By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
May 23, 2019.
This season's dynasty rookie drafts will take on a familiar start, but they will likely devolve into something you can't grasp. ADP can help of course, but there isn't as much of a consensus in previous seasons, so that pushes drafters to reach for "their guys" since following ADP is perilous.
I'm currently in the middle of a rookie draft for the Rotoworld Dynasty League, but we have finished up the first three rounds. There have been numerous trades, which look very much like trades you would see in the actual draft, as we try to move up and down to get the players we want. I stayed with my picks mainly because I didn't have much time to wheel and deal over the last couple of days, but the offers I received were non-starters. There are plenty of rookies this year with potential, but very few who are considered no-doubt studs by the majority of draftniks in the world. Even the tentative No. 1 pick, Josh Jacobs, is considered good, but in no way transcendent and is at the top of many rookie rankings because he'll very likely be the every-down back for the Raiders. That shouldn't be the only reason to take him No. 1, but it's as good as any this season.
- Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders
- N'Keal Harry, WR, Patriots
- David Montgomery, RB, Bears
- Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles
- T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions
- D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks
- Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams
- A.J. Brown, WR, Titans
- Parris Campbell, WR, Colts
- Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
- Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs
- Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers
Jacobs did go first, with N'Keal Harry going second. I've seen Harry go first, and he's worth the shot at No. 1 overall with the Patriots down to Edelman and James White as their best receivers. These two rookies are dominating the first two slots in drafts, but our third pick, David Montgomery, is quickly moving up the ranks because it looks more and more likely that he will be the every-down back in Chicago. We'll start to see him going first overall more and more.
I'm not a sold on Miles Sanders as some because Jordan Howard wasn't that awful last season and makes for a good early-down back in an offense that uses multiple running backs. While Sanders is good, he doesn't have the skill set to take over the job from Howard without a fight. But a running back who could lead his team in touches this year is hard to let slip too far.
I'm more than okay with seeing T.J. Hockenson go fifth. His long-term value is that of someone we could look back on as the player who should have gone No. 1, but was a tight end and people like more instant gratification in early rookie picks than a tight end will likely bring.
D.K. Metcalf is a physical specimen with limited route-running skills who landed in a great spot in this draft. That's enough for a sixth or even earlier pick. There's room for improvement, but his skill set, as it is, fits the needs of the Seahawks right out of the gate.
I had the seventh pick of the draft, and when I looked at my rankings, I went away from them to grab a player I wanted solely for his possible upside, Darrell Henderson. My rankings and brain told me to grab Parris Campbell, but I've probably heard too many comparisons of Henderson to Alvin Kamara and read too much about Todd Gurley's arthritic knee to wait for another round for Henderson. And I also know many people in the league are high on Henderson, so it just wasn't in the cards to wait.
A.J. Brown at eighth overall makes complete sense, as he's probably the best receiver coming out of college this year, but his landing spot could hurt him for a while. If you still believe in Marcus Mariota, Brown is a worthy investment, but Mariota will need to prove that he can stay healthy before I invest too much in Tennessee's passing game.
Campbell was used in college as a receiving back more than a full-fledged wide receiver, but that should work in Indianapolis while he expands his route tree. Chris Ballard has talked up the receivers who will likely be in the 2020 NFL Draft though, which could mean that group in Indianapolis gets crowded.
Kyle Murray is the No. 1 pick in 2QB leagues and worth an early investment if you are hurting at quarterback, especially in a thin year for top-notch talent.
I wish Mecole Hardman had better usage and stats in college to show us that he can perform in a lead role, but we'll have to take Andy Reid's word for it and hope Hardman can help fill in for Tyreek Hill, who will be suspended. We don't know if Hill is gone for a year or more or gets off with something that lets him play this year, and that does make this pick a little perilous on top of Hardman's lack of experience, but I do expect the league to come down hard on Hill, which will likely give Hardman plenty of room to learn on the job in a high-powered offense.
Deebo Samuel and Marquise Brown are both strong players, but Samuel should have a better chance of making an impact early on, as the 49ers' offense should be high-scoring while the Ravens will need to start letting Lamar Jackson throw it much more often for Brown to have an early impact. I like both reasonably even when it comes to career value, but depending on your roster size, it can sometimes be hard to hold on to players not putting up good numbers early on.
- Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens
- Andy Isabella, WR, Cardinals
- Noah Fant, TE, Broncos
- Hakeem Butler, WR, Cardinals
- Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers
- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Eagles
- Irv Smith Jr., TE, Vikings
- Justice Hill, RB, Ravens
- Jace Sternberger, TE, Packers
- Devin Singletary, RB, Bills
- Damien Harris, RB, Patriots
- Miles Boykin, WR, Ravens
We see two Cardinals receivers in the first three picks of the second round, which makes sense, because if Kliff Kingsbury can get his offense working with Kyler Murray, there should be a bunch of fantasy points for the taking. Of the two, I like Butler to round into a more versatile player, but Isabella should be a home run hitter. But if I must make a choice, I'm choosing Butler.
We get three tight ends in this round after Hockenson went fifth overall. As far as depth of talent goes on the offense in this year's draft goes, I'm on board with the top tight ends. Right now, the biggest question of this group is Irv Smith. He has a ton of talent, and I was upset that he didn't fall to me, but we've also just heard that Kyle Rudolph and the Vikings are working on a 5-year extension. If that does come through, Smith will likely get blocked from his full potential for a couple of years. We'll need to keep an eye on that situation, but until we know Rudolph is out the door sooner than later, Smith's value takes a hit.
I ended up taking Jace Sternberger, which is a reach compared to ADP, but again, he's a guy I like, and we can play two tight ends in this league. He also has a clear path to the starting gig, as Jimmy Graham isn't the player he once was and I expect Sternberger to pass him up sooner than later. Additionally, the Packers will likely let Graham go after this season, as his base salary takes a big leap in 2020. In picking Sternberger, I am looking at acquiring a player with a great quarterback and who could be a long-time top-five option at his position.
I came exceptionally close to grabbing Damien Harris in that spot, as I need running back help on my team and I think Harris can be a valuable fantasy asset with the Patriots as soon as this season. But I decided to play the long game and go with a potential stud at his position versus a player who will likely never be an every-down back.
I'm not a fan of Devin Singletary, and I expect the Bills will draft another running back once LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore are gone. Singletary is enticing because he could play this year if anything happens to the oldies in front of him, but I expect he'll always be in a reserve or committee role in the NFL.
- Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins
- Jalen Hurd, WR, 49ers
- Ryquell Armstead, RB, Jaguars
- Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings
- Dwayne Haskins, QB, Redskins
- Dexter Williams, RB, Packers
- Darwin Thompson, RB, Chiefs
- Josh Oliver, TE, Jaguars
- Benny Snell, RB, Steelers
- Rodney Anderson, RB, Bengals
- Riley Ridley, WR, Bears
- Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys
The choices thin out pretty quickly in the third round. There is talent here who can produce in the right situations, but they'll need those situations to present themselves in ways we can't easily see at the moment.
Jalen Hurd is a player who could develop into a great player, but right now, he doesn't have a position and opportunities will be scarce. I like that he has Kyle Shanahan as his coach though. Talent and Shanahan's presence make Hurd a player I'll target in this round.
I traded away my third-round pick last season, but if I had it, I would have been hoping for Darwin Thompson to fall to me. He's risky, but fits this offense, especially with Tyreek Hill out. Thompson is a running back, but has the speed to give Patrick Mahomes a weapon in the passing game. He also should see work as a traditional running back, as Damien Williams doesn't get big touches despite his lead-back role.
The more traditional running backs like Armstead, Mattison, Snell and Anderson, all could have useful roles with an injury to the starter, but I only see their talent as fillers while teams wait for the starter to return or find more running back depth for committees. At this point in this year's draft, I'm more interested in specialized receiving backs. Bruce Anderson and Tony Pollard are two who I like, but Anderson has a much better chance at early usage in Tampa Bay rather than Pollard in Dallas.
This draft should give you an idea of where players are going, but it also should give you the freedom to make your play for the players you like.
My Dynasty Rookies:
Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams
Jace Sternberger, TE, Packers
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