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NFL Draft 2018: Rookie Dynasty Winners

The NFL draft is a wonderful time. Rookie fever is in full swing. Hot takes are flying off on twitter every day. Analysts and scouts’ brains are fried from watching tape. Biases are formed and emotions are at an all-time high. It truly is a wonderful time for the NFL and for dynasty owners. The only problem is we live in a world where everything tends to balance out. To quote my dear old friend Sir Issac Newton’s Third Law of Physics:

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”

Now Newton was a very bright man, who is famous for being hit in the head with an apple and discovering gravity, but even still this can apply to dynasty owners everywhere.

Now that the NFL draft has unfolded there will be a litany of heated debates over who has the best landing spots for dynasty owners and who will have the greatest fantasy impact for this season and beyond. These are all the guys you have been pumping up all year long that have been slipping down draft boards and are finally getting some of the respect they deserve. This is about draft capital and what teams were willing to spend on some of your favorite prospects. How it will these players impact the team both in the short and long term. This article will showcase all of my favorite landing spots for prospects from the 2018 NFL draft and I will dive into how soon I would expect production as well as the challenges the player may face despite being in a good spot. Like I began, every action has a reaction and the other players get paid too. Nothing is for sure but to quote Kevin Garnett, “Anything is Possibleeeeeeeee!!!!”.

 

Baker Mayfield, QB Cleveland Browns

Baker freakin’ Mayfield the number 1 overall selection in the 2018 NFL draft. What a FANTASTIC spot for any rookie quarterback to come in to. People are going to say “Oh but its Cleveland, they still suck,”. They have not had a quarterback as promising as Baker Mayfield. Last year, they drafted Deshone Kizer, and you saw what happened. Tons of interceptions, very inaccurate, but had the ability to make some pretty spectacular plays at times. You just didn’t really care because of all the mental mistakes he made. Baker Mayfield is a much better quarterback. He’s way more accurate, a much better reader of coverages, not going to make as many mental mistakes and will throw the ball away if need be. Baker is a quarterback who really had to earn everything he’s been given and I am a firm believer that it will continue to work just as hard in the NFL. At the end of the day, it ultimately comes down to what does he have around him. He’s got a stable of three running backs in Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson and Nick Chubb. A respectable offensive line even with the departure of Joe Thomas. He has Flash Gordon on the outside preparing to play his first full season since 2014 and arguably one of the most talented receivers in the league. Corey Coleman who has underperformed due to injury and the incoming talent of Antonio Callaway as long as he can stay on the field. He was a first-round talent but slipped because of off the field issues. He got the all-time leader in receptions for a player in their first 4 seasons in Jarvis Landry, who is the ultimate safety net and a freakishly athletic tight end in Davis Njoku. Baker Mayfield has all the talent in the world to succeed and the pieces on his current roster that are very promising. He’s the QB1 in my opinion, I like the others a lot but Baker has a lot more around him than the other guys do as it stands right now.

 

DJ Moore WR, Carolina Panthers

DJ Moore was probably the consensus WR1 amongst this rookie class in the dynasty community. Whether you are a Ridley truther, a Sutton truther, a Washington truther, Moore was probably 2nd or 3rd on your board no matter what because of his, breakout age, production profile, combine, tape, it was all excellent and all backed up in the metrics. To further raise his stock he was the first WR taken in the 2018 NFL draft to the Carolina Panthers. There were some analysts who said some teams didn’t even believe there were any receivers with a first-round grade to them. The best part about the NFL is it only takes one team to fall in love with you, and there is a lot to love with DJ Moore. He should be an immediate contributor for a team, with an ESTABLISHED quarterback, with a chance to hopefully solidify himself by the end of this year as the WR1 in Carolina. Year 2 he will be the guy, who is a target monster, with very high draft capital and worth the investment of a mid-round rookie pick because the fit is really good.

 

Calvin Ridley WR, Atlanta Falcons

 THE SOUTH IS HOT BOY. The Atlanta Falcons followed suit after the Panthers and grabbed the only other receiver that was worthy of a first round pick. The route running machine Calvin Ridley. Ridley has been my WR1 all season, and I absolutely love this spot. He will have the chance to learn and grow into a bigger position his first couple years in the NFL behind one of the best receivers in the league, Julio Jones. He is playing with a QB who just got a massive 5 year contract extension meaning they will be together for at least the length of his rookie contract which is another factor that will help him become a great player in the NFL. Having consistent great quarterback play can mean a lot for a players development. He should provide decent value year 1 and may even start the year as the WR2/3 increasing his snaps as the year goes on. It definitely also helps that they have the fantastic RB tandem of Devante Freeman and Tevin Coleman to keep the defence honest. He will have to work on his release against press coverage. If he can improve that he will have most of the tools to become a very valuable dynasty asset. He is definitely worth a mid 1st for dynasty owners, even though he may not have the immediate impact of some of the running backs.

