Fantasy Football: Five Destinations to Watch in the NFL Draft


Who knows which player is going to go where during this year’s NFL Draft? Who knows which rookies will pan out? No one. But that doesn’t mean that looking at the potential players and teams is a wasted effort. However, I’d argue that often times we get too focused on the wrong things during the weeks leading to the draft.

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Fantasy sports and sports gambling are all about speculation. Even if you know every bit of information possible, you still could completely miss a pick. NFL mock drafts are on another level of speculation entirely. Even the best experts are wrong almost every time, especially as you get deeper in the draft. Trying to pick whether Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota will be better in 2015 is a waste of brain cells because so much of a player’s success depends on their destination. By watching which players fill out which roster spot, and not following the players themselves as much, you will be able to locate some potential that is being ignored by your competition.

So without further ado, below is a list of the five top destinations, not players, where you should be able to find some valuable fantasy production from in the upcoming season.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback. It’s assumed that the Bucs will choose Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, but there’s been some rumors lately that Mariota will actually be chosen. None of that matters here though. What does matter is the potential the quarterback has to be a fantasy super star. During a tumultuous 2014 campaign, the Bucs only bright spot came from their huge pass catchers, veteran Vincent Jackson and rookies Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Josh McCown and Mike Glennon looked terrible, only managing four top-10 fantasy performances between the two, all of which were due to the ability to just lob it up to their huge receivers. With a competent quarterback behind an improved offensive line, don’t be surprised if you can find a consistent top-10 option from whoever is drafted first overall.

2. Dallas Cowboys Running Back. Demarco Murray left for the Eagles. Adrian Peterson seems stuck in Minnesota. They brought in the absolutely terrible and injury prone Darren McFadden. Without a legitimate starting running back on the roster and only a few weeks before the NFL Draft, it seems safe to assume that the Cowboys will be targeting someone to take over for Murray. We saw what that amazing offensive line can do. A great player, as most assume Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon are, can take that role and turn it into something amazing. Will the Cowboys running back of 2015 be just as great as Murray was in 2014? Possibly not. But he will still be worthy of consideration as a legitimate lead back.

3. Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver. The Raiders team has been a joke for the past decade, and the terrible drafting and free agent signing continued to compound this problem. However, probably by accident, the Raiders stumbled upon a potential good-not-great franchise quarterback in Derek Carr. Considering the team he plays for, a 21:12 TD INT ratio isn’t bad at all. What he needs to take the next step is a worthy wide receiver. Michael Crabtree is another addition to a list of second-tier receivers at best that were already on the roster. A marquee name like Amari Cooper would be a great fit and could spark production from the entire offense.

Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide receiver Amari Cooper (9) runs after a reception against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2015 Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

4. Baltimore Ravens Wide Receiver. Unlike the Raiders, the Ravens front office is filled with very smart drafters. This year, they have an array of great wide receiver options in the NFL Draft. And they definitely need one. After losing Torrey Smith, the Ravens are devoid of a playmaker. Steve Smith also tapered off towards the end of last year, which could be a sign of his age finally getting the best of him. A speedy wide receiver would pair well with Joe Flacco’s love for the deep ball. Whoever ends up here is definitely someone to look for when you’re drafting.

5. Arizona Cardinals Running Back. The Cardinals had an impressive run last year, making it to the playoffs even through all the injuries to quarterbacks and inconsistent wide receiver and running back play. It’s clear that Bruce Arians and company can get a lot done with the right pieces, and a new running back will definitely benefit from being under Bruce Arians’ wing. With Carson Palmer under center and a formidable but not dominating wide receiver corps, a rookie running back could become the feature of the offense and score tons of fantasy points for owners who may not have to spend much to get him.

Next: Where Is Dez Bryant In My Top Ten WR List?

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