The first three rounds of the NFL draft are complete, and while there is a long way to go until we see actual gameplay from any of these newly acquired rookie draftees, let’s let our mind run wild on who the biggest fantasy winners are from this draft. We will base it on landing spot, opportunity, offensive production for their respective position on their new team, and place some of the biggest changes in ADP as a result.
#1) Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs
This is almost a no-brainer! He was my fifth overall running back until yesterday. The Chiefs selected the Brian Westbrook clone (Andy Reid’s sentiments, not mine) in the first round, #32 overall. It almost doesn’t seem fair Edwards-Helaire gets to go from one high octane offense at LSU onto an even more potent and finely tuned machine in Kansas City. Last year, Pat Mahomes and company averaged 28.2 PPG in the regular season, ranking 5th overall for the year. They had over 1500 yards rushing as a team for the season and running backs accounted for 82 receptions. Those numbers should see an increase in efficiency as Edwards-Helaire is known both for his shifty lateral agility and receiving ability out of the backfield.
To say he is the consensus top back off the board in dynasty rookie drafts is to put it mildly. This is a dream come true for Edwards-Helaire truthers; he wins the award for most improved value.
#2) Brandon Aiyuk
Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers
Aiyuk is clearly a first-round talent. While his combine was impressive, he didn’t showcase top-end speed like Henry Ruggs or Denzel Mims. Aiyuk is a phenomenal athlete who creates yards after the catch through finesse and separation with great vision downfield. He has a massive catch radius for his size and will only contribute to his new team as a downfield and yards after catch monster. His ability to play outside also gives the 49ers the type of Kyle Shanahan X receiver fantasy owners everywhere drool over. Pairing him with Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and the league's best rushing attack is a dream come true for owners of all those assets, but it especially bumps Aiyuk and quarterback beneficiaryJimmy Garappolo. It seems like Garappolo received the most in value from the Niners’ investment.
The Arizona State alum could transform the San Francisco offense into a dynamic passing attack which could support two WR2s in PPR leagues next season. The 49ers offense converted 40% of their third-down conversions last season, and with Aiyuk able to create so many yards after the catch, this number will likely improve making for a formidable opponent and a clear fantasy asset moving forward. Aiyuk is now ranked as my WR5 for this rookie class up from WR9 last week.
#3) Keshawn Vaughn
Running Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s not every day a third round selection makes a list of draft day winners, but the Vanderbilt product landed on a team which could improve their offense this season and help to showcase the talented running back as much as possible. Vaughn is an elusive and nasty runner that finds ways to beat tacklers in the open field. He’s an average between the tackles runner, but has some pop and wiggle to get through small windows. His vision is also just as good as any runner in the class. Vaughn is also one of the better pass protection backs being drafted this year and has above average receiving skills. He’s lined up in the slot at Vanderbilt on occasion too. Tom Brady loves checking down to his running backs. Look for Vaughn to go in the first round of 1QB leagues around 1.09-1.11 overall now. In Superflex, he’s a borderline first rounder with a floor of 2.02.
Tampa Bay has all the weapons now to battle for a Super Bowl, and have added depth on their offensive line with premier offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. All of this spells opportunity right away for Vaughn and you should get as many shares of him as possible. He has jumped Zack Moss in my rankings and is potentially a better short term fit than J.K. Dobbins in Baltimore now. Vaughn could be a potential league winner. He’s my RB6 but just a hair below Dobbins now.
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