 

Christian Kirk WR, Arizona Cardinals

 Kirk was drafted in the 2nd round and he went to another great spot to be paired with Josh Rosen and become the team’s future slot receiver who will likely be a high-volume target guy once Larry Fitzgerald finally hangs it up. Until then, you have a player who is very explosive, runs sound routes and can gain extra yardage in the open field. All while learning from a first ballot hall of fame wide receiver in an offence that is in complete turnover with a fresh coaching staff, and David Johnson as the only long-term piece. It seems with Kirk and Rosen being the first draft picks of this new regime in Arizona they are looking to bolster this offensive attack and I am a firm believer in Kirk long term value. I project him to have a large target share out of the slot, but may take a year or two until they give him the keys. It is also just as likely he is the slot guy right out of the gate and catches 60-70 passes from Bradford/Rosen because there isn’t a lot of talent behind Larry and as it stands right now. Definitely worth a late 1st/early 2nd for a contender or rebuilder who could get a great future WR2 in PPR if he lives up to his potential in the desert.

 

Mike Gesicki TE, Miami Dolphins

Mike Gesicki is going to be a BEAST. He landed in probably one of the best spots for a TE especially compared to the likes of Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst and Dallas Goedert. With the departure of Jarvis Landry and no real established tight end in Miami, this makes for a very nice fit for fantasy purposes and could make Gesicki an earlier contributor then expected for a typical tight end. He should compete for the starting job day 1 and with all that athleticism I would not be shocked at all if he ended up winning the job in the middle of the year, or at least flashed often despite being on a limited snap count and not a lot of targets. This is one of those picks that is just a fabulous fit. For me personally wasn’t all that high on Gesicki, the combine and the tape just didn’t really match up well, but you just have to take notice when a team like the dolphins with such a desperate need at tight end takes a very promising one. Losing Jarvis Landry who was targeted over 160 times in 2 of the past 3 seasons is a lot to spread around to the rest of the guys old or new. There will be a lot of work to go around for dolphins pass catchers and I wouldn’t be surprised if Gesicki caught 30-40 passes this year in limited snaps like Hunter Henry’s rookie year maybe without the 8 touchdowns. He has a lot of potential and is in a very good spot to see a solid target share. Draft with confidence early to middle 2nd of your rookie drafts.

 

Rashaad Penny RB, Seattle Seahawks

 

This was probably one of the more stunning selection in the draft at least for the first round was the pick of Rashaad Penny to the Seattle Seahawks. A team with really no offensive line and Penny is not a good pass blocker so it won’t do Russel Wilson a lot of good. There are two reasons why it is great for Penny to be a Seahawk. Firstly, the Seahawks had a horrible running game last year and they have admitted wanting to get back to that run first type of offense they had with Marshawn lynch. They drafted the best in-line blocking TE in the draft to help with their offensive line woes. Secondly, this is a great for Penny is simply because of draft capital. Many at least in the dynasty viewed Penny as a day 2 asset because of his competition, despite his stellar production profile. The truth came out during the draft that even after the selection there was reports of multiple teams trying to trade for Penny after the Seahawks drafted him. That goes to show how much confidence not only the Seahawks have in him but other teams as well. Penny is a plug and play guy and will be an instant producer for your dynasty squad. Draft at the 1.02-1.04 at the latest in 1QB leagues because he will be the guy and that’s what he was drafted to be.

 

Royce Freeman RB, Denver Broncos

Royce was another back drafted on day 2 in the third round and will instantly compete for the lead running back position in Denver where they will be running the ball a lot. With the departure of CJ Anderson, Freeman is absolutely in play to be the locked and loaded three down back if he can beat out booker in the preseason. He was a highly productive player in college and broke out very early in his freshman season. Many are hoping he can repeat that in the NFL and be an instant fantasy producer for dynasty owners. He should be going in the mid 1st of rookie drafts in most cases. I personally have him a little lower as I have a little less faith in him being the starter on day 1 ahead of booker but definitely still worth a middle round pick because the opportunity will be there.

