Back in April, I completed a one man, one round rookie mock draft. With an almost full season of football, I thought it would be fun to do another one man, one round rookie draft.
Any players that were not part of my initial first-round draft will be denoted with an asterisk (*).
1.01 Saquon Barkley, NYG, RB:
There’s not much to say here. Barkley is everything we thought he would be. Whatever price you paid to get the 1.01 was worth it. Barkley’s “worst” week this season is an RB21 finish. He’s posted eight RB1 weeks in 11 games, including six top 5 weeks. Producing at the level Barkley has behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league is astounding, and Barkley is in the discussion as being the top Dynasty asset.
1.02 D.J. Moore, CAR, WR:
Entering rookie draft season Moore was the rookie WR1, and nothing has changed. Moore has started to emerge the last two weeks without Devin Funchess and/or Torrey Smith around to waste targets on. The past two games Moore has 8 and nine targets leading to WR6 and WR19 finishes in weeks 11 and 12. It’s a pretty simple concept. When you target great players, their stats end up being good. Using RotoViz’s Game splits app shows that even with a modest five targets per games Moore produces 14.28 fantasy points per game. Through 12 weeks that would check in as the WR25. Imagine what Moore can do when he sees a legitimate WR1 target share. Moore’s athletic profile and collegiate production both point to him being a WR1 someday. The last few weeks have done nothing to dispel that notion.
1.03 Nick Chubb, CLE, RB:
Chubb moves up one spot from my initial rookie draft. If for no other reason than failing to feature Chubb from week 1 Hue Jackson deserved to be fired as the Browns Head Coach. In the three games post Hue Jackson, Chubb has simply balled out. Chubb’s Week 9 – Week 12 finishes are as follows, RB13, RB3, and RB3. How good is Chubb? Chubb’s 663 rushing yards is good enough for 15th on the season even though he averaged just 2.66 rushing attempts per game the first five weeks of this season. Again using RotoViz’s Game splits app we see that in the five games that Chubb has seen more than four carries he’s an RB1 and his 20.6 fantasy points per game would be good enough for RB9 on the season.
If advanced metrics are your thing well I have you covered there as well. Chubb ranks 10th in Breakaway Runs, 6th in Breakaway run Rate, 13th in True Yards per Carry, 17th in Evaded Tackles and #12 in Juke Rate. His perceived lack of receiving prowess may have pushed Chubb down some draft boards, but he looked like a natural receiver on the below play.
More important than that one catch though is the fact that Browns Offensive Coordinator Freddie Kitchens has expressed a willingness to use Chubb in the passing attack. If Chubb can add even modest receiving totals to his arsenal, he could cement himself as a top 3 running back for the foreseeable future.
1.04 Kerryon Johnson, DET, RB:
Johnson was my 1.10 when I conducted this exercise in April. I was way off in my assessment of Johnson. Johnson has impressed all season both as a running back and receiver. In 10 games, Johnson averages 3.2 receptions per game in addition to his 64.1 rushing yards per game. His counting stats are suppressed due to Jim Bob Cooter’s use of Leggareete Blount as a runner and Theo Riddick in the passing game earlier in the season and Johnson missing last weeks games due to injury. Though Riddick will likely be back in 2019 due the dead cap space if he were released, Blount is a free agent at the conclusion of 2018. Just 21 years old Johnson could provide low-end RB1 production for the next 4-6 seasons.
1.05 Derrius Guice, WAS, RB:
Missing the entirety of 2018 season due to a torn ACL drops Guice from my 1.03 to 1.05. I loved Guice coming out of LSU, and I still love him now. Having a chance to see Chubb and Johnson perform all season move them ahead of Guice. But I do still expect Guice to be a top fantasy running back.
1.06 Courtland Sutton, DEN, WR:
I always viewed 2018 as a redshirt season for Sutton. Behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to begin the season not much production was expected from Sutton. Even though Thomas was traded, in-season Sutton’s targets haven’t increased as many of us waited for. Sutton season’s high target count is six which he’s seen in four different games. Sutton has primarily been used a deep threat, ranking 2nd in Yards Per Reception (19.7 ypr) and 24th in Yards Per Target (9.7), which isn’t Case Keenum‘s strength. Though Keenum is a willing deep ball thrower, his 48 deep ball attempts are the 11th most in the league, he’s not particularly adept at it, ranking 19th in Deep Ball Completion percentage.
