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Dynasty Rookie Rankings Review (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Chuck Gioffre
Jun 1, 2019

Hill landed in a great situation.

Rookies always seem to create plenty of buzz, especially in dynasty formats. Comprehending rookie value and utilizing rookie rankings can give you a competitive advantage against your league mates. At FantasyPros, the Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) rookie rankings database aggregates over two dozen individual expert rankings and compiles it into one list of rankings. I’ve reviewed the current ECR rookie rankings and will breakdown which players I believe are ranked too high, too low, and which rookies present an arbitrage opportunity. My ECR rankings was compiled using the average rankings of 26 expert lists.

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Quarterback

Rank Rookies Team Pos
12 Kyler Murray ARI QB1
23 Dwayne Haskins WAS QB2
33 Drew Lock DEN QB3
36 Daniel Jones NYG QB4
44 Will Grier CAR QB5
58 Jarrett Stidham NE QB6
66 Ryan Finley CIN QB7
79 Tyree Jackson BUF QB8
83 Gardner Minshew JAC QB9
89 Easton Stick LAC QB10
90 Brett Rypien DEN QB11
92 Clayton Thorson PHI QB12

 

Agree/Disagree

Kyler Murray (ARI) QB1
Will start day one in one of the most fire-powered offenses in the league.

Dwyane Haskins (WAS) QB2
Checks a lot of boxes: size, accuracy, arm strength, can read and progress through defensive coverage. Will have to compete for starting role in training camp but he clearly is the future in Washington.

Will Grier (CAR) QB5
Grier is my current QB3. Cam Newton hasn’t begun throwing yet and the shoulder injury could prohibit him from playing consistently this season as seen with Andrew Luck previously. Grier could be thrust into the starting role early and can lean on the exciting offensive weapons Carolina has at its disposal.

Arbitrage Opportunity

Tyree Jackson (BUF) QB8
Josh Allen’s injury risk is high due to his tendency to scramble and improvise in the pocket. UDFA Tyree Jackson, 6’7”, 245 lbs, is a bigger, stronger, and arguably more accurate QB that could take over the offense without skipping a beat.

Closing Thought

In standard re-draft leagues, most of the rookie QB’s will be available via waivers outside of Murray and Haskins. This class is top heavy, about 90% of ranked rookie QBs matter to only players in deeper dynasty formats and two QB leagues, making this class mostly fantasy irrelevant. I will be targeting Kyler Murray in the back-end of drafts as much as possible given the offensive situation he landed in. His unique combination of mobility and passing accuracy at his size hasn’t been seen before. Buckle up for a wild ride this season and high fantasy output.

Running Backs

Rank Rookies Team Pos
1 Josh Jacobs OAK RB1
3 Miles Sanders PHI RB2
4 David Montgomery CHI RB3
14 Darrell Henderson LAR RB4
18 Damien Harris NE RB5
19 Justice Hill BAL RB6
20 Devin Singletary BUF RB7
27 Benny Snell Jr. PIT RB8
28 Bryce Love WAS RB9
30 Rodney Anderson CIN RB10
34 Trayveon Williams CIN RB11
35 Alexander Mattison MIN RB12
37 Mike Weber DAL RB13
39 Ryquell Armstead JAC RB14
40 Darwin Thompson KC RB15
41 Dexter Williams GB RB16
43 Myles Gaskin MIA RB17
46 James Williams KC RB18
47 Elijah Holyfield CAR RB19
49 Travis Homer SEA RB20

 

Agree/Disagree

Justice Hill (BAL) RB6
Hill has moved up the rookie rankings post-draft. He landed in a great situation in Baltimore and has elite/upper percentile speed, burst, and quickness. He had a solid college career at Oklahoma State, and racked up nearly 1,500 rushing yards, 15 TDs, and 31 receptions as a sophomore starter. I’ll take Hill over Damian Harris in every format.

Ryquell Armstead (JAC) RB14
Fournette has been injury prone and  T.J. Yeldon is no longer in Jacksonville, which creates  three-down responsibilities for someone if Fournette goes down. Armstead seems to be the next-in-line and I’m stashing him in dynasty drafts at his asking price. Don’t be surprised if he is a league-winner this year.

