We have had a full weekend to digest the NFL Draft, and teams are in full swing signing undrafted free agents. I want to reveal my Rookie Big Board for 2019, after hours and hours of tape and breaking down landing spots.
In the Dynasty community, most people are down on this class, and partially rightfully so.
The fact that the RB class isn’t extremely top heavy and some of the brutal landing spots for rookies make this a tough year to be drafting rookies.
But after watching a ton of tape, there are a lot of guys I really like, and think can have an impact at the NFL level and be quality fantasy contributors.
In this article, I want to reveal my entire Rookie Big Board (that also comes with complete rankings for the QB, RB, WR, and TE positions) and talk a little bit about overall strategy for rookie drafts, 2019 in particular.
My big board is based off a 1QB PPR league. If you play in a Superflex, or 2QB league, I would move Kyler Murray up to 1, and the rest of the quarterbacks would also move up the board.
My big board is broken down mostly by tiers, though you’ll see plenty of players that I don’t believe fit into a tier, are by themselves
My 2019 Rookie Big Board
The table below shows my Big Board. To make it easy to visually sort these players by position, I used the following color code:
- Red = QB
- Orange = TE
- Blue = RB
- Green = WR
|JJ Arcega Whiteside||WR||PHI||8|
|Irv Smith Jr||TE||MIN||3|
Players That I Ranked Lower Than Most People
I’m a bit on the fence with this one. I like Hockenson as much as most people, but not the ideal landing spot for him with Matthew Stafford. Historically Stafford hasn’t loved the position, even when drafting one Top 10 a la Eric Ebron. Hock will be fine, but he’s not my TE1.
This is the one I know I’ll get the most flack on, and have been doing my best to come around on him lately. I have him as my 2.09 and WR11. Historically, wide receivers have been far and away from my most successful position to scout and I don’t love the tape on Campbell. I don’t like his breaks for how fast he is.
Doesn’t go in and out of breaks with the quickness that I’m looking for. Also double catches the ball too much, hands don’t seem natural. See him as a Cordarrelle Patterson type gadget player. Think this was a top 3 landing spot for him in Indianapolis, but I won’t have him on any teams at his current price.
Not a fan of the player. Landing spot and offensive system are both great fits for his skill set and opportunity. He had the highest WR grade ever from PFF in 2018 (93) and has soft hands. Besides that, I don’t like his tape.
So much wasted movement in his routes to set up defenders. If he even gets touched by a physical corner in press, his route is over. Again, great landing spot, don’t like the talent.
I’m very consistent at least with my reasonings for liking/disliking a player. I put a lot of weight into my pre-draft process on players. Players definitely move based on great or poor landing spots, but talent is most important to me. I think the landing spot for Devin Singletary is above average in a muddy, aging backfield. Tj Yeldon will push him for plenty of work in year 1 though.
I need versatile players at the running back position and I dislike Singletary as a route runner and pass catcher. Seems slow to me on tape. Most likely will pass unless I get a great price.
Just don’t see it on tape. My trend is pretty obvious. I love pass-catching running backs that can put extra pressure on defenses, and not have to come out of the game. I think that’s where the NFL is transitioning to (just ask Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and Alvin Kamara). Thought Mattison was more timid than patient behind the line of scrimmage. Great landing spot, bad talent.
Players That I Ranked Higher Than Most People
You know what’s really a match made in heaven? When you see a great receiver on tape and he gets drafted into the best position he could’ve gone into in the NFL. We’re assuming Tyreek Hill is off the team before the start of the 2019 NFL season.
My favorite thing is seeing the Dynasty community on Twitter saying “if you weren’t ranking Mecole Hardman in your top 50 last week, he shouldn’t be in your first round now.” And I agree! But anyone that seriously watched his tape and didn’t have him ranked highly already, confuses me. Hardman was my WR8 in the pre-draft process. When evaluating WR’s I want to see:
- A trump card (win with speed, height, separation)
- Nuanced route running
- Great ball skills
- Separation on tape
I saw all those things from Hardman’s tape. I want every share of Mecole Hardman and I’m having a hard time deciding between N’Keal Harry and Mecole Hardman at 1.02 tonight, that’s how much I believe in this kid.
Mike Renner at PFF really got my attention with Johnson. Many from PFF were calling him the best route runner in this class, an Antonio Brown type. If you know me by now, the number 1 skill I think translates into a productive NFL career as a wide receiver is route running. Give me Davante Adams over Mike Evans all day (and I love Mike Evans.)
Johnson has a much better chance than people think of getting a starting spot in Pittsburgh, and we’ve seen how valuable that starting WR role in Pittsburgh has been over the years.
