Winning your dynasty fantasy football league starts with winning your rookie draft. Over the past four months RotoViz has endeavored to capture the market sentiment on rookies by conducting rookie mock drafts that coincide with the receipt of critical new data.
The pre-combine rookie mock draft captured how people felt about players based on their college resumes.
The pre-draft rookie mock took place after the workout season when we had a better sense of players’ athleticism and how they stacked up against their peers, both present and historical.
We arrive at our Final 2014 Rookie Mock Draft with knowledge of where the rookies have landed and what their opportunities look like. Below you will find several pieces of league-beating information, which includes this mock’s results, an analysis of the biggest rookie risers & fallers, and the complete data from all three mocks, which will empower you to make decisions about when to pull the trigger on your favorite rookies. Enjoy!
Whose Stock Has Risen Since The Draft?
- Lorenzo Taliaferro (21)
- Andre Williams (19)
- Colt Lyerla (17)
- Josh Huff (16)
- Jerick McKinnon (14)
A small school running back with a big body, Ravens rookie Lorenzo Taliferro is a name to learn. After going undrafted in the pre-combine and the pre-draft mocks, Taliaferro jumped into the third round of this mock despite landing in a seemingly crowded situation in Baltimore. So, if people didn’t like him before the draft, why do they like him now? Simple, because Ray Rice (effectiveness/suspension?) and Bernard Pierce (effectiveness/health) are both in tenuous positions, which leaves LT to potentially be the starter at some point in the near future.
In a spectacularly bizarre turn of events, Andre Williams went from winning the Tomlinson Award for Outstanding Touchdown Scoring Potential to being undrafted in our previous mock. Now that he’s landed with the New York Giants, people are back on the ship, as Williams looks like the heir apparent to 29 year old Rashad Jennings. If David Wilson can get healthy, then maybe Williams never becomes an elite early down and goal line back, but the fact that the Giants reportedly had a 2nd round grade on Williams means they’re high on his potential to be a starter at some point.
Are we way too high or way too low on Colt Lyerla? Honestly, I have no idea, but I tend to agree with the premise that he’ll either be one of the best tight ends from this class, or out of the league (for good) by Labor Day. Take your pick. In case you don’t recognize this name, he’s a former Oregon Duck who quit the team, got in trouble for cocaine possession, posted a Twitter rant about Sandy Hook and fell through the draft. Why do we care? Because 32% of his college catches went for touchdowns, he got signed by tight end-deficient Green Bay and could catch passes from Aaron Rodgers. Again, take your pick.
Josh Huff was the 19th ranked rookie in the RotoViz Composite Rookie WR rankings, but landed in a great situation in Philadelphia. Probably the best case for Huff comes from Matthew Freedman who called Huff the #2 red flag rookie WR to acquire, saying “That Chip Kelly—his former college coach—thought highly enough of him to grab him with a top-100 pick, even after drafting Jordan Matthews in the second round, should tell us a lot. If Kelly didn’t think Huff were capable of contributing within a couple of years, I doubt he would’ve used a quality pick on him.” I 100% agree with that logic.
If you’re wondering “who the hell is Jerick McKinnon?” I would suggest that you read this article about the purple heir apparent.
Whose Stock Has Fallen Since The Draft?
- Quincy Enunwa (-17)
- Troy Niklas (-17)
- Jeff Janis (-16)
- Dri Archer (-14)
- Lache Seastrunk (-11)
Before the draft I wrote that Quincy Enunwa is the Ultimate Lottery Ticket, but landing with the Jets seems to have sunk his ship (in the drafters’ eyes). For my money, he’s the best of the three rookies the Jets drafted and should make the roster, but that doesn’t mean you should draft him any earlier than the fourth round of a rookie draft.
Although Troy Niklas was the fourth ranked prospect in our composite rookie TE rankings, his landing with the Cardinals is a blow to his outlook. For one, Bruce Arians’ tight end usage is suspect, but it’s also concerning that Arizona has a number of solid options in Rob Housler, John Carlson and Jake Ballard already on the roster.
I have no idea what the real value of Jeff Janis is, since Davis Mattek is the guy who drafted him in both the pre-draft mock and in this one. Basically, you should just read Jeff Janis: An NFL Draft Love Story and make up your own mind.
If you like Tavon Austin clones who have a smaller role in their offense, check out Dri Archer. Otherwise, just keep reading.
Who Is Holding Steady Since The Draft?
- Sammy Watkins (early 1st round)
- Mike Evans (early 1st round)
- Jordan Matthews (early 1st round)
- Charles Sims (early 3rd round)
- Teddy Bridgewater (early 3rd round)
All of these guys stayed within one pick of their pre-draft value. As much as I like to know who the risers/fallers are, I LOVE to know who is holding steady because it eliminates some of the guess work. If I want Jordan Matthews, it looks like I’ll have to spend and early first-round pick on him. Great. Now I know where to slot him. Same thing goes for everyone else on this list–the market has made up their mind on them and they probably won’t move much for the rest of the offseason.
The Long View: Most Volatile Rookies?
