RSO Rookie Picks Pt. 2

Updated: July 23rd 2017

The RSO salary cap and contract structure provides a unique setting when compared to other fantasy platforms.   A superior player with more expensive contract will be worth less in many instances than a lesser producing player with a cheaper contract for RSO leagues.  RSO rookie deals give owners access to cost-controlled, long-term contracts.  The question is whether rookies produce enough of the time to be worth the costs involved.  This article continues our examination of RSO rookie draft picks from Part 1 looking at the basics of evaluating picks for RSO leagues.

Part 2 expands upon this by comparing the expected production value of rookie picks with the associated RSO rookie contract costs. We can then ascertain where the best bargains can be found and relate draft pick costs to veteran spending.  While there is no superbly accurate means of determining how a rookie will turn out given the many variables outside the control of the player and the host of intangible player traits which determine success, but the model below should give the reader an idea of how to value rookie picks.

The Technical Aspects

This section details the technical aspects of my value formulation. As a quick reminder, the values obtained come from shallow, non-PPR leagues.  The reader may refer to part 1 for more information about the data.  I first converted the player values in part 1 to dollar values based on the salary cap and league settings specified above.

My next step involved weighting player values by the year in which production occurred using a 20% yearly discount rate unless noted otherwise. People generally prefer production in the present when compared to production in the future.  An example may help to illustrate the point.  Given one rookie who produces only in year 1 of a rookie contract and another rookie who produces equally but only in year 4 of the rookie deal, most RSO GMs prefer the rookie who produces in year 1.  There is another more tangible reason to discount the production in future years.  You might not be in your RSO league in future seasons.  Maybe the league breaks up.  Maybe your life circumstances change so that you are no longer able to compete in the league.  As shown in part 1, draft picks tend to produce more after the rookie season.  The RSO GM is generally receiving less production in the rookie season compared to later years but paying the same price as a percentage of the salary cap.  I finally summed the time-weighted values to form an associated present day value for each player.

Lastly, I estimated player values for each draft position using a linear-log regression model. The estimation utilized players selected from 2007 to 2013 rookie drafts.  Players selected from 2014 to 2016, included in part 1, were excluded in this analysis as they have not completed their rookie contracts.

Contract Value vs Cost

Reality Sports Online posts rookie contract costs for drafts up to five rounds. Similarly to player values, I converted contract costs to present day dollars in order to compare rookie draft costs to values.  There are a few key items worth mentioning after examining the costs.  First, there will be a sharp drop in rookie costs from the last pick of the first round to the first pick of the second round.  Second, contract costs remain relatively “flat” after the first round.  There exists little difference in costs from 2.1 to 2.10 for example.  Third, contract costs grow yearly at a rate which should adequately approximate the yearly salary cap growth in the NFL.  This means rookie picks should take up approximately the same percentage of cap space for each year of the contract.

The data also presents interesting notions on the relative value of draft picks. The 1.1, for example, is approximately equal in production value to 1) picks 4 and 5 or 2) picks 7 to 9 or 3) picks 9 through 12.  The massive premium attached to top picks seems quite reasonable when looking at the expected production.  If we want a better a look at how good a rookie contract is, however, we need to take into account the associated costs with each rookie deal.  The next section details this further.

Net Contract Value

The net contract value is simply the contract costs subtracted from the contract value. A rookie contract with a net value of zero is expected to produce at the market value rate.  As seen from the chart above, rookie deals as a whole tend to be good contracts to owners with 75% of the picks having positive net values and the remaining picks producing minimal losses.  In particular, rookie picks near the top of the first and second rounds substantially out-produce their contracts.  This is primarily a result of large production from the top picks and the big drop in rookie costs starting with second round picks.

Net Contract Values with Selected Discount Rates

Of course not everyone values future production of players in the same way. It becomes readily apparent from the table above that rookie picks rapidly lose value for those people who sharply discount future production and are focused more on the present.  Be sure to understand your personal situation and timeframe before investing heavily in draft picks.

Other Considerations

The analysis above focused on the production value of rookie picks. Another way to look at the problem is through the lens of what I will call “perceived” value or, put another way, how the rest of your league values draft picks.  It is well documented that many fantasy leagues value draft picks above their production value, particularly around the time of rookie drafts.   RSO owners, particularly those out of the playoff race, might consider trading for draft picks during the season even if the player values traded away is larger than the received draft pick value.  You may be able to translate the short-term loss into a long-term profit near the next rookie draft.

The above values for rookie picks are a solid starting point but we also need to remember that not every draft class is created equal. For example, I consider the 2017 rookie class generally superior to the 2016 class with more high-end talent and quality depth throughout.  Be sure to adjust your valuations accordingly.

Loading up a roster with draft picks can be an effective salary cap management technique. A roster with many low cost rookie picks, particularly after the first round, allows a lot of cap space to spend on high-end starters in the free agent auction.  Misses on rookies (of which there will be plenty) will not have too big of an impact thanks to the low costs involved and gives the RSO GM substantial cap flexibility in the future.

Conclusions

While every RSO GM is different, there are a couple of key points to keep in mind when evaluating rookie picks.

  1. Rookie pick value is maximized near the top of the first and second rounds. Try to trade up, down, or out if you have picks in the bottom portion of the round. Picks at the end of the second round and later are essentially “throw away” picks which have net values near or below market value.  You are better off using your cap space in the free agent market.
  2. Know yourself and the league when evaluating draft picks. Rookie pick values increase substantially in stable long-lasting leagues for owners who hold a longer-term outlook. The RSO team with a shorter window should seriously consider trading away rookie picks.

Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

 

FA Expectancy: P Garcon & D Jackson

Updated: July 23rd 2017

Throughout the offseason, I will be preparing a collection of articles that will focus on free agents and trade candidates. The articles will discuss the player in question, and what the move does to their value, as well as what their landing spot means for their new and old teams.

For the last 3 seasons, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson have been an excellent complement to one another’s skill set, Jackson being the lid-popping over the top receiver and Garcon being the underneath target hog. Despite both turning 31 years old this year there is an expectation for both to continue to produce with their new teams the way they did over the last two seasons with Kirk Cousins in Washington. Jackson will be the first real compliment to Mike Evans in Tampa Bay and Pierre Garcon is reconnected in San Francisco with former Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Despite all this love for the two receivers’ landing spots their ADPs have held in the later rounds of mock drafts, Jackson (91) and Garcon (126). Is there a gross undervaluing that has not been corrected yet with rookie fever on the rise or is the love of two 31-year-old receivers a smokescreen?

