Dynasty Rookie Sleepers (2021 Fantasy Football)
I remember my first Dynasty rookie draft I did several years ago. This was well before I was doing official scouting or working in the industry and I knew the top names pretty well. Unfortunately, once we got out of the second round of the rookie draft, I had absolutely no idea who any of the players on the board were.
There were still two rounds to go and I had to do some quick panic searching on Google to try and figure out who was a good pick at that point of the draft and it could’ve easily been avoided if I had a plan in place beforehand. With that previous experience in mind, I wanted to list out several players that you should be looking to snag if you’re on the clock later on in your drafts.
These seven players aren’t guarantees to hit or return fantasy value – there’s a reason why they’re going later on in rookie drafts – but I do believe that they are solid dart throws that have a chance of hitting the bullseye. Let’s take a look at some players outside the overall top-30 of our Dynasty Rookie ECR that you should consider pulling the trigger on when you’re on the clock.
Dazz Newsome (WR – Chicago Bears)
Dynasty Rookie ECR: WR23
On tape, Newsome is a smooth mover in space with great hands that can provide an offense with a YAC threat. While he didn’t test amazingly well at his Pro Day, Newsome has everything he needs to be a successful slot receiver in the NFL. In Chicago, Anthony Miller hasn’t been able to make it work and he’s potentially on the verge of being traded. The Bears will need an impact player in the slot and Newsome can simply step right in. With an offense that’s now about to be captained by Justin Fields, Newsome has the potential to be a very valuable fantasy option that you can get late in your Dynasty rookie drafts.
Larry Rountree III (RB – Los Angeles Chargers)
Dynasty Rookie ECR: RB16
While sixth-round draft capital for a RB isn’t exactly inspiring, there’s absolutely a path for Rountree to return fantasy value as early as 2021. Joshua Kelley has done nothing to prove that he can thrive with a large workload and Justin Jackson has shown flashes, but he simply can’t stay healthy. There’s an opening on this roster for the starting RB next to Austin Ekeler and Rountree could step in and take it as soon as Week 1. If you’re looking for the James Robinson of this 2021 class, Rountree’s a solid bet.
Jaelon Darden (WR – Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Dynasty Rookie ECR: WR25
Darden landsed with the reigning Super Bowl Champions and he should be given some work right away in his rookie season. However, due to the depth chart above him, it’s unlikely that he ever gets a significant enough opportunity for fantasy purposes this upcoming season. Darden has the talent to capitalize on an opportunity if he’s given one, but we might have to wait until 2022 before we see Darden carve out a clear role for himself in this offense. You’ll have to draft him with the expectation that you’re going to have to wait a while before you start to see a return on your investment, but the talent is certainly there. In the later rounds of your rookie draft, it’s never a bad idea to chase talent.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette (WR – Minnesota Vikings)
Dynasty Rookie ECR: WR26
Smith-Marsette’s a fun tape evaluation. He’s a smooth route-runner that has the potential to be the WR3 in this Vikings offense immediately. While this role might not lead to consistent fantasy production in year one, there’s the possibility that Adam Thielen‘s injury history catches up with him again. At that point, Smith-Marsette is now a starting WR for a NFL team, which is more than you can say for a lot of the other options in the fourth round of your Dynasty rookie draft. Additionally, Thielen might be nearing the end of his career too. If Smith-Marsette can grow and develop the way that I think he can, he could be ready to take over for Thielen as early as next season.
Cornell Powell (WR – Kansas City Chiefs)
Dynasty Rookie ECR: WR31
While Powell’s draft capital isn’t exactly something that you want to bank on for fantasy production, it’s hard to not take a shot on a WR that gets to catch passes from Patrick Mahomes. Powell doesn’t have one elite trait that he can lean back on to succeed in the NFL, but he’s a well-rounded player that could force his way onto the field sooner than later. He’ll have to beat out veteran WRs Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle, but there’s a possibility that that happens. As far as dart throws go, Powell’s worth the shot in the last round of your Draft.
Chris Evans (RB – Cincinnati Bengals)
Dynasty Rookie ECR: RB18
This late in your draft, you’re simply looking for someone who has a shot of sticking on their roster. Evans is a supreme athlete at the RB position, but he’s extremely inexperienced due to the situation he was in at Michigan. He’ll certainly need some time to develop and become a more refined pro, but there’s a path for him to see the field in this offense eventually. If Joe Mixon isn’t able to stay healthy, the Bengals will have to turn to Samaje Perine and Evans. He’s not worth spending more than a early 4th-round pick on, in my opinion, but the path for opportunity is there.
Jonathan Adams Jr. (WR – Detroit Lions)
Dynasty Rookie ECR: WR35
Adams signed with Detroit as a UDFA, but there’s enough of a mixture of talent and opportunity here to be worth investing in him from a Dynasty perspective. Adams gives the Lions WR corps a big-bodied presence that they currently don’t have on the roster. He’s a jump-ball specialist and has ridiculous receiving ability. He’s certainly raw, so he’ll need time to develop and grow. But he has a very good chance of not only making this Lions roster in 2021, but actually seeing some playing time.