Revisiting the 2017 Rookie Class for Dynasty Value (Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
May 17, 2018

While everyone is looking for Corey Davis to breakout, don’t forget about his teammate Taywan Taylor

Each and every year, dynasty owners get hyped up about that one guy who they’re going to steal in the third-round of their rookie draft. News flash: that often doesn’t work out. But still, everyone loves shiny new toys, until they aren’t new anymore.

But we aren’t the type that needs shiny new toys to play with. We’re the crowd that just wants our toys to work when we want to use them. Because of that, we’re going to go back in time to the 2017 rookie class, find those once shiny new toys and bring them back to life, only much cheaper.

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These are players who have found themselves onto the waiver wire in some leagues, or at the bottom of the bench in others. They can be acquired for pennies on the dollar from where they were last year and might not even take very long to produce on your fantasy team. These players are the ones who build a foundation for your bench.

John Ross (WR – CIN)
Did you know that Ross was drafted as high as 1.06 in rookie drafts last year? He was a consensus top-12 pick, only now he can be had for as little as a third-round pick in rookie drafts. Don’t believe me? I just did it in one of my leagues. It’s never ideal when a player gets benched for a fumble in his rookie year, but if Marvin Lewis doesn’t get the most out of their top-10 draft pick, he’s going to be shown the door. Ross’ ceiling is of the T.Y. Hilton variety. Yes, I’m serious.

Carlos Henderson (WR – DEN)
I took a peek at startup dynasty ADP the other day and saw Henderson outside the top 100 wide receivers. This blew my mind, as he was considered a top-20 player in the draft last year. While some may have lowered him due to the Broncos pick of Courtland Sutton this year, you shouldn’t be one of them. They play completely different positions and it’s only going to help when Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are no longer with the team in 2019. They both carry extremely high salaries and can be released for a minimal cap hit. Henderson is likely to start in 3WR sets this year, and we all know how much Case Keenum loved Adam Thielen out of the slot while in Minnesota.

Taywan Taylor (WR – TEN)
While everyone looks over at Corey Davis for a sophomore breakout, Taylor is a player who is going to see a massive increase in his workload in 2018. With Eric Decker gone, Taylor will be a full-time player out of the slot for the Titans. Not just that, but Rishard Matthews is also slated to be a free agent after the 2018 season, meaning Taylor’s route to 80-plus targets is very possible. That’s rare to say about someone who isn’t among the top 80 wide receivers drafted in startups.

ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen (WR – NYJ)
Stewart is a do-it-all wide receiver who was stuck in a limited role last year, while Hansen played roughly 100 more snaps than him. With Robby Anderson continually in trouble with the law, he’s facing a suspension from the commissioner, and Jermaine Kearse will be a free agent after this season (he can actually be a cap casualty if they choose – no cap hit). If you watched Terrelle Pryor last year, you’re not worried about him, which leaves Quincy Enunwa, Stewart, and Hansen as the ones who’ll be there once Sam Darnold takes over. Taking a flier on them wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Jake Butt (TE – DEN)
There are a lot of people out there wondering what the Broncos are going to do at tight end after they didn’t take one of the top names in the NFL Draft. Well, that’s likely because they’re going to be relying on Butt bouncing back from his ACL injury that he suffered last year. Had he not torn his ACL, Butt would have been in the conversation to be selected in the first two rounds of the draft. He’s someone who I compared to Jason Witten coming out of Michigan, though obviously not as polished. Tight end often takes time to develop, so you could wait longer to buy him, but he doesn’t have to beat out much talent to get to the top of the depth chart.

Joe Williams (RB – SF)
Let me begin by saying that I never thought Williams was a threat to Carlos Hyde‘s starting job. I don’t even love the player, but knowing that he was selected with such capital in the draft (fourth-round), he shouldn’t simply be dismissed. Jerick McKinnon has struggled throughout his career on first- and second-down, and Matt Breida is just a guy by all accounts. Opportunity is everything to running backs and it’s possible that Williams winds up getting more carries than anyone wants to admit in what should be a high-scoring offense with Jimmy Garoppolo under center.

Chad Williams (WR – ARI)
After losing both John Brown and Jaron Brown in free agency, the Cardinals didn’t go out and snag any big-name wide receivers, only Brice Butler. Then the NFL Draft came, and they did take a wide receiver with a high pick (Christian Kirk), only he plays out of the slot the majority of time. This leaves Butler and J.J. Nelson as the only competition for the Cardinals former third-round pick. On top of the lack of competition for targets, Williams will have Josh Rosen throwing to him before long.


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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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