Top 10 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Target in Dynasty Fantasy Football Leagues
With the NFL draft a little more than a month away, a lot of prospects are fine-tuning their skills in hopes of getting a nice payday. Fantasy football dynasty-league owners are also hoping to get rich by striking gold with some of the league’s newest would-be rookies.
A fantasy football owner’s job is never done, especially those who play in dynasty and/or keeper leagues. This is like Christmas time for dynasty owners, as we are about to see college’s best players get drafted and see how they will fit in on their respective NFL teams. This is the time to start targeting which players will be making an impact at the next level, both next year and beyond.
The following slideshow features 10 prospects (ranked in order of dynasty relevance) who are destined to be the most sought after fantasy rookies once the NFL draft is complete.
Mind you, although plenty of quarterbacks and wide receivers will come off the board in the first two or three rounds in the NFL draft, running backs will still come at a premium. As we have seen in the past, running backs adapt much quicker and thus make more of an impact early on (see Eddie Lacy, Le’Veon Bell, and Zac Stacy last year for proof). But since this list is for dynasty leagues, you will see a fair amount of quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Read on for the top-10 rookies to target this year in your dynasty league.
While the following players did not make the top 10, they all have the skills to make an impact down the line:
- Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
- Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
- Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
- Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
- Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
- Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi
- Marquise Lee, WR, USC
- Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
- Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
- Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
- Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
- Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
- Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
- Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
- Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
10. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
When Manziel’s name comes up, evocative opinions immediately come to mind. But whatever you feel about Manziel, the fact is that he has a fantastic arm and can run with the ball as well.
If the NFL has shown us anything in the recent past, it’s that mobile quarterbacks (e.g. Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III) can come in and have an immediate impact. Of course, Manziel’s value is tied to the team that drafts him. While he may not be the “franchise” quarterback many think he can’t be, he can at least be a fantasy asset. Heck, even Tim Tebow was fantasy relevant because of his legs.
He’s definitely worth a selection in the late rounds of keeper/dynasty leagues.
9. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
With the season that rookie receiver Keenan Allen had in San Diego last year, there is hope that the wave of rookie receiver success will extend into 2014.
Kelvin Benjamin could be one of those impact receivers. Benjamin, at 6’5” and 230 pounds, is as big as they come at the position. He combines the size and athleticism that should translate to success in the NFL.
Depending on where he gets drafted, Benjamin should carve out a role for himself. It may take some time for him to comprehend the speed of the game, but Benjamin is someone who should only get better in time.
8. Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Blake Bortles is the antithesis of Manziel, as Bortles has the requisite size and strength that Manziel is lacking.
Like Manziel, Bortles’ value will hinge on what team selects him and the weapons he will have to work with. Houston (who possess stud receiver Andre Johnson) and Cleveland (who has Josh Gordon) could be ideal spots. Jacksonville, should they choose to select a quarterback, would be less than ideal.
No matter where he goes, though, Bortles should develop into a fine quarterback. He is someone you may want to stay clear of in re-draft leagues, but for dynasty leagues, Bortles makes for a great pickup.
7. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Coming into the year, it was Teddy Bridgewater who was the prized quarterback everyone was salivating over.
Bridgewater, by and large, did not disappoint, becoming a second-team selection in the American Athletic Conference (Bortles was first team) and breaking Brian Brohm’s single-season school record of 30 touchdown passes, with 31.
Bridgewater is perhaps the most composed and driven quarterback in the draft. He has good instincts and poise in the pocket while relying upon good footwork.
Bridgewater has as good a chance as any to become the top pick, and if he does go No. 1 overall, the Texans would likely hand him the keys right away. The system in Houston and offensive-minded head coach Bill O’Brien should be what Bridgewater needs to succeed right off the bat.
Bridgewater is a keeper—one you want to target early in your dynasty leagues.
6. Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington
With the running back position in such demand on draft day, Washington’s mighty-mite Bishop Sankey should be one of the premier backs to target on your board.
Sankey has good vision, can hit holes hard and has a great, instinctive feel when running with the ball. He should have his name called on Day 2 of the NFL draft, and depending on which team drafts him, he should be able to compete for carries right away.
While he may not sew up a job right away as a primary rusher, he has all the tools to be an impactful running back in fantasy circles, nonetheless.
5. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Mike Evans is another in a long line of big-bodied and athletic wide receivers in this year's class. Simply put, Evans can go get the ball.
NFL teams covet guys with Evans size (6'5", 231 lbs) and athleticism, and some team will surely spend an early pick on him this May. Many mock drafts have him going in the first round, and B/R's Matt Miller ranks Evans at No. 12 on his big board.
While not blessed with blazing speed, Evans is in the mold of Vincent Jackson. While Evans might need some time to adjust to the next level, he should be a star in no time.
4.Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The guy can just go get the ball and is your prototypical red-zone magnet. Ebron is not only athletic, but he is a smart route-runner, too. Whichever team drafts him, they should put him a position to be utilized early and often.
Ebron is in a class all by himself at the tight end position among 2014 rookies, and he is definitely a player you would want on your dynasty-league team.
3. Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
Although his team lost in the BCS title game to Florida State, it was not because of the efforts of Tre Mason. The former Tigers running back ran for a whopping 195 yards on 34 carries, and his 37-yard scamper with 1:19 to go in the game almost won Auburn the title.
Mason should have his name called on the second day of the NFL draft, and he has all the skills you would want in a running back. While slight in stature (5’8”, 207 lbs), Mason has great speed and strength for his size. Pure and simple, he is a winner.
With running back being such an important position in fantasy, Mason will hold a ton a value on draft day, and he is someone you should eye to be a low-end No.2/high-end No. 3 running back for fantasy purposes.
2. Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
Perhaps the most polished and sturdy back entering the draft is Buckeyes bulldozer Carlos Hyde.
Hyde attacks the line with aggression and has tremendous burst while being able to break tackles with ease. In that way, he is a lot like Eddie Lacy.
There is no telling where Hyde will get drafted; but no matter where he lands, Hyde will likely be in position to get a bulk of carries for the team that drafts him. Seeing how much of an impact rookie running backs have had in recent years, Hyde will likely be one of the hottest commodities when it comes to rookies this season.
1. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
There is likely no other receiver that is more hyped and talented in this year's class than Clemson’s uber-athletic Sammy Watkins.
Watkins has the whole package: size, strength, athleticism and smarts. He will almost assuredly go in the top half of the first round, and he has even drawn comparisons to A.J. Green. With the rookie season Green had, Watkins could be in line for a similar type of season; he’s that good.
Watkins is by far the best receiver entering the draft, and you should feel confident in nabbing this young phenom in the early rounds.
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