By: Little Italy (Publisher)
Follow on Twitter: @LILITALY853
Now that the NFL draft is behind us, we can now turn our focus to dynasty rookie drafts. By now you all know my stance on drafts and how I go about selecting players. My strategy whether it's redraft or dynasty rookie drafts remains the same, and that is selecting the best player available over team needs. By always selecting the best player available you are ensuring one of two things, the first your team becomes stronger by taking the best player, and in turn assures you value isn’t slipping down the board to your opponents. The second you are then able to turn that best player available into trade pieces that you can fill those areas of need with, remember dynasty football is a game of chess not checkers. So let’s dive into my draft board for upcoming rookie drafts so that you too can assure yourselves value on draft day.
Picks 1-3 (The Elite Tier)
1.) Ja’ Marr Chase (WR1) (CIN):
Chase is by far the clear-cut top wide receiver of this draft class. Chase landed with former teammate Joe Burrow in Cincinnati and is slotted in instantly as the team’s clear wide receiver one, playing alongside Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Chase put up ungodly numbers in his last full season at LSU, 2019. During that season Chase put up 20 touchdowns and an average yards per catch of 21.2 yards at the age of 19 against a tough SEC Conference. Chase isn't that big, bodied receiver, like DK Metcalf, but he makes up for it with his elite athleticism and impressive ball skills. With these traits and natural talent, I have Chase atop my rookie draft board, as he offers long-term high-end fantasy production over any other prospect in this class.
2.) Kyle Pitts (TE1) (ATL):
Pitts find himself second on my draft board for upcoming rookie drafts. Pitts is already being garnered as one of the best TE prospects to ever enter the league and it isn't hard to see why. Pitts can line up all over the formation whether it's as an X receiver going against cornerbacks or inside at tight end going against safeties and linebackers. It appears no matter where Pitts is lined up he is going to be a nightmare to cover. At his time in Florida Pitts demonstrated the size, speed, and strength to battle for contested catches, which will see a fast and smooth transition into the NFL. The team has already basically committed to Pitts by deciding to make this Hayden Hurst's last season as an Atlanta Falcon, which bodes well for Pitts long term fantasy production.
3.) Najee Harris (RB1) (PIT)
Much like the above-mentioned Pitts and Chase, Najee finds himself in a favorable landing spot that should garner instant fantasy success. Najee has impressive size which is tailor made for a Mike Tomlin every down running back. Najee enters the league having put up impressive numbers at Alabama, the teams all-time rushing leader. Najee is smooth at catching the ball, which has led many in the industry to comp him to Le’Veon Bell. I personally feel he is better than Bell ever was, which shouldn’t take long to see on Sunday’s. The only knock I have on Najee is his age, 23, which is why he finds himself only at number three on my board. In dynasty we like to get at least five productive years out of our backs before selling them, usually between the ages of 26-28, which means we will only get 3 years out of Najee, compared to up to 10 with Chase and Pitts.
Picks 4-12 (Long Term Fantasy Assets)
4.) Javonte Williams (RB2) (DEN):
Javonte finds himself in a time share with Melvin Gordon to start his career, but for dynasty his long-term outlook projects extremely well. Williams is a true workhorse back with elite traits. Williams has arguably the best contact balance ever seen entering the NFL. Williams can also get it done as a pass catcher. The fact that Denver traded up to get him in the second means they have big plans for him, thus making him the number two fantasy back to target in rookie drafts.
5.) DeVonta Smith (WR2) (PHI):
DeVonta Smith figures to slot right into a big role in a revamped Eagles offense. Smith won every award possible as a receiver last season, including the Heisman Trophy. Many are looking at his size as a downgrade, but as he proved last season, he is more then capable at off setting his size deficiencies with game breaking speed and route running. DeVonta likely will lead this team in targets which bodes well for the fantasy owners that draft him.
6.) Travis Etienne (RB3) (JAX):
Travis Etienne could have very easily been the fantasy RB1 in this class had he landed anywhere else. The fact that he lands on a Jacksonville team that already has a young back, James Robinson, who proved last season he can be a viable starting back in the NFL is a downgrade. Urban Meyer has stated that Etienne will be the change of pace back, which I’m not buying, but still makes me a bit worried to draft him. Also, I feel Harris and Williams are both more talented then Etienne outright, which is another reason why he comes in as RB3 on my board.
7.) Jaylen Waddle (WR3) MIA):
Jaylen Waddle is the next player on my board to target. Waddle enters his rookie season with loads of game wrecking speed and upside, which is exactly what we want when adding talent to our dynasty teams. Waddle does find himself on a Dolphins roster with a the crowded receiving corps of Parker, Fuller, and Williams, but his connection with Tua should help him hit the ground running rather quickly.