The Long View section looks at players’ movement across all three mocks, whereas the previous section just looked at movement between the latest mocks. Note that the three numbers in parenthesis represent where the players were drafted in the pre-combine mock, the pre-draft mock and this final mock.
Cody Latimer (Undrafted, 22, 14)
Jerick McKinnon (Undrafted, 34, 20)
Bishop Sankey (25, 10, 5)
Brandin Cooks (17, 7, 4)
Despite going undrafted in the pre-combine mock, I suggested that Cody Latimer was a “high-end flier you should know for later in your rookie drafts.” Well, looks like the cat is out of the bag on Latimer who went berserk at his pro day, has 10 surprising comparables and landed in a phenomenal situation in Denver. He might not contribute much in 2014, but he’s the new Robin to Demaryius Thomas’ Batman.
Bishop Sankey is one of the reasons to subscribe to RotoViz, I think. We’ve been writing about him since August 2013 and now he’s one of the most coveted rookies in the NFL. The short story is that he has a great agility score, ridiculous comparables and just landed in an ideal situation with the Titans. Honestly, even after his meteoric rise, pick five might still be too low.
Before the draft I said Brandin Cooks was arguably the best small receiver prospect of the last decade. And then Sean Payton hand-selected him in the first round to be the Saints’ moveable chess piece. In summary, Brandin Cooks is the #1 must-know rookie for fantasy football 2014.
Tre Mason (3, 20, 22)
Lache Seastrunk (24, 28, 39)
Jarvis Landry (13, 23, 28)
Marqise Lee (5, 17, 19)
Tre Mason was the #2 ranked prospect in the RotoViz Composite RB Rankings, but seems to be a bit of an enigma. I can’t say that he’s done anything “wrong” during the last five months, but people are obviously much lower on him now than they were in February. If I were to guess, I’d say that maybe everyone went a little overboard after the National Championship game, then sobered up a bit, especially after Mason landed on the same team as Zac Stacy and in a brutal division. It’s interesting that he was selected about 100 picks higher than Zac Stacy, by the same regime that drafted Stacy, yet Stacy’s stock seems unmoved. Peculiar.
Jarvis Landry is a perfect illustration of how information impacts draft stock. Before the combine, he was the 13th player drafted, which was probably related to his status as an Eric Decker Test receiver. Then came the workouts and we saw how poorly Landry performed in the drills. Finally, he got drafted by the Dolphins, which isn’t exactly a high end passing offense. On the off chance that Landry is the 2014 version of Keenan Allen, I might kick the tires in the third round, but probably no earlier.
It’s interesting that Marqise Lee could have been a top 10 pick in the draft in 2013, but returned and had his stock plummet. I think I like him better in the 17-19 range, than the top five, but that’s not to say Lee is worthless; consider his apples to apples comparison with Brandin Cooks and the fact that he has a lot in common with Sammy Watkins. I don’t think I’d draft Lee above Moncrief, Latimer or Benjamin, but I would feel good about nabbing him in the bottom of round two.
Andre Williams (12, Undrafted, 31)
Jeff Janis (Undrafted, 16, 32)
Paul Richardson (21, 50, 38)
Blake Bortles (35, 13, 23)
Of all the rookie quarterbacks, I think Blake Bortles is the biggest unknown, which is why his draft stock has been so unpredictable. Personally, he’s the one I want most in the long run and will be happy to add him in the third round.
The Long View: Least Volatile Rookies?
Sammy Watkins (1, 3, 2)
Donte Moncrief (14, 15, 13)
Devonta Freeman (20, 18, 21)
Charles Sims (29, 24, 25)
Although Sammy Watkins has been widely debated at RotoViz, the case for Watkins is pretty simple: he was great at age 18, he was really good at age 20 and the Buffalo Bills are committed to getting him the ball. Even in the dysfunctional RotoViz Dynasty League Watkins went at pick five. I can’t imagine him going any lower than that.
Despite his status as a human cheat code, everyone is still a little leery of Donte Moncrief. He has all the measurables you look for, but a dip in his 2013 metrics and a crowded Colts receiving corps seems to be tempering the enthusiasm.
Devonta Freeman was the 28th ranked rookie in the RotoViz Composite Rookie Rankings, but has been consistently drafted above that projection. I think everyone loves the opportunity in the Falcons backfield, which is pushing his price up, but that also probably makes him a low vol asset that Ryan Rouillard might suggest that you avoid.
Shawn Siegele thinks Charles Sims could be the next DeMarco Murray, which would make him a ridiculous value around pick 25 of a rookie draft. I’m not sure what I think about the Bucs running back situation, but the fact that the new regime has no allegiance to Doug Martin and spent a premium pick on Sims means that we should be paying attention.
What Do You Think?
Who is the most overrated rookie? Who will be the biggest steal? Be sure to leave a comment!
For complete data on the three rookie drafts, please check out this table. “50” was used as a placeholder for guys who were undrafted.
|Selection||Pos||Mock 1||Mock 2||Mock 3||Max||Min||Avg|
|Odell Beckham Jr||WR||25||8||16||25||8||16.3|