Mining the NFL draft for deep dynasty gems

Dan Schneier mines the 2016 NFL Draft to find 10 dynasty league gems you should draft.

| 7 months ago
(Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)

Mining the NFL draft for deep dynasty gems


Now that the 2016 NFL Draft has wrapped up, we can finally focus on projecting these prospects and their value in redraft, keeper and dynasty fantasy football leagues.

Anyone can tell you to go and get Ezekiel Elliott or Michael Thomas — those are obvious fantasy fits.

In this piece, we will focus on drawing your intention to 10 prospects you need to get on your radar before your dynasty league rookie draft.

We will only use players drafted on day three and undrafted free agents. We will also skip over some of the more obvious day three dynasty values like Kenneth Dixon and Malcolm Mitchell. Without further ado, let’s take a look at our first prospect.

Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles

The West Virginia back didn’t get much pre-draft buzz at all, but he was a highly productive runner in 2015. Smallwood finished with PFF’s sixth-best rushing grade of all backs and averaged 6.4 yards per carry. At 5-10 and 208 pounds he ran a 4.47 40-yard dash and he backed that speed up by having 32.7 percent of his runs go for 15-plus yards. He was also the fifth-best back in pass blocking efficiency. With Darren Sproles a free agent after this season and Ryan Mathews a free agent after next, Smallwood has upside to emerge as the lead back sooner than anticipated.

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Dan Schneier is a staff writer at PFF Fantasy. You can find him  and continue the conversation on Twitter @DanSchneierNFL.



Dan Schneier is a staff writer for PFF Fantasy, a former FOX Sports NFL scribe, and an auction format enthusiast.

  • Patrick

    I don’t view Smallwood as an eventual starter, but more as a Sproles replacement this season or next. I view him as a complement.

    • Dan Schneier

      Thanks for reading, Patrick. What about Smallwood’s game leads you in the direction of change of pace back only?

      • Patrick

        He is a capable receiver with return experience. And as you mentioned a good pass blocker. I think he will start out as a 3rd down specialist and help in the return game (assuming the NFL rules don’t eliminate that). He isn’t the biggest guy, so he would need to bulk up. And he isn’t incredibly elusive. I think he would operate better in open space.

        Sproles is a special talent, but definitely getting up there in years.

        I think the Eagles will be addressing the position again next season in rounds 2-3. Supposed to be a deeper RB draft next year.

        • Dan Schneier

          Point taken. I definitely agree with you that Smallwood’s best trait is his ability to operate in space, but I don’t think he’s limited to a change-of-pace role. He put together a lot of strong runs between the tackles, from the games that I saw. And he had a solid Yco/Att average.