This is the first article in a series looking at previous dynasty rookie draft class ADPs and their hit rates. There are some historical clues inside this analysis that may be advantageous to dynasty as well as redraft players at present. The final article of this series will examine the historical hit rate percentages of nine years of draft classes.
Here is the 2010 dynasty rookie class. If there’s blank space following a player’s name it means they didn’t finish inside the top-12 quarterbacks or tight ends or top-24 running backs or wide receivers in PPR that year. This table shows the first two rounds of 12-team dynasty ADP, plus any players drafted after Round 2 that finished top at their positions.
The 2010 rookies didn’t produce much out of the gates. Year 2 exposed some perennial studs though in Dez Bryant, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, and Antonio Brown. Looking at the late hits makes third-round or later picks seem very attractive. This class skews the hit rate percentage on later picks.
RB Careers Can Be Short
Six RBs were drafted in the first two rounds. NFL ninth-overall pick C.J. Spiller struggled for years in Buffalo before putting together one decent season. Ryan Mathews was viewed as the heir apparent to LaDainian Tomlinson. He played seven years and only played a full 16-game season once, topping 1,000 total yards in only two of seven. Jahvid Best’s bright career was cut short by concussions. Toby Gerhart never got rolling. Ben Tate couldn’t surpass Arian Foster and Montario Hardesty only scored one TD in his 2 year career.
Who knew Joique Bell would be the most productive RB of the class? Spiller was also a huge value in Year 3. The lesson here is, the next best RB might be on the waiver wire.
Gronk and Graham are arguably two of the best TEs ever. Their dominance at the position is nothing new as Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, and Antonio Gates dominated the top spots in the years prior. We’re seeing this trend again with Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz over the last 3 years. The expectation that this continues for a couple more years is reasonable. This should give some confidence to George Kittle owners and buyers. Buying any of these TEs early in their run of dominance has paid dividends. All of these TEs led their teams in targets for several years which is key to TE dominance.
Peyton Manning: Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Emmanuel Sanders
Tony Romo: Bryant
Tom Brady: Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon LaFell
Drew Brees/Russell Wilson: Graham
Ben Roethlisberger: Antonio Brown
It’s no surprise that these pass catchers were tied to elite QBs. While most don’t consider Eli Manning elite, Victor Cruz had more receiving yards in 2011 than Odell Beckham Jr. ever did in New York.
Matthew Stafford has been no slouch, supporting multiple top seasons from Golden Tate, not to mention Calvin Johnson, Marvin Jones, and, most recently, Kenny Golladay. Tate never saw a productive target volume until he left Seattle.
A base-level competent QB is needed to produce top scorers, but targets are still the lifeblood of fantasy. Most of these WRs still finished in the top 24 without their elite QBs, but the fall off is evident.
Patience Is a Virtue with WRs
One big takeaway here is the third year (or later) breakout is not completely unlikely. Thomas, Decker, Tate, and Sanders are a testament to this. We just witnessed Tyler Boyd finish in the top 24 in Year 3. Tyler Lockett also accomplished this in Year 4 and Robert Woods in Year 6. More will be explored in later draft class analysis.
No one could have predicted Thomas and Decker would get Manning as their QB in Year 3. It’s perplexing that it took Sanders leaving Roethlisberger for him to hit, as Roethlisberger has supported multiple top-24 WRs in other seasons. The same can be said for Tate leaving Wilson. Still, all of these WRs did have college breakouts and high dominator ratings. Tate, Sanders and Antonio Brown all had significant special team college statistics which may be another indicator of potential NFL success.
To sum up, the 2010 draft class is one of the best of the last decade, as you’ll see in the articles that follow. Still, only 19 of 72 rookies ever had a top positional finish.