Top Rookies for Fantasy Football 2018 | Fantasy Football 2018

by Nick Ercolano May 01, 2018

Top Rookies for Fantasy Football 2018 | Fantasy Football 2018

Top Rookies for Fantasy Football 2018 | Fantasy Football 2018

Ok big homies and homettes, the 2018 NFL Draft is in the books!!!! We can finally start incorrectly assuming which rookies will take which roles in their respective offenses, and more accurately project them for the 2018 fantasy football season!

Here are my top-12 rookies for the 2018 fantasy football season.

** All these charts are on my blog, so you can go back and look at them, if you sign up for my newsletter on the homepage of bigdogsfantasy.com you'll get emailed when I post stuff like this.

** Percentile scores are per PlayerProfiler.com

12. Mike Gesicki - TE (Penn State)

Drafted By Miami Dolphins
Round Selected (Pick) 2 (42)
Height 6'6"
Weight 247lbs
Age 22
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.54 (95th)
Weight Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 95th
Burst Score Percentile Rank 99th
Agility Score Percentile Rank
99th
Catch Radius Percentile Rank 100th
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank 97th
College YPR 9.9
  • Easily the best athlete at the position, Gesicki falls to the Dolphins who desperately needed a TE after failing to fill the void multiple seasons in a row. I liked Dallas Godert a lot too, unfortunately for fantasy, he fell to the Eagles and how he'll play the Trey Burton role which won't mean much behind Zach Ertz. 
  • Just an incredible athlete. Was New Jersey's football player of the year. Yes, he played basketball, set his school record in scoring, and played four years of varsity volleyball too.
  • Definitely has issues as a blocker, but that's not how a team that drafts him should view him. The NFL is finally adapting to using players to their strengths, I.E. Evan Engram last year.
  • Highest contested catch rate in the nation among tight ends (75% - PFF).
  • So, we know that historically, rookie fantasy TEs rarely make an impact. Evan Engram was a BIG exception last year, and who knows how it might have been had OBJ, Brandon Marshall and Shepard not missed a combined 28 games in 2017.
  • Taking a look at the Dolphins usage rate for TEs over the last few years (per SharpFootballStats.com): In 2017, the Dolphins targeted TEs on 15% of their pass attempts: only the Saints at 12% were lower. Their 5.8 yards per attempt when targeting the TE (5.8), was the 32nd in the NFL, dead last. In 2016, a lot of the same. Targeted the TE on 16% of their plays, only 3 teams were lower.
  • Now, we do obviously have to take into consideration Jarvis Landry's departure, and the amount of volume he got, as well as where those targets were which is definitely similar to where Gesicki will be running some of his routes. So, I do expect them to use Gesicki in this offense, but I don't think he's going to get enough volume, to crack the top-12, TEs in 2017, he'll probably be ranked somewhere between TE12-TE15 for me in redraft and is my TE1 in dynasty rookie drafts, but definitely has upside.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10)
216 : TE30
Where I would draft him
125-140 : TE14-18

11. D.J. Moore - WR (Maryland)

Drafted By Carolina Panthers
Round Selected (Pick) 1 (24)
Height 6'0"
Weight 210lbs
Age 21
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.42 (89th)
Weight-Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 88th
Burst Score Percentile Rank 94th
Agility Score Percentile Rank
72nd
Catch Radius Percentile Rank 88th
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank 92nd
College YPR 12.9
  • Moore is a guy that film and analytics guys like. Put up great #'s and wins on film. Big 10 WR of the year, 80-1,033-8 despite having 4 different QBs. And those QBs ranked 127th of 128 possible QBs in passer rating his freshman year, 85th and 109th the following two seasons. Insane 53.3% of Maryland's total receiving yards and TDs in his time at Maryland. That 53.3% is in the 97th percentile of that stat. Being compared to former Terp alum Stefon Diggs, both technically sound, but Moore is bigger. He reminds me a lot of Golden Tate. He's a guy that can produce from the slot and the outside. He's a good route runner, good blend of speed, size, great quickness/explosion, footwork and is really awesome after the catch (find YAC).
  • All that being said, he lands in a good spot for real football, not necessarily great for fantasy football. They have a guy that specializes in YAC already in C-Mac, Greg Olsen is back with the team. Devin Funchess is on the outside, along with Torrey Smith who they traded for this offszn, as well as signing Jarius Wright and having Curtis Samuel back healthy.
  • Norv Turner is their new OC, so I figured I'd look at what I could find there. He was the OC in Minnesota from 2014-2016, the only stats I could find that were good was that Minnesota lined up in 3WR+ sets at about 63% of their plays, which is middle of the pack, maybe a couple of slots lower, so it's not necessarily great for Moore's outlook.
  • He might not be elite anywhere, but he's good everywhere and can develop into a great WR - the problem is volume here.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10)
187 : WR70
Where I would draft him
9th-10th Round

