Check out a few of my must-have dynasty rookies that I’m targeting in rookie drafts and beyond. And you can find all of my must-have dynasty rookies in this article.
- More Dynasty Articles & Advice
- Dynasty Startup Draft Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Dynasty Rookie Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Dynasty Trade Value Chart
Must-Have Dynasty Rookies
Here are the players I’m targeting at the end of the first round of rookie drafts and beyond:
Tyjae Spears (RB – TEN)
Tyjae Spears boosted his draft stock dramatically as a buzzy player at the Senior Bowl, and his atomic rise up the draft boards continued at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Spears weighed in at 5-foot-10 and 201 pounds. He did not run the 40-yard dash but instead nearly jumped out of the building in the explosion drills. His vertical jump of 39″ ranked in the 92nd percentile and was second only to Chase Brown. Spears’ broad jump ranked third in the class at 125″ which ranked in the 89th percentile.
The Tulane running back posted a 31 percent dominator rating in 2022, finishing 5th in the FBS in rushing yards (1,586), second in rushing TDs (19), and fourth in yards after contact per attempt (4.55). Throughout his career, he boasts an impressive 3.00 yards per play (seventh best in the class) – a great indicator of future success at the NFL level.
The Titans tied a bow on Day 2 of this year’s draft with the selection of Spears in Round 3(. Spears gives the Titans a solid backup option for Derrick Henry, but I’d be wary about his long-term prospects. He was projected to go higher than 83rd overall but fell because of worrisome issues concerning the health of his knees. The terms “missing ACL” and “knee arthritis” should scare you. However, this sentiment has scared drafters to the point where Spears is becoming a supreme value in rookie drafts despite third-round real-life draft capital. Henry is hitting free agency in 2024, so Spears could be the Titans’ RB1 as soon as next season – even if it’s for just a short time frame. Besides, RBs deemed “healthy” hardly have long shelves.
At least for 2023, Spears offers desirable value as a fantasy handcuff to Henry.
Zach Evans (RB – LAR)
The Rams traded up to draft Zach Evans very late on Day 3. L.A. traded No. 252 and a sixth-round pick in 2024 to the Bills for Pick 215, where they selected the Ole Miss running back.
Evans spent his first two college seasons at TCU, seeing limited usage alongside fellow 2023 draft prospect Kendre Miller. Evans was the clear frontrunner in the backfield to start his sophomore campaign but suffered a turf toe injury that cut his 2021 season short. Evans would go on to transfer to Ole Miss at the start of the 2022 season, where he posted his best college counting stats to date with a 17 percent dominator rating. His 15% boom percentage per Sports Info Solutions led all RBs in his class.
However, he failed to fully take over at the backfield as he did at TCU, losing out on touches to freshman running back Quinshon Judkins. The fact that Evans has struggled to fully take over a backfield at the college level – along with no contributing role as a receiver – is a major red flag as he makes his way into the NFL, but his efficient play when on the field suggests he can deliver when called upon. His career average of 3.47 yards per play ranks second-best among the incoming rookie RBs I sampled earlier this offseason. Evans also boasts decent size at 5-foot-11 and 202 pounds – albeit the weight he measured at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine was much lighter than his listed weight at Ole Miss (216 pounds).
At the Ole Miss pro day, Evans posted a 4.45 40-time (85th percentile), ran a 4.26 20-yard shuttle (54th percentile) and finished the 3-cone drill in 7.08 seconds (48th percentile).
Evans’ best-case scenario was landing on a weak depth chart, and there is nobody threatening behind Cam Akers in the Rams backfield.