Who is Pick 1.01 in Dynasty Rookie Drafts? (2021 Fantasy Football)
The 2020 NFL season officially wraps up this weekend with the Chiefs and Buccaneers set to square off in this year’s Super Bowl. That means it’s time for fantasy football managers to begin looking ahead to the NFL Draft, and more specifically, who we might be targeting in upcoming dynasty league rookie drafts.
Of course, landing spot is a crucial part of this equation, yet it’s never too early to start thinking things through. We asked our writers who they would take with the No. 1 pick as of right now.
Q: Who should be Pick 1.01 in Dynasty Rookie Drafts?
Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)
In a single-QB league, Harris is the slam dunk first pick for me. His combination of size and speed should make for a smooth transition to the NFL but his work in the passing game gives him a potential three-down role. Assuming Harris lands on a team that will give him 200+ touches (no sure thing in today’s NFL landscape), he would be, at worst, a high-end RB2 almost immediately. Give me Harris over DeVonta Smith, Ja’Marr Chase, Trevor Lawrence, and Kyle Pitts.
– Jason Kamlowsky (@JasonKamlowsky)
For a single quarterback league, Harris is my 1.01 and it’s not close. We can talk about his blend of size, speed, rushing ability, and decisiveness all day long. For me, what cements Harris here and separates him from the pack is his receiving ability and its translation to the NFL level. Harris should make a sizable ripple in the NFL running back landscape with his varied skill-set. Comparisons to Matt Forte always seem to pop up for Harris, but he’s a player who will flirt with 1,000 rushing yards and 70+ targets each season. If you get this kind of talent into a situation like Miami or Atlanta where he can reach 200 touches or more as a rookie, then it’s “wheels up” for Harris.
– Kevin Tompkins (@ktompkinsii)
It’s hard not to like Harris as the 1.01 in non-superflex leagues this year. Harris appears to be the next up-and-coming star running back out of Alabama, and he looks poised to have success in the NFL. His blend of power, speed, and elusiveness at his size is what makes him stand out from other running backs. However, it’s his improved receiving ability that separates him from the rest of the pack. After totaling a mere 10 receptions for 52 yards in his first two collegiate seasons, Harris proved his receiving acumen in his final two seasons as he hauled in a combined 70 catches for 729 yards and 11 touchdowns. If Harris lands in the right situation, his floor will be an RB2 as a rookie, with a chance to become an RB1 for years to come.
– Skyler Carlin (@skyler_carlin)
Running backs are still king in fantasy football. Rarely could I put a top wide receiver over a top running back, and this year is no different. Harris is huge at 6-foot-2 and 230-pounds, but his lateral movement for a man his size is nothing short of extraordinary. Yet he is more than just a big bruising back as he can also catch. He is coming off his senior season that saw him haul in 43 receptions for 425 yards and four TDs. He is a true every-down running back and will quickly become a fantasy asset for anyone who drafts him.
– Geoff Lambert (@geofflambert77)
Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
As a disclaimer, I believe Najee Harris will have the strongest rookie season from a positional variance standpoint. For dynasty purposes, however, the long-term investment of an elite wide receiver gets my pick at the 1.01. Let me ask the reader a simple question: did you like what Justin Jefferson did in 2020? Rhetorical question aside, Chase was the 1A to Jefferson’s 1B during LSU’s magical 2019 season. He had 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in his elite sophomore season. Jefferson had 111 receptions for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. We can’t simply say “Chase was better than Jefferson in college, so he’ll be a better NFL player”. However, Chase does show elite qualities. His bread and butter is his physicality. Chase is a 6-foot-0, 208-pound physical alpha receiver. That is more typical of a running back build, but Chase is that size as an X receiver. Put him one-on-one on an island, and most corners are going to lose that matchup. He is an excellent route runner with fluid cuts in in out of his breaks, while also showing enough athleticism to separate from more athletic corners. Despite opting out in 2020, Chase will be ready to out-muscle the opposition. He will have an A.J. Brown-like affect on the NFL, and we should see a dominant rookie season from the emerging superstar that is Ja’Marr Chase.
– Justin Johnson (@JJ_JetFlyin)
While it was amazing to see DeVonta Smith with the Heisman this year, fantasy players shouldn’t forget about Chase’s historic 2019 campaign (before opting out of 2020). The 1A to Justin Jefferson’s 1B, Chase totaled 1,780 yards and 20 scores in just 14 games en route to a National Championship. He might’ve been the first wideout taken in last year’s historic receiver class, but he wasn’t yet draft eligible. The LSU product has been described as someone who runs “angry”, a savvy route runner with plenty burst to shed would-be tacklers after the catch. Add in Chase’s ability to dominate at the catch0point, and his profile looks like a receiver who was put together in a lab. While there are questions over Smith’s size, Chase’s physical traits aren’t in question. Najee Harris is the only rookie I’d consider over Chase right now.
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)
DeVonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
Smith had an incredible 2020 season, finishing the year with 117 receptions, 1,856 receiving yards, and 23 touchdowns. While we will not have the NFL Combine this year and will need to wait to see what Smith will run at his Pro Day, my guess from reports that I have read is that he’ll clock somewhere in the 4.4 range, which would be fine for his 6′ 1″ and 175-pound frame. My only concern is landing spot. Rookie receivers need a quarterback to throw them the ball and if he goes to a team with a dreadful quarterback situation, that could change my mind after the NFL Draft. I think Smith is a special talent at a school that has produced some great wide receivers over the years. Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and Calvin Ridley are established NFL players that came from Alabama. Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III are also from Alabama, but it is too early to call them established NFL receivers just yet. Still, Smith should be an instant success in the league, provided he is with a good quarterback. If that box is checked, he will be the first rookie I select in upcoming drafts.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
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