10. Kerryon Johnson - RB (Auburn)

Drafted By Detroit Lions
Round Selected (Pick) 2 (43)
Height 6'0"
Weight 213lbs
Age 20
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.57 (56th)
Weight Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 53rd
Burst Score Percentile Rank 93rd
Agility Score Percentile Rank
51st
Bench Press Reps (Percentile Rank) 11 (1st)
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank 30th
College YPC 5.1
  • Reminiscent of Arian Foster. Doesn't grade off the chart anywhere, but is good all around. Okay size, but has good vision and burst, things that are hard to measure necessarily, but like we saw with Foster can absolutely translate to success at the next level.
  • Not only was Johnson PFF's #1 graded SEC RB in 2017, he won the SEC offensive player of the year award.
  • He also fills a void that the Lions have needed, and that's a running back who is super physical both in the trenches and on the outside, something Abdullah and Riddick don't offer. He graded very favorably in Graham Barfield's yards created column for inside carries, but was not great outside of that in terms of elusiveness and making guys miss, which will usually separate the good backs from great backs.
  • Him being ranked this low isn't an indictment of Johnson as a runner but moreso the situation he finds himself in. There's a lot of caution to be had here, even given the draft capital. They bring in LeGarrette Blount and they already have Theo Riddick of course. We don't know what Ameer Abdullah's role will be if he has any. So with Blount and Riddick, you may be looking at exactly what AA gave us. Decent volume on early downs, but far from guaranteed to get goal-line work or passing down work.
  • Not saying he can't play all 3 downs, because he can. A very capable pass-catcher and runner, down by the GL too, rushing for 18 scores last year in college, but the Lions have proven over the last few years that they haven't wanted to give the work to anyone back in particular, which is not great.
  • You also have to look at the offensive line, and while they've improved on PBing, they still rank really poorly in terms of run-blocking as a unit, ranking dead last per FO and 31st in yards before being contacted on running plays per PFF. They did a good job addressing the line in the draft grabbing the class's top Center in Frank Ragnow with their first round pick and later Tyrell Crosby in the 5th who is a very good run blocking tackle.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10)
164 : RB55
Where I would draft him
9th-10th Round

9. Calvin Ridley - WR (Alabama)

Drafted By Atlanta Falcons
Round Selected (Pick) 1 (26)
Height 6'1"
Weight 189lbs
Age 23
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.43 (86th)
Weight-Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 64th
Burst Score Percentile Rank 2nd
Agility Score Percentile Rank
40th
Catch Radius Percentile Rank 22nd
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank 31st
College YPR 13.5
  • Ridley graded so bad at the combine. Had he graded well, he probably would've been a top 15, maybe even top 10 pick.
  • He's very good, probably the best in this class at getting separation from defenders, a really good deep threat, and great YAC ability. They lost Taylor Gabriel in FA, which doesn't necessarily open up a ton of targets (51) but he'll eat into Sanu's target numbers who averaged a surprisingly high 6.4 targets a game.
  • One thing that's not great is Atlanta's 3WR usage, they ran 3WRs on 57% of their plays, NFL average is about 62% and they ran the 8th fewest plays overall from that personnel. But being a first-round pick, you'd expect Ridley to play over Sanu on the majority of 2WR sets, so not a huge concern for me.
  • I can see Ridley definitely having some big games here, a lot of 4-70 and maybe 5-6 touchdowns on the season. 
  • Right now I'm looking at Ridley as a WR4/5 in redrafts. I think I have Ridley as my WR1 in dynasty for now.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10)
122 : WR49
Where I would draft him
8th-9th Round