What does Jackson bring to Tampa?

When Tampa’s offense had to rely on Adam Humphries and TE Cameron Brate as their second and third receiving options last year you knew they were going to address the position in the offseason, and they did in a big way. By bringing in Jackson, Head Coach Dirk Koetter is embracing the gunslinger mentality that Jameis Winston has shown his first two seasons. While Mike Evans is a big, box-him-out type receiver Jackson has his blazing speed that can help keep additional safeties deep. Not only is that a bonus for Evans to help reduce the number of double-teams he’s used to seeing but should also help the run game by keeping defenses honest with their secondary. The Bucs also drafted TE O.J. Howard and receiver Chris Godwin to work the middle of the field and pose problems for teams trying to only cover Evans and Jackson on the outside.

Overall, the hype that this offense is gaining throughout the offseason is well deserved and could resemble the value that Washington had for fantasy fans. Jackson should have a positive impact on the Bucs offense but you should not expect consistent WR2 production. He’s still a boom-bust player that relies heavily on the long touchdown to have relevant weeks. He has only one season in his nine years where he has accumulated more than 65 catches and has not had more than six touchdowns since 2013. In PPR leagues I would be trying to move him for a more consistent asset while the hype of the offense is keeping him propped up. Once owners realize that he is a 31-year-old receiver that averages more 2 point weeks than 20 point weeks and whose game is purely based on his speed his value will shrivel fast.

What does Garcon bring to San Fran?

If Jackson is the sell because of his skill set Garcon is the definite buy. In Washington, Garcon was a target machine and averaged over 80 catches the last four years. This is encapsulated by his 113 catch season while in Shanahan’s offense back in 2013. This has people drooling at the possibilities for 2017 now that Shanahan has full control of the team’s scheme. There is no real threat to taking targets away from Garcon either as the rest of the receivers feature players such as Marquise Goodwin, DeAndre Smelter, Aldrick Robinson and last year’s “primary” target Jeremy Kerley. While he’s no Kirk Cousins, Brian Hoyer should be a consistent QB that can deliver the ball to Garcon and develop a rapport with him as his go-to receiver. Hoyer has value in 2QB/Superflex for 2017 because of his lack of turnovers and consistent production.

With an ADP of 126, Pierre Garcon has the opportunity to return the greatest value for those that like to take low-risk players in the auction. Unlike how Torrey Smith flopped as last year’s San Francisco sleeper because he did not fit with the offense Garcon should bring a consistency that will be greatly appreciated by midseason. Having 113 catches is probably unrealistic at this point in his career but 70/1,100/6 could be a reasonable benchmark for Garcon to have over the next two seasons. For those that are penny-pinching in your auctions this year, Garcon would be an excellent candidate to place an $10-14MM/2year contract on.

So what does this mean for Washington?

Washington lost two 1,000 yard receivers in the same offseason which should speak volumes to the mess that the organization is with its player management. Just one year removed from winning their division if they cannot find a way to bring back Kirk Cousins they may be the basement dwellers of the NFC East for many years to come.

Coming off back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons Cousins should be able to hold as an undervalued target for 1QB leagues. His receiving core has taken a huge blow but they did bring in Terrelle Pryor and Brian Quick to work alongside former 1st round pick Josh Doctson, fantasy darling Jamison Crowder, and TE Jordan Reed. With Cousins, there is the possibility that any one (or maybe two) of these receivers could reach the 1,000-yard plateau. The difficult is predicting who it will be.

Pryor seems the most likely bet as he showed that he was able to make the transition from QB to WR last year in Cleveland and just barely eclipsed the mark (1,007 yards) last year. Crowder should have the safest weekly floor in PPR leagues as he has established himself as the underneath target for Cousins. He had 67 catches last season with both Garcon and Jackson in the line-up. Those who took Doctson in the top 3 of rookie drafts last season will hope to get more out him this year after missing all of 2016. Depending on how his development as an NFL receiver has been over the last 12 months he could be an effective flex/bye week option in 2017. Jordan Reed is probably the best all-around pass catcher in this offense but it is hard to trust him to stay healthy. Like Rob Gronkowski, when Reed is in on the field he is an advantage to have in your line-up, but that has been far and few between the last couple of seasons. He is one big collision away from never playing football again.

Because RSO forces owners to place a value on players in the auction the question heading into your offseason is how long do you want to continue to invest in this offense? The last two years Washington has been an underrated fantasy goldmine for WR2s/3s and QB/TE1. But if they cannot come to a deal with Cousins and he becomes a free agent next season are they still a 4,000-yard passing offense with a rookie or washed out QB in 2018? Unless you can get any of these players on a very low sum, multi-year contract this is a group of players that I would treat like a redraft and only offer a one year deal. If your league is implementing the new resign figure Cousins, Pryor or Crowder could be excellent candidates if the situation becomes clearer as the season progresses.


Make sure to continue to read more Free Agency Expectancy articles throughout the offseason to be prepared for your summer Auctions. Have a player that you want me to evaluate? Look for my polls to cast your vote or send me a message on Twitter @naandrews19.

League Configuration and Settings

Updated: July 23rd 2017

Hopefully all of you are enjoying the NFL offseason. Now that you’ve read my article on proposed league scoring settings, let’s get into Part 2 of the Reality Sports Online strategy series on League Configuration and Settings. This article will not address contract settings, as I’ll save that for the last article in the series.

Whether you’re a new owner or a commissioner trying to make your league better, there are some subtle and not so subtle changes you can make to improve your league. So take advantage of all the customization that Reality Sports Online offers.

Here are my five commandments of Reality Sports Online league config and settings:

1) Flex Your Muscles

Regardless of whether you play in a Superflex league (with option to start two quarterbacks), a more traditional league, a PPR one or one with individual defensive players, you want the starting lineup configuration to be as flexible as possible. Keep the strategy flowing by having multiple flex roster spots in your starting lineup. I’d advocate for having at least two flex positions in a starting lineup and even a third if you have ten starters (I’m assuming a league where you start a team DST and not individual players).

Basically, the thought is that by offering multiple flex roster spots in your starting lineup, you can focus your auction and rookie draft strategy on the best available player as opposed to boxing yourself into certain positions. As I mentioned before in the scoring settings article, since the NFL is a passing league, you’ll want players to fill these flex spots that are basically like Swiss Army Knives, who do it all.

