A View From the 1.07: Rookie Draft Strategy

Ryan McDowell

For many dynasty players, the highlight of the off-season is the annual rookie draft and we are now less than three weeks away from many of those drafts kicking off. Once our respective dynasty teams are eliminated from contention, and sometimes even before, we tend to turn our attention to the incoming rookie class and delusions of grandeur take over. In fact, dynasty players spend nearly the entire off-season preparing for how they will use their draft picks, or if they will use them at all.

In this twelve-part series, I’ll use the latest data available here at Dynasty League Football, namely our April Rookie ADP and the Dynasty Trade Finder, to ensure you are as prepared as possible when your draft begins. Based on our most recent ADP data, I’ll suggest the player you could be soon adding to your team, and if you don’t like that, I’ll also include a potential pivot option.

Also, I’ll include options based on the updated 2QB rookie ADP for those who play in that format. Finally, using the Dynasty Trade Finder, I will examine some recent trades that have taken place with each specific draft pick. Each trade is based on 12 team PPR, one QB leagues.

We all know the first round of rookie drafts includes the players we’ve been hearing about for months, if not years, but difference makers can be found in the second round and beyond, as well. Because of that, I’ll also address the other picks that accompany each respective first-round draft slot.

Note: Our April super-flex rookie ADP is now available, so there is a possibility of seeing players already mentioned in previous editions of this series.


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The Pick: David Montgomery, RB Iowa State

Iowa State’s David Montgomery used a breakout 2017 season to vault to the top of a weak running back class, but the off-season has not done Montgomery any favors. A disappointing Combine and numerous clips of Montgomery being caught from behind on potential long runs have dynasty owners slightly concerned. Instead of competing for the 1.01 pick as it was once presumed he would, Montgomery looks more like a mid-first rounder, which is just where our ADP data places him.

Possible Pivots:

We could see the RB3 come off the board with this pick, and if it is not Montgomery, it could be Penn State’s Miles Sanders. Other options include Kelvin Harmon, Noah Fant or TJ Hockenson.

Trade Value:

Super-Flex Options:

Dwayne Haskins, QB Ohio State

While Kyler Murray is nearly locked into the 1.01 pick in the super-flex format, the expected QB2, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, is somehow falling to the middle of the round. No matter what you think of Haskins, he will get a chance to start, possibly immediately, and that matters in these premium leagues. Haskins is a screaming value at the 1.07!

Dynasty Trade Analyzer

You might have missed the release of the DLF Dynasty Trade Analyzer. If so, you’ll want to check that out immediately. Among its many uses is identifying the value of incoming rookie picks when compared to veteran players. I searched for the closest match among current NFL players in an effort to match the value of the 1.07 pick to give you an idea of what it might cost to acquire the pick, or who you could target if selling.

Dynasty players often struggle with how to accurately value quarterbacks, given the depth and relatively small difference in their weekly production. In this case, our trade tool shows that this mid-first is equivalent value to young Texans starter Deshaun Watson. While you might be hesitant to pony up any first-round pick for a signal caller, the chance to lock up a QB1 for the next five (or more) years is very enticing.

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The Pick: Andy Isabella, WR Massachusetts

One of the dynasty darlings of the pre-draft process is small school, small receiver Andy Isabella. After earning a lot of buzz as a “sleeper,” the echo chamber that is the dynasty community began to value Isabella more and more. As is usually the case, that has resulted in all the value being soaked away. Isabella, as just 5’8” and 188 pounds, is a likely day two pick and has climbed his way up to the middle of the second round in rookie drafts, as well.

Possible Pivots:

I love the value in the middle of the second round. If you have doubts about Isabella or if his value continues to climb, you could have the choice of: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Justice Hill, Irv Smith or Kyler Murray.

Trade Value:

Super-Flex Options:

Parris Campbell, WR Ohio State

As has been the case with many players in our super-flex data, the way dynasty players value the quarterback position in this format creates mega-value, this time in the form of Buckeyes’ receiver Parris Campbell. The speedy Campbell has a lot of questions about his game but would be worthy of a pick in the middle of the second round.

Dynasty Trade Analyzer

The 2.07 rookie pick aligns well with tight end Austin Hooper, coming off his best season in the league. Personally, I still have some reservations about Hooper as a consistent fantasy asset, so I’d gladly be cashing in and siding with the draft pick in this scenario.

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The Pick: Bryce Love, RB Stanford

If you had the chance to see Stanford’s Bryce Love during his amazing junior season, you might be questioning how he could possibly fall to this pick in the third round. Unfortunately, Love was unable to follow that season up successfully, dealing with multiple injuries. In fact, he is still recovering from a late-season torn ACL. Love’s upside is enticing but there are so many injury questions, which pushes Love way down the board.

Possible Pivots:

I won’t be selecting Love with my mid-third rounders. Instead, I’ll consider these players who are currently being drafted in this same range, including Terry McLaurin, James Williams and Benny Snell.

Trade Value:

Super-Flex Options:

Trayveon Williams, RB Texas A&M

As an SEC fan, I’ve been very impressed with the career of running back Trayveon Williams during his time at Texas A&M. Unfortunately, I am starting to get the feeling the NFL might not share that sentiment. Williams will need a quality landing spot to overcome his expected day three draft capital. That is what has him falling to the middle of the third round.

Dynasty Trade Analyzer

Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor enjoyed a breakout 2017 campaign only to take a major step back last season. Now the Eagles have added veteran DeSean Jackson and are likely to draft a receiver this weekend. That has Agholor’s value tumbling and, per the DLF Dynasty Trade Analyzer, he can now be had for the 3.07 pick.

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The Pick: DaMarkus Lodge, WR Mississippi

Lost in the shadows of his more high-profile teammates, former Mississippi wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge may lack an elite trait, but he does a lot of things well. Lodge has ideal size and could serve as a vertical receiver, though there are also questions about his hands.

Possible Pivots:

Other possibilities in the mid-fourth round include receivers Mecole Hardman, David Sills and Stanley Morgan.

Super-Flex Options:

Preston Williams, WR Colorado State

Former Colorado State wideout Preston Williams is uber-talented but also has an ugly off-field history, which is why he is likely to be available this late in rookie drafts.


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