With the NFL Draft one week away, all eyes are on the various rankings and big boards that are flooding social media.
However, those of us who eat, sleep and breathe fantasy football are already thinking about those impact rookies who can give us the edge we need to win championship gold. Below, you’ll find five who can immediately help you gain a competitive advantage as early as week 1.
OJ Howard; TE – Alabama
At 6’6 and 251 pounds, Howard is a coverage mismatch the second he steps on the field. Combine that with a 4.51 40 time and elite pass catching skills, and Howard is going to make an impact early and often. Don’t worry about where he ends up, as he will make any QB’s job easier. He was all over the field at the Senior Bowl, a spot that many teams weight more than the combine. Best Fit: Buffalo at 10
Dalvin Cook; RB – Florida State
Dalvin Cook is going to be the player that NFL teams talk themselves out of, for no good reason. Between the leaks of his low wonderlic score, and rumors and whispers regarding who he socializes with off the field, NFL teams will balk at taking him. Those teams would be incorrect. Cook has the highest ceiling of any RB in this draft. When Cook gets a seam, his elite vision paired with world class speed means defenders take bad angles, whiff or just plain give up. If he goes to a team with a strong offensive structure, he will take the NFL by storm. Best Fit: Washington at 17
Leonard Fournette; RB – Louisiana State
Fournette is among the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft. In college, he was the consensus top RB in the draft. He’s a wrecking ball with top end speed, who can take out defenders right at the point of attack. Yes, all by himself. However, he showed up to the combine with a lack of seriousness and out of shape. Between refusing to participate in many combine activities and weighing in over 250 lbs, Fournette is going to have to blow teams away in the interview process to keep his draft stock high after suffering through multiple injuries during college. That being said, in the right offense, Fournette could hit the pro bowl his rookie season. He has all the tools, and a motivated, injury-free Fournette is a scary prospect for opposing Defenses. Best Fit: New Orleans at 11
Mike Williams; WR – Clemson
Williams has the size, speed and football IQ to step into any situation and become an instant impact player. He is the most complete WR in this draft, and is a coverage mismatch at 6’3 and 220 pounds. Williams is never going to blow you away with speed like John Ross might, but he’ll go up and get the tough catches, and win those end zone 50/50 battles. A team picking him as high as he’ll go will have an immediate need at WR, and he’ll get ample playing time. Best Fit: Chicago at 3
Christian McCaffrey; RB – Stanford
McCaffrey has seen his stock rise in recent weeks, and a week out of the draft, he appears to be poised to be a top-10 pick. This is good, as it will ensure he’ll see plenty of work. McCaffrey might not have the size to bowl over defenders, but he’ll use his elite agility to get by them. He is also an elite pass catcher both out of the backfield and the slot. Take this post with a grain of salt, as PPR players will see a more instant impact. However, regardless of the style of league you play in, McCaffrey has the talent to put your team on top, and keep it there. Best Fit: Carolina at 9
Bonus: You down with IDP?
Myles Garrett. There’s really no other answer. Cleveland is picking him first overall, and he’s the only IDP rookie worth discussing right off the bat.