After following the 2023 rookie class through the most recent college season and the NFL Draft process, I’m ready to put together a few names for you to watch as you prepare for your fantasy football leagues. Based on my evaluation, landing spot, opportunity, and more, here are players to know as you get ready for fantasy football drafts. Here are dynasty rookies I’m avoiding in fantasy football drafts.
- More Dynasty Articles & Advice
- Dynasty Startup Draft Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Dynasty Rookie Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Dynasty Rookie Draft Simulator
Dynasty Rookies to Avoid Drafting
A former five-star recruit, Stroud won the open derby to replace Justin Fields after the 2020 season. Stroud was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and a Heisman Trophy finalist both years as starter. Stroud’s completion percentage was 97th-percentile among all college quarterbacks going back to 2005. And he’s a solid athlete whose legs can be used to escape or steal yards.
Dynasty outlook: As with Young, Stroud’s fantasy ceiling is artificially capped by his unwillingness to run. Stroud absolutely has the passing chops to become a perennial top-10 fantasy QB if Houston can add the weapons around him to thrive. But don’t forget: Houston is without its 2024 Round 1 pick courtesy of the trade-up to acquire EDGE Will Anderson.
Levis’ arm has flashes of crazy talent. The ball comes out of his hands with smoke rings when he’s trying to drive it through a window. Admirable guts in the pocket – standing tall as long as possible, willing to take the shot to uncork a ball – but those are needed because Levis doesn’t sense pressure. Danger can reach the front door quickly and unexpectedly, and Levis doesn’t tend to acquit himself well once it does.
Dynasty outlook: An argument could be made for any number of iterations of the top-3 dynasty quarterbacks from this class. However, there’s no argument at QB4 – that’s Levis. His issues sensing pressure make it reasonable to wonder if he’ll ever get there as a passer. And don’t overrate his rushing ability because he was erroneously forwarded as the next Josh Allen last fall. Levis is an upright, north-south runner who doesn’t many anyone miss or break tackles.
I appreciate how Hooker keeps the ball out of harm’s way while providing a big-play threat. Hooker’s 58/5 TD/INT rate over the past two years is a testament to that. Love the way he attacks downfield. Legitimate running threat when he takes off. His mechanics have come a long way. So much of Hooker’s production comes from the scheme. How he’ll do with full-field reads in a pro-style offense at the next level is an open question. Hooker is a bit of a mechanical decision-maker.
Dynasty outlook: Other owners in your league will likely be willing to pay a higher price during your dynasty draft than Hooker is actually worth. Let them.
Gibbs was listed at 200 pounds by Alabama, and disappointingly weighed into the NFL Combine at 199. His lack of play strength is his biggest weakness. It manifests in a few different areas.
It’s not fair to say that Gibbs goes down on first contact, but it is fair to say he’s going down on first solid contact. He makes that difficult on the defense, but Gibbs is out of answers when he gets hit flush.
Because of this, he is so very clearly more comfortable in space than between the tackles. This could especially be seen earlier in his career at Georgia Tech, when Gibbs was a marked man and boxes were more heavily stacked against him.
In 2021, his last as a Yellow Jacket, Gibbs averaged 3.1 YPC on carries to either side of the center and 6.3 YPC on every other run. The year before, 3.5 on the former, and 5.7 on the latter. Gibbs loses his vision and decisiveness in cramped quarters, and he’s dead-to-rights when hands get put on him.
Gibbs is also a poor pass-blocker. He lacks the play strength to jar blitzing defenders, and he has no anchor to drop over the boat at the contact point. Gibbs could get marginally better in this phase if he worked at it – but, honestly, how often are you going to keep a back with this receiving skill back to block when passing?
Alabama, who uses its players situationally as well as anyone, cut Gibbs’ pass-pro reps all the way down to 30 last year. He still allowed three pressures and a sack, posting a dreadful 24.1 PFF pass-pro grade.
I know that WR Jonathan Mingo was all the rage in the weeks leading up to the draft, and for that reason, I wasn’t surprised to see him taken in early-R2. But I can’t get on board with that price point. The movement Mingo’s exceptional pre-draft testing suggested was not apparent on his film.
In Round 3, the Giants finally needed to scratch that receiver itch. They took WR Jalin Hyatt. I wouldn’t have gone in that direction, but it wasn’t an egregious reach. Hyatt only brings one trick to the Big Apple, but it’s once-you-pop-the-top-you-can’t-stop neat one.
While it could be a good fit in the NFL, it’s unlikely to translate into a consistent fantasy asset.
Other rookies to avoid:
- Tre Tucker (WR – LV)
- Derius Davis (WR – LAC)
- Justin Shorter (WR – BUF)
- Brenton Strange (TE – JAC)
- Darnell Washington (TE – PIT)
- Luke Schoonmaker (TE – DAL)
- Will Mallory (TE – IND)