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Looking back on the 2018 Dynasty Rookie Draft in early 2019, with teams in/out of the playoffs and new coaches getting hired – the landscape changes a bit for some prospects based on just the last few weeks from when we last ranked them in our Dynasty Stash reports.
As of mid-January, I mock drafted the top 10 picks in a re-do and then from 1/15 on we will add a pick/commentary each day throughout January to look at valuing the 2018 rookies right now.
*Thinking in terms of: PPR, 6pts per pass TD.
1a) RB Saquon Barkley, NYG (Our preseason rank = #1)
Again, you can put him as the clear #1 in your books…I got no problem with that. I’m denoting an argument for him as a possible #2 behind Baker with how I labeled their rankings. Barkley probably deserves to be #1 overall because of what the masses think/his supreme trade value.
For that that ‘trade value’ reason, I have Barkley #1 – you could draft Barkley and sell him for the world and then some if you wanted. You couldn’t do the same with Mayfield, so for that reason Barkley #1 makes the most sense PPR or non-PPR.
There are no concerns with Barkley at all. The only debate point is – is he overrated because of all the high-end RBs available and how fast the RB pecking order changes due to injury, coaching, etc. Could you deal Barkley for David Johnson + 1-2 other things. Are we getting to Barkley for Gurley + something?
The smart, obvious move – Saquon Barkley #1 overall.
1b) QB Baker Mayfield, CLE (Our preseason rank = #3)
*I have Mayfield #2 here, but if you play in a QB-favorable scoring format…like 6pts per pass TD and yardage bonuses, etc., he could be #1 most valuable thinking over the long-term and whether you have an issue or not at QB. He’s the #2 for sure, and maybe even a #3-4 if straight 4pts per pass TD scoring for QBs.
Why consider Mayfield over Saquon Barkley? I think there’s only one other QB like Mayfield…and that’s Patrick Mahomes. We’re talking ‘special’ here with Mayfield. I can find RBs who are great all over the place and even off waivers late in a season. They spring up, they fall down, they get hurt. I’m fine with Barkley, but if you want a player who will be FF great for the next 7-10 years…it’s Mayfield. Draft him and forget it.
Every draft season brings us another 1-2-3 more high-end RBs, and several useful ones. There are rare/no drafts that give you more Mayfield’s to choose from. 2019 seems to be shaping up that way at QB.
I get that Barkley is great too, and you can push him to your #1 overall if you’d rather…I got no problem with that. However, Mayfield just basically named his own coaching staff…so, get ready for him to run wild as a passer. No coaching interference.
In QB favorable scoring leagues, high-end QBs change games…seasons. RBs? C.J. Anderson and Damien Williams were more important to you 2018 title run. I can get high producing RBs easier than QBs like what Mahomes-Mayfield can do.
4pts per pass TD, no bonuses – Barkley more valuable, no doubt and then Mayfield might fall to #3-4 even.
3a) WR Christian Kirk, ARI (Our preseason rank = #7)
I would normally have him behind Courtland Sutton, but as of this writing – Kirk just got a big upgrade with Kliff Kingsbury named head coach, while Sutton sees a defensive coach named head man and an unknown OC/play caller (as of this writing). And he might be stuck with limited Case Keenum as his QB.
Kirk was probably the most polished rookie WR I’d seen enter/play in the NFL. He’s going to be a threat to lead the NFL in catches every season…with a decent QB and in a good offense – and that day may have arrived in Arizona.
3b) Courtland Sutton, DEN (Our preseason rank = #2)
2/14/19: The Joe Flacco trade does not help Sutton push past Kirk here. Sutton is a better FF talent, I think…but Kirk is great and has the Kliff Kingsbury offense vs. Flacco and a run game/defense offense suspected in Denver.
Perhaps Sutton becomes Flacco’s guy and they make beautiful music together but Flacco is aging fast and Denver has no plan B…and whatever their Plan B is, is bound to suck…as Elway cannot pick a QB by accident.
