The DLF Mailbag

Matt Price

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 @MattPriceFF and include #AskDLF in your tweet. Let’s get into it!

@schmitty088 asks…

Which rookie’s value increased or decreased the most after the NFL draft?

The easy answer here on the increased value side of things is Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Ahead of the NFL Draft, he was on average the seventh overall player selected in rookie drafts. He’s the new 1.01 for most people and for those that don’t he is usually the 1.02. We don’t have post-draft startup data for May, but when we do, I’d expect Edwards-Helaire to go in the second or third round of startups when he was previously going in the fifth.

word image 13

On the decreased value side, it’s tough to really pick one player who lost much value. Pretty much all of the top prospects landed in good to great situations. The tight ends in this class weren’t much to get excited about pre-draft but you could argue most of them outside of maybe Adam Trautman and Devin Asiasi lost some value. Cole Kmet went to the Bears who currently have nine tight ends on the roster. That wasn’t a typo. They actually have that many on the roster.

You have to think Kmet is the future but don’t expect to see anything out of him in year one as the team just spent $9 million in guarantees on Jimmy Graham. I guess they didn’t bother to watch him play for the division-rival Packers in 2019. Prior to Kmet, this coaching staff wasn’t able to do anything with Trey Burton or Adam Shaheen either. I’m just not excited by the opportunity for the first tight end off the board in the 2020 NFL draft and I don’t think other dynasty GMs are either.

Kmet certainly isn’t the only TE who lost value though. Albert Okwuegbunam landed behind Noah Fant, Brycen Hopkins is playing third fiddle to Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett, Harrison Bryant is behind both Austin Hooper and David Njoku, and Hunter Bryant landed in Detroit who just spent the number eight overall pick on TJ Hockenson in the 2019 NFL draft. I’m not sure I could spend anything more than a late third-round pick on a tight end in this class, and if I’m being completely honest, I’d rather wait until the fourth or avoid the position altogether. Unless it’s super late, avoid these future roster-cloggers and take an upside play at another position instead.

@mongerlumber asks…

With the NFL draft in the books, what late-round pick (round four or later) are you targeting in the third round of rookie drafts? Which players at first glance don’t look great but have sneaky upside?

As of this writing, there have been less than 80 rookie drafts on MFL so this data is likely to change but here is the third round of rookie drafts as of April 28th.

word image 109

I think there are quite a few players in this round who qualify for the second part of your question. Darrynton Evans, Van Jefferson, and Devin Duvernay would be my choices though.

Evans ends up behind Derrick Henry, which at first glance doesn’t seem great. Let’s be honest though, Evans is likely never going to be a bell cow. In year one his speed, agility, and pass-catching ability will play Beauty to Henry’s Beast. We have to remember though that Henry was franchised tagged and is probably playing his last season as a Titan. If he departs in 2021, then Evans could have the inside track to be at worst, the lead in the next committee.

Van Jefferson possesses one of my favorite traits to look for when watching collegiate receivers. He’s an excellent route runner; perhaps second to only Jerry Jeudy in the 2020 class. Jefferson joins the Rams as the likely number three receiver alongside two other great route runners in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. All three of these receivers have the ability to line up anywhere on the field. He’ll have to beat out Josh Reynolds to see significant snaps as a rookie, but Kupp and Reynolds are both unrestricted free agents after the 2020 season and it’s unlikely both will be back in 2021. Woods meets the same fate in 2021 so the opportunity will be there if he can show up as a rookie.

Baltimore drafted two receivers last season including first-round pick Marquise Brown. On the surface, this might appear like a bad spot for Devin Duvernay, but I view it as a wide-open opportunity. Brown is a fantastic deep threat and is developing the rest of his game, but he by no means has a lock on WR1-type volume. Duvernay has sub 4.4 speed like Brown and can win deep, but he’s also one of the best in this class with the ball in his hands and plays like a running back after the catch. He even carried the ball between the tackles at Texas so he adds yet another element to the best rushing attack in the league. Duvernay is a natural fit as Baltimore’s slot receiver and his versatility should get him on the field as a rookie.

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.

matt price