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NFL Draft 2014: Fantasy Football Impact, Stock Report from Day 3

Eric MackFantasy Football Lead WriterMay 10, 2014

NFL Draft 2014: Fantasy Football Impact, Stock Report from Day 3

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    There is endless speculation on what goes on in the minds of NFL decision-makers every draft weekend. Sitting and waiting for the Houston Texans, with quarterback guru Bill O'Brien as their new head coach, easily begged those questions the most.

    Rumored to be a potential Round 1 sleeper because of his scout-drooling size and arm, Pittsburgh's Tom Savage finally goes to the Texans in Round 4. Was this O'Brien's master plan all along?

    If it works out, it was genius. It it doesn't, what the heck were they thinking?

    We take a look at Day 3 of the NFL draft from a fantasy perspective, recapping all the picks and analyzing the potential fantasy sleepers from the late rounds in this position-by-position slideshow.

Quarterbacks: Houston Texans Get Scout Favorite in Tom Savage

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    We had to wait until Day 3 for the Houston Texans to pick their potential QB1. In Savage, they got a guy who the scouts loved because of his size and big arm.

    O'Brien has something to work with there, and Savage only has to beat out Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates. You have to love Savage's potential because of weapons like Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins—even if those receivers won't be as in love with their quarterbacks on the roster.

    Here's a recap of the 2014 quarterback draft class:

     

    Day 1 Quarterbacks Selected

    1. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (1.3)
    2. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns (1.22)
    3. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (1.32)

     

    Day 2 Quarterbacks Selected

    1. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (2.36)
    2. Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots (2.62)

     

    Day 3 Quarterbacks Selected

    Logan Thomas, Arizona Cardinals (4.120)

    He can serve behind Carson Palmer for a year. They will need a starter down the road. No fantasy intrigue unless Palmer is seriously injured.

     

    Tom Savage, Houston Texans (4.135)

    Is this O'Brien's plan at quarterback? Savage is a big man with an NFL arm, but it is hard to see him starting from Day 1, even if Fitzpatrick is the current best of the incumbents.

    The Texans have legit threats in their offense, so watch out for a sleeper here if Savage wins the quarterback derby in training camp. O'Brien is a quarterback-maker. Savage couldn't have landed in a better spot. Whoever starts for the Texans is going to be a sleeper in two-quarterback fantasy formats.

     

    Aaron Murray, Kansas City Chiefs (5.163)

    Undersized, but he could be insurance if Alex Smith prices himself out of town in a contract year.

     

    AJ McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals (5.164)

    Proven winner AJ McCarron will get a year behind Andy Dalton, who is also in a contract year. He is a project, but this is a pretty solid clipboard-holder.

     

    Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans (6.178)

    This one is real intriguing. He could challenge Jake Locker for the starting job in training camp...you have to imagine he starts some games in Tennessee this year, giving him some sleeper value in two-quarterback formats.

     

    David Fales, Chicago Bears (6.183)

    Another undersized passer, but Jay Cutler's injury history might get David Fales on the field for the Bears...for better or worse...this season. That is a potent offense. Fales will be a career backup, waiting for a Cutler injury.

     

    Keith Wenning, Baltimore Ravens (6.194)

    Career backup at best. Joe Flacco isn't going anywhere, and he is pretty durable. Keith Wenning is worthless in fantasy.

     

    Tajh Boyd, New York Jets (6.213)

    Talented quarterback who will get to learn the ropes behind Geno Smith and Michael Vick this year.

     

    Garrett Gilbert, St. Louis Rams (6.214)

    Sam Bradford shouldn't feel threatened by this one. Heck, neither should backup Shaun Hill.

Running Backs: Long-Term Projects Abound from Day 3's Crop

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    The NFL might treat their running backs worse than equipment people, but we wouldn't dare ignore this position in fantasy. Instead, we spend the bulk of our free time analyzing all the prospects right through the undrafted free agents.

    Running backs are found in the late rounds—even impact fantasy ones—and we like a few names that flew off the board Saturday afternoon: namely, Devonta Freeman, Andre Williams and Lache Seastrunk.

    Here is a complete look at the 2014 running back draft class:

     

    Day 1 Running Backs Selected

    None. This isn't 1989.

     

    Day 2 Running Backs Selected

    1. Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans (2.54)
    2. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (2.55)
    3. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (2.57)
    4. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3.69)
    5. Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams (3.75)
    6. Terrance West, Cleveland Browns (3.94)
    7. Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (3.96)
    8. Dri Archer, Pittsburgh Steelers (3.97)

     

    Day 3 Running Backs Selected

    Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (4.103)

    This destination doesn't give him great 2014 value, but it sure makes him a potential star in 2015 and beyond when Steven Jackson, who will be 31, retires or moves on. Freeman is a solid Jackson handcuff and a must-have in long-term keeper formats. He could emerge as a starter in 2015 and a fantasy star.

