2015 NFL Draft Fantasy Live Blog, Day 1
Tonight we put a few more pieces in place in the puzzle that ultimately will be the 2015 NFL season. We’re going to be here every step of the way with draft coverage providing our awarding-winning fantasy insights and analysis along with live player projections from Mike Clay and Jeff Ratcliffe. That’s right. Live.
We’ll be updating as the action unfolds with the newest updates appearing at the top of the live blog below.
After the draft concludes, we’ll be rolling out plenty of content, but if you want to get caught up on what we’ve done on the lead in to the big weekend you can take a look at Ratcliffe’s pre-Draft offensive and defensive rankings.
Don’t forget that you can get access to all of our award-winning rankings, projections, content, and signature stats by heading over to DraftKings.com and making an initial deposit of just $10. That gets you Fantasy Gold for free. DraftKings will also kick you a 100% deposit bonus, so you double your money. You can’t beat it. If you already have an account and want access to Fantasy Gold, you can get a subscription and access to our 2015 Fantasy Draft Guide for just $29.99.
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11:30 P.M.: To close things out on Day 1, the Pats select DT Malcom Brown out of Texas. A productive pass rusher, Brown posted 33 QB pressures in 2014, but was especially impressive against the run. Brown was arguably the best draft-eligible run defending defensive tackle in the FBS last season. With New England parting ways with Vince Wilfork, this pick makes perfect sense. Brown projects to step in immediately and could see a three-down role. While he’s a more dynamic player than Wilfork, Brown offers a similar high floor/low ceiling fantasy profile. Brown will be a factor in DT-required leagues, especially in the long term.
11:24 P.M.: The Saints addressed a weak spot at pick No. 31 with the selection of LB Stephone Anthony out of Clemson. With Curtis Lofton now in Oakland, New Orleans was left with a big void in the middle that Anthony will fill. He’s a big (6’3″, 243lbs.) and athletic player who missed just three tackles last season. Given the opportunity, this pick vaults Anthony to the top of this year’s IDP crop. He immediately slots in as an upside LB2.
11:18 P.M.: With things winding down here on Day 1, the Packers selected DB Demarious Randall with the 30th pick. While Landon Collins had most of the buzz at the safety position throughout the draft process, Randall generated momentum in the weeks leading up to the draft and ends up being the first safety selected. The pick is even more interesting considering Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are already on the roster. Some view Randall as a Jimmie Ward-like slot corner with the coverage skills to see subapackage snaps. However, this could also mean the Packers have soured on Morgan Burnett. For now, Randall projects as a subpackage player and is off the short-term fantasy radar. However, we’ll need to keep a close eye on the Green Bay secondary in the offseason.
11:12 P.M.: The Colts surprised the masses by selecting Phillip Dorsett with the 29th pick of the first round. Dorsett is your prototypical undersized, speedster/returner. He ran a 4.33 40 and stands at 5’10/185. Dorsett has good hands and held his own as a blocker at Miami despite his small frame. Of course, the landing spot here is terrible in the short term. The Colts operate the league’s pass-heaviest offense and are led by Andrew Luck, but are overloaded at wide receiver and prefer two tight end sets. Dorsett definitely slots in behind TY Hilton and Andre Johnson, and will need to fend off Donte Moncrief and Duron Carter for snaps. Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener will soak up snaps, as well. Barring an injury or two, Dorsett will struggle to find the field as a rookie and instead do most of his damage as a returner. On the flip side, this is an outstanding landing spot for Dorsett’s dynasty value. Eventually, he’ll be one of Luck’s top-two targets and thus a WR2/3 fantasy option.
11:00 P.M.: At pick No. 27, the Cowboys select CB Byron Jones out UConn. Jones put up some disgusting measurables at the Combine, including a world record in the broad jump. Jones has good size and offers some positional versatility. The Cowboys biggest void is at safety, so there’s a chance we see Jones move. This is just speculation at this point, but Jones’ fantasy value will be closely tied to his positional designation.
