Dynasty Fantasy Football: Dynasty Draft Day Takeaways
Round one has come and gone and many of the dynasty community’s fears about this class were realized on Thursday night. Of 32 picks taken, only 14 were on the offensive side of the ball. Of those 14, six were offensive lineman, leaving only eight non-IDP dynasty relevant players to pore over as we start to examine the ever-changing dynasty landscape. While that’s fewer than originally hoped in this “fabled” 2019 wide receiver class, there were some hits we need to be made aware of as we edge ever closer to the new league season. Below, we’ll discuss who you should be targeting in your rookie league drafts from round one.
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Dynasty Draft Day Takeaway One: Kyler Murray is a top 12 Dynasty QB
This isn’t a hot take. Kyler Murray started just one full season in college after sitting behind, and eventually taking the mantle from last year’s No. 1, (and a top 5 QB in his own right) Baker Mayfield. In that season, Murray converted 69 percent of 377 pass attempts for over 4300 yards and 40 touchdowns. But you already knew that.
What the real appeal is with Murray is the fit he is for the Arizona Cardinals team. Last year the Cardinals were the 26th ranked pass blocking unit in the NFL and haven’t done much to improve that line. Unlike Rosen, Murray offers a mobile element to his game that will allow him to compensate for this team weakness immediately. Like Deshaun Watson, and his most common comparison Russel Wilson, Murray’s ability to extend plays will allow him to create the time to locate David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Christian Kirk down the field this year.
Murray’s playing style will most pointedly benefit Christian Kirk specifically, as last season Kirk beat the NFL average receiving success rate by 24% per sharpfootballstats in the deep right portion of the field (15+ yards).
— Etan (@EtanMozia) April 26, 2019
Murray paced the FBS in yards per attempt in 2018 and will look to continue that deep ball prowess in the big leagues. With the most completed passing plays of 20-plus yards (72) Kirk sees the greatest bump in a vacuum. Holistically, longer drives, more red zone opportunities, and better play calling from Kliff Kingsbury should increase the values of David Johnson and Ricky Seals-Jones as well (if he can beat out Charles Clay for the starting job). Expect a day three wide receiver and some offensive line help coming the Cardinals way in the coming rounds.
Murray is SF 1.01 just as we all thought he would be.
Dynasty Draft Day Takeaway Two: Daniel Jones’s Selection Was an Unforgivable Reach
Daniel Jones going in the top 15 picks would have been over-drafting him said as kindly as possible. Jones going at six reveals even more clearly, the lack of direction the Giants front office is currently operating with. By nearly every statistical method of measurement, Jones is a below-par passer that struggled to make the big play consistently. His lack of arm strength should also be a cause for concern as he wasn’t able to push the ball down the field with his 54 mph throwing power. His best collegiate completion percentage was 62.8 percent three years ago in 2016. Last season he completed just 60 percent of his passes.
It’s not all doom and gloom with Eli now and Jones in the future, however. Jones is prototypically sized and should be able to stay healthy in the league. As currently constructed, all of the targets on the Giants offense (Barkley, Engram, Shepard, and Tate) offer more closer to the line of scrimmage than they do downfield. If the Giants commit to a timing-based offense that looks to maximize YAC, there could be some dynasty appeal down the line. As for now, Jones will likely sit the majority of the season and should not be viewed as a top 24 QB this season.
— Etan (@EtanMozia) April 26, 2019
Dynasty Draft Day Takeaway Three: T.J. Hockenson Could Have Landed More Smoothly Elsewhere
While it’s common knowledge that tight ends tend to take a couple years or more of seasoning before they get going in the NFL, Hockenson is one of the few that could have broken that mold. A capable receiver that by the end of his college days morphed into his team’s de-facto WR1, Hockenson’s real value lies with his tenacity and ability to win in the run blocking game even at the point of attack. The problem isn’t with TJ Hockenson you see, no. The problem is the with history of the Detroit Lions as well as their current roster construction.