     

    Andre Williams, New York Giants (4.113)

    He is not a pass-catcher, but he is a durable workhorse back who could emerge as a starter in parts of this coming season. Rashad Jennings is the starter. David Wilson is the prodigy coming off a career-threatening neck injury, but the ball will eventually be in Williams' capable hands at some point. This was a great landing spot for the 2,000-yard rusher. Consider him a solid late-round handcuff.

     

    Ka'Deem Carey, Chicago Bears (4.117)

    He is an explosive back who will have to bide him time behind Matt Forte. There is little in the way of Ka'Deem Carey being the No. 1 handcuff for Forte in fantasy this coming season.

     

    De'Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs (4.124)

    The undersized back has game-changing speed, but he is a small Dexter McCluster-type who will never be a factor as a feature back. DAT will be better than McCluster for fantasy owners, because he's so quick and shifty, but that will take time to develop and they will have to scheme him touches.

     

    James White, New England Patriots (4.130)

    He is not your typical Wisconsin running back. They usually feature big feature backs. Perhaps that is why he was a timeshare guy.

    He will be that, at best, this coming season for the Patriots. Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden are all ahead of him in the fantasy pecking order to start next season.

     

    Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens (4.138)

    This is a big back who could develop for the Ravens, but Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce and perhaps Justin Forsett will keep him from being a factor on draft day. Definitely watch him in long-term keeper formats, because the Ravens are a run-oriented franchise.

     

    Alfred Blue, Houston Texans (6.181)

    He was stuck behind better backs at LSU. He could emerge as Arian Foster's handcuff, though, particularly because Foster is older and injury prone and current backup Andre Brown has never stayed healthy for more than a few games at a time.

     

    Lache Seastrunk, Washington Redskins (6.186)

    This is an exciting talent in an unfortunate situation. He won't challenge Alfred Morris or even Roy Helu this season. Seastrunk has legit speed and long-term talent, but he's no better than a late-round handcuff right now.

     

    Marion Grice, San Diego Chargers (6.201)

    With Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown in the fold, Marion Grice is a mere roster-filler. He is not impressively fast or big, so ignore him in fantasy for now. 

     

    Tyler Gaffney, Carolina Panthers (6.204)

    The Panthers are a run team with older veteran backs who are injury prone, but if Tyler Gaffney winds up getting carries for the Panthers, the season will be a disaster. You won't have to concern yourself with Gaffney in drafts unless training camp injuries hit.

     

    FB Jay Prosch, Houston Texans (6.211)

    Jay Prosch is arguably the best fullback in this draft, but his fantasy impact will be leading the way for the other Texans runners. He will merely be that guy who frustrates Foster owners with those pesky one-yard touchdown receptions out of nowhere.

     

    Storm Johnson, Jacksonville Jaguars (7.222)

    This is one place a running back pick would prove intriguing—no one should be convinced Toby Gerhart is a feature back—but Storm Johnson just isn't an exciting enough talent to be considered anything more than a roster-filler initially.

     

    FB Kiero Small, Seattle Seahawks (7.227)

    The Seahawks have their backs, and Kiero Small will only play to lead the way as a blocking fullback. He can be ignored in fantasy.

     

    FB Trey Millard, San Francisco 49ers (7.245)

    The Seahawks did it, so the 49ers had to follow suit. They are similarly built on the running game. Trey Millard can be equally ignored in fantasy.

Wide Receivers: WR-Needy Teams Fill out with Late-Rounders in Deep WR Draft

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    Easily the deepest position in this draft, wide receivers went early and often this weekend. The problem with the Day 3 picks is there are just so many viable fantasy prospects to consider over them from Day 1 and 2 of the draft.

    Day 3 saw a lot of receiver-needy teams stockpiling options at the position. Some of them are going to surprise us. Some are never going to amount to anything.

    Take the Pittsburgh Steelers, for instance. They missed on a guy like Limas Sweed (2008) and have still struggled to get a big, physical receiver Big Ben Roethlisberger has coveted for years. Martavis Bryant is an interesting Day 3 pick.

    We take a capsule look at the entire 2014 wide receiver draft class:

     

    Day 1 Wide Receivers Selected

    1. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (1.4)
    2. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1.7)
    3. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (1.12)
    4. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (1.20)
    5. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers (1.28)

     

    Day 2 Wide Receivers Selected

    1. Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars (2.39)—He has a very good chance to start right away.
    2. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles (2.42)—He gets a wide-open offense to develop with.
    3. Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks (2.45)—This a great team, but it's not a great place for a WR.
    4. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (2.53)—He has a chance to be a solid No. 3 for the Pack.
    5. Cody Latimer, Denver Broncos (2.56)—The biggest winner of the second-day receivers.
    6. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (2.61)—At least there is ample opportunity there.
    7. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (2.63)—He is more of a project, but so is his quarterback.
    8. Josh Huff, Philadelphia Eagles (3.86)—See Richardson above.
    9. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (3.90)—There are too many targets ahead of him right now.
    10. John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (3.91)—He can become a great replacement for Andre Roberts.

    Note: Comments first published here.

