Last night, the fellas over at the Fake Football Faked Goods Dynasty Podcast were kind enough to bring me on to do a quick 2 round dynasty rookie mock. You can find them on twitter: Chad Scott and fellow RotoViz contributor Rich Hribar. The link to the podcast is right here.
This draft took a pretty interesting turn, one that I think is worth discussing. I think the concept of value and ‘reaching’ inside of a rookie draft is completely different than a dynasty start up or redraft league. In a redraft league, we have concrete values and production values for players in the actual NFL. It doesn’t make any sense to make significant reaches in redraft because it limits profit potential. In dynasty start ups, the concept of value loosens a little bit, as long term player evaluation and strategy can shift from owner to owner. For example, Mike Floyd is a significantly more valuable dynasty asset than Larry Fitzgerald, in my eyes, but chances are, there are leagues where Fitz goes ahead of Floyd.
Point being: in rookie drafts, you shouldn’t take guys you don’t want. I really don’t want to roster Kelvin Benjamin or Odell Beckham. I think they both have significant bust potential and don’t find the potential ceiling (especially in Beckham’s case) worth holding on my roster versus other guys in this class.
The way the draft worked: I had first pick, Rich had 2nd, Chad had 3rd and we rotated down through 2 rounds of a standard 12 team rookie mock.
1.01 (Davis): Jordan Matthews
Surely no one is surprised by this pick. In fact, I wrote an entire piece as to why he was clear the #1, but this is where the value conversation comes in. Could you wait for Matthews or trade back and still get him? Maybe, and if you can, you should. However, if you are in a smart league that knows how amazing he is, you need to take him first overall.
1.02 (Rich): Mike Evans
An obvious selection at #2. We needed to know if he had the requisite speed and when he showed up to the combine, he actually did. Evans looks the part, and played the part in college, destroying upper level competition like Alabama and Auburn.
1.03 (Chad): Sammy Watkins
As much as I may believe Watkins is a completely arbitrary superstar, I can’t deny that he will likely come close to leading the NFL in targets over the next few seasons and is clearly a talented football player. Is he as good as Evans or Matthews? No, probably not, but fantasy football is often a game of volume.
1.04: Brandin Cooks
Shawn Siegele said it best when he stated that at Rotoviz, we generally don’t like small WR’s, but Cooks is an exception, as he could likely be the Adrian Peterson of small WR’s. Cooks has everything else, other than the requisite height, and one of the best landing spots in the entire draft. By 2015, we could be looking at an offense where Cooks is the 1B to Jimmy Graham’s 1A, ahead of Nick Toon and a departed Marques Colston.
1.05 Davante Adams
This is where things started to get a little squirrely, as things often do when multiple Rotoviz writers are involved in a project. At a landing spot that is normally Eric Ebron’s, Rich selected his man crush Adams, about whom we at RV have no further questions. If we’re using the landing spot argument for Cooks, then Adams has to be in the exact same conversation, especially due to the contract situation of Randall Cobb.
1.06 Bishop Sankey
Whichever running back the Titans took in the NFL draft was going to become the highest selected runner in rookie drafts; and that isn’t unintelligent. As much as we are supposed to draft for talent, with running backs, the opportunity has to be there or they will spend the prime of their careers riding the bench behind the BJGE’s of the world. If Shawn Siegele is on board with Sankey, then so am I.
1.07 Allen Robinson
This might have been my favorite pick of the draft. Immediately, Robinson is the best WR on his team (sorry Marqise Lee). Jon Moore is *way* smarter than me and he has had Robinson as a top 3 WR prospect for essentially the entire draft process, and there really isn’t a better landing spot in terms of opportunity to play and contribute immediately. Robinson at 1.07 is a value in any draft.
1.08 Cody Latimer
Latimer was a late riser in the NFL draft, but after his insane pro day, who can blame NFL GM’s for falling in love with him? Unlike Cooks and Adams, however, he probably only has 1 or 2 years with his elite quarterback. It’s going to help that after Manning is gone, he gets to play opposite a true WR1 in Demaryius Thomas, as Latimer is probably more in the Eric Decker mold (an NFL WR2 with fantasy WR1 upside). Jon Moore did the dirty work on Latimer comps here.
1.09 Austin Sefarin-Jenkins
This is the upside pick at tight end, not Eric Ebron. If you want to select someone who has the upside of Rob Gronkowski, who has the potential for a 15 touchdown season, ASJ is your guy. He may never be as active in between the 20’s as Gronk, but with his collegiate production, as noted by James Todd, he’s probably your guy.
1.10 Jace Amaro
As I am wont to do, I actually had Amaro as my #1 TE before the draft. ASJ and Ebron both landed in slightly more favorable situations but Amaro has something that both of them don’t: elite production. When you look at this market shares, you’ll probably question that but when digging into the numbers a little bit, you’ll see just how productive Amaro was. He was the #1 weapon for a Texas Tech team that ran a ruthless Air Raid systems and hardly ever ran the ball. Amaro is ready to play NFL ball right now, which matters to me, as history has shown that rookie TE’s who produce go on to have successful careers.