My main league has 10 starters-three flex spots (RB/WR/TE) paired with a QB, RB, two WRs, a TE, a K, and a DST. My Superflex league starts 8 players a QB, two RBs, two WRs, a TE, a flex, and a superflex (which is typically a quarterback based on league scoring settings; however there are times where a flex player with a good matchup can outperform the quarterback).

2) Have a Deep Bench

You don’t join a league like this to not have players on your team for a decent period of time. So build a bench that capitalizes on that premise and for roster flexibility. I’d advocate that your bench is somewhat proportional to the number of contracts you can add each season between the rookie draft and free agency. To that end, I recommend that total rosters in non-IDP leagues are between 20 and 24 players in a two-round rookie draft league. Of course if you have 5 rounds of rookie drafts, most leagues would have deeper benches.

You want to have a league that does have something to offer on the waiver wire so as not ever quarterback is on a team at the start of the season, so having the right size bench would account for that. Additionally, you want to have a deep enough roster size wise that you can actively participate in the Free Agency Auction annually whether it be for a handful of players or many.

3) Don’t Base All Playoff Spots on Win/Loss Record

On a platform like this, you want your scouting and preparation to be rewarded. Sometimes that doesn’t always happen in terms of wins and losses on the fake gridiron as weekly variation and luck play into fantasy outcomes.  There is also schedule randomness. Therefore, this is the recommendation I feel most strongly about: have a few wild card spots based on some clear indicator of a really good fantasy team. I most prefer total points scored for the regular season as that really eliminates the head-to-head luck factor. RSO has power rankings which are a hybrid of what your record would be against all opponents in a given week for the season, as well as total points.

Specifically, what I’m recommending is that in a 12 team league that your top four seeds get in on record and the two wild cards get in on total points scored. This keeps virtually every team in the playoff hunt and incentivized strategically through the end of the regular season. It also makes the trade deadline super interesting on whether you as a GM are a buyer or a seller.

It gets trickier for 10 team leagues, because I’m of the opinion that 50% of teams or less should make the playoffs and the odd number makes it hard to do that bracket-wise.

4) No Divisions

In lockstep with #3, I’m a huge proponent against having divisions in fantasy football. You want the schedule to be as random as possible and for everyone to play each other at least once if the league size permits. While you may have a best friend who is your fantasy football “rival”, having divisions and playoff spots for a division winner potentially allows mediocrity to be rewarded via automatic playoff berths for division winners. I’d rather have the playoff teams be the best in the league and not just the luckiest.

5) Say Yes to Injured Reserve

In a platform like RSO, putting a player on IR for the season is a big decision choosing cap space over player availability in most cases due to injury, suspension, or whatever your league rules stipulate. I advocate for having two Injured Reserve spots to manage for all types of scenarios with players, including deferring decisions on whether or not that player is in your future plans.

Remember, unless you have manual changes through your league commissioner on IR-Designated for Return most players that go on IR in RSO are irreversible decisions for the year.


Matt Goodwin is entering his fourth season as a writer for Reality Sports Online and is in year five of his main league. He also contributes for numberFire. He is an avid sports fan from Cleveland, Ohio who would count a Cleveland Indians World Series victory a close second behind getting married to his wife Renee and the births of his children, Jory (7 year old son) and Lainie (2 year old daughter). Matt loves mid 90’s hip-hop, playing pick-up hoops, traveling, Ohio State football and Arizona basketball, watching Glengarry Glen Ross for the millionth time and being outside the few months it doesn’t rain in Seattle where he lives. He can be found on Twitter @mattgoody2 and hopes you continue to read his In the Zone articles.

RSO Writers’ League Rookie Draft

Updated: July 16th 2017

For our RSO readers, we wanted to give an open look into our Writer’s League Rookie Draft. Since we did our draft through an email chain we started by declaring our franchised players for the upcoming season. A list of who was tagged and for how much is listed below followed by the pick-by-pick selections and comments from each owner.

Stephen Wendell – Jimmy Graham ($10,331,667)

I tagged Jimmy Graham because I am obviously so confident in the draft pick I just made (Engram)

Luke Patrick – Travis Kelce ($10,331,667)

I tagged Travis Kelce because I assume any guy with a reality show is a good investment for football purposes.

Matt Goodwin – Melvin Gordon ($20,323,333)

I tagged Melvin Gordon because, well he dominated last year and has less competition this year. The $20.3m price tag seemed about right compared to what I thought he’d get on the open market.

Kyle English – Matt Ryan ($19,242,667)

I tagged Matt Ryan because he has Julio and should come out and torch everyone after last year’s super bowl embarrassment.

Nick Andrews – Drew Brees ($24,311,719)

I tagged Drew Brees for several reasons:

  1. a) Many of the other QBs were being tagged leaving Brees to be the target of the auction if I let him go
  2. b) Being in a win now mode allowed me to justify overpaying from the usually conservative salaries I give QBs and;
  3. c) There was enough interest in Brees through trade talks that if I am unsuccessful in my quest for a repeat championship he should bring back a couple of decent assets during this season.

Matt Papson – Eli Manning ($19,242,667)

I decided to tag Eli for $19.2MM despite the hefty price tag and my significant dollar commitments to other quarterbacks for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a superflex league where quarterbacks are the highest scoring position and where I feel the ownership (in general) is severely undervaluing quarterbacks. Two, I believe Eli is poised to have perhaps the finest statistical year of his career, but I’m not confident about his long-term prospects. Finally, even though I’ve got a bunch of money tied up in Andrew Luck & Carson Palmer, I’m not 100% confident Palmer will return to form, even though I still feel good about the odds.

Jaron Foster – Jameis Winston ($19,242,667)

Given the superflex format and lack of quality quarterbacks that will be available in the auction, the franchise tag price seemed reasonable to keep a young QB who is ready to take the next step with some new toys to play with.

Bob Cowper – None

I tagged nobody because, well, my team just wasn’t very good.

Dave Sanders – None

Bernard Faller – None

2017 RSO Writer’s League Draft Results

Below is a transcription of each pick and comments that the owner made during their selection. Included also are the trades that occurred during the draft.

Corey Davis

1.01 – Corey Davis

Luke Patrick: I opted for Corey Davis, but it was a hard call for me with Fournette and McCaffrey beckoning at a position of need.   With a bloated A-Rob (Allen Robinson) contract and an invaluable 4-year control on a potential stud WR proved too much for me to resist, I opted for the potential HR.

