2014 NFL Draft fantasy football blog

The NFL Draft isn't just important for the 32 teams in the league, it's important for the millions of fantasy enthusiasts getting ready for a new season. As fantasy-relevant players have their names called at Radio City Music Hall this weekend, we'll have instant analysis on what this could mean for your drafts later this summer.

Round 1

1. Houston Texans - Jadeveon Clowney, DL, South Carolina: The best defensive talent in the class, Clowney will improve a unit that finished dead last in fantasy points among defenses in 2013. Still, he's going to have more value in individual defensive player (IDP) leagues ... the Texans defense won't be more than a No. 2 option, at least as it stands right now.

2. St. Louis Rams - Greg Robinson, OL, Auburn: As a fantasy football owner, you have to love it when a team bolsters its offensive line. That's what the Rams did with the addition of Robinson, who should come right in and make an impact. While he needs to progress as a pass protector, this is good news for both Sam Bradford and running back Zac Stacy.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida: A surprise selection, Bortles is the first quarterback picked in the 2014 draft. He'll have a chance to start right out of the gate, as Chad Henne is the incumbent and no lock to retain his spot atop the depth chart. Bortles has upside, but I don't love his statistical prospects for the 2014 campaign.

4. Buffalo Bills (trade with Cleveland Browns) - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: The Bills moved up to draft Watkins, who is considered the best wideout in the 2014 class. Rookie receivers don't typically make a major fantasy impact, so I wouldn't project him as much more than a No. 3 or 4 option. This is good news for EJ Manuel, who is going to have some deep sleeper appeal.

5. Oakland Raiders - Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo: Mack's draft stock has soared, so it's no surprise to see him go in the top five. This should help the Raiders defense on the field, but can he make them better in fantasy land? Not enough to make this unit worth a look in drafts. He's going to have more value in IDP leagues as a potential Von Miller-like rusher.

6. Atlanta Falcons - Jake Matthews, OL, Texas A&M: The Falcons have a ton of firepower on the offensive side of the football, but their line needed work. Getting Matthews, who NFL Media draft guru Mike Mayock calls a "technician," is a great way to start. It's a positive for Matt Ryan, who has a chance to be one of the best draft bargains in fantasy football next season.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: The second consecutive Aggie drafted, Evans is a big, physical receiver who projects to step right in and start opposite Vincent Jackson. This will be a run-based offense under OC Jeff Tedford, though, so Evans shouldn't be overvalued as a rookie. I see him as a WR4 in most re-draft fantasy football leagues.

8. Cleveland Browns (trade with Minnesota Vikings) - Justin Gilbert, DB, Oklahoma State: The Browns defense is moving up in fantasy land, as Gilbert joins CB Joe Haden in what will be a formidable secondary. With the addition of SS Donte Whitner and LB Karlos Dansby this offseason, this unit is going to be drafted in the late rounds of most 2014 leagues.

9. Minnesota Vikings (trade with Browns) - Anthony Barr, LB, U.C.L.A.: New coach Mike Zimmer is a defensive mind, so it's no shock to see the Vikings grab an edge rusher like Barr to help ease the loss of DE Jared Allen (Bears). Barr has major potential on the field, but he isn't going to make the Vikings defense a better option in fantasy land alone.

10. Detroit Lions - Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions: Ebron has drawn comparisons to Vernon Davis, and he's without question the most talented tight end in the 2014 class. But when you look at all the talent in Detroit, not to mention how few rookie tight ends make an immediate impact, fantasy owners would be wise not to reach for him in re-drafts.

11. Tennessee Titans - Taylor Lewan, OL, Michigan: The Titans went from having a weak offensive line a few years back to one of the better units in the league. Adding Lewan just makes this unit even better, which is great news for Jake Locker. Keep tabs on who the team adds at the running back position, as a fantasy sleeper could be waiting in the wings.

12. New York Giants - Odell Beckham Jr., WR, L.S.U.: The G-Men let Hakeem Nicks (Colts) leave as a free agent, so it's no surprise to see Beckham land with Big Blue. He'll be in the mix to start opposite Victor Cruz, though Rueben Randle will still be considered the favorite entering training camp. I don't see Beckham making a major fantasy impact as a rookie.

13. St. Louis Rams - Aaron Donald, DL, Pittsburgh: The Rams defense finished an impressive seventh in fantasy points at the position last season, so the addition of Donald does nothing but make this unit more attractive in 2014 drafts. Mayock compared Donald to Bengals DL Geno Atkins, who has recorded a combined 18.5 sacks in his last 25 games at the pro level.

