Let's be clear before we get too far into this one. Declaring someone a winner in the draft less than 12 hours after the conclusion of the first round is a bit of a fool's errand. From a football standpoint it's going to take years before we can truly grade these picks.
That's not to say there's no value in it. Far from it. Specifically when it comes to Fantasy, the instant reaction is both more complex and more rewarding if you get it right. For the purposes of this article I'm looking only at 2015 redraft value and how it was effected by the decisions made in Round 1. We'll have other articles, blogs and videos that cover the draft's wider affect on Fantasy in the days and weeks to come.
Things may change over the weekend and I'll be back on Monday morning to evaluate those changes.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers: It's really hard to imagine things working out much better for the former Badger running back. He goes to a Chargers team that should have at least an average offense with a good quarterback and ample opportunity. Gordon's main competition for touches will be Branden Oliver and Danny Woodhead. Sure, Woodhead may take third downs away, but the full-time running back is a thing of the past anyway.
The bad luck of Todd Gurley and Gordon's placement make him my No. 1 running back in redraft leagues, which is quite the upset considering the consensus was that Gurley was the more talented back. I'd still take Gurley first in dynasty drafts but that's not what this column is about.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Ravens: It's amazing how well Perriman fits the Torrey Smith mold and role in Baltimore. He has the blazing speed to take advanatage of Joe Flacco's big arm and just enough question marks to allow him to fall to the Ravens at pick 26.
Perriman's inclusion on this list says less about how I expect him to finish in 2015 and more about how much my outlook was changed by his landing spot. He'll have as wide a range of outcomes as any rookie wide receiver you might draft. The top end of that range just got much higher because he landed in Baltimore.
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders: Carr is our first non-rookie on the list. In 2014 James Jones led the Raiders in receptions and touchdowns yet people still seemed surprised that Carr had struggles as a rookie. Heading into 2015 it now looks like Jones will be no better than third on the depth chart after the team added Amari Cooper with the fourth pick of the draft.
Cooper is ready to help the Raiders right now, which is part of what made this fit so good. With addition of Cooper and Michael Crabtree, Carr has no excuse to fail. If he's as talented as I think he is he should be a top 15 Fantasy quarterback in 2015 with these weapons.
Kevin White, WR, Bears: The Bears needed a receiver to fill Brandon Marshall's shoes and that's exactly what makes me love this spot so much for White. Say what you want about Jay Cutler as an NFL quarterback, he's been outstanding for Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Fantasy football. The same attitude that can frustrate fans and coaches serves receivers that earn his trust really well.
White has the physical tools to excel in both a downfield passing attack or to kill opponents with YAC. That versatility should make him a favorite of Cutler's, especially if the rumors about Martellus Bennett being on the block are true. If Bennett leaves, White could be my favorite rookie wide receiver in redraft.
Sam Bradford, QB, Eagles: It probably wasn't easy to be Bradford on Thursday. First he had to sit through all the rumors of the Eagles trying to trade for Mariota. As if that wasn't bad enough, then he had to deal with reports he was going to Cleveland. Reportedly, Bradford wasn't thrilled with the idea of playing in Cleveland and as of the end of Round 1 he is still an Eagle. Not only did he manage to avoid getting shipped out (or replaced), he also picked up a new weapon in wide reciever Nelson Agholor. The Eagles were short on receivers and it's easy to see Agholor as an improvement in three receiver sets.
I doubt Bradford is done sweating this situation yet, just as Chip Kelly is likely not done trying to find a way to pry Mariota from the Titans. Still, looking only at the situation as it stands after Round 1, Bradford has to be viewed as a big-time winner.
Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington
Kendall Wright, WR, Titans
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins
Tre Mason, RB, Rams: Just when it seemed like everyone was in agreement in devaluing running backs the Rams continue drafting them, even when they already have two. I suppose turnabout is fair play, so Mason can't be too frustrated by the fact that the Rams drafted his replacement, Todd Gurley, with the 10th pick of the draft. Mason's owners on the other hand have plenty of reason to bark.
There's still a chance that Gurley isn't 100 percent by the start of the season, so Mason could have some DeAngelo Williams-type value as an early season starter that has no chance of holding onto the job. That's a far cry from a feature back that totaled 600-plus total yards and four touchdowns in the second half of his rookie campaign.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans: With Mariota, the redraft-only focus of this article really comes into play. I'm not going to say Mariota can't be an NFL quarterback in a pro system, but the transition sure would have been easier with his old college coach running a system he's familiar with.
When rumors began to swirl about a possible trade the thought of him being a productive quarterback in Year 1 at least seemed within the realm of possibility. Learning a new system with Kendall Wright as your WR1? Not so much. We'll wait and see how the reports sound from mini-camp and training camp, but I'm guessing Mariota can be ignored in standard redraft leagues in 2015.
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams: If you can't tell yet I really didn't like that pick by the Rams. Gurley comes into the year with doubts about his health which I would anticipate means him sharing the load with Tre Mason early on. Even once he wins the job, he'll be running against some of the best defenses in football regularly. That's not enough to scare you off? I also don't think this Rams pass offense is going to be very good, which will cut into his touchdown opportunities.
I was in the camp that Gordon was the most talented running back in the draft, but situation matters. Because of that I won't have him as my top rookie running back in redraft. The opportunity in San Diego for Melvin Gordon moves him ahead of Gurley at this point. Even if I knew Gurley was going to be 100 percent healthy in Week 1, I'm still not sure I wouldn't rather have Gordon.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts: There was a time when I had hope for Moncrief as the WR2 in Indianapolis behind T.Y. Hilton. After all, Moncrief had shown flashes as a rookie with a pair of 100-yard games and picked up 54 yards and a touchdown in the team's wild card win over the Bengals. Reggie Wayne looked to be done in Indianapolis and the team had plenty of other areas they needed to improve.
Even if I believe in Moncrief, it is hard to believe that the Colts do, considering the resources they've spent at wide receiver in the last two months. There are now way too many mouths to feed in this Colts pass offense.
Zach Mettenberger, QB, Titans: Mettenberger was every bit as big a loser as Tre Mason was on Thursday. I still put him at the bottom of the list because I don't imagine very many of you had designs on drafting him in 2015 anyway.
I'm not one who thought he was a total disaster as a rookie and I hadn't given up on the idea of him developing into a serviceable quarterback at some point. Now it appears the Titans will try to develop two quarterbacks at once. That is asssuimg Mettenberger's trade demands fall on deaf ears.
Zac Stacy, RB, Rams
Marquess Wilson, WR, Bears
Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins