The NFL Draft has come and gone. Now with their landing spots known, the value of the rookies coming into the league will solidify. The impact of the situation around a player can affect their value in dynasty formats just as much as their physical talent. Every year, some players go to a team that many expected, and their perception of dynasty players remains the same as it was pre-draft. Others will see their stock rise or fall based on their new home. It is time to focus on a few players who should see a boost to their value now that the dust has settled.
DeVonta Smith: Wide Receiver, Philadelphia
A prominent name to start with, but the Eagles need a top option in the passing game. The reliance on Greg Ward Jr. in the passing game is not how to run an offense or help a young quarterback. Smith gives them a very talented player to use in the passing game at all three levels. All the questions around Smith are centered on his size, but no one seems to doubt his talent level. He steps into a situation where he should be given plenty of opportunities to prove his doubters wrong. The path to opportunities on the field is very important for young fantasy players. Smith will give the Eagles a complement to the deep threat the team drafted last year in Jalen Reagor to build their wide receiver corps of the future.
Michael Carter: Running Back, New York Jets
Under a new staff, the draft showed the Jets beginning to revamp their offense. The running back room does have a few names in it, but nothing to make it seem like Carter will be sitting on the bench waiting for an opportunity. Carter might not be the prototypical three-down running back, but few teams take that approach to the position in today’s NFL. In college, he shared a backfield and was still very productive. He is competing with Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson and La’Mical Perine for a share of the snaps. None of these are players that can dominate the position. The Jets brought in an offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur, who worked in Kyle Shanahan’s system that has been very valuable for running backs in fantasy. They spent an early pick to add help on their offensive line. Carter has the ability to provide value in the passing game. Going to the Jets, where there is no established starter, puts Carter immediately in the mix to be fantasy relevant. This offense has the weapons to be more exciting in 2021 and beyond.
Amon-Ra St. Brown: Wide Receiver, Detroit
The Lions are in the process of significant changes with a new staff and personnel moves this offseason. One of the most significant changes was in the wide-receiver group. Kenny Golladay is gone, Marvin Jones Jr. is gone and Danny Amendola is still a free agent. There is plenty of opportunities here for St. Brown to establish himself as a part of this changing offense. Amendola being gone is the biggest positive for St. Brown. He has the potential to be a significant weapon out of the slot, where he has shown the skills to excel. Jared Goff is not known as a down-field passer, so his ability to get open could often be targeted. The Lions are building a solid offensive line, so Goff should have the time to find St. Brown, who is the type of player that should develop into a favorite for a quarterback like Goff, who will have more short to intermediate throws. He will be more valuable in point-per-reception league formats once he establishes his role in the offense.
NFL Draft Class per Conference
Trey Sermon: Running Back, San Francisco
The running back position in San Francisco is valuable for fantasy every year. Any running back that gets a chance in this system seems to produce for fantasy. This is a crowded backfield and a situation to watch, but Sermon is a talented runner between the tackles. He has a chance to lead the team in rushing yards, even if he is never considered the starter in 2021. Both Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. are not signed past 2021. Sermon has a chance to make the 49ers' decision on re-signing them easy if he performs well. It is important to note that the 49ers traded up in the third round to pick Sermon. The team is going to give him the chance to contribute this year. This is an ideal situation to step into for a rookie running back: a team that experienced many injuries last year, and if they are healthy, they will be better in 2021. This offense is built around the running game. The 49ers have an excellent offensive line and used the draft to add Aaron Banks to address the right guard position, which is the weakest in the starting group.
Kenneth Gainwell: Running Back, Philadelphia
Another Eagle makes the list. This is a player that will have value in dynasty formats even if he is unlikely to ever be a top-end fantasy option. It is not reasonable to expect he will come in and take the job from Miles Sanders. Still, new Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis and they way he used used Nyheim Hines in the past shows why this is a good landing spot for Gainwell. He comes in ready to contribute in the passing game, and with targets being more valuable for fantasy points than carries, he has an obvious path to fantasy production. His real competition for opportunities will be Boston Scott. He might not take over immediately, but he will establish himself as the second guy in a shared backfield and should see a significant portion of the work in the passing game out of the backfield. He is also a threat to break a big touchdown any time the ball is in his hands.