8.) Trevor Lawrence (QB1) (JAX):
Trevor Lawrence is being toted as the best quarterback prospect to hit the Pro’s since Andrew Luck, and we as fantasy owners know all to well how well that can translate to the fantasy game. In rookie super flex drafts Lawrence would and should be the number one player taken, but for one QB dynasty leagues Lawrence finds himself at 8th overall on my board.
9.) Elijah Moore (WR4) (NYJ):
Elijah Moore has the talent and upside to make for a very solid fantasy asset right out of the gate, despite playing with fellow rookie Zach Wilson. Watching Moore’s film its clear he plays with toughness and physicality, which has drawn comps to Steve Smith Sr, and game changing speed and agility. Moore projects to be the new Jet slot man, which rookie QB’s like to rely upon often as they develop, which should mean plenty of looks for Moore.
10.) Trey Lance (QB2) (SF):
Trey Lance finds himself ahead of Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones on both my one QB and super flex rookie big boards. Lance has the long-term upside that has me extremely high on the rookie. Lance likely will find himself behind Jimmy G. to start the season but should find the field relatively quickly. Lance is being toted as the next Josh Allen with his rushing and passing abilities and coupled with a bright offensive minded head coach will only help solidify Lance as this classes QB2, hence making him a good long term fantasy asset.
11.) Trey Sermon (RB4) (SF):
San Francisco’s other Trey is the next player on my rookie big board. Like Etienne and Williams, Sermon finds himself in a crowded backfield, but in terms of landing spots fitting run style, Sermon couldn’t have found a better home. The fact that his skillset fits the Shanahan scheme perfectly and the fact that he will be this team’s long-term answer at running back has him as my 11th best rookie prospect on my board, and one I’d be happy to take in the back end of round one.
12.) Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR5) (DET):
Amon-Ra is a case of jumping up the board due to landing spot and projected opportunity share being through the roof. Amon-Ra lands on a Lions team that has over 300 vacated targets from the year prior with a wide receiver group that doesn’t scream game changing talent. Amon-Ra figures to be this team’s slot man, and with Goff under center bodes well, think Copper Kupp. He could offer the most value of any receiver in this class as he likely could be had in the mid to late second round of rookie drafts, but I wouldn’t think twice of taking him at the end of round one ahead of the next tier of prospects.
Picks 13-24 (Round Two Assets)
This next tier of rookies all offer long term upside to fantasy owners, but with that they also offer risk as most have incomplete fantasy profiles. Questionable landing spots also have many of these players down from initial rookie rankings.
13.) Terrace Marshall JR. (WR6) (CAR)
14.) Rashod Bateman (WR7) (BALT)
15.) Michael Carter (RB5) (NYJ)
16.) Justin Fields (QB3) (CHI)
17.) Amari Rodgers (WR8) (GB)
18.) Rondale Moore (WR9) (ARZ)
19.) Kadarius Toney (WR10) (NYG)
20.) Josh Palmer (WR11) (LAC)
21.) Kenneth Gainwell (RB6) (PHI)
22.) Dyami Brown (WR12) (WFT)
23.) Zach Wilson (QB4) (NYJ)
24.) Chuba Hubbard (RB7) (CAR)
Picks 25-40 (Middle Round Dart Throws)
This year’s rookie class seems to dry up very quick as we enter this point of the draft. For those fantasy owners hoping to land viable starters out of the 2021 gate need to think again as many from this point on will miss as fantasy starters, but there are a few at this point who may make some noise down the road and turn out to be fantasy relevant.
25.) Nico Collins (WR13) (HOU)
26.) Rhamondre Stevenson (RB8) (NE)
27.) D.Wayne Eskridge (WR14) (SEA)
28.) Anthony Schwartz (WR15) (CLE)
29.) Khalil Herbert (RB9) (CHI)
30.) Pat Freiermuth (TE2) (PIT)
31.) Elijah Mitchell (RB10) (SF)
32.) Mac Jones (QB5) (NE)
33.) Tylan Wallace (WR16) (BAL)
34.) Tutu Atwell (WR17) (LAR)
35.) Kylin Hill (RB11) (GB)
36.) Jermer Jefferson (RB12) (DET)
37.) Hunter Long (TE3) (MIA)
38.) Javian Hawkins (RB13) (ATL)
39.) Dez Fitzpatrick (WR18) (TEN)
40.) Dazz Newsome (WR19) (CHI)
Late Round Dart Throws
41.) Brevin Jordan (TE4) (HOU)
42.) Jaelon Darden (WR20) (TB)
43.) Kene Nwangwu (RB14) (MIN)
44.) Larry Roundtree III (RB15) (LAC)
45.) Noah Gray (TE5) (KC)
46.) Kellen Mond (QB6) (MIN)
47.) Jake Funk (RB16) (LAR)
48.) Kyle Trask (QB7) (TB)
49.) Jacob Harris (WR21) (LA)
50.) Seth Williams (WR22) (DEN)