A team-by-team look at how the first day of the 2021 NFL Draft went and the impact it has on fantasy football in 2021.
1.1 QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
In a move that shocked no one, the Jaguars got their franchise QB. I don’t think that Lawrence is going to be an immediate Top Tier QB but he for sure has the potential to get there in the coming years. In a dynasty league, snatch him up with one of the first picks in the rookie draft. In re-draft leagues, he should go in the mid-level of QBs.
1.25 RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
How fun is it that the Jaguars went out and got Lawrence and then paired him with the running back that he was comfortable playing with at Clemson. Etienne is going to be really good on this team BUT will most likely be splitting backfield duties 60/40 with James Robinson, which will limit the value that he will have. I would wait quite a while before drafting him. He will probably scoop up around 700 yards for the season and should be drafted in the Top 20 rookies for sure, but probably not in the Top 20 RBs total in re-draft leagues.
New York Jets
1.2 QB Zach Wilson, BYU
I originally yawned at this pick when they made it, because it does nothing for fantasy. BUT THEN, the Jets went and got Alijah Vera-Tucker which means they know that they have to protect their QB, unlike what they were doing with Darnold. I still won’t advocate drafting him very high, but Wilson has a higher ceiling than Sam Darnold has.
1.14 OG Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
While you obviously can’t draft offensive linemen, as mentioned, this pick does raise the value of Zack Wilson. Vera-Tucker was one of the best offensive lineman in the draft, so there is value here. I feel a little bit better if I have to roll with Zack Wilson as my backup QB.
San Francisco 49ers
1.3 QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
I really didn’t like this pick. I think Mac Jones has the better skillset for Shanahan to work with, but here we are. Lance has the skills but isn’t a pro product yet which means that Jimmy G will likely be the starter this year and will function as a bridge Quarterback. What that means for me personally in my league? I am not drafting Lance at all unless it’s a dynasty league and I have A LOT of extra roster spaces I could devote to a player that won’t see time for a while, and I also am not going to draft Jimmy G if I don’t have to because he could be traded at any time and I don’t know if he will land in a great spot.
1.4 TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
WOOOOO WEEEEE. I love Kyle Pitts, and I will draft him anywhere he goes. This guy is gonna be the next Darren Waller and now that he’s on an offense where defenses are already having to cover Julio Jones (for now) and Calvin Ridley this is great. This also skyrockets Jones & Ridley’s value. I can tell you right now that Pitts is getting at LEAST 500 yards this season, but it could be closer to 1,000. In a rookie draft, Pitts could be potentially Top 5, which is pretty high for a TE and in a regular draft, I’d probably draft him right after Darren Waller. This also means that I would shoot for Matt Ryan as my starting QB in a 12 team, maybe even 10 team league, as he’s going up in value for sure.
1.5 WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Hated this pick. You have the best Offensive lineman on the board still and you get a receiver? Burrow probably won’t make it through the season, but yes, while he is on the field he and Chase will make some magic. Chase should be for sure the first Bengals receiver drafted, and probably the first rookie receiver drafted, but I don’t feel very good about drafting him very high in a regular draft, unless the Bengals make some changes to their offensive line. I will say that if Burrow does stay healthy, Chase is easily a 1,000 yard receiver this year.
1.6 WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Waddle is probably one of the safest picks in the draft for Miami, and how can you not love it? Tua now has a legit receiver to work with on either side of the field between Waddle & Parker which should hypothetically make all three of their values go up. I don’t think that Waddle immediately has top tier value as he will take a year to find his footing, but in a dynasty league he has the potential to be the #1 overall pick because of where he went and his ability. Waddle has the potential to be the next Tyreek Hill.
1.18 DE Jaelan Phillips, Miami
After the Dolphins helped their offense, they switched and helped their defense.
1.7 OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
Nice pickup for the Lions. What this does in my mind is shoot not only Jared Goff up in value a bit, but also makes D’Andre Swift a HECK OF A LOT more valuable. I really am thinking Swift might be one of my favorite running backs to go get now, he might even finish Top 10 (at least Top 15) because Sewell is that good of a run blocker.
1.8 CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Didn’t see this pick coming. I really thought the Panthers would have been better off getting Darnold a weapon to work with, but here we are. From a fantasy standpoint, corners are never really the point generators in IDP leagues, so there’s not much there. If your league REQUIRES a corner, Horn is a surefire player to pick, but for the most part you can leave him out until he shows up. I don’t think the Panthers DST raises any in value as well.
1.9 CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Also didn’t see this one coming. The Broncos were a mess on defense, but I felt their defensive line was a more important need to address. Similar to the Jaycee Horn pick, I can’t really advocate for drafting a corner without seeing him play, and I don’t think the Broncos DST moves in value very much with this pick.
1.10 WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
DeVonta Smith is a great pick for the Eagles. For once, the Eagles management didn’t eff it up. Smith comes in as the undisputed #1 receiver on the team and this will also open up the field for Reagor so his value goes up a bit. Now it will be interesting to see how Smith’s size translates to the NFL, but I think the talent is there. I think it’s also interesting that Smith gets to play with his old college QB, so there’s some chemistry there already. I think Smith has the potential to be a 1,000 yard receiver, but will probably come a little shy of it this first year, maybe getting around 800. I would feel comfortable taking him after Chase and around the same time as Waddle in all types of drafts.
1.11 QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
What a quandary. I’m happy to see the Bears went for it and got their QB of the future, but I don’t know how this season is going to read. The Bears made it clear that Dalton was their starter, but did this. If Dalton is the starter, then Fields is more of a dynasty pick, but a HIGH dynasty pick for sure. If Fields has the potential to start this year, I don’t know where I would draft him. Bears QBs average 3,900 passing yards in a season, but they haven’t had a rushing QB in I don’t know how long, so those numbers are going out the window. If Fields starts, then Allen Robinson‘s numbers are going DOWN. Since we don’t know where Fields stands on the team this year, I can’t even endorse Allen Robinson at his current ADP. But for all you dynasty players, this is a pick that is worthy of stashing on your roster for a year or two.