The new Fantasy Football season is upon us, which means people are beginning to step up their research as they aim to win bragging rights over their colleagues or friends they draft with. One type of draft that gets less coverage than your average re-draft, is the dynasty rookie draft. For those who have performed badly, the ‘fixed’ nature of the draft gives you a chance to re-stock your roster with good rookies, whilst those who win the League often have to be savvier with their selections. This article will look at some players who are being undervalued in dynasty drafts, and players who you could take late in Dynasty Rookie drafts in order to maximize your chances of being a continual contender. The names in this list are good fits if you are a patient owner who is willing to play the long game and wait patiently for players to reach their upside.
Wide Receiver / Arizona CardinalsChad Williams was not a player who received a lot of pre-draft coverage, but the Arizona Cardinals selected him out of Grambling State at the bottom of the third round. As with any rookie in a Bruce Arians team, Williams will have to earn his play time in the short-term, but the Cardinals have a lot of hope for him, and they actually see him as Larry Fitzgerald’s eventual replacement. Rumors have circulated about Larry Fitzgerald’s future, and it is likely that he chooses to retire after the 2017 season. Even if he doesn’t, Chad Williams is a player who will contribute sooner rather than later as John and Jaron Brown are both in contract years in 2017, and Arizona may want to move on from them.
The Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin admitted that those in the franchise have a lot of hope for Chad Williams, and he is seen by many as the guy who will eventually take over from Larry Fitzgerald. Williams has a similar build to Fitzgerald, and although he is very raw, Fitzgerald has already taken him under his wing. Fitzgerald told reporters he sees a little bit of Anquan Boldin in Williams as he has very strong hands, and while many do not like to look too much into such comments, it is clear that we should trust the Cardinals organization with wide receivers.
Williams is mostly going undrafted, with the likes of Chad Hansen, KD Cannon, and Josh Reynolds being preferred to him. To me, this makes very little sense, and I would target him in the late rounds of a dynasty rookie draft, potentially in the 30-35 range. He won’t contribute in the short-term, but he will take advantage of what is likely to be a vacuum in the Cardinals receiving corps in 2018. He is being prioritized below the likes of Malachi Dupre and Shelton Gibson, which makes little sense. Williams is playing for a pass-happy coach and the organization trusts him. Bruce Arians took heat for drafting John Brown in the third round of the 2014 draft, and Williams will be the next success story of the Bruce Arians wide receiver tree. He has a perfect mix of speed and size, and grabbing him in the second round of a rookie draft would be a home-run style pick. If you have a chance to draft a Larry Fitzgerald replacement in the 30s, you don’t pass up on it.
Running Back / Philadelphia Eagles
Due to the fact he is majorly undersized, it is unlikely that Donnel Pumphrey will do much, if any, running between the tackles in his NFL career. However, the new Eagles player is worth a look in PPR leagues, as he should get a lot of work out of the backfield as early as this season. Eagles beat writer Geoff Mosher of Fan Rag Sports commented that he has never seen a fourth rounder get so many first team looks in all his time covering the team, and Pumphrey could be a league winner down the line due to the fact he should get a lot of receptions out of the backfield.
Another day, Pumphrey in the slot again. Getting to the point where it's not even worth pointing out — it's how he'll be used this year
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) July 28, 2017
In the open field, Pumphrey has the chance to be destructive due to his quick change of pace, and he should get a lot of work in Doug Pederson’s west coast offense. Like all fantasy sleepers, Pumphrey will not get you big points in the short term unless Darren Sproles gets injured, but there has been some suggestion that he will actually line up in the slot this year, which actually increases his potential value as a sleeper.
Jordan Matthews is an underrated player in the grand scheme of things, but if Pumphrey is going to be used in the slot like many beat writers think he will be, then Matthews is the obvious loser in Philadelphia over the off-season. Pumphrey’s game needs a lot of fine tuning, but he has landed in a perfect scheme as Doug Pederson’s west coast offense will allow him to line up in different areas, and this plays to his strengths.
