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Fantasy impact of Eagles-Browns, Rams-Titans trades

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Draft season is the simply the best. This time of year is rife with reckless speculation, mock drafts, and hilarious over-analysis. But while that is always fun, rarely do football fans get treated to not one, but TWO landmark trades prior to the actual week of the draft. Yet, that's where we are in 2016. The Los Angeles Rams sent a fortune to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for the No. 1 overall pick, while the Philadelphia Eagles just agreed to a trade with the Cleveland Browns to acquire the No. 2 overall pick. Whew. That's a lot to take in on the surface, but the fantasy implications of these trades go much deeper. With that in mind, here are five ramifications from the Rams' and Eagles' trades to move up to the top of the 2016 NFL Draft.

1) The Los Angeles Rams get their franchise quarterback

The prevailing wisdom, including from NFL Media's own super-plugged in Michael Silver, is that the Rams will take Cal quarterback Jared Goff first overall come draft day. Fantasy-wise, this makes sense, as Goff showed the necessary anticipation and decision-making to come in and compete for a starting job right away. His timing will work well with the likes of Tavon Austin, and when all else fails he has Todd Gurley to hand the ball to 20-plus times a game.

Fantasy-wise, Goff will unfortunately be saddled with a dearth of talented pass-catchers to work with out of the gate, which as a rookie isn't exactly ideal. With Goff likely starting earlier than Carson Wentz, he should be the first quarterback taken in rookie drafts in dynsaty leagues, but his redraft value will still be minimal. This isn't a situation like Jameis Winston working with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson out of the gate. Goff will have his games, but should be left as a waiver-wire pickup unless he miraculously catches fire from a production standpoint.

2) Philadelphia Eagles get their quarterback ... of the future

Don't get it twisted -- the Eagles did not trade up to take anyone other than a quarterback, which means the dreams of Ezekiel Elliott being Jamaal Charles 2.0 in Doug Pederson's offense are dead. However, after extending Sam Bradford and acquiring Chase Daniel this offseason, the team is in a position to not rush their new quarterback (likely Carson Wentz) into the spotlight. While we've seen plenty of rookie quarterbacks come in and succeed in recent years (Winston, Marcus Mariota, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, etc), it's never a bad thing to give a young signal-caller (especially one making the jump from a smaller school) time to develop. In the past, fantasy studs like Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, and of course Aaron Rodgers all sat for a year (or more) before taking over the reins on offense.

Pederson, a former quarterback himself, helped coach Alex Smith to three of his best pro seasons while in Kansas City, and he could be a great mentor for a young passer like Wentz. If Wentz does sit for the whole season (not a guarantee, just look at what happened to Blake Bortles as a rookie), dynasty owners will need to be extremely patient and have the roster space to keep Wentz on the shelf for a year or more. The team is committed to Sam Bradford as the starter (for now), which in fantasy makes him once again nothing more than a streaming candidate in redraft leagues.

Lastly, as of right now this trade provides more clarity around the Eagles' skill position players. Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor retain their value with a veteran quarterback under center to open the season, and both could go in the mid- to late-rounds come fantasy draft season. Meanwhile, Ryan Mathews' sleeper stock remains high, as the team won't be drafting Elliott, likely leaving Mathews and Darren Sproles to split most of the backfield work. Mathews saw just 23 percent of the backfield touches in 2015, but managed to finish as the RB33 on the season. His 5.1 yards per carry only trailed Thomas Rawls' 5.6 among backs with 100-plus carries. Even with a modest increase in touches in 2016, Mathews should push for a strong RB2 finish.

3) Ezekiel Elliott is even more up for grabs now

With the Eagles now out of the running for Elliott, several teams picking in the early teens now have a more legitimate shot at drafting the talented Ohio State runner ... if the Cowboys pass on him with the fourth overall pick. Odds are, the Cowboys won't draft Elliott, as they have Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Lance Dunbar under contract and have more glaring needs to fill on their roster. That would mean that the Chicago Bears (pick 11), Miami Dolphins (pick 13) and Oakland Raiders (pick 14) could all be vying to acquire Elliott's services. Each team has a need at running back, and both Chicago and Miami have been active in free agency trying to sign another runner, though neither has been successful to this point. As for Elliott's fantasy future, landing in Chicago or Oakland would be tremendous, as he could take over lead back duties for either team, each featuring a wealth of surrounding offensive talent. Miami wouldn't be terrible either, as Adam Gase helped bring about C.J. Anderson's fantasy awakening in Denver, and the Dolphins do have some young pieces on offense. But operating in an offense piloted by a more stable quarterback like Derek Carr or (and I can't believe I'm about to type this) Jay Cutler would benefit Elliott's fantasy stock more than playing behind Ryan Tannehill.

4) Could the top wide receivers fall?

With the reshuffling at the top of the round, if the New York Giants pass on a wide receiver with the 10th overall pick, there really isn't an extremely wide receiver-needy team until the Bills pick at No. 19. From there, we get a run of several teams in need of a wideout that includes the Redskins (pick 21), Texans (pick 22), Vikings (pick 23), and Bengals (pick 24). Of course, the Browns could use some wide receiver help, so don't rule them out at No. 8, though it might be hard for them to pass up on some of the top prospects who could fall a bit farther with quarterbacks going first and second. Fantasy owners should be watching closely to see where the likes of Laquon Treadwell, Josh Doctson and Corey Coleman end up. If one of these top guys gets paired opposite Odell Beckham Jr. in New York, Sammy Watkins in Buffalo, DeAndre Hopkins in Houston or A.J. Green in Cincinnati, they could have immediate fantasy value. Stay tuned.

5) Robert Griffin III's redemption story continues ... for now

The last major ramification from these trades at the top of the draft is that RGIII's redemption story in Cleveland lives to fight another day. New Browns head coach Hue Jackson believes strongly in RGIII, going so far as to say "it felt like the Earth moved beneath my feet" while watching Griffin during a private workout. Jackson is coming off helping Andy Dalton to a career year, and could be the coach Griffin needs to bring his career back from the brink. Only time will tell though, and with the Browns likely out of the market for a quarterback in Round 1 (unless they surprise us again and take Paxton Lynch), it appears this will be a story worth watching all offseason long.

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar

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