Active dynasty fantasy football owners are preparing for rookie drafts. They know that 2017 rookie picks will rise in value until draft day. And with names such as Derrius Guice, Saquon Barkley, and Courtland Sutton, the 2018 class is being hyped as equal or superior to this year’s. New is better.
This presents an opportunity to mine value from last year’s rookies. Here we look at three players selected in the second round or later in 2016 rookie drafts whose values we expect to rise or fall this offseason. The reason for this deep dive is twofold. First, the value of first rounders is often insulated due to their draft capital in real NFL and dynasty terms. Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson, and Laquon Treadwell combined for just 11 starts, 82 targets, 36 receptions, 494 yards and 3 TDs yet have overall January ADPs of 27, 50 and 55, respectively. Second, dynasty champions are built just as much at the bottom of the roster as at the top.
Tyreek Hill, WR Kansas City Chiefs (Faller)
ADP (Jan ’17): 61
83 tgt, 61 rec, 593 yds (9.7 avg), 6 td
24 rush, 267 yds (11.1 avg), 3 td
Tyreek Hill’s elite athleticism (90th percentile SPARQ score) and efficiency (#3 among WR in fantasy points per target, #9 in catch rate at 74%) propelled him to a top 20 positional finish for the year despite being a fifth-round NFL Draft selection.
However, Hill’s production relied upon TDs (one per 10.6 touches excluding returns). His receptions per game decreased by 50% with Jeremy Maclin in the lineup. And the Chiefs have another athletic, young receiver in Chris Conley, whose size (6’2”, 207 lbs, 97th percentile SPARQ) and production (69 tgt, 44 rec (64% catch rate), 530 yds, 0 td) appear more conventional than Hill’s.
In a low-volume passing offense led by Alex Smith and featuring Maclin, Conley, Travis Kelce and Spencer Ware, all of whom are under contract through at least 2018, one may question if Hill can gain the volume necessary to counteract any dip in efficiency.
Price: 2017 Low 1st/High 2nd rookie pick
Paul Perkins, RB New York Giants (Faller)
112 rush, 456 yds (4.1 avg), 0 td
24 tgt, 15 rec, 162 yds (10.8 avg), 0 td
Opportunity can trump talent in the short term for RBs. Over time, however, talent tends to override opportunity.
Paul Perkins performed at an average level in 2016. He gained 4.1 yards per carry while the NFL average was 4.2. Similar story in college as Perkins produced 5.7 ypc versus 5.8 ypc for all UCLA RBs in his last year.
His college market share yards, targets (percentage of his team’s rush and receiving yards and targets) and ypc were all within the 52nd and 58th national percentiles.
Perkins had opportunity in 2016: 62% of his carries occurred in the last five games (including playoffs). Despite assuming the featured role he managed only six receiving targets and nine receiving yards in those contests. His fantasy points per rush and target ranked 72nd in the NFL.
The Giants backfield is wide open but the team has just a 5th round pick invested in Perkins while there is both top end quality and depth in the 2017 rookie RB class.
With an ADP placing him among Eddie Lacy (87), Dion Lewis (89) and Isaiah Crowell (93) it may be time to cash in on Perkins before his value dips.
Price: Mid to Low 2nd round rookie pick
Keith Marshall, RB Washington (Riser)
No 2016 statistics (IR in August)
Keith Marshall’s story is one of production interrupted by injuries. His fantasy value rose post-draft as people learned of his athleticism (91st percentile SPARQ score, 4.31 sec 40 yard at 5’11”, 219 lbs) and opportunity in Washington. It fell when an elbow injury sent him to IR.
Washington did little to address the position since drafting Marshall. The incumbent, Matt Jones, was a healthy scratch for the year’s last eight games. The new RB1 earned the nickname “Fat Rob” Kelley in the fantasy community and is an UDFA. Pass catching back Chris Thompson should remain in a complementary role and is an RFA this offseason.
Singles hitters should not take up the end of dynasty benches. Marshall provides home run upside at minimal cost, not even appearing in the top 250 in current ADP.
Price: Late 3rd round rookie pick