8. Nick Chubb - RB (Georgia)

Drafted By Cleveland Browns
Round Selected (Pick) 2 (35)
Height 5'11"
Weight 227lbs
Age 22
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.52 (71st)
Weight Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 89th
Burst Score Percentile Rank 91st
Agility Score Percentile Rank
54th
Bench Press Reps (Percentile Rank) 29 (96th)
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank 98th
College YPC 6.7
  • Had it not been for Barkley's combine performance, Chubb would've been talked about WAY more. A 98th % SPARQ, 89th weight-adjusted, and he can do it all on the field. Him and Sony Michel were just an unfair duo in Georgia' backfield. 
  • But, he joins a messy situation in Cleveland. Where they obviously signed Carlos Hyde to the 3-year, $15-million deal. Chubb can absolutely outplay Hyde, and earn the starting job, but Hyde should still be involved, and the targets are going to Duke Johnson. Chubb only had 13 combined receptions over his last 3 seasons, that's 13 receptions in 34 games. So, you take him out of the equation and it's very, very difficult to be a big-time fantasy producer.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10) 59 : RB24
Where I would draft him 6th Round

7. Anthony Miller - WR (Memphis)

Drafted By Chicago Bears
Round Selected (Pick) 2 (51)
Height 5'11"
Weight 201lbs
Age 23
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.55 (47th)
Weight Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 38th
Burst Score Percentile Rank 85th
Agility Score Percentile Rank
83rd
Catch Radius Percentile Rank
74th
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank 89th
College YPR 15.2
  • Man do I love this kid.
  • And I love the spot he landed.
  • I really think he's a poor mans Odell or Antonio Brown. Just the way he plays so quick in and out of his cuts, great route runner, ferocious, just always playing with a chip on his shoulder but an incredible playmaker.
  • His last two seasons at Memphis he surpassed 95 catches, 1,400 yards in both and 32 total touchdowns.
  • He has a knack for drops, but I can overlook that, because it's a focus-issue. He consistently makes ridiculous catches, but can't focus and will drop really easy passes sometimes because he's already looking downfield. 
  • The Bears have a ton of targets available in this offense, and they obviously grabbed Allen Robinson and Trey Burton to help fill that void, but Kendall Wright, their slot guy, who averaged about 6.3 targets a game from Weeks 7-17 last year.
  • This offense is looking to make a huge leap in 2018 after bringing in former KC OC from the last two years, Matt Nagy to captain this ship. 
  • This is a simple combo of talent + opportunity here. We need Trubisky to take a step forward as a passer and get more volume, which he should, but Miller is a guy who can get open quickly and Trubisky can lean on with short throws.
  • Miller is going to be an absolute steal in PPR leagues. His ceiling for TDs isn't great in this offense, but the kid has a huge knack for the EZ (32 over L2 szns) and to make big plays so it wouldn't surprise me if he surpasses his projections on that front too. 
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10) 151 : RB52
Where I would draft him

