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FFPC High Stakes Rookie Draft Review #1

Draft LogoWelcome to our first installment of our 2015 FFPC draft coverage!

DLF and the FFPC are new partners for 2015 and, as such, we’ll be covering a number of rookie and maiden dynasty drafts to be used as another source of reference for your own drafts. The thought here is that the “high stakes” label brings with it a higher degree of fantasy coaching experience and performance.  These coaches are putting serious money on the line with the hope of greater payouts at the end of the rainbow and you can bet that most coaches put a lot of work and research into each selection.  With some FFPC dynasty leagues requiring up to a $2,500 entry fee each year, there’s no room for mistakes.

This review is a $500 12-team rookie/free agent draft.  Standard scoring Point Per Reception (PPR) format with the exception that tight ends receive 1.5 PPR.  Passing touchdowns are worth the standard four points while rushing and receiving touchdowns bring six points each.

For review purposes I will be covering the first three rounds of this draft as rounds four and beyond saw primarily non-rookie free agents.  Notable rookies selected beyond round three will be notated following the primary round reviews.  Each pick will be listed along with some thoughts about the selection.  Following each round will be a short review of the round in addition to my assessment of best value and biggest reach.

If you’re ready to step up to the most serious competition on the planet, we highly suggest you check out the FFPC Dynasty Games!

Let’s dive in!

Round One

1.01  Todd Gurley, RB STL

No surprise here with this pick.  While Gurley’s ACL does increase the risk factor, his youth combined with sheer upside is just to great to pass up.  Most experts agree that Gurley is the highest rated running back coming out since Adrian Peterson.  The ACL injury does give coaches sitting at 1.02 some hope that he could fall.

1.02  Amari Cooper, WR OAK

Again, no surprise.  Gurley and Cooper figure to go one and two in probably 80%-90% of rookie drafts.  The Oakland passing attack is badly in need of weapons but Derek Carr has a live arm, at least enough so that this situation shouldn’t be seen as a black hole for Cooper.  I believe you can pencil him in for 80 receptions and 1,200 yards in his first year.  The over-under on touchdowns scored in his maiden year is six in my book.

1.03  Kevin White, WR CHI

I can’t call a selection of White or Melvin Gordon here a surprise.  I have White rated more highly on my board but this pick will come down to team need in all likelihood as both are premium players within their position.  White’s upside is immense but he brings to the NFL a single year of production.  He’s long, explosive and knows how to win deep and in traffic.  He’s a nice “get” at 1.03.

1.04  Melvin Gordon, RB SD

In my book, 1.04 makes for the easiest selection in the draft as you simply take whoever falls.  This could be said about the 1.02 if not for the fact that many still prefer White over Cooper.  Gordon never produced materially in the passing game but I expect no issues here.  That said, the Chargers still employ Danny Woodhead, Donald Brown and Brandon Oliver.  Will there be enough balls to go around?

1.05  DeVante Parker, WR MIA

This draft is unfolding as I expected through the first five picks and I expect most will.  I have Parker very close to White in talent, ability and upside.  Truth be told, I won’t be the least bit surprised if Parker puts together the best career of any of the 2015 rookie receivers.  He’s got elite leaping ability and high points the ball as well as any receiver I’ve ever researched.  He’s not elite in physicality traits but with his catch radius, nor does he need to be.  I’m nervous about the pairing with Ryan Tannehill.  Time will tell.

1.06  T.J. Yeldon, RB JAX

The 1.06 is where things should get interesting.  I expect you could see one of five different players selected at this point in the first round.  In my rankings, Yeldon is the next best running back and while I see him as a bit of a reach at 1.06, I will grant a pass to any selecting coach that needs running back help.  Yeldon has very nifty short-area footwork and the vision to make second-level defenders pay.  He won’t run away from many but he did improve his 40 time to the 4.52 at his pro day.  If he can prove that his late collegiate career fade was an anomaly, he’ll be a steal here in the middle of the first round.  He reminds me a lot of Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell.

1.07  Nelson Agholor, WR PHI

This pick will be a dangerous pick in most drafts but one that also holds much promise.  I prefer another player here as Agholor reminds me far too much of fellow USA alumns Robert Woods and Marqise Lee.  Both Woods and Lee have shown some ability but I hesitate to believe that they’ll ever become top names at the position.  If you’re drafting Agholor, it’s because you believe he’s a great fit for Chip Kelly’s quick twitch system.  While this is somewhat true, I’m not ready to bank on a 6′ receiver in a system that spreads the ball around.  But nor will I be completely surprised if Agholor doesn’t prove out to be a solid WR3 with upside.

