It was only a month and a half ago that we watched the big name free agents get snatched up, and as free agency died down I said to myself, “Damn, we still have like 6 weeks until the draft.” At the time it seemed like it would never get here, but now the draft has already come and gone, and 254 picks later, we’re already doing rookie dynasty mock drafts.
Dynasty leagues are a unique animal and definitely my favorite leagues. If you’ve never done one, I’d definitely encourage you to seek one out. Our good friends over at Dynasty League Football are definitely a great resource. If you’re looking for a league, I recommend you check out their forums.
To appease all the offseason fantasy football addicts, I’ll run through the first round of this rookie draft and chime in with my dynasty and redraft thoughts.
For me there are only two options at this pick: Tavon Austin and Giovani Bernard. If you need the running back help, I wouldn’t hesitate with Bernard but both will have productive careers.
For redraft, Bernard should be targeted before Austin. It’s rare for a rookie wide receiver to play up to his draft position in redraft leagues. Part of this can be attributed to there being a more significant learning curve for rookie wide receivers.
Let’s assume we have a 2 RB, 3 WR, 12-team league. In this case, there are 24 starting running backs and 36 starting wide receivers each week. Last year the 36th best wide receiver, averaged 12.1 points per game. Since 2000, only 9 rookie wide receivers have achieved that feat. On the other hand, the 24th best running back averaged 12.4 points per game. We’ve seen 25 rookie running backs score more than 12.4 points per game since 2000. Generally speaking, you’re better off gambling on rookie running backs. I doubt that Austin comes close to being drafted before Bernard though in redraft leagues, so you’re probably not going to be stuck deciding between the two.
I already stated my case for Bernard as the 1st or 2nd option off the board. Lacy has too many red flags for me to like him here.
1.) Was out of shape at his pro day, though he was coming off of a hamstring injury.
2.) Won’t factor into the passing game too much, and this was a PPR draft.
3.) He stated before the draft that he didn’t want to play in Green Bay because of weather.
This isn’t to say he won’t be a good fantasy asset. I just see a much higher ceiling with Bernard.
In Green Bay’s offense, Lacy could be a 1000-yard/10TD guy if he didn’t have competition. The presence of fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin puts a damper on his overall outlook. Without knowing more about how Green Bay will use them, I’d have a hard time taking him before the 7th round in a PPR redraft league.
This was a pick made based on limited competition at the position in Pittsburgh. Bell will have to beat Dwyer/Redman for carries, a task that shouldn’t be too difficult for a rookie that the Steelers took in the 2nd round. Bell is a battering ram that is very capable as a receiver out of the backfield, so he could touch RB2 status in year 1. I still like Bernard more long-term, but Bell could wind up being the most productive rookie back.
Bernard finally comes off the board here and is a gift at this point. He’ll have some competition from BenJarvus Green-Ellis to start his career, but should emerge as the top guy out of the backfield by 2014. Green-Ellis hasn’t averaged 4.0ypc in either of his last two seasons, but is one of the most reliable running backs when it comes to protecting the football.
I would pencil in Bernard for 180+ carries and plenty of work in the passing game. The big question, and ultimately the deciding factor as to if he’s a RB2 in his rookie year, is whether or not he’ll see goal-line carries. At this point I would bet against that with BJGE still around, though he’s likely to have his chances at finding the endzone.
1.5 – Montee Ball, RB, DEN (Bob Harris, Football Diehards)
The backfield in Denver is crowded, and Ronnie Hillman owners absorb another blow after the Broncos drafted Montee Ball in the 2nd round. I wouldn’t rule out the Broncos cutting 31-year old McGahee, who is coming back from a torn MCL and broken leg, but that’s far from certain. Knowshon Moreno is also still in town.
This backfield isn’t going to be a 4-headed monster come the regular season, so your guess is as good as mine as to who emerges at the top. As far as dynasty leagues, Ball is an attractive running back to own and is certainly worthy of this draft position, but you have to be worried about how well he holds up long-term after back-to-back 300+ carry seasons in college. Unless things clear up as the season inches closer, I don’t want much to do with this backfield in redraft leagues.
1.6 – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, MIN (Ryan Forbes, 2MugFF)
When I initially made this pick, it was between Johnathan Franklin and Hopkins, but I should have given more consideration to Cordarrelle Patterson as well. Hopkins has the talent to be a PPR monster in Houston. He can beat defenses by racking up yards after the catch. He can beat defenses deep. It doesn’t matter what Houston asks him to do, he’s going to excel in the NFL.