6th Round

6. Royce Freeman - RB (Oregon)

Drafted By Denver Broncos
Round Selected (Pick) 3 (71)
Height 6'0"
Weight 229lbs
Age 22
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.54 (66th)
Weight Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 86th
Burst Score Percentile Rank 40th
Agility Score Percentile Rank
83rd
Bench Press Reps (Percentile Rank) 17 (27th)
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank 9th
College YPC 4.1
  • So this will be a highly debated player in fantasy this offseason. There are people that really like Freeman, and there are people that think he's just an average runner when you watch the film and step away from the stats. Regardless, he lands in a good spot in Denver who badly needed to add to their RB depth with only Devontae Booker and De'Angelo Henderson here.  Freeman should step in and immediately compete with Booker for the starting job.
  • He's a big mother - 6-0, almost 230. With good straight-line speed at 4.54, giving him an 86th percentile weight-adjusted speed score and a 63rd percentile SPARQ score. He had a ridiculous college career at Oregon, compiling over 6,400 yards from scrimmage and 64 TDs over 4 years. But that also comes with 1,026 touches to his name before even entering the NFL. 
  • When we look at Graham Barfield's yards created, he doesn't grade well at all. He's a guy that can do most things at an average level, but nothing great. His offensive line was always very good and creating massive holes for him, and he graded meh when it came to elusiveness, making guys miss, YPRR in receiving. The big holes, combined with his breakaway speed is a huge reason for his production.
  • He won't get that line in Denver. They actually ranked well per FO as the 9th best RBing line last year but were 24th in yards before contact for RBs per PFF. They didn't do much to address the line this offseason other than bringing in an aging, and declining Jared Veldheer.
  • But again, the Broncos backfield is open for competition, which is why I'd have Freeman ranked ahead of a guy like Kerryon Johnson.
  • With C.J. Anderson's and Jamaal Charles' departure, that opens up 318 carries and 62 RB targets, which can easily translate to RB1/2 numbers in fantasy. The question becomes, how big of a piece of that will Freeman get? Very possible this turns into an RBBC with Freeman and Booker, Booker proved to be a very capable receiving back averaging 2.5 catches over their final 12 games. Freeman also, needs a lot of work as a pass-blocker, which will ultimately limit him on 3rd downs further.
  • But 200-240 touches are definitely in the cards for Freeman. He'll probably get some GL work too. While they only scored 8 rushing touchdowns on the entire season, Keenum at QB should stabilize the offense and lead to more scoring opps.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10) 151 : RB52
Where I would draft him 5th-6th Round


5. Ronald Jones - RB (USC)

Drafted By Tampa Bay Bucs
Round Selected (Pick) 2 (38)
Height 5'11"
Weight 205lbs
Age 20
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.65* (32nd)
Weight Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 17th
Burst Score Percentile Rank N/A
Agility Score Percentile Rank
N/A
Bench Press Reps (Percentile Rank) N/A
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank N/A
College YPC 5.9
  • The ultimate case of landing spot trumps talent. Landing in Tampa means he's only fighting with Peyton Barber and Charles Sims for a workload.
  • #1 graded PFF running back in 2017. An outstanding junior year at USC, rushing for 1,550 yards and 19 scores.
  • However, I'm VERY hesitant to go any higher on RoJo than a 5th round pick.
  • First off, his size - 5'11 - 205lb. I would never just write someone off because of their size, but I'll explain why I think it matters for this particular case in a minute.
  • He only has 39 career targets, and 32 career receptions in 40 career games, never catching more than 14 passes in a szn.
  • When you're small like Jones is, you're usually either very fast, or very good at catching the ball. He's really neither. His 4.65 40-yard dash speed was blemished by a pulled hammy on combine day, but he re-ran at his pro-day for 4.48 which should be taken with a grain of salt, but also nothing exceptional given his size.
  • The best way I can put this is by using a comparison. I have two. First would be a former USC Trojan, Reggie Bush, with less lateral ability, Bush was obviously the best to ever do that in college, but I think THE perfect comparison is Ameer Abdullah: Plant the foot and explode, but never takes collisions head on, every run in the NFL is that... It's going to be too much work for RoJo in that backfield, and AA is a better receiver. They are all obviously talented guys, but they all have the same issue in terms of taking on contact, so big fantasy seasons are possible, but for the most part, everything has to break right for that to happen: how they're used in the offense, the team around him playing well, volume, health, etc.
  • When you have a back that size, you need someone like Devonta Freeman, who loves contact, puts his head down and can destroy defenders much bigger than himself. And you can make the comparison between him and Jamaal Charles, but JC was both a far better receiver and much much faster and agiler, laterally.
  • Looking at Graham Barfield's yards created data, Jones did not fair well at all. First, he had the lowest pass-blocking execution rate in the 3-year history of yards created.
  • The other alarming thing is Jones' success out of the shotgun. He was last place in this class in yards created/attempt out of the shotgun. Thankfully, the Bucs are one of the least run-heavy teams from the shotgun under Dirk Koetter. We've seen this make a major difference in RB success like Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy.
  • So, ultimately, Jones lands in a really good spot, with opportunity written all over it and I don't want to overlook that, but I wish another RB had gone there. Like any of the 4 guys I have ranked above him.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10) 103 : RB37
Where I would draft him 5th Round

