The NFL season is finally here and the direction our teams take early on in the season will play a significant role in the type of trades we make throughout the year. As an owner it is hard to part with my future draft picks unless I know it is going to put me in contention for a championship run. One of the best things about dynasty football is the annual rookie drafts where we as owners use our knowledge to draft the best players possible.
If I am not going to make a run for a championship, I tend to trade off a few minor pieces that might better help another team this season so I can load up on future picks. This allows me to grab young assets or sell off my rookie picks in peak rookie season when their value is usually at its highest. The summer time hype on the next class is crucial for future rookie pick value as well as draft season.
If I decide to keep my rookie picks or trade for more just what exactly do I have to look forward to? Well, what I am going to do here is use a set of rankings, ADP, and value throughout the season to try and pinpoint who is valued where in future rookie drafts. Instead of blindly selling or buying draft picks, you will be able to put a name or group of names next to the pick you are trading away or acquiring. I know it is hard to pinpoint where exactly your picks will be slotted in future drafts, but a lot of times you hear someone say “this player or a later ‘18 second?” and that is where this power rankings aspect comes into play.
I now have a visual of future picks for the first and second rounds of the 2018, 2019, and 2020 classes. Players move up and down, and opinions constantly change so I will be updating these future projections weekly so owners can use it to gauge current value.
Legend: Risers will be coded with a green box and the number depicts how many spots they rose. A green box with NR highlights a player rising from being not ranked the previous week. Fallers will be coded with a red box and the number depicts how many spots they fell.
I think it’s time to flip Derrius Guice and Saquon Barkley. This is a debate that will plague the minds of football evaluators for the next 7 months, but I can’t deny the 33% dominator rating that Barkley has produced up to this point. Guice and Barkley both show the same type of quickness and explosiveness as runners but Barkley has seen plenty more opportunities catching the ball out of the backfield and the production to go along with it. Ronald Jones III jumped 4 spots this week. I will be the first to mention that I wasn’t his biggest fan coming into this season. Jones has packed on some good weight and it is benefiting his game as a whole. He isn’t going down on first contact anymore, and he’s fighting through contact while still maintaining a decent amount of elusiveness in his game. His strength as a runner was one of my biggest concerns, and he has addressed that so far through the first 3 weeks. When a player moves up another has to move down. Kalen Ballage is averaging a whopping 3.7 yards per carry and 6.8 per reception. His career production up to this point has been very underwhelming for a player as highly touted as Ballage has been. A lot can be contributed to the fact Todd Graham is a terrible coach, but I still think this is something to be concerned about. Another player who has taken a dip is St. Brown from Notre Dame as he was only able to haul in 1 of his 9 targets this past weekend. St. Brown is a high talent, higher ceiling type player but quarterback play has stunted his production this season. Royce Freeman moves up one spot this week as he continues to put in bell cow type work. I think Freeman is back to his old self, and new coach Willie Taggart has schemed him to perfection. Freeman leads the nation with 9 rushing touchdowns. That’s 3 more than anyone else on the season. There wasn’t that much movement for the 2018 class, and I think things will start to even out as we enter into week 4 of the college football season.
Texas WR Collin Johnson continues his meteoric rise throughout the ranks of the projected futures list. Through 3 weeks of this season, he has accounted for 30% of the Texas’ receiving offense and showed out on a huge stage against USC in a double overtime thriller. Johnson is making his way into elite company, and the 2019 WR class continues to look like the best since the historical class of 2014. Iowa State RB David Montgomery made his way onto the list last week, and his rise continues. He has forced the most missed tackles at the RB position in college by a decent margin. California WR Demetris Robertson takes a minor slide with the emergence of Johnson and Montgomery. Robertson is also 5th on his team in receiving yards and that is something of note as he was second last season only to Chad Hansen. Oregon QB Justin Herbert remains locked in at the top of the second round with another solid outing. His team won in a blowout, but he didn’t do anything notable to boost or hurt his stock. Two risers at the bottom of the second round are Tavien Feaster and Justice Hill. Feaster has found his stride in the Clemson offense, and his explosiveness along with the added weight he put on this offseason is very apparent. He is splitting time with Freshman RB Travis Etienne who has a good shot of making the projected futures with a few more solid outings. Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill is another back that added weight this offseason and he has shown that he’s still very agile despite bulking from 185 to 200+ pounds. Hill is the top runner on one of the top offenses in the nation and his exposure going forward will be very beneficial to his stock as a prospect.
Arkansas RB Devwah Whaley – Whaley wasn’t overly impressive in his first two outings, and he’s currently second on his team in rushing yards. Whaley runs hard but tall and doesn’t show much flexibility or elusiveness in the open field. Arkansas has a huge game against Texas A&M Saturday and Whaley will have a chance to make his case as a worthy prospect.
The biggest news coming out of this past weekend is the broken foot Michigan WR Tarik Black suffered. He is one of my favorite talents in the class but my exposure to him for this season is lost, and this is a setback in his development. Ohio State’s JK Dobbins and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor both jumped up a spot as they are both top eight in rushing yards so far this season. Dobbins has accounted for 27% of Ohio State’s total offense, and Taylor has accounted for 30% of Wisconsin’s offense. Those are two very good dominator ratings for these young backs early in their careers, and I fully expect to see their success continue. I think a player that needs to be highlighted is Georgia RB D’Andre Swift. I liked what I saw from him in high school, but he has far exceeded my expectations as a freshman. He is currently the teams 3rd leading rusher behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. That is quite the surprise considering the amount of depth Georgia has at the position. Swift is a very explosive player with the ability to win catching the ball out of the backfield or being split out against cornerbacks. His pass catching ability hasn’t been fully displayed but I think it’s a role that continues to grow for him over time. Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb has been a big weapon for Baker Mayfield. He is currently the team’s second receiver with 213 yards but first in touchdown receptions with 3. Lamb climbed 3 spots this week, and he’s a great candidate to see a consistent rise throughout this season. I almost feel more clarity with the talent in the 2020 class than I do with the others. They have been very impressive through 3 weeks, and I’m excited to see the rest of the talent emerge over the coming months.
Thank you for reading, and I hope this article is helpful for your future trades. Follow me on twitter @pacificscouting.