‘Tis the Season
The dust has settled from the 2014 NFL Draft. For a Fantasy junkie such as yourself this can only mean one thing — a whole host of new toys in new situations is ready for us to analyse and project. If you play in a Dynasty league and aren’t already drafting, you are well into your research and making plans for the picks you have and needs you have to fill.
My own league, the WACCOE Dynasty League, has recently completed it’s rookie draft. This is a 16 team league using only players on the offensive side of the ball. The rosters are 20 deep and the standard is very high. Every player is knowledgeable and never misses a beat when it comes to talent evaluation and player opportunity. It’s the kind of league in which a back up’s back up will be owned!
We conduct our Rookie draft through a forum, and we all give sound reasoning and information to back up our selections. I thought it would be a useful exercise to share some of that information with you guys here at Fake Pigskin to help with your own rookie drafts. Compare this to other drafts when looking at ADP and who is going where. I’ll preface this by saying that after the first 7 or 8 picks, I don’t think any player is a reach. I’ve heard and read a few things in the mainstream Fantasy media that are pretty negative about the Fantasy prospects of this draft class. Personally, I think there is a lot of talent but some of it ended up in less than ideal situations. I’d wager that come season’s end, some of this class will become premium Dynasty assets. It’s a case of doing the research, being brave, and trusting your gut.
Off to the Races
1.01 Novena Brawlers select Bishop Sankey |RB| Titans
Honestly, i think Mike Evans is the clear 1.01 in Rookie drafts this off season, but this is a league where backs are at a premium and Sankey clearly has the best opportunity to be an instant Fantasy contributor in this class with no clear starter on the Titans roster.
Brawlers GM Rich said, “Perhaps a bit of a risk with the 1.01 but Sankey is a top 2 (rookie) back in the best situation behind a formidable O-line.”
1.02 Singapore Seahawks select Sammy Watkins |WR| Bills
Evans stays on the board again. There is no doubting the talent of the Clemson stand out: he’s big, fast and strong and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. I just think the situation is a poor one with question marks around the quarterback in Buffalo. Watkins may be a Fantasy “slow-burner.”
Seahawks GM Nae said “Watkins is likely to be the consensus #1 pick in most dynasty leagues and is arguably the most explosive receiver to enter the league since AJ Green.”
1.03 Novena Brawlers select Mike Evans |WR| Buccaneers
The Brawlers on the clock again and after gambling on Sankey at 1.01 they must have been over the moon when Evans fell into their lap at 3. There is much to like about Evans. He’s a big and athletic wide-out in the Vincent Jackson mould. Question marks over his speed but for me he is definitely fast ENOUGH. From a Fantasy perspective, he really couldn’t have landed in a better spot with Lovie Smith in Tampa. In my opinion, he will produce from day one and was a steal with this pick.
Brawlers GM Rich said, “The second best receiver in the draft, fills a need, great landing spot and despite Buccs QB worries, Evans should be productive.”
1.04 Cork Colts select Carlos Hyde |RB| 49ers
Hyde is the second back off the board, and in my opinion, was a slight reach at 1.04. Had the Colts gone BPA they could have gotten a player with a chance of instant impact, something I don’t think Hyde can give. Hyde is locked in the driving seat to succeed Frank Gore in the Niners’ backfield, but i don’t see “the inconvenient truth” slowing down just ye. Hyde will have to beat out Marcus Lattimore and Kendall Hunter before he gets any work at all. He’s a hugely talented back and a perfect fit for the Niners, but he comes with minimal day one Fantasy value which makes him a risk this high up.
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Colts GM Gavin said, “I think there’s a good chance that Hyde can be reasonably productive in Year 1.”
