The final day of the NFL draft will bring plenty of unfamiliar names to mix for casual fantasy gamers. We’ll provide insight on the guys worthy knowing.
1) TE Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers
Gamers are unlikely to utilize Thomas without another major injury to Greg Olsen. Thomas is athletic and raw. His future is exciting, so tuck away the name for a few years from now.
3) WR Keke Coutee, Houston Texans
It would be a surprise if Coutee — strictly a slot receiver — contributed in 2018. It would require Braxton Miller to falter, in conjunction with several other factors, to make Coutee a regular option in the passing game.
4) RB Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts
Now this pick has some juice. Hines is a change-of-pace, out-in-space back. He nicely complements Marlon Mack and should provide an immediate spark to the offense. Fantasy owners will be all over Hines in the middle of 2018 drafts — and rightfully so.
5) WR Antonio Callaway, Cleveland Browns
General manager John Dorsey was not afraid of character concerns when he drafted Marcus Peters and Tyreek Hill in KC. Josh Gordon has remained on the roster through all of his trials and tribulations. Callaway didn’t play in 2017 and has been problematic dating back to high school. He admitted to failing a marijuana test at the scouting combine and will need to be closely managed in the pros. Extremely gifted, he is a worthwhile gamble for Cleveland’s future receiving corps, but he has little chance of finding playing time in 2018.
7) TE Chris Herndon, New York Jets
This is an intriguing pick. The Jets need help at the position, and Herndon is one of the most underrated players in the draft. He shared work with David Njoku prior to 2017 and can do so much more than the one-dimensional Brown. It may take a year or two before it shows on the field, but Herndon is the most talented tight end on this roster. Watch his summer performance to gauge if he’s worthy of a flier pick as a rookie.
8) QB Kyle Lauletta, New York Giants
The Richmond product will be groomed behind Eli Manning and probably starts his pro career on the scout team. He’s a highly accurate, quick-release passer whose needle points due north. Long term, Lauletta has a shot at being a fantasy star.
12) RB Mark Walton, Cincinnati Bengals
The former Miami Hurricane is a quick-twitch rusher and a change-of-pace option from the more powerful Joe Mixon. Injuries are a concern (missed seven games in 2017), and he’ll offer only limited contributions, but Walton can make a big boom with a little spark. He’s only useful in 2018 if an injury knocks out Mixon or Gio Bernard.
13) WR DaeSean Hamilton, Denver Broncos
This selection is forward-looking, particularly if the Broncos opt to move on from Emmanuel Sanders. The selection of Courtland Sutton makes Hamilton a complementary skill set and gives Case Keenum a chance to attack the field in multiple ways. Beyond this season, Hamilton is a high-upside option because of quick feet, precise routes, and sticky hands.
20) TE Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks
The Washington product is a pure-play blocker first but also a capable receiver. He has no immediate fantasy football value without outright winning the starting job in the summer, and even then we’re talking a low-end TE2.
23) TE Durham Smythe, Miami Dolphins
Nothing to see here in fantasy … Smythe is the blocking counterpart to the Mike Gesicki selection.
26) RB Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons
The 5-foot-9, 195-pounder from Southern Miss is a better receiver than runner and may be destined for a career on the special teams units. His slight build isn’t offset by blazing speed, and he is no better than a zone-blocking gadget player.
31) RB Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins
Ballage most directly threatens Frank Gore’s touches. If the elder statesman falters, Ballage will be waiting for his chance to shine. Kenyan Drake wasn’t a full-time player in college and will get a helping hand from Gore. Ballage and Drake will make for a fine one-two punch in the future, but gamers should treat this situation with a hint of caution in 2018 drafts.
32) WR Jaleel Scott, Baltimore Ravens
Standing 6-foot-5, 218 pounds, Scott brings great size to the revamped Ravens. He could snag a TD or three in 2018, but playing him will be a pure guessing game. Make a mental note of his name for the future and avoid Scott in 2018 drafts.
33) WR J’Mon Moore, Green Bay Packers
If used properly, Moore could develop into a steal in Round 4. He’s never going to be the guy catching a ton of balls over the middle of the field, nor will he be a WR1. Moore struggles with securing the ball in traffic, but he shows little issue hauling in tracked balls on the outside. All told, he has value in 2019 and beyond when Randall Cobb is gone and more targets open up, but they are nothing like each other on the field.
34) RB Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals
The Fordham back is shifty and has good hands. If Arizona is looking to reduce David Johnson’s touches, Edmonds could be a fine change-of-pace and/or third-downer, as well as a totally different style than backup Elijhaa Penny. Remember Edmonds’ name as training camp progresses.
37) TE Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
There it is … the news of Jason Witten’s expected retirement, in part, led to this selection. Schultz wasn’t used as much as he could have been at Stanford, due to a wealth of talent at the position, but he still caught 55 balls and five scores in 2017. Rookie tight ends tend to struggle in fantasy, and Dallas has an intriguing guy in Rico Gathers to step in during the summer to prove he belongs. Schultz is no better than a late-round flier if the job is his entering Week 1.
20) TE Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings
Ignore him in single-year formats, but Conklin will have time to develop behind one of football’s better tight ends. Kyle Rudolph is entering the penultimate year of his contract and could be cut before 2019 at no cost to the cap. Stash the Central Michigan talent’s name in the old memory bank for another day.
22) WR Daurice Fountain, Indianapolis Colts
Simply by virtue of necessity, Fountain could be a fantasy option in 2018. Indy has basically nothing at receiver after T.Y. Hilton and Ryan Grant, and that is assuming Grant can be anything decent in a new offense after a one-year flash in Washington. Fountain offers adequate size (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) and a one-year wonder in his own right at Northern Iowa. He was a prep star in Wisconsin and, while raw, could be a Year 1 contributor. Watch for his name in the summer months.
28) RB/TE Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers
A Swiss army knife, Samuels can line up all over the field — tailback, H-back, tight end and in the slot. The Steelers have obvious question marks at running back with Le’Veon Bell’s future in doubt, but Samuels won’t be anything more than a part of the puzzle if he needs to be replaced in ’19. Despite being an intriguing prospect, Samuels has practically no immediate fantasy value.
12) WR Deon Cain, Indianapolis Colts
Cain (6-foot-2, 202) is a size-speed (4.43-second 40) combo talent with an ability to stretch the field. He regressed in most imaginable ways after Mike Williams left Clemson for the NFL in 2017’s draft, suggesting Cain is a better WR2 in the NFL than a go-to guy. Indianapolis could turn this sixth-round pick into a Year 1 starter, especially if the previous selection of Daurice Fountain doesn’t pan out. Drops and concentration lapses are a major issue here. Play close attention to Cain’s role in the late summer.
Day 3 draft trades
Dallas acquires WR Tavon Austin
It is easy to write off Austin at this point, and no one really could be blamed. Sometimes a fresh start is what it takes for a once-promising player to get back on track, but Austin has proven to be one-dimensional. He struggles to create yardage after the catch — a necessary trait for diminuative players. WR Cole Beasley is firmly locked into the slot, so Austin will be moved to running back as a change-up for Scott Linehan’s offense. Gamers can take a shot on him in drafts as a late-round flier.