The 2015 league year has not officially begun, but we already have our first blockbuster. The Bills and Eagles pulled off a shocking trade Tuesday afternoon that saw LeSean McCoy headed to Buffalo for Kiko Alonso. McCoy’s dynasty Fantasy Football value is unchanged as my number two RB behind Le’Veon Bell. While Shady McCoy has received the highest carry totals of his career in two seasons under Chip Kelly, his receptions and TD opportunities dropped sharply in 2014. He should be given all the workload he can handle in Rex Ryan’s ground and pound offense. Bryce Brown owners who thought they had a lottery ticket RB2 are now holding a high upside handcuff. His talent gives him long-term appeal, but he might be better served as trade bait to the McCoy owner at this point. Darren Sproles will maintain his role as a pass-catching back and PPR asset. Chris Polk is not likely at all to step into the starting lineup for the Eagles. With a deep and talented RB class entering the NFL, expect Philly to add a starter through the draft or free agency. Let’s discuss a few risers and fallers following the NFL Scouting Combine.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon QB
After a forgettable performance in the National Championship game against Ohio State, Marcus Mariota’s flaws started to get more shine than his upside. While far from a guaranteed franchise player, Mariota has a massive Fantasy ceiling thanks to above average athleticism. He showed that off in Indy and impressed during passing drills as well. Rumors are swirling that the Eagles will make a push to reunite him with former college coach Chip Kelly. If that happens, Mariota becomes a very intriguing prospect for dynasty owners to consider. There is much risk to his game, but he certainly has helped his cause since the season ended. He should not make it past the first five picks this May.
Jay Ajayi, Boise State RB
One of the best all-around performances at the Combine belonged to Jay Ajayi, who is trying to separate himself from the rest of the Tier 2 RBs behind Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon. He placed inside the Top 5 RBs in the vertical and broad jumps as well as the 20 and 60-yard shuttles. His 4.57 forty was solid for a player with his size and power. Ajayi is also a gifted receiving back and picks up chunks of yards after first contact. In a very deep class, Ajayi’s value is trending up at the right time. He could find himself one of the first Day Two RBs off the board.
Tre McBride, William and Mary WR
There were a number of stock-boosting performances from the WR class. Kevin White’s performance and measurables may have been enough to jump him over Amari Cooper on a number of boards. Dorial Green-Beckham is a massive specimen with speed to match, but was less than impressive in burst drills (shuttles and jumps). He still possesses perhaps the highest ceiling of any pass-catcher in the class. Thoughts on Jalaen Strong’s prospects are divided, but no one can argue that his Combine performance boosted his value. Georgia’s Chris Conley turned heads in Indy and belongs on your sleeper list. It was small-school prospect Tre McBride that may have helped his stock the most. The 6’2” receiver turned in an impressive all-around Combine that included a 4.41 forty with a 38 inch vertical. McBride has the upside and playmaking ability to be a strong Day 2 pick.
Jesse James, Penn State TE
A towering specimen, James enjoyed an eye-popping Combine that got his name circulating in a major way. He out-performed the more heralded Maxx Williams and while he will not jump over him in the draft, he helped his cause in a big way. His collegiate career was not overly impressive, but he certainly has the requisite size and ability to mature at the NFL level. This is a shallow TE class that is full of mostly pedestrian talent with the exception of Williams and now James. There is TE1 upside here in the long-term.
Brett Hundley, UCLA QB
While an intriguing prospect with excellent athleticism, Hundley is a project in every single way. He struggles in just about all facets of the passing game and will require a devoted coaching staff to develop him. Still, he ranks as the third-best QB in this class, which gives you an idea about how weak the position is this year. In two-QB leagues, Hundley is a stash and pray type, just like Logan Thomas was last year. He’s a great candidate to be over drafted in both the NFL and your rookie draft.
Mike Davis, South Carolina RB
There was a time when Mike Davis was mentioned as one of the best RBs of this very talented class, but a pedestrian final season in South Carolina did not help his cause. Neither did a Combine that saw him run a 4.61 forty with a general lack of burst. He still could end up a value pick in the right system, but he is quickly losing traction with other RBs around him making noise. Keep an eye on his pro day, as he will try to turn things around.
Jamison Crowder, Duke WR
After an impressive Senior Bowl performance, Crowder followed that up with a less than spectacular weekend in Indy. For the 5’8”, 185 lb. slot receiver, all eyes were on Crowder’s forty and he disappointed with a 4.56 official time. He does have small hands but they are reliable and one of his best assets. He showed off electric ability and a strong football IQ at Duke, making him an intriguing prospect in the mid to late rounds. Crowder could contribute instantly on returns and has the long-term upside to be a difference maker out of the slot. Despite the slow Combine, Crowder has sleeper appeal and could end up a steal.
Devin Funchess, Michigan WR/TE
Is he going to be drafted as a WR or a TE? The community seems split at the moment, with Funchess getting labeled as a tweener in many instances. To me, Funchess can develop into a possession wide receiver that uses his size and leaping ability to take advantage of smaller defenders. Right now, he is raw in that regard and not aggressive enough at the point of attack. Funchess will be a 21-year-old rookie and will need time to develop in the NFL, but he is a rookie selection with major upside along the lines of Marques Colston if things break right.