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Rookies to Draft in 2018 – AFC Edition

rookies to draft

Last week I covered the rookies to draft in your redraft drafts, the NFC edition and this week I am going to dive into the AFC. There are many good options and players that will make an impact this year as well as for years to come.

AFC East

The New England Patriots surprised nearly everyone by taking Sony Michel in the first round and appearing to put a renewed interest in the running game. Michel is immensely talented but has questions and is apparently already dealing with a knee injury – one of the biggest questions coming into the draft. I can’t see Michel having much of a fantasy-relevant role in 2018. The Pats also drafted Braxton Berrios in the sixth round and if he breaks into a starting role could be worth a flier, it’s a situation to monitor. The Buffalo Bills drafted Josh Allen in the first round in an attempt to get their quarterback of the future. Allen had a cannon for an arm and a lot of question marks if he wins the job I still don’t see him being fantasy relevant this season. The Miami Dolphins drafted Mike Gesicki in the second round with a need for a tight end. Gesicki showed well at the combine and is a freakish athlete. The depth chart at this point shows he is not the starter but I believe he will be before long. The learning curve for tight ends is usually steep but Gesicki might be worth a late dart throw. Kallen Ballage is another freak athlete the Dolphins took and has been used all over thus far in training camp. I doubt he will be fantasy relevant immediately but keep an eye on Ballage. The New York Jets also were searching for their franchise quarterback and selected Sam Darnold in the opening round. The path for Sam to start is there but a  year waiting is most likely with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater ahead of him. Chris Herndon was a tight end drafted late with a clear path but also not likely to be relevant right away.


Sony Michel     90 carries for 390 yards & 2 TDs, 55 catches for 540 yards and 3 TDs

Josh Allen     250 completions, 3200 yards, 14 TDs and 12 INTs

Mike Gesicki     40 catches for 490 yards and 2 TDs

Sam Darnold     (if starting)  270 completions, 3300 yards, 16 TDs and 10 INTs

AFC North

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected James Washington in the second round shortly after shipping off Martavis Bryant. Washington will likely start with the Steelers running 70.1% of their plays from 3 wide receiver sets. Washington was a prolific deep threat in college but will be fighting to get targets in an explosive offense. The Baltimore Ravens focused on offense in the draft, their first pick was spent on Hayden Hurst – a polished tight end from South Carolina. They also selected another tight end, Mark Andrews, in the third round. It’s a situation to monitor, I don’t expect either to be fantasy relevant but Hurst is most likely. Lamar Jackson was also selected in the first round but I don’t expect him to see the field enough to be draft worthy this year. And lastly, Jordan Lasley was selected in the fifth round and could crack the starting lineup as a slot receiver, still not likely to be a factor this season. The Cincinnati Bengals, my personal favorite team, did not draft anyone that will contribute fantasy-wise at least in this draft. The Cleveland Browns started the draft off by taking Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick. Mayfield does not appear to be starting this year and I do not expect him to be a factor in fantasy for 2018. Nick Chubb was taken by the Browns in the second round and will enter the NFL in a timeshare with veteran Carlos Hyde. Duke Johnson also figures to be the running back to catch most passes from the backfield. Chubb was thought to be the top back in the class at one point, he has a lot of talent and will carve out a role. As for 2018, I don’t see him as being much of a factor. The Browns also took Antonio Callaway, a first-round talent with ‘character’ issues. Callaway rose to a starting position in training camp and was arrested for marijuana possession and driving on a suspended license. I don’t advocate drafting him, he will likely miss a few games and then maybe a starter but still fighting for targets.


James Washington     45 catches for 580 yards and 6 TDs

Hayden Hurst     40 catches for 375 yards and 3 TDs

Nick Chubb     125 for 560 yards and 4 TDs

AFC South

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans did not have any draft pick that will be directly fantasy relevant for 2018. The Indianapolis Colts took running back Nyheim Hines in the fourth round and wide receiver Daurice Fountain in the fifth. Both rookies could see playing time and even a starting role. If drafting early, Hines likely will have a role and could see RB2/3 numbers while Fountain will not have enough production to crack your fantasy lineup. The Houston Texans drafted Keke Coutee in the fourth round and he appears to be on track to be the starting slot receiver in Houston. Coutee is a dangerous and fast small receiver with a knack in finding holes in the zone – draft him late and you will likely be rewarded with a solid flex option.


Nyheim Hines     90 carries for 470 yards and 2 TDs, 50 catches for 520 yards and 4 TDs

Daurice Fountain     50 catches for 470 yards and 6 TDs

Keke Coutee     75 catches for 840 yards and 6 TDs

AFC West

The Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Oakland Raiders did not draft anyone that will be a fantasy asset directly in 2018. The Denver Broncos, however, drafted Courtland Sutton in the second round, Royce Freeman in the third, and DaeSean Hamilton in the fourth. Sutton was a beast in college and will crack the Denver lineup soon, however being fantasy relevant in 2018 is a stretch. Breaking into a wide receiver corps that already has two productive talented receivers will be tough. Freeman is likely the most talented back in the Denver stable but the road to relevancy is tough in 2018 – Patrick Clapp covered the backfield on The Fantasy Authority earlier this week. DaeSean Hamilton has the tools to be the successful slot receiver the Broncos have been searching for, monitor the situation and draft late if he breaks into the starting lineup.


Courtland Sutton     30 catches for 400 yards and 3 TDs

Royce Freeman     110 carries for 480 yards and 4 TDs, 30 catches for 275 yards and 2 TDs

DaeSean Hamilton     65 catches for 570 yards and 3 TDs


Thank you for reading, good luck in your drafting, and continue to check The Fantasy Authority for your redraft knowledge!

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