The SFFS brings you a list of players whose fantasy values took the biggest hits following the 2018 NFL Draft.
Carlos Hyde, RB Cleveland Browns:
When Carlos Hyde signed as a free-agent this offseason with the Cleveland Browns, we knew he would lose some touches, especially in the passing game, to Duke Johnson. Unfortunately, Hyde’s fantasy value took a somewhat unexpected hit when the Browns selected Georgia running back Nick Chubb with the 35th overall pick in this year’s draft. Chubb is essentially a clone of Hyde, displaying similar power and strength. Though Hyde is guaranteed $5 million this year, the Browns seem evident on having Chubb play a big role this year. Cleveland’s Vice President of Player Personnel Alonzo Highsmith had this to say about the rookie back; “You have to be able to play a physical style of football,” Highsmith said. “And Nick Chubb exemplifies all of that in his running style. I have no questions about the guy. Just give him the ball.” Hyde should open the season as the starter, but it’s a good bet that he’ll be in a three-way timeshare. He’s nothing more than a mid-tier RB2 for 2018.
Rex Burkhead, RB New England Patriots:
After Patriots’ running back Dion Lewis left this offseason for a big contract in Houston, New England was quick to lock up Burkhead to a 3-year deal. After contributing over 500 yards of total offense in 2017, it looked like Rex might have a significant role this year, even with the addition of Jeremy Hill and the return of Mike Gillislee. Though the majority of fantasy players expected Pats’ Head Coach Belichick to make at least one more move at running back before the season started, they were probably surprised when he did it so early in the 2018 NFL Draft. With the 31st overall pick, New England selected another back out of Georgia, the dynamic Sonny Michel. Michel averaged almost eight yards per carry enroute to 1,227 yards and 16 TDs while splitting time with Nick Chubb for the Bulldogs. At Georgia Michel also proved he could be a three-down back, totaling 60 receptions in his four collegiate seasons. In 2018, expect Michel to receive plenty of touches between the 20s, with Burkhead’s role probably being reduced to short-yardage and goal-line carries. Add to the fact that James White returns as the third-down back and any hopes that Burkhead would have an expanded role this year have been completely dashed. Rex is worth little more than a bench stash for this season.
Tyrod Taylor, QB Cleveland Browns:
We all knew that Taylor was signed to be the Cleveland Browns bridge-quarterback, but many expected that his job would be secure for at least this season after the Browns would choose Josh Allen with the first pick in the draft. Instead, Cleveland went against the perceived notion of Allen and instead chose Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma, arguably the draft’s most pro-ready QB. While the Browns have said they plan to redshirt Mayfield in 2018, if Cleveland struggles to win, it’ll be awfully hard to resist inserting the #1 overall pick into the lineup. Tyrod has always been a decent fantasy player, and with the embarrassment of weapons suddenly assembled in Cleveland, he will be a low-end QB1 early on. The issue is just how long he’ll remain the starter. Owners should feel comfortable drafting Taylor late in their draft, but they need to have a backup plan in place for the inevitable benching.
Samaje Perine and Rob Kelly, RBs Washington Redskins:
Entering training camp, we expect Samaje Perine to be the Redskins’ starting running back, with Chris Thompson entrenched in the passing back role. Rob Kelly should begin camp as the top backup, but odds are he won’t be on the active roster for Washington’s regular season opener. Both Perine and Kelly’s fantasy values took a major hit when the Redskins landed the potential steal of the 2018 NFL Draft in Derrius Guice, who fell to them at pick 59. The rookie out of LSU is a polished runner with a punishing style who totaled 1,153 rushing yards and 11 scores in 2017. Guice brings a lot more speed and explosiveness to the field than either Perine or Kelly, who averaged a combined 3.25 yards per carry last year. As long as nothing off the field prevents Guice from suiting up for the ‘Skins, he should begin to see the bulk of touches out of the backfield by week three or four. Kelly is untouchable in fantasy drafts, and Perine should be a late round pick for those with deep benches only.
Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers, RBs Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
With Doug Martin signing with to play for the Oakland Raiders in free agency, third-year running back Peyton Barber was bumped up to the starting spot, with Jacquizz Rodgers in line to be the primary backup. Those roles seem to be set entering training camp, but they will face heavy competition from the explosive Ronald Jones, drafted out of USC with the 38th overall pick. Though a dependable back who averaged 4.3 yards per carry in 2017, Barber was severely lacking in his ability to generate the big play. That just happens to be the area where Jones excels. Ronald averaged over six yards a carry for the Trojans and totaled 25 runs of at least 15 yards in his career in L.A. With breakaway ability and good hands, Jones is primed to earn a large role throughout the year. Barber should start the year as a low-end RB2 with some goal-line value, but as the coaches get more comfortable with Jones, expect a diminished role for Peyton as the season rolls on. Barber is still worth a late round pick in re-draft leagues and a speculative dynasty grab, but Rodgers won’t be worth a selection in any format.
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