Dynasty League Football


Late Round Rookies to Target


Let’s really face reality here.

It’s easy to choose Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans in your rookie drafts. You can scour the Internet and find 1,000 different sites out there telling you to do that very thing. To take that further, it’s not hard to familiarize yourself with the likes of Brandin Cooks, Carlos Hyde or Jordan Matthews. We’ve seen these players as stars for years at their respective colleges and know just about everything we need to in order to feel comfortable with them on our beloved dynasty squads.

What gets more difficult is making those rookie picks beyond the first or even the second round. As I look through the rookie landscape, I see what most others do this year – a handful of top-end talent with players who are destined to be future pillars in dynasty leagues. What I also see are a lot of intriguing players who were drafted on day three of the NFL Draft.

My goal with this article is to reveal a few of my rookie sleepers and cover some of those players taken on Saturday that featured rounds 4-7. I’ll also throw in a few players of interest who went undrafted. While most of the owners in your dynasty leagues will be focusing on those household names from Thursday and Friday, drafts can be won or lost with our late round rookie picks. After all, finding a gem cheaply in a rookie draft can be a huge momentum shifter in a dynasty league. Plus, who doesn’t love to look extremely smart and ahead of the curve?

I’ll categorize these players taken on day three or left undrafted as “Mainstream” and “Hidden Gems.”  The “Mainstream” players are those who fell to day three, but are fairly well known in dynasty circles. The “Hidden Gems” include some players I’d be willing to use a late round rookie draft pick in hopes they hit. While most of these players will bust, some will inevitably become producers in dynasty leagues. I won’t cover every offensive player taken in the later rounds, but will instead describe those who interest me the most.

Mainstream Players

Devonta Freeman, RB ATL
Round Four, #103 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #21

Value round in a rookie draft: Late 2-3

It’s hard not to like Freeman’s landing spot. You can make a case he’s not built to be a featured back, but he runs much stronger than his 5’8″ frame would suggest. With Steven Jackson aging before our eyes and Jacquizz Rodgers showing he doesn’t really have what it takes to be more than a fill-in, the road to carries isn’t that long for Freeman.

[am4show  have=’p2;p3;p4;p5;p6;’  guest_error=’sub_message’  user_error=’sub_message’ ]

Andre Williams, RB NYG
Round Four, #113 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #31

Value round in a rookie draft: 3

If you want production, Williams would be a top ten rookie pick this year. Unfortunately, he’s pretty one dimensional as a runner and even though that dimension is pretty powerful, it limits his upside. I’m certainly not impressed with the depth chart in New York as Rashad Jennings and David Wilson aren’t exactly locks for amazing production. That being said, I won’t be taking Williams before round three in any of my rookie drafts. I’d suggest you follow suit.

Ka’Deem Carey, RB CHI
Round Four, #117 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #24

Value round in a rookie draft: 3

Carey’s value took a major nosedive this off-season as his speed and overall athletic ability were really scrutinized. Some took a player we believed to be a multi-talented athlete and turned him into a “system player” based on their research. Carey is likely somewhere in between that amazing player and a product of Rich Rodriguez. Chicago wasn’t exactly the best landing spot for him, but I still wouldn’t let him slip past me in round three.

Martavis Bryant, WR PIT
Round Four, #118 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #28

Value round in a rookie draft: 3

Bryant and Jarvis Landry are two of my favorite value picks in rookie drafts this year. Both were overshadowed by their highly regarded teammates (Odell Beckham and Sammy Watkins, respectively), but Bryant has talent and could be the big receiver the Steelers have been looking for. He seems likely to fall in rookie drafts and I’d love to have him in round three or four.

De’Anthony Thomas, RB KC
Round Four, #124 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: Unranked

Value round in a rookie draft: Post-draft FA pickup

I put Thomas on this list for those who may be fooled by his inflated stats and previously highly regarded stature. Thomas projects as nothing more than Dexter McCluster at the next level and that, frankly, isn’t very exciting. Don’t be the one fooled by name recognition here. I won’t be putting Thomas on my roster unless he really tears things up this Summer.

