For many dynasty players, the off-season highlight is the annual rookie draft. For some, that date may be rapidly approaching. Once our respective dynasty teams are eliminated from contention (and sometimes even before), we turn our attention to the incoming rookie class, and delusions of grandeur take over.
Rebuilders are full of glee as they hoard their picks, while contenders are scheming how they can pry some of those picks away, and dynasty players everywhere are champing at the bit to draft their favorite prospect.
This 12-part series will use the latest data available at Dynasty League Football: Superflex Rookie ADP from the past 30 days. We will mention the player or players you could soon add to your team via the rookie draft. We will also include options based on the 1QB rookie ADP from the same timeframe for those who play in that format.
The first round of rookie drafts includes the players we’ve been hearing about for months if not years, but difference-makers can also be found in the second round and beyond. Each section will encompass four picks, and we will go four rounds deep to help you be as prepared as possible.
Michael Wilson, WR ARI
This is a pick you may have to make before the 4.01 if Wilson keeps showing out in the preseason. Wilson led all receivers on the Cardinals in snaps during the second week of the preseason. The Stanford grad has the size we like and measures in at 6’2″ and 209 pounds.
As you can see from the data above, staying healthy has been an issue for the 23-year-old. Wilson was mildly successful when he played a full complement of games in 2019. The depth chart in the desert is the biggest thing working in his favor. Outside of Marquise Brown, there is little to write home about from a talent perspective.
Eric Gray, RB NYG
This pick was a lot more exciting when there was a sliver of hope that star running back Saquon Barkley would hold out. There is still a chance for Gray to move up the depth chart. Only journeyman and veteran Matt Breida stands in his way.
Despite sharing the backfield with Jovantae Barnes, Gray found some success at Oklahoma in 2022 after transferring from Tennessee before the 2021 season. The 6.4 yards per carry and 33 receptions stand out here. Gray has the receiving chops to potentially replace a disgruntled Barkley in 2024. This could end up being a steal of a pick.
Some of the players we will cover next (Darnell Washington or Hendon Hooker) could be a pivot, depending on team needs. If you are desperate at quarterback or tight end, we would not fault you for going that way instead of running back or receiver here.
Darnell Washington, TE PIT
At 4.02, we have a mountain of a man in Darnell Washington. Measuring in at 6’7″ and 270 pounds, the Georgia grad would have towered above many of the offensive linemen of the early days of the NFL. The difference is he can catch.
The counting stats aren’t nearly as impressive as the size. Washington did rank second in most measurables at the NFL Combine and has draft capital that makes us at least have to consider him for dynasty purposes. Potentially drafted more as a run blocker and sitting behind Pat Frierrmuth on the depth chart, the odds are long, but at the 4.02, that is all we can hope for.
Hendon Hooker, QB DET
Injuries and age have forced Hendon Hooker to the back end of rookie drafts in 2023. Talent is not the issue. Another obstacle in the soon-to-be 26-year-old’s way is Jared Goff. Goff has been playing better than most expected and has a new complement of toys to play with.
Hooker was a Heisman Trophy candidate early on in 2022, reinforcing the fact that he has talent. A torn ACL ended that campaign and has him facing a long road to recovery in 2023. Likely to start the season on the PUP list, don’t expect a return on this investment anytime soon. However, if Goff struggles down the stretch, head coach Dan Campbell may be inclined to make a move at the quarterback position.
Deuce Vaughn, Tucker Kraft, and even Kayshon Boutte are options here. Vaughn and Boutte are having excellent camps, but stop us if you have heard that before. How often have we seen rookies dazzle in the preseason only to fizzle once the games start counting? Again, at this point, we are hoping for diamonds in the rough. These three players qualify as that.
Sean Tucker, RB TB
Sean Tucker found success early on at Syracuse and set a school record for rushing yards (1,496) in 2021. Productive all three years he was with the Orange, Tucker was pegged to go off the board in the fourth or fifth round in April.
A mysterious medical condition torpedoed those projections, and the 21-year-old ended up signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a UDFA. He has a steep hill to climb to find fantasy relevance as he finds himself firmly behind Rachaad White, Chase Edmonds, and even Ke’Shawn Vaughn on the depth chart.
Sean Tucker, RB TB
See the Superflex 4.03 for analysis on Tucker.
The prior players covered here may still be available, and we encourage you to double-check them at this stage of the game. Puca Nacua is another name to look for from a bit earlier in this series. He is another rookie making noise in camp this off-season.
Evan Hull, RB IND
Much like Michael Wilson, you may have to make this pick earlier than 4.04 to secure the services of Evan Hull. The Jonathan Taylor saga is getting uglier by the day, and Zack Moss has broken his arm. This leaves just Deon Jackson and journeyman Kenyan Drake in front of him on the depth chart.
The receiving numbers are particularly intriguing. Catching 55 balls in college is no small feat, and with Anthony Richardson being raw, it could be check-down city. Hull looks like he could fill that role nicely. If anything, he could push for third-down duties early in his career, making this an insane value here.
Darnell Washington, TE PIT
See the Superflex 4.02 for analysis on Washington.
If you don’t find yourself excited about any of these prospects, look into players like AT Perry, Jaleel McGlaughlin, or Deneric Prince. These players all find themselves in good situations entering the season. If you are after a true long shot, Andrei Iosivas is your man.