In most rookie drafts, Pumphrey is an afterthought due to the fact he isn’t going to be a starting running back, but in a PPR format, he is the sort who has a lot of long-term upside. A receiving back will always have a role in the NFL because of the fact most offensive coordinators like to have movable chess pieces, so Pumphrey is a player who should be targeted late in your rookie draft.
Tight End / San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers receiving corps is going to be plagued by uncertainty this year, as Pierre Garcon is the only established name on the roster capable of playing a big role. This essentially means that one of the 49ers rookies or low-cost free agency signings is in the running for a good number of targets, and George Kittle has as good a chance as anyone of being the benefactor.
— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) August 7, 2017
The 49ers selected Kittle of Iowa in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft, and he has the size and power to be able to be devastating in the open field and make big plays, which is something the 49ers have lacked in recent years.
In the short term it is hard to project a huge number of yards for George Kittle due to horrendous QB play, and the fact Vance McDonald is at best a consistent player, but he arguably has the highest floor of any rookie tight end moving forwards. 49ers fans expect him to get around 60 catches this season, and General Manager John Lynch has said that he has a ‘legit’ chance of being the starting tight end. The most recent depth chart has Vance McDonald as the starter, but McDonald is hardly going to be a major roadblock if Kittle continues to impress in training camp, as he is nothing more than an average all-around player.
Kittle is often going undrafted, but he is worth a selection late in the second round, or even as an undrafted addition to the back-end of your roster. He is entering a favorable situation, and a tight end with his size could very easily become the safety blanket for whichever QB lines up for the 49ers in the 2018 season.
Wide Receiver / Detroit Lions
Kenny Golladay was part of a surprising narrative in the last draft, as many expected the Lions to use an early pick on a position player, as opposed to a mid-round one. So far, the Lions decision to wait on a receiver has looked good, as Kenny Golladay has been amazing in training camp, and has the chance to become the most important receiver on this roster from day one.
The Lions ran a dink and dunk offense last season, but the fact they spent big on Ricky Wagner (the best pass protecting right tackle in the NFL), shows that they probably want to diversify their offense in 2017. The Lions were desperate for an outside receiver last year, and Golladay has the size and speed to be the field-spacer that Jim Bob Cooter has been crying out for.
When Anquan Boldin departed in free agency, the Lions lost their only reliable red-zone target, and the veteran took 24 red zone targets with him which was the 6th highest in the NFL. Not only was Boldin frequently targeted, but he was relatively effective as he caught 66% of his 24 looks, a percentage only bettered by DeMaryius Thomas amongst the top 20 wide receivers in red-zone targets. Marvin Jones proved to be unreliable and he struggled against press coverage, so Kenny Golladay is likely going to get the majority of the red-zone looks that Boldin left behind. Marvin Jones and Golden Tate are good players, but neither is a real difference maker in the red-zone, and neither should be expected to score more than a handful of touchdowns.
Kenny Golladay has reportedly been torching the Lions talented secondary in training camp, and it wouldn’t actually be surprising for him to be the most valuable rookie wide receiver in 2017. Mike Williams is injured, Corey Davis is playing for a Head Coach who wants him to earn his time, and Cooper Kupp is handcuffed by below average QB play. Golladay not only has the best short-term value of any rookie pass catcher, but he is going to be a long-term option for Matt Stafford in what is set to be a more vertical offense in Detroit. Golladay is usually taken in the late rounds, but if I were picking at the bottom of the first round, I would seriously consider taking him because of the amazing situation he finds himself in.
Now residing in England, Joe lived in New York from 2008-2012, and it is there that he discovered his love for the Seattle Seahawks, as he wanted to be different to everyone he went to school with. Joe also writes about the NBA, the Premier League and MLB in his spare time, and has a deep love-hate relationship with Manchester City, the Ottawa Senators, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Cincinnati Reds.