There will be a lot of talk in fantasy circles about which prospects gained or lost value based on where they were selected in the draft. For my purposes, I’m concerning myself with a very specific definition of winning and losing based on which players are now more or less likely to end up on the rosters of RotoViz readers.1 There’s always a bit of a continuous spectrum for where a player’s value can fall, but I’ll lump players into a few discrete categories. There’s a lot more analysis going on in other articles and I’ll link to those where applicable.
This is the group of players who were well liked by RotoViz prior to the draft and then found themselves selected into a favorable circumstance. Basically, you’ll have to pay full price for these players now so in some sense they’re draft losers or, more to the point, you lose by no longer being able to get a discount on these guys. They may still end up on your team, but you won’t be snagging them with late picks and watching them blossom before the startled eyes of your opponents.
Sankey was a near unanimous choice for the top RB among RotoViz writers. Now he finds himself drafted onto a Titans team with a starting slot open and an improved offensive line. Previously, this was a guy that you may have been able to snag as the 4th or 5th RB off the board and now if you want him you’ll have to burn a top 5 rookie pick on him. This is what I said about him in the composite ranks: “If you’re a true RotoVizian at heart then you’re hoping that he doesn’t end up in a place like Tennessee or Atlanta where his value will be too apparent and he’ll climb up rookie draft boards.” Poor Bishop was looking like the RotoViz RB to own and now he’ll likely get scooped up by your neanderthal league mates and have to content himself with lucrative endorsement deals and fame and fortune. Poor bastard.
Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Jordan Matthews, Cody Latimer
All five of these guys were drafted in the first two rounds and all five were in the top 10 of the RotoViz composite WR rankings. All of these players are going to teams that cut-bait with veteran receivers this offseason. This makes me wonder if the WR position is going to start seeing the same devaluation that RBs have at least in contract dollars. RBs have fallen out of the first round of the draft completely, which obviously isn’t the case with WRs…yet. But, it seems like teams are willing to let high priced WR talent walk and then replace them with early draft picks. All of these guys will likely migrate into the 1st round of rookie drafts (most are there already) and this is fair value but if you’re looking for a steal you likely won’t find one anymore. [Edit: corrected my inability to count and revised this group to FIVE]
He placed third overall in the RotoViz ranks and garnered two top rankings. Landing with the Giants is likely to bump him up into the tier of RB prospects that start to go off the board to RB-needy teams at the back end of the 1st round in fantasy rookie drafts. That’s too rich for my blood, but I was one of the lower rankers. He won’t be a cheap option anymore, that’s the issue. Freedman has some info on Giants’ drafted RBs in this previous article on Michael Cox.
This is the group of players that RotoViz didn’t like who were drafted into favorable circumstance. This is actually good news since it means that your league mates are likely to burn early picks on these players which allows better players to fall to you late and creates more value. These players are unlikely to end up on your fantasy team if you’re going with the RotoViz composite cheat sheets.
Odell Beckham Jr.
He wasn’t really disliked by the RotoViz composite rankings as he placed 8th there, but this is a far cry from where his perceived value seems to be among the scouting community. OBJ goes to the Giants where he may be seen by some as a Nicks replacement (usurping the value of Reuben Randle). His ADP will probably climb into the top half of the 1st round in rookie drafts and this is good news provided you’re not the team that takes him there. Justin Winn also points out that his creates some more Rueben Randle value and I’m inclined to agree. There’s some sentiment out there that Randle struggles with the playbook, but his Phenom score is phenomenal2.
Benjamin was 11th in the RotoViz composite ranking and there’s been some discussion on on his redzone ability which ought to translate to the NFL. The Panthers represented a premium option for any WR in the draft given their complete disdain for the position during free agency. Benjamin will slot in as a likely starter and given his size and pedigree he’ll move up rookie draft boards. Both he and Beckham represent players whose perceived value will likely outstrip their production.
So, I guess the Jaguars weren’t kidding about not expecting Justin Blackmon back this season, eh? Lee finished in the RotoViz composite top-10, and I don’t think he’ll fly up draft boards. His inclusion here is mostly by way of contrast against his new teammate Allen Robinson who’ll get discussed later.
Freeman was 14th in the composite RB ranks and placed no higher than 10th on anyone’s list. I was shocked to find that I was highest on him since I didn’t really like him all that much myself. He lands in ATL where he’ll likely be considered an heir apparent to the aged Steven Jackson. Jackson was still effective when he was on the field last season and there are some athletic red flags. Don’t fall into the trap of jumping at his perceived opportunity.
Here we have players that are most likely to end up on the rosters of dedicated RotiVizarians3. These players placed highly in our composite ranks but find themselves drafted into circumstances that appear less than ideal on first glance. This makes them value plays which is exactly what we’re looking for here.
He’s already being talked up around these parts. Adams finished 5th in the composite ranks and even took down Sammy Watkins in the WR prospect bracket. He goes to GB which boasts a stellar QB and a history of making all of their WRs relevant. Adams’ TD prowess ought to play nicely here, but because of the presence of Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, he’s unlikely to generate much rookie draft buzz. I mentioned earlier the changing WR economy and GB used three draft picks on upside big WRs. Don’t be surprised if they’re letting their veteran WRs walk when their contracts are up similar to what they did with James Jones this offseason. That means Adams time could come sooner than you think.
Robinson finished 3rd in the composite rankings and was a 2nd round pick. But, he goes to a team that drafted another WR 22 picks earlier. I don’t know what to make of the Justin Blackmon situation. If he comes back to at some point this season then this could combine with Cecil Shorts to form a real fantasy quagmire. Still, Robinson will likely come at a discount and he has first round talent so this represents a nice buying opportunity.
Gaffney finished at the tail end of a large RB tier in the composite rankings and 12th overall. I don’t know what the hell the Carolina Panthers are doing. They have a bunch of money stupidly tied up in RBs already, tons of needs elsewhere and yet they’ve drafted RBs in each of the last two seasons4. Every year around this time fantasy owners start trying to talk themselves into Jonathan Stewart or DeAngelo Williams again with their hopes hanging on the opposite’s contract situation, age or injury history. Maybe all of that comes to pass and it’s the dark horse Gaffney that slides into some valuable touches. He’ll likely be pretty cheap as he’ll be an afterthought to most owners.
He likely won’t generate as much enthusiasm as the second RB off the board and a top 5 RotoViz composite ranked RB would be expected to since he’ll be behind Gio in everyone’s mind, but Max Mulitz has already written about the opportunity that’s still available in Cincy as a TD maker.
Everyone loves Zac Stacy but part of that love was that he was unheralded. He’s a bit more heralded now. Benny Cunningham is also a popular sleeper around here. Tre Mason clocked in as the #2 composite RB in our rankings and the Rams grabbed him in the 3rd round. I’d feel like that was more meaningful if they hadn’t also used a 2nd round pick on Isaiah Pead recently. Mason is young and has three down back potential.
This is the bonus UDFA round. These are players that weren’t drafted at all, but still received some RotoViz ranking love so they make for interesting late round flyers if you have a chance to snatch them up.
He finds himself in AZ where the competition includes the aged Andre Ellington and the less than athletic Stepfan Tayler. That gives him a shot at relevance.
The FantasyDouche continues to fawn over this guy and he ended up signing with the Dolphins. Lamar Miller may be a post hype super sleeper and Knowshon Moreno shows up in my composite RB lead in as a potential RB Zero star which is true even if you discount his games with Peyton Manning. Williams won’t cost you anything though so his size/speed combo makes him interesting.