Now that the dust has settled from the NFL draft, it’s time to do what we do best...hyper analyze these rookies through a very specific fantasy lense.
While NFL teams try to build well-rounded Super Bowl contenders (or, more commonly, while GMs try to save their jobs), us fantasy gamers start trying to project which rookies can have an immediate impact for our teams.
Almost everyone agrees blue chip prospects like Trevor Lawrence and Ja’Marr Chase will produce from Day 1, but not everyone is on the same page with the rest of the class. Let’s take a look at the most polarizing rookies…
Kyle Pitts. Everyone agrees Pitts is a generational prospect—probably the best TE prospect of all time—but even the best tight end prospects have a sketchy hit rate and have been slow to produce in the NFL. Pitts is already going off the board as TE5/6 in current best ball drafts which means he will need to be great right out of the gate to justify the ADP. Pitts is a slam dunk dynasty pick, but looking like a high risk/high reward redraft pick.
Zach Wilson. Wilson went #2 overall to the Jets and yet in early SuperFlex dynasty drafts, owners are drafting him after Lawrence, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and a few of the running backs. We now have multiple examples of QBs that the draft community thought were overrated (Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Daniel Jones) who have gone on to crush in fantasy. Wilson has a big arm, a nice arsenal of weapons, and can scramble. Don’t overthink him, especially in SuperFlex.
Rashod Bateman. Bateman is this year’s token “loooove the player, hate the landing spot” guy. From a prospect standpoint he checks almost every box (1st round draft pick, early breakout age in college, dominated 48% of his teams receiving production, etc.). On the other hand, the Ravens are one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league. Will Bateman receive enough targets to put him on the fantasy map in year one? That’s the debate. I think Bateman is good enough to tilt the offense toward more passing.
Javonte Williams. Williams is an exciting prospect and the team traded up to get him, but Melvin Gordon is still in Denver and likely to command work on passing downs. The risk with Williams is that he gets pigeon holed into an early down role and doesn’t catch enough passes to give him that high floor/high ceiling combo we crave for RBs. Williams will most likely go overdrafted in redraft, but will have a runway for a bigger role when Gordon leaves as a FA in 2022.
- Devonta Smith. No one knows what to do with Smith. The good: he dominated as a senior and won the Heisman. The bad: 4 year college starters aren’t as likely to succeed in the NFL as the early declares. The good: the draft capital indicates that Eagles will feature him in the offense. The bad: the Eagles have an incredibly stubborn WR coach who likes to rotate his WRs. There’s no question that Smith is hashtag good at football, but the Eagles are going to do us no favors as far as facilitating consistent fantasy production.
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Speaking of Sharp Football Analysis, my guy Lord Reebs already has fresh 2021 rankings up with write ups.
The Packers are shopping for QBs...The Lions are waiving Kerryon Johnson...RB Brian Hill signed a deal with the Titans...The Bucs signed Blaine Gabbert to a one-year deal...Important dates for offseason workouts.
* Getting Weird with Field Yates. Imagine a draft where you don’t take the best player available but must pick according to prompts on a wheel. Welcome to Randomizer drafts. Season 2 kicked off last night with Field Yates and over the course of the draft we tied ties, took shots, and drafted players who’ve been to Nantucket. Watch here.
* Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. Reminder: don’t lose your fantasy league.