     

    Day 3 Wide Receivers Selected

    1. Jalen Saunders, New York Jets (4.104)—The Jets certainly need weapons and have jobs available.
    2. Bruce Ellington, San Francisco 49ers (4.106)—After the addition of Stevie Johnson, he's a long-term project.
    3. Shaquelle Evans, New York Jets (4.115)—See No. 1 above.
    4. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (4.118)—He is a project, and the Steelers need receivers. Watch this one in camp.
    5. Kevin Norwood, Seattle Seahawks (4.123)—The Seahawks' starters were marginal in fantasy. Ignore him.
    6. Ryan Grant, Washington Redskins (5.142)—He could make a sneaky impact as a slot receiver, but he's not draftable.
    7. Devin Street, Dallas Cowboys (5.146)—This is a good passing offense, so he should be watched in camp.
    8. Jared Abbrederis, Green Bay Packers (5.176)—He will be another random contributor when Aaron Rodger's receivers are banged up.
    9. Robert Herron, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6.185)—This burner is a project, but an intriguing one.
    10. T.J. Jones, Detroit Lions (6.189)—The team is more interesting than the player, but since the Lions pass a lot, watch him in the preseason.
    11. Matt Hazel, Miami Dolphins (6.190)—There are opportunities for pass-catchers in Miami. He's off the radar for now, though.
    12. Walter Powell, Arizona Cardinals (6.196)—Ditto here. Opportunities are there for reserve receivers.
    13. Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets (6.209)—He is quantity over quality.
    14. Michael Campanaro, Baltimore Ravens (7.218)—He has sleeper potential as a possession slot receiver. Watch him in the preseason.
    15. Jeff Janis, Green Bay Packers (7.236)—See No. 8 above.
    16. James Wright, Cincinnati Bengals (7.239)—He didn't play much at LSU, so cracking the roster will be tough.
    17. Tevin Reese, San Diego Chargers (7.240)—He can emerge as a slot option down the road.
    18. Jeremy Gallon, New England Patriots (7.244)—The Pats have found some hidden receiver gems, and have had success with Michigan guys (Tom Brady, hello).

Tight Ends: Detriot Lions Score Another Talented TE in Larry Webster

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    A supposedly weak tight end draft class was hardly penetrated this weekend. Only 11 tight ends were picked, and one of them—Bloomburg's Larry Webster—spent his collegiate days playing defensive end.

    Webster would be an intriguing fantasy sleeper in the right location, but he just so happened to go to the same team that scored the one legit fantasy prospect in North Carolina's Eric Ebron: the Detroit Lions.

    Here is a recap of the 2014 tight end draft class:

     

    Day 1 Tight End Selected

    1. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (1.10)

     

    Day 2 Tight Ends Selected

    1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2.38)
    2. Jace Amaro, New York Jets (2.49)
    3. Troy Niklas, Arizona Cardinals (2.52)
    4. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans (3.65)
    5. Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (3.98)
    6. Crockett Gillmore, Baltimore Ravens (3.99)

     

    Day 3 Tight Ends Selected

    1. Larry Webster, Detroit Lions (4.136)—Converted defensive end and son of a former NFL player. He is a project, but he is going to impact fantasy some year down the road.
    2. Arthur Lynch, Miami Dolphins (5.155)—The Dolphins like to use the tight end, so if Charles Clay is hurt, Lynch might garner some fantasy attention.
    3. Ted Bolster, Washington Redskins (7.217)—He is a long shot to make the team, but the Redskins figure to become one of the more TE-friendly teams in fantasy.
    4. Rob Blanchflower, Pittsburgh Steelers (7.230)—This is a nice pick as a blocking tight end...which means he is going to get lost on the goal line and vulture some one-yard scores in his nondescript career.

Kickers: Detroit Lions Find Potential David Akers Replacement

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    Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

    They are kickers, the position we hardly care about in fantasy. NFL teams were equally indifferent to them, drafting just two of them.

    Here is a look at the 2014 kicker draft class:

     

    Day 1 and 2 Kickers Selected

    None. Thank goodness.

     

    Day 3 Kickers Selected

    Zach Hocker, Washington Redskins (7.228)

    It won't be easy to beat out Kai Forbath in Washington. Forbath was 13-of-13 at the end of last season and has an NFL track record. Neither Redskins kicker should be drafted in fantasy, but if Robert Griffin III lights it up with his new weapons, the kicker will become a sought-after option off the waiver wire.

     

    Nate Freese, Detroit Lions (7.229)

    David Akers is old, pricey and not being brought back as a free agent, so the Boston College all-time leader in field goals is a candidate to win No. 1 kicker duties. He will compete with never-will-be Giorgio Tavecchio and former Buffalo Bills draftee John Potter.

    Freese was impressive...actually, perfect...last year at B.C., going 20-of-20 on field-goal attempts, including 6-of-6 from 40 yards or more. He handles kickoffs, too.

    If Freese wins the Lions' job, he will be kicking indoors and for a potent offensive team. That can get him some value next season, although he shouldn't be targeted in fantasy drafts.

     

    Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, was the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this past season. He is now an NFL featured writer here. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game.

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