Let’s keep this intro simple because half of you won’t read it anyway. The Dynasty League Football Rookie ADP is incredibly helpful. Ryan McDowell puts together ten mock drafts, each consisting of twelve owners. Those owners select their favorite rookies through rounds of selections. That ADP helps us gauge some consensus month to month.
A few years ago I started putting together some fun Twitter poll mock drafts to perhaps take a closer look at a larger sample of potential dynasty owners. How do they work? Well, I ask Twitter something like, “Hey everybody, if you had the first overall pick in your dynasty rookie draft who would you select?” Twenty-four polls and 9,227 votes later this year’s results look a little something like this…
1.01 – Saquon Barkley, RB (Penn State)
Total Poll Votes: 699
Percentage of Total Vote: 89%
Second Place: Derrius Guice (6%)
Saquon is the beginning and end of tier one in rookie dynasty drafts. Thirty minutes after posting this poll Barkley was already leading all other eligible players by more than 100 votes. By the time you read this BAEquon will have probably already destroyed the NFL Combine, furthering his edge over all other rookies in this draft class. If you want to know why everyone is so high on Barkley, here’s a summary. He’s a 6’0”, 233-pound running back with elite speed and receiving ability. Do you need to know more?
1.02 – Derrius Guice, RB (LSU)
554 votes/86% of votes for Derrius/Ronald Jones & Calvin Ridley (5%)
Just like tier one, tier two is currently home to just one player. Derrius Guice may actually be a better inside runner than Saquon Barkley. He’s a solid 5’10”, 224-pound monster that uses every ounce of that weight to destroy defenders. Something strange would have to happen for any player to slide into the 1.02 slot in place of Guice.
1.03 – Sony Michel, RB (Georgia)
819/44%/Courtland Sutton (24%)
So this pick surprised me a little bit. But at the same time, let’s be real, tons of dynasty players don’t really watch college football outside of the playoffs and a few other key bowl games. When Sony blew up in the college football playoffs it was game over (for him being a value in rookie drafts). He’s a decent receiver, boasts solid vision, and adequate size. This poll earned more votes than any other (819 in total). The third pick in this draft is definitely the most hotly debated selection in rookie drafts right now and it probably stays that way.
1.04 – Nick Chubb, RB (Georgia)
587/30%/Courtland Sutton (27%)
Nick Chubb has been a popular name in Devy leagues (where you own college players who join your team after they land in the NFL) for a very long time. Chubb put together one of the most impressive true freshman seasons of all-time back in 2014, but suffered a devastating knee injury the following year. He finally looks to be nearly 100% recovered now. Even though he only won this poll by 3% of the popular vote, Chubb may be the only player this year that could join Derrius Guice in tier two.
1.05 – Courtland Sutton, WR (SMU)
375/34%/Ronald Jones II (33%)
This was the closest margin of victory of any poll in this 9,277-vote Twitter mock draft. Both Courtland Sutton and Ronald Jones II are two of the most polarizing prospects at their position. It seems that their fans love them and their critics won’t touch them until the late first (or later). Whatever the case may be, Courtland is a 6’4” beast that will land somewhere in the first round of your rookie draft and is, for now, the WR1 in rookie drafts.
1.06 – Ronald Jones II, RB (USC)
350/50%/James Washington (23%)
Given the results at 1.05, it was no surprise to see Ronald Jones II take down the 1.06. However, the margin of victory was most definitely surprising. It looks like Ronald Jones II has a significant fan club this year. Now that he’s weighed in safely above 200 pounds at the NFL Combine Ronald should safely find a home inside tier three in the middle of round one in most rookie drafts. Given the steep 27% margin of victory, we head into…
1.07 – Calvin Ridley, WR (Alabama)
560/41%/James Washington (38%)
Calvin Ridley is the WR1 according to a significant portion of the national media. As much as dynasty Twitter wants to be smarter than “Big Draft” Ridley is probably the most pro-ready wide receiver in this class. Is his ceiling a fantasy football WR1? It probably isn’t, but there are obviously enough people out there that see a complete route runner who absolutely carried the receiving offense of the national champions. He took down 41% of the vote to barely edge out another pro-ready WR in James Washington.
1.08 – James Washington, WR (Oklahoma State)
244/60%/Rashaad Penny (22%)
James Washington destroyed everyone for the 1.08. There’s no denying James Washington’s unbelievable production and elite deep receiving skills. Prior to the NFL Combine this pick is the end of the “top options” in this rookie class according to consensus. Yes, there are several other solid players beyond pick eight, but this significant tier break is present every year. The NFL Combine and landing spots will extend this tier just a few spots when it’s all said and done, but it is always interesting to see where the masses draw this preliminary line early on in the draft process.