4. Sony Michel - RB (Georgia)

Drafted By New England Patriots
Round Selected (Pick) 1 (31)
Height 5'11"
Weight 214lbs
Age 23
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.54 (66th)
Weight Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 66th
Burst Score Percentile Rank N/A
Agility Score Percentile Rank
N/A
Bench Press Reps (Percentile Rank) 22 (67th)
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank N/A
College YPC 6.7
  • I heard a funny theory about this, I think Evan Silva might have talked about it, those report that Michel's bone bruise in his knee might have long-term concern with it, were started by Bill Belichick, because you look at the reporters that made the reports, they talked to Bill right before it. No idea how true all of it is, but funny nonetheless, the Pats are always ahead of the game, and they see the turning revolution of social media and rumors and it wouldn't surprise me if they're using that to their advantage.
  • Anyways, I talked about Michel extensively in my First Round recap
  • A shocking pick, "since selecting Laurence Maroney in the first round 12 years ago, the  had only taken three RBs inside of the top-150 overall picks prior to this year’s NFL Draft." He just might be my second favorite rookie fantasy RB now. I actually LOVE this spot, and I love Sony Michel. The Pats know what they're doing, there's all of the rumors of the knee bone bruise or whatever, they say, fuggit, we ride him for 4 years, get that 5th-year team option and we're not signing him to a second contract anyway.
  • Ok, so he's got this knee thing. Well, he played in 39-of-40 games over the last 3 years for Georgia...
  • He plugs immediately into Dion Lewis' role, makes both Jeremy Hill and Gillislee redundant, one or both of them definitely ain't making the team. I think it turns into a Michel, Burkhead, little bit of White RBBC, spearheaded by Michel. 
  • I mean, there's no way NE goes RB in the first and doesn't plan on letting the man spin. One of the best parts about this is their other pick in the 1st, at 23, they take Michel's teammate from Georgia OG Isaiah Wynn.
  • Look how many carries team had last year, how many opened up with someone leaving via FA.
  • He didn't test out at the combine off the charts like his college teammate Nick Chubb, but Michel was really fucking good in college. He averaged 7.9 ypc in 2017, and scored 16 touchdowns. Yes, against the SEC. They have Burkhead and White, but Michel doesn't need to come off the field. Ever. He's excellent in pass-blocking, huge check mark for the Patriots, and although he only caught 9 passes last year for the Bulldogs, he caught 48 in the 2 seasons prior.
  • Most importantly, he graded off the charts in Graham Barfield's Yards Created data, and I quote, "Every facet of Sony Michel's Yards Created data screams that he is a standout player. After Barkley, Sony Michel has the second-best odds to become a featured player both as a runner and receiver in the 2018 class."
  • Maybe you're asking why I lean on his analysis so much - because you know who his favorite RBs were last year? Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt.
  • I think what's most surprising about this pick, is that if there is one major flaw to Michel's game, it's ball security, he lost the ball A LOT in college, obviously, Uncle Bill isn't a huge fan of RBs with ball security issues.
  • I'm saying DO NOT be scared away from Michel, because you picked Gillislee last year, or you're scared of this RBBC. Michel should see upwards of 250 touches, and in this offense, his TD upside is through the roof.
  • Lot of questions about goathead. Still, like him. I never expected him to be the bellcow here, or handle the majority of the rushing work, he's still a sleeper in PPR leagues and will probably be pushed down even further now. He'll have plenty of involvement in this offense still.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10) 63 : RB25
Where I would draft him 4th Round


3. Rashaad Penny - RB (San Diego State)

Drafted By Seattle Seahawks
Round Selected (Pick) 1 (27)
Height 5'11"
Weight 220lbs
Age 22
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.46 (88th)
Weight Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 92nd
Burst Score Percentile Rank 32nd
Agility Score Percentile Rank N/A
Bench Press Reps (Percentile Rank) 13 (5th)
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank N/A
College YPC 7.

