due to his off-field concerns, many NFL teams just could not take the chance. Mixon has all the skills you want from an elite NFL back, but he’ll be running behind what is possibly one of the worst offensive lines in the league this year. He will have the benefit from the presence of all-pro wide receiver A.J. Green, which could open holes for some long gains. He likely will be an afterthought in the passing game with Gio Bernard having that role locked down. Some Fantasy owners will reach for Mixon as they chase this year’s potential Elliott, but there are too many red flags here for me. His ceiling will be as an RB3 in redraft leagues, but he’ll be a high pick in dynasty drafts.
Cleveland Browns, Pick 2.20- Deshone Kizer, QB Notre Dame: I have seen some experts already tab Kizer as having the potential to be a QB2 this year, but I will not be one of them. Kizer has some gifts, sure, but his game needs tons of improvement to play at this level. If he gets onto the field in 2017, it will be a mistake, and his accuracy problems and inability to progress through reads will lead to some horrific games. Avoid, Avoid, Avoid; even in dynasty formats.
New Orleans Saints, Pick 3.03- Alvin Kamara, RB Tennesee: I was a big fan of Kamara coming into the draft, and I believe the Saints got themselves a steal with this pick. Kamara was a monster for the Vols down the stretch in 2016, and he will bring his elusive play style to the perfect offense. Sean Payton will use him in mostly passing situations to get him in the open field to make plays, while also sneaking him in for stretch plays to get to the edge. He will undoubtedly make an impact in PPR leagues in 2017, and should be a late round target in drafts. Kamara may very well be the lead back for the Saints heading into the 2018 season, so dynasty owners should plan ahead.
Kansas City Chiefs, Pick 3,22- Kareem Hunt, RB Toledo: Hunt finds himself in a very Fantasy-friendly situation in Kansas City. He will immediately slot into the backup role behind Spencer Ware and push for playing time sooner rather than later. Ware hit a wall as the 2016 season progressed, and if he does that again this year, Hunt could come in and force a 50-50 split in the backfield. Hunt is the more appealing play in PPR leagues and could be a late round steal in drafts. If you draft Ware in the third round be sure to grab Hunt later, similar to the Le’veon Bell/DeAngelo Williams scenario.
Houston Texans, Pick 3.25- D’Onta Foreman, RB Texas: If Foreman can stay healthy and prove himself in training camp, he could potentially carve out a nice role for himself in 2017. Incumbent Lamar Miller is one of Fantasy’s top RBs, but he is coming off a season in which he handled a workload that he had yet to see before. Regression and possibly injury are very likely here, giving Foreman a shot when that happens. He should be a handcuff for Miller owners for sure, and a sneaky late round flier redraft leagues.
Washington Redskins, Pick 4.07- Samaje Perine, RB Oklahoma: Perine will be the backup to Ron Kelley at the beginning of the season, but look out for his underrated potential by the mid-point of the season. Kelley will hold down the early down work, and Chris Thompson is the pass-catching back, but Perine has the potential to do both. If Kelley falters, the Skins will turn to Perine and he will not let go of the job. He could possibly be this year’s Rob Kelley down the stretch in this offense. He will be worth the look late in drafts, and worth the roster spot in dynasty formats.
Green Bay Packers, Pick 4.28- Jamaal Williams, RB BYU: This will be this year’s Jordan Howard. He may not finish in the Top 5 like Howard did, but his potential will allow for a fringe RB1 finish is the Packers lean on his skillset. You may be thinking Ty Montgomery is the starter, but what did he really do last year? Sure, he averaged 5.9 YPC, but that was on limited carries in a spread formation where teams were fearful of Rodgers. The Packers were the worst in the NFL in pass receptions from the RB, and that will change with a player of Williams caliber. Like many owners did in 2016 with Howard, draft Williams late, and hold onto him in the early going until he takes the job, you’ll thank me later.
New York Giants, Pick 4.34- Wayne Gallman, RB Clemson: This draft pick may sting a little to the Paul Perkins believers out there, but Gallman will be too talented for the Giants to keep off the field. He runs hard and has great instincts with the ball in his hands, which will lead to short-yardage goal line work for him. Perkins will get a bigger share of the work early on, unless the Giants still decide to bring in someone like Legarrette Blount to head the committee. But, if the backfield remains the same, I would draft Gallman over Perkins especially with the discount you get on the player.
Other Longshot Plays In The Draft:
Los Angeles Rams- WRs Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds: The Rams passing attack isn’t known to be the greatest, but these two wide receivers could find some value. Kupp has some PPR appeal and Reynolds has a nose for the end zone. Keep an eye on them on your waiver wires to begin the season.
New York Jets- WR ArDarius Stewart: Stewart was the playmaker in the Alabama offense, and Josh McCown would be dumb not to get the ball into his hands on WR screens. He could boast Tyreek Hill type potential as the season plays out.
Pittsburgh Steelers- RB James Conner and QB Josh Dobbs: Conner will assume the DeAngelo Williams role in the offense and should be a handcuff to Bell in redraft leagues. Dobbs will be a potential replacement for Roethlisberger, and he sports Dak Prescott potential, making him a value pick in dynasty leagues. But with Roethlisberger’s injury history, don’t be shocked to see him on the field this year.
Indianapolis Colts- RB Marlon Mack: Mack does not have what it takes to overtake Frank Gore in 2017, but if he shows enough potential, he could very well be the lead back in 2018. Keep this in mind for your dynasty drafts.
Denver Broncos- RB Jake Butt: Hold onto your Butts, if you are drafting in a dynasty league. Butt could be quite the asset for you in 2018, especially is he reaches his ceiling.
Green Bay Packers- RB Aaron Jones: This could be a guy to watch on your waiver wire as the season goes along. I don’t expect the Pack to keep giving the ball to Montgomery, and if Williams falters, Jones could take this job and run with it.
Philadelphia Eagles- RBs Donnel Pumphrey and Corey Clement: The Eagles drafted Pumphrey to eventually assume Darren Sproles’ role in the offense. I don’t think his slim frame will hold up in the NFL, but he will be worth a spot on dynasty rosters. Clement is an intriguing player to watch. He should have been drafted, and now that he has the UDFA tag, he has a chip on his shoulder to prove something in training camp. He could surprise some people and become a player who could win you a few weeks if he gets enough offensive touches down the final stretch of the season.
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