It’s that time of year! We have a collective fever and the only prescription is more cowbell (rookie talk). 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 rookie talk!” For us, it’s never enough.
In a secluded location not far from the Vegas Strip, the @DFF_Degenerates gathered once again to answer more sickening, yet compelling, rookie questions.
What rookies are overrated or being drafted too high in mocks right now?
@dibari22: I’m torn between two players I’m much lower on than most of the industry. It’s a toss-up for me between Ronald Jones and Calvin Ridley. I might be able to be sold on Jones if he has a great combine and finds himself in a decent landing spot. With Ridley, I just don’t see it. He’s already 23 years old, and I’m not saying he’s terrible, but he’s being drafted too high for my liking in dynasty mocks. I see Ridley as more of a WR2/WR3 for fantasy purposes, and I’m not spending 1st Round draft capital on a WR2/WR3.
@DFF_Walk: My go-to is Nick Chubb, but I’ve previously ranted about what I believe to be 2-down back upside, so I’m going with Kalen Ballage. While I like what Ballage “can be” in the NFL, I would have liked to have seen it at some point during his 4 years at ASU. Take away his outlier 8 TD game vs Texas Tech (9/10/16) and we’re talking about the career stat lines below:
@TravisNFL: I just saw a SuperFlex rookie mock in which Mark Walton went 1.10. I like Walton as a prospect and potentially as an explosive counterpart to a lead RB, a secondary back in the NFL with some upside. However, if he’s working his way into the 1st round of rookie drafts, I’ll be passing. There are many players with more upside than Walton, especially in SuperFlex.Ballage has an ADP of 12 (end of 1st round) in our DFF ADP Data February 2018 which is simply too rich for a projection. By all accounts, he should kill the combine which will likely cause the average dynasty player to value him even higher come draft season.
@DFF_JamesH: Don’t take this as me hating him, but Nick Chubb is being taken too high. Georgia had an amazing backfield last year with Sony Michel as well as Chubb, and in my opinion, Michel should be taken a higher with Chubb dropping down a bit.
@DFF_Madman: Kalen Ballage at RB is the most overrated based on recent mocks. Since we expect him to do well at the NFL Scouting Combine, he’s probably not going to be any kind of value in our dynasty league drafts. WR Calvin Ridley is overrated too; I still have him in my top-10 WRs, but not higher. In this draft class, there are no real standouts. Outside of Barkley, owners seem to be targeting their personal favorite players outside of consensus.
@DFF_Thebrain: Baker Mayfield has a lot of great intangibles to be an NFL quarterback. I can’t see how people have him ranked over Rosen or Darnold. A small QB with maturity issues, Mayfield does not possess the upside of either Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold.
@ChristipherBean: Saquon Barkley. Yeah, I said it. This year’s 1.01 is taking rookie fever to a whole new level. He’s going in the 1st round of startups and we don’t even know what team he’s going to play for! This is ridiculous.
If I had a money back guarantee he was LeVeon Bell plus 10%, I’m still trading the 1.01. Talent is vastly overrated at the RB position. Offensive line and offensive pace matter far more than talent, as Joe Mixon owners are learning painfully.
WR is a tough position to rank this year. Who are your personal Top-5 WRs leading up to the NFL Scouting Combine?
@dibari22: You can find my early rankings here. Right now, it’s Washington, Sutton, Moore, St. Brown, and Kirk. I don’t think this class is particularly top-heavy and I like the upside of many later guys as much as most of the perceived “top of the class.” Aside from Moore, if any of these guys are still on the board, I’ll be actively shopping my pick for multiple picks later in my draft. I like my chances of hitting with a combo of Chark, Miller, Gallup, James, Scott or Coutee that I could get later just as much as I do with any of the top guys.
@DFF_Walk: Sutton, Ridley, Washington, Moore, and Tate. The top two are still a toss-up for me because I love Sutton’s size and ball skills but not his route running and that is Ridley’s calling card. Washington and Moore are my two favorite pass catchers in this draft. Both are equipped with physicality and intensity that you just can’t teach, which allows them to play bigger than their respective sizes. Tate is just a freak of nature which is very intriguing to me.
@TravisNFL: James Washington, Christian Kirk, Auden Tate, Courtland Sutton, Calvin Ridley. Not surprisingly, there are 10 different answers in this article alone, showing a glimpse of the reality of this WR class: it’s deep, but not top-heavy. I like shooting for upside in rookie drafts, and these five WRs (currently) have the best shot at being WR1s in the NFL. I still have a ton of tape to watch and the combine will factor in as well, so these are by no means written in cement.
@DFF_JamesH: I would have to pick the obvious top 3: 1st – Courtland Sutton, 2nd – Calvin Ridley, 3rd – James Washington. All look like solid NFL-ready talent who will have big fantasy impacts right away. At 4th and 5th is a toss-up between Auden Tate and Michael Gallup who are both talented guys who will benefit from good landing spots.