1.02 – Leonard Fournette

Bob Cowper: Even though Jacksonville isn’t great, I think he will be dominant enough to be a valuable fantasy player from the start (albeit less so than Zeke).  I think Fournette’s pass catching ability is underrated so as long as he can be an average pass blocker he has a shot at staying on the field for 3 downs.

1.03 – Christian McCaffrey

Jaron Foster: Between draft stock and lack of competition, this is a fairly easy choice for me. He should have a high PPR floor even if he doesn’t turn into a 3-down back and a high ceiling if he does.

1.04 – Joe Mixon

Matt Papson: I entered the Rookie draft with selections 4 and 6. My plan, which was feasible until a few weeks before the draft, was to land two of the four elite running backs — Fournette, McCaffrey, Mixon, and Cook. When the draft fell Davis, Fournette, McCaffrey, I was faced with a difficult decision. I preferred Mixon to Cook, though not by much, and I thought there was a chance if I took Cook, perhaps Mixon would still be around at 6. I was not confident the opposite would be true.

1.05 – Dalvin Cook

Nick Andrews: I traded up before the draft started sending the 1.10 and a 2018 1st knowing that I wanted to get one of the top 5 rookies. Once all the other players were selected through the first four this was an easy choice to make. Cook was considered the 1.01 up until the combine and depending on your expectations from Latavius Murray this could be his backfield from week 1. He has the skills to be a 3-down back and should help to take some pressure off of Sam Bradford.

1.06 – Mike Williams

Papson: As it turned out it didn’t matter. I took Mixon, Cook went 5th, and I was essentially forced to take Mike Williams by default. Williams is the #1 WR on my board but was not planning to take unless I had to because of existing depth at the position. Best available reigns supreme.

1.07 – O.J. Howard

Bob: Struggled with this one a bit.  I haven’t been shy about my Howard concerns – he’s obviously an athletic freak but he was so underutilized at Alabama and so much of his production came in two games against Clemson.  To those who argue that the Alabama offense just doesn’t use the TE, I would counter by saying that it hasn’t relied on a run-first QB like Jalen Hurts either but Saban found a freak athlete he just had to work into the game plan.  Why not with Howard?  He might have the lowest floor of some of the others in contention at 1.07 but it’s hard to say no to somebody of his size and speed.  Having Antonio Brown and Jordy Nelson under contract also factored in, figured I should fill the TE spot rather than taking John Ross or reaching for one of the second-tier RBs.

1.08 – Kareem Hunt

Matt Goodwin: As someone who owned Spencer Ware last season in this league, I’m picking Kareem Hunt because I think he’s very talented and in a situation where he can win the Chiefs starting running back job this season and if he does, that’s fantasy gold. I’m intrigued by the fact that Pro Football Focus ranked him third in its elusiveness rating. Also, the Chiefs traded up to get him, which speaks volumes about what they think of him. Hunt caught six balls in multiple games this season and has a nose for the end zone and big plays. I’m happy to pick what some are calling the “steal of the NFL draft” and who Louis Riddick had effusive praise for, comparing him to Emmitt Smith. As someone who graduated from Miami University, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to pick a future star from the MAC.

1.09 – Alvin Kamara

Jaron: I took Kamara to back up the newly acquired Mark Ingram. It would have been difficult to choose between Hunt and Kamara, given Hunt’s ideal landing spot, so I’m glad the decision was made for me. I expect Kamara will sit behind Ingram and AP for a year, and then will take over when one or both leave the bayou.

1.10 – John Ross

Kyle English: Don’t really need a WR, but that’s far and away where the best value is at this point.  Still struggled quite a bit with this one, but ultimately decided on Ross.  Quite worried about competition for targets there in Cincy and his injury history, but at the 1.10 I can’t let him fall any further.

*TRADE ALERT*

Bob Trades: Jordy Nelson

Luke Trades: 2.08, 2.06, Giovanni Bernard, Tyler Lockett

*TRADE ALERT*

Papson Trades: 1.06 (Mike Williams)

Luke Trades: 2.01, 2.09, 2018 2nd, Jerrick McKinnon

 

2.01 – Juju Smith-Schuster

Papson: Flush with 3 2018 1st round picks, and with 7, 8, and 9 (Howard, Hunt, Kamara) falling fairly favorably, I briefly negotiated for the 1.10 before making a deal for 2.01 and 2.09 in exchange for Mike Williams. My intention here was to end up with two of the following three: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Patrick Mahomes, and DeShaun Watson. I took Juju at 2.01, though I pondered both Mahomes and Watson in that slot. Depending on who you ask, JuJu could be ranked as high as 7th and low as 27th, but I wasn’t willing to wait any longer.

2.02 – Chris Godwin

Bob: He was my best player available (#8 on my board) and even though I already took Howard (and have Martin) I’m going for it.  As a Michigan and Rutgers fan, it kills me but I loved watching him play this year. Godwin makes spectacular high point catches and should see lesser coverage with all the other weapons. I really wanted Davis at 1.02 but figured Godwin would be my backup at 2.02.

2.03 – Evan Engram

Bernard Faller: My top fantasy TE in the class but is really just a pass catcher.  Unlike most TEs, his maturity as a receiver makes him ready to play from day one.  The ridiculous combination of size, speed, and athleticism is virtually unmatched by any receiver in this class.

2.04 – David Njoku

Stephen Wendell: Miami must not have had a lot of favorable lines this year because I spent no time watching any Miami football, but I tend to only watch college football where I have some action, but that tends to be most games, so I am not sure how I missed him. That said, even if I had watched him, my opinion of rookies means nothing and Bob Cowper’s means everything to me… the guy is an animal, a Matt Waldman in the making. And he has Njoku ranked 12…his BPA is Zay Jones who I like as well, but not a perfect situation for him in Buffalo and he kind of feels like a guy that may be pretty great (if he becomes great) at the end of his rookie deal when he is likely a FA already in our league. Additionally, someone has to catch some passes for the Browns this year, whether it is Osweiler or Kizer (or Jimmy G??) throwing them, so why not a stud TE to grab a few and pick up a few red zone scores (he grabbed 8 last year). Lastly, a severe position of need for me, especially if Fleener does not play better in NO this season.

