The SFFS brings you five players whose fantasy stock was helped the most by the 2018 NFL Draft.
Eli Manning, QB New York Giants:
By picking running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in this year’s draft, the Giants added a sorely needed playmaker who can contribute in both the run and pass games. The addition of bruising run-blocker Will Hernandez in the second round will open up plenty of holes for Barkley, finally giving the Giants a balanced offensive attack. With a much improved line in front of him (see additions of Hernandez and FA Nate Solder) and weapons galore (Barkley, OBJ and Engram), Manning should find himself finally back in fantasy relevance and the QB2 conversation.
Andrew Luck, QB Indiannapolis Colts:
If Andrew Luck does play this season, the Colts know they have to find a way to protect him. Enter the 2018 NFL Draft. The Colts added the most complete guard (and best lineman) in the class by selecting Quenton Nelson with the sixth overall pick. In the second round, they added a potential starter at the opposite guard spot by nabbing Braden Smith out of Auburn. Like Manning, Luck will be playing behind a much improved line, bringing him back into QB1 contention (again, if he returns).
Alex Collins, RB Baltimore Ravens:
After bursting onto the fantasy scene with 973 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns in 2017, Collins will enter this season as the Baltimore Ravens’ lead running back. The only other experienced backs on the roster are Javorius Allen and Kenneth Dixon, with Allen expected to fill the role of the pass-catching back. Even though Danny Woodhead retired in the offseason, the Ravens chose not to add a rookie running back in the draft, though they did add road-grader tackle Orlando Brown in the third round. The 6’8″ Brown should start immediately on the right side and will bring a much needed physicality (though sub-par athleticism) to the run game. With no real competition brought in, Collins should see all the early down work for the Ravens, making him a great RB2 in standard scoring leagues.
Corey Davis, WR Tennesee Titans:
The fifth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft had a somewhat disappointing season last year, finishing with just 34 receptions and zero touchdowns. The good news for Davis? He showed improved chemistry with Marcus Mariota while having a great game against New England in the Divisional round, and fellow Titans’ wideout Eric Decker left in free agency. No wide receiver was added in the draft, and the only free-agent addition for Tennessee’s receiving corps was slot receiver Michael Campanaro. Wide receivers typically make the biggest jump between years one and two, so we fully expect Davis to live up to expectations and see a ton of targets, putting him on the board as a WR2.
Jay Ajayi, RB Philadelphia Eagles:
After getting traded to Philly just before the 2017 NFL trade deadline, Ajayi split lead-back duties with LeGarrette Blount and finished the year with 823 rush yards and one touchdown. Now, Blount is gone, while no running back was added though the draft. Ajayi is expected to take over early down work, but will lose some touches to Corey Clement and recently re-signed Darren Sproles. With no other short-yardage options on the roster, Ajayi is a lock for the Eagles’ goal-line carries, making him a high-upside RB2.