Dynasty Rookie Watch: 2013 and Beyond
Happy New Years everyone. This will be the last official rookie watch of 2013. I’ve enjoyed writing this piece weekly and I hope that you as readers were able to use the information in this space to your advantage. These are my final rookie rankings of 2013, along with offseason buys, sells, and holds. I’ve also included a sneak peak of my early top ten 2014 prospects with information that you should be armed with heading into draft season.
|1.||Giovanni Bernard||–||16.||Da’Rick Rogers||+2|
|2.||Eddie Lacy||–||17.||Tyler Eifert||+2|
|3.||Keenan Allen||–||18.||Aaron Dobson||-2|
|4.||DeAndre Hopkins||–||19.||E.J. Manuel||-2|
|5.||Le’Veon Bell||–||20.||Robert Woods||–|
|6.||Zac Stacy||–||21.||Mike Glennon||–|
|7.||Christine Michael||+1||22.||Knile Davis||–|
|8.||Cordarrelle Patterson||-1||23.||Zach Ertz||–|
|9.||Jordan Reed||–||24.||Kenny Stills||–|
|10.||Montee Ball||–||25.||Marlon Brown||–|
|11.||Andre Ellington||+1||26.||Marquise Goodwin||–|
|12.||Tavon Austin||-1||27.||Marcus Lattimore||–|
|13.||Terrance Williams||+1||28.||Kenbrell Thompkins||–|
|14.||Markus Wheaton||+1||29.||Jonathan Franklin||–|
|15.||Justin Hunter||-2||30.||Quinton Patton||–|
Christine Michael, RB, Seattle
Michael ends his rookie season with a mere 26 snaps spread across three games, gaining 82 yards on 18 attempts (4.6 YPC). Michael showed in the preseason why he was widely considered the most physically gifted runner in this year’s class, and he has remained in the top ten of my Dynasty rookie rankings all year because of it. While I don’t predict like some that Michael will ascend to greatness in 2014 due to Marshawn Lynch’s impending demise (I think Lynch has another elite year left on his only recently heavily used tires), I do think he will start to cut into Robert Turbin’s playing time with another strong camp. By 2015, he could very well be a top ten fantasy running back. Now is the time to buy.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
Hopkins finishes his rookie season with 52 receptions for 802 yards (an elite 15.4 YPC) and two touchdowns. Since I first watched his tape, I have compared him to Roddy White, who was a WR1 for more than five years prior to the beginning of his decline phase this year at age 32. Comparing Hopkins’ rookie year numbers to White’s (29 catches for 446 yards, the same 15.4 YPC, and three touchdowns) shows that Hopkins is well ahead of the veteran’s rookie curve despite that fact that he will only be 21 years old for the majority of this calendar year. He showed flashes of dominance (see: Houston’s Week 2 win over Tennessee) and produced decent numbers on a consistent basis during what can only be described as a dumpster fire of a season for the Texans. There is one very big benefit that will come out of that dumpster fire, though: the number one overall pick in the draft. It is widely expected that Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who torched the NCAA for 3970 yards and a 31:4 touchdown to interception ratio while completing 71 percent of his passes, will be that pick if he declares himself draft eligible. I can’t emphasize enough how big of a break this would be for Hopkins’ Dynasty owners. The former Clemson Tiger could be potentially tied to a stud quarterback for years to come, which is the difference between putting up very good or great numbers. If your league mates aren’t treating him like a future WR1, take advantage.
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas
Williams enters his first NFL offseason set to become the clear cut number two wide receiver in Dallas after the impending unrestricted free agency of Miles Austin. He ended up catching 44 of his 72 targets for 736 yards (16.7 YPC) and five touchdowns, turning him into a steal for owners he got him in the second and third round of rookie drafts. The number two wide receiver position in Dallas has been a valuable fantasy football asset for years now, and Williams has the youthful upside to push it even further. Treat him like a high end Dynasty WR3 with room to grow.
Knile Davis, RB, Kansas City
Davis carved out his role into the clear cut number two running back on Kansas City’s roster after scoring four touchdowns in the team’s final four games while averaging 23 snaps per contest. Jamaal Charles has every reason to hold out this offseason as he is set to make just $2.25 million a year after making $1.75 million in an MVP caliber campaign. Chances are the Chief’s brass will fork over the dough for their best player, but that is never a guarantee in a salary capped driven league for a player at a position that is generally considered replaceable. Davis is the definition of a boom or bust prospect, but in the unlikely event something were happen to Charles contract or health wise, he could be a winning lottery ticket. I can’t imagine he is too expensive if he is even owned in your league. He is well worth a stash.
Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota
The main reason Patterson falls under “Hold” and not “Buy” is because of how well he ended the season, accounting for 2020 total yards and 9 total touchdowns, meaning his owner in your league is probably not going to sell at a reasonable cost. His 10.4 yards per catch on his 43 reception is a bit underwhelming for someone his after the catch ability, but he atoned for that shortcoming averaging 13.2 yards on 12 carries including three rushing touchdowns. I am a little worried that Patterson’s stats (especially rushing) are slightly artificially inflated by the Viking’s force feeding him towards the end of a lost season with a banged up Adrian Peterson. 83 percent of his rushes and 68 percent of his targets came after Week 11. I still love his upside but I want to see what he does with a new head coach and (possibly) quarterback before declaring him a future WR1.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington
Reed has been a favorite of mine since last draft season, but concussion issues have me very concerned for his value moving forward. Health aside, he is a clear cut top five Dynasty tight end in my mind with his talent at just 23 years old being tied to an elite young quarterback. At one point, he was leading all rookie (regardless of position) in receptions and finished his rookie season with 45 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns. However, he was forced to miss the last six games of the season. He is the definition of a “wait-and-see” player now, unless his owner in your league is really down on him. In that case, I think he is worth buying on the cheap.
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Hunter showed why some considered him to be the most physically gifted wide receiver in this year’s class during the season, posting two 100 yard/touchdown games and a stellar 19.7 yards per catch in a season marked by inconsistency on offense from the Titans. However, he finished with just 18 receptions and played on just 36.4 percent of the team’s offensive snaps on the year. I like Hunter as a developmental WR4 in Dynasty now, but if someone in your league is coming after him hard, I would strongly consider cashing out if the offer is strong enough. I would take almost any 2014 rookie first rounder for Hunter given his off the field risk and lack of overall/consistent production relative to other rookie wide receivers, and would give him straight up for a player like Terrance Williams, who seem to be in the same area value wise in Dynasty leagues.
Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis
Austin falls under the sell category only if your league mates view him as a future number one wide receiver, which many people still do. While Austin flashed the explosive upside that we all know he has this season, he disappeared at times in Jeff Fisher’s offense. He finished out the season with three straight inactives due to a high ankle sprain after exceeding two receptions in just one of his final six games played. His dip in production following his first three games came before Sam Bradford’s injury. To be honest, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him as anything more than my WR3 in Dynasty now, and even then I wouldn’t feel totally comfortable. We still don’t know how things are going to look in St. Louis in the near future with high draft picks galore and uncertainty at the quarterback position. If you can get the 1.04 or so rookie pick for him with a shot at Marqise Lee, I would take it.
Speaking of Lee, here is an early look at ten notable rookies that I am keeping an eye on during the combine and draft season. I plan on analyzing these and more players in detail in the coming weeks.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (6’1” 205 lbs) Age: 20
2013 Stats: 85 receptions, 1237 yards, 10 touchdowns
The clear cut consensus Dynasty pick based on talent alone
Marqise Lee, WR, USC (6’0”, 195 lbs) Age: 22
2013 Stats: 57 receptions, 791 yards, 4 touchdowns
Had a strong end to a down season, still an elite prospect after 118 catch sophomore season
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor (5’10”, 210 lbs) Age: 22
2013 Stats: 141 attempts, 1060 yards (7.5 YPC), 11 touchdowns
A bit undersized and inexperienced catching out of the backfield, but has explosive lateral agility and long speed
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (6’5”, 225 lbs) Age: 20
2013 Stats: 65 receptions, 1322 yards, 12 touchdowns
A young Vincent Jackson Clone; very good at leveraging his size into winning contested balls.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (6’3”, 205 lbs) Age: 21
2013 Stats: 107 receptions, 1334 yards, 5 touchdowns
Prototypical wide receiver size with 201 catches over the last two seasons. His speed drills at the combine will be something to watch.
Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona (5’10”, 196 lbs) Age: 21
2013 Stats: 322 attempts, 1716 yards (5.3 YPC), 17 touchdowns; 26 receptions, 173 yards, 1 touchdown
Undersized but has shown well in the passing game and been efficient despite huge workloads
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina (6’4”, 245 lbs) Age: 20
2013 Stats: 62 receptions, 973 yards, 3 touchdowns
An advanced pass catcher for his very young age (16.3 YPC in his college career), projects as the “move” tight end that NFL offenses are craving for
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech (6’5” 257 lbs) Age: 21
2013 Stats: 106 receptions, 1352 yards, 7 touchdowns
More of an in-line tight end with better blocking skills than Ebron, Amaro will probably be the higher pick in the NFL draft
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (6’3”, 196 lbs) Age: 21
2013 Stats: 303 of 427 (71.0%), 3970 yards, 31 touchdowns, 4 interceptions
Should step right into a great scenario to develop with Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins
Austin Sefarian Jenkins, TE, University of Washington (6’6”, 276 lbs) Age: 21
2013 Stats: 36 receptions, 450 yards, 8 touchdowns
An on-field skill set reminiscent of Rob Gronkowski has been overshadowed by character and off the field woes. His ceiling and floor have me paying as close attention to him as any other prospect.
Follow Joey on Twitter @PFF_Joey