*TRADE ALERT*

Luke Trades: Josh Gordon, 2019 1st

Kyle Trades: Blake Bortles, Laquon Treadwell

*TRADE ALERT*

Papson Trades: 2018 1st

Kyle Trades: 2.05

2.05 – Patrick Mahomes

Papson: As the round progressed, I got a little anxious about the fact that Mahomes and Watson might both be gone by 2.09, and I then decided I wanted to find a way to get both. I tried desperately to acquire 2.06 and 2.08 from Rookie Draft aficionado Bob Cowper but quickly realized that would be futile. I instead moved up to 2.05, where I selected Mahomes because in Andy I trust.

2.06 – Mitchell Trubisky

Bob: I wanted Mahomes and should have pulled the trigger to move to 2.05.  Guess I did the reverse-Bears.  I think the QBs are being undervalued for our superflex league so I still wanted to go for one and took Trubisky.  I hope he doesn’t start in the NFL this season because he’s not ready (neither is Mahomes but I think his ceiling is higher). I went for a similar guy last year in Jared Goff and while that may not work out, hoarding young QBs on cheap contracts can only end up hitting sooner or later.

*TRADE ALERT*

Papson Trades: 2.09, Jerrick McKinnon

Goody Trades: 2.07, Sterling Shepard

2.07 – DeShaun Watson

Papson: I made some nifty moves to swap 2.09 & 2.07 so that I could also grab Watson and complete my triumvirate.

2.08 – Zay Jones

Bob: It wasn’t who I was targeting here since I figured he’d be gone. The Bills don’t trust Sammy Watkins so at worst he’s a year away from being the number one and in the meantime should have PPR value.

*TRADE ALERT*

Papson Trades: Kelvin Benjamin

Stephen Trades: 2018 2nd

*TRADE ALERT*

Goody Trades: Jerrick McKinnon

Kyle Trades: Josh Gordon

2.09 – DeShone Kizer

Goody: In short-SuperKizeme! For my squad heading into the rookie draft, my hope was to dump some salary and keep my picks intact as best as possible. After giving away Mark Ingram ($18m this year) before the draft, I thought that effort was done until Matt Papson offered to take one year of Sterling Shepard for $9.9m off my books to swap 2.07 for his 2.09, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to enter our auction with the most cap space in the league. I would have taken DeShaun Watson at 2.07, but am happy I get to take a super-cheap flyer on DeShone Kizer. As a Cleveland Browns fan, I liked the pick and think there is some time for Kizer to grow. The physical tools are there and in this superflex league if Kizer becomes a star that will be incredibly valuable to me. So in the end, guys like Samaje Perine and Cooper Kupp move to the background and Kizer has me dreaming of a QB from my youth with a similar sounding name-Kosar (as in Bernie). #Believeland

*TRADE ALERT*

Papson Trades: Sterling Shepard, Michael Floyd, 2018 1st

Bernard Trades: 2.10

2.10 – Curtis Samuel

Papson: I ditched some players’ salaries and a final 2018 1st to get to 2.10 to select Mr. Irrelevant, Curtis Samuel.

*TRADE ALERT*

Luke Trades: Mike Williams, 2018 1st

Bernard Trades: Tyrod Taylor, 2018 1st

2017 Writer’s League Rookie Draft Results

1.01 – Corey Davis – Luke 2.01 – Juju Smith-Schuster – Papson (thru Luke)
1.02 – Leonard Fournette – Bob 2.02 – Chris Godwin – Bob
1.03 – Christian McCaffrey – Jaron 2.03 – Evan Engram – Bernard
1.04 – Joe Mixon – Papson 2.04 – David Njoku – Stephen
1.05 – Dalvin Cook – Nick 2.05 – Patrick Mahomes – Papson (thru Kyle)
1.06 – Mike Williams – Bernard (thru Luke, thru Papson) 2.06 – Mitchell Trubisky – Bob (thru Luke)
1.07 – O.J. Howard – Bob 2.07 – DeShaun Watson – Papson (thru Goody)
1.08 – Kareem Hunt – Goody 2.08 – Zay Jones – Bob (thru Luke)
1.09 – Alvin Kamara – Jaron 2.09 – DeShone Kizer – Goody (thru Papson thru Luke)
1.10 – John Ross – Kyle 2.10 – Curtis Samuel – Papson (thru Bernard)

Rookie Mock Draft v2.0

Updated: July 23rd 2017

It’s been awhile since the halcyon days before the NFL Draft when opinions and rookie mock drafts were full of optimistic caveats like “he would be a perfect fit with the [INSERT YOUR TEAM NAME].”  Now that we know everybody’s landing place, it should be much easier to mock draft the rookies, right?  At the top, I would say yes but after 1.07 it’s mostly a crap shoot.  As I felt before, although they have shifted slightly, there are definite tier breaks and groupings of like players.  Below I have ran through a three round rookie mock draft for a typical 10-team RSO league.  If your league plays Superflex or 2 QB, you should adjust by moving the QBs up about 10-15 picks each in my opinion.  Keep in mind this is a mock draft and not my straight rankings (which you can view and read about here; my God do I wish I had a do-over on some of those already!) so it’s a combination of my own personal preferences plus those of the dynasty “community” to create what I hope is a good approximation of what your league will look like.  Along the way, I will offer some thoughts about why I grouped the players the way I did and will offer any details about how my personal rankings differ from the mock draft.  Enjoy!

1.01 – Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars

1.02 – Corey Davis, WR, Titans

Many dynasty rankings are starting to converge on the opinion of Davis over Fournette.  I have not changed my opinion yet when it comes to RSO leagues.  I think both will be fantastic NFL players but you need to keep RSO’s format in mind.  Fournette is likely to be fed the rock over and over early in his career until his body breaks down because the Jags lack offensive weapons; meanwhile the state of the Titans offense is less dire and Davis has the luxury of being eased into a starring role alongside QB Marcus Mariota and the RB duo of Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry.  If I had to guess who would be a better pro in Year 5, I would put my money on Davis.  As an RSO owner, that’s not what you’re worrying about though because your rookie contract is either 3 or 4 years long.  I think Fournette will realize more immediate value and that is why I still have him as my first overall rookie pick.