Jared Abbrederis, WR GB
Round Five, #176 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #35

Value round in a rookie draft: 4

I put Abbrederis on this list of common names mostly because of how much we’ve talked him up here on DLF recently. I’m caught somewhere in the middle myself. I see other prospects I’d be more interested in when round three rolls around, but you can make a case for Abbrederis right around there. After all, the Packers have a ton of turnover at the position coming up with their contract situations coming up in the near future. The value would come in round four, though. While you have to love dreaming about him catching passes close to home from Aaron Rodgers, the Packers chose three receivers in the draft and that muddies the water. With Davante Adams and Jeff Janis in the fold, there are a lot of mouths to feed in Green Bay. Good thing they have a lot of cheese.

Lache Seastrunk, RB WAS
Round Six, #186 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #27

Value round in a rookie draft: Late 3

You’ll notice a major difference in his current DLF ranking and where I’d find value in taking Seastrunk. In short, I just don’t buy it. Many owners are going to be blown away by his stats and most of us have followed him through the years at Oregon and his recruiting scandal – we just don’t want to believe he’s going to flame out. Fact is, he’s built like a third down back, but can’t really catch. When you’re taken in round six of the NFL Draft, you’re guaranteed nothing. He’s just as likely to be put on the practice squad and disappear as he is to make a huge impact. I think he’s destined to be over drafted this year.

Storm Johnson, RB JAX
Round Seven, #222 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #26

Value round in a rookie draft: Late 3

If you take my advice and wait until the end of round three to take Johnson, you’ll probably be left holding the bag. Thing is, I think that’s just fine. While I’m not the biggest fan of Toby Gerhart, people in dynasty leagues are being way too quick to anoint Johnson as the next starting running back of the Jags. While I like him and support the notion he has a ton of talent, the cards are still stacked against him. I see him as a late round target, not an early round “sure thing.” The problem is I’m starting to be in the minority at this point. In the last three editions of the NFL Draft, the running backs taken in the seventh round were Jawan Jamison, Kerwynn Williams, Michael Cox, Michael Smith, Bryce Brown, Edwin Baker, Daryl Richardson, Da’Rel Scott, Shane Bannon, Anthony Allen, Baron Batch and Jay Finley. If you count Brown as a “hit,” you go one for twelve with that group. I’ll take my shot with someone taken a bit higher until the market corrects itself here.

Isaiah Crowell, RB CLE
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #25

Value round in a rookie draft: Late 3

Again, I see the dilemma here. Crowell has long been the “girl with the curl” when it comes to sleepers in this class, but the NFL doesn’t make too many mistakes on this front and he went undrafted for a reason. Some are targeting Crowell way too highly in my book and I see a better chance for that to be a disaster than a dream come true. Crowell has loads of talent, but he’s going into a situation with another solid rookie (Terrance West) and a newly signed free agent (Ben Tate). Crowell reminds me a ton of Da’Rick Rogers in a few ways, but both seem destined to be taken too early in most drafts. Ear;y on, Crowell was going to be the sleeper pick that made you look smart, but now he may be the one to make you look stubborn and foolish.

Hidden Gems

Logan Thomas, QB ARI
Round Four, #120 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #43

Value round in a rookie draft: 4

Thomas is a total mystery. He has the tools to be a top ten pick in this draft, but his inconsistency is maddening. If Bruce Arians can work his magic, you could have a really great value here, though. You have to like the situation here as Carson Palmer can lead the Cardinals next year as they let Thomas develop and figure out if he can be the quarterback of the future in the desert. Chances are he isn’t, but he’s worth a shot in round four.

Kevin Norwood, WR SEA
Round Four, #123 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: Unranked

Value round in a rookie draft: 5

Norwood is really flying under the radar, but he has some talent. After this weekend’s minicamp, the Seahawks were talking up Norwood and fellow rookie Paul Richardson as players who really stepped up. In my mind, any player who can produce at a fairly high level at Alabama must be polished enough to have a chance.

James White, RB NE
Round Four, #130 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #34

Value round in a rookie draft: 3

Call me crazy, but I think this just may be the best sleeper in this year’s class. White is getting very little respect after playing behind Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon, but he has skills nonetheless. He can run, catch and doesn’t fumble. Hmm. That sounds a lot like a Bill Belichick future favorite to me. Shane Vereen is still battling a wrist injury and Stevan Ridley may be running out of chances. Add in the fact they’re both in contract years and it doesn’t take a Doctor (even though we have two or three on the team) to read the tea leaves here.  I’m not sure I’ve seen a big conference running back who scored 25 rushing touchdowns over his last two years receive less attention.