 

Sony Michel RB, New England Patriots

As a Patriots fan, this will be 100% unbiased analysis but I absolutely love this spot for Michel. Bill is finally deciding he is going to give Tom Brady a break and put a stud running back in the backfield to help carry the load. He may not be a full workhorse as far as an every down back goes, but that has never been his situation. I trust that Bill will maximize his talent as a runner and a pass catcher. Bill does not invest 1st round picks in offensive players unless he knows they will be worth the investment. That’s very high draft capital to invest in a position he’s been picking up for nothing since 2014 when he last drafted running back, James White. He was also able to draft an offensive lineman in the first round, Isiah Wynn, who was Michel’s roommate in college. I am very excited to see how he will be used and I believe he will be a guy who could easily score double digit touchdowns with 1000 all-purpose yards. Seems more then doable for a high-flying offence that is a “RBBC” to many but I wouldn’t count on seeing that as much this season as long as Michel can digest the playbook and learn everything it takes to be an every week starter for the Patriots. Michel should be locked in you 1.02-1.04 range and please don’t allow him to fall any lower, you will absolutely regret it by passing on him for a wide receiver or a lesser running back than Penny or Chubb.

 

Ronald Jones II RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 RJII found himself landing in one of the best spots amongst the rookie running backs with high capital going in the 2nd round and having virtually zero competition ahead of him and he may even likely open training camp as the lead running back. He has all the opportunity in the world to be the lead dog on an improved offensive line. The Buccaneers really need to run the ball to have a more balanced attack and provide some relief for Jameis Winston. It will relax the pass rush headed his way on every play if Jones can run the ball effectively. Jones is an electric runner who made many very explosive plays in college and should be able to provide a spark to the Bucs this season. Many people are much higher on Jones then I am but his spot is really, really good and he should provide some immediate value as long as he can take the hits of being a starting running back in the NFL. There fewer concerns about him as a runner and more so can he develop as a pass catcher to have true 3 down value. Initially, that is unlikely but I wouldn’t say it’s impossible for him to be serviceable in the pass game.

 

Dante Pettis WR, San Francisco 49ers

The punt return king with the most punt return touchdowns in all of FBS history got drafted in the 2nd round…. Whaaaaat? I will be very honest I expected him to be drafted as a 3rd round pick at the absolute earliest. For any of you who read my article on Pettis, you all know how I feel about him already and I projected him late second at that time. He is very polished as a route runner and explosive but to be drafted ahead of the likes of Miller, Gallup, Washington, Chark, that just does not make any sense to me. Pettis went to a fantastic situation. As probably the WR2/3 for the 49ers going into the season, but even still I was hesitant to upgrade where I had him simply because I wasn’t convinced that the capital meant more than the talent gap. Kyle Shanahan will absolutely have a plan for Pettis and that’s enough of a reason to try and grab a couple of shares just in case he does become a great dynasty asset. I still personally am not sold on his current projected ADP as what it should be, but I am very interested to see how it all plays out. Draft him in the mid 2nd just because this offence is going to score a lot of points and Pettis will likely be a large part of that.

 

Anthony Miller WR, Chicago Bears

 

Anthony Miller is probably one of my favourite guys based off his draft slot. He is going to be one of Mitchell Trubisky’s best friends in the slot and could be one of the most productive rookies of this WR class. His route running ability and potential to snag balls out of the slot on day 1 of the NFL season he might have the best rookie season out of everyone. Miller being a walk on in college shows the work he put in to become the player he is today and his final 2-year production profile is absolutely bonkers. He’s a technician with his route running and gets tons of separation. He will be a huge part of the absolute overhaul to the Chicago Bears passing attack and with Matt Nagy, at the helm, I definitely believe he has a plan for miller by him being selected in the 2nd round and would consider him in the late 1st of rookie drafts. Separation is key in transitioning from college to the NFL and Miller is more then capable of generating plenty

 

DJ Chark WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Chark is another LSU wide receiver to come out of college with a limited productions profile but with a ton of raw talent and could be an absolute steal in rookie drafts this year. Currently mocks have him being drafted in the late 2nd/early 3rd and that is just too low for me. What you have to understand is that Chark is being drafted to literally the exact same situation he was in with LSU except he will have a better quarterback, who will likely throw for much more yardage and more touchdowns then he saw at LSU. He is playing with his old teammate Leonard Fournette and will be the weapon they need who can absolutely blow the top off the defence on play action with his game breaking speed and size combination. His role may not change compared to his roles at LSU and he averaging 21 yards a reception in college. So he plays that role and understand it very well. I believe he will grow as a route runner over time but initially, he will be used as a deep threat while competing for targets with Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook. With his 2nd round draft capital and athleticism, he could easily be the WR1 for the Jaguars by years end and will be worth a lot more than he is currently being drafted at. I evaluate him as early to mid 2nd because while he has a lot of work to do I feel his opportunity is worth a bit of risk in the 2nd round.