With Thomas out of the way and Sanders soon to follow him out the door (either after this year as a cap cut or after 2019 when his contract expires), Sutton will have free reign as the lead receiver for Denver. At that point, if not sooner, the Bronco’s may even decide that it’s prudent to utilize the 6’3″ Sutton in the red-zone (4 targets through week 12) and target him more than the 4.5 targets per game he’s seen in his rookie season.
1.07 Sony Michel, NEP, RB:
If not for the continuing injury concerns for Michel I might be able to justify moving him ahead of Sutton. A reported Jay Ajayi-like bone on bone knee condition that popped up the night before the draft caused some anxiety within fantasy circles. Michel then missed time during the off-season due to a knee injury and has missed three games so far this year due to injuries. When Michel has played though, he’s played well. He’s finished as a top 16 running back in 4 of the 8 games he’s played and is currently the RB24 on a per game average.
1.08 Calvin Ridley, ATL, WR:
Calvin Ridley appeared to be the WR1 of this class after a three-week explosion beginning in week 2 through week 4 to begin the year. Ridley scored 16.7, and absurd 40.5 and 21.5 fantasy points those weeks. It looked like the all the talk about Ridley’s poor physical profile, late college breakout age, and low college dominator % was much ado about nothing at that point. Ridley’s production regressed to his usage after that and he failed to exceed 9.3 fantasy points the following three weeks. Since then Ridley has had two more WR1 weeks surrounding two WR4 weeks. Not unlike most wide receivers Ridley’s production is tied to his targets. Ridley is WR2 with WR1 upside weeks, which is a great value for wherever you drafted him.
1.09 Rashaad Penny, SEA, RB
This ranking has nothing to do with Penny and everything to do with Chris Carson and Pete Carroll. Carson refuses to go away and when he misses time with one of his frequent injuries Carroll refuses to give Penny the run one would assume a 1st round NFL Draft pick would receive. Penny outproduces Carson on per touch basis 5.1 to 4.7 yards and is better all around football player. Until the Seahawks decide to use a player they spent a first-round pick on none of it really matters. Penny stays in the first round based on his talent.
*1.10 Phillip Lindsay, DEN, RB:
Lindsay went undrafted in most rookie drafts and is currently the RB14 on the season. Excluding the game Lindsay was tossed out of for punching someone he’s finished with no less than 10.4 fantasy points scored. Again excluding punch related games, Lindsay has finished as an RB2 or better every week except one, with his worse finish being RB30. Lindsay’s 780 rushing yards is 7th in the league and his 24 receptions is 26th for running backs. With Devontae Booker seemingly out the door after this season, it’s possible that Lindsay sees an increase in receiving work next year. Kudo’s to you if you snagged Lindsay in the later portion of your rookie drafts or off the waiver wire before the season.
1.11 Christian Kirk, ARI, WR:
Kirk, like just about every rookie wide receiver that has ever existed, has had an inconsistent season. Kirk has six weeks where he’s scored between 13.2 and 18 fantasy points and five weeks where he’s scored between 1.4 and 8.7 fantasy points. A natural slot receiver Kirk has only run 22% of his routes from the slot due to the presence of Larry Fitzgerald. Someday Fitzgerald will retire, probably (maybe???) after this season. Once Fitzgerald does retire Kirk will move to the slot and produce at Julian Edelman + type level.
1.12 Anthony Miller, CHI, WR:
Miller just completed a 4-week stretch where he finished as the WR24, WR30, WR9, and WR36. Rookie wide receivers finishing as a WR3 or better on a consistent basis is like found money. It should be noted that Miller dislocated his shoulder over two months ago and his range of motion (somewhat important for a wide receiver) has been limited since then. Miller stood out in the combine and has shown to be a polished receiver even though he’s still a rookie.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to tell me where you disagree. One thing I think everyone can agree on is that this has turned out to be a very good rookie class. You can find me on Twitter @DFF_Shane. If you like podcasts about Dynasty Football you can find me on the DynastyTradesHQ every single week.