Tom Savage, QB HOU
Round Four, #135 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: Unranked

Value round in a rookie draft: 5

The draft process was an odd one for Savage as he went from a relative unknown to a possible day two pick, then back to a fourth round selection. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Savage lands in a great spot with the Texans focusing their attention elsewhere in the draft. He’ll hopefully hold the clipboard for most of the year, but Bill O’Brien can really coach quarterbacks, thus Savage has a puncher’s chance here.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB BAL
Round Four, #138 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: Unranked

Value round in a rookie draft: Late 4-5

Ray Rice seems to have hit the wall. Bernard Pierce seems to have regressed. The Ravens like to run the ball and play great defense. Again, it doesn’t take doctors to figure this out. Taliaferro is a small school prospect, but he had a monster season last year and may just be a late bloomer.

Ryan Grant, WR WAS
Round Five, #142 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: Unranked

Value round in a rookie draft: 5

I’m always skeptical of coachspeak, but Grant seems to have made his mark early in Redskins camp. He won’t be high on the depth chart, but who knows when DeSean Jackson will implode again. You’re really just throwing darts at this point in a draft, so he’s worth a shot.

Aaron Murray, QB KC
Round Five, #163 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #44

Value round in a rookie draft: 5

You can’t argue with his college production and he showed great leadership playing through injuries last year. He may not “wow” you in any one area, but I think the patience of dynasty owners could be rewarded down the road here. Murray is a pro-ready prospect who isn’t unfamiliar with playing on big stages.

Zach Mettenberger, QB TEN
Round Six, #178 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #39

Value round in a rookie draft: Late 4-5

If not for a pretty sketchy off-the-field record, Mettenberger would have likely been taken much higher in the draft. He possesses everything you need in a quarterback and was reportedly very impressive at this weekend’s rookie minicamp. Jake Locker hasn’t exactly been given a ringing endorsement by the new regime in Tennessee and it won’t surprise me a bit to see Mettenberger make a start as early as this season. He may not possess QB1 upside, but we all need a solid backup on our dynasty rosters.

Alfred Blue RB HOU
Round Six, #181 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: Unranked
Value round in a rookie draft: 4

Let’s see. Arian Foster is coming off a serious injury, Ben Tate is now in Cleveland and the depth chart at running back in Houston isn’t exactly flush with talent. Blue has some warts for sure, including a checkered injury history of his own, but he’s a talented player who could really emerge with a solid Summer. His former Head Coach Les Miles says the Texans have a steal here as Blue would have been one of the SEC’s best players over the last couple of years had he not been injured. He’s no threat to Foster, but he could make the team this year – that’s enough for me to take a chance.

Robert Herron WR TB
Round Six, #185 overall
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #38
Value round in a rookie draft: Early 4

With all the power forwards (Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Austin Seferian-Jenkins) currently on the roster, someone has to play point guard. Herron could be the future in the slot and I like his chances of beating the odds and making the team.  You have to take your shots late in your rookie draft and Herron seems to fit the criteria of a well-calculated gamble.

Brandon Coleman, WR NO
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #40
Value round in a rookie draft: 4-5

If White is my favorite value pick this year, the 6’6″, 225 pound Coleman is a close second. He dropped in the draft based on concerns over his knee, but he’s being forgotten in far too many leagues right now. The Saints nailed it late with Marques Colston years ago and some think Coleman could be his eventual replacement – that’s enough for me to spend a late round pick on him.

Colt Lyerla, TE GB
Current DLF Rookie Rank: #45
Value round in a rookie draft: Early 4

At the time of this posting, Lyerla is still a free agent, but worked out with the Packers at their minicamp this weekend. Word is he was very impressive physically. In a related story, Ken Jennings is pretty smart. The problem with Lyerla has nothing to do with what he can on the field and everything with what he’s done off it. For an NFL team to look the other way when it comes to a cocaine issue, they’re really going to have to love his ability and believe he’s changed for the better. If he does end up signing with Green Bay, he represents a major boom/bust pick with value early in round four.

Damien Williams, RB MIA
Current DLF Rookie Rank: Unranked
Value round in a rookie draft: FA Pickup

I’m not quite ready to pounce on Williams, but he should be someone to keep tabs on.

