Revisiting The 2019 Rookie Class For Dynasty Value
It’s the time of year where everyone’s clamoring over the incoming rookies, as there are nothing but hopes and dreams about the players they’ll become. They’re like shiny new toys to fantasy owners. But here’s the thing… what happens when the toys lose their shine and get piled on top of in the closet (bench)? Or even worse, what about when they get thrown in the garbage (waivers)?
This is what happens every year in dynasty leagues. But should one year dictate how we feel about players? Chris Godwin totaled 525 yards and one touchdown his rookie year. He’s now a first-round pick in startup dynasty drafts. Allen Robinson totaled 548 yards and two touchdowns his rookie year. Michael Gallup posted 507 yards and two touchdowns. We can do this all day.
The point is that prospects are sometimes given up on way too early in the process of transitioning to the NFL. Today, we’re going to revisit the 2019 draft class and talk about the players who could be screaming values right now.
1.01 N’Keal Harry (WR – NE)
He was someone I felt was being overvalued last year, but he’s still a first-round pick that the Patriots believed in, and the Patriots aren’t going to have Julian Edelman hogging the targets beyond 2021 (maybe 2020). Opportunity is everything and Harry’s cost in startup drafts doesn’t account for the potential reward. I’m not going to be aggressive going after him but if someone’s willing to sell dirt cheap, you should buy.
1.02 Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)
We don’t need to revisit Jacobs’ value in dynasty, as his price is through the roof. He’s being drafted as a top-10 running back, and rightfully so.
1.03 Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)
Sanders was obviously high on some boards going 1.03 during rookie drafts, but his price continues to rise after the way he closed out 2019. He’s into top-12 territory in startups, which is too rich for my blood considering how Doug Pederson has used his running backs. The injuries piled up and forced him to use Sanders heavily, but will that continue? Rumors continue to fly around them adding a veteran running back.
1.04 David Montgomery (RB – CHI)
His value hasn’t changed much from where he was last year at this time. Many would be surprised that his value has gone slightly up, and I can’t really disagree. He is the clear-cut workhorse running back that’ll get goal-line duties in an offense that wildly underperformed last year. There’s really only one direction for him to go. Why? There’s no one else on the roster to handle that role.
1.05 A.J. Brown (WR – TEN)
I’ll admit something here. I had Brown as a late first-rounder (1.08) in rookie drafts last year. Why? Not because of his talent because he was my 1A/1B with D.K. Metcalf as far as talent was concerned. I hated the landing spot in Tennessee. If Marcus Mariota had remained the quarterback, I would’ve probably looked smart. His cost is now through the roof, though. Paying a top-12 wide receiver price for him is too rich for my blood, though I did select him as the 16th wide receiver in a recent startup, so he’s not someone you need to avoid, either.
1.06 D.K. Metcalf (WR – SEA)
After finding out his landing spot, the cost should’ve been higher for Metcalf, as he was a high-upside prospect tied to Russell Wilson. He was my WR1 among rookies after the draft because of this. He was being drafted as the WR38 in startups last July but is now cracking the top-15 receivers. His ceiling is massive and if the Seahawks do throw a bit more (like Wilson wants), he can move into the top-12 this year. His current price is probably correct.
1.07 T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET)
Did you know that Hockenson’s average draft position last June was TE7? Outside of his massive Week 1 performance against the Cardinals (who were destroyed by all tight ends), he totaled just 26 receptions for 236 yards and one touchdown on 50 targets. It was one of the least efficient seasons over the last 10 years for a tight end. Still, targets are king at tight end, and knowing he’s locked into a ton of them as he continues to grow, his falling price of TE10 is a time to buy low.
1.08 Parris Campbell (WR – IND)
When he was drafted here, Andrew Luck was still on the roster. Campbell’s average draft position in startups was WR38 but shot all the way down to WR55 as the year went on. His ADP has began to climb with Philip Rivers in town, but it’s still very low when you consider T.Y. Hilton is in the last year of his contract. Campbell is a great buy in dynasty leagues right now, as some have acquired him for a late second-round pick.
1.09 JJ Arcega-Whiteside (WR – PHI)
This is a pick that many will look at and kick themselves for. Not that we should fully judge a player on one season, but the fact that he needed injuries to even crack the starting lineup was really worrisome. If a wide receiver doesn’t see the field early on in his career, it’s a bad sign. Not just that, though. There were injuries all over to the Eagles pass-catchers and he still didn’t see the field much. When he did, he wasn’t targeted. He was still a second-round pick in the NFL Draft, so he’ll likely get more opportunities, but he’s worth nothing more than a third-round rookie pick right now.
1.10 Deebo Samuel (WR – SF)
When the 2019 season started, no one thought Samuel would’ve been gaining any value his rookie season. Through nine weeks, he totaled 22 receptions for 227 yards and one touchdown and was the WR69 in half-PPR. Over the final eight weeks, he finished with 35 receptions for 575 yards and two touchdowns, with another 122 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to finish as the WR7 over that span. That shot him from the WR56, all the way up to a top-20 receiver in startups. His value feels about right.
1.11 Noah Fant (TE – DEN)
He’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster over the first year in the pros, as he was as low as TE13 in startups, and as high as TE6 during another. For a rookie tight end to see 66 targets is rather impressive, though they aren’t likely to move up anytime soon. The additions of Jerry Jeudy, Melvin Gordon, and KJ Hamler have made this a powerful offense, but one that’ll be hard to find targets in. Fant certainly has the upside to be a top-five tight end, though his price already reflects that as the TE8 in ADP.