1.11 Donte Moncrief
Similar to Aaron Dobson last year, I think Moncrief is a Rorsach prospect and I don’t think I am on board as highly as some other RV writers. It isn’t that he isn’t athletic, but he got badly outplayed by a freshmen at Ole Miss last year, and that may not bode well for his NFL success. I think Da’Rick Rodgers likely sees snaps over him this year and possibly in the future. Then again, Jake Myers believes he may be an NFL cheat code.
1.12 Eric Ebron
So, this draft might have gotten away from us a little bit. Ebron landed in a nice spot where he will see a nice volume of passes sooner rather than later, but even Detroit Lions fan Jim Kloet is hesitant to roster Ebron anywhere. Put simply, I like Jace Amaro *a lot* more.
2.01 Jerrick McKinnon
Is this a #RotovizReach? Absolutely not. McKinnon is the most athletic player in my Power Burst model in… ever. Literally, the most athletic player to participate in the combine since 2005 and he is already the Heir Apparent to the Purple Jesus himself. Christine Michael wishes he was Jerrick McKinnon.
2.02 Kelvin Benjamin
Could Kelvin Benjamin have multiple 12 touchdown seasons? Yeah, for sure. Could Kelvin Benjamin average 7 yards per target, convert 15% of his RZ looks and be out of the league after his 1st rookie contract? You betcha. There’s no one like him, and I don’t know if that’s good or bad.
2.03 Teddy Bridgewater
I criticized Chad when he made this pick, but that’s mostly because I’m an asshole. For a dynasty team that needs a QB, I don’t think there is any problem with selecting Bridgewater, who has an excellent coordinator and some solid offensive pieces around him. Still though… he doesn’t have a cool money dance.
2.04 Jeff Janis
Now THIS, my friends is a Rotoviz Reach. Will Jeff Janis play for the Packers? I sure hope so, and I actually think he could as soon as this year. But let’s not pretend like this selection wasn’t made because I have a raging love crush on the man.
2.05 Johnny Manziel
Now THAT’S more like it. I was so crestfallen when the Cowboys passed on Manziel with the 16th pick of the NFL draft that I almost swore off football forever. He might bust in the NFL, but I doubt it. Siegele believes he is the best QB prospect the league has seen in quite some time, and he’ll be an immediate QB1 for fantasy just based on rushing potential.
2.06 Marqise Lee
This is probably lower than Lee will go in any realistic rookie draft, but even with my pick at 2.04, I didn’t consider him. When a human named Nelson Agholor is outperforming you, it’s not a good look. That’s my complaint with the analysis that forgives Lee for his horrific final season. If other members of the offense were producing, why wasn’t he? That being said, Fantasy Douche seems to be in the Lee apologist camp as well.
2.07 Jeremy Hill
All I know is that Hill stood up to a beating at LSU and anchored his offense, BJGE sucks and Gio Bernard is teensy. That, and Max Mulitz seems to be bullish on his future. Also, Carlos Hyde is definitively not good at the footballs. I continue to believe that a significant proportion of RB value is usage and Hill is in line to receive his sooner rather than later.
2.08 Terrance West
Those of you who are drooling over Isiah Crowell… I’m sorry. But if no draft equity is invested in your player and the team actually traded up to get another player at the exact same position, well, you’re fighting a losing battle. If you want more logic than that, find it here.
2.09 Lorenzo Taliaferro
Ray Rice is an awful, awful human being and runs like cinder blocks are in his cleats; Bernard Pierce doesn’t look much better. Why not invest in a small school runner with an NFL body? Well, that, and he’s a cheaper Andre Williams.
2.10 Michael Campanaro
With my final pick, I took an anti-Rotoviz Reach pick with small-bodied Mike Campanaro, who I had as a top 10 WR pre-draft. I still believe that he’s a solid arbitrage play on Brandin Cooks and is already the 2nd best WR on the Ravens. Will he see the field early enough to justify this pick? Probably not, but I didn’t want to be the poor bastard who drafted ODB. Besides, they can’t all be monsters.
2.11 Odell Beckham
This was not your typical rookie draft. ODB is going to go in the top half of the 1st round in any reasonable rookie draft, but that pick is not justifiable. He and Darrius Heyward Bey are the only top 15 picks of the last decade to catch 2 or fewer TD’s in conference play in their final season and the Giants made a truly terrible pick. If I’m in a rookie draft and ODB is the only reasonable pick, I’m trading out of the pick quickly, because I don’t want overvalued assets on my team.
2.12 John Brown
This pick is all Matt Freedman, the Oracle himself. Hailing from small Pitt State, Brown has become the discount T.Y Hilton and we all need to own some shares. The Cards spent real draft equity to acquire him and Arians has had success with small, fast WR’s before.