I’ve had Sutton as the #1 WR from the 2019 class and a top 2-3 player in the class all year/season. I still think he’s the best WR prospect of the 2018 class. So why the drop to #4, and behind Kirk? Well, when Baker Mayfield took off/Hue got fired and changed everything ‘Cleveland’ on FF outlook…and now the Browns hired a coach Baker can control. Then, Christian Kirk got a known-to-be up-tempo/passing game head coach replacing sad Steve Wilks. Kirk goes from the worst pass game situation in football to maybe the best.
5) LB Darius Leonard, IND (Our preseason rank = #27)
You couldn’t ask for a better rookie season…163 tackles, 7.0 sacks, 12 TFLs, 8 PDs, 2 INTs. One of the best seasons from an IDP LB we’ve ever seen. You could argue he’s the single best IDP in fantasy right now…and that might deserve a higher ranking on this board? The economics of the LB position is what keep Leonard from top 3 rankings.
6) DE Bradley Chubb, DEN (Our preseason rank = #8)
12.0 sacks, 14 TFLs…not a bad rookie season for the defensive player most everyone loved going into the 2018 NFL Draft – and he didn’t fail to deliver.
I thought Chubb played well but had some help from all the Von Miller blocking attention…but, I don’t care how the production happens – as long as it happens. Vic Fangio taking over…even better, no?
7) RB Derrius Guice, WSH (Our preseason rank = #38/out with ACL)
I’m not a fan of Guice, let me re-state that from the jump. I think his game is mediocre-to-good, and I think he’s a headache off the field waiting to happen. However…
I know what happens with guys like this. Most fantasy players are consumed by running backs…finding them, finding depth – RBs above all things. I also know the only people more obsessed with RBs than fantasy GMs is old-school, run-first NFL head coaches…and ‘check’ that box in Washington. Guice is going to be the center of the offense the first moment he can play…everything else will be overlooked. Perhaps, Guice fails…or perhaps he thrives – but I know the hype will be as if he’s an All-Pro when we hit the preseason…and I want in on that. I want that asset to trade for something I’d rather have.
Guice at #8…to use, he might be fine to start – or trade the moment the heat is white hot and go get something I really want. Long-term, I don’t think Guice will be a star or stay out of trouble.
8) RB Nick Chubb, CLE (Our preseason rank = #36)
2/12/19: Moved from #6 to #8 on the Kareem hunt signing. He may fall further after I’ve had time to process it more.
Considering all the other non-Saquon RBs here…Chubb, Lindsay, Guice, etc., Nick Chubb has a couple key things going for him over the others – Chubb is nearly without FF flaw. He has no RB pressuring him for touches and the biggest thing is – he is going to be THEE RB on the next great NFL offense because of Baker Mayfield. Chubb gets to go along for the ride, and you want that in fantasy. *See the opposite of that with Leonard Fournette in Jacksonville.
9) WR Dante Pettis, SF (Our preseason rank = #15)
Risky having him up this high in the rankings – I think I see a future #1 WR happening…and happening faster than I’d expected. I believe he was working like an Odell Beckham Jr. type talent/receiver in spots late last season. I want in on being ahead of the curve on that. I’m not 100% sure, so I’m cautiously optimistic.
The risk being…Marquise Goodwin had an established relationship with the returning Jimmy Garoppolo. Can Pettis slide in ahead of Goodwin in 2019? Also, what if the 49ers use their cap space to land an Antonio Brown or whomever? The 49ers have a collection of good WRs…will they single out just one and make him (Pettis) ‘the guy’ like OBJ or DeAndre Hopkins? Is Pettis really a WR1 or is he just a nice WR2 of the future?
The fact that this debate can be had is why he is in the top 10 on the re-do right now.
10) LB Leighton Vander Esch, DAL (Our preseason rank = #36)
Three guys who I thought about cracking the top 10, but didn’t make it on the first pass (and you’ll see more on them when we hit #11-20)…Derwin James, Philip Lindsay, Jaylen Samuels.
Lindsay and Samuels are great but are also fighting other talents in their own backfield. I don’t know that Lindsay has the same role with a new coach in 2019. I don’t know that Samuels will have a role at all. James is nice but safeties tend to hit the league with a bang and then fizzle…like they proved themselves, so now they can preserve themselves for their 2nd contract.
