Friday, May 9, 2014

First Round Draft Picks Who Will and Won't Have a Fantasy Impact

Will - Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
It will come as no surprise that I would expect Watkins to be a fantasy football stud this year, seeing as he was the top receiver drafted, and, in my opinion, the second best player overall. Watkins has top-notch speed and gets past defenders in the open field with ease. He will also benefit from the fact that, despite being the fourth overall pick, he was not drafted by a team with quarterback problems, as E.J. Manuel can be effective when healthy. Because Watkins is not a huge red zone target, you shouldn't expect him to be your number one fantasy wide receiver, but he has the potential and the physical skills to put up a lot of yards this season.

Won't - Any Quarterback Drafted In the First Round
Bortles, Manziel, and Bridgewater are all decent prospects, but none of them are ready to turn into productive day one starters, even though they may be forced to try. I'm least optimistic with Bortles, as he will be surrounded by a very poor Jaguars offense with very few weapons. In Manziel's case, the potential is there, but he needs to work on his fundamentals before he can make a significant impact. Bridgewater may be the most pro-ready of the three, and he will have Adrian Peterson to work with, but right now we aren't even sure if he's going to start this year.

Will - Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Much like Watkins, it won't surprise anybody that I'm predicting Evans to have a good fantasy football season, as he was the seventh overall pick and has incredible physical tools. What will be most beneficial to Mike Evans, though, is the fact that he will have Vincent Jackson lining up across from him. With Jackson and a decent quarterback, Mike Glennon, Evans will have countless opportunities to prove himself.

Won't - Odell Beckham Jr, WR, New York Giants
Beckham Jr. is a solid player, but the Giants didn't have an immediate need at wide receiver and Eli Manning tends to be inconsistent. He will need to beat out Jernigan and Randle just to become the Giants second option after Victor Cruz. Beckham Jr. may well become a fantastic player in the future but for the present, it would be best to temper your expectations.

Will - Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
I think Cooks will have the most productive fantasy football season of anybody not named Sammy Watkins in this draft. Cooks has incredible speed and great open-field skills that will make him an immediate fantasy football producer, especially with Drew Brees as his quarterback. The only thing that could slow up Cooks is the fact that the Saints have so many options on offense, but I think he will sidestep this problem by stepping right into the void that Darren Sproles left.

Won't - Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
There is no denying that Benjamin is a physical specimen, but what worries me is that his route running is subpar and his hands could use some work. Sure, he has a huge catch radius, which would seem to be helpful with a quarterback like Cam Newton who has a tendency to be inaccurate, but if Benjamin can't catch the ball or create separation by running a clean route, then that goes to waste. Fortunately for Panthers fans, the skills that Benjamin currently lacked are attainable, but don't expect him to produce huge numbers right away.

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