Rookie Stock Watch – Dalton Kates @daltonguruff
Every year we see players that are highly thought of pre-draft take a nosedive in our rankings because of two main factors – draft capital and landing spot. We also see players shoot up our boards for the same exact reasons. Let’s breakdown some of the risers and fallers from pre-draft rookie ADP to post draft ADP. All data is courtesy of DLF Rookie ADP and assuming a 12-team PPR rookie draft with five rounds.
Riser: Josh Jacobs
Pre-Draft ADP (1.05)
Post-Draft ADP (1.02)
A three spot jump may not seem like a lot but at the top of the draft it is a pretty substantial move up the draft board. People were hesitant on Jacobs pre-draft with his lack of production and unknown of his draft position, but now those questions can be put to rest. With Jacobs getting drafted in the first round, that is HUGE for him. 18 of the past 20 RBs drafted in the first round of the NFL draft have finished with at least one top 24 PPR season amongst RBs. Jacobs walks into Oakland with the starting job calling his name. He will likely lead all rookies in touches this year. Volume is king in fantasy football and Jacobs should get plenty of that for the foreseeable future.
Faller: Hakeem Butler
Pre-Draft ADP (1.02)
Post Draft ADP (2.01)
Hakeem Butler was neck and neck with N’Keal Harry pre-draft for the top overall rookie ranking. I can’t remember a guy this highly regarded by the dynasty community take such a nosedive like Butler did during the NFL Draft. Since a high majority of successful NFL WRs are drafted inside the top three rounds, it would seem logical for Butler who was drafted in the fourth round to take a tumble in rookie drafts. The talent is still there, but his slide begs the question, “Why didn’t the NFL like him?”. He was the 14th WR drafted in this class and the second WR drafted on his own team. Naturally this would put him behind the 8-ball as clearly the Cardinals liked Andy Isabella more. It’s not all bad news for Butler though. He is still the same player regardless of where he got drafted and while maybe we were all too high on Butler during the pre-draft process, this is not a death sentence. Watch the latest episode of Cardinals Flight Plan and you’ll see the the Cards brass contemplating taking him with the 65th pick in the NFL draft just one pick after DK Metcalf. They were “shocked” he was available with the first pick in the fourth round and it was a “no-brainer” to select him. This should give us second thoughts about displacing Butler for falling in the NFL draft because in the end he’s in a prime spot in an ascending offense. Butler is rightfully going in the second round and is a great upside pick in this range.
Riser: Mecole Hardman
Pre-Draft ADP (4.06)
Post Draft ADP (2.04)
Nobody is shooting up boards quicker than Mecole Hardman. You can’t dream of a more perfect landing spot for a rookie WR in this draft class. The Chiefs clearly thought highly of Mecole Hardman as he was their first pick in this draft, they traded up to select him and took him over highly regarded WR prospects such as JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Parris Campbell, Andy Isabella and DK Metcalf. This was a shocking pick due to the fact that Hardman was thought of as a middle round prospect at best heading into the draft and had very questionable metrics to give much hope towards him being a successful NFL receiver. Now that things have changed with a murky Tyreek Hill situation, it’s entirely possible that Hardman is a starting WR week one for the Kansas City Chiefs. With little to no competition or depth in that receiver room after Watkins this leaves Hardman in a mouth-drooling spot for immediate fantasy production tied to the best young QB in the game. It’s within his range of outcomes to finish with the most points amongst rookie WRs this season and no matter what you think of him as a player you can’t deny his immediate situation. Hardman is likely a player that will continue to rise up boards as we get closer to training camp and get clarity on the Tyreek Hill situation.
Faller: Kelvin Harmon
Pre-Draft ADP (1.08)
Post Draft ADP (2.11)
Kelvin Harmon was a highly thought of prospect entering the pre-draft process. Harmon was at one point the 1.03 in rookie ADP before the combine hit and he started to take a fall. Scouts thought he was one of the most polished route runners in this class and had a real shot of going in the first round of the NFL draft. Then we found out he was actually a year older than originally thought and he totally bombed the combine. He is a sub-athlete across the board with mediocre production and breakout age. He was just a solid WR entering the draft and needed draft capital to give him a much better chance at becoming a successful NFL WR. When the NFL draft came he kept falling and the Redskins picked him up with the 33rd pick of the sixth round. Not exactly the greatest start for his NFL career and prospects. Very few WRs drafted outside the top three rounds ever post a top 24 fantasy season and while it doesn’t completely kill his chances, he now has a very steep hill to climb to prove he is an outlier. If there is a silver lining here it is that he enters a WR corps without any solidified weapons in Washington. Kelvin Harmon is still being drafted ahead of Terry McLaurin in rookie drafts despite the former getting the nod by the Redskins three rounds earlier in the NFL draft. Expect Kelvin Harmon’s ADP to continue to fall and he is a clear avoid in the second round of rookie drafts.
Riser: Diontae Johnson
Pre- Draft ADP (Undrafted)
Post Draft ADP (3.02)
Is it a coincidence that Johnson’s rookie ADP and NFL draft position are both the same (3.02)? This draft pick came as a shock to most as Johnson was largely off the radar and thought of more as a late round pick or UDFA for teams. With the Steelers losing Antonio Brown in the offseason, they may be trying to replace him with the next Antonio Brown. I don’t mean that literally, but the Steelers hit the lottery when they drafted AB and now drafted a WR in Johnson who is basically identical in stature, is also a sub-par athlete and came from a small school. With the lack of proven receiving weapons on this offense outside of Juju Smith-Schuster, it isn’t crazy to believe Johnson has a legit shot to earn himself a role this season in what should be a prominent offense. Johnson doesn’t pop out as a WR prospect and that is likely why he wasn’t highly thought of heading into the draft process, but the draft capital is undeniable. His ADP will likely hover around in the same range and isn’t a terrible dart throw at the beginning of the third round once the second tier ends.
Faller: Darrell Henderson
Pre-Draft ADP (1.09)
Post Draft ADP (2.05)
If I told you before the draft that Darrell Henderson would be drafted in the beginning of the third round as the third RB off the board and drafted to a team with one of the best offenses in the NFL you’d probably be intrigued. Apparently the dynasty community doesn’t feel that way. Yes, Henderson got drafted by the Rams who have one of the best RBs in the NFL in Todd Gurley, but let’s start connecting the dots here. After week 9 Todd Gurley went from getting 25 touches a game to only 19 touches a game after that.
This dipped to 11.3 touches per game in the playoffs when you would think one of the best RBs in the game would be fed the ball. In this same time frame freshly acquired FA CJ Anderson had 16.3 touches per game in the playoffs. Clearly Anderson is not better than Gurley and something is not right with him. In the offseason there have been reports that Gurley has arthritis in his knee and that’s something he will have to manage throughout his career. Gurley and the Rams have been failing to shoot down these concerns before the draft and have only heightened these concerns by not only selecting a RB with a premium pick, but trading up to do so. All indications point towards the end of Gurley being a true workhorse in LA and while he should command a majority of the carries it is entirely reasonable that Henderson is more than just a handcuff and is getting 10 touches per game in this offense. Henderson doesn’t really have workhorse size in the NFL, but he was electric in college with an insane 8.9 YPC in EACH of the past two seasons in college. Henderson can thrive in a role and be uber-efficient in this offense even with Gurley there. If anything more serious happens to Gurley and Henderson becomes the lead back it’s wheels up for him. Henderson falling in drafts is mind-boggling to me and is currently a steal at his current ADP. I expect his ADP to rise closer to where it was pre-draft once we get closer to training camp.