On the other hand, I have confidence that Vander Esch will start in 2019 and play every snap and be in a position to suck up a lot of tackle counts. You could argue for other guys with more FF upside here, but Vander Esch is cash money as an IDP at LB.
11) RB Rashaad Penny, SEA (Our preseason rank = #10)
Could be the next big thing at RB for fantasy – a three-down, main carry killer – but if not for the pesky Chris Carson and his soul-tie to Pete Carroll.
Anytime Penny got in the game in 2018 and touched the ball…the game changed. Anyone with any football sense saw how much more talented Penny is than Carson…except his head coach, and that’s the lingering FF-issue.
Carson will either get injured and be out or just lose out to Penny…soon, I think/believe. Which means Penny is one of the top undervalued stocks in fantasy right now, but they payoff might not happen until mid-2019 season or even 2020…a long-time to wait for the impatient FF owner.
12) RB Kerryon Johnson, DET (Our preseason rank = #47)
I am not a fan, bit I know this – Detroit hiring Darrell Bevell as their new O-C is a guarantee that (a) Matt Patricia is an awful head coach and will be fired within two years, and (b) the Lions will be all-run-all-the time.
When ‘a’ and ‘b’ come together…they will use Kerryon Johnson as their vehicle to drive off a cliff with. I am not a fan of Kerryon, but I’m a fan of the situation he just found himself in – this is the Melvin Gordon or Chris Carson story all over again. Limited RB being given all the touches no matter what.
13) SAF Derwin James, LAC (Our preseason rank = #34)
Excellent rookie IDP season, better than I thought. My fear all along, and still is, that James is a better coverage DB. If any issues hit the LAC CBs…James can help in coverage. His four lowest tackle counts in a game in 2018…vs. Mahomes 2x, Big Ben, and Mayfield.
If his tackle counts dip because he goes in coverage more, obviously, his IDP value dips.
14) LB Roquan Smith, CHI (Our preseason rank = #14)
Great rookie season. Highly touted coming in and did not disappoint. I was a little on the fence with Smith for fantasy coming into 2018. I thought he did not get to a lot of plays he should’ve in college…that he likes coverage a little more than you want to see from an LB tackle accumulator hopeful for IDP. I worried, and still worry his tackle counts will fade some and make him just ‘good’ for fantasy and not great.
There’s a new D-C now, and we might see Roquan more as a pass rusher and drop into coverage type more than middle of the field run-stopper. So, with that slight concern, we have him outside the top 10.
15) RB Sony Michel, NE (Our preseason rank = #23)
Most likely scoring 10+ TDs next season as the main carry RB for a very good offense. I’m not radically pro or con Michel as a talent, but he’s in a great place to see 15+ carries per game and score a TD per game.
He’s not likely to give you as much for PPR (7 catches in 13 games his rookie season, 1 target his last 5 games) is his only FF downside.
He’s going to be overvalued in some leagues by owners and undervalued by others, especially in PPR. I think I like him as an undervalued play going into 2019.
16) RB Phillip Lindsay, DEN (Our preseason rank = #65)
If Vance Joseph and staff were returning for 2019, I’d have Lindsay top 5-8. However, with a new staff coming in, one that’s rooted in old-school – it’s abnormal for older coaching staffs to build a backfield behind 180+ pound RBs. If Lindsay starts splitting with Royce Freeman…you’re in trouble of having an RB3 here.
There is an additional upside that Lindsay could be an ace PPR back…fantastic hands, but then will the new old-school coaches make use of it – or do what old-school coaches do and run up the middle all day trying to out smashmouth their opponent? If they smashmouth, it will be with Freeman.
Lindsay has proven himself…the question is what kind of touch counts are coming the next season or two?
17) RB Jaylen Samuels, PIT (Our preseason rank = #12)
He deserves to be in the top 5-10, but I can’t go there with any confidence because I know the Steelers are going to try to push James Conner and make Samuels a 33% share/3rd-wheel guy for some of the passing game moments to start 2019. If this happens…Samuels has ‘waiting for Conner to get hurt’ value…not good.
