Top 5 rookie fantasy landing spots
We may have to wait a few years to find out the real winners and losers of the 2016 NFL Draft, but the league’s ever expanding offseason is already in-season, which means it’s time to start fine-tuning those fantasy draft boards.
Five players stand out as the the most likely to benefit based on their respective landing spots. The obvious caveat here is that it’s May and these guys have yet to actually strap on a helmet, so we’re still talking about upside bench stashes at this stage. But in dynasty leagues where owners can wait a little longer for the eventual payoff, assume these five players won’t make it out of the first round.
5. Sterling Shepard, WR – Giants
With Victor Cruz’s future very much up in the air, and with Rueben Randle now a member of the Eagles, the Giants have some openings at the receiver position. One name to pay close attention to throughout the team’s offseason program is Sterling Shepard, a three-year starter at Oklahoma. Shepard’s playmaking chops caught GM Jerry Reese’s attention enough to be drafted with the ninth pick of the second round.
He may lack the elite size of a future prototypical No. 1 (5-10, 194), but the contact rules in today’s NFL have leveled the playing field for the little guys. Plus, there’s no denying Shepard’s 137 catches for 2,258 yards and 16 touchdowns over the last two seasons at OU. Reese has described Shepard as a slot receiver, while head coach Ben McAdoo said he could move all around the formation. An exceptional route runner, Shepard ranked second in this year’s draft class. He ran 68.9 percent of his routes from the slot in 2015, with his average of 3.17 yards per route run from the slot ranking second-best among all receivers in this year’s draft.
At the very least, he should be a useful complement to Odell Beckham, and perhaps he’ll prove a worthy fantasy factor in Year 1.