The NFL draft was just a week ago, but the hype around some of the newly drafted players is quickly rising.
This season, more than 14 million Americans tuned in to watch the annual football draft, and for good reason.
Depth wise, this past draft was one of the best in recent memory, and many of the players will be immediate starters.
Every NFL season, there is always a group of new players that surprises everyone. As a fantasy team owner, it is your responsibility to stay on your toes and keep up with trending players.
Let’s take a look at the players that you should keep an eye on for this fantasy football season.
QB Blake Bortles – The Jacksonville Jaguars
Despite the hype surrounding Johnny “Football” Manziel, the fact is that Manziel will likely not start for the Cleveland Browns this year. The same cannot be said about Blake Bortles.
Bortles is coming onto a desperate Jaguars squad who is trying to redefine itself. With the loss of RB Maurice Jones Drew, the team will be moving away from the typical Jacksonville ground and pound offense.
Now, they are going to be turning to the pass, and Bortles is just the quarterback they need.
In the draft, Bortles was considered to the best pocket passer available. Skill-wise, he doesn’t have a great arm, but his accuracy and football IQ make him the most polished rookie QB.
Next season, Bortles will very likely be given a great shot at success, and you can expect him to be the best rookie QB available in your fantasy league.
WR Sammy Watkins – The Buffalo Bills
As far as offense goes, Sammy Watkins has it all.
In terms of talent, the young wide receiver was heavily regarded as the best player in the NFL draft. While at Clemson, Watkins had great stats. In his final season of college play, the 21 year old receiver had over 100 receptions and over 1400 yards. Keep in mind; he did all of this with a mediocre QB.
He also has speed that should put fear into the minds of cornerbacks. With a 40 yard dash time of 4.43 seconds, a 6’1 build, and massive hands, Watkins has the perfect skillset for an NFL WR.
In fact, many analysts are calling him the best WR to enter the draft since Randy Moss.
Next season, Watkins will have the opportunity to prove himself to the football world. Undoubtedly, he will be on the starting lineup for the Bills on opening day, and will definitely be targeted several times. The only issue that Watkins will run into is actually getting quality deep passes thrown to him.
QB EJ Manuel will be entering his second season, and many don’t know what you expect from the Buffalo Bills sophomore. Last year, he was okay, but many believe he was held back due to his injury troubles, but he’s hoping to turn things around for next season.
Going into 2014, Watkins’ success will be contingent on Manuel. If Manuel is able to put the ball in the hands of Watkins, you can expect him to have a great season. If not, then Watkins’ potential in Buffalo is in question.
TE Eric Ebron – The Detroit Lions
The Lions are a team that you should watch out for. In terms of depth, they are hands-down one of the most complete teams in the league. If they’re healthy next season, you can really expect them to make a good run at the playoffs. Aside from their strong defense, the real story of the Lions is their quickly improving offense. Obviously, they have a good foundation.
The combination of Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson is lethal. Stafford has already proven that he can be a successful quarterback in this league, is Johnson is potentially the best receiver currently playing. This one-two-punch is great, but there is much more to this team. Last season, the team brought in Reggie Bush, who ended up reviving his career.
In Detroit, Bush is beginning to look like the same player that he was in college and has finally become the three-down back that the Miami Dolphins were hoping for.
They have also added WR Golden Tate to spread the field alongside Johnson, leaving room for a tight end in the mix. TE Brandon Prettigrew is good, but he is not elite by any means. This is where TE Eric Ebron comes in. When looking at the draft board, Ebron was the highest ranked TE by most scouts. After putting up almost 1000 yards last season at North Carolina, Ebron made a name for himself as the nation’s top tight end.
At just a sliver under 6’5 and a 40 yard dash time of 4.60 second, Ebron will fit very well into the Lions offense scheme. He is expected to be the main goal line TE for the team, and could also play in the two TE formation with Pettigrew. Next season, you can expect him to light it up.
QB Teddy Bridgewater – The Minnesota Vikings
Next season, Teddy Bridgewater is expected to be the starting QB for the Vikings.
At Louisville, Bridgewater proved himself to be a quality player, and next season, he’ll have his shot as proving himself in a tough division.
Last season, the Vikings passing game looked rough under quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder. Because of this, veteran WR Greg Jennings struggled due to subpar quarterbacks that were unable to find him down the field.
Bridgewater has a much better shot than the previous Vikings starters.
With a full four months to develop chemistry, Teddy is expected to use his strong arm to create a more complete Vikings team. Expect him to find Greg Jennings down the field very often, and begin to incorporate RB Adrian Peterson into the passing same more.
Bridgewater is definitely a quality QB to take a chance on for your fantasy roster.