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Dynasty Rookie Draft Picks to Target

by Raju Byfield | @FantasyContext | Featured Writer
Mar 31, 2021

Evaluating trades involving rookie picks is often one of the hardest parts of the job for dynasty league managers. There is so much unknown, and the hit rate of first round rookies makes acquiring, or even divesting of rookie picks a risky proposition. Today we will take a look at a mock draft comparison and then dive into which players may go at what pick. This will be done for the purpose of determining where a dynasty manager may want to look to trade up to in order to land a specific target. 

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Pick 1.01

Najee Harris (RB – Alabama) or Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
In a single QB league, the name fantasy managers will most commonly see come off the board at first overall will be Najee Harris from Alabama. There will be draft rooms where managers with the first overall pick covet Travis Etienne’s explosiveness, Javonte Williams‘ workhorse profile, or Ja’Marr Chase’s elite talent and positional longevity, but this is the floor of where you should be looking to trade if you are angling for Harris. There will be enough draft rooms where Chase is targeted at first overall, so if you are looking to avoid disappointment and view him as a must-have, consider first overall instead of second overall. The price will likely be exorbitant, but at this time next year, and even after the 2021 NFL Draft, the price tag will go up. Be prepared to surrender a core asset to trade for the first overall pick. 

Pick 1.02

Najee Harris (RB – Alabama), Travis Etienne (RB – Clemson), or Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
Second overall can net you either Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, or Ja’Marr Chase, but you should expect to only have a choice of two of the three prospects. Second overall, and even third overall, is a fantastic spot to trade for if you view these three prospects as interchangeable talents. If you would be happy to walk away with any of the three, but do have a slight preference, target second overall. If you have no preference at all, and just want one of them, target the third pick. Second overall will likely cost you a premium asset or two. All three of these rookies could be top-12 options at their position for years to come, and that is the price rival managers will be looking to cash in on. 

Pick 1.04

Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU), Javonte Williams (RB – North Carolina), or Kenneth Gainwell (RB – Memphis)
Fourth overall is where managers targeting Ja’Marr Chase, Javonte Williams, or Kenneth Gainwell may want to try to make a move to. Chase will likely be off the board by this time in many drafts, but there will be more than a few leagues where Javonte or Gainwell go in the top three, leaving Chase for the manager at fourth overall. Kyle Pitts will also get some love at this spot, but outside of tight end premium leagues, he will usually last a little longer. 1.04 will still cost a pretty penny but should prove to be considerably less expensive than a top-three selection. Any of these four players will make for a tremendous addition to any core. 

Pick 1.07

Javonte Williams (RB – North Carolina), Devonta Smith (WR – Alabama), Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama), Rashod Bateman (WR – Minnesota), or Kenneth Gainwell (RB – Memphis)
Pick 1.07 could be a bit of a sweet spot as there is a good chance that a top-five talent drops in your lap. One of the five names listed above may very well make it to 1.07, making your decision an easy one. The price tag to acquire this pick will be significantly lower than any of the top six picks, but will still cost a significant asset. You will also have to bear in mind that four of the five names listed could be off the board leaving you with the remaining top prospect. With this in mind, only target 1.07 if you will be satisfied with any of the players listed above. 

Pick 1.10

Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson), Rondale Moore (WR – Purdue), Rashod Bateman (WR – Minnesota), Kyle Pitts (TE – Florida), Kadarius Toney (WR – Florida)
Rashod Bateman and/or Kyle Pitts may be off the board by this point in your draft room, but this is a pick to target if you are looking to acquire a pick with the hopes of landing one of them. The price tag for 1.10 will increase after the NFL Draft, as well as during your actual draft, as rival managers will have a better understanding of who is still on the board and how valuable they may be from a dynasty perspective. 

2nd round pick

Trey Lance (QB – North Dakota State), Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State), Elijah Moore (WR – Ole Miss), Chuba Hubbard (RB – Oklahoma State), Tylan Wallace (WR – Oklahoma State), Terrace Marshall (WR – LSU), Zach Wilson (QB – BYU), Michael Carter (RB – North Carolina)
As the names above suggest, there are some upper echelon names expected to slip to the second round of rookie drafts. This is the year to trade for second round picks regardless of where the pick is positioned. Consider giving up a quality player (borderline top-36 type) along with some 2022 draft capital to acquire an additional pick. 

3rd round pick

Brennan Eagles (WR – Texas), D’Wayne Eskridge (WR – Western Michigan), Tamorrion Terry (WR – Florida State), Jermar Jefferson (RB – Oregon State)
It’s still early, so players like D’Wayne Eskridge, Tamorrion Terry, and Brennan Eagles are sometimes slipping to the third round of rookie drafts. This will likely change once the 2021 NFL Draft is complete, so these are names worth targeting a third round pick for if you participate in a league that holds their rookie draft before the actual NFL Draft takes place. There will still be some semblance of value in the early third round following the NFL Draft, but the late third round steals may be no more once landing spots and draft capital change priorities for rival managers. 

Check out all of our NFL Draft coverage >>

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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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