Early Rookie Value

Ryan McDowell
Rotoworld

It has been a relatively quiet week around the NFL as teams are in a transition time between the Super Bowl as the upcoming Combine. Until there are on-field rookie testing numbers to digest, fantasy players have to settle for fantasy football data regarding the class of 2020.

With many drafts of all kinds already kicking off, we now have redraft, dynasty and rookie draft ADP data to consider. There has been speculation and excitement about this incoming rookie class for months, if not years. Ultimately, it could rival the groups from 2014 or 2017 and some of the top players are already being valued highly in all league formats.

 

Redraft Bestball ADP

Let’s begin with some seasonal leagues, specifically best ball redraft leagues, hosted by the FFPC. Many leagues are already underway, drafting for 2020 and using pre-NLF Draft picks on incoming rookies often pays off in a major way as rookie fever takes over and rookies gain value and rise up draft boards later in the offseason.

According to FantasyMojo.com, the first rookie being drafted is Georgia RB D’Andre Swift, coming off the board as the first player in the fourth round and the RB20. Swift is widely being projected as the only back to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. For reference, veterans being selected in this same range include Todd Gurley, Amari Cooper and Patrick Mahomes.

Another back, Jonathan Taylor also sneaks into the fourth round as the 4.07 pick and RB23. Taylor is the uber-productive bruiser from Wisconsin who averaged over 2,000 yards of total offense in each of his three college seasons. Taylor is in between a pair of receivers, Courtland Sutton and Allen Robinson.

The third rookie runner selected and the RB27 overall is Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, who is an early-fifth rounder. Dobbins bounced back from a disappointing sophomore season to lead the Buckeyes to the college football playoffs. Other backs within this range include James Conner, Damien Williams and Kerryon Johnson.

Another pair of running backs are selected before the first rookie receiver as Cam Akers and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are both being drafted in the eighth round. This is a nice discount for the two, who are each being projected as day two picks in the NFL Draft.

Alabama’s WR Jerry Jeudy is the first rookie pass-catcher drafted and barely cracks the top-100 at 99 overall. Another wideout, CeeDee Lamb comes off the board ten picks later, even though he is routinely being pegged as the WR1 in the NFL Draft. Heisman Trophy winner and presumed future Bengals QB Joe Burrow is the only other rookie being selected in the top 150 overall players. Burrow is the QB17 in this format, directly behind QBs Jared Goff and Drew Brees.

 

Dynasty Startup ADP

We also have new dynasty startup ADP, courtesy of Dynasty League Football. Dynasty leaguers are viewing and valuing these incoming players with a much longer window, but the early valuation has been quite similar to the redraft data shared earlier.

Swift, Taylor and Dobbins are again the top three rookies selected and all currently carry a third-round ADP. The only other ball carrier being valued in the third round is Eagles RB Miles Sanders.

The big shift in dynasty leagues comes at the receiver position, where the upside of Jeudy and Lamb push them all the way into the round four area, notably being selected before Deebo Samuel, D.J. Chark and Tyler Boyd. Florida State’s Akers also finished with a fourth-round ADP.

Rookie fever is in full swing as Edwards-Helaire and WR Jalen Reagor are found in round five and Henry Ruggs comes off the board in round six. WRs Tee Higgins and Leviska Shenault carry a seventh-round ADP and that makes 11 rookies among the top 80 players drafted, according to DLF.

Burrow and former Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa are expected to be top-five picks in the NFL Draft, but in the single QB dynasty format, they fall far down the board, as do the majority of signal-callers. Still, Burrow is being valued as a low-end QB1, the QB11 between Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. Tagovailoa shows up soon after as the QB14 behind Giants QB Daniel Jones

 

Rookie Draft ADP

If you’re already in an established dynasty or keeper league, you are less concerned with how the incoming rookies compare to veterans and more interested in simply how they rank within tiers.

In 10 rookie mock drafts, some clear tiers were developed. Swift was the top overall pick in nine of the 10 drafts, while Dobbins, Taylor, Lamb and Jeudy almost always held down the next four spots in varying orders. There is a sizable gap between these five and the next tier.

The second tier is currently five players deep as well and includes Akers, Edwards-Helaire, Reagor, Shenault and Higgins. The final tier nicely wraps up the typical first round of 12 players as Ruggs and Justin Jefferson.

Here’s the full first round of rookie ADP data.

 

Pick

Player

Position

School

1.01

D’Andre Swift

RB

Georgia

1.02

J.K. Dobbins

RB

Ohio State

1.03

Jonathan Taylor

RB

Wisconsin

1.04

CeeDee Lamb

WR

Oklahoma

1.05

Jerry Jeudy

WR

Alabama

1.06

Cam Akers

RB

Florida State

1.07

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

RB

LSU

1.08

Jalen Reagor

WR

Texas Christian

1.09

Laviska Shenault

WR

Colorado

1.10

Tee Higgins

WR

Clemson

1.11

Henry Ruggs

WR

Alabama

1.12

Justin Jefferson

WR

LSU

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