It’s that time of year! We have a collective fever and the only prescription is more cowbell. For us, the cowbell is NFL rookies. We are hyper-focused on the NFL Draft and even more importantly, our Dynasty Rookie Drafts. While it’s a year-long suffering, temperatures rise as soon as the college season ends. Some of us become even more irrational and speak in tongues about market share, yards after contact, and dominator ratings.
Like an orchestra, the energy grows louder as we approach the NFL Scouting Combine and hits its crescendo during it. We become entranced by the dissonance of 3-cone drills, vertical jumps, and bench presses. Only as we reach the NFL draft does the volume rise to its highest level. There will be fighting words over the difference of hundredths of seconds in 40-yard dashes, while Twitter nerds argue about the best landing spots for their favorite players. Experts will overanalyze the minutiae of every situation until no player is a safe pick.
However, as Dynasty team owners with a unique kind of fever, we still exclaim, “more cowbell!” Since in our minds, it’s never enough.
As we approach the fever pitch of rookie draft preparation, I assemble @DFF_Degenerates to answer a few sickening, yet compelling, questions.
When do you prefer to have your rookie drafts?
A) After players declare/before the NFL Scouting Combine
B) After the NFL Scouting Combine
C) After the NFL draft
D) Just before the NFL season begins
@dibari22: I subscribe to two schools of thought. In my less savvy leagues, I want to draft as early as possible. In my deeper leagues with smart owners, I like to draft as close to the start of the season as possible. So, A and/or D depending on the league.
@DFF_Walk: C. Immediately after the NFL Draft. Savvy owners or not, landing spots mean the world to most prospects. What I do NOT prefer is just before the start of the season because that’s how owners landed Kareem Hunt last year when they didn’t know anything about him a month earlier.
@TravisNFL: My ideal time for rookie drafts is immediately after the NFL draft. This gives all players the benefit of knowing landing spots (obviously) but also has the benefit of adding an early-summer activity to your league. It provides an opportunity for your league owners to “scratch that itch” and provides a catalyst for increased league activity in the offseason. Additionally, it is still early enough to allow savvy owners to steal their sleepers before they “pop” in the preseason.
@DynastyGOAT: I’m with Walker, I want it just after the completion of the NFL Draft. Finding the Kareem Hunt boom and avoiding the Joe Mixon bust is easier to predict once the landing spots have been determined.
@DFF_JamesH: Just after the NFL draft is perfect for me. It adds the element of risk on the late rounders that may end up on practice squads (or worse, cut) and it also gives advantage to the more knowledgeable players in the league against the people that just follow training camps and see how players get on.
@amazehayes_roto: I fully support all rookie drafts taking place right after the NFL Draft. If I had my way in all my leagues, they would all be the Sunday after the last day of the draft. It rewards owners who researched players pre-draft and were waiting only on landing spots for their final valuations of the rookies for rookie drafts. It also keeps the rookie fever going while the fun and hype of the draft is fresh in everyone’s minds.
@DynoEconomist: June. Landing spots and NFL draft capital are crucial. I also prefer to let some time pass so that I do not overreact, plus that way I can see which players are being overvalued and undervalued in other drafts.
@DFF_Madman: A) Having it immediately after players declare lets me capitalize on research, so it’s my favorite time to take advantage. It’s also before Draft Twitter really hits peak momentum, which greatly enables competitors to catch up through secondary research, new information and market fluctuations. I may even sandbag in mock drafts just to hedge my bets for the real thing. I’ll never tell.
C) I’m also perfectly fine with having it beyond the combine and after the NFL draft as well, as it provides me with details to fine-tune the engine of my spreadsheet and alter my rankings where I had uncertainty or bias. And I can’t argue against landing spots affecting values. I’m in the same boat with @DFF_Walk on guys stealing late to ruin our sleepers like Kareem Hunt.
@DFF_Thebrain: C. After the NFL draft is ideal. There is already so much risk with rookie draft picks, it’s only fair to have as much information as possible before you commit such a valuable asset as a pick on any player. Landing spot is so important for these incoming rookies, that it’s crucial to have team information before making a pick.
Who is your 1.03 in upcoming rookie drafts? (This presumes Barkley 1.01 & Guice 1.02)
@dibari22: I was starting with Sutton early in the off-season, then went to Nick Chubb, then James Washington, toyed with Sony Michel there, and I’m back to Chubb… I have a sneaky feeling it might possibly end up being DJ Moore at some point.
@DFF_Walk: For me, it depends on need. My WR1 is Sutton and my RB3 is Michel. I am smitten with Sony Michel and should he land in a plum spot I will start putting packages together to jump up and get him.
@TravisNFL: I’m all about SuperFlex, so my answer as of right now may very well be Baker Mayfield. I have completely bought into Mayfield as a talent and a leader capable of being a true face of an NFL franchise with career QB1 fantasy upside. In non-SuperFlex leagues, landing spot/draft position will most likely determine the 1.03 for me. Now, it’s between Sutton, Michel, and Chubb.
@DynastyGOAT: I’m between Sutton and Michel here. With neither being a sure-fire stud, I would go with whichever best fits your team’s needs.
@DFF_JamesH: It would depend on what I’m looking for at 1.03. There are arguments for Courtland Sutton at WR, Sony Michel/Nick Chubb at RB (depending on best landing spot) or Baker Mayfield who I feel is going to be the most dependable QB in fantasy from this year’s class.
