From a fan’s perspective, the hope is to see your team get better in the draft. Fantasy football players, however, look at the draft in another way. They are more interested in which rookies are going to contribute and which veterans are going to see their fantasy football value impacted the most, for better or for worse.
The value of a few veterans will take a hit thanks to how their team drafted. But there will also be some whose value will get a boost.
Eli Manning: His offensive line is going to be better than it has been in years. For the first time since Tiki Barber, he’ll have a real threat at running back in Saquon Barkley. Oh— and he still has Odell Beckham Jr. on the roster.
Since defenses will have to respect the run, it should be easier to pass—and Eli’s numbers should explode.
Ameer Abdullah: There was a lot of hope for the Lions run game when they drafted Abdullah a few years ago. But he just hasn’t lived up to the hype. Along with losing touches to Theo Reddick, he’ll lose some to free agent acquisition LeGarrette Blount and to rookie Kerryon Johnson.
Marlon Mack: With Frank Gore gone, the Colts needed a running back in the Draft. While they did address the need (sort of), they didn’t pick anyone until the later rounds. While one or both of those guys could see some snaps, that means the team is likely going to give Marlon Mack a chance to be the guy.
He’s not going to be anyone’s RB1, but he could be a decent RB2 or flex.
Devin Funchess: When the Panthers traded away Kelvin Benjamin last season they showed some faith in Funchess, and he played well. But then this year they draft Maryland receiver D.J. Moore. After taking him in the first round, the Panthers are certainly going to make use of him early and often.
Case Keenum: With Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton, and Daesean Hamilton, he’ll have even more talent to work with in Denver than he had in Minnesota. Tack on the legitimate threat of a running game behind rookie Royce Freeman and Keenum could be the steal of the draft this season.
Patriots Running Backs: With Dion Lewis moving on, the door was open for one of the running backs to step up. They certainly have plenty of options with Rex Burkhead, James White, and Mike Gillislee on the roster. But with Sony Michel added to the mix, the door is likely shut. The Patriots are going to give their first-round pick a shot. If he lives up to the hype, they could look to cut someone loose.
Andrew Luck: When he’s healthy and has enough time to work his magic, he’s one of the best. But his protection has been poor, making it hard for him to stay healthy. With the guys they added to the offensive line in the draft, he may have some protection this season. He might actually remain healthy and could even become more productive.
Julio Jones or Mohamed Sanu: Matt Ryan stands to be a better option this year with the weapons he’ll have at his disposal. Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu are two of the best. But now Ryan will have rookie Calvin Ridley as well. If he ends up being the best wide receiver in the draft (as expected) he’ll see plenty of action. However, his touches are going to have to come from somewhere (most likely Jones or Sanu).
Christian McCaffrey: He was a good option last season but far from great. But with Jonathan Stewart gone, he becomes the lead back. Since the Panthers didn’t draft another running back, it appears they are committed to going with McCaffrey. Cameron Artis-Payne will get more carries as well, but not enough to impact McCaffrey.