Those are just some of the late round rookies who I’m keeping tabs on and constantly checking in terms of market status. Again, the chances of flameout are high here, but nailing one of these picks could make your entire dynasty season.

Good luck!


Ken Kelly
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
sean mcguigan
8 years ago

Hearing good things about John Brown cardinals WR….he seems very under the radar especially for a 3rd rounder.

8 years ago

What about Dri Archer? would his ceiling be a Darren Sproles type?

Eddy Rohrmeier
8 years ago

Thoughts on Marion Grice?

Reply to  Ken Kelly
8 years ago

The flipside of that, Mathews and Woodhead are FA’s in 2015, and Brown is an aging (27) and underwhelming RB. I’m not saying Grice is a shoe-in to be a starter next year. You are correct in pointing out that he will have to battle to work his way into the rotation this year. But should he stick, he’s got a pretty decent path to more touches next year and beyond as a well-rounded back with good hands. For a late 3rd or 4th round long-play, that’s not such a bad gamble.

Denver Schutz
8 years ago

In most rookie drafts I am participating in Bryant is going in the late 2nd.

Reply to  Ken Kelly
8 years ago

I was trying to trade back and acquire value while grabbing Bryant late. No deals became available so I took Bryant at 2.03 and have one guy who has offered the 2.10 and a 2015 2nd don’t know if I want to trade or not as this was the guy I wanted just hope for an extra late pick plus him at say the 2.09 to 2.16 range but , I think I’m just going to plant my flag on this guy.

Britton Kreiner
8 years ago

I like Paul Richardson a lot in the late 3rd. Amazing college production at 160-170 lbs. Supposedly he’s added 25 lbs and should add more for the season. Carroll loves speed, and talent at WR is pretty thin in SEA outside of Harvin, who for himself can’t even stay healthy. They drafted Richardson early 2nd round — they expect him to contribute significantly. I don’t think Carroll sees him as a borderline No. 3 receiver in SEA long-term, and that’s how he’s currently being drafted in rookie drafts, if at all.

I also like Bryant, but think he’s got decent talent to compete with in Markus Wheaton for the ‘X’ spot in Pittsburgh, and his inconsistent hands have me a bit less optimistic. I know they like him though and agree value is in Rd. 3.

As for Crowell, I loved his film along with everybody else pre-draft, and was pretty surprised that he fell. Him falling is definitely due to his head-scratching off-field record, but also to a little bit of the effort factor which plagues HS prima-donna’s these days. I do think he’s matured a lot like Da’Rick has, and am taking him late where I can get him. Upside is huge, and I’m not as sold on West as others here are (then again, can’t find any great film on him).

Storm Johnson is overrated even in the early 3rd round imo. Nice open-field moves, decent all-around skillset, but pretty injury-prone like Latavius Murray before him, and taken in the 7th round. If Crowell falling is a huge red flag, isn’t Johnson pretty close to that? Not much there. Also, I’m a big fan of Gerhart and trying to pick him up everywhere I can.

…not that anyone asked my opinion though… lol

Love the content here — keep it up! More devy stuff!

Eric Krupa
8 years ago

Devonta Freeman is going late round 1, very early round 2.

Greg Lippincott
8 years ago

What about J. Gallon in NE? Amendola is not the most durable and Edelman is nothing special. I kinda like his fit in that offense.

8 years ago

How about the WR Brown for ARZ? Another small school prospect, though he got drafted third round, so ARZ.must be high on him, no? Will he start this season as their slot WR you think?

8 years ago

Kind of an issue that while the article is intended as a baseline for getting value on rookies in the draft, almost every rookie you have mentioned is going a round or two ahead of where you have them marked as a value pick. Just to name a few it realistically looks like Freeman – late 1st, Carey – 2nd, Bryant – late 2nd, etc.

James Young
8 years ago

Please dont forget about Shaq Evans, another great flier late in drafts. Hes been an excellent big school product in a tough division and has had nothing but praise over his production. Yes, hes on the Jets, but there’s a big hole there at WR2 and Evans fits the bill as a solid possession WR2 who catches everything in traffic. If he ever becomes a starter, thats a late round steal.


neil chester
8 years ago

I prefer Qunicy ENunwa over evans. He can be picked up very late and that jets WR squad is a real crap shoot!

To Top