Fantasy Football: 4 rookies to avoid in dynasty

QB Trevor Lawrence should be avoided

By Jesse Moeller (Twitter: @JMoeller05)

In the offseason, we have reached that point where everyone is sharing video clips and statements about the favorite rookie making a name for themself in camp. I’m going to focus on the part just as important, often forgotten around this time. That would be the rookies whose cost has gotten out of hand or the rookies who you should entirely avoid in dynasty.

Trevor Lawrence ( QB7 1QB: 83 SF: 10 )


I know, I know. He is the second coming of the GOAT himself. Hear me out about why he won’t live up to the price in dynasty. I am not knocking the player, as I think it is practically improbable that Lawerence will be a bust. However, I do not see him moving into the elite tier of fantasy quarterbacks any time soon. The names currently ahead of him in ADP are heavy hitters that will continue to produce at a high level for the foreseeable future. It’s not a situation with Kyle Pitts at tight end where there is a clear path to him being an elite tight end at the position. The current top six at quarterback are all 27 years old or younger and viewed as the best players at the position. Here are currently the names ahead of him in dynasty.

QB1 – Patrick Mahomes
QB2 – Josh Allen
QB3 – Kyler Murray
QB4 – Lamar Jackson
QB5 – Justin Herbert
QB6 – Dak Prescott

With names such as Wilson, Burrow, Fields, Lance behind him, he could fall behind all of them going into next year. Justin Herbert just put the most incredible rookie season of all time, and he only made it to spot five on the list. Here are Herbert’s rookie season ranks

TD: 31 (1st)
Yards: 4,336 (2nd)
Completions: 396 (1st)
Completion %: 66.6 (2nd)
Passer Rating: 98.3 (4th)
TD %: 5.2 (4th)
Int%: 1.7 (4th)

With Watson dealing with numerous problems outside of football, otherwise, it would be a top seven ahead of Lawrence. So my question for you to reflect on is what type of season does Lawrence need to have for you to put him within that group?

It would have to be a remarkable season for me to consider moving Lawrence up into that group. But, on the other hand, you also have three rookie quarterbacks you could finish with as many or more fantasy points as Lawrence this season in Fields, Lance, and Wilson. So I would prefer to use his name value to get one of those big six dynasty quarterbacks as his value may not be higher than it currently is. Here are some deals I saw that showcase how highly he is perceived.

(SF) Lawrence for Josh Allen
(SF) Lawrence for Lance and 1.11
(SF) Lawrence for Tannehill and Antonio Gibson
(SF) Lawrence for Prescott
(SF) Lawrence and St. Brown for Jackson and Gabe Davis

These deals are smash accepted for me. You are locking in a much safer floor with higher immediate production. Although I like Lawrence as a prospect and a fantasy asset, I see the dynasty community wearing rose-colored glasses regarding him, and I would take advantage of the discrepancy.

Here is a trade I made moving the pick that would be Trevor Lawrence earlier this year. Even though the community disagrees (see below), I still stand by this deal. I wanted to secure a more impactful fantasy asset along with an extra 2023 first.

Jaylen Waddle (WR29 ADP: 1QB: 62 SF: 93 )

Fantastic thread laid out by @DFBeanCounter. Drew makes a compelling case as to why Waddle is not the rookie to target in redraft or dynasty.
 
Analytics does one thing exceptionally well for fantasy football managers. It tells you who not to draft, as players who hit in college are more likely to hit in the NFL. Which, when you think about it, is a logical conclusion. Good players also produce at an earlier age in college and continue that production throughout their careers. Going up against older prospects is not as challenging for the best players. Another logical conclusion taken from this, as producing at a younger age is a precursor for NFL success. Waddle does not pass either of these thresholds, as he is only one month younger than Devonta Smith, someone viewed as an ancient rookie as he is creeping on 23 years old. Waddle will be 23 years old during his rookie season. Did you know A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and Brandon Aiyuk are 23 years old? You can see how it is a disadvantage for a prospect to come into the NFL at that advanced age when counterparts have multiple seasons to perfect their games at the highest level. Lastly, Waddle measured at 5’9″, so he is well below the height you want from a top-end fantasy wide receiver. Tyreek Hill is the only wide receiver to post a top 12 finish at that height or below.

