The 2018 NFL draft is now a part of history and that means fantasy football is that much closer to starting up. Over the next few months, there will be tons of articles talking about training camp battles, potential sleepers, and probable busts. Before we jump into all that talk, let’s put the cherry on top of the sundae that was the NFL draft.
This is the first of three articles talking about each day of the draft and how some players are going to have more of a fantasy impact than others. Diving into day one, here are three guys that can become superior fantasy contributors, even though they are rookies.
2018 NFL Draft: Day 1 Fantasy Analysis
Saquon Barkley, Running Back, New York Giants
Barkley is already the front-runner for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and he hasn’t even played a down of professional football yet. The Giants were served Barkley on a silver platter after the Cleveland Browns selected Baker Mayfield with the number one overall pick.
If Barkley as a baseball player, he would be what they call a five-tool player. He can run, catch passes out of the backfield, has great football IQ, he can pass block, and is a great leader in the locker room. With the Giants going through a bit of a transition period, drafting Barkley was a real smart move.
New head coach, Pat Shurmur, will be able to run any offense he wants with Barkley being added to the offensive picture. Pair his ability with the other young stars on offense (Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram) and this offense is going to be one to reckon with week in and week out.
Josh Rosen, Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals moved up from the 15th overall position to the 10th to get their signal-caller of the future. Rosen is going to a situation where he is going to be in the starting competition from the beginning. Even with veteran quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon on the depth chart, Rosen brings a level of talent that will force the coaching staff to give a lot of consideration before naming the starter for Week 1.
Being the fourth quarterback taken in the first round really made the chip on Rosen’s shoulder that much larger. Being questioned about his commitment during the draft process, Rosen is going to show that he not only has the skill level to succeed at the NFL level, but his drive and leadership will win over anyone that wants to doubt him.
It also doesn’t hurt being able to hand the ball off to David Johnson and throw passes to future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and fellow rookie Christian Kirk. Rosen appears to be the most pro-ready of the first round prospects and don’t be surprised if he ends up being the best quarterback to come out of the 2018 draft.
Sony Michel, Running Back, New England Patriots
Already with Brandon Bolden, James White, Rex Burkhead, Jeremy Hill, Mike Gillislee, and James Develin on the roster, the running back stable was pretty full already in New England. That didn’t stop Bill Belichick from selecting Michel with their second pick in the first round (31st overall).
Michel was one half of the Georgia backfield that played in the BCS Championship game. While Nick Chubb was the bruising, downhill runner, Michel was the more nimble and agile in space to be the lightning to Chubb’s thunder.
Selecting Michel early will guarantee that he is going to get playing time in the Patriots offense and his skill set will be taken advantage of by offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels. If he can overcome his tendency to fumble, he can grab a lion’s share of the touches in Foxborough. This could be a good value pick in the final rounds of a fantasy football draft.