Dexter Williams (GB) RB16
Produced at the college level — 75th percentile college dominator rating paired with good speed and elite agility measurables. Jamaal Williams hasn’t been efficient in his time in Green Bay opening up satellite back duties behind Aaron Jones. If Aaron Jones has any injury, Williams could be another late round/waiver target that could post winning fantasy weeks for owners.

Arbitrage Opportunity

Darrell Henderson (LAR) RB4
It appears Todd Gurley’s knee is serious, and C.J. Anderson proved to be fantasy relevant filling in the starting role at the end of the season. Gurley’s insurance policy is third-round Memphis tailback, Darrell Henderson. He averaged an unimaginable nine yards per carry in consecutive seasons at Memphis, and produced as a receiver as well accumulating 63 catches over three years.

Closing Thoughts

Look away. Outside of the top three running backs, this is not a good running back class. Very poor athletic testing dampened any fantasy excitement. I’ll save my high draft picks on this year’s class for the generationally talented 2020 running back class and focus on drafting high-upside, late-round flyers in 2019 dynasty/rookie drafts.

Wide Receiver

Rank Rookies Team Pos
2 N’Keal Harry NE WR1
5 D.K. Metcalf SEA WR2
6 A.J. Brown TEN WR3
7 Parris Campbell IND WR4
8 Marquise Brown BAL WR5
9 Deebo Samuel SF WR6
11 Mecole Hardman KC WR7
15 Hakeem Butler ARI WR8
16 J.J. Arcega-Whiteside PHI WR9
17 Andy Isabella ARI WR10
22 Kelvin Harmon WAS WR11
24 Diontae Johnson PIT WR12
25 Miles Boykin BAL WR13
26 Jalen Hurd SF WR14
31 Terry McLaurin WAS WR15

 

Agree/Disagree

A.J. Brown (TEN) WR3
I’m surprised Brown is still ranked as the third wide receiver considering his landing spot. His current ranking is more indicative of where he was ranked pre-draft. The Titans passing game in 2018 was pathetic – wide receivers accounted for 1,867 yards and seven touchdowns over the course of year. Comparatively, JuJu Smith-Schuster had the same number of touchdowns and only 400 less receiving yards. I love A.J. Brown the player but will pass for now until his price becomes fair.

Mecole Hardman (KC) WR7
Pending Tyreke Hill’s departure, Hardman is in-line for significant opportunity in what is the most fantasy-relevant offense in the NFL. The WR depth chart is incredibly thin and Sammy Watkins has proven to be injury prone. Hardman didn’t have ideal collegiate production, however, he competed for targets with two other NFL-caliber receivers and didn’t begin playing WR until two years ago. That context matched within that offense presents major upside late in round one or early round two. I would rather take a chance on him than someone with a lower, less appealing floor.

Arbitrage Opportunity

Deebo Samuel (SF) WR6
Bigger, stronger, faster version of Dante Pettis. Easily could finish as the WR1 in the 49ers offense this year.

Kelvin Harmon (WAS) WR11
I love Kelvin Harmon the player but can’t be too excited given his athletic testing and draft position. However, I’m using the poor prospect narrative as a buying opportunity at what is now a lower price point than his pre-draft/combine ranking. Josh Doctson has squandered every opportunity, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Washington forces the changing of the guard and Harmon overtakes Doctson’s outside receiver role by mid-season.

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, this 2019 WR rookie class was overrated. Draft evaluators and film grinders alike praised this WR group and in the end it’s mainly boom/bust candidates, with little certainty from top to bottom. There are plenty of WRs in the late-first and early second round I will target but I’m not as optimistic on this class as before.

Tight End

Rank Rookies Team Pos
10 T.J. Hockenson DET TE1
13 Noah Fant DEN TE2
21 Irv Smith Jr. MIN TE3
29 Jace Sternberger GB TE4
45 Josh Oliver JAC TE5

 

Closing Thoughts

The two Iowa tight ends will be drafted in every format this year, yet both landed in sub-optimal offenses. Both will have starting responsibilities on their respective teams, but I’m not going to draft either in the first round of rookie drafts. I’ll happily wait on Irv Smith Jr. He finished his junior season at Alabama with 710 yards and seven TDs. Over four years, O.J. Howard didn’t accumulate a single season with those numbers. Smith Jr. will turn 21 in August and if Kyle Rudolph gets traded, his fantasy value will rise especially tied to a QB with a proven track record of raising TE production.

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Chuck Gioffre is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Chuck, check out his archive and follow him @cgioffre34.

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