To review some analytical metrics where Waddle falls short are his age, height, breakout age, and college dominator. Now, it is not a death knell for a wide receiver, but it is much harder for that player to be a difference in fantasy when they fall short of those measurements. However, he does pass the test in two categories because he is an early declare (an older one at that) who secured that precious first-round draft capital. Draft capital is the single most significant indicator for future success. The team is more willing to give a first-round pick multiple seasons than a fourth-round pick—another logical conclusion derived from how teams value players and picks.

Waddle is genuinely a blur on the football field. Still, speed is less significant at the wide receiver position when compared to others. Amongst rookies, I prefer Chase, Bateman, Smith, and both Moore prospects before Waddle in rookie and startup drafts. He is an overvalued player in dynasty.

Mac Jones – ( QB22 ADP 1QB: 193 SF: 60 )

Mac Jones is strictly a Superflex quarterback. If you are in a 1QB league, I would not concern yourself with him, as he will never be the type of player to be a difference-maker at the position. Mac, while highly accurate, relies on his weapons more significantly than other rookie quarterbacks, as Jones cannot create on his own. He is placing higher importance on his skill position players, as Mac is a throwback quarterback. He does not possess the Konami Code that everyone is chasing at the quarterback position in fantasy. Once Mac was drafted by the Patriots, I lost interest in him from a fantasy perspective.

The Patriots have one of the worst receiving cores in the NFL. With them spending money on Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Nelson Agholor, and Kendrick Bourne in the offseason to improve what will be on the field for the 2021 season and beyond. Go ahead and ask yourself, what is Mac Jones upside in dynasty? He still has to beat out Cam Newton in New England before he will ever start a game in the NFL. Newton is someone that the staff has routinely raved about as a team leader during his time in New England. There is a possibility that Mac Jones sits the entire 2021 season and learns behind Newton.

Let us say he earns the job this year and becomes the starter. We are looking at a quarterback in the Derrick Carr or Jared Goff mold for fantasy who doesn’t present the upside to ever jump into the QB1 territory for fantasy. I would instead take a chance on Daniel Jones or Jameis Winston, someone with the ability to provide separation for your team over the rest of the league. With an ADP of QB22 in Superflex, you can move him for both guys listed with something on top as they are ranked lower than Jones in the dynasty. I prefer to shoot upside with my QB2 in Superflex, so you can see why I do not put value into Jones. Your better off rostering someone else over him in dynasty.

RB Kenneth Gainwell – ( RB51 ADP: 1QB: 161 SF: 177 )

Gainwell was the offseason darling the moment he weighed in at 201 pounds. Multiple accounts Twitter accounts were taking victory laps, as the expectation was Gainwell would be a day two pick in the NFL draft. Then, a funny thing happened, the NFL viewed Gainwell drastically different than fantasy Twitter. Gainwell fell to the fifth round of the NFL draft. An undersized fifth-round running back has a lot to overcome to be a viable real-life and fantasy running back.

In the tweet above, @Dynogametheory listed what makes up a top 12 dynasty running back. While Gainwell hits a few of the marks, he falls woefully short on draft capital, speed score, size, and burst score. All you have to do is look around the league and see the only running back on this list that Gainwell comes close to size wide is Austin Ekeler. The difference is Ekeler is a far superior athlete. A small running back that lacks agility and burst sounds a lot like Devin Singletary to me. What is problematic for me about Gainwell is the lack of draft capital. Gainwell has to make a significant impact in year one in the passing game. The issue with pass pro, you have to protect the quarterback, something Gainwell cannot consistently do. If he is unable in year one, the Eagles will be looking for his replacement as a backup to Miles Sanders.

While his cost is not cheap, It seems incredibly unlikely to me that Gainwell ends up carving out a role as a productive fantasy asset in dynasty. Invest in other players around his price tag.

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