2021 RSO Writer’s League Rookie Draft

Updated: May 19th 2021

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 pick decisions with All About Reality Podcast hosts Luke Patrick and Matt Goodwin also providing insight into their picks (also be sure to check out the latest RSO Podcast where Luke and Matt discuss this draft).

Writer’s League Draft

Notes on Selected Picks

1.01, Trevor Lawrence QB

Luke:  Morning of the Writer’s League draft I only had one certainty: no one was moving up for the 1.01.   Having done my due diligence with the league, I was faced with the reality of a young team- 1.01/1.03/1.05 and 3 1st round picks in each of the next two drafts.   This offseason saw me trade away beloved QBs Baker Mayfield and Kirk Cousins leaving me with Tua lonely in the QB room.

1.03, Trey Lance QB

Luke:  Matt Papson went Najee over Lance so I opted for Lance who I value nearly as highly as Trevor in superflex, especially as he has the legs to make a difference in our ten team league.

1.05, Justin Fields QB

Luke:  Nick Andrews opted for Chase.   Here was my only real decision point.   Fields, Pitts, Etienne all had some appeal for distinct reasons, but given the historic nature of this QB class, and acknowledging someone may bust, I decided to push my chips in on Fields and just stay true to the top three talents on my superflex board.

1.06, Travis Etienne RB

Bernard:  I was very comfortable in the six spot this year knowing one of my top-tier positional players or prime quarterbacks would likely still be here.  Luke’s QB-heavy start to the draft narrowed my choice to Kyle Pitts or Etienne.  In the end, the league’s shallow format and no tight end premium pushed me to the NFL first round running back.  Etienne is the single most explosive rookie RB this season and one of the only rookie backs with potentially high passing-game usage by year’s end.  New head coach Urban Meyer moving to the NFL presents some uncertainty with regards to Etienne’s usage not usually associated with a rookie running back selected in the first round.

1.09, Javonte Williams RB

Bernard:  As noted previously, Pitts was the last of my first-tier players but I also had Javonte Williams in a tier of his own slightly behind them so it was a good trade-up spot for me.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get a deal done.  The seven spot ended up taking DaVonta Smith, though, so I was content waiting on one of my top remaining players.  Williams was the last of the “big three” running backs and PFF’s highest-rated running back who broke tackles at a crazy-high rate.  He has ideal size and should be Denver’s lead back by next season.  The main drawback with Williams is that he is likely stuck behind Melvin Gordon for at least a good portion of this year and not a true “route-winner” at RB which would dictate high target counts.

2.07, Elijah Moore WR

Matt:  Going into the Writer’s League Rookie Draft I had three draft picks with not great draft capital: 2.07, 2.10, and 3.10. I knew I’d get a player I liked at 2.07 but was skeptical about a tier fall-off right before 2.10. At 2.07, I picked Elijah Moore, who I love. When you see comps like Steve Smith and Antonio Brown as route running tacticians and hard-nosed tough WRs and hear how Sly Johnson trained him as a humble elementary schooler on our podcast into a 2nd round NFL draft pick with the Jets, you love the story and the upside. While Moore is set up to be an inside receiver, I’m banking on the fact that Moore can win all over as he did being an elite Ole Miss wide receiver putting up solid stats even when DK Metcalf and AJ Brown were around. I liked him higher than Terrace Marshall and Rondale Moore, who went in the same vicinity.

2.09, Michael Carter RB

Matt:  I saw things drying up at 2.10, so when Michael Carter was still on the clock at 2.09, I offered my 2.10 and 3.10 to move up one spot with Bob Cowper to snag Carter, a good all around back who figures to have a role with the Jets. I think Carter is an interesting player that we’ll be talking about more on our podcast, particularly about the volatility of where he is going in rookie drafts. He was the last RB I had a decent grade on and the end of a tier of players for me and I feel that late third round picks are dart throws and clog roster spots I’ll need for weekly transactions and team depth. So I didn’t want another player I’d have to consider cutting in two years. Hopefully this trade works out well for both teams.

3.01, Kenneth Gainwell RB

Bernard:  This writer concurred with Matt that the talent (or at least the projected production) really dries up in the middle of the second round this year.   This was another spot where I attempted to move up and/or out and could not get a deal done.  Gainwell is an interesting prospect with a monster 2019 of over 2,000 scrimmage yards in his only significant year of play and someone many consider the best receiving back out of the class.  The situation also provides some intrigue with Miles Sanders ahead of the depth chart, a player the fantasy community seems to like more than the NFL.  Gainwell likely tops out as a high-volume receiving back in the NFL thanks to his size, with the floor of not making the roster as a day three NFL pick.

3.09, Dyami Brown RB

Bernard:  Brown was primarily utilized as a vertical-plane receiver for the Tar Heels and performed admirably but not dominantly.  His athletic, production, and tape profile into someone who could develop into a nice outside complementary piece.  Washington doesn’t have much at tight end or running back plus the receiver depth chart behind Terry McLaurin and new import Curtis Sample is fairly bare so there is opportunity available right away for Brown to work the outside and get a decent target share.  New quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick also shows the willingness to challenge defensive backs deep which is right in Brown’s wheelhouse.

My Favorite Value Picks

Kyle Pitts going off the board at 8 in the first round stands out.  Our league settings put tight end values about as low they get, tight ends are notoriously situation dependent with long learning curves, and the historical bust rate is high.  With that said, Pitts is one of the better tight end prospects in the history of the NFL with Atlanta picking him higher than any tight end ever plus an off-the-charts athletic and production profile.

As discussed previously, the talent level dried up in the mid-second of the draft.  That makes Elijah Moore and Rondale Moore solid values at the end of a key tier. Elijah has the chance to grow with new Jets quarterback Zach Wilson in a potentially high-volume role.  Most of his work came in the slot so we will have to see if he diversifies to other receiver positions in the NFL.  Rondale landed in one of the best spots for his skill-set as one of the most athletic playmakers in the class whose production largely came from after-the-catch short passing game, a nice fit for Arizona’s scheme.


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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