For many dynasty players, the highlight of the off-season is the annual rookie draft and we are now mere days 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. In addition, 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.
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.
Rookie Selection 1.11
The Pick: Skyy Moore, WR Western Michigan
In February, Western Michigan wide receiver Skyy Moore debuted with a rookie ADP of 18 overall as the WR10. A strong Combine performance put Moore on the radar for many scouts and dynasty managers and the slot receiver is now viewed as a virtual lock for the second round of the NFL Draft. However, with his rookie ADP climbing all the way inside the first round, Moore could soon become overvalued.
After two solid years to begin his career, he truly broke out this past season as a junior. His elusiveness was always on display, making him tough to tackle and helping him to add yards after the catch. Per PFF, Moore also led FBS receivers with 26 missed tackles forced. There are some reasons for pause when it comes to Moore’s game, though. While he ran an impressive 4.41 40 at the Combine, that speed is not often on display in games. Also, Moore has a history of ankle issues, including a pair of significant injuries in high school.
Rookie Selection 2.11
The Pick: Dameon Pierce, RB Florida
If you watch Pierce’s touches in 2021, you might wonder why he’s not more highly-valued by dynasty managers. Falling to the late part of the second round, Pierce is a bargain and that is partly due to his college usage. For most of his Florida career, the team ran a spread offense, limiting his touches. As a result, his overall numbers were not impressive. His final college season brought a coaching change and Pierce benefitted. Questions about his touchdown upside and pass-catching ability were both answered in 2021. Pierce scored a career-high 16 touchdowns, besting his three-year total entering the season. He also caught 19 passes for 216 yards. Most impressive has been Pierce’s overall reliability. He’s considered one of the best and most-willing pass blockers in the class. He did not fumble at all in 2021 and he caught all 19 targets he saw.
While he’s a powerful runner who welcomes contact, Pierce also finished third among FBS backs in missed tackles forced per attempt and averaged one touchdown every 7.4 touches in 2021. At Florida, he never got the chance to serve as a bellcow back, eclipsing 15 carries in a game just twice, but he proved he could handle a massive workload in high school. He finished his prep career with 6,779 rushing yards and 94 total touchdowns, as one of the most productive players ever to come out of Georgia.
Pierce is projected to be the fifth running back drafted in next week’s NFL Draft, which would likely result in a slight value bump from this late second-round rookie range.
Rookie Selection 3.11
The Pick: Calvin Austin, WR Memphis
If you are drafting Austin (even in the late-third round of rookie drafts), you are betting on him being an outlier. At just 5’9” and 162 pounds, he is significantly undersized for a typically productive NFL receiver. He’s got speed to burn, though. Austin arrived at Memphis on a track scholarship after racking up nine state titles on the track. He was a preferred walk on for the football team and later earned a scholarship, leaving the Tigers track team.
Austin’s Combine performance was a thing of beauty, posting 88th percentile or higher marks in the vertical jump (39”, 88th%), 20-yard shuttle (4.07, 90th%), broad jump (135”, 98th%) and 40-yard run (4.41, 98th%). The good news is Austin does not rely only on his speed to make plays on the field, showing off a solid route tree and not relying on manufactured touches near the line of scrimmage. In fact, it could be argued if Austin did see more of those types of targets, he could’ve posted even better numbers.
Austin is being projected as a mid-Day Two pick in the NFL Draft, ranked by Grinding the Mocks as the WR12. That potential draft capital is seemingly being ignored by dynasty players, resulting in this late third-round ADP. He will be a very interesting case to follow next week.