1.05 Brudenell Blue Stars select Brandin Cooks |WR| Saints
This is an excellent pick at the 1.05 and a definite BPA pick for the Blue Stars. I certainly think BPA is the way to go in rookie drafts. Simply filling a need can lead to reaching for a player. Cooks was certainly not a reach here and should go in the top 5 of every rookie draft this summer. A true burner and a candidate to be that classic “joker” type player that the Saints will move around the formation, and they’ll put the ball in his hands in space. Cooks in Sean Payton’s offense is very intriguing, and i wouldn’t rule out a Cordarrelle Patterson like year 1 as he eases himself into a pro offense.
Blue Stars GM Mike said, “Cooks was too good of a player to turn down.You are putting a player with his skill set, into a pass heavy offence with a QB like Drew Brees. He also has the ability to be able to fill the Darren Sproles role out of the Saints backfield.”
1.06 Surrey Aviators select Jordan Matthews |WR| Eagles
There is a lot to love about this pick. Chip Kelly has done wonders with even mediocre receivers in his system, and i’m excited to see what Matthews can do with Nick Foles. He was excellent in the screen game at Vanderbilt, and i expect that to continue in Philly with that monstrous offensive line. This is a perfect fit for his skill set and a potential Fantasy gold mine from day 1.
Aviators GM Kev said, “I wanted him from the moment Kelly drafted him.”
*Side note – the Aviators traded into the first round to get Matthews and gave up Zac Stacy as part of the package and was a clear indication of belief in Matthews’ ability to be a Fantasy stud.
1.07 Athersley Americans select Devonta Freeman |RB| Falcons
This was my pick. I actually toyed with the idea of moving up to number 5 to get Freeman as i know from years of experience playing Fantasy with these guys that backs are at a premium. He was my number 1 target all along as soon as Atlanta drafted him. Stephen Jackson is all but done, and Jacquizz Rodgers is not the guy to pick up the job and run with it; there is a clear opportunity for Freeman to be the bell-cow here. He has all the tools to stay on the field for 3 downs. I was relieved to snag him here and thankful i didn’t give anything up to move up.
At the time of the pick i said, “He’s a perfect fit for a Koeter offense. Great pass protecter, doesn’t put the ball on the ground, great burst and fast (enough) to turn the corner and make huge plays. He has a Shane Vereen type skill set, but is thicker and can carry the full load.”
1.08 Glasgow Tigers select Eric Ebron |TE| Lions
Ebron became the first tight end off the board. I would, however, cool your Jets on him having an instant Fantasy impact. Even Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham had middling numbers as rookies. The Lions also paid Brandon Pettigrew a ton of money to stay with them and could very well be on the field more than Ebron because of his blocking skills. That being said, Ebron is that classic move tight end and actually has more of a WR body and skill set. He should easily beat out Joseph Fauria on the depth chart and get plenty of red zone attention.
Tigers GM Bman said, “I feel Ebron’s going to get a ton of looks with Stafford slinging it everywhere and can potentially start in the flex straight away.”
1.09 Aquae Sulis Cardinals select Odell Beckham Jr |WR| Giants
Nice value here at the 9th pick as “ODB” should be a force in the Giants revamped passing attack. He has the precision route running skills that the Giants lack at the position and will get open at the NFL level from year 1. It’s telling that he was the 3rd wide receiver off the NFL board. Others may be in better Fantasy situations, but based on pure talent, Beckham is right there with Watkins and Evans in my view.
Cards GM Jake said, “I can’t possibly see Eli being as bad as last year. He (Beckham) will get immediate playing time too.”
1.10 Rawdon Rabittohs select Tre Mason |RB| Rams
Well, the Zac Stacy thing was fun while it lasted. I Still think the sophomore gets the Lions share of the work in St Louis, but in my view, Mason is a better back and will eventually wrest this job. Mason has great feet and gets up the field in a flash. He consistently took advantage of the huge holes the Auburn offensive Line opened up. With a little work, he could become a real playmaker at the pro level. He needs work in the passing game and cant pass protect worth a lick, but make no mistake he is real competition for Stacy.
