Welcome to the DLF mailbag; the article series that answers *your* questions in long-form. It can be difficult to give a detailed response to your questions on twitter so this series is designed to do just that. Each week we’ll do a deep-dive on the questions you have been rolling around in your dynasty mind.
If you have something you’d like discussed in this format, please send me a message on twitter @MattPriceFF and include #AskDLF in your tweet. Let’s get into it!
I missed my window and am pulling a full rebuild. Aside from rookie picks this year and next, who are some young players to target who aren’t highly coveted yet?
This is a good question, so let’s go position by position.
If we’re talking young quarterbacks, you can’t get any cheaper than Dwayne Haskins and Gardner Minshew. They are currently going as QB28 and QB29 respectively and neither Haskins or Minshew were drafted in two of the six 20-round mock drafts completed in March.
Both of these quarterbacks experienced ups and downs in their 2019 rookie seasons and it’s much too soon to kill them for early mistakes. If you are looking for bottom dollar price with low-end starter upside in superflex leagues then these are your two quarterbacks. In one quarterback leagues with large roster sizes, they are nearly free and both make sense as a cheap backups with potential to turn into more than that.
At running back, I have several names for you.
My absolute favorite add at this position is Justin Jackson. Before Melvin Gordon returned from his holdout, Austin Ekeler and Jackson were slated to share the load for the Chargers. Unfortunately, Jackson suffered a calf injury early in the season and by the time he returned, Gordon had rejoined the team. Ekeler signed a $24.5 million deal with $15 million in guarantees. It’s certainly not a huge contract but it’s enough to say that it makes the Chargers an unlikely candidate to bring in a big-time running back in free agency or spend early draft capital on one in the NFL draft.
I think it’s pretty likely Jackson plays a role each week in 2020 and will be first in line to be the lead back should something happen to Ekeler. Jackson was a Big Ten workhorse at Northwestern in all four of his collegiate seasons. He had at least 245 carries in each of his four seasons, hitting 312 in his sophomore campaign. He averaged 1,360 rushing yards, 10.25 touchdowns, and 30.5 receptions per game over four seasons. I’m excited to see what a healthy Jackson can do with some opportunity that seems like it will finally come in 2020. Coming in at RB67 in the 18th round of March startup mocks, Jackson seems like a likely candidate to rise in value between now and next off-season.
Bryce Love is also interesting at RB57 in the 15th round. Right now the only two backs who stand in his way are a 35-year-old Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice who has played five games in two seasons and has never eclipsed ten carries in a single game. Love is coming off a knee injury of his own but was impressive at Stanford where he rushed for 2,118 yards as a junior.
One more deep play who may even be on your waiver wire is Trayveon Williams, the second-year Cincinnati running back. He is behind Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard on the depth chart but if a Mixon injury were to occur, it seems pretty clear they don’t want Bernard to be a feature back and would likely mix in Williams. At RB79 in March and undrafted in five of six mocks, Williams is worth an end of roster stash just in case.
There are so many choices at the wide receiver position but I’ll go with Jalen Hurd and James Washington. Hurd possesses the size that no other wide receiver on the Niners has to offer. At 6’4, he is the same height as George Kittle and towers over the other receivers. Hurd flashed his multidimensional skillset in the first preseason game where he scored two touchdowns. Unfortunately, he suffered a back injury that robbed him of his entire rookie season. Hurd was a third-round pick for San Francisco in 2019 and with that draft capital, you have to think they have plans for him to contribute in 2020. He comes in at WR82 in the 17th round of March mock drafts.
James Washington was my favorite wide receiver in the pre-draft process before the 2018 NFL draft. His ability to stack defenders on vertical routes at Oklahoma State was a thing of beauty. He got the draft capital by being selected in the second round but ended up behind Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster for his rookie season. In year two, he played basically the entire season with Mason Rudolph and Devin Hodges as his quarterback while being outshined by 2019 rookie Dionte Johnson. In year three with a fully recovered Ben Roethlisberger, he should improve on his sophomore effort of 44 receptions, 731 yards, and three touchdowns. Johnson is a great player too but the fact that he has eclipsed Washington in the eyes of most dynasty players will allow us to get Washington at the discount price of WR60 in the 11th or 12th round of March startup drafts.
Finally, we get to the tight end position. There are a bunch of players who qualify here but again, I’ll offer up two. It feels like Gerald Everett has largely been forgotten about ever since Tyler Higbee went on his run of four straight 100-yard games in weeks 13-16 of the 2019 season. Everett missed weeks 13-15 with a knee injury but he was a weekly fringe TE1 for much of the early part of the season, posting a seven reception 136 yard game of his own in week five. Higbee is currently going about 70 spots higher than Everett right now while Everett likely has similar weekly upside. Everett is a value at TE25 in the 16th round.
I’m not sure we can classify this final player as “young” but he is young for a tight end who feels like he has been around forever. Somehow, Eric Ebron is only 26 which is younger than Darren Waller. I’ve never been a huge fan of his but at the current price of TE33 in the 19th or 20th round of a startup draft, I’m willing to take a shot. One year ago today, Ebron was going as the TE8 overall in the seventh round. That, of course, was coming off his 13-touchdown 2018 season. Ebron is a free agent and if he lands up in a place where he could become the starter, it’s likely he will outproduce his current ADP pretty easily.
That will do it for this week’s mailbag! Send in your questions to @MattPriceFF for next week’s piece and include #AskDLF in your tweet.