1.08  Tevin Coleman, RB ATL

Pick your favorite RB3 in this year’s draft, Yeldon or Coleman.  While I prefer Yeldon, Coleman was my RB3 in 2015 until late into my rookie review following the NFL Draft.  Coleman’s is lightning quick with his shoulders squared and he possesses enough wiggle to split defenders.  He offers little to no tackle breaking ability and his vision is only satisfactory.  In the NFL where backs must learn to navigate through trash, I do have concerns about a stiff-hipped runner – even one with elite speed.  I don’t fault a pick of him at 1.08, however.

1.09  Breshad Perriman, WR BAL

I like Perriman at the 1.06 selection in the first round without a dire need at running back.  Perriman brings flags with him in the way of consistent hands, but his size and speed remind me a lot of Julio Jones.  Additionally, receiving passes from Joe Flacco, who throws the prettiest deep ball in the NFL, should raise his stock.  Perriman will slip into Torrey Smith’s old role on the outside and should offer more play-making ability.  He’s a nice value selection here at 1.09.

1.10  Ameer Abdullah, RB DET

I truly don’t know what to make of Abdullah.  At 1.10 he’s got great upside but the NFL suggests that he’ll be no more than a role-playing running back.  He’ll have substantially higher value in PPR drafts (as this one is) but I’m still hesitant to take him any higher than this selection.   I should note that I’m one in a minority of draft analysts that just isn’t high on Abdullah in the NFL.  He’s got terrific character, however, and it will be easy to root for him.

1.11  Maxx Williams, TE BAL

“Dos Equis” is a player rising on many boards and for good reason.  Rookie tight ends can take a notoriously long time to produce in the NFL but find one that falls to a good system and it can be a snowball rolling downhill.  Baltimore is the hill to the snowball that is Williams.  It’s a perfect fit for the athletic tight end.  I dislike taking tight ends in the first round of any draft but 1.11 does make for a good stab if you have need at the position.

1.12  Dorial Green-Beckham, WR TEN

Green-Beckham has more waving flags than the United Nations building.  If you can look past character assessments, what you’ll find is immense receiving talent, massive size and speed to burn.  DGB, if possessing high character coming out of college, could well have been the first receiver chosen in this year’s draft – he’s that talented.  Instead, he falls to the second round of the NFL Draft and is scooped up by Tennessee where it looks as if he’ll have problems cracking the top three out of the gate.  This fact combined with receiving passes from rookie Marcus Mariota and there are new flags to consider.


No real issues with any player appearing the first round here.  Breshad Perriman slipped to 1.09, not completely surprising.  Green-Beckham slipping to 1.12 is surprising to me as it appears he’s been selected more highly consistently in other drafts.  Recall that this is a high stakes league and the last thing you want to occur is for your newest rookie to find himself out of the league faster than you can say Justin Blackmon.

Best Value:  Dorial Green-Beckham

His upside is just too high to be anything other than excited to land him with the last pick in the first round.

Biggest Reach:  Nelson Agolor

I truly don’t have a problem with this selection but I have to pick one of twelve and his skill set combined with his high selection just screams “danger” to me.  I much prefer him at the 1.10 selection.

Round Two

2.01  Josh Hill, TE NO

Recall this is a rookie/free agent draft.  Hill has fallen into a valuable starting position in a system that utilizes the tight end well.  Whether this is due to the fact that the position was held by other-world talent Jimmy Graham remains to be seen.  Either way, Hill should see his fair share of targets.  I believe his selection is a bit high considering other rookie names on the board but the high stakes nature means that production is king and there’s no discounting the production from this position in previous years.

2.02  LeGarrett Blount, RB NE

Another free agent selection here.  Blount provides the “thunder” in the Patriot running game and while it’s anyone’s guess just how he’ll be used in 2015, it’s impossible to argue that Belichick doesn’t like Blount near the goal line.  Being a dynasty league, I’m still surprised that the “win now” aspect is playing as much as it is at the $500 level here, but touchdowns equate to dollar signs.

2.03  Jay Ajayi, RB MIA

Ajayi’s epic fall due to a reported bone-on-bone condition in his knee makes for an intriguing selection at any point in the second round.  He could be a mid-term answer at running back for the Dolphins or may never be productive.  What I know is that my film review doesn’t lie.  He’s more fluid than was Marshawn Lynch coming out of Cal and mixes nice reads and power that fits the mold of a NFL back.  Caveat Emptor applies.