Rabbittohs GM Smurf said, “Had to grab him here, no way he would have been there in the mid second”
1.11 Novena Brawlers select Johnny Manziel |QB| Browns
The Brawlers is back on the clock after stock piling picks, and given the context, i just can’t hate on this pick. With Sankey and Evans already locked on his roster, why not take a flier on Johnny at this point? The top of his upside has him up there with the top mobile QBs. His penchant for scrambling out of a clean pocket worries me greatly, though, as he could get creamed at the pro level if he doesn’t improve his footwork. In short, I don’t think Manziel is worth the 1.11 in an every day situation.
Brawlers GM Rich said, “He’s boom or bust and probably more the latter but the brawlers are the kind of ballsy franchise that they had to go and get their man.”
1.12 Cork Colts select Jeremy Hill |RB| Bengals
A guy i considered with my own pick at 1.07, this is a bit of a steal for the Colts considering they also have Carlos Hyde in the bag with their earlier pick. Hill is a huge upgrade on incumbent power back BenJarvus Green Ellis and should be on the field from day 1 for the Bengals. I see this selection as a boost for Giovanni Bernard more than a detriment. Gio would be an injury waiting to happen if he was shouldering the entire load. Hill will make enough of an impact to be relevant, and Bernard can do a lot with a little. This is one committee that you do want to own a piece of.
Colts GM Gavin said, “I Want to keep improving my RB depth, so it’s a toss of a coin here between Hill and (Terrence) West. I Have no great reason for picking one over the other. My gut is telling me to pick Hill as he’s going to a better team so I’ll do just that.”
1.13 Bristol Lampshades select Terrence West |RB| Browns
I really cant get a handle on West’s value; he is a very talented runner. In a better situation, he would have been much higher on this draft board. I believe in Ben Tate’s talent; a combination of injuries and Arian Foster stopped Tate from showcasing his talent in Houston. If he can stay on the field in Cleveland he can be a fantasy star. West is insurance at this point, but in Kyle Shanahan’s run heavy attack that made Alfred Morris a star, he is very intriguing down the line.
Lampshades GM said, “I don’t know if “injury prone” is a real thing, but if it is then Ben Tate is it. West will help him shoulder the load either way.”
1.14 Cameron Boilermakers select Davante Adams |WR| Green Bay Packers
This is the steal of the first round for me. Adams is a perfect fit for Green Bay as a sure-handed possession receiver with insane after the catch skills. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are in their contract years and the Pack went WR heavy in this draft for that very reason. Adams has the skills to become a primary option in this attack in very short order, and with Aaron Rodgers pulling the trigger, you have to love that.
Boilermakers GM said, “Hard to go wrong with a young WR and Aaron Rodgers.”
1.15 Leeds Jets select Allen Robinson |WR| Jaguars
It’s a little surprising that Robinson went off the board before new teammate Marqise Lee. Lee is the more talented of the 2 in my opinion and has Watkins/Evans type upside when he gets back on track. That being said, Robinson is an intriguing prospect at 1.15 as a big bodied guy with great leaping ability. He could be polished into someone with a Demaryius Thomas skill set down the line. Initially, though, he is going to be a developmental project on your Dynasty team.
1.16 Garforth Bears select Kelvin Benjamin |WR| Panthers
A no brainer here — I’ve seen him go much higher in rookie drafts even though Benjamin comes with risk. He’s a receiver trapped in a tight end’s body. With only one season of real College production to his name, there are definite question marks. That being said, prior to drafting Benjamin the Panthers’ top wide-out was Jericho Cottchery, so Benjamin is certain to garner plenty of targets. Cam Newton can certainly put the ball where only Benjamin can get it. Volume is the key here. As raw a prospect as Benjamin is, he will be force fed the Football early and often.
Bears GM said, “He maybe a little raw but this pick may give’s me some leverage in the trading market.”
I hope this dynasty rookie draft reality piece has served as interesting insight into where players are being selected and why GM’s believe their guys were worth those precious first round picks. Check back soon for a look at rounds 2 and 3, and good luck to you guys when you are on the clock in your leagues.
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