14. Chicago Bears - Kyle Fuller, DB, Virginia Tech: Mayock calls Fuller "the most NFL-ready corner" in the 2014 draft. The Bears ranked 18th in fantasy points among defenses last season, but you have to like the addition of Allen, DL Lamarr Houston and now Fuller. At this point, Chicago rates as a D/ST2 and worth a look in the later rounds of fantasy re-drafts.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State: No shock here ... the Steelers went with a potential impact defensive player in the first round of the draft. Shazier will slot in at inside linebacker and help a unit that finished 19th in fantasy points among defenses last season, but he's not enough to move the Steelers out of D/ST2 territory next season.

16. Dallas Cowboys - Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame: Twitter would have exploded if the Cowboys took Johnny Manziel at this spot, but instead the team made the smart move and grabbed Martin. One of the most versatile linemen in the draft according to Mayock, he'll help to protect Tony Romo (who is coming off back surgery). Martin is likely to slot in at guard.

17. Baltimore Ravens - C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama:Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome absolutely loves Alabama defenders, so grabbing Mosley here is no shock. He'll do nothing but help a defensive unit that was 12th in fantasy points at the position last season. Look for Baltimore to be picked in the late rounds of most leagues as a top 10-12 fantasy unit in 2014.

18. New York Jets - Calvin Pryor, DB, Louisville: The Jets could use some help at wide receiver, but instead went defense with the addition of Pryor. Mayock compares him to a "bigger Bob Sanders," due in large part to his heavy-hitting style out of the defensive backfield. The "Louisville Slugger" won't make the Jets a drastically better fantasy option, though.

19. Miami Dolphins - Ja'Wuan James, OL, Tennessee: The Dolphins have a major need on their offensive line, so the addition of James is a welcomed one (especially if your name is Ryan Tannehill). Miami also added OL Brandon Albert earlier in the offseason, so Tannehill should be better protected. He has some deep sleeper appeal in fantasy leagues for 2014.

20. New Orleans Saints (trade with Arizona Cardinals) - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: Rookie wideouts rarely make a huge fantasy impact, but Cooks is going to be a player to watch regardless. That's due in large part to the presence of coach Sean Payton, not to mention a superstar under center in Drew Brees. Cooks could have late-round re-draft value.

21. Green Bay Packers - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB, Alabama: The Packers badly needed help in their defensive backfield, so the selection of Clinton-Dix makes a whole lot of sense. According to Mayock, he's a "natural" as a center fielder and has the skills to play man-to-man in the slot. The Packers finished last season ranked 23rd among fantasy defenses.

22. Cleveland Browns (trade with Philadelphia Eagles) - Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: I love Manziel from a fantasy football perspective, as his dual-threat skills make him a potential sleeper in fantasy land. I expect him to beat out Brian Hoyer atop the depth chart sooner rather than later, making him a definite late-round option as a QB2 in all 2014 re-drafts.

23. Kansas City Chiefs - Dee Ford, DL, Auburn: Ford, a natural edge rusher, had a strong showing in the Senior Bowl and will add some depth to an aggressive Chiefs defense. This unit might be hard pressed to score about 200-plus fantasy points again as it did in 2013, but Ford and his new teammates will be one of the first five fantasy units picked next season.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - Darqueze Dennard, DB, Michigan State: The Bengals have one of the better defenses in fantasy football -- this unit finished an impressive fourth at the position in 2013 -- so the addition of Dennard just adds to its value. He's an athletic, press-cover corner who adds depth to Cincinnati's defensive backfield next season.

25. San Diego Chargers - Jason Verrett, DB, Texas Christian: While he isn't a big player at 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, Verrett is a competitor and a welcomed addition to a Chargers defense that needs a reliable cornerback. The Bolts ranked a meager 29th in fantasy points among defenses last season, though, so this unit has more work to do to become viable.

26. Philadelphia Eagles (trade with Indianapolis Colts via Browns) - Marcus Smith, LB, Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles went with defense and grabbed Smith, who should help a defense that ranked 29th in the league and 14th in fantasy points at the position in 2013. Still, this unit need more work before it's more than a D/ST2 in most fantasy leagues.

27. Arizona Cardinals (trade with Saints) - Deone Bucannon, DB, Washington State: This selection fits a need for the Cardinals, who are shaping up to have one of the top defensive backfields in the entire league ... and in fantasy land. Remember, the Red Birds also added DB Antonio Cromartie in the offseason. Arizona could have a top-five fantasy defense in 2014.

28. Carolina Panthers - Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State: The Panthers are desperate for help at wide receiver, so the selection of Benjamin makes sense. He's still raw, but he has immense size at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. Fantasy leaguers should keep tabs on his preseason and camp performances, as he could be worth a late-round flier in deeper re-drafts.