1.09 – Rashaad Penny, RB (San Diego State)
266/41%/DJ Moore (24%)
Not many running backs rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. Even if Penny ends up being more of a two-down back than a feature in the NFL his production profile and athletic build will keep his hype train afloat. A 17% margin of victory almost puts Rashaad in a tier of his own. However, Penny could be a player that rises to the middle of the first or drops into the second round. It’s easy for small school running backs to drop in the real draft, which then leads to a drop in rookie draft stock too. We’ll see.
1.10 – DJ Moore, WR (Maryland)
318/32%/Kerryon Johnson (28%)
DJ Moore was one of the most dominant wide receivers in college football in 2017. He accounted for 46% of Maryland’s receptions and 53% of the team’s receiving yards and touchdowns. There are some questions about his frame and game translating to the NFL as a real WR1, but that still hasn’t stopped many from thrusting him into the first round discussion. Even though he just barely edged out Kerryon Johnson here, it seems like his stock is easily resting around the end of round one.
1.11 – Christian Kirk, WR (Texas A&M)
442/36%/Kerryon Johnson (32%)
Christian Kirk is a former five-star wide receiver recruit that dropped 1,000 yards in his first year at Texas A&M. He can return kicks, add yards after the catch, and get open even when teams are expecting him to get the ball. Sadly though he still likely gets pigeonholed as a thick slot receiver. That’s not exactly a bad thing in the modern NFL, but it definitely doesn’t help his rookie draft stock. Late round one is probably his sweet spot.
1.12 – Kerryon Johnson, RB (Auburn)
389/50%/Auden Tate (26%)
Kerryon almost won the popular vote at pick ten, but properly annihilated the competition at pick 1.12. His critics ramble on about his pad level, but the savvy dynasty owners see his down-to-down consistency. Kerryon carried the Auburn Tigers against one of the toughest schedules in college football and never backed down. He took down the 1.12 with a whopping 50% of the total vote. It looks like that ends tier five right here.
2.01 – Auden Tate, WR (Florida State)
279/47%/Equanimeous St. Brown (28%)
Auden Tate has to be one of the most enticing prospects in this draft class. At 6’5” Tate can do things that wide receivers his size shouldn’t be able to do and he’s only 20 years old. The problem is that we have such a small sample size of production to work with that Tate is going to be a hard player to confidently draft. Tate only had 65 catches in his college career, but that didn’t stop Twitter from confidently voting for him here. Early second round feels about right for this physical freak with a short resume.
2.02 – Equanimeous St. Brown, WR (Notre Dame)
579/44%/Michael Gallup (23%)
Speaking of big confusing wide receivers, Equanimeous St. Brown is also quite the unknown. In 2016 Equanimeous caught 58 balls for 961 yards and nine scores. But then in 2017, his production was nearly cut in half. It didn’t help that he had one of the worst quarterbacks in modern college football history, but his production profile is still quite difficult to trust. However, Twitter didn’t back down on him too far. Just like Auden, Equanimeous won by such a wide margin that he is nearly in his own tier.
2.03 – Michael Gallup, WR (Colorado State)
473/30%/Mark Walton and John Kelly (26%)
Michael Gallup’s rise to college football stardom somewhat mirrors Davante Adams. They both played against weaker competition, but caught an absurd amount of passes over two seasons for around 3000 yards. Adams caught significantly more touchdowns, but beyond that, their production and athletic profiles will end up looking similar. If Gallup goes inside day two of the NFL Draft the 2.03 will definitely be a feasible home or him in rookie drafts.
2.04 – John Kelly, RB (Tennessee)
256/34%/Mark Walton (30%)
This poll went back and forth between John Kelly and Mark Walton for hours, but in the end, the running back that stayed healthy in 2017 won the battle. John Kelly led the Tennessee Volunteers in rushing in 2016 (when Kamara was still there), and then also proved he could catch some passes in 2017. At 5’10”, 216 pounds John Kelly plays like a much bigger back. Kelly could continue to rise up draft boards, but could also drop out of round two completely if the Tennessee Titans draft him to supplement Derrick Henry (as has been projected by some writers and analysts already).