@amazehayes_roto: It has always been Courtland Sutton. Much has been made about this running back class, but there is no clear-cut RB3 in this class. Sutton would have been my WR2 last year had he declared, so he easily slides in as the clear-cut WR1 for me in 2018. Of course, this is landing-spot dependent, but if I were drafting right now in February, I want Sutton at 1.03.
@DynoEconomist: I would trade the 1.03 at all costs. But if I had to make a pick it would probably come down to Sutton, James Washington, Sony Michel, and Nick Chubb. I would prefer to take a running back, but the landing spot would have to be right.
@DFF_Madman: I’m completely torn about this right now. Early on, I thought I had my guy, but no. In Standard/PPR leagues, based on age and production, I’m looking at Ronald Jones II today. I think that will change soon because I have so many players in virtual ties from 1.03 to 1.12. So yes, trading the 1.03 is preferable.
Only at QB do I feel good about the order I have players ranked.… which is odd because if you ask 10 different people to rank the Top 6 QBs, you’d probably get 10 different answers right now. There is a ton of uncertainty over which QB will be the best pro. In SuperFlex and 2QB dynasty leagues, I’d take Josh Rosen at 1.03, followed by… Lamar Jackson and Sam Darnold. I’m just looking at cumulative fantasy points and I think these players will end up with the most in their careers among this year’s rookie QBs.
@DFF_Thebrain: Courtland Sutton is my 1.03 as of right now. Landing spot is again crucial for these players but as of right now I’ll take what I consider to be the most physically gifted WR in the draft.
Is there a rookie offensive player you like more than you think others do?
@dibari22: Without seeing more mock drafts it’s hard to tell, but I think I’m higher on Baker Mayfield, Kalen Ballage, DJ Moore, and DJ Chark than most.
@DFF_Walk: Jaylen Samuels is so intriguing to me. I honestly don’t know what he is in the NFL but I’m excited to find out. In the right scheme, he could be a Dynasty Draft darling. I’m also super high on DJ Moore too, but I think he’ll be a Top 5 ranked rookie WR come draft time.
@TravisNFL: My easy/chalky answer here is Baker Mayfield (see above), as he is cemented as my QB1 in this draft class and should even offer some rookie draft value as he is largely not seen as the QB1. Another guy I’ll mention, though, is Chris Warren III, RB, Texas. The 6’ 2”, 250 lb. running back was a 4-star recruit and started his college career off strong before sustaining a season-ending injury his sophomore year. I’ve watched all the tape I can find on this guy, and I’m impressed. An extremely powerful, extremely large human who has shown great receiving skills (he played TE the last few games of his college career), Warren III has what it takes to succeed as an every-down back in the NFL. The main concern right now is whether he’ll get the opportunity to do so, as he is far down consensus draft boards due to his limited usage/production and is projected to be a late NFL draft pick.
@DynastyGOAT: I’m a big fan of Simmie Cobbs Jr. At 6’4″ 220 lbs., Cobbs possesses the ideal size to shine at the next level. Cobbs performed best against the toughest competition, going off for 11/151/1 against Ohio State. He’s been going near the end of the 2nd round in early mock drafts, but I think a strong combine performance could push him into the 1st.
@DFF_JamesH: Definitely Ito Smith (RB from Southern Mississippi). I profiled the guy a while back (https://dynastyfootballfactory.com/fbs-spotlight-player-interview-ito-smith-rb-southern-mississippi/ …) and I still stand by everything I said. Smith has amazing talent. He is by no means going to be an every-down back in the NFL, but he is definitely going to be a solid option to have on any fantasy team.
@amazehayes_roto: Royce Freeman, Oregon running back. In a class LOADED with running back talent, it is easy to overlook a few stud running backs and Freeman is one of them. At 5’11”, 231 pounds, Freeman is not your prototypical Oregon speedster that may not fit NFL systems. On the other hand, Freeman is not just a plodder like his weight might suggest. He has vision and balance to make up for a lack of straight-line speed. In his four years at Oregon, Freeman posted nearly 6500 yards from scrimmage and 64 touchdowns. In his sophomore season alone, Freeman rushed for 1836 yards and 17 touchdowns on 283 carries while also adding 348 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 26 receptions. He is not a joke and has the potential to be one of the most productive running backs from this class in the NFL. Depending on his ADP post-Combine, I may have found my 2018 Aaron Jones.
@DynoEconomist: Mark Andrews. Tight ends are hard to scout, but he seems like the kind of guy who will be a big-time receiving threat at the next level.
@DFF_Madman: I love DJ Moore and have for a while. I’m a Big Ten guy and have seen many of his games. However, he’s rising fast and won’t be a value much longer. So, I’ll say Auden Tate. He can develop into a high-end WR2 at least. With his athleticism, toughness, ball-tracking ability and 50/50 red zone mentality, he has what it takes to become a team’s X-receiver. Those guys are what you want to draft in dynasty football. He’s being drafted at a bargain right now in the second round of rookie drafts and I like him better than the going rate for sure!
@DFF_Thebrain: John Kelly running back out of Tennessee. There is so much to like about Kelly I don’t know where to start. A 3-down back, who runs with great pad level, good vision, and balance, Kelly absorbs and bounces off tackles to gain yards after contact. A target in rookie drafts with an ADP in the 3rd round currently.
Thank you for reading and good luck in your rookie drafts. Special thanks to the entire @DFF_Degenerates roundtable. “I’ll be honest, fellas… it was sounding great… but it could have used a little more cowbell.”
You can follow us on Twitter @DFF_Degenerates