With the 2015 NFL Draft underway in Chicago, the fantasy futures of plenty of teams and players will be changing with each and every pick. We'll be updating the below live blog with instant analysis after each selection, so be sure to check back early and often to get a leg up on the 2015 fantasy football season.
Pick 1: Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Well, as expected Famous Jameis lands in Tampa Bay. Winston could find early success connecting with the likes of Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins thanks to his big arm, accuracy and football IQ. He's on the QB2 radar as a high-upside, matchup-based play for 2015.
Pick 2: Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans: We have our first surprise of the night, but sadly it didn't involve a trade. The Titans have drafted what we assume will be their quarterback of the future in Mariota. Mariota might have a bit harder path to success given that his offensive weapons aren't on the level of Jameis' in Tampa Bay. Mariota does offer more value on the ground, however. He'll be a QB2, but we'd prefer Winston given the pieces that surround him on offense.
Pick 3: Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Jacksonville Jaguars: A smart pick by the Jaguars, who need to improve their pass rush. Fowler was dynamic at Florida and can get after the quarterback, but he probably won't be worth the investment in IDP leagues until he proves he can handle NFL tackles. Scoop him up off the waiver wire if he does catch fire in September.
Pick 4: Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: Anyone know how many cartwheels Derek Carr did after this selection? The signal-caller Oakland is relying on just got a pass-catcher he can rely on for the next decade. As we stated in our pre-draft profile of Cooper, he's the most polished wide receiver in this draft. He and Carr should be able to get on the same page early in Oakland. Fantasy-wise, Cooper is worth a mid- to late-round pick as a WR3 or WR4. Carr's stock gets a mini boost as well, but he still needs more weapons around him. Michael Crabtree and James Jones don't exactly inspire confidence behind Cooper.
Pick 5: Brandon Scherff, OT, Washington Redskins: Speaking of cartwheels, the Washington quarterbacks are likely doing a few with their team scooping up Scherff, who is considered by many to be the best (and meanest) lineman in the NFL draft. This is also good news for Alfred Morris, although I doubt it'll help him get any more carries near the goal line. But hey, a guy can dream, can't he?
Pick 6: Leonard Williams, DT, New York Jets: This pick seems to be Muhammad Wilkerson insurance (who is in the final year of his contract). Or the Jets are building the scariest defensive line in football. From an IDP perspective, Williams will need to earn his keep against current DL stalwarts Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. On a more macro defensive level, running backs facing the Jets could be in for some long Sunday afternoons this fall.
Pick 7: Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears: A smart pick for the Bears here getting a talented replacement for the recently departed Brandon Marshall. White boasts a great size-speed combination and is only going to get better as he learns the nuances of the wide receiver position. White should step in immediately as the No. 2 wide receiver alongside Alshon Jeffery, and as a result could be on the WR3 radar in fantasy. This will derail the Marquess Wilson hype-train, however, but dynasty owners shouldn't abandon ship just yet.
Pick 8: Vic Beasley, LB, Atlanta Falcons: Beasley is just what the Falcons needed, and Mike Mayock believes he'll slot in as a situational pass-rusher from Day 1. He could turn into an IDP stud if he can bring his quarterback-crushing skills from college to the pros. Atlanta's team defense still isn't one to consider as a starting option, though.
Pick 9: Ereck Flowers, OT, New York Giants: The Giants had a big need on their offensive line, and Flowers will help fill the void. NFL Media's Charles Davis predicts that Flowers' arrival will allow Justin Pugh (their 2013 first-round pick) to slide inside to guard. These are all good signs for Eli Manning getting more time to get the ball to Odell Beckham Jr. Oh, and I suppose it could give that crowded backfield featuring Andre Williams, Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen more room to run, too.
Pick 10: Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams: The trend of running backs not being drafted in the first round has finally been broken, with the Rams selecting the uber-talented Todd Gurley with the 10th overall pick. To be frank, this is not an ideal situation fantasy-wise, as it creates a potential committee situation with Tre Mason, Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham. One of those players might find themselves in different colors come fall, though. Either way, Gurley will have value in fantasy, but not as much as he could have if he had landed in a team bereft of a feature back. This will be a situation to watch come preseason.
Pick 11: Trae Waynes, CB, Minnesota Vikings:Mike Zimmer has got himself another defensive piece in the first round. Waynes will pair with Xavier Rhodes to give the Vikings a young cornerback duo that will have their hands full defending the likes of Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson and Alshon Jeffrey. Waynes doesn't move the needle much from a fantasy perspective.
Pick 13: Andrus Peat, OT, New Orleans Saints: Once the dust of the offseason has settled, the Saints offense will hardly resemble the one we've grown accustomed to in recent years. Their shift to a ball-control, power offense continues with the selection of Peat, who will make a great addition as a mauler up front for them, hopefully opening more holes for Mark Ingram and keeping Drew Brees upright in the pocket longer.
Pick 14: DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins:Ryan Tannehill should be all smiles right about now. With the Dolphins trading for Kenny Stills this offseason and selecting Parker in the draft, Tannehill now has three talented young receivers on his roster (including Jarvis Landry) all age 23 or younger. It'll be interesting to see how these three pass-catchers line up together and how Tannehill divvies up the targets. Parker likely slots in as more of a WR4 or WR5 in fanasy, with definite upside in Bill Lazor's offense. If he usurps Stills as the No. 2 wideout for the 'Fins, watch out. Deep sleeper potential here.