1.03 – Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers

1.04 – Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals

1.05 – Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings

McCaffrey has supplanted Mike Williams in this second tier in my opinion, especially in PPR.  The order of the three RBs is a toss-up but I feel McCaffrey is the safest pick of the three so I put him first.  I have heard of some dynasty players still considering Cook in the top three picks based on his spectacular tape but I am scared off by his questionable combine; Mixon obviously has character concerns.  Admittedly, I decided against Mixon at 1.07 in one of my RSO leagues and instead traded the pick – I wasn’t desperate for a RB and had a second thought about taking on a guaranteed contract for a guy who already comes into the league with a domestic violence issue.  In hindsight it might have been the wrong decision but I felt it was what was best for my team.  I wouldn’t fault anybody for grabbing one of these RBs at 1.03, ultimately it comes down to personal preference.

1.06 – Mike Williams, WR, Chargers

1.07 – OJ Howard, TE, Bucs

Williams’ and Howard’s value changed for me after the NFL Draft because of their landing spots.  Williams has prototypical size to be an NFL WR1 but he joins the Chargers and will have to contend with the chemistry between Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen and fight for targets with the ascendant Tyrell Williams.  If Allen gets injured tomorrow, which we know is possible, the narrative can change quickly which is why I have Williams above Howard.  Before the NFL Draft, I predicted that the Bucs would take the athletic David Njoku to pair with Mike Evans and create red zone nightmares for their opponents.  I had the name of the TE wrong but the logic is still the same: joining the Bucs is far better for Howard’s fantasy potential than if the Browns took him at #12 as was rumored.

1.08 – John Ross, WR, Bengals

1.09 – David Njoku, TE, Browns

1.10 – Zay Jones, WR, Bills

2.01 – JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers

2.02 – Evan Engram, TE, Giants

This tier of pass catchers just edges out the next batch of running backs for me in terms of this RSO mock draft.  The NFL is a passing league and a majority of RSO leagues feature PPR scoring so it stands to reason that you should lean towards these guys over the likes of Kareem Hunt, D’Onta Foreman and Samaje Perine who are featured below.  Ross paces this group, literally and figuratively, because of his speed and big play ability – he can change a game more so than Jones or Smith-Schuster.  Jones thrived in a short passing system in college and should see plenty of short routes with Tyrod Taylor under center in 2017; the fact that the Bills did not extend Sammy Watkins also helps increase Jones’ value.  I’m higher on Jones than most and think he will prove to have a very high ceiling from the start.  Smith-Schuster peaked in 2015 which is slightly concerning and may start start at WR4 on the depth chart behind some combination of Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers (not to mention target stealing RB Le’Veon Bell).  Njoku gets the nod over Engram for me because of his bigger size and the likelihood of seeing targets from Day One, albeit from a poorer QB.  Engram is basically a WR and was the smallest of the coveted TEs in this class; I fear that he may loose snaps to Will Tye if he is not able to hold his own as a blocker.

2.03 – Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs

2.04 – D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texans

2.05 – Samaje Perine, RB, Redskins

As I mentioned above, none of these guys are prolific pass catchers (Hunt’s 2016 aside, when he had 9 more receptions than the previous three years combined) so they fall a notch in my mock draft.  Hunt has the best chance of being that dual-threat RB which is why he tops this tier for me.  Plus he was a four year starter at Toledo without any major injury concerns so that is also a plus.  The Chiefs offense was in the top half in most offensive categories and with literally zero draft capital invested in Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West, the Chiefs won’t hesitate to make the switch if Ware falters in the least.  Meanwhile, Foreman will have to start behind Lamar Miller who still has three years on his deal (but Houston has a potential out after 2017) so his path to starter’s touches may be longer.  Perine is an interesting player because he was largely overshadowed by his Sooner backfield partner, Joe Mixon, and he now joins a crowded but talent poor Redskins’ backfield.  At various points of the offseason and regular season, it looked like the Redskins feature back would be Matt Jones (who can’t stop fumbling the ball), then 7th round pick Keith Marshall (who got hurt) and then finally Rob Kelley (whose nickname is Fat Rob).  If Perine proves to be the steady and reliable back he was in college he will win the job for the dysfunctional Redskins by mid-season.

2.06 – Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Panthers

2.07 – Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints

I grouped these two “gadget” players together because I have concerns about the number of touches they will get early in their career.  Samuel proved to be a productive rusher and receiver in college but I’m not convinced he’s good enough at either to stick in the NFL.  The sample size on Kamara as a true running back is too small to put any stock into the possibility of him beating out Adrian Peterson or Mark Ingram (if he doesn’t get traded).  Kamara only had 210 career carries for the Volunteers which is fewer than most of the aforementioned RBs averaged per season.  He is a capable receiver (74 career catches and a 9.2 average) so he will see action on passing downs but his upside is limited by the 6-8 touches I expect each game.

2.08 – Chris Godwin, WR, Bucs

2.09 – Taywan Taylor, WR, Titans

Godwin and Taylor find themselves here at the back of the second round which is a great value in my personal opinion.  I actually have Godwin ranked much higher, for the same reasons as OJ Howard, and am ecstatic when I find him later in drafts.  Taylor is not well known which can work to your advantage.  He put up crazy production the last two years on a mediocre Western Kentucky team (154-3,200-34) and tested reasonably well at the combine (4.50 40 yard dash, best 3-cone drill, sixth best broad jump).  As the second WR taken by the Titans he will fly under the radar but grab him now so you hold him when I predict he breaks out in Year Two.

2.10 – Pat Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

3.01 – Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans

I differ from most RSO owners with my opinions on QBs.  I feel you should target the best rookies in the middle of the second round so you can take your pick rather than being at the end of the inevitable run on them.  My top pick in this class is Mahomes – he has a lot of mechanics work to do but should be the Chiefs starter by 2018.  I am not a fan of Watson but he will have the opportunity to start sooner than most other rookies so he’s worth the gamble.  Just like in the NFL, if you can find a startable QB and lock him up for years on a cheap deal it is well worth the risk.

3.02 – Marlon Mack, RB, Colts

3.03 – Carlos Henderson, WR, Broncos

3.04 – Jeremy McNichols, RB, Bucs

3.05 – Wayne Gallman, RB, Giants

The value in this next tier relies heavily on the health and production of the veterans ahead of the rookies on the depth chart.  Because their talent is a step below the higher ranked rookies, they may not be able to overcome the veterans in training camp and instead will need a “lucky break” to get their chance.  Mack will begin behind the ageless Frank Gore but he’s going to break down, and for good, sooner or later.  Henderson joins a crowded group of WRs on the Broncos and will need an injury to Demaryius Thomas or Emmanuel Sanders to crack the starting lineup; he’ll also need to contend with the young projects of Bennie Fowler and Cody Latimer.  McNichols might have the best shot to ingratiate himself early as Doug Martin is suspended to start the season but reports are that Martin is doing great in OTAs so that puts a dent in McNichols’ prospects after the suspension.  I am a Wayne Gallman apologist and think he has a shot to beat out Paul Perkins.  Perkins did enough in his 112 carries to at least start the season as the RB1 though.  Most people would have Gallman lower but my love for him is too hard to ignore!