@DFF_Madman: Top 5: Moore, Tate, Washington, Pettis, and Sutton. DJ Moore is the best overall right now. Tate will be great. I targeted him in a recent DFF SuperFlex mock where I selected him at 2.06. Mark my words, he will not be available that late in our upcoming rookie drafts. This kid is going to rise to the top of our lists. I fully expect him to end up in a good NFL situation too, being drafted either in the bottom third of the first round of the NFL Draft. Washington is sneaky good and underrated with great hands. Pettis is well-rounded and accomplished which will serve him well as an NFL WR2. Sutton has what it takes to develop into a future WR1 and NFL star… maybe.
@DFF_Thebrain: My top 5 are Courtland Sutton, Calvin Ridley, Auden Tate, James Washington and Dante Pettis. Sutton is a true physical marvel and will be well-suited playing the league. Ridley is a good route runner with good hands. Tate is tall and strong with excellent high-pointing ability. Washington showed elite playmaking ability with elite speed. Pettis is a deep threat with excellent playmaking ability and is much tougher than his frame would suggest.
What are you willing to give up for the 1.01? What kind of deal would you try to make?
@dibari22: Maybe it’s the DFS player or gambler in me, but I might be looking to fade Barkley at this point. I had a strong fantasy year last year, so I’m not in a position anywhere to even come close to drafting him. If I was picking at 1.01, I’d let the hype train run its course and hope somebody came with something strong on draft day like a later 1st, a 2019 1st and a top player; Odell Beckham or similar.
@DFF_Walk: I wouldn’t be willing to give up what it would take to land Barkley. He possesses the dual-threat ability to be the RB1 in 2-3 years, but owners with the 1.01 are already asking for that ROI and he hasn’t even set foot on the field yet.
@TravisNFL: Barkley is the real deal, and anyone trying to tell you that he’s not their RB1 in this class, is simply chasing clicks. I mostly agree with my peers here, in that the 1.01 is likely priced out of what I’d be willing to pay in most cases. That doesn’t mean I won’t throw out my max offer (I’m only buying if I’m contending) and test the waters just to be sure. I’ve seen a few offers that were at least palatable, but they are the exception, not the rule. The ideal trade I’d be looking to make if I’m buying the 1.01 would be an expensive RB plus a later 1st (e.g. Fournette/1.09). Give me Barkley all day if he’s in that price range.
@DFF_JamesH: Saquon Barkley is a special talent. I don’t even know what I would ask for. Yes, Guice is still going to be a good option at 1.02, but if I’ve got the 1.01, then it would take something huge to trade down.
@DFF_Madman: I’m not dealing for 1.01 and Saquon Barkley. Owners have been talking him up for years and the madness is in full-swing. The price is too high for me to consider. This may be a bumper crop of RBs and I’ll be able to grab one of my preferred guys without losing any assets.
@DFF_Thebrain: Roster configuration is usually the primary factor I consider. If I feel my roster needs a young elite running back, and I have surpluses at other positions to be able to swing the deal, I’d give up what I can to maintain my championship hopes and bolster my running back position for years.
Do you have any deep sleepers? I’m talking Day 3 or UDFA type players.
@dibari22: I’m all over New Mexico State’s Jaleel Scott at wide receiver. He’s a tall, lanky guy with an enormous catch radius. At 6’6” he’s already a red zone threat. I’m also a big fan of Jaylen Samuels’ game and versatility at running back, but I’m waiting to see his landing spot before I fully commit.
@DFF_Walk: If Jaylen Samuels doesn’t catch someone’s eye and become a Day 2 pick, then he’s my guy. Others in consideration: Justin Jackson RB, Northwestern (uber productive) & Antonio Callaway WR, Florida (off-field nightmare).
@TravisNFL: If one were to take a gander at my Twitter profile, they would see that I have already planted my flag as the self-appointed Chris Warren III truther. The 6’2”, 250 lb. (I’ve seen 235lb.-255lb.) RB from Texas is a monster of a man with elite power and good vision. Oh, and he can catch the ball too. Chris Warren will (pending combine) be available in the 4th+ round of your rookie drafts and has workhorse NFL running back upside. The risk: reward ratio with Warren is too good, and his value is too great, to pass up. There’s a chance he goes undrafted in the NFL draft due to lack of production, which I am chalking up to his season-ending injury and the coaches not committing to him. Even if that happens, I will still own him on all my dynasty rosters.
@DFF_JamesH: I realize I harp on about these guys far too much, but I am a big fan of Chase Edmonds from Fordham in the FCS and Ito Smith from Southern Miss. Both are phenomenal talents that need to be given an opportunity somewhere. One issue they both share is being marginally undersized, but I think teams should be looking past that and just zoning in on their talent.
@DFF_Madman: WR Korey Robertson from Southern Miss. You guys take Sutton at 1.03 and I’ll take this guy in the third round of my rookie drafts. I don’t dislike any players, but I dislike overpaying for them… overpaying for anything. It’s silly to pay sports car prices while driving a Prius, and likewise in dynasty football, yet our league mates do it all the time. I try to get no worse than equal or greater value from an asset. You pay high for your favorite guys and I’ll just let the best of the rest fall to me.
@DFF_Thebrain: Many will overlook Allen Lazard, a towering wideout who made great strides this past season high-pointing the ball and working on his route running. Lazard will be an immediate presence in the red zone.
Special thanks to the entire @DFF_Degenerates roundtable. You can follow us on Twitter @DFF_Degenerates