Pick 15: Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers (from San Francisco): A trade! Hooray! And a feature back for the Chargers? Double hooray! Gordon has landed in an excellent situation fantasy-wise, as he should assume the role of lead back for the Bolts with Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver spelling him on some third downs and other packages. With Gurley landing in more of a time-share, Gordon will likely slot in as the first rookie selected in both redrafts and dynasty formats. The Chargers moved up to get him and will likely feed him the ball as a result. You don't trade up in the first-round for a situational running back.
Pick 17: Arik Armstead, DE, San Francisco 49ers (from San Diego): San Francisco smartly nabs a talented defensive player with their first-round pick, grabbing Armstead who was a force at Oregon. He could eventually blossom into an IDP commodity, but like with many of the defensive picks in this round IDP enthusiasts would be better served to wait and see rather than investing a draft pick in them come fall.
Pick 18: Marcus Peters, CB, Kansas City Chiefs: Peters had plenty of off-field troubles in college, but the Chiefs are banking on his talent to trump those concerns after taking him 18th overall. Little of note here fantasy-wise, although if Peters is as good in the NFL as his skills indicate, he could be an IDP factor in the near future.
Pick 19: Cameron Erving, C, Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo): The Browns double-down in fortifying their trenches, this time grabbing Erving to hold down the center of their offensive line. The Browns are still in need of a wide receiver, but Erving will help the Browns remain stout up front and boosts the fantasy stock of both Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West, who both could make some noise in fantasy next season.
Pick 20: Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: This might be the best player-scheme fit so far in the draft. Agholor and Jordan Matthews will be a great tandem in Chip Kelly's offense, and Agholor has the speed to fill the deep-threat void created by Jeremy Maclin's departure. Agholor could be a sneaky pick to finish as one of the top rookie fantasy wideouts if Sam Bradford can stay healthy. Another deep sleeper option to take a stab at in the later rounds of fantasy drafts to fill out your depth at the wide receiver position.
Pick 21: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Cincinnati Bengals: Earlier this offseason, Bengals tackle Andre Whitworth dared the team to draft his replacement and that's exactly what they did in the first round. Ogbuehi tore his ACL in Texas A&M's bowl game eariler this year, which likely means Whitworth's job is still intact for now.
Pick 22: Bud Dupree, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steel Curtain just got a new playmaker in Dupree, who was a fantastic pass-rusher for Kentucky. He will be worth keeping an eye on in IDP formats as the season progresses.
Pick 23: Shane Ray, DE, Denver Broncos (from Detroit):Shane Ray's wait in the green room has come to an end after a recent citation for marijuana use contributed to his fall down the draft board. Ray will be another dangerous element in a Denver defense that already boasts pass-rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Ray will add more to the Broncos' team defense than the IDP world initially, but he could become a star with a little bit of experience.
Pick 24: D.J. Humphries, OT, Arizona Cardinals: Humphries will be able to jump in right away and help bolster an already talented, but oft-injured Arizona offensive line. Carson Palmer's job just got a lot easier as the Red Birds should be able to both keep him upright and run the ball even better. Now, how about they take a nice workhorse running back in Round 2 or 3 ...
Pick 25: Shaq Thompson, LB, Carolina Panthers: Thompson is a great player with a lot of fans, but his path to fantasy success is blocked by the talented and game-changing duo of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis ahead of him on the depth chart. Although, Davis, who announced the pick, could have also just introduced the football world to his replacement.
Pick 26: Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Perriman has plenty of fans in the draft circles, but I am not one of them. He has speed and NFL bloodlines, but I'm skeptical of his ability to become a complete wide receiver at the next level. He had shaky hands in college and didn't show any refinement on his routes. For me, he's going to be over-valued in fantasy this season, and will need time to develop. But I could be wrong, and feel free to throw this article in my face if I am.
Pick 28: Laken Tomlinson, G, Detroit Lions (from Denver): Thanks to their trade with the Broncos, the Lions were able to acquire two offensive linemen, a position of serious need for them. They received Manny Ramirez as part of the trade, and then nabbed Tomlinson with the 28th overall pick. This will help Joique Bell and Theo Riddick, but not enough to significantly boost their fantasy draft status.
Pick 29: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Um ... OK? Not sure why the Colts went with a wide receiver here, and while I'm a fan of Dorsett, his arrival in Indianapolis muddles the wide receiver landscape for the Colts. T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief and now Dorsett. Perhaps they're just never going to run the football? Who knows. I also have no idea where to rank the crop of Colts wideouts after Hilton.
Pick 30: Damarius Randall, S, Green Bay Packers: The Packers had a need at cornerback, but took Randall, who played safety for the Sun Devils. Odds are they try to convert him to cornerback, as Randall has been billed as one of the better coverage players in the draft. He's not on the fantasy radar for 2015.
Pick 32: Malcolm Brown, DT, New England Patriots: Brown was a beast for the Longhorns in college and my guess is Belichick will find ways to use him well. As for any early fantasy impact, it will probably be minimal.
In the words of Porky Pig, "That's all folks." Interesting first round, hope you enjoyed my #hottakes. See you all tomorrow night for Rounds 2 and 3.