The next level up from there is 50-50 split with Samuels as the PPR RB…another unfavorable spot…because you can find guys like this everywhere for fantasy. He’d be no more than an RB2.5 with erratic results depending upon game flow.
Why he should be top 10/why you want him – if he gets the starting job because Conner is hurt, he’ll be a Le’Veon Bell-ish 2.0. Not as talented as Bell but getting a similar workload to produce for FF…like he showed late in the season when Conner was out.
Also, if the Steelers ever woke up and used him on every down, but at a different position…sometimes RB, sometimes, H-back, sometimes slot WR, sometimes regular WR, sometimes TE, sometimes QB…we’d have a fantasy homerun on our hands. However, prudence says bet on football teams being close-minded morons…so, we wait for Conner to get hurt to unleash Samuels (like 2018). Hard to value him highly in that type of holding pattern. It’s sad, really.
18) RB Josh Adams,PHI (Our preseason rank = #16)
I wish I could put him in the top 10. He should be in the top 10. He should be the clear starter for the Eagles, which if he were from Week 1 in 2018 -- he might’ve been a top Rookie of the Year candidate. Instead,he’s stuck in a Doug Pederson RBBC purgatory.
He looked so good this year, I’m stunned (but not totally) that Pederson went away from him late for Wendell Smallwood(?). I can’t trust Pederson to make a fantasy RB, but if any RB was going to force his hand and become a star – it’s the uber-talented Adams.
The BEST pure runner of the ball from the 2018 NFL Draft…and went undrafted…and don’t even try and give me Saquon Barkley – he’s the best athlete. Adams is the best technician, pure runner of the ball. That talent and ‘hope’ pushes him onto this list despite the head coach block.
19) TE Dallas Goedert, PHI (Our preseason rank = #5)
Here’s the dilemma with Dallas Goedert…
Super-talented and would be starting for most teams in the NFL right now and be a top 5-10 fantasy asset in this draft…but he’s stuck behind Zach Ertz for at least another year if not two or more.
If something happened to Ertz, Goedert would become a top 3 fantasy tight end on the spot. Not many players you can say that about.
I love the upside here, but I hate the logjam he could be stuck in for years. I can’t wait around that long, unless I own Ertz – then Goedert is a quasi-must-have handcuff.
20) WR Calvin Ridley, ATL (Our preseason rank = #32)
Not my favorite WR prospect from this class, by far…but he was better than I expected in 2018, and he will definitely start/see targets for years. No worries he’ll get overlooked or snubbed. He’s still just a second-fiddle to Julio Jones. Ridley had a great seasonal tally in 2018, but a lot came from a few big games early…and then a mild fade the rest of the way.
I’m valuing his ‘standing’ in the football community higher,which pushes his value. You’ll never worry about Ridley getting overlooked or frozen out ahead. He’s good/fine, but there are many WRs much better without the status/opportunity.
21) Equanimeous St. Brown, GB (Our preseason rank = #42)
I just have this feeling he’s got some Kenny Golladay breakout potential in 2019. 6’5”, athletic, showed out well a few times in key spots this season. He was just kept on ice a lot of the season. However, a new coach, a new depth chart setting. I like ESB if he can be the #2 across from Davante Adams --and be a TD hog as teams throw the attention at Adams. ESB is built to be a star, a red zone threat, and has better hands/skills than given credit.
My hesitation is – does the new coach draft a sweet slot WR who takes more attention and/or does Jake Kumerow spoil this story some? If I knew for sure ESB would be the #2 WR across from Adams – he’s top 10-12 prospect here. Working with Rodgers…delightful opportunity.
22) WR D.J. Moore, CAR (Our preseason rank = #21)
Another ‘not my favorite’, but I saw two things with him in 2018 that have my attention…and why I secretly like him better than Calvin Ridley, but I also have a reservation holding me back.
1: Carolina pushed him like their top guy (the problem being Curtis Samuel is better, and that’s a risk in this story).
