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Biggest Post-NFL Draft Rookie Losers (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Raju Byfield | @FantasyContext | Featured Writer
May 3, 2019

Rodney Anderson probably won’t get the chance to showcase his immense talent over the next couple of seasons

With an exciting NFL Draft weekend now in the books, it is imperative that dynasty owners start to dissect landing spots. Some players landed in unenviable situations, while others landed in plain bad spots. We will take a look at the biggest rookie losers from a dynasty perspective.

We will avoid names like Marquise Brown and A.J. Brown, who both landed in run-first offenses, as they still project as starters and high-upside fantasy contributors, albeit with their ceilings potentially capped. We will instead focus on players who will be stuck in roles that do not meet pre-draft expectations or hopes for players of their talent and skill.

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Biggest Post-NFL Draft Rookie Losers

Darrell Henderson (RB – LAR)
Henderson landed in a terrible spot for his dynasty value. Todd Gurley may indeed see his career shortened by the arthritis in his surgically repaired knee, but his fantasy demise has been greatly exaggerated.

Henderson is one of the most talented backs in this year’s draft class, and the hope was he would be drafted with at least an opportunity to start. That will not happen in Los Angeles. He may be able to generate standalone RB3/4 value, but being stuck behind an elite workhorse is not a recipe for fantasy success. Henderson was one of the most productive per carry backs in college football history, but has fallen from a first-round dynasty pick to a second- or third-round draft choice.

Rodney Anderson (RB – CIN)
Much like Henderson, Anderson is one of the top talents in this class. Unfortunately, also like Henderson, he was drafted to a team with an elite workhorse, and will not be given a chance to start. His best case scenario is the Bengals letting Mixon walk in free agency in 2021. Anderson played behind Mixon at Oklahoma and will do the same in the pros.

Much like Henderson, he profiles as an elite handcuff with RB1 upside in the event of an injury to the starter. Anderson is the only back in this class with true elite RB1 upside, but nonetheless went from my pre-draft 1.01 to just outside the top-30 due to landing in one of the worst possible depth charts in the league.

Damien Harris (RB – NE)
Arguably a top-five running back talent in this class, Harris is yet another back who landed behind an entrenched starter who is a superior talent. Harris will likely play in a committee role in New England and serve as Sony Michel’s direct backup. With James White still in the mix for touches ahead of him, he will have to battle for any semblance of standalone value.

Harris had RB2 upside if he landed a starting opportunity, but is now more of an upside bench stash and handcuff. The Patriots’ backfield is once again a three-headed RBBC monster that is sure to cause fantasy headaches. Harris should be ticketed for a bigger role once James White hits free agency in 2021.

Bryce Love (RB – WAS)
Much like the three running backs before him, Love landed behind a feature back. Love would have been a first or second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and would have been a day two selection at worst this year if not for a torn ACL in his final game of the season. Now set to miss part, if not all, of the season, impressive running back Derrius Guice, who is coming off an ACL tear of his own, will have a chance to establish himself as the feature back while Love is on the shelf. He still has an opportunity to carve out a committee role in Washington, but will not be afforded the starting opportunity some may have hoped for. Love is a high-upside bench or taxi squad stash, who should last until the third round of most rookie drafts.

Hakeem Butler (WR – ARI)
Butler landed with what could be an elite young quarterback, but has still managed to see his dynasty stock fall since the NFL Draft. He landed in an exciting offense, but it is one full of playmakers. The Cardinals have the soon-to-be-retired Larry Fitzgerald and sophomore Christian Kirk. Butler was not someone the Cardinals deemed a realistic target after opting for Andy Isabella over him near the end of the second round. When he was still on the board in the fourth, as GM Steve Keim admitted, he was just too good to pass up.

If playing with three receivers with equal or greater talent was not bad enough, the Cardinals saw fit to load up their receivers room and added pro-ready KeeSean Johnson in the fifth round and the impressive A.J Richardson as a UDFA. Butler will be afforded opportunity based on draft capital, but it looks like he will have to battle for targets, and even snaps, in a talented and wide open air raid offense. He is still raw in some respects and is now more of a WR2/3 than the top-15 candidate some hoped for based on his upside.

Miles Boykin (WR – BAL)
Boykin is another big rookie loser. Marquise Brown has better deep speed and separation skills, and he will be the primary option on a decidedly run-first team. If he landed in a more pass-heavy offense, Boykin had a chance to boast WR2 upside, but he is now more of a WR4 who will last past the second round of many rookie drafts. Boykin has a ton of talent, but he may even cede snaps to undrafted free agent competition in year one. He still has intriguing, albeit capped upside, but his floor in this offense reeks of bench consideration only.

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his profile and follow him @FantasyContext.

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