10:54 P.M.: Several voids have been filled here in the first round of the 2015 draft. With the 26th overall pick, Baltimore selected Breshad Perriman. He immediately becomes the favorite to replace Torrey Smith opposite 36-year-old Steve Smith. Perriman has absurd wheels, having run a 4.26 40 yard dash. That’s especially intriguing when you consider he stands 6’3”/212. Perriman dropped too many passes last season needs work as a route runner, but the ceiling here is high and the targets are there for the taking in Baltimore. Consider that new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman coached Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery over the past two seasons. The duo sits one-two in the NFL in end zone targets during the span. Perriman is a borderline WR4, but also a sleeper for eight-plus touchdowns.
10:49 P.M.: In perhaps the most surprising pick of the first round, the Panther selected LB Shaq Thompson out of Washington. An athletic LB/S tweener, Thompson excelled in coverage last season, yielding just 0.37 yards per coverage snap. Also an efficient tackler, he missed just two of 37 tackles against the run. With Thomas Davis in Carolina, Thompson isn’t likely to be more than a part-time player in the short term. However, in an ironic twist of fate, Davis announced the pick who may ultimately be his replacement. With Davis entering his age 32 season, Thompson will be waiting in the wings, making him an intriguing dynasty stash in deep bench leagues.
10:35 P.M.: Following a turbulent week where he was cited for possession of marijuana, DE Shane Ray comes off the board at pick No. 23 to the Broncos. At Mizzou, Ray was one of the most productive pass rushers in the FBS. Last season, he converted 36.1% of his 47 pressures for sacks. While he won’t be able to produce at that level in the NFL, he’s lands in a great spot opposite Von Miller. With DeMarcus Ware still in Denver, Ray doesn’t figure to start immediately. However, he should see situational snaps as a pass rusher. This means limited short-term IDP value, especially given the strong chance he gets an OLB designation. However, Ray could wind up have LB3-plus value in big play leagues in the long-term.
10:25 P.M.: The Steelers fill a need on the defensive side of the ball, taking edge rusher Alvin “Bud” Dupree out of Kentucky. Following the surprise retirement of Jason Worrilds, Pittsburgh was left with 37-year-old James Harrison, underachieving Jarvis Jones, and Arthur Moats on the outside. Dupree has freakish athletic ability for his size (6’4″, 269lbs.), posting a 4.56 40 time and 11’6″ broad jump at the Combine. He’s likely to open the season as a starter in the revamping Steelers defense. Unfortunately, landing in a 3-4 means Dupree will get the OLB designation. He’s unlikely to have much fantasy value outside of big play scoring leagues in 2015.
10:19 P.M.: The Eagles found their replacement for Jeremy Maclin, selecting Nelson Agholor with the 20th overall pick. Having lined up in the slot 53 percent of the time at USC last year, Agholor is one of only a few incoming rookie wideouts who has a lot of experience playing inside. Of course, Jordan Matthews was glued to the slot last season, so it’s fair to expect a bit of a rotation in 2015. Like Maclin, Agholor isn’t very big (6’0/198), but he’s an exceptional route runner and shifty in the open field. Wide receiver is a major need for the high-scoring Eagles and Agholor immediately slides in as a near every-down player. Of course, this is a team that likes to spread out the targets and will lean more on the run. Agholor also won’t be a primary target near the goal line at his size. He’s a borderline WR4.
10:06 P.M.: Andy Reid and the Chiefs snag CB Marcus Peters out of Washington. Peters enters the NFL with some baggage, as he was dismissed from the team last season and has had other transgressions. At the same time, he’s a very athletic and talented player who gets a great opportunity with little in his path to a starting job opposite Sean Smith. Unlike the previous two corners drafted in Round 1, Peters actually does offer an intriguing fantasy profile. While he’s an inefficient tackler (missed 7 out of 24 opportunities against the pass last season), he figures to see plenty of targets in his rookie season.
9:59 P.M.: The 49ers go with upside at No. 17, selecting DE Arik Armstead out of Oregon. A physical specimen, Armstead enters the league raw, but with loads of athletic ability. Last season, Armstead generated just 26 pressures in 338 pass rush attempts. That QB pressure rate of 7.7% was well below Leonard Williams’ 10.1% and less than half Henry Anderson’s position leading 15.3%. With Justin Smith contemplating retirement, Armstead could be the heir apparent at defensive end for the 49ers. Like Smith, Armstead offers a high floor/low ceiling fantasy profile and slots in as a low upside DL3 if Smith indeed retires.
