Ryan McDowell provides his potential 2016 dynasty rookie busts.
This piece is part of our article program that features quality content from experts exclusively at FantasyPros. For more insight from Ryan head to Dynasty League Football.
Whether you are starting a brand new league or entering a new season in an existing league, this time of year, the entire dynasty world is buzzing about the new rookies entering the NFL. While it is very easy to catch rookie fever and overvalue these “new toys,” it is also necessary to understand the current value of these players in order to make the best pick for your team.
Before we look at some players I consider a good value, let’s look at the latest average draft position data. Over at DynastyLeagueFootball.com, we collect monthly ADP data for both rookie drafts as well as startup dynasty drafts. Here’s the latest information, collected soon after the conclusion of the NFL Draft.
|Player||Rookie ADP||Startup ADP|
Now that I’ve drowned you with numbers, it’s time to focus on some important players, especially in the later rounds of rookie and startup drafts.
While rookie quarterbacks and tight ends almost always offer solid value, they can also take a while to repay that draft capital you just spent. The real value, especially this year, comes at the running back position. There are so many teams that had a clear need at the running back position and the majority of them filled that need through last month’s draft. While those landing spots boosted the value and ADP of running backs like Kenneth Dixon and Paul Perkins, there are many others in the second and third round of rookie drafts that you should be targeting.
While the Denver Broncos re-signed both CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman earlier this off-season, they still added former Utah back Devontae Booker. Based on what the Broncos have told us through their treatment of Anderson, they should be more than willing to give their rookie a shot at some early playing time. Even after his breakout 2014 season, the Broncos often turned to Hillman rather than rely on Anderson. Then, they tendered Anderson at the lowest option, which led to the Miami Dolphins signing him to an offer sheet. While the Broncos matched the offer, they also later inked Hillman. Booker is usually available in the early second round of rookie drafts and just outside of the top 100 in startup drafts, making him a bargain as a possible starting running back early in his career.
Once the Chicago Bears let veteran Matt Forte walk from the Windy City, it was clear they would need to add a back to pair with second-year man Jeremy Langford. While Langford performed well in the few games Forte was on the shelf, I don’t consider him to be a proven commodity yet and Jordan Howard, the hard runner from Indiana, could quickly earn some carries. He’s routinely falling to the mid-second round of rookie drafts and is worth taking a chance on at that point.
Former Alabama running back Kenyan Drake is a player I have my questions about. Can he be more than a speed back? Can he stay on the field or will he continue to battle injuries, as he did in college? If the answers to these and other questions go Drake’s way, he could be the Dolphins’ starter very quickly. After all, they’ve been desperately searching for a running back since their former starter Lamar Miller bolted for Houston. After showing interest in many veterans during free agency, they settled for Drake in the third round. This is another example of a team telling us what they think about their current running back, namely Jay Ajayi, who fell far down the 2015 NFL Draft after some bad medical reports. If the Dolphins are as uncertain about Ajayi as it appears, Drake will be a steal in the late second round of rookie drafts.
This might seem like a broken record, but the Washington Redskins are yet another team who let their veteran back go in favor of a second-year player. In this case, it was Alfred Morris who was sent packing and Matt Jones playing the role of young and unproven starter. This was one team every dynasty player knew would be adding a running back during draft weekend, and while that did happen, it was much later than most expected. The Skins waited until the seventh round to select former Georgia back, Keith Marshall. Marshall started his career strongly, but dealt with multiple injuries, which cost him playing time. He was outplayed by both Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb during his Bulldogs career, but Marshall blew up the Combine in February to get his name back in the mix for dynasty players. In the mid-third round of rookie drafts, Marshall could be a steal.
While Latavius Murray performed well for the Raiders last season, the team entered the NFL draft lacking depth at the position. They may have found the answer in former Texas Tech back DeAndre Washington. While Washington was flying under the radar even after the NFL Draft, he is quickly starting to gain some value thanks to some very early positive reports. His ADP puts him as a late third round rookie pick, but in more recent drafts, he is quickly moving up to the second round range.
One player who didn’t even crack the top 36 players listed above is new Eagles back Wendell Smallwood, but he is not someone dynasty owners should overlook. In fact, like Washington, Smallwood is now showing up as early as a second round rookie pick. With DeMarco Murray now out of town and veteran Darren Sproles reportedly on the trade block, Smallwood could see an opportunity much sooner than many expected. The new Eagles coaching staff, led by Doug Pederson, are obviously trying to clean house and move on from many players brought in by former head coach Chip Kelly.