NFL Draft First-Round Reactions: Fantasy winners, losers and in-betweens

·6 min read

Up to this point, the NFL offseason has been pretty much the wildest ride anyone can remember, featuring weekly league-altering trades, releases, retirements and un-retirements. There was never any way the draft's opening night was going to be bland, not this year. We saw A.J. Brown flipped to the Eagles, Marquise Brown dealt to the Cardinals, multiple trade-ups for non-quarterbacks, plus we had that wild Giants kid firing up absolutely everyone.

Good show, NFL. Let's talk fantasy football winners, losers and other things...

The Winners

1. Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

First of all, the Eagles landed a superstar receiver in Brown, who they immediately locked up with a four-year deal. He's an uncoverable player who makes life so much easier for Hurts, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert and ... well, everyone. Hurts was more than a little messy as a passer last season, so any and all upgrades to his receiving corps are welcome.

The trade for A.J. Brown adds a new dimension to the Eagles' offense and boosts Jalen Hurts' fantasy stock.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
The trade for A.J. Brown adds a new dimension to the Eagles' offense and boosts Jalen Hurts' fantasy stock. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The other big reason Hurts is a first-round winner is because of what the Eagles didn't do. That is, they didn't draft a quarterback, which certainly could have happened (and may still). Philly was linked to a few in the pre-draft process. Hurts is the only consensus top-12 fantasy QB who seems to be under constant threat of job loss, so we have to take seriously any rumors involving the Eagles and other passers. If he plays all 17 games, he's definitely gonna make a run at overall QB1 status.

2. Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

The departures of Hollywood Brown and Sammy Watkins leave nearly 200 targets up for grabs and there's only so much more that Mark Andrews can do for this offense. Bateman is headed for a huge spike in workload, even if the Ravens add a second-day wideout. As a rookie, Bateman certainly had his moments...

He's a clear candidate to finish as a top-25 fantasy receiver.

3. Allen Lazard, WR, Green Bay Packers

On an unpredictable night for the NFL, perhaps the wildest development is that Green Bay failed to address its receiving corps in any way. This is a team with well over 200 vacated receiver targets, perhaps being a bit too patient at the position. Lazard plainly stands to benefit. He's certainly not Davante Adams, but he has size (6-foot-5), experience and the full confidence of an elite quarterback. Unless the Packers manage to pull off a deal for Deebo Samuel or one of the Seahawks receivers, we need to think of Lazard as a clear fantasy starter.

4. Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans

To be perfectly honest, Burks wasn't near the top of my list of favorite receivers in this draft class. I'm not entirely sure he's ready for the workload he's stepping into in Tennessee. But he and A.J. Brown also aren't totally dissimilar and there's little doubt that Burks is going to be peppered with targets. He's a playmaker in an offense that desperately needs them.

The Not-Yet-Winners but also Not-Yet-Losers

1. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

Well, he's dodged the Breece Hall bullet so far, but obviously every running back prospect is still on the board. Singletary's depth chart status remains at risk. Let's remember how relentlessly productive he was down the stretch for Buffalo last season, from December through the playoffs. Over his last seven games, postseason included, this man averaged 18 touches and 90 total yards per game while crossing the goal-line nine times. He didn't exactly struggle between the tackles.

If Buffalo enters the season with Singletary in a featured role, that's hardly a problem. He answered every question late last year.

2. J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Yeah, some of us are still hung up on the fact that the Ravens were flirting with Melvin Gordon before he ultimately re-signed with Denver. Baltimore has been plenty cautious with expectations for both Dobbins and Gus Edwards, both of whom are recovering from ACL repairs. Until Hall, Kenneth Walker, Pierre Strong and the rest of the buzzy RBs are all gone, we have to sweat the possibility that one of 'em will join this team's backfield.

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3. Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Denver Broncos

Fantasy experts are all-in on the Albert O breakout in 2022, and, as of this moment, it remains on schedule. Just please recognize that Colorado State do-it-all tight end Trey McBride is still available and he's been tied to the Broncos via various rumors (and/or wishful thinking from Denver fans). Team beat writers seem to view tight end as a position likely to be addressed. If McBride stays in Colorado, it's not a complete value-crushing event for Albert O, but it's also not what the fantasy community wants to see.

The Losers

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Does this require further explanation or can we simply move on? Rodgers is a ridiculous talent coming off two of his more ridiculous seasons, so no one's saying he's undraftable. But he's gonna need help and it hasn't yet arrived. As of this writing, the Packers won't pick again until No. 53 overall and the next tier of receivers could be empty at that point.

2. Every sauce that isn't this Sauce

Sorry, Siracha and Worcestershire and mayo and honey BBQ, but there's a new Alpha Sauce in town.

3. Corey Davis, WR, New York Jets

He and his young quarterback clearly had chemistry last season, no question. It was evident well before Davis' season was derailed by injury.

But he's now fighting for targets with Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson, two potential young stars. Zach Wilson is a developing talent with a big arm (evident above), but it sure seems unlikely that he's going to be able to support three useful fantasy receivers in 2022. Davis gets at least a small downgrade.

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