29. New England Patriots - Dominique Easley, DL, Florida: Easley has a ton of upside and could be one of the biggest steals of the entire draft, according to Mayock. His stock fell due to an injured knee, but Easley is expected to be back in time for camp. He'll add depth to a unit that finished in the top 10 in fantasy points among defenses last seasons.

30. San Francisco 49ers - Jimmie Ward, DB, Northern Illinois: The Niners have one of the best defensive units in the entire league, both on the field and in fantasy football. In fact, this unit has finished no worse than seventh in fantasy points at the position in each of the last three years. Ward adds depth to the team's defensive backfield next season.

31. Denver Broncos - Bradley Roby, DB, Ohio State: The Broncos don't need much help on offense, but the team does have a need for depth in their defensive backfield. Enter Roby, who needs to be more consistent but has the potential to be a No. 2 cornerback at the NFL level. He'll be part of what figures to be a top-15 fantasy defense (at worst) in 2014.

32. Minnesota Vikings (trade with Seattle Seahawks) - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: Bridgewater's stock fell due to a poor pro day, but many scouts still consider him the best quarterback in the 2014 class based on the tape. He'll compete with Matt Cassel during training camp for a starting job and could have some re-draft value in a best-case scenario.

Round 2

36. Oakland Raiders - Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State:Matt Schaub is going to be the top quarterback in Oakland next season, so Carr won't have a ton of value in fantasy re-drafts. In fact, more of his immediate stock resides in dynasty formats. Before you run to take him in such formats, however, keep in mind the failure of past Fresno State quarterbacks at the NFL level.

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington: The Buccaneers now have an absolute boatload of tight ends, as Sefarian-Jenkins joins Timothy Wright and newly-signed Brandon Myers. The rookie has good hands and immense size at 6-foot-5 and 262 pounds, but I'm not projecting him to make much of a fantasy impact during his inaugural campaign.

39. Jacksonville Jaguars - Marqise Lee, WR, U.S.C.: Lee will have a chance to come right in and start for the Jaguars, who are still without the services of suspended wideout Justin Blackmon. With that said, Lee isn't someone I would consider until the late rounds of fantasy re-drafts. Remember, USC wide receivers don't have the best track record at the next level.

42. Philadelphia Eagles (trade with Tennessee Titans) - Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt: Jerry Rice's cousin, Matthews enters a good situation to find success down the road. He won't make a major impact in his first pro season, at least not as long as he has Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper ahead of him on the depth chart. Still, Matthews is a player to keep an eye on in camp.

45. Seattle Seahawks (trade with Detroit Lions) - Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado: Compared to DeSean Jackson because of his size and speed, Richardson adds a potential playmaker to a Seattle pass attack that is coming off a Super Bowl win. The wideout corps is a bit crowded, though, so Richardson isn't going to come in and make a major fantasy impact as a rookie.

49. New York Jets - Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: Amaro has good hands and the skills to be a playmaker at the NFL level. He's also entering a good situation in New York, as the Jets don't have a clear-cut No. 1 tight end on their roster. In fact, Amaro projects to be the best option at that position for the Men in Green. He could be on the late-round radar in deep leagues.

52. Arizona Cardinals - Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame: Niklas, who has played the tight end position for only two years, is a good in-line blocker and can run the short and intermediate routes. The Cards have depth at the position with Rob Housler and John Carlson on the roster, however, so Niklas isn't going to be on the fantasy football radar in his rookie season.

53. Green Bay Packers - Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State: The Packers have one of the top quarterbacks in the league under center in Aaron Rodgers, which will benefit any receiver in the pass attack. That's good news for Adams in the future, but he figures to be buried on the depth chart next season with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin all ahead of him.

54. Tennessee Titans (trade with Eagles) - Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington: It took forever, but Sankey becomes the first runner drafted in 2014. He's entering a great situation to succeed, as the Titans have a solid offensive line and lack a clear-cut starter after the release of Chris Johnson. Sankey has three-down skills and should be seen as the best rookie runner in fantasy land.

55. Cincinnati Bengals - Jeremy Hill, RB, L.S.U.: Hill has had some off-field issues, but he has a lot of potential on the field. Unfortunately, he's entering a bad situation in Cincinnati with both BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard ahead of him on the depth chart. Unless the team cuts tied with the Law Firm, Hill's re-draft value is going to be limited.

56. Denver Broncos (trade with Kansas City Chiefs via San Francisco 49ers) - Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana: The Broncos are loaded at wide receiver with Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders, so Latimer isn't going to have much value in re-drafts. What's more, he likely won't have Peyton Manning throwing him in the ball for most of his pro career.

57. San Francisco 49ers (trade with Chargers via Dolphins) - Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State: Some scouts consider Hyde the top running back in the 2014 class, but he's going to an undesirable place for his re-draft value. The Niners are loaded at running back for next season, so this has to be considered a futures selection. Hyde has more dynasty-league value.

61. Jacksonville Jaguars (trade with 49ers) - Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State: It sure seems like the Jaguars don't expect to have Justin Blackmon back any time soon. After grabbing Marqise Lee earlier in the draft, the team adds Robinson to the pass attack. An Anquan Boldin sort of wideout, he'll compete for depth-chart position in training camp but has little re-draft value.

62. New England Patriots - Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois:Tom Brady has some competition! Yeah, not so much. With Brady and Ryan Mallet both on the roster, Garappolo has no chance to make an impact either for the Patriots or fantasy owners for awhile. In fact, he's not going to be on the radar in anything but dynasty leagues unless something seriously drastic happens.

63. Miami Dolphins - Jarvis Landry, WR, L.S.U.: Mayock called Landry "the most physical wide receiver" in the 2014 class. He's going into a good situation in Miami, as the team has a talented field general under center in Ryan Tannehill and no clear-cut No. 3 wideout behind Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. Landry is a player to watch, though his re-draft value figures to be limited.

Round 3

63. Houston Texans - C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa: The Texans released Owen Daniels (Ravens) this offseason, but the team still has Garrett Graham and Ryan Griffin atop their depth chart. Fiedorowicz, a good blocker who can also catch the football in the short and intermediate game, will be hard pressed to make much noise in the stat sheets next season.

69. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia: Sims is joining a crowded backfield that includes starter Doug Martin, Mike James and Bobby Rainey, so he's not going to be in a position to do much between the white lines. At best, he'll be seen as a handcuff for owners who pick Martin ... assuming the rookie can win the second spot on the depth chart.

75. St. Louis Rams - Tre Mason, RB, Auburn: Mason has tremendous skills and upside at the NFL level, but his flaws as a pass protector, not to mention the presence of Zac Stacy, will keep him from being listed among the top fantasy rookies. At best, he'll be a late-round handcuff for Stacy if he's able to pass Benny Cunningham on the depth chart during camp.

86. Philadelphia Eagles - Josh Huff, WR, Oregon: Huff, who is basically a running back playing wide receiver, is a nice fit for the Eagles and coach Chip Kelly's offensive system. However, there's a whole lot of talent ahead of him on the team's current depth chart. He'll be much more of an option in deeper dynasty leagues than in re-drafts entering training camp.

90. Indianapolis Colts - Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi: Moncrief has some definite upside at the next level, but his impact in the stat sheets isn't going to be felt soon. The Colts have Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Hakeem Nicks and LaVon Brazill on the depth chart, which makes him more or less undraftable in 2014. Moncrief could replace Nicks in 2015, however.

91. Arizona Cardinals (trade with New Orleans Saints) - John Brown, WR, Pittsburg State: A smallish wide receiver at 5-foot-10 and 179 pounds, Brown is a Division II standout who has some serious playmaking skills. He's going to be buried on the Cardinals depth chart as a rookie, however, so most of Brown's fantasy stock is in dynasty leagues.

94. Cleveland Browns (trade with 49ers) - Terrance West, RB, Towson: West was highly productive in college and is a good fit for a power-running scheme at the next level. He's a good bet to end up second on the Cleveland depth chart behind Ben Tate entering the 2014 campaign. Should Tate have injury issues, West could turn into one of those deep sleepers off waivers.

96. Minnesota Vikings (trade with Seattle Seahawks) - Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern: McKinnon is a versatile athlete who has a chance to be a change-of-pace back at the NFL level. He's going to be a player to watch during training camp, if for no other reason than he's going to be in the mix to finish second on the team's depth chart behind Adrian Peterson.

97. Pittsburgh Steelers (compensatory pick) - Dri Archer, RB, Kent State: Archer suffered through an injury-riddled senior season, but he's a proven playmaker when out on the gridiron. With Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount locked into the first two spot on the Pittsburgh depth chart, however, Archer is going to be hard pressed to make a statistical push as a rookie.

99. Baltimore Ravens (compensatory pick) - Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State: Gillmore has some potential as a run blocker at the NFL level, but he's not going to see much time in the pass attack as a rookie or beyond. Remember, the Ravens have Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels atop their depth chart, leaving little chance for another tight end to produce next season.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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