3.06 – Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers

3.07 – Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams

3.08 – Jake Butt, TE, Broncos

This tier features three players whose pure talent may not warrant the pick but their situation does – in contrast to the tier above.  The Packers no longer have Eddie Lacy or James Starks so that only leaves converted receiver Ty Montgomery as the incumbent.  Both Williams and Aaron Jones will have ample opportunity to take over the lead role.  The same goes for Kupp who is looking at also-rans Robert Woods and Tavon Austin ahead of him on the depth chart; if Kupp can get on the field early and create a connection with QB Jared Goff he could prove to be a huge value.  TE Jake Butt’s value took a huge hit after he tore his ACL at the end of the season.  Chances are he will be okay to play early in the season and the Broncos will need him as Virgil Green did not show us much last year.

3.09 – Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears

3.10 – Deshone Kizer, QB Browns

The same logic applies here as it does for Mahomes and Watson – grab potential starting QBs in your rookie draft to lock them into cheap long term contracts.  Both Trubisky and Kizer join bad teams that could throw them into the fire early.  I doubt they have much value in Year One, like Goff last year, but they are worth the stash given the small cap hit if you’re forced to cut them.

2017 NFL Draft – Fantasy Outlook

Updated: July 16th 2017

The NFL Draft is something of a hype event but one which draws the most intense of scrutiny and magnification. In the end, it’s only three days in the scope of time despite the enormity it provides to the future and hopes of millions of fans across various states and regions. It’s passing allows us to initiate the analytical process in advance of another season. For fantasy owners, they typically have to wait a bit longer before they can utilize this new information to their benefit, but the RSO platform will have you thinking long in advance of an actual draft date.

The projections covered here aren’t entirely numerical or fantasy-specific from a numbers standpoint. They are preliminary given how far away the season is and in lieu of injury potential, etc. But there were many intriguing, offensive-minded moves by teams in this Draft despite the high volume of defensive stalwarts recognized by “experts.” What follows is a run down of both first and second round prospects along with later round selections who could be worth monitoring as we head toward an active and exciting offseason.

Blue Chippers (Rounds 1 and 2)

The first two rounds of the NFL Draft should probably be examined together as you have kids with similar ceilings but some move down a bit due to injuries and circumstance. Leonard Fournette was the first offensive player selected and his arrival in Jacksonville is going to be met with hope from the tormented fan base within that city. For me, I do not like the offensive line down in northern Florida at this time and while Cam Robinson (Round 2) will help at the RT spot over time and offered good value in this draft, I simply do not see Fournette putting up amazing numbers initially in Jacksonville unless that OL play improves, and especially given who he has at QB. He’ll still be a player that garners plenty of attention at the RB spot in any draft and he offers young legs. But I’m not enough of a believer in what Jacksonville has offensively to fall in love with Fournette as a year one prospect.

Jacksonville foolishly spent an early fourth rounder on a very suspect character guy in DeDe Westbrook and their inability to really add to other areas within their offense probably hurts them in 2017 at least. Within this division, however, the Tennessee Titans acquired a player many people like and admire in Corey Davis from Western Michigan and while the Terrell Owens comparison are obviously quite premature, Davis would seem to be exactly what Marcus Mariota needs right now. It also helps that the Titans went WR/TE in round three and if you are thinking big picture early on, Mariota could morph into a very attractive fantasy option in any format, although the health concerns for someone who runs as much as him will be a limitation. Long story short, Mariota has a plethora of options to work out of the pocket now and he is a guy to watch for in 2017, as is the aforementioned Davis. Rookie WR’s can be a major risk, but Davis is a guy I would certainly look intensely at this season as he really is a special talent.

The aforementioned Mariota came into this league along with Jameis Winston and if anyone should be licking their chops right now, it’s probably Tampa. The Bucs are still young defensively to an extent and the OL needs refinement. But the acquisition of O.J. Howard at pick number 19 may have been the steal of the round and it was a legitimate need as Tampa doesn’t have anyone there now close to the caliber of Howard, who happens to be a strong blocker as well. Chris Godwin is a WR from Penn State who went to Tampa in round three with Boise RB Jeremy McNichols finding his way into the TB backfield in round five. The latter two names might not make an impact early on from a fantasy standpoint, but both are talented and Howard should be monitored as I believe he has a chance to be an offensive ROY candidate within the confines of this already explosive and evolving offense.

Three other offensive guys to note who went on Thursday night were Christian McCaffrey, John Ross and Evan Engram. McCaffrey is a name which will attract sizable attention as we head toward the regular season and Ross is the fastest guy to ever show at the combine. But Engram is the name from that trio which might just have the most fantasy upside in year one for me. McCaffrey is a player who will produce, especially when you factor in the creativity with which he can be used alongside Cam Newton. But his injury concerns early on combined with potentially being overvalued on a team with a rebuilding OL should make you somewhat guarded about pursuing him too early in most fantasy formats. The son of a former NFL stud in Denver and a mother who played soccer at Stanford will be a match-up nightmare and Carolina should be vastly improved, but that doesn’t mean his draft position in some formats will be truly warranted. McCaffrey could end up an overvalued prospect and that is what concerns me. While we are on the subject of these Panthers, Curtis Samuel is a playmaking option and second rounder from Ohio State who could become an effective aspect of this offense as well.

Ross was a big pick-up for Cincinnati and they also snagged a RB we’ll talk about in a later section. They said speed kills and I don’t disagree in any capacity. The Bengals have struggled some the last 1-2 years, but while Andy Dalton isn’t taking them to the Super Bowl any time soon, this is a club which still figures to have a fantastic offense. Ross’ speed element combined with A.J. Green will be something that has to be considered in teams of how Cincinnati can continue to progress. This is a defense which has regressed and so its very likely that the Bengals will be in some higher scoring games once more this season. Ross has the ability to adapt quickly but I don’t know how long it will take for Dalton to adequately judge his speed and that is one thing you’ll want to track the closer we get to preseason football in August.

