The 2019 NFL Draft is in the books, and fantasy options have been impacted—both positively and negatively—across the football landscape.
Stock up: Marcus Mariota, TEN
We saw Tennessee bolster their receiving corps by singing Adam Humphries in free agency, and I think they got the best receiver in the draft last week when they selected Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown with the No. 51 pick. Those two additions and the fact that the team finally sounds committed to feeding Derrick Henry after he went off last December should allow Mariota—who is still just 25—to have a great fantasy campaign and silence the critics.
Stock down: Deshaun Watson, HOU
Houston was jumped by the Eagles for left tackle Andre Dillard on Thursday night, so they were forced to pick Alabama State’s Tytus Howard—a small-school product that will likely have some significant growing pains at the next level—to man the blindside. That’s bad news for Deshaun Watson if he needs to run for his life again all season, and the Texans also didn’t draft a running back in a class with several options to potentially bring the safeties down into the box more often.
Stock up: Ronald Jones II, TB
You might remember some analysts had the Buccaneers taking a running back as early as No. 5 overall at the start of the pre-draft process, but they ended up not taking a rookie runner at all, instead simply signing undrafted free agent Bruce Anderson to add to the room. That would suggest Jones has a real shot to open 2019 as the starter, and even in a split backfield, he’s explosive enough to make a fantasy impact on 12-15 touches.
Stock up: Malon Mack, IND
It didn’t seem likely that Indy would draft a rookie to overtake Mack as the lead back in Frank Reich’s offense, but it was still a sigh of relief for those invested in the former fourth-round pick when they didn’t (especially after hearing that Josh Jacobs played Reich in H-O-R-S-E on a team visit). Now, Mack is clearly the Colts’ workhorse back for 2019, and he could be a legitimate threat for 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit scores, which would make him an obvious RB1.
Stock down: Jordan Howard, PHI
I’m a big fan of Howard’s game, but his fantasy stock took a huge hit when the Eagles drafted Miles Sanders in the second round last Friday night. Philadelphia had never drafted a running back before the fourth round since Howie Roseman’s been in charge, but they view Sanders as a balanced, well-rounded back that brings three-down value to the offense. Howard has suddenly gone from mid-round value to mid-round risk in redraft leagues.
Stock down: LeSean McCoy, BUF
Will McCoy even be on the Buffalo roster by Week 1? Frank Gore will certainly be around considering his life span is about as long as Melisandre’s, T.J. Yeldon is a solid change-of-pace back, and the team just spent a Day 2 pick on Devin Singletary. At best, McCoy will be in a divided committee on the wrong side of 30. Sell while you can.
Stock up: James Washington, PIT
He only caught 16 passes for 217 yards and one touchdown last season, but the Steelers will rely on Washington to be a clear starter alongside JuJu Smith-Schuster—and I think he’s ready for it. The Oklahoma State product brings a downfield element to the Pittsburgh passing attack, and Ben Roethlisberger will probably want to push the ball so he can put up numbers and prove they don’t need Antonio Brown. I would be very surprised if third-round pick Diontae Johnson overtook Washington as the No. 2 receiver.
Stock up: Dante Pettis, SF
The 49ers spent a premium pick at receiver by selecting South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel at the top of the second round, but he might profile more as a slot option in Kyle Shanahan’s offense—setting up Pettis to be the focal-point (along with George Kittle) of the passing attack. Considering the Ole Miss guys (A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf) were still on the board, the team seems to have very high hopes for Pettis on the outside.
Stock down: Nelson Agholor, PHI
A trade is likely best for Agholor’s fantasy value and real-life career at this point, as Philly drafted J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round, and the offense is as loaded as ever with Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, DeSean Jackson, Dallas Goedert, Arcega-Whiteside, and all the running backs needing touches. Overall, Agholor simply hasn’t been appreciated much since being the unsung hero of Super Bowl LI with nine receptions for 84 yards (including six first downs), and he’ll have a difficult time putting up reliable numbers if he’s still in midnight green this fall.
Stock down: Corey Davis, TEN
Perhaps the additions of Adam Humphries and A.J. Brown will take the pressure off Davis and allow him to reach his potential, but I think the moves suggest Tennessee hasn’t seen the strides they want from the former No. 5 overall pick. In a run-first offense, the last thing Davis needed was heavy competition for targets, but that’s exactly what he’ll get in 2019. I would sell hard in dynasty leagues.
Stock up: Jordan Reed, WAS
The Redskins came into the draft very thin at receiver, but they added Ohio State speedster Terry McLaurin in the third round, and NC State possession receiver Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round (which was a tremendous value in my opinion). McLaurin is the more significant addition for Reed, as the rookie will pair with deep threat Paul Richardson to stretch the field and open things underneath for the talented tight end.
Stock down: Kyle Rudolph, MIN
Spending a top-50 pick on a prospect means they will see the field sooner rather than later, so the selection of Irv Smith Jr. might mean Rudolph’s days in Minnesota are numbered. This comes with a slight caveat, though, as the veteran could potentially find his way to New England, which would obviously be a huge boost. Still, as things currently stand, the stock is down for Rudolph.