Which top-drafted rookies are immediate fantasy starters?

A group of PFF Fantasy writers discuss the long-term keeper value of the top rookies, now that we know their teams.

| 1 week ago
(Elsa/Getty Images)

(Elsa/Getty Images)

Which top-drafted rookies are immediate fantasy starters?


Last month, some of the other PFF Fantasy writers and I got together to gauge the long-term keeper status of players at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE). The task was simple: How long would you extend a player in a keeper league, if that player cost you a fantasy-starter-value draft pick?

As part of the process, I included some of the biggest-name rookies. Three running backs, three wide receivers, two tight ends. But as that was before the draft, before we knew where these players would end up, I thought it prudent to revisit those rookies, to see if our analysts’ opinions changed once they knew where the players would land.

The premise: You can keep Player X for as long as you want, but you have to decide on that duration right now.

The cost: You can keep the player indefinitely at the cost of the last starter at the position. So a tight end will cost you the draft slot of the 10th tight end off the board, while a wide receiver will cost you the 20th receiver.

With those rules in place, I solicited the input of three PFF Fantasy writers: Brandon Marianne Lee (@BrandonHerFFB), Michael Moore (@PFF_Moore), and Dan Schneier (@DanSchneierNFL) for updated number predictions. See them below, with a short writeup of the players’ situations.

(Note that a couple of players — Joe Mixon, Evan Engram, etc. — might be more relevant than some of the players below according to some analysts, but they weren’t in the first go-round, so there’s nothing to update.)

Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

(Age at start of 2017 season: 22; 2016 statistics: 13 games, 1,765 rushing yards, 19 rushing TDs, 488 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD)

Dalvin Cook number of years
Brandon Dan Michael
Pre-draft 6 5 1
Post-draft 0 5 2

Cook went to the Vikings with the ninth pick in the second round. Early in the draft process, Cook was seen as potentially the top back off the board, and remained No. 1 on the PFF Big Board. But a poor combine for Cook and better showings by Leonard Fournette and Christain McCaffrey changed things up, and that led to Cook falling to an iffy spot. The Vikings signed Latavius Murray in free agency and still have Jerick McKinnon, and even if Cook wins an open competition for the starting slot, Murray and McKinnon are likely to have roles. Add to that a questionable offensive line, and it’s no wonder Brandon went from confident in Cook’s future to questioning it.

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| Fantasy Editor

Daniel Kelley is the fantasy editor for Pro Football Focus. He has previously appeared at SB Nation.

  • http://www.michaeldepetrillo.com/ Michael DePetrillo

    What is up with Brandon’s contracts here. How do you spend a 6 year contract on Williams, Davis, Cook at WR/RB #20 price, Howard/Njoku at TE #10 price, before you know the landing spot, and then switch to 0 contracts after? This makes almost no sense. If you give a guy a 6 year deal prior to landing on a team you have to assume they are talented enough to survive a few years while organization rebuilds. If you’re that sensitive to landing spots you should have never given such large contacts in the first place.

    Would be nice to see this article actually discuss why these analysts value has changed so much.