Let me be clear. With a motor like this…
Check out this block from Hockenson. Iowa develops TEs like nobody’s business. pic.twitter.com/lZsUZaQd85
— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) October 13, 2018
Hockenson will not be an ineffective real-life NFL rookie regardless of what his receiving statistics look like after 2019. But targets are likely going to be less forthcoming than they should for a guy of TJ’s talent level. We’ll start on narrative street. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones will be target hogs number one and two on the Detroit Lions roster come Week 1. While that in and of itself should not be an issue for the former Iowa standout, the presence of Danny Amendola compounded upon those two will be. At best, we’re looking at Hockenson being fourth on the target totem pole in his rookie year.
By the numbers, the Detroit Lions threw the 13th most pass attempts in 2018. While that’s not a low mark, taken in the context of having Kerryon Johnson injured for as long as he was it seemed as if there was a clear intention to be a run-focused squad in 2018. If the same holds true for 2019, Hockenson would fit that real life scheme for the Lions without being more than a TD dependent fantasy asset for the foreseeable future. Amendola’s contract is just for the season, however, and the Lions will have just under seven million reasons to part with Marvin Jones in 2020 so the wait for Hockenson’s breakout may not be a long one. Still, I wouldn’t consider Hock anything more than a bottom end dynasty TE1 for now.
Dynasty Draft Day Takeaway Four: Dwayne Haskins, Sleeper QB1?
No. Dwayne Haskins should not be viewed as a top-12 QB right now. That said, his presence has greatly improved the Redskins 2019 prospects. While it is my belief that Haskins will be Washington’s day one starter, the relatively bare cupboard on the outside coupled with the bounty of talent at running back in Guice and AP show me a team that will attempt to be a run focused group. While that alone can be overcome, when coupled with the fact that the Redskins were just the 24th ranked pass-blocking offense in 2018 per FO’s adjusted line yards metric the situation is dicey for immediate Haskins success.
For one, Haskins is an immobile passer that will likely have to deal with being pushed off his spot often in Washington. Point two against him is that while the trio of Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson, and Trey Quin are serviceable targets if Jordan Reed doesn’t return to A+ level form there simply aren’t enough playmakers to help Haskins make plays within the offense. That said, he’s a good quarterback. Haskins paced the FBS with 193 completions of 10-plus yards last college football season and did so at a 70 percent completion rate. He threw 50 TD passes and did so with 9+ yards per attempt. Down the line, when Washington is stocked with more receiving talent (they will likely draft one) Haskins will be a name to watch.
Dynasty Draft Day Takeaway Five: Noah Fant is Rookie TE1
Thor Nystrom (@Thorku) may disagree with me. In 99 percent of cases, I would defer to him but in this one, the difference in landing spot seems clear. In Detroit, Golladay is guaranteed the lion’s share of the target workload and that is a crowded offense overall. In Denver, there are no such issues. DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick are question marks and Courtland Sutton didn’t separate himself from the crowd last year in a WR1 role for a significant portion of the season. Unlike Detroit, the Broncos are actively looking for playmakers in the passing game and Noah Fant more than fits the bill.
Fant is a SPARQ freak that will be thrust into a starting TE role in Denver with limited competition in-house. While Joe Flacco is and has never been elite, he can find his TE. The last time he had a decent one, Dennis Pitta in 2016, Flacco peppered him with 119 targets en route to a 700 + yard, two TD season. Noah Fant scored 18TDs in his last 24 games on just 69 receptions. He did this while averaging approximately 13 yards per reception. He should be in the mix for Denver’s #1 target hog role from the jump. Chase the targets in dynasty leagues. Noah Fant is solidly a top 8 TE.
