Analyzing Dynasty Rookie ADP Data (Fantasy Football)
This is one of the toughest times of the year for dynasty players, as you don’t really know how to value your current draft pick because you don’t know the landing spot of each player. Let me be clear when I say this: The 2019 draft prospects are highly dependent on where they land. While that’s the case most years, this year is a bit different, as there is no clear-cut No. 1 player on everyone’s draft board.
This is why you should hold your rookie draft once the NFL Draft has been completed, though doing this exercise does allow us to see who’s currently undervalued prior to finding out where their new home will be. Truth be told, not enough dynasty players value landing spot enough, which means the rankings and ADP won’t change as much as they probably should. Do you think JuJu Smith-Schuster would be a consensus top-10 wide receiver in dynasty leagues had he been drafted by the Bills? With that, let’s take a look at a snapshot of the current rookie ADP (thanks to DLF) as of this moment to find the best/worst values on the board.
1. D.K. Metcalf (WR – Ole Miss)
2. N’Keal Harry (WR – Arizona State)
3. Hakeem Butler (WR – Iowa State)
4. Josh Jacobs (RB – Alabama)
5. A.J. Brown (WR – Ole Miss)
6. Kelvin Harmon (WR – NC State)
7. David Montgomery (RB – Iowa State)
8. Darrell Henderson (RB – Memphis)
9. Noah Fant (TE – Iowa)
10. Damien Harris (RB – Alabama)
11. Miles Sanders (RB – Penn State)
12. T.J. Hockenson (TE – Iowa)
It’s pretty crazy to see players from Iowa making up one-third of the first-round, but they’re all somewhat deserving. This is a complete 180 from last year, as running backs accounted for six of the first seven picks in dynasty drafts (this time of the year). While I understand it’s a weak running back class, some of the running backs are going to move up once we find out their landing spot and who has a clear path to touches.
I’d also like to say that a lot of these wide receivers are going to drop in value as we head into 2020. Why? Well, wide receivers typically take much longer to sprout, from a fantasy perspective, as even wide receivers who were drafted in the first-round over the last six years have averaged just 66.7 targets their rookie year. There’s a bit of give-and-take, as wide receivers have much longer careers and should typically be valued more in dynasty leagues, though paying top-dollar for their ‘production’ now isn’t going to be worth it with most of them.
Because of that, snagging the running backs in the back-half of the first-round is likely where you’ll find the best value if you’re a team who’s built to win now. My current favorites are David Montgomery and Darrell Henderson, as I believe they can both be workhorses in the NFL. Damien Harris reminds me so much of Mark Ingram, most would love to snag him at the end of the first-round. So, while I’m usually pro-receiver in rookie drafts, if this ADP data holds up, those with picks in the back-half of the first-round should make out like bandits.
13. Rodney Anderson (RB – Oklahoma)
14. Deebo Samuel (WR – South Carolina)
15. Parris Campbell (WR – Ohio State)
16. JJ Arcega-Whiteside (WR – Stanford)
17. Marquise Brown (WR – Oklahoma)
18. Devin Singletary (RB – Florida Atlantic)
19. Kyler Murray (QB – Oklahoma)
20. Trayveon Williams (RB – Texas A&M)
21. Justice Hill (RB – Oklahoma State)
22. Irv Smith Jr. (TE – Alabama)
23. Andy Isabella (WR – Massachusetts)
24. Emanuel Hall (WR – Missouri)
Similar to last round, we have one state making up one-third of a round, though this time it’s Oklahoma. It’s clear by now that it’s a weak running back class, as there’s just nine running backs in the first 25 picks. Devin Singletary is likely to fall even more after his horrid Combine, while Justice Hill is viewed as a change-of-pace running back. Going back to the first-round, that’s where you want to snag your running back.
There is plenty of talent among the wide receivers in this round, too, as Parris Campbell and Marquise Brown could be lightning in a bottle in the right offense. Deebo Samuel is pro-ready and should produce similar to the way someone like Christian Kirk did last year, provided he lands a starting role. Then you have Andy Isabella, who is going to fill a slot or utility role somewhere. The top of the second-round is clearly where you’d like to be with some of these receivers on the board.