  • This is where things start getting interesting. Huge surprise pick here by Seattle. Penny was actually going off with odds as 50-1 to be the second running back drafted.
  • Let's first hold a moment of silence for Chris Carson *takes out tissue*. So disrespectful.
  • I get it, the Seahawks have trust issues, they can't rely on ANYONE to stay healthy in their backfield. They've been searching for their Marshawn Lynch and they think they found it in Penny.
  • Penny is looked at as a true featured back, and a lot of people had him as the outright RB2 in this class behind Barkley.
  • You take a look at the measurables and you see right away, he has the size 5-11, 220, and the speed (4.46), 92nd percentile weight-adjusted speed score.
  • He really can do it all, other than size/speed, good burst, agility, keeps the feet moving. The knock is him playing at SDSU, smaller school, worse competition. And he did what you'd expect someone to do at a school like this: led CFB in rushing with 2,248 yards, he scored 25 touchdowns last year, he's also an incredible kick returner, bringing back 7 throughout his career. I mean, 7.8 ypc... 
  • 4.47 YAC per attempt, No. 1 in college (PFF) and No. 1 in elusive rating, and led the draft class in YPC after contact when hit at or behind the line of scrimmage - huge for a Seattle back.
  • I want to bring up these Tweets, from Scott Barrett of PFF, who you should also definitely be following:
  • Penny is another guy that's penciled in the top-24 because his volume is basically a guarantee given his landing spot and his draft capital. A guy that possesses 3-down skills, Penny should immediately push to touch the rock 15-18 times/game. Carson is still there however and is very good when healthy, and it's proven to be extremely difficult to find RB success in Seattle since Lynch has left.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10)
97 : RB35
Where I would draft him
Late 3rd-4th Round

2. Derrius Guice - RB (LSU)

Drafted By Washington Redskins
Round Selected (Pick) 2 (59)
Height 5'11"
Weight 224lbs
Age 20
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.49 (80th)
Weight Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 91st
Burst Score Percentile Rank N/A
Agility Score Percentile Rank N/A
Bench Press Reps (Percentile Rank) 15 (13th)
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank N/A
College YPC 7.6
  • Can't believe he dropped this far in the draft. And I still don't really get why, but whatever, I love this landing spot. Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine are just guys. And probably below average just guys. Guice should win the starting job by, last Saturday when he was drafted.
  • Basically Zeke. Didn't get a ton of passing work in college, but showed capability. Definitely not just a stay in the flat type of guy. He ran some routes from the slot in the senior bowl and looked good, he looked good running routes at his pro day. But I don't want to go ahead and say just because he can, means he will. A big mistake we make, is assuming that everyone is capable AND will be the pass-catcher. That's something I'm working on. A lot of teams are pairing their early-down guys with real pass-catchers, so just because you think a guy is capable, doesn't mean the teams will use him that way.
  • Regardless, though, Guice has an opportunity to shine here, take almost all of the GL work and put up Fournette type receiving numbers. Of course, Chris Thompson is still here and is a phenomenal pass-catcher, but as he showed last year, and the Redskins said they didn't want to use him to frequently for this reason, he got hurt, and now they'll definitely minimize his overall volume.
  • The Skins line did not fair well last year, but should be way better in 2018. Their two best, and arguably elite lineman, Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff couldn't stay on the field. Per PFF, Washington had 11 lineman that played at least 140 snaps last year. It led them to the 7th worst yards before contact number for the their RBs.
  • Guice was an animal at LSU, averaging 7.6 yards per carry, despite seeing a stacked box on 73% of his carries, by far the highest % in this class.
  • If this line can stay healthy, Guice will create so many more yeards than Kelley and Perine were able to in 2017. And his 4.49 speed, 91st % weight-adjusted, will give him the ability to hit the homerun whenever there is.
  • Again, my only concern here is how big of a receiving workload he'll get, but I think 250-275 touches, is absolutely doable, and probably more than likely seeing as how Kelley and Perine combined for 263 despite playing in just 20 combined games.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10) 41 : RB20
Where I would draft him 3rd-4th Round