This was a rollercoaster. Thought everyone was too high on DK, until I saw where he got drafted on Friday, and then realized I was actually higher on him than most. DK was my WR4 in the pre-draft process mainly due to the strongest trump card in this draft.
Now he gets to go to Seattle and play with a top 10 QB, plus the rumors that Doug Baldwin might be done in the NFL. DK is a top half of the first round in rookie drafts player for me this year.
My favorite OSU receiver, McLaurin got drafted highly and into a great spot. The Redskins have one of the worst WR groups in the NFL, and he gets to catch passes from his college quarterback.
Unlike Parris Campbell, I love his suddenness and quickness in his routes. Best trait is his separation skills, and I love that. Think he’s a great value in rookie drafts right now.
One of my favorite tapes, Gaskin was my RB10 in the pre-draft process. I think Miami is a sneaky good place for Gaskin. Not overly afraid of a competition with Ballage, and not sure Drake is a 20+ carry per game back long term.
On tape, I saw a running back with great vision, instinctive, crafty, and patient but decisive. Great talent, solid landing spot.
James “Air Boobie” Williams
What am I looking for in running back prospects? Versatility. I’m not sure it gets more versatile than Air Boobie, who had 2 college seasons with 70+ receptions. That’s absurd.
Far and away best hands and ball skills for an RB in this draft class and goes to the most explosive offense in the NFL. He’s a Chris Thompson, James White type for me and I will own him everywhere.
I gotta admit the Renfrow grew on me. His ball skills are nuts and he’s very crafty. Doesn’t have the physical tools but I likened him to a slower Julian Edelman with way better hands (coming from a big Patriots fan.)
Very good at finding the soft spots in the zone, a very smart player. I also came around to the landing spot a lot. Think he can be the slot in Oakland by year 2, and push for legit playing time in year 1.
This one is my contrarian pick. I know for a fact I will be higher on Jordan Scarlett than anyone in the fantasy community, probably higher on him than his own mother. Somehow through the process, Scarlett ended up with my second highest grade at running back. He has incredible suddenness, patience, and runs straight through arm tackles.
He’s powerful and fast. He was 3rd in FBS in forced missed tackles and possesses elite cutting ability. I know it won’t happen because CMC is a workhorse, but Scarlett’s skillset compliments CMC perfectly, and I would love seeing them rolled out together (8 carries per game for Scarlett.)
Rookie Big Board Draft Strategy (for 2019) and Beyond
Rookie Draft Strategy should be largely based on your position in your league. Are you a team that is currently competing for a championship or are you in a complete rebuild?
There’s no one strategy that will work for every dynasty owner. Also, first-year dynasty rookie drafts are different. Everyone basically is competing.
1. My Strategy for Competing Dynasty Teams
When I’m competing, I like to find the rebuilding teams. I often try to trade higher upside rookie picks for known commodities, veterans. No one better than a team trying to build young assets as a trade partner.
If I’m going to stick and draft, which likely will be in the later ends of the round, it’s a bit tricky.
Conventional wisdom is to fill needs (you need a running back, draft a running back first) since you’re competing and just trying to find the final pieces.
I like to go a different direction, because there’s such a low hit rate on rookies at the back end of the draft.
I want to go best available, and most likely to succeed. If I can draft a guy that can be productive sooner, it’s what I want. I don’t want the developmental stud that will be great in a few years. I want a rookie that can make a splash immediately, that I can either trade to fill the need I had at the draft, or replace a vet on the roster and trade that vet for the position of need.
2. My Strategy for Rebuilding Dynasty Teams
Give me all the upside. Same thing that I said with competing teams, goes for rebuilding teams. Competing teams and rebuilding teams should always be able to pull off win-win trades.
I’m not into fantasy football to rip anyone off and just make my team better. I always want to have fun with a great group, and that reflects in my trade offers. I’ll only send offers that if I had your team and was offered my trade, I’d be happy with it.
So look for competing teams to get young, unproven pieces from, and stockpile draft picks.
Now what to do with those draft picks. Give me the best player available, with the highest ceiling. If you miss on a pick it’s not the end of the world because we’re looking for difference makers.
3. My Strategy for First-Year Dynasty Rookie Drafts
Break down your opponents’ roster needs and draft tendencies. It’s important to have a general feel for how the draft will fall around you.
From there, go after your guys. Don’t worry about “reaching” a few picks too early. In dynasty, you’re going to have these guys on your team for a while. Stick to your own film analysis and grab who you want. Also, go best available like always, but have an idea of what needs you need to fill.
If you use my big board, have any questions on it, or just want to talk fantasy football, please reach out at @hydeandzeke on Twitter.