2.04  Devin Funchess, WR CAR

Let the Fun(chess) begin!  In all seriousness, this point in the second round, without free agents involved, this is where the fun really does begin.  The first round is going to contain standard names.  The second round should be a wild west show of differing values and educated guesses.  Most don’t know that Funchess vastly improved his 40 time at his pro day.  His stock took a hit after registering a 4.70 time at the Combine but he redeemed himself in a big way by running a 4.47 and 4.53 at Michigan’s pro day.  He’s a huge target that should compete for playing time out of the gate across from 2014 rookie Kelvin Benjamin.  Funchess can play outside or tight end roles and this versatility is going to pay dividends.  I like the selection here.

2.05  Duke Johnson, RB CLE

Fantasy owners can easily be caught up in the running back carousel that has been the Cleveland Browns.  Johnson is the next horse on the platform.  He’ll slide in behind 2014 rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, but with a different skill set, anything is possible.  Some have likened Johnson to Gio Bernard and his role could be similar.  He’s a high ceiling, low floor player for patient fantasy coaches.  Truth be told here, I like Johnson’s ceiling over that of Ameer Abdullah.

2.06  Phillip Dorsett, WR IND

A selection of Dorsett is a selection with the the hope that TY Hilton doesn’t return to the Colts in 2016.  Even still, Dorsett has the dynamic to play slot from day one or in four receiver sets.  Word is that he’s been impressing in rookie camp and Andrew Luck is just the quarterback to get him the ball.  I question whether there will be enough balls to go around in Indi and I’m not extremely high on Dorsett in fantasy, but his situation is intriguing.

2.07  Jaelen Strong, WR HOU

If not for his Houston landing, Strong’s value would have likely plummeted further than it did on draft day.  Strong has a good NFL body and hands to match but isn’t overly athletic or elite in any one area.  He’s a bit of a ‘loper’ in his routes and lazy in his stems, but there’s no doubting his physicality or ability to use his body to shield.  The Texans provide an immediate boost to his value and he has a chance for early career productivity.  It doesn’t help that I see Jonathan Baldwin when watching Strong.  If you’re asking “who?” I say … “exactly”.

2.08  David Cobb, RB TEN

Out with Shonn Greene, in with David Cobb.  Both runners are somewhat similar but I like Cobb’s versatility in all phases of the game over that of Greene.  Cobb has the ability t receive out of the backfield, pass blocks better than most rookie backs and has the toughness needed to establish an inside run-game.  With only Bishop Sankey ahead of him on the depth chart, Cobb could be a steal here.

2.09  Jameis Winston, QB TB

Say what you will but this is a great value pick.  Winston has been lauded by many as the second best quarterback to emerge from college, after Andrew Luck, in the past decade.  If that is true, this is a huge steal.  If not, Winston still has the system and weapons to be a top 15 quarterback in his first year.  Fantasy teams need high-ceiling stability at quarterback and Winston fits that bill nicely.

2.10  Joseph Randle, RB DAL

Whether Randle has the trust of the locker room, coaching staff or management is not known by anyone outside the organization.  The Cowboys tabbed Darren McFadden during the off-season and didn’t address the position during the draft.  McFadden was mostly healthy in 2014 and is now running behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.  The belief is that DMC will garner the lion’s share of carries but Randle has the build and style to emerge.  This is a great upside value selection, especially if this team were to have have McFadden already.

2.11  Matt Jones, RB WAS

Seems like too many like to affix the Marshawn Lynch tag to any larger back, especially if they have hair to match.  Jones does carry some similarities in style but is more fluid and not as nifty with the ball in his hands.  There’s a bit of a quagmire of backs in Washington but Jones’ youth makes him an intriguing target late in the second round, especially should a selecting coach already own the somewhat disappointing Alfred Morris.

2.12  David Johnson, RB ARI

Johnson flew up draft boards in days surrounding the NFL Combine only to lose value as rookie drafts unfolded.  To me, the Arizona situation should increase his value but, instead, I believe the fantasy community finally realized that they were far too high on the older rookie runner.  Johnson has great hands and good size that does remind me a bit of James Starks.  He’s far more adept at receiving than he is with running  the ball.  He’s a bit stiff in the hips with average vision.  He possesses little hip swivel and is primarily a one-cut runner.  That said, his size will be an asset in the red zone and he’s sure to steal touches away from the undersized Andre Ellington.


Like the round before, few surprises here as the coaches took their best shots.  The free agents selected were worthy second round candidates though LeGarrette Blount strikes me as a bit of a high-risk reach and more a play on competing now rather than building a long term dynasty.  But as the stakes are raised here, touchdown scorers can be worth their weight in gold as a last-flex play during bye weeks or spot starters.