If you need a tight end, my suggestion is pass on Fant and Hockenson in the first-round and go for Irv Smith Jr. a full round later. Landing spot will matter to all of them, but Smith has the most versatile skill-set to use right away. This is also where Kyler Murray comes off the board, and I’d call him a value at No. 19. He’s going to have fantasy value immediately, as his legs are good enough to carry him for 50-plus yards per game, while his arm is much better than Lamar Jackson, who turned out to be a fine fantasy quarterback down the stretch.
25. Dwayne Haskins (QB – Ohio State)
26. Benny Snell (RB – Kentucky)
27. Miles Boykin (WR – Notre Dame)
28. Mike Weber (RB – Michigan)
29. Riley Ridley (WR – Georgia)
30. Elijah Holyfield (RB – Georgia)
31. Bryce Love (RB – Stanford)
32. Terry McLaurin (WR – Ohio State)
33. Myles Gaskin (RB – Washington)
34. KeeSean Johnson (WR – Fresno State)
35. Greg Dortch (WR – Wake Forest)
36. Travis Homer (RB – Miami)
There are players in this range who are going to move up draft boards as we get closer to the NFL Draft. For starters, Riley Ridley isn’t going to last into the third-round unless he gets drafted to a run-heavy team who doesn’t have a very competent quarterback. Miles Boykin is someone who can skyrocket up draft boards after his Combine performance, as he’s massive (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) with excellent athleticism. And then you have Bryce Love, the guy who would’ve been drafted in the top-six (maybe top-three) last year, though a horrid 2018 season has him sliding down rookie drafts. If he lands in a good spot, he’s most likely to shoot into the second-round.
If there’s one thing to take away from this article, it’s that the NFL Draft will start to influence ADP, simply because it’s how actual NFL teams value these players. If a player is drafted inside the top three rounds, it’s very likely he’ll have a greater opportunity to succeed than someone who lasts until the fifth-round. Always remember that during your rookie draft.
37. Preston Williams (WR – Colorado State)
38. Drew Lock (QB – Missouri)
39. Lil’Jordan Humphrey (WR – Texas)
40. DaMarkus Lodge (WR – Ole Miss)
41. Mecole Hardman (WR – Georgia)
42. Jace Sternberger (TE – Texas A&M)
43. Antoine Wesley (WR – Texas Tech)
44. Jalen Hurd (WR – Baylor)
45. Ryquell Armstead (RB – Temple)
46. Devine Ozigbo (RB – Nebraska)
47. Anthony Johnson (WR – Buffalo)
48. LJ Scott (RB – Michigan State)
It’s a surprise to see Drew Lock land all the way down here considering we know he’s going to have a starting job somewhere, right? I’d guess he’ll move up once we see where players land. Many will hit snooze during this portion of the draft, but I urge you not to. Why? Well, Keke Coutee, Jaylen Samuels, and Ito Smith were all drafted in the fourth-round of last year’s rookie drafts, and that was once we already knew about everyone’s landing spot.
This is the area of the draft to shoot for pure upside. Maybe there’s a running back who doesn’t fit the standard 5-foot-11, 220-pound mold, but you think he’s talented enough to make an impact in the league. Maybe there’s a wide receiver who’s an athletic freak but didn’t get the exposure that some of the bigger school receivers did. Jalen Hurd and Jace Sternberger are the two on my list from this territory, as Sternberger has rock solid hands and is relatively safe, while Hurd has tremendous upside as a 6-foot-5, 226-pound wide receiver who used to play running back.
NOTABLE PROSPECTS OUTSIDE THE TOP FOUR ROUNDS
These players aren’t even being selected in the top four rounds of rookie drafts at the moment, which is mind-blowing. Barnes just had one of the better Combine performances and his tape suggests his play-style is violent. When you get a violent, athletic running back who weighs 226 pounds, you just might strike gold. Sills is one of the more technically-sound wide receivers I’ve watched on film and can definitely contribute at the next level. Jackson is a wildcard, but he is 6-foot-7 and 249 pounds, can throw bullets, and ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash. There’s plenty of refinement to be made to his game, but a 6-foot-7 mobile quarterback? He’s worth a flier late in drafts.