1. Saquon Barkley - RB (Penn State)

Drafted By Cleveland Browns
Round Selected (Pick) 1 (4)
Height 6'0"
Weight 233lbs
Age 21
40-Yard Dash (Percentile Rank) 4.40 (97th)
Weight Adjusted Speed Score Percentile Rank 99th
Burst Score Percentile Rank 97th
Agility Score Percentile Rank
N/A
Bench Press Reps (Percentile Rank) 29 (96th)
SPARQ Score Percentile Rank 99th
College YPC 5.5
  • Right up there among the Gurleys and Zekes of running back prospects. A running back that can do it all, and did for Penn State. Evan Silva comped him as a mix of LeSean McCoy and David Johnson. I mean.....
  • He's a true 3-down back, weighing in at a healthy 230lbs,. Not only did he rush for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns during his junior, and final season in college, but he caught a ridiculous 54 passes for an added 634 yards. Oh, and he also took two kickoffs back to the crib, averaging 28.4 yards per kick return... He might have added a passing touchdown too.. but that's neither here nor here.
  • He was the only player in the country to rush for over 1,000 yards and have over 500 receiving yards in 2017. He ran from the shotgun, he ran behind center, he lined up in the slot, a lot. And He did it all behind a bad offensive line.
  • A lot of people will knit-pick the few times he gets tackled behind the line of scrimmage when trying to make something happen, but those things will happen when you have to put the team on your back. Considering the homerun type upside that a guy like Barkley has everytime he touches the ball, I'm more than happy to let a few negative runs preface those Sportscenter Top-10 40-50 yard runs that include a marinade of gorgeous jukes, spin and hurdles. 
  • 300 touches is a guarantee if he's healthy.
  • I still have no idea why they brought in Jonathan Stewart, but neverthemore. They have J-Stew, Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins. Vereen and Darkwa are both gone via FA. The Giants total team carries last year, 394, among the lowest in the NFL, largely due to them trailing.
  • We have to take a look at the offensive line, of course, a really weak spot for this team. And although it took a ton of scrutiny, and was bad, they dealt with a lot of injuries, they had 9 different starters over the course of the year. The surprisingly ranked 15th in RBing and 10th in PBing per FO, but PFF had them graded out 26th overall, but they were middle of the pack in terms of yards before contact for running backs. They lost Justin Pugh in FA, but they were able to snag former Pats LT Nate Solder for a cool 4-year, $62M, so now at least Ereck Flowers doesn't have to play LT. You have to love their second-round pick WIll Hernandez, one of the draft's best offensive lineman, who will be a day one starter, with all-pro upside and is a boost for Barkley and this line When it comes to a bad line, yeah it sucks, but if the offense can be at least average and they should be given the talented weapons, and Barkley sees enough volume, I'm not worried about the line nearly as much as most people are.
  • I think it's important to take a look at the coaching changes, they bring in Pat Shurmur as the HC and Mike Shula as OC. Shurmur's bounced around the league a lot, but was the OC in Minnesota last year. Their MO was the ground game, 31.3 rushes/game, only Jacksonville ran the ball more than the Vikings. He was also the OC in Philly from 2013-2015, where they ranked #1 in rushing attempts, #9 and #11. You know what he wants to do. Shula, a former QB coach, has been the Panthers OC for the last 5 seasons. They haven't given him much to work with in terms of RB personnel, and with Cam as a running QB, but the Panthers under Shula have been one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL over the past half decade.
  • We look at scoring opportunities. You have to think the Giants back bounce on this side of the ball, at least a little bit, I mean 15.4 PPG last year is Cleveland Browns-esq, actually, the Browns were the only team to average less. Taking a look back at least year, their running backs (+ Eli), had 12 carries inside the 5, 24 inside the 10 and 50 RZ carries. Nothing to get crazy excited about, but Barkley should see 90% of these, and be successful with them considering his wiggle and body size.
  • What I'm hoping, is they use this kid correctly. They need to utilize him in the passing game on early downs, get him in space, not just on 3rd downs. Without Perkins on the roster, Barkley is the only natural pass-catcher here which is great.
  • If you're with me in that Saquon touches the rock 300 times next year, listen to this. Six running backs had 300+ touches in 2017: Bell, Gurley, Shady, Gordon, Hunt, Fournette. Those six finished as RB1, RB2, RB4, RB5, RB7, RB8.
  • And I'm going to go more in-depth in terms of where I'd draft these guys in a video once the draft concludes, I'm going to do my top-12 overall rookie fantasy players. I'm not gonna do this type of video for every round. Shit would be asinine. 
  • He's your easy 1.01 in dynasty this year, and I'll be seriously debating him between pick 5-7, David Johnson through Fournette and Kareem Hunt.
Current ADP (Avg of Draft & MFL10) 10 : RB7
Where I would draft him Mid-First Round 

________________________________________________

I think one