This article is a continuation of “2019 Startup: How Will it Look? Round Two.”
We’re back! I took a few weeks to work on my Standard Dynasty Rankings series, and now I’m excited to get back to one of the funnest projects I’ve had the chance to work on here at DLF. 24 players are already off the board, and we have ourselves another set of 12 tantalizing talents in round three.
Let’s get started. Here’s round three of our 2019 Startup mock!
*All 2019 ages are taken as of exactly one year from July 2nd, 2018
*All “Current” DLF Rank’s taken as of July 2nd, 2018
*Because we are so early in the evaluation process, zero prospects were considered
3.01) Adam Thielen, WR MIN | Current DLF Rank: 27 | 2019 Age: 28
I’ve heard Adam Thielen’s career story a few too many times. From Division II to undrafted to the NFL to the Pro Bowl. It’s impressive, but it’s time to focus on his future rather than his past. Coming off a 1,200-yard season, and with Kirk Cousins coming in this off-season, I think that future is very bright. Yardage and receptions aren’t at all a problem for Thielen. He now just needs to find the end zone more often. If he can catch six or seven touchdowns in 2018, he’ll be a terrific target at the start of round three.
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3.02) Stefon Diggs, WR MIN | Current DLF Rank: 26 | 2019 Age: 25
I’m a little worried about both buying and selling Stefon Diggs right now. The Vikings will be pressed for cap space very soon and there’s a decent chance he’ll be the odd man out. If Diggs can find a way to stay in Minnesota long term, there should be many WR2 years ahead. If he can’t, his future production will be a lot more volatile. In 2018, look for Diggs to crack 1,000 yards for the first time and build off his WR19 finish from a year ago.
3.03) Devonta Freeman, RB ATL | Current DLF Rank: 25 | 2019 Age: 27
In a recent buy/sell article, I listed Tevin Coleman as someone I’m trading for. Just as his impending departure will help himself, it may also serve to benefit Devonta Freeman. The fifth-year pro left quite a bit to be desired in 2017 and will need to impress in this upcoming season if he wants to retain his early third round status.
Isn’t it crazy? If felt like just yesterday that Freeman burst onto the scene. But a year from now, when he enters his late 20s, there will already be some owners who pass on him due to concern about his age.
3.04) JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR PIT | Current DLF Rank: 30 | 2019 Age: 22
Isn’t it just ridiculous that JuJu Smith-Schuster will be just 22 years old at this time next year? That’s supposed to be the age of an incoming rookie, not a third-year star. Take JuJu’s young age into account, and it makes what he has already accomplished all the more enticing. Smith-Schuster only started seven games in 2017. But the USC Trojan nearly entered the 1,000-yard club and caught a notable number of touchdowns with seven. If he can put up another WR2 year in 2018, owners won’t hesitate to select him here.
3.05) Travis Kelce, TE KC | Current DLF Rank: 23 | 2019 Age: 29
Contenders wouldn’t think twice about taking Travis Kelce here. This man is clearly one of the few elite tight ends in dynasty, and should still have a handful of high-producing years in his back pocket. Kelce set career highs in both touchdowns and receptions per game last season. If he can keep those figures up, and stay right around 70 yards per game, he should enter next year valued as the TE1 once again.
3.06) Jarvis Landry, WR CLE | Current DLF Rank: 34 | 2019 Age: 26
It’s always scary when one of your players starts with a new team. Jarvis Landry had a good thing going in Miami, but with a better quarterback and offense as a whole in Cleveland, there’s little reason to fret about this man’s coming seasons. Landry topped the NFL in receptions and scooped up an absurd nine touchdowns in 2017. Those numbers will be hard to repeat, but we should see the Browns’ co-WR1 do some more special things this fall.
3.07) T.Y. Hilton, WR IND | Current DLF Rank: 32 | 2019 Age: 29
I really think T.Y. Hilton is being slept on going into 2018. Andrew Luck’s shoulder has been the focus of the entire Colts off-season, leaving one of the best receivers in the NFL flying under the radar. If Luck is truly back to his pre-injury self, I’m expecting Hilton to get back to being a big-time difference maker. Hilton’s never been a high-end touchdown threat. But his yearly yardage outputs set his floor incredibly high.
3.08) Josh Gordon, WR CLE | Current DLF Rank: 33 | 2019 Age: 28
We’re all cautiously optimistic about Josh Gordon. I think he’s successfully put his first few years behind him, but I’m not as confident he can be the dominant receiver he once was. Gordon has played a mere ten games over the past four seasons. I know he hasn’t had much of a chance to get into a groove, but in that set of starts, Gordon has only found the end zone one time. His 638 yards are a reassuring number of his talent, but even so, I think we have to be careful with our expectations for him. 2018 will be a career-defining season for Gordon. I’m hoping the Baylor product answers the call.
3.09) Derrius Guice, RB WAS | Current DLF Rank: 42 | 2019 Age: 22
Nothing against Alex Smith, Jamison Crowder, and Jordan Reed. But I’m excited to watch this Redskins offense for one reason. Derrius Guice won’t wow hardly anyone with his pass-catching skills, however, his talent as a runner should make him the second-most productive rookie in this stacked class. We’re seeing several young backs push their way up to the top of startup drafts. Expect Guice to join them a year from now.
3.10) Rashaad Penny, RB SEA | Current DLF Rank: 40 | 2019 Age: 23
I’m coming into 2018 with no expectations for Rashaad Penny. He could completely flame out, or put up an RB1 year. Neither would totally surprise me. So why do I have him as a projected third-rounder in a 2019 startup? Even if, much like Joe Mixon, Penny is inefficient in year one, the opportunity will still be there in full. NFL teams don’t mess around with first rounders. Seattle clearly has big plans for this kid, and they’re not going to give up on him unless Penny leaves them no other choice.
3.11) Corey Davis, WR TEN | Current DLF Rank: 36 | 2019 Age: 24
I don’t think anyone is seriously worried about Corey Davis just yet. If he can’t get going in 2018 though, owners are going to start feeling uneasy, to say the least. Davis was banged up for a lot of his rookie season, and his 3.1 receptions and 34 yards per game were likely a result of that. Expectations will be high for him this fall. Let’s hope the Western Michigan product can show us why the Titans made him a top-five pick in last years draft.
3.12) Brandin Cooks, WR LAR | Current DLF Rank: 29 | 2019 Age: 25
I have nothing against Brandin Cooks. In fact, in terms of his overall value in the dynasty community, I think he’s a bit underrated. But there’s one potential problem that’s worrisome for Cooks as he heads into 2018.
The newly-acquired Ram has put up very impressive numbers in his four years in the league. But all those seasons were spent with Drew Brees and Tom Brady, who are both future first-ballot Hall of Famers. Even the most passionate of Jared Goff supporters would concede that he’s not on that same level yet. I still very much like Cooks’ future, but we could see a minor dip in production in his first season in Los Angeles.
Have a question about your team, a current player, or a prospect? Please leave a comment below. I’m always glad to interact with readers. If you have a more specific and in-depth question that you want to talk more about, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected] . Hope you enjoyed the article!