This article is a continuation of “2019 Startup: How Will it Look? Round Three.”
This is the final round of our 2019 Startup series. I really think we’ve saved the best for last. In today’s section, we have a trio of elite tight ends, our first and second quarterbacks, and a pair of veteran receivers. Believe me, there were several other names I wanted to put on this list, and it took every part of me to pick and choose the final 12.
Let’s get into the fourth and final round of our 2019 Startup Mock!
*All 2019 ages are taken as of exactly one year from July 4th, 2018
*All “Current” DLF Rank’s taken as of July 4th, 2018
*Because we are so early in the evaluation process, zero prospects were considered
4.01) Rob Gronkowski, TE NE | Current DLF Rank: 31 | 2019 Age: 30
Is there any doubting who the best tight end in football is? If there weren’t rumors of an impending retirement for Rob Gronkowski, there’s absolutely no way he’d last this long. But dynasty is so much about setting yourself up for the future, and talks of ending a career short are enough to scare even the riskiest of owners. Gronk should once again help carry a plethora of teams to championship teams this fall. I think we’re all hoping he continues to do so for many years to come.
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4.02) Zach Ertz, TE PHI | Current DLF Rank: 35 | 2019 Age: 28
I just listed Zach Ertz as a player to sell in an article published on the first of July. It’s safe to say I’m not the biggest believer in him, but even I view the fifth-year veteran as a solid value in round four. Ertz officially became a household name last season finishing as the TE3. I wouldn’t hold your breath expecting him to fall too far down in 2018.
4.03) Doug Baldwin, WR SEA | Current DLF Rank: 36 | 2019 Age: 30
Along with Julio Jones and A.J. Green, Doug Baldwin is an uber-productive receiver who will hit that scary age of 30 a year from now. But there’s no reason to fear. The former Stanford Cardinal is set up with one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, is still the clear number one target in Seattle, and has plenty of talent to continue to produce for the foreseeable future. A lot of startup drafters like to look for immediate difference makers. Hardly any contending owner would think twice about snatching up Baldwin here.
4.04) Evan Engram, TE NYG | Current DLF Rank: 38 | 2019 Age: 24
Evan Engram is the third tight end of the day, but I don’t think it’s necessarily crazy to rank him as the second most valuable tight end in dynasty? Okay, so maybe Gronk and Ertz have more compelling cases, but even so, I think he belongs in the conversation, which says a lot about the talent this kid contains.
So what can we expect going forward? Engram’s six touchdowns as a rookie will be difficult to build upon, but his 722 yards and 62 receptions are both figures that can be topped as his game matures. We couldn’t have asked for a better first year from the Ole Miss product. Look for him to show continued signs of growth in 2018.
4.05) Jerick McKinnon, RB SF | Current DLF Rank: 41 | 2019 Age: 27
Jerick McKinnon is heading into the season as a bit of an unknown. We’ve seen him in bits and pieces in Minnesota, but never like this. It’s going to be a whole different ball game in San Francisco. The situation is just about as enticing as any, and I certainly trust that the talent is there as well. It’ll now just be on McKinnon to put it all together. Expect him to come into year two as a 49er fresh off his first RB2 campaign.
4.06) Jordan Howard, RB CHI | Current DLF Rank: 43 | 2019 Age: 24
Jordan Howard is a 2008 Toyota Camry. It’s nothing flashy, but you can’t help but fall in love with its reliability. So while taking him here in the fourth round won’t get the oohs and ahhs from your league-mates, you’ll be the one winning games when it matters. Howard’s 2017 efficiency might stand as the only dent in his game. His 5.1 yards per carry as a rookie was unbelievable, but he followed that up with disappointing 4.1 ypc a year ago. If he’s going to continue his string of 1000 yard seasons, that number will have to go up.
4.07) Sony Michel, RB NE | Current DLF Rank: 52 | 2019 Age: 24
The floodgates have burst open. An enormous influx of young running back talent has entered the league in recent years, and it’s being properly reflected in ADP. Sony Michel is just another example of a high-end pick poised to start immediately. I tend to think he’ll fall on the side of success story vs cautionary tale. It’s impossible to know exactly how Bill Belichick intends to use his prized first rounder, but I have to imagine he’s deeply ingrained in the blueprints to the offense, and that his production will show it.
4.08) Alshon Jeffery, WR PHI | Current DLF Rank: 39 | 2019 Age: 29
I’m not entering 2018 with massive expectations for Alshon Jeffery. In fact, I’m even slightly worried about what we’re going to get out of him. The former Bear played all 16 games last season and couldn’t garner 800 yards, much less 1,000. That’s not going to cut it going forward. Jeffery’s touchdown numbers were extremely promising in his first year as an Eagle. If he continues to hover around eight end zone appearances, he’ll continue to be effective for several years to come.
4.09) Carson Wentz, QB PHI | Current DLF Rank: 44 | 2019 Age: 26
Is anyone actually worried about what kind of player Carson Wentz will be post injury? I know I’m not. This kid is a solid quarterback in just about every way, and he could continue to be so for the next decade. With plenty of surrounding talent and a good thing going in Philly, there’s no telling how dominant he’ll become. I view Wentz as the best signal caller in all of dynasty. When Rodgers enters 2019 at age 35, and Wilson at 30, I think that opinion might become the overwhelming consensus.
4.10) Royce Freeman, RB DEN | Current DLF Rank: 60 | 2019 Age: 23
I’m looking for Royce Freeman to be a low RB2/high RB3 in his first season as a Bronco. If he’s able to accomplish that, drafters will have zero issue taking a chance on him here. I’ve never been the biggest believer in Freeman’s talent. But there’s no denying how tantalizing the opportunity in Denver is. If he can lock down the starting job as a rookie, owners will be lining up at the door to get him.
4.11) Russell Wilson, QB SEA | Current DLF Rank: 45 | 2019 Age: 30
Some owners, dare I say, smart owners, don’t mind taking proven veterans. Russell Wilson is the definition of that. Seattle is trying to get him a running game, and while the offensive line may still be leaky, Wilson may finally be getting some help, although he hasn’t really needed it. The 2012 third rounder has been a QB1 in every year in his career. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
4.12) Nick Chubb, RB CLE | Current DLF Rank: 47 | 2019 Age: 23
Nick Chubb will not be a household name to most fans coming into 2019. I just have to suspect, that as he takes over the Cleveland backfield late in the season, he’ll come into next year as an irresistible commodity to the dynasty community. Take a look at Joe Mixon. The 2017 second rounder hasn’t proven much of anything thus far in his NFL career, yet he’s being valued as a late second rounder. Chubb won’t put up mind-blowing stats as a rookie either. But with his talent, and the opportunity that should be there, he’ll be an ideal target at the end of round four.
Have a question about your team, a current player, or a prospect? Please leave a comment below. I’m always glad to interact with readers. If you have a more specific and in-depth question that you want to talk more about, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected] . Hope you enjoyed the article!