The 1st round of the NFL Draft gave us surprises at every turn. From shocking trades to certain players in the green room not being called, the draft has been a spectacle worth watching as you can be trending at any moment. This is the start of these players’ NFL lives and soon, we will be reading their names in all these fantasy articles. Here is the preliminary look of 1st round picks to watch out for in fantasy.
#1 Bryce Young – Carolina Panthers
Bryce Young is in Carolina after months of anticipation. He had been first overall on draft boards for the longest time when Carolina made the trade. We will see if the size concerns are legitimate as he is expected to start early on for the Panthers. Carolina did a good job bringing in pieces such as Adam Thielen and Hayden Hurst. Unless he’s a total bust, Bryce will have a strong rookie season.
#2 C.J. Stroud – Houston Texans
After all the noise in the pre-draft process, the Texans took the best QB available at number two. With all the propaganda against Stroud, his stock was falling and even the gambling lines weren’t a fan of him. Stroud goes into a rebuilding situation in Houston with few good options such as Robert Woods and Dameon Pierce. With Houston being in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL, he can make noise early on. The stats might not look as nice but I believe in C.J. Stroud.
#4 Anthony Richardson – Indianapolis Colts
The Colts shocked the draft boards when they selected Anthony Richardson with the fourth pick of the draft. Many were speculating that Will Levis would be the pick but the Colts were higher on Richardson. Richardson comes in as a project as he will need experience first. So, expect a rocky season in terms of win-loss record. His running game could give him points, like what Justin Fields did last season. I expect AR to be the starter as Gardner Minshew will serve as a good backup to him to help him grow. He’s worth stashing since he’ll most likely have a rocky start.
#8 Bijan Robinson – Atlanta Falcons
Bijan Robinson had been touted as the best non-QB offensive weapon in this class. With the value of RBs decreasing, his talent level was respected very much as he had top-10 pick status in mock drafts. Atlanta chose to use their eighth pick on him in the draft. Now, he would be their top RB and a nice piece for Desmond Rider. People were hoping he would go somewhere else where his talent can shine more. The Falcons drafted Tyler Allgeier last year and he just ran for over 1000 yards. I think it’s safe to assume Bijan will get the workload immediately. Allgeier could steal some snaps early on, especially if he’s doing well.
#12 Jahmyr Gibbs – Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions traded down to 12 and got two more picks for the 6th and 81st. They surprisingly took Jahmyr Gibbs out of Alabama with the 12th pick. Draft boards had Gibbs to be drafted later in the first round and running back isn’t a need for the Lions. Besides keeping D’Andre Swift, they also signed David Montgomery in the offseason. This might be a tough first season production-wise for Gibbs as he will have two established players ahead of him. Keep him on your mind in case any of the two gets injured during the season.
Update: D’Andre Swift has been traded to the Eagles so this leaves Gibbs with the potential to have a decent rookie season. It could be similar to the Swift-Williams combo last season.
#20 Jaxon Smith-Njigba – Seattle Seahawks
The first wide receiver off the board took longer than expected as the Seahawks took Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Many of the mocks had him as early as 12th to the Texans but the teams went with other options. This pick is interesting as he goes to a wide receiver room of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. In case Lockett, leaves JSN would serve as a good replacement and it gives Geno Smith an extra weapon. JSN would be worth drafting in the middle to late rounds.
#21 Quentin Johnson – Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers went for a receiver a pick after when they took Quentin Johnson. A monster of a man, he makes the Chargers receiving core even bigger and much richer. It will be hard to spread the ball around with Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, and Austin Ekeler getting passes from Justin Herbert. He’s worth stashing depending on the availability of the receivers.
#22 Zay Flowers – Baltimore Ravens
What a day for the Baltimore Ravens as they were able to secure Lamar for the future and get him help with Zay Flowers. The wide receivers in Baltimore weren’t impressive last season. Now, with OBJ, Flowers, and Andrews, Lamar will feel much more comfortable in the passing game with Baltimore. Flowers is very explosive and can go off in those long TD catch and runs.
#23 Jordan Addison – Minnesota Vikings
While losing Adam Thielen to Carolina hurt, they have found his replacement in Jordan Addison. The wide receiver prospect out of Minnesota will enjoy Kirk Cousins‘ passes and being beside Justin Jefferson. He is the perfect complement for him and can have a sneaky good year for the Vikings.
#25 Dalton Kincaid – Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills drafted the only tight end in the first round with Utah’s Dalton Kincaid. Dalton is more of a pass-catcher which makes it interesting as Dawson Knox still has years left in his contract. It does give Josh Allen more weapons and different looks such as possibly double tight-end plays. It may take a year or two for Dalton to be a fantasy option but he has the skills to be a good pass-catcher.