NFL Draft Winners
NFL Draft Reaction.
5 Big Winners
A week on from the NFL Draft rosters are beginning to settle, and as the teams begin their virtual off season programme the fog of uncertainty around fantasy football rankings is, ever so slightly, starting to clear. The draft, as it so often does, created as many questions as it answered but in a few spots it produced some big winners. Here’s a quick guided to five of the biggest winners from last weekend:
Jordan Howard: It probably shouldn’t really need saying, but Jordan Howard is actually a very good running back. In four seasons in the league he has averaged 4.3 yards a carry, has an average of 20 receptions a year (not bad for a non pass catching back) and has scored 32 touchdowns. Wait, what? Yes, 32 touchdowns in 57 career games.
Despite 3 thousand yard seasons he was largely left for dead after a slightly disappointing final year in Chicago. For reasons nobody has yet explained the Bears let him walk for a 5th round pick and spend a third on the inferior David Montgomery.
A free agent move to the Miami Dolphins meant that Howard went into the draft as a potential lead back for a team with almost no running game to speak of last year. Coming out of the draft he’s the lead back in a 1-2 punch with Matt Breida who was acquired in a trade day 3 trade with the San Fransisco 49ers.
Breida is an interesting addition. On the surface he’s a super tough, talented and explosive runner. Dig a little deeper and you see a guy who benefited from Kyle Shanahan’s offensive genius and has issues staying healthy. He’ll eat into Howard’s workload for sure but of the two he looks more like the change of pace option. With Tua arriving under center, I’d imagine Chan Gailey and Brian Flores will be more than keen to take advantage of a back with Howard’s skill set.
Price is unlikely to be an issue, Howard is criminally underrated. With rookie drafts ongoing snagging him for a 2nd rounder should be doable.
Jarrett Stidham: With the news of Andy Dalton’s release this winner may soon be a distant memory but right now, Jarrett Stidham is QB1 for the New England Patriots. For all the speculation every move The Patriots have made has reinforced the message that they think Stidham is their guy. If he really is, then you can be sure the team will have done everything they can to make him successful.
OC Josh McDaniels will be a huge help to Stidham. On top of his success with Brady there was a time that McDaniels made Kyle Orton look like a top tier Quarterback, he’s won games with Jimmy Garropolo and Jacoby Brissett. If Stidham starts week one, you can be pretty sure he’ll be ready.
Right now nobody is suggesting that Stidham is a big fantasy asset, but in Dynasty and Superflex he’s a definite buy right now and not many people expected that when he was selected 133rd overall last year.
Drew Lock: In recent years there seems to have been a movement amongst teams with the league’s best Quarterbacks. A top signal caller will erase the deficiency of sub par offensive talent and the front office can spend resources elsewhere to improve the football team. Unfortunately, outside of Tom Brady, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that it’s a flawed strategy. Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, pre-Amari Cooper Dak Prescott amongst many others have struggled with inferior supporting casts. That doesn’t look like it’ll be an issue for Denver’s Drew Lock.
On top the emerging Courtland Sutton, the Broncos used the draft to add the superior route running of Jerry Jeudy and explosive speed of KJ Hamler. They also reunited Lock with his Missouri team mate Albert Okwuegbunam giving an impressive array of pass catching weapons. Add that to the free agent acquisition of Melvin Gordon and Lock will have few excuses if he doesn’t take a big leap in year 2.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire : There was much disagreement in the run up to the draft about whether LSU’s Edwards-Helaire would be a viable fantasy back. Undersized, only one season of production and questions over whether he was a beneficiary of the outstanding LSU offense meant that draft capital and landing spot was going to be key in determining his value. On both counts, it couldn’t have gone much better.
Edwards-Helaire went 32 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs. He landed in a great offense, with a great Head Coach with a future Hall of Fame Quarterback. We can argue all night over whether he is worth the 1.01 but I don’t think you’ll find many who don’t think that he’s all but guaranteed to be fantasy relevant.
JK Dobbins: It seems that right now I’m higher on Dobbins than most. He was my number three back going into the draft and has definitely vaulted over D’Andre Swift into the number 2 slot, I could easily be talked into taking him at 1.01.
Dobbins was selected by the run first Baltimore Ravens, a team that likes it’s backs to run within the system – something the former Ohio State back will likely excel at. The dual threat of Jackson makes the lead back an appealing prospect at the best of times, add Dobbins skill set and you’ll have fantasy gold.
The Ravens can easily get rid of Mark Ingram next offseason clearing the way for Dobbins to be their lead back for the next 4 years. A talented player, a great organisation and a dynamic running attack – what’s not to like?