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Analytics Team 2019 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft: Round One

Soon after we were brought on board a few weeks ago, we, the new group of “Analytics Guys” at Dynasty Nerds decided it would be a fun exercise to hold a rookie mock draft amongst ourselves, but discussing each pick from an analytic point of view. We will be splitting the article into three parts. The first part, Round One is below. We drafted using a one quarterback league with PPR scoring for our settings. Let’s get started!

1.01 Josh Jacobs (RB – Los Angeles Raiders)  

Pick Made by TylerGrzegorek (@tyler_grez)

Given the positional premium, it was relatively easy to get on board with taking Jacobs with the number one pick. The Raiders too spent a 1st round pick on Jacobs so one can assume that the starting position is his to lose once training camp opens for Oakland on July 27th The only real threat to Jacobs’ offensive opportunities would have to be Jalen Richard, who could steal away opportunities in the passing game. Jon Gruden, in the small sample size from 2018, was heavily dependent upon Marshawn Lynch when he was healthy last year. He was equally dependent upon Doug Martin after a groin injury derailed Lynch’s 2018 season. I expect Jacobs to get close to 20 touches a game behind a much-improved offensive line and to thrive in year two of Gruden’s balanced, west coast system. 

1.02 Miles Sanders (RB – Philadelphia Eagles)

Pick Made by Will Patty (@Willane935)

A lot of people would question taking Miles Sanders over N’Keal Harry, and while I don’t want to spend this whole section talking about why I don’t think N’Keal Harry should be drafted here, I feel the need to explain myself. I have serious doubts about N’Keal Harry’s ability to get open. He’s not a particularly sharp route runner and lacks the short-area quickness to separate from his defenders and get open. He relies on physicality to win contested catches and I am not sure that is going to be enough at the next level. N’Keal Harry had one game last year against a team in the top 25 for total passing yard defense, the Washington game, where he was contained to only 4 catches for 20 yards. I understand its only one game but it was his only game against NFL talent. I do think he has the physical tools to carve out a role in the NFL and he landed on a great offense. This sounds like I hate Harry. I don’t, I just don’t think he is going to deliver year one and I think he is more likely to be attainable at the end of the 2019 season than the rest of the guys going this early. Miles Sanders only has to beat out an inefficient Jordan Howard, who is on the last year of his rookie contract and already on his second team, to earn a legitimate three-down role in one of the leagues better offenses. I know there is the narrative out there that Doug Peterson has never given a single back the true lead role in his offense, but just look at the running backs that he has had in the past. Ryan Mathews, Wendell Smallwood, Byron Marshall, Terrell Watson, LeGarrette Blount, Donnel Pumphrey, Kenjon Barner, Josh Adams, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, and Boston Scott. Out of all those guys, the ones they still have on the current roster are the only ones still in the league except for Barner and he might not make the roster in Atlanta. People seem to forget that only a few years ago Doug Peterson was in Kansas City, and he had a guy who was a workhorse in Jamaal Charles. The team has shown that they are interested in having a guy who can do it all by spending this kind of draft capital, the highest a Peterson team has ever spent, on a guy who can do it all. I mean they came out and said one of the things they like the most about him was his lack of wear. Do you care about that if he’s just a situational guy who you want in on passing downs? It’s confusing to me that it’s easier for people to buy that Matt Nagy is going to use David Montgomery as a workhorse back because he’s an Andy Reid disciple who got his workhorse in the draft and then will dismiss Miles Sander’s situation. This is the type of pick that carries risk, but I believe he has the talent to take over this backfield by the end of the season and I believe once that happens, he’s going to be extremely difficult to acquire. I think by the time we’re into the 2020 season, Jordan Howard is going to be on his third NFL team, and Philly is going to be using Sanders like the last sheet of toilet paper.

1.03 N’Keal Harry (WR – New England Patriots)

Pick Made by Keith Ensminger (@TheSmingDynasty)

If I owned the third pick in an actual rookie draft and Harry fell to me, I’d be elated. With a breakout age of 18.7 (95th percentile) and a SPARQ-x score in the 98th percentile, I believe the Patriots landed a tremendous player in N’Keal Harry. He was a top ten wide receiver recruit coming out of high school, and his college career only buoyed that evaluation. The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to have not drafted a wide receiver in the first round since 2000. Their investment shows how the Patriots and Bill Belichick feel about Harry’s potential, and with 204 vacated targets from a year ago, you should draft him with confidence.