 

Derrius Guice RB, Washington Redskins

 

After falling nearly a whole round later than people had expected for Guice he finally was taken by the Washington Redskins, a team in desperate need for a power running back and Guice is that and then some. He is a violent runner that will provide some toughness to a rushing attack that was in shambles last season due to injury. Many have questions what to make of this after he feel so far in drafts, being passed up by the presumed suitor, the Indianapolis Colts. They did not want Guice after reports surfaced about some character issues and some potential future reports that could come out later and really hurt him. Dynasty owners should be as worried about these reports as they might have just been a smokescreen. Guice has great upside but wont be a three down back because Chris Thompson will be back. Thompson was highly productive in that role this year before a broke ankle ended his season.  Draft Guice early if you are a big believer but I would probably stick him in the 1.04-1.06 range personally just because he doesn’t appear to have any three down upside.

 

Michael Gallup WR, Dallas Cowboys

 Michael Gallup is another guy who I recently profiled for the nerds and he has a lot going for him. Being a product of junior college he is a slightly older prospect but when at Colorado State had a ridiculous market share and production profile. This is one of the things people look for in future studs at the next level. Can they handle that workload to be THE GUY or are they more of an accessory piece. Gallup is now a cowboy and with the 3rd round capital it is likely assumed he will come in at least compete for the WR1 role and I personally think he could win it. He tracks the ball so well down field and is very successful in almost all routes. I am a big fan of Allen Hurns but his time of being the guy is up and Gallup has the fight to be the man in Dallas and really become a valuable asset in dynasty. This is one of the best landing spots as far as opportunity for a wide receiver and I hope Gallup can take full advantage. I would draft him in the later part of the 1st round with confidence, even for a contender there is a small chance he is able to produce as a flex option immediately and be a matchup play even as a rookie. I am praying for a big breakout for Gallup even with his suspect quarterback play, but he is used to that from his days at Colorado State.

 

Nyheim Hines RB, Indianapolis Colts

 Marlon Mack owners were dancing and getting all excited after day 2 and the Colts did not draft a running back in the first couple of rounds. Little did they know that one of the most electric runners was headed their way in the 4th round. Hines is going to be a really good player in the NFL and should be a third down back almost right away because he can do so much on offence. This would lead to Marlon Mack falling out of the rotation on third downs, leaving him to fight with Jordan Wilkins for work on 1st and 2nd down. It’s a great fit for any of these pass catching running backs to go a team that could use their services immediately. He will not be as under the radar as many would like but Hines will be a quality player with definite upside in PPR leagues. I’ve been early mocks where he is ending up in the middle to back of the 2nd round. That is a decent spot but I would probably take him late in the 2nd rather then in the middle

 

Honorable Mentions (Good spots that are a little crowded)

 

  • Kerryon Johnson RB, Detroit Lions

Kerryon is a player I liked a lot heading into the draft and for a guy the lions spend a 2nd round draft capital on, he’s very likely to compete for the early down carries. The big issue is that it’s very unlikely that he ever becomes a true three down back with Theo Riddick in the backfield. He has a real nose for the end zone and I really hope he can be the player I initially saw in college, but he may just end up as a 2 down back which is fine but he likely has the worst of all the good running back landing spots

 

  • Jordan Wilkins RB, Indianapolis Colts

Jordan Wilkins was a productive running back at ole miss with 1200 total yards and 10 touchdowns in his breakout senior season. He was drafted quite late but he was still drafted and will likely have an outside shot at carries for the colts. That’s why in deeper formats maybe take a flyer on him because that Colts RB position might be up for grabs during training camp.

 

  • Richie James WR, San Francisco 49ers

 Any time Kyle Shanahan gets a new WR you take notice, and you have to consider drafting that player. Richie James has an injury history but could be a highly productive gadget player for the 49ers. Knowing how creative Shanahan can be with his schemes to get his players the ball in open space

 

  • Equanimeous St. Brown WR, Green Bay Packers

 ESB was a very talented, big wide receiver that many guys liked heading into the draft and if he didn’t land in a perfect spot there is no way he would have made this list. He was a 6th round selection and he was the 3rd WR who was drafted by the packers in 2018 and it will be all up to him if he’s going to work hard and earn playing time. He’s could be catching passes from the best quarterback in the league but draft capital is scary bad and he may fall into irrelevancy quickly. I would consider him in the 3rd round earliest because of risk.

 

  • TreQuan Smith WR, New Orleans Saints

Smith was flying a little under the radar before the draft, but to go to the New Orleans Saints and you have to take notice of that. I am not sure how well he will fit right away, as I viewed him as a bit of raw prospect but if the Saints can bring him along he could be a great value in the middle of the 3rd round of rookie drafts as a potential third year breakout guy.

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About Jordan Richards

I am from Toronto. Ive been playing fantasy football for 10 years now and have recently took the dive into dynasty and never looked back. Im a big Pats fan and hope to support the community the way it has supported me so early in my dynasty life.