2020 RSO Writer’s League Rookie Draft

Updated: May 13th 2020

Rookie drafts for Reality Sports Online teams involve a number of considerations different than a normal dynasty league.  Selected rookies are typically given three or four year contracts at, hopefully, a below market contract.  RSO GMs then have the option of extending a player with franchise tags, extensions, or final year options (depending on the chosen settings in your league) which usually are near or above market value for a given player.  This makes the initial rookie contract years potentially extremely valuable and the real measure of worth for a rookie player.

The RSO Writer’s League recently finished our three round rookie draft with results posted below. The league is a 10-team Superflex PPR format.  This article analyzes some of the interesting decisions with the help of fellow RSO Writer Nick Andrews and Matt Goodwin plus discussion throughout the league.  It focuses more on team-building, draft strategy, and trades rather than player evaluation.  The reader may find more specific player analysis in the pre-draft Writer’s League Mock (1QB).

 

2020 RSO Writer’s League Rookie Draft

Notes on Selected Picks

1.01, Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Nick:  For a rebuilding team it was the intent to trade down a couple spots and try and accumulate more talent. Unfortunately, trade partners were tough to come by as other owners felt the same way. The thought of having Clyde Edwards-Helaire and building around a stud running back was a hard option to pass on but when the cupboard is bare I tend to lean towards the QB in Superflex. Joe Burrow is a solid prospect and as long as the Bengals don’t ruin him he should be a valuable dynasty asset for multiple years. With the new resign feature also available, if Burrow becomes an elite player it is great to have control of a quarterback for a whole decade.

1.06, D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions & 1.07, Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams

Bernard:  No wide receivers have been drafted at this point.  Lamb and Jeudy were definitely in play here for me.  I went with the running backs for a couple of key reasons.  Swift and Akers were the last of the running backs in my tier with “three down” workload potential and capabilities that I felt fairly comfortable with.  Conversely, I felt confident of obtaining quality wide receiver prospects later in the draft given the depth of this wide receiver class. League free agency also played a big role in this decision.  The free agent running back position is a dumpster fire in this league with Melvin Gordon and Raheem Mostert the likely top –two options.  Available free agent wide receivers look far better and deeper including Mike Evans, Allen Robinson, Odell Beckham Jr., Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp.  My team possesses the second-highest amount of cap space ensuring I should be able to land one or two quality wide receiver options in free agency.

2.03, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Nick:  Taking Ke’Shawn Vaughn early in the second round will be a regular in rookie drafts this offseason but I think this is a slight overvalue. In other drafts I have seen Vaughn creeping into the late first round which is even more of an egregious act. While being drafted to the Buccaneers is considered a bonus, I don’t consider it enough to take Vaughn over other better talent, some in equally valuable landing spots. Receivers going after him such as Jalen Reagor, Denzel Mims, Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman, and Brandon Aiyuk may not become immediate fantasy players but I can see their value being more in two or three years.

2.06, AJ Dillion, Green Bay & 3.01, Zach Moss, Buffalo Bills

Nick:  Several veteran running backs are likely to see their value drop due to incoming rookies but there are also a couple rookies who are being valued less due to their being a strong veteran ahead of them. Two examples of this are A.J. Dillion behind Aaron Jones in Green Bay and Zach Moss behind Devin Singletary in Buffalo. Few offenses feature a single running back as the ball carrier that is on the field for eighty percent of the plays anymore. Niche skillsets and fresh legs along with the devaluing (contract wise) of the position has allowed for multiple running backs to have fantasy value for many teams in the current NFL. Sean McDermott looks to build a complimentary backfield and over the last two seasons the ratio of carries has been 166:155 and 161:115. Dillion may need to wait a year before his path to touches is clearer but Moss should be a compliment to Singletary right away and will have his weeks of fantasy relevance.

3.02, Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers

Nick:  Brandon Aiyuk is a player that seems to be getting similar treatment in 2020 as Marquise “Hollywood” Brown did in 2019, a receiver drafted in the first round of the NFL draft but isn’t receiving the same value in fantasy community. Aiyuk is currently the 15th ranked rookie on DLF in standard leagues and 17th in Superflex but he is regularly going later in actual drafts, as seen here. Eventually, the value of a player that you may not have been interested in becomes a bargain and he just has to be drafted. Only in a draft this deep could a first round receiver fall this far in a rookie draft. While I wouldn’t trade up to get him, if you are sitting there at the end of the second round or early third he is a steal that you can stash on your team.