1.04 T.J. Hockenson (TE – Detroit Lions)

Pick Made by Nathan Bourque (@DynstyDadStache)

After I finished lamenting the fact that I was ONE pick away from landing N’Keal Harry, this actually wasn’t that hard of a pick. To me, this year’s draft is uniquely shaped towards safety being the rarity instead of upside. There are a lot of first-round players with upside but to me only three that I feel safe about taking as my #1 rookie addition. Hockenson’s weakest athletic score was in the 74th percentile, college dominator in the 74th percentile, college yards per reception in the 80th percentile (all while there was another 1st round tight end starting next to him), that’s about as safe as it gets my friends. In a risky draft, I’m going for talent, and TJ has plenty of that.

1.05 DK Metcalf (WR – Seattle Seahawks) 

Pick Made by David Zach (@DavidZach16)

I am always partial to wide receivers in rookie drafts, as their shelf life lasts the longest as far as fantasy production goes when compared to other skill positions. I went with Metcalf with full understanding that there was nothing flashy about his college production stat lines with a per-game Market Share of 23% and a per-game Dominator Rating of 25%, both of which are very average. I took him because of his potential upside based on his physical traits and fantastic opportunity in Seattle. Metcalf is a physical specimen that was on full display at the combine. Posting a 4.33 40-yard dash at 228 pounds is absolutely bonkers. Sprinkle in his 40” vertical, 6’3” height, large hands, and long arms and it’s almost scary. The Seahawks top two receivers are Tyler Lockett and David Moore. These are not elite producing WRs if you didn’t already know and Lockett’s fantasy points last year were heavily inflated by his unsustainable 17.5% TD per reception rate. Factor in Doug Baldwin’s departure leaving 73 targets up for grabs, and there is little in the way of Metcalf contributing from Day 1 in this offense with the potential to become their WR1 very quickly.

1.06 David Montgomery (RB – Chicago Bears)

Pick Made by Justin Peek (@JPeekFF)

The running back out of Iowa State will have an excellent opportunity with the Bears for the early-down work if he can beat out journeyman Mike Davis for the role but, is not likely to take many 3rd down touches from Tarik Cohen. Montgomery only ran a 4.63 40 at the combine but improved that to 4.57 at his pro day. His most significant trait is his elusiveness, as he was first in this class in forcing missed tackles, with 185 the last two seasons in college (per PFF). He likely isn’t getting to the perimeter often, but at 5’10” and 222 lbs he does have the balance and elusiveness to get to the second level. While his career may be shorter than the wide receivers I might have considered here, he should develop more quickly, and give dynasty owners a glimpse into what they have much earlier. Montgomery also showed good receiving ability in college, so while he likely won’t compete with Cohen for third-down work, he can still get a couple of targets on early downs a game, helping his PPR upside. The Bears also traded up to get him, which has a positive correlation with success.

1.07 Parris Campbell (WR – Indianapolis Colts)

Pick Made by Will Patty (@Willane935)

Full disclosure I’m going to be splitting hairs here because I have Parris Campbell and Deebo Samuel essentially even in my rankings. I give the nod here to Campbell for a few reasons. First, Parris Campbell only just turned 21 in July, meanwhile, Deebo Samuel turned 23 in January. Deebo Samuel will be 24 before his first NFL season is over. Second, I give Parris Campbell a slight edge on the situation. He is going to be playing in a dome with a young star quarterback. He only has to beat out a converted tight end Devin Funchess, who is on a one-year contract, Jack Doyle who will likely get his share, and Eric Ebron who is more of a red-zone threat, for a legitimate target share year one. I feel like I have to mention here that they traded up to get him, and are already gushing over the different ways they want to use him. Deebo Samuel has a tougher path year one. He has Jimmy Garapolo who is relatively unproven still and coming off an injury that generally causes quarterbacks to get off to a slow start the following year. He also has an emerging Dante Pettis, who this organization also spent a high pick on, George Kittle, and a slew of pass-catching backs to contend with for target share. Deebo Samuel is also currently injured and missing valuable offseason time in a system that is notoriously difficult to learn. Like with the 1.02 the real separator for me is who I think is going to be less attainable at the end of the year. I think Campbell has a better start and a slightly brighter future. That being said, I am going to hound the Samuel owner at the end of the season to see if I can get them to sell.

1.08 Deebo Samuel (WR – San Francisco 49ers)

Pick Made by Tyler Grzegorek (@tyler_grez)

Deebo Samuel has the opportunity to be one of the biggest sleepers in this draft class. After a successful career at the University of South Carolina, the 2nd round pick should immediately be thrust into a significant role within the San Francisco offense. Samuel has the ability to line-up all over the line of scrimmage and be a “gadget” player for Kyle Shanahan. In an offense that thrives off of pre-snap movement and creating mismatches, this can only bode well for Samuel. 

