The ultimate guide to dynasty rookie draft
By Levi Ellis
Much like the real NFL draft your dynasty rookie drafts are not won or lost in the first and second rounds You win your rookie drafts with the mid to late round picks. Over the years players like Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, James Robinson, George Kittle, Dak Prescott and many, many more were drafted in rounds three or later. I view the rookie draft like playing the lottery. The more lottery tickets you have the higher the odds of hitting the jackpot. My strategy has always been to acquire as many draft picks as possible (considering roster size limitations) and draft as many players as I can. If you draft ten players for example you are a lot more likely to find a few superstars than if you just draft three or four players. If your league allows, take advantage of expanded roster sizes during the offseason to draft and hold as many rookies as you can and as the offseason progresses you will have a better idea of which players to hold and which players to drop or trade. Let’s take a look at a few guys that I have been targeting in my rookie drafts this year in rounds three or later.
One of my favorite players in this year’s draft is Kellen Mond. Mond is way down the quarterback list in this year’s draft and often goes overlooked however I love his long term potential. He landed with the Vikings and they are absolutely loaded with offensive firepower, they are well coached and their current quarterback Kirk Cousins only has two years left on his deal. Mond reminds me a lot of Dak Prescott. He’s an ascending player who has progressed each and every season and his best football is still ahead of him.
Another quarterback I like in this tier is Kyle Trask. Much like Mond Trask was drafted by a team that has a lot of offensive weapons, a great coaching staff and an aging quarterback. Typically when a team drafts a quarterback for the future to succeed an aging veteran it rarely works out however I believe this could be one of the exceptions. Trask is a smart and solid football player who will be learning from the best. He is worth a mid round pick if you have the roster space to hold him for 2-3 years.
A running back that had an up and down college career that I really like this year is Chuba Hubbard. Hubbard lands in a situation viewed by most as undesirable however I feel completely differently. We saw last year what an average talent running back can do in this system when given the opportunity, Mike Davis. I believe Hubbard’s talent is superior to that of Davis and I also believe that the coaching staff may manage Christian McCaffrey’s workload moving forward to prevent the wear and tear that likely led to last season’s injuries. I also have concerns if McCaffrey will continue to be as durable as he has in the past or if the workload from college and his early NFL career may have caught up with him.
With this guy I could just say where he landed and it would make my point. The guy I’m talking about is Elijah Mitchell and he was drafted in the sixth round by the San Francisco 49ers. The depth chart may look congested right now but a couple of these guys could easily be gone by next season (Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson). A few also have significant injury risk (Mostert, Sermon and Wilson who’s hurt right now). Kyle Shanahan has proven throughout his career that he doesn’t care when or if a player is drafted in order to win the starting running back job and Mitchell appears to be a great fit for this offense.
A wide receiver that is flying way under the radar is Tylan Wallace. Wallace is under the radar primarily because of where he was drafted, Baltimore Ravens. Unfortunately, Wallace has a lot of competition in Baltimore with holdovers like Hollywood Brown and Devin Duvernay and the newcomers Sammy Watkins and first round draft pick Rashod Bateman. On top of that Baltimore is a run first team but I think they are a team that intends to aggressively grow their passing next season. I am a believer that Lamar Jackson will improve as a passer and now has the weapons to do so. Wallace likely won’t make an impact as a rookie but by year two or three I think he will be a consistent producer. Watkins isn’t a long-term solution for Baltimore and I don’t believe Hollywood is a number one wide receiver. One scout compared Wallace to Steve Smith with high praise on his aggressiveness when the ball is in the air. I’m willing to roll the dice with a third or fourth round pick to potentially draft a player with Steve Smith type of talent.
Another wide receiver who is flying under the radar due to circumstances is Amari Rodgers. There is no doubt in my mind if Aaron Rodgers was a sure bet to remain in Green Bay this season Amari Rodgers would be a second round pick. This player is full of talent and could easily be the number two wide receiver this year. If Aaron Rodgers returns, big IF, then Amari Rodgers is a tremendous value this year and could push to receive the second most targets on the team trailing only Davante Adams.
One of the easiest ways to find value in the draft is to draft players that are widely overlooked due to their landing spot. This next guy fits that category just as much as my previous two if not more. That player is D’Wayne Eskridge. Eskridge was a second round pick this year for the Seattle Seahawks. The reason he continues to be overlooked is because Seattle already boasts one of the top wide receiver duos in the league with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. I want you to think back a few years when the New Orleans Saints drafted Alvin Kamara while already having Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. We all know how that worked out so do not let the situation prevent you from drafting great players. Also keep in mind that in college Metcalf struggled with injuries so if that were to happen again Eskridge would likely receive additional targets.
A guy that was flying under the radar until a few days ago is Noah Gray. Gray was drafted in the fifth round and is the best pure backup tight end on the roster. He’s a player I’ve been scooping up in most of my leagues in the later rounds. I don’t anticipate a large role for him this season but Kelce is 31 and can’t play forever. The Chiefs also have the best quarterback on the planet and one of the brightest offensive minds in the game in coach Andy Reid. It typically takes a few years before tight ends produce but he’s worthy of a later round pick.
The last player on my list is tight end Tre McKitty. McKitty was drafted in the third round to the LA Chargers. Throughout college McKitty was primarily used to be a blocking tight end and while that isn’t exactly what we want to hear in fantasy, he is very athletic and Justin Herbert is one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the league and this roster does not currently have a long term answer at tight end. If McKitty can develop he could be the starting tight end on a high powered offense.
Remember the key to winning your rookie draft is to treat it like the lottery and grab as many lottery tickets as you can. Good luck!