9:54 P.M.: Halfway point. The Texans select CB Kevin Johnson out of Wake Forest at No. 16. Strong in coverage, Johnson allowed just 31 of 52 balls thrown into his coverage to be caught last season. He also allowed just one touchdown reception, while snagging a pick and posting three passes defensed. Johnson likely won’t start initially with both Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph already in house, but that doesn’t mean he won’t see his share of subpackage snaps. However, barring injury, Johnson isn’t likely to be much of a fantasy factor in 2015.
9:47 P.M.: The Chargers have found their replacement for Ryan Mathews. San Diego sent two late-round picks to San Francisco in order to move up to 15thoverall and select Melvin Gordon. Gordon combines 4.52 wheels and impressive acceleration with his 6’1/215 frame. He’s a poor receiver and needs work as a blocker, however, which may limit his early-season workload. He’ll need to improve in those departments before taking on a three-down role, but it’s not a big issue for HC Mike McCoy. He has third-down specialist Danny Woodhead and 2014 undrafted sensation around to help out on passing downs in the meantime. Gordon averaged an absurd 7.6 YPC (3.6 after contact) and ran for 29 touchdowns at Wisconsin last year. Locked into a two-down role in a good offense right out of the gate, Gordon is a back-end RB2 in standard and a borderline RB2 in PPR.
9:43 P.M.: DeVante Parker is headed to Miami. A favorite of our colleagues at CFF, Parker joins a wide receiver unit that was completely overhauled during the offseason. Out are Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson. In are Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings and Parker. All four will be busy, as the Dolphins had a third wideout on the field on 80 percent of pass plays last year – fourth highest. Parker has a ton of ability and will do a ton of damage deep down field (replacing Wallace in that regard). Playing in sunny Miami with a good quarterback in a wideout-friendly offense, and in position to start from Day 1, Parker is right there with Cooper and White as a borderline Top 25 option. Slot him as a WR3.
9:26 P.M.: With their first pick in the first round, the Browns snag DT Danny Shelton out of Washington. He didn’t wow with his 40 time, but there’s no denying Shelton’s ability on the field. Shelton is a strong run defender who produced 50 run stops in 2014 (second to only Leonard Williams among interior linemen). At this point, it’s not clear where Shelton will play nose or if he’ll be used in 1- and 3-technique. The CFF analysts believe he’s more than capable of playing all three. Whether or not he does will have an impact on his fantasy value.
9:20 P.M.: While many thought the Vikings would end up with Teddy Bridgewater’s former college teammate Devante Parker, Minnesota instead goes with CB Trae Waynes out of Michigan State. What can we say? Mike Zimmer loves his corner backs. Touted as the top corner in this year’s class, Waynes allowed a reception on just 50.8 percent of balls thrown into his coverage and just one touchdown last season. Waynes initially projects as a starter opposite Xavier Rhodes. For fantasy purposes, Waynes was not a tackle machine at the collegiate level, which suggests a limited long-term fantasy profile. That said, rookie corners frequently have value in redraft leagues, so he’s a player to monitor.
9:13 P.M.: The biggest shocker of the first round (so far), the Rams selected Todd Gurley 10th overall. A third rounder last year, Tre Mason was terrific for St. Louis as a rookie, but Jeff Fisher has a long history of run heavy football. The Rams will look to lean heavily on their defense and running game in 2015 and beyond. Gurley has elite upside and the landing spot certainly will allow plenty of opportunity. The real question for 2015 is his health. Off a torn ACL, Gurley’s status for Week 1 is in doubt. Early indications suggest he’s good to go, but it’s reasonable to expect a slow start. Gurley is a good pass-catcher, but needs work as a blocker, which suggests Benny Cunningham will be busy on passing downs – same as in 2014. Gurley is already worth RB2 consideration, especially in non-PPR formats.
9:01 P.M.: Another edge rusher comes off the board at pick eight, with the Falcons selecting Vic Beasley out of Clemson. An absolute monster at the Combine, Beasley was a top performer in every category in which he participated including a blazing fast 4.53 in the 40. It’s no shock that defensive-minded head coach Dan Quinn prioritized defense in this draft. He inherits a unit that finished dead last in total defense and generated just 22 sacks. Like Donte Fowler, Beasley lands in a 4-3 defense, which is great for fantasy purposes. However, with Tyson Jackson and Adrian Clayborn already in Atlanta, it’s likely Beasley may be used in a situational role initially. This limits his short-term IDP value, but the landing spot still bodes positively for Beasley’s dynasty stock.