Samuel has sure hands, so I expect him to make the most of the targets and opportunities he’s given. He’s got the size to be relevant in the red zone, a place where the targets have predominantly belonged to tight end George Kittle. None of Samuel’s testing numbers are going to really wow anyone, but he was solid across the board with a 27.2% dominator rating, an 85th percentile SPARQ score, and a 47th percentile breakout age of 20.6. Samuel should look to be a contributor in this offense from day 1 and competing for targets with breakout candidate Dante Pettis and speedster Marquise Goodwin. With his ability to be relevant in the red zone, Samuel should have a more viable, consistent fantasy career over the names just mentioned. 

1.09 Noah Fant (TE – Denver Broncos)

Pick Made by Nathan Bourque (@DynstyDadStache)

I could almost write the same opinion about Fant that I wrote about Hockenson, oh wait except Fant’s data is even better. His lowest athletic score is in the 96th PERCENTILE! College dominator? Even higher than Hockenson at 82nd percentile. Unless you’re avoiding tight ends (which you shouldn’t; always draft for talent, not position) you should have no worries. Draft Fant, as early as you want. I’ve got him behind only N’Keal Harry and TJ Hockenson as the safest picks in the first round. I only gave Hock the nod ahead of Fant because he was able to take the starting job from Fant while at Iowa (which technically is questionable when you look at their college dominator scores). Could Fant’s early career be stifled by landing spot? Sure. But, that sure sounds awful close the situation a certain dynasty darling TE found himself in (see Kittle, George).

1.10 AJ Brown (WR – Tennessee Titans)

Pick Made by Keith Ensminger (@TheSmingDynasty)

Much like my previous pick of N’Keal Harry, A.J. Brown comes with elite college production, leading the SEC by gaining over 1,250 yards in both 2017 and 2018. Built like a running back, he averaged 8.7 and 7.0 yards after the catch in those seasons, and his forty-yard dash (4.49) put to rest any concerns about his speed. Drafting rookies in dynasty is not only about production but also about value, both near-term and future. Many lowered Brown on their draft boards due to landing with the Titans. Should Brown have a breakout rookie season, great! However, should he not, his relative lack of success will almost certainly be tied to his team’s poor quarterback play. If the Titans bring in a new quarterback in 2020, Brown’s value will likely remain steady. As an example, Christian Kirk was drafted in this range of rookie drafts at this time last year, coming in at 66th in June 2018 ADP. Despite posting a pedestrian 43-590-3 line as a rookie and the team bringing in multiple players at his position, Kirk’s June 2019 ADP fell only to 80th. The player and his position are worth the value and the potential production at this spot.

1.11 JJ Arcega-Whiteside (WR – Philadelphia Eagles)

Pick Made by David Zach (@DavidZach16)

My patience paid off and I was able to land JJAW with the 11th overall pick. I recently did an article that correlates college production, physical traits, and NFL situation into a measurable fantasy prediction of rookie WRs found here. JJ was the second-highest rated WR only to N’Keal Harry!  With a hopefully healthy Carson Wentz to grow in chemistry with for the foreseeable future, he might not have the year one impact some would like due to wide receiver competition but his talent will likely win out down the road. His massive, class-leading per game dominator rating of 37% stands out like a giant among mice and has a strong correlation to future success in the NFL. I consider him a steal even at pick eleven. 

1.12 Marquise Brown (WR – Baltimore Ravens)

Pick Made by Justin Peek (@JPeekFF)

This pick was less due to his metrics, and much more due to his draft capital. “Hollywood” is a speedster, and while he didn’t get to run at the combine due to a foot injury, he likely would have posted one of the best times there at any position, so his metrics are still respectable. He had back-to-back 1000-yard seasons, 11 catches of 40+ yards in 2018, and 17.6 yards per reception at Oklahoma. Going in the first round should afford him plenty of chances with the Ravens as well, to prove why they drafted him so high. When Lamar Jackson is scrambling, expect “Hollywood” to find ways to get open and be the target to lean on, much like Jaylen Smith was for Jackson at Louisville.

Round one is in the books. Where were we to high or too low on your favorite player? The next article will have rounds two and three, and we will close with rounds four and five. Which new guy had the best draft? Who needs to make better use of his #NerdHerd membership? Follow the guys on twitter and let them know.

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