2.05 – Mark Walton, RB (Miami)
299/42%/Royce Freeman (34%)
The second and third tier of running backs is absolutely stacked with playmakers that could possibly contribute right away. Mark Walton is no exception to that. There will be concerns about his size, but right now dynasty Twitter apparently likes Walton enough to send a large total of votes his way as early as 2.03. He finally edged out a victory over Royce Freeman here for the 2.05. Given Walton’s contributions in the passing game some fantasy owners will reach above this range for him, but early to mid-round two feels just right.
2.06 – Royce Freeman, RB (Oregon)
290/44%/Kalen Ballage (27%)
Royce Freeman amassed the seventh most rushing yards in college football history. He boasts feature back size, can catch passes, and looks to have adequate size-adjusted athleticism. So how can you still get this guy in the mid-second round? I have no idea. Freeman likely doesn’t go any lower than this once people dig deeper into just how dominating his performance was in college.
2.07 – Kalen Ballage, RB (Arizona State)
272/36%/Anthony Miller (28%)
Kalen Ballage may end up being the most polarizing running back prospect in the 2017 class. There are some that compare him to David Johnson thanks to his combination of size and passing game contributions. The problem with comparing him to DJ is that Ballage actually had a horribly unproductive college career for the most part. The leaders of the Ballage hype train will likely inflate his stock beyond the 2.07 by the summer, but his real draft stock will have a huge say in where he lands.
2.08 – Anthony Miller, WR (Memphis)
360/38%/Mark Andrews (32%)
For some reason, there are a few people out there that don’t like wide receivers to catch 191 receptions for nearly 2900 yards and 32 scores over the past two seasons. “He played against easy competition.” “He’s just a slot receiver.” Regardless of what the critics say, all Anthony Miller did was dominate every type of competition he faced. Apparently, 38% of dynasty Twitter took notice.
2.09 – Mark Andrews, TE (Oklahoma)
140/34%/Josh Rosen (28%)
Mark Andrews led FBS tight ends in receiving by over 200 yards in 2017. Many have already compared him to Travis Kelce. There’s absolutely no way Andrews shouldn’t be considered a top two tight end in this year’s draft class. 2017 is markedly weaker than the star-studded 2016 class for tight ends, but you could do much worse than Mark Andrews at pick 26. It looks like this is the range where most owners will start to think TE and QB.
2.10 – Baker Mayfield, QB (Oklahoma)
250/42%/Josh Rosen (25%)
Baker’s rise to the top among dynasty owners has been remarkable. It definitely helps when a quarterback wins the Heisman, leads his team to the college football playoffs, and posts close to 70% accuracy over his four year career. Unless Baker drops to day two of the NFL Draft for some reason it looks like he’s the strong favorite to be the first quarterback off the board in most rookie drafts.
2.11 – Josh Rosen, QB (UCLA)
205/38%/Dallas Goedert (30%)
Josh Rosen saw significant votes as early as 2.09, but still just won the 2.11 by 8% over Dallas Goedert. This range of the draft looks like it could be filled with this year’s quarterbacks and tight ends since the running backs and wide receivers look to have a lot more questions beyond pick 2.08. Rosen could still find his way into the dynasty rookie QB1 slot with a skill set that looks somewhere between Eli Manning and Matt Ryan.
2.12 – Lamar Jackson, QB (Louisville)
221/39%/Dallas Goedert (31%)
From a fantasy standpoint Lamar Jackson probably has the most eye-popping upside of any quarterback. Lamar improved his accuracy throughout his collegiate career despite suffering from one of the worst drop rates by wide receivers in all of college football. He also rushed for more career yards than Saquon Barkley. Lamar’s upside should keep inside of round two in many rookie drafts.
First Few Out
While this class may not have obvious stand out studs beyond Saquon Barkley this year the amount of talented players that could contribute in the NFL for a long time extends well beyond round two of rookie drafts. The following six names received votes or were mentioned to me by multiple followers as players that deserved round two considerations. Take these names and tuck them away as potential late second round values as well:
Dallas Goedert, TE (South Dakota State)
Deon Cain, WR (Clemson)
Josh Adams, RB (Notre Dame)
Sam Darnold, QB (USC)
Simmie Cobbs, WR (Indiana)
Dante Pettis, WR (Washington)
I hope you enjoyed the first Twitter poll mock rookie draft of the year. I’ll be doing this at least once more before the end of summer. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @FF_TravisM if you have comments or questions. I always love to talk to rookies and learn from some of the best in this dynasty community.