Best Value

I have to give the nod, like it or not, the selection of Winston at 2.09.  I’m not a huge fan of head-cases in the NFL and Winston is certainly that, at least in my mind.  Yet, he’s still young and I also don’t like to tank a player’s value solely on character if he’s younger than 25, allowing instead for his skill and field dynamic to speak more loudly in my valuation rankings.  If Winston is anything close to the Andrew Luck comparison, he’ll be a huge steal here. Either way, he should be starting for years to come while his destiny plays out.  Good enough for me.

Biggest Reach

There were no poor picks int his round and these coaches know what their doing.  But if pressed, I will stick with LeGarrette Blount as the largest leap of faith at too high of a selection.  Blount could pay off but in Belichick’s system, there are no guarantees unless you’re one of his proven greats.  If Blount can find consistent touches, especially in the red zone, he’ll be a last-flex play on a weekly basis.  Anything other than that and he’s a lower-tiered feast or famine play.  I would prefer to see his name much later in the second round.

Round Three

3.01  Javorious Allen, RB BAL

Out goes Isaiah Pead and incomes another bigger back in Allen.  Allen will fight Lorenzo Taliaferro for RB3 duties behind starter Justin Forsett.  As such, he’s got value if the aging Forsett falls to injury or is out of Baltimore in 2016.

3.02  Chris Conley, WR KC

This year’s Combine Workout Warrior falls to a great starting situation, but one with one of the poorest receiver-killing  quarterbacks in the NF L.  The Chiefs and quarterback Alex Smith famously threw a total of zero touchdowns to wide receivers in 2014.  ZERO.  Conley put on a clinic at the Combine and has been a consistent third round rookie selection in drafts.  Each year has a Chris Conley at the Combine and few rise to any level of fantasy prominence.

3.03  Mike Davis, RB SF

Davis reminds me a lot of Michael Turner on tape, in both size and running style.  A one cut bowling ball, Davis can get downhill quickly and brings a punch with him.  He’ll be running behind untested Carlos Hyde and injury prone Kendall Hunter in all likelihood and will need time to climb the ladder.  But with patience and a good fortune, I like Davis’ chance at getting a shot to carry the load within the next 24 mos., even if only as a spot starter.

3.04  Jeremy Langford, RB CHI

Langford has long been my running back sleeper of 2015.  Out of Michigan State, a system known for producing some degree of quality running backs, most recenly Le’Veon Bell, Langford is a versatile player in the mold of Matt Forte’, just the player he’ll be backing up.  Ka’Deem Carey is ahead of Langford on the depth chart but Langford projects well.

3.05  Tyler Lockett, WR SEA

This is a typical value for Lockett in rookie drafts.  I’m not a fan of Lockett’s game for fantasy and he’ll have to really show well to break through in fantasy on a team where receivers just don’t factor highly.  He’ll get bonus points if your league awards special teams return yardage.

3.06  Clive Walford, TE OAK

I like Mychal Rivera’s chances of hanging onto the Oakland TE1 designation but Walford was considered by most to be the second best tight end in this year’s class.  Frankly, I don’t see him as a third round rookie talent in fantasy.

3.07  Josh Robinson, RB IND

An interesting selection by the Colts and a good landing spot for Robinson.  He’s not flashy, isn’t overly agile but he can hit a gap with power and determination, he’ll be a good short yardage chain mover or red zone vulture in all likelihood.  He’s got limited upside in fantasy but his situation is intriguing.  He’s a good risk-reward play here at 3.07 with Frank Gore nearing retirement.

3.08  Devin Smith, WR NYJ

I’m on record as not being a fan of Smith in the least.  I just don’t see it.  BUT, at 3.08 when you can get a high second round selected NFL receiver, there’s nothing wrong with taking the stab.  At best, he’s Mike Wallace, at worst he’s your typical speedster offering very little in the short and intermediate passing games.

3.09  Owen Daniels, TE DEN

Any tight end of Peyton Manning has a chance to be a big producer in fantasy.  This is a good stab for the oft-injured player.   The departed Julius Thomas leaves a big hole and Manning’s ability to find the open player plays into Daniels’ strength as a receiver.  He’s a short term answer but a good one if your team is competing in 2015.

3.10  Cameron Artis-Payne, RB CAR

I like this selection for CAP’s upside and situation.  Jonathan Stewart is no lock to stay healthy and Artis-Payne is one of those unheralded capable backs that could flourish with an opportunity.  I think there’s a chance that CAP gets a chance to show in 2015.

3.11  Danny Woodhead, RB SD

In PPR leagues, Woodhead has value that can’t be ignored.  The Chargers’ selection of Melvin Gordon likely renders Woodhead limited in role but he’s a good stash for an emergency start.