I hesitate to suggest he’ll be a fantasy WR3 in year one, seeing that he’s not the top receiving option in a run-first offense, but he’s exactly what Houston has been missing in-terms of a quality WR2 option for Schaub.
Minnesota drafted Patterson with every intention of making him their new Percy Harvin. We’ve already seen that the Vikings may manufacture touches for Patterson, like they did for Harvin. There is no question that Patterson is uber-talented, but there are definitely some concerns about him. There’s questions about his football IQ, thus you worry about how well he’ll be able to pick up the offense. He’s also still very raw, so you’re getting a guy who knowingly needs to work on his route-running, his hands, and getting off the line against press coverage. Once he gets the ball though, he’s as flashy as they come.
I see Hopkins as the safer choice in dynasty drafts, but you can’t argue against Patterson having a higher ceiling. I’m guessing someone in your redraft league is going to fall in love with him in the 6th round. That’s just too early for me.
If you followed Mr. Bloom throughout the draft process, you’d know that he was pretty high on Mr. Franklin. Franklin has the potential to develop into the increasingly rare 3-down back, but landing in Green Bay with Eddie Lacy probably means he’s not going to emerge as the next Arian Foster—at least early in his career.
In redraft leagues, you can bank on Lacy’s name recognition getting him drafted in the early to middle rounds. Franklin will probably be available fairly late in drafts, and he could definitely carry some value in year 1 as a passing down specialist if he can improve in pass protection. His value would shoot through the roof if Lacy were to go down.
Unlike Cordarrelle Patterson, Woods’ game is very polished for a rookie, and there’s no doubt he’ll step into Buffalo as the #2 behind Stevie Johnson. He doesn’t have the quicks to score from anywhere on the field like Patterson, but I don’t think there’s another receiver I’d rather have over him at this point in the draft.
His outlook this year in redraft leagues isn’t that great though. He’ll likely have rookie QB E.J. Manuel under center, and he’s going to be 4th in line for touches behind Spiller, Fred Jackson, and Stevie Johnson. He makes sense as a late-round, low-risk gamble, but you’re better off looking elsewhere for an every week starter.
You won’t find many that don’t think Eifert is the best tight end in this draft class, but his landing spot leaves a lot to be desired. Jermaine Gresham isn’t a world-beater at tight end, but he’s still going to be in the way of Eifert becoming a TE1 early in his career. Gresham is signed by Cincinnati through the 2014 season.
Together, Eifert and Gresham will probably serve as a top-5 tight end, but individually I won’t be rushing to draft either in redraft leagues. Eifert does have a great outlook long-term, so he is worth waiting on if you can afford to keep him stashed in your dynasty league for a couple of years.
This is a perfect spot to take a high ceiling player like Dobson. Dobson is a big guy at 6’3”, 210 lbs and has 4.4 speed. It’s easy to be enamored by him landing in a place like New England, which has a desperate need for an outside receiver, but Belichick’s kryptonite has been drafting wide receivers. He once told Falcons’ GM Thomas Dimitroff not to trade up for Julio Jones and instead settle for Jon Baldwin.
I don’t have much hope for Dobson in year 1 redraft leagues, as he’s still a raw prospect and I’m guessing he gets drafted a little too early given his situation. I have no beef with him going here in a dynasty draft though.
1.12 – Terrance Williams, WR, DAL (Ian Allan, Fantasy Index)
It was Dwayne Harris or draft someone when it came to the Cowboys’ 3rd wide receiver spot, and they chose to take the talented wide receiver out of Baylor. Williams doesn’t have off the chart measurables, but put up silly numbers in his senior season (97rec/1832yds/12TDs). We’ve seen before that Dallas is capable of supporting 3 fantasy wide receivers (see Laurent Robinson’s 2011 season), so Williams can step in as an outside receiver and allow Miles Austin to operate from the slot.
I’d burn a late round pick on Williams in a redraft league. It could very well turn out that 2nd-round tight end Gavin Escobar has a more productive season in 2013. Either way, this is an offense that is loaded with fantasy potential in the passing game.
Stay tuned for more dynasty nuggets this offseason.
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