8:54 P.M.: With the seventh overall pick, Chicago replaced Brandon Marshall (traded to Jets) with Kevin White. Standing 6’3”/215 and with 4.35 wheels, the sky is the limit for White. He has quality hands and is already a decent blocker. He slots in opposite Alshon Jeffery and it won’t be long before he’s Jay Cutler’s No. 2 target. Eddie Royal slides into the slot and Marquess Wilson heads back to the bench. Like Cooper, White immediately enters the WR3 conversation. He’s a candidate for 6-8 touchdowns. Picking between the two? We’d go Cooper by a slight margin. Cooper is better, White is in a better offense.
8:47 P.M.: With the sixth pick, the Jets got with Leonard Williams out of USC. Williams slid despite some analysts calling him the best player in the draft. CFF doesn’t quite agree with that take, with our analysts saying Williams is more of a “reactive than active” player. Still, Williams put up big numbers in college. In 2014, he racked up 51 QB pressures and three batted passes while leading all interior DLs with 55 defensive stops. Unfortunately, this is a terrible landing spot with both Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson already in house. While rumors have circulated that Wilkerson is on the trade block, for now Williams will be stuck in a platoon in the best case scenario. This essentially saps any fantasy value he might have in 2015. Of course, things can certainly change.
8:39 P.M.: Time to exhale for a moment. Washington selected Brandon Scherff fifth overall. Washington needed some help along the offensive line, so the pick makes a lot of sense. The Redskins graded out as the No. 24 run blocking line. Scherff graded out as a top 10 run blocker among draft-eligible offensive tackles last season.
8:34 P.M.: No surprise here, but the Raiders went with Amari Cooper with the fourth overall pick. This is a team that will lean heavily on the run (Cooper is not a good blocker, which could hurt his snap count early on) and won’t score a ton of touchdowns barring a large step forward from second-year quarterback Derek Carr. Still, Cooper is as pro-ready as they come and already No. 1 on the depth chart in what is a mediocre wide receiver corps. With Michael Crabtree, Mychal Rivera, Rod Streater, James Jones and Andre Holmes his only competition for targets, Cooper figures to flirt with one quarter of the looks. He’s a top-40 fantasy wide receiver in 2015.
Initial Cooper projection: 76 receptions, 1017 yards, 4 TD
8:26 P.M.: Jacksonville goes with edge rusher Dante Fowler at No. 3. A very productive pass rusher, Fowler notched a QB pressure on 16.4% of his pass rush snaps. He steps into a Jags defense in dire need of an edge rusher. With Chris Clemons and Jared Odrick currently atop the depth chart, Fowler projects start immediately. For fantasy purposes, things couldn’t get much better. In Jacksonville, Fowler avoids the dreaded OLB designation. With his talent one the edge, Fowler offers intriguing fantasy value and slots as a DL3 with DL2 upside.
8:20 P.M.: The rumors were rampant throughout the day, but the Titans correctly passed them up in favor of selecting Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick. Where Winston struggled in 2013, Mariota was exceptional. But he won’t produce the same way Winston will. Mariota has 4.52 wheels and isn’t quite as accurate through the air. Especially considering Tennessee’s underwhelming supporting cast – at least for now, his top weapons are Kendall Wright, Delanie Walker, Justin Hunter and Bishop Sankey – Mariota’s rookie-season ceiling is a bit underwhelming. Of course, because he’s a candidate for 90-plus carries over 16 games, his floor is much higher than Winston’s. Both quarterbacks are mid-pack QB2 options. Go with Mariota in four-point pass touchdown leagues and Winston when it’s six points.
8:12 P.M.: No surprise here, but Jameis Winston was selected first overall by Tampa Bay. Winston shouldn’t have much trouble disposing of Mike Glennon is the heavy favorite to start Week 1. With 6’5” superstars Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans at wide receiver, emerging Austin Seferian-Jenkins at tight end and Charles Sims at tailback, Winston has the ammunition he’ll need to approach 4,000 passing yards and 20-plus touchdowns. There’s obviously plenty of bust risk here after Winston’s rough 2014 campaign, but the upside makes him a mid-pack QB2 option in 2015.
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