3.12  Marcus Mariota, QB TEN

Mariota should be under center on week one and I’m expecting a long season for the quiet leader.  Much of Mariota’s success will come from the Titans’ willingness to change some of their system to what Mariota does best, stretch plays and move pockets.  He’s not used to working from under center and there’s going to be a large learning curve.


Once again, a solid third round for this $500 league.  No extreme picks, lunacy or head-scratchers presented.  When looking at some of the rookie names remaining on the board, this group of coaches did well to add value to their teams.

Best Value

I really like the 3.10 selection of Cameron Artis-Payne.  Every year finds a rookie that has enough talent to be productive in just the right situation.  When looking at Artis-Payne’s traits combined with the Carolina running back situation, it’s easy to see how he could find himself in the backfield on game day.  As a fantasy coach selecting rookie runners beyond the second round, all you desire is for your back to see the field and get a chance.  If they produce, it’s a bonus.  If not, you cut bait and move on.

Biggest Reach

I’m just not a fan of Clive Walford at 3.06.  Even if tight end is needed, Owen Daniels was available.  Rookie tight ends don’t produce well and unless a coach is sure that the player can be rostered for three years, it’s better to leave them in the free agent pool.  David Carr and Mychael Rivera did find chemistry later in the season and I expect more Rivera in 2015.

Remaining Notable Rookies

4.12  Kenny Bell, WR TB

I like Bell’s upside in Tampa behind aging Vincent Jackson.  He’s got WR2 upside and arguably higher if he develops well.

5.4  Sammy Coates, WR PIT

I’m not a fan of receivers that can’t turn their physical gifts into production at the college level.  Coates has speed to burn with production and hands to forget.  The Steelers draft well at receiver so this makes for a good value selection.

5.7  Justin Hardy, WR ATL

Roddy White is aging and Harry Douglas is now in Tennessee.  Anything is possible.

6.02  DeAndre Smelter, WR SF

REALLY like this selection and Smelter is my favorite sleeper of the receivers selected beyond the third round in fantasy.  A good situation in San Francisco and he’s recovering well from an ACL.

That wraps up our first review of a live high stakes FFPC dynasty rookie draft!  If you’re ready to take the plunge and prove you’ve got what it takes to dominate, simply head on over and get signed up today!

Follow Jeff on Twitter:  @DLF_Jeff

Jeff Haverlack
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8 years ago

“Dos Equis?” Where is my royalty, Jeff? Haha….

Agholor and Williams are being overdrafted in my mind. As someone who holds the 1.9 (in addition to 1.1, 1.4, and 1.6) I hope they both end up being drafted ahead of 1.9 cementing Perriman as someone I can get at 1.9

Reply to  Jeff Haverlack
8 years ago

Nice! I missed that one! Would love to see that stick. Lol

Jeff Kozlowski
Reply to  Geoff
8 years ago

FFPC is 1.5 per reception for TE’s, correct? Williams may not be that huge of a reach in that case.

Andrew Burton
8 years ago

Love the article. Its interesting to see drafts get more conservative as the stakes go up.

8 years ago

This is a terrific piece. I am in a dynasty league with a rookie/free agent draft mix so it’s nice to see how this one rolled out. Your rankings are great but seeing a mix like this helps immensely. Just to give you an idea how my draft rolled out last year I got Sammy Watkins at 1.08 and Moncrief at 2.08, and Odell Beckham went 3.07 because of his hammy issues but thanks to your site I knew his true value but missed him by 1 pick. Keep up the great work!

Joseph Rossi
8 years ago

I am surprised by Smelter at 6.02 while others with less upside went much earlier. Bell, Coates and Hardy will never be more than a #2. Yet Smelter has legitimate #1 potential. Did the league buy-in influence you to go with more safe over potential?

Russel Steele
8 years ago

I happened to be in that draft and took Perriman, Abdullah, Dorsett, Strong, David Johnson, Buck Allen, Jeremy Langford, Artis-Payne, Kenny Bell, and Chris Johnson.

I happen to really like Bell. I got to see him live at the Combine as I live in Indy. He was right in place there. While he does have VJax in front of him currently, there’s nothing keeping him from being a long-term strong 1A to Evans providing Winston pans out. Smelter, to me, is going to a chaotic organization with an erratic QB. I don’t see him as having any more potential.

To answer the question about stakes and risk tolerance, this is one of my lower priced leagues and I play all of my leagues the same way.

This is an abandoned team I just purchased, thus the rebuild with upside players and so many picks.

Ethan Rodgers
8 years ago

Will there be enough balls to go around?

Now that is a question I’ve asked myself many times…

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