2: DJM looked really good, at times, after the catch. Like a running back playing WR. If Carolina de-emphasized him running technical routes and just bubble screened and jet sweep-ed him a bunch…we might have some FF-magic here.
Curtis Samuel’s greatness, and Samuel’s growing connection with Cam loom like a cloud from getting too excited about Moore. And the issue that Moore still struggles as a traditional WR, but that could morph away from being an issue this offseason (with more work/experience) and go from ‘concerned’ to ‘emerging’.
23) Tremaine Edmunds, BUF (Our preseason rank = #18)
121 tackles in his rookie season. He can produce as an ILB or if he’s moved to OLB (which I think he should be). The guy is just turning 21 years old in May 2019. Physically gifted, high draft pick status, sitting as an ILB for Sean McDermott – what’snot to love for the next several years?
My one fear – he’s not a great ILB (to me). He’s a better OLB who can tackle, pursue, cover, rush the backfield – a move to OLB would take his IDP numbers down a bit in most league set ups (tackles down, in theory). If McDermott gets dumped…Edmunds might move positions with a new staff, maybe?
24) RB Royce Freeman, Denver (Our preseason rank = #4)
What a fall from grace, somewhat through no fault of his own. The door was open for a rookie RB to overthrow Devontae Booker and be the main ballcarrier for the Broncos in 2018…only it was Phillip Lindsay, not Freeman.
It looks dark for Freeman ahead…Lindsay became the star, Freeman drifted into the background. However, with a new coaching staff comes new priorities. Old-school coaches love power running game and that’s Royce Freeman’s milieu. He’s a Jordan Howard waiting to activate.
It’s not sure thing, but if you want a possible RB1 in non-PPR in 2019+ at RB3+ prices – Freeman is your gamble. A bit weaker for PPR, not a great receiver.
25) WR D.J. Chark, JAC (Our preseason rank = #12)
It seems like Chark landed in the worst possible place for fantasy…and he did, in 2018. However, 2019 may bring Nick Foles and a possible changing of the game in Jacksonville.
Situation aside, D.J. Chark has some #1 WR skills…and is on a team with a bunch of good #2-3 WRs but no big guy game changer like Chark can be. If the Jags had Foles as of this writing, I’d put Chark up into the top 10-15 for sure.
26) QB Josh Rosen, ARI (Our preseason rank = #45)
I guess we need to re-pump Josh Rosen’s value with Kliff Kingsbury coming in. Whatever flaws you feel Arizona or Rosen has…if he throws 40-50 times a game, even in big deficits, just to pad offensive numbers for Kingsbury – that’s still ‘good’ for fantasy.
The fantasy upside is Rosen throws for a lot of FF goodness under Kingsbury (as long as KK lasts as an NFL head coach).
The fantasy downside is…if Kingsbury has any sway and the Cardinals draft Kyler Murray – then Rosen blows up into absolutely nothing as a backup or in Jacksonville or somewhere else where he’ll be ‘meh’.
The Kingsbury hype + Rosen with no Murray = fantasy hope and hype to use or sell.
27) TE Ian Thomas, CAR (Our preseason rank = #91)
Greg Olsen is likely done in the NFL, but possibly could zombie back for another paycheck in 2019…but with the state of fantasy TEs being a little dire -- it props Ian Thomas’s value higher than expected. I liked Thomas in my college scouting/studies but then cooled as I saw his measurables…thinking he was just a ‘C’ grade tight end for the NFL/FF, at best…and then working with Cam is not that exciting for fantasy purposes for the receivers. However, Cam is becoming more pocket passer (not wanting to run as much) and his connection with Thomas looked nice at times in the 2nd-half of the season. Thomas is good-not-great but in a pretty good situation.
28) SAF Terrell Edmunds, PIT (Our preseason rank = #27)
Became a starter a few weeks into the 2018 season and was 2nd on the Steelers in tackles. He will be the Steelers starter all 2019 and lead the team in tackles…and he could do so for several years. Edmunds is guaranteed solid as an IDP DB option. He may not lead the league in tackles or IDP stats, but he’ll be consistent/a contender.