1.12 Kyler Murray (QB – ARI)
Through one year, he’s delivered admirably, but the reward may pay off big time in 2020. The Cardinals have improved the offensive line, as well as acquired DeAndre Hopkins, raising the ceiling of Murray. His price has reflected it, though. He’s being only Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Russell Wilson among quarterbacks, which means you’re paying for the rise to his ceiling. If forced I’d consider him more of a sell in single quarterback leagues, but I would require top dollar to trade him.
2.01 Hakeem Butler (WR – ARI)
This is one of those situations where I hadn’t given up on Butler and thought he could be a great steal in dynasty leagues this offseason, but the trade for DeAndre Hopkins buried him back down the depth chart. He’ll now battle with Andy Isabella for snaps as the fourth wide receiver. As mentioned earlier, if a wide receiver doesn’t get on the field early in his career, it’s a problem. He’s nothing more than a bench flier now where you’re hoping for an injury ahead of him to get targets. If you can land him for a third- or fourth-round pick right now, I’d still take that chance.
2.02 Marquise Brown (WR – BAL)
Brown was falling way too far in rookie drafts last year, plain and simple. After the NFL Draft, I ranked him as the No. 6 player in rookie drafts, though I didn’t expect much his rookie year with his foot injury. He surprised many with a few big performances, but he’s capable of much more. Unfortunately, his price has risen prior to the pending breakout, but he can still be had outside the top 30 wide receivers, making him a buy in dynasty formats.
2.03 Andy Isabella (WR – ARI)
He didn’t get much playing time last year, but when he did, he made the most of it, turning 13 targets into nine receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown. The downside for him is that Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk are at their best in the slot, which is where many projected Isabella to play. You may have to wait another year for Isabella to give you fantasy value on a regular basis, but if the price is right (third-round rookie pick), he should be considered a buy.
2.04 Mecole Hardman (WR – KC)
He is coming off one of the most efficient wide receiver seasons of the last 10 years, though it’s an incredibly small sample size. It would’ve been wise to expect a bigger role in the offense in 2020, but the re-signing of both Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson is worrisome, as they kept him off the field in a full-time role. There’s going to be natural regression, sure, but in that offense, he has major upside. If you can get him for a middling second-round rookie pick, he’s worth the risk.
2.05 Darrell Henderson (RB – LAR)
There were many who were selecting Henderson in the first-round, thinking that Todd Gurley was done playing football. Halfway through the season, those owners had likely given up hope, as Gurley and Malcolm Brown were playing well in front of him. Fast forward a few months and Gurley is gone. His value has gone from RB26, to RB45, to back into the top-25 territory, and is now falling outside the top 40 once again after the Rams drafted Cam Akers in the second round. The Rams are saying they’re going to split the carries, though he can force them to give him more touches with his play, so I’m more on the buying side of this conversation with the most recent drop in price.
2.06 Damien Harris (RB – NE)
The fact that the Patriots spent a third-round pick on him should mean something, especially considering how inefficient Sony Michel has been. The issue is that Harris got zero opportunity last year despite Michel’s play. Harris is a running back that would produce if given the opportunity, so I don’t want to write him off yet. If you can get him for a third-round rookie pick right now, I’d take it.
2.07 Justice Hill (RB – BAL)
We saw Hill’s role grow very minimally as the year went on in 2019, though there were certainly flashes. The Ravens clearly don’t view him as a three-down full-time back, though, as they brought back Gus Edwards to play alongside Mark Ingram, and then drafted JK Dobbins in the second round. Hill was still being drafted as a top-40 running back in startups before the Dobbins pick, and he was a sell then, so he’s certainly a sell now.
2.08 Irv Smith Jr. (TE – MIN)
We figured it may take time for Smith to pass Kyle Rudolph on the depth chart, but he proved his worth rather quickly. Not many realize he saw just one fewer target than Rudolph in 2019. Still, you’re going to have to wait for Rudolph to move on before Smith is worth anything more than a TE2. It’s worth noting the Vikings can cut Rudolph after the 2020 season with just a $4.4 million cap hit.
2.09 Dwayne Haskins (QB – WAS)
There were whispers the Redskins may move on from Haskins in the draft, but instead, they added a few weapons to his arsenal with Antonio Gibson and Antonio Gandy-Golden. Haskins was considered a developmental quarterback, so it’s possible everyone is overreacting to his miserable rookie year. Being drafted as the 35th quarterback off the board, I’m willing to buy him on the cheap.
2.10 Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)
This was one of the best steals of the 2019 rookie class, as not many knew how the Bills would handle LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, and Singletary. We saw Singletary’s value come up significantly when McCoy was let go, but it’s been a continuous rise since then. The Bills want to split the workload in the backfield with Zack Moss and knowing Josh Allen/Moss will steal a lot of goal-line work, you may want to capitalize on Singletary’s value now.
2.11 Kelvin Harmon (WR – WAS)
It’s tough to say where Harmon’s value is right now after the Redskins drafted two more wide receivers, but it’s not like many dynasty owners are holding onto Harmon with vice grips. Knowing he’s being drafted outside the top 100 receivers, it’s easy to say you can snag him as a throw-in with a trade. He could be the No. 2 wide receiver in the offense behind Terry McLaurin after he posted 30/365/0 on just 44 targets last year.
2.12 Miles Boykin (WR – BAL)
It’s almost like he’s been forgotten about, and rightfully so. The Ravens don’t throw the ball a whole lot but knowing that Boykin couldn’t surpass Seth Roberts on the depth chart was always a problem. The Ravens added both Devin Duvernay and James Proche in the draft, so it’s clear they’re not happy with the current depth chart. Boykin is barely hanging on dynasty rosters at this time.