As for Engram, it’s similar to Tampa Bay in the way they picked up Howard. This is truly one of the most important positions in the league currently and both the Bucs and Giants needed to improve here. Engram has the speed to come into this offense and complement guys like Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham, but learning this offense won’t be easy for any first year player. The good news from a fantasy standpoint is that quick passing would figure to benefit Engram and that is the backbone of the NYG offense, especially with the OL really struggling these last couple of years. In any event, Engram has definitive long term value in the RSO format for me given the added dimension he offers as a speedy TE who gets to play alongside a veteran QB who is looking to cement his legacy in what really could be a more or less wide open NFC in 2017-2018.

Four players stuck out to me in round two but all of them have questions. The name I actually like the most is that of Zay Jones, the 37th round pick which went to Buffalo. Jones is a Dallas product who attended school in East Carolina. He has good size at 6’2 and made a lot of plays going up and getting the ball in college. Challenges will be more significant at this level, but with Robert Woods now playing in LA with the Rams, Jones is a guy who will reap the benefits of what has been an improving offense as Tyrod Taylor gets more and more comfortable. Taylor, LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins have been injury prone in the past, though and that is the one thing Bills fans probably fear coming into every season. But this is an acquisition which helps them, especially with Watkins not looking like a guy who has the frame to last and succeed in this league over time. Zay Jones might not be the most sought after rookie in the 2017 fantasy season, but he might be a sleeper for a Buffalo club which will probably find itself down at times and in comeback mode while forced to utilize a pass heavy approach.

Joe Mixon s a player who should likely have an enormous fantasy impact in Cincinnati and even if you are not a fan of Mixon the person (with seemingly no one being in that camp) he is a fantasy piece I would likely covet. He is a dual threat and while Dalvin Cook is more hyped, Cook may struggle to stay healthy at this level and is playing behind an extremely shaky offensive line in Minnesota. JuJu Smith-Schuster has the pure talent and speed dimension to catch on and be a real slot option in Pittsburgh and for those reasons, Mixon and Smith-Schuster are two rookies coming out of this draft and playing in the AFC North who hold significant promise to me. These were critical additions for both clubs and, especially in the case of Cincinnati, the combination of now adding Mixon and Ross could make the aforementioned Dalton another QB that has more potential as a 2017 fantasy option despite his limitations when it comes to the most important of games. Ultimately, I’ll pass on Cook and a lot of that relates to where he is headed to.

Later Round Options to Keep Tabs On

Every year there are later round players who make immediate impacts regardless of how many people scoff at the notion that such a player will prove valuable early on. Some guys are young and hungry enough to step up quickly and that is what we’ll be looking for. At the University of Tennessee, Alvin Kamara took on a significant workload and nothing will be any different down in New Orleans under Sean Payton. Drew Brees is a quick passing QB and Kamara is a guy whose athleticism can create problems. The Saints can score with the best of the league regardless as to how bad the defense can look at times and that means Kamara will be a guy to move on in any Draft format as he could have a chance to accumulate numbers as a pass catching back out of different formations. Kamara’s usage and smaller frame are primary factors in his falling to round three and that speaks to the caution you should use in approaching him in 2017. He has to add to his body and has to develop in other areas, but from a talent and “fit” perspective, Kamara is going to have an excellent chance to generate numbers from the jump.

Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington – 69th overall to Los Angeles Rams) Carlos Henderson (Louisiana Tech – 82nd overall to Denver Broncos) and Amara Darboh (Michigan – 106th overall to Seattle Seahawks) are all bigger and more physical receivers who can help their respective teams. I wouldn’t view them as likely to break onto the scene early because speed limitations obviously hampered each guy’s draft standing to some extent. But these are three players I generally like and if you get a chance to watch the tape on any of them, they each impress me for what they can do at a play-making position. This was a defense heavy draft through those top 60 selections and the league is realizing how critical defensive assets can be given the rules we have in place and the general evolution of offense. But all three of these names were probably second round worthy in my opinion and I’d look for all three to enter situations they can undoubtedly make better, especially in the case of Henderson who will be the third receiver in a Denver offense which is looking for big things from Trevor Siemian in his second year as starter.

One other third round pick who has to be discussed is Kareem Hunt. The Toledo product has the body type to be a real find for someone in this league and Andy Reid generally does his homework. The loss of Jamaal Charles left a void and adding some fresh legs will likely prove to be a good idea. This club still has offensive line concerns which hamper their ability to score effectively in the red zone from time to time. Additionally, I see the Chiefs as a potentially evolving offense which could have short term defensive limitations that make 2017 a rough one for them, especially given the division they play in. But Hunt is still a player whose game I respect. He could prove to be very effective over the long haul, especially if this franchise moves gracefully into the Patrick Mahomes era in a couple of years. Hunt is a player who might not offer much ROI in year one, but I undoubtedly like him down the line.

Speaking of running backs, latter round value can be there for many and Donnell Pumphrey (San Diego St. – 132nd overall to Philadelphia Eagles), Jamaal Williams (BYU – 134th overall to Green Bay Packers) and Wayne Gallman (Clemson – 140th overall to New York Giants) were good pick-ups for teams which needed RB help. Pumphrey was very effective in college against MWC talent and the biggest concern is indeed durability as he is right around 180 lbs. I still like Pumphrey but the “Mark Ingram to Philly” evolving storyline makes you pump the breaks about likely first year impact for someone like Pumphrey. Williams might be the best pure fantasy value, however as he has good physical traits a chance to come in and battle for the starting position in an offense which features Aaron Rodgers. Williams should a target for anyone looking at rookies to fill out their roster and while I actually like Gallman a bit more as a player thanks to his pass catching skills, Gallman’s OL in New York isn’t all that great as noted. I like both Williams and Gallman a lot, though and believe they could be two RB’s you want to pursue in RSO and other fantasy formats.

Hopefully these notes will help, but monitoring team news and roster changes as we head toward the summer months is also critical. Whether utilizing the RSO platform or should you be more involved in other formats, knowledge of rookies and their impact early on can be a major difference maker in a successful fantasy campaign. This league is so injury-prone that depth charts are picked apart from time to time. Rookies are called upon to perform sooner rather than later and knowledge of these first year talents can be critical. We look forward to bringing you coverage of the fantasy landscape as it enters into yet another season and wish you the best in your preparation.


Author: Richard Salvatori (@dickiesalvo)