3.04, Jordan Love, Green Bay

Bernard:  The Love scenario will, undoubtedly, perplex RSO GMs this offseason.  How much of his RSO rookie contract does he actually play, if any?  I believe Love likely plays no later than year three.  Green Bay not only took Love in the first round but traded up to make sure they got him.  The Packers save cap space as early as 2021 trading Rodgers who should still have considerable trade value.  We should also remember Aaron is entering his age-37 season.  Not every quarterback plays into their 40s despite what Tom Brady and Drew Brees have done.  At this stage of the draft, Love’s voluminous arm-talent gives high-upside value at near no-risk cost.

Matt Goodwin’s Takes on the Draft

Immediately following the NFL draft Day 2, I realized at 1.05 that I was likely not going to get a QB I was excited about in the rookie draft (I’m just not sold on Herbert playing behind what was an amazing OL at Oregon and his lack of production there). Anyways, this being Superflex, I traded my 1.05 pick and two 2021 1sts for a combination of later draft picks and Russell Wilson on a $22M a year average. I remain very high on Lamb, but I didn’t think 1.05 was where I should nab either him or JK Dobbins prior to making a trade, the top players on my board there.

I tried to trade D.J. Chark on a third round rookie deal when seeing that Lamb was available at 1.08 and 1.09, but others believed in the value at that point and said, “fair offer, but no”. Totally understandable as the upsides of Lamb and Jeudy are pretty enticing.

With only picks 3.01 and 3.02 heading into the draft (I had traded 3.08 for Matt Breida on day 3 of the NFL Draft), I had my heart set on trading up to the mid-second round to draft Michael Pittman Jr. I was able to do that with Bernard by packaging 3.02 and a future pick for 2.05. WR is a big need of mine and I believe Frank Reich when he professes his love for Pittman, who should get serious run from day one and even more if T.Y. Hilton leaves as a free agent following this season.

At 3.01, I was on deck and hoping that Laviska Shenault, the playmaking WR from Colorado would last until my pick. However, defending champion Jaron Foster is a savvy GM and picked Shenault right before my pick at 2.10. I then grabbed Zack Moss and I think he’ll be in a timeshare at worst in Buffalo and love the value at a scarce position in our league at 3.01 and especially behind AJ Dillon who went earlier. Post draft I was able to grab Shenault and assume Tyrod Taylor’s salary by trading Nick Foles to Jaron in a rare three way trade in which my podcast co-host Luke Patrick was looking to shed salary.

So in the end, my draft ended up being Russell Wilson, Pittman Jr., Shenault, and Zack Moss in 30 total picks. I was able to get back a perceived high second round pick in 2021 for trading my two firsts which figure to be playoff teams if everything goes as planned. So all in all, a fun draft where everyone made picks and got involved.

Biggest values in draft: Lamb, Jeudy, Higgins, Shenault, Moss

Pick I’m least sure about: Cam Akers where he went and Vaughn’s role in Tampa Bay if he can’t pass protect for Brady

Late flier: Eason was practically free at end of draft and I do think he’ll succeed Rivers at some point before Love takes over for Rodgers

Notes on my Trades

Send 1.04 for 1.07 and 2.05

My top choices at 1.04 included Tua and Dobbins while Akers and Swift filled out this second tier for me.  I needed significant talent added to my roster with Gurley, Tyreek Hill and Courtland Sutton as my only notable starters at RB/WR.  I had a strong feeling @FantasyDocOC was probably looking at Tua here.  He dumped a lot of cap space and talent in what looks like the start of a re-tooling effort this offseason. Many people have a big tier drop at quarterback after Tua which makes the move very understandable.    In the end, I move back to get another mid-second round pick in this incredibly deep wide receiver class.

Send 2.05 for 3.02 and 2022 2nd

Unfortunately Jaelen Raegor, my first choice, went one pick before.   This spot started another tier of players for me, a wide grouping primarily composed of wide receivers.  One primary lesson for any fantasy draft is to never pick at the start of your tier if one can feasibly trade back and remain in that tier or trade up into a higher tier.  Another note: the depth of talent in this rookie class made extracting what would normally be considered fair trade value difficult.  This is not a trade I would have accepted in many other years but was OK with it in this particular season.

Send Darrell Henderson for 3.04 and 3.06

This move may seem odd to some considering I drafted Akers earlier.  Two 3rds also doesn’t seem like much value for a player drafted as high as mid-first territory as the season approached last year.  I don’t see Henderson as a direct backup or potential lead back, but more of a change-of-pace / situational player who likely splits work even if the lead back were to be injured.  The potential upside of Love, at a 3rd round contract price, was well worth Henderson to me.   The uber-productive Edwards placed a nice cherry on top.

Effective draft day trade tally:  Sent Tua and Darrell Henderson for Cam Akers, Brandon Aiyuk, Jordan Love, Bryan Edwards, and 2022 2nd.


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.

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