Dynasty Draft Day Takeaway Six: Josh Jacobs is in Line for a Lot of Work
Regardless of how underwhelming the 2019 RB class is as a whole, you have to respect it when a team goes after their guy. Jacobs was Gruden’s guy and looks to be in line for a ton of work both in the run game and through the air for the Oakland Raiders in 2019. In terms of competition, there will not be a tremendous amount to worry about for him when he touches down in Oakland. Chris Warren was always a pipe dream to be forever unfulfilled and Isaiah Crowell is guaranteed just $1.25M for 2019. This is as free a runaway as any RB in this class could have hoped for and is on par with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs with best rookie landing spots this year.
Of course, the difference with being in any of those two situations is the fact that Oakland boasts a wholly inferior offense when compared to either of the two aforementioned teams. In 2018, the Raiders were the 22nd team overall in red zone TD percentage and had an overall offensive DVOA of -7.1 percent (25th NFL). As running back production is in most cases (Barkley being the exception) tied to the success of the team this can be seen as a concern. However, the additions of both Antonio Bown and Tyrell Williams this offseason may be enough to, with Jacobs, turn this around. Jacobs doesn’t boast elite athleticism but his pathway to targets in an offense loaded with weapons bodes well for his early fantasy prospects.
Barring KC selecting a back in the next two rounds Jacobs should be the seen as the dynasty rookie RB1 and in contention for 1.01 overall on volume alone.
Dynasty Draft Day Takeaway Seven: Jackson Goes to Hollywood
Marquise Brown and the Lisfranc injury that kept him out of this year’s combine still managed to be the number one wide receiver taken in this year’s draft. Why?
One reason… speed.
In the mold of a Brandin Cooks, Brown is a receiver that will be able to beat his assigned corner consistently over the top. His elite ball tracking ability will also prove useful as the targets he is likely to receive may be a bit errant most of the time.
That’s the issue with Brown. I don’t believe his big play ability will overcome Baltimore’s run-focused game plan and Lamar Jackson’s struggles as a passer. While Jackson did have an ever-increasing completion percentage in college, he was a bit exposed in the NFL last season when he took over for the departed Joe Flacco. John Brown’s difference in production from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson was telling. Last season, Jackson completed almost five percent of passes below expectation (per airyards.com) aDot of just 8.4 yards. If Brown cannot consistently win on slant routes he won’t see the targets to make him fantasy relevant on a consistent basis in year one.
Dynasty Draft Day Takeaway Eight: N’Keal Harry in New England
The New England Patriots were the 26th-ranked team in terms of run to pass ratio in 2018. In the playoffs, they leaned on their run game and seemed to morph into a squad less dependent on Brady and more willing to bully opponents in the trenches. Julian Edelman provided a steady outlet in the slot and long term, I believe that is the role Belichick has in mind for N’Keal Harry. While he can win in contested catch situations as demonstrated here…
— Etan (@EtanMozia) April 26, 2019
Harry also boasts an ability to break down defenders in space. I would comp N’keal Harry to someone like Michael Thomas as he can be an equally dangerous weapon at an X or slot position. Breakout age, market share, production, it all lines up for Harry. The only concern is the Patriots tendency to not lock on to one guy. Brandin Cooks showed us that. But Gronkowski’s retirement opens up a ton of targets for one of the worst receiving corps in the league. N’keal Harry will outpace Marquise Brown in his rookie season.
Thanks for reading and please check out all of my Dynasty Fantasy Football content.
Etan Mozia has been involved with sports as a whole for over two decades and has written about athletics in some capacity since 2005. Focused primarily on the NFL and EPL, Etan has seen his work featured on sites like FantasyPros, Advanced Sports Logic, and FFD260 among others. Currently, his work is housed on FantraxHQ and FantasyPros. An avid lover of dynasty leagues specifically, you can also listen to him on his podcast, The Dynasty Diagnostic (@DynoDiagnostic), as he breaks down rosters and provides pertinent and practical advice for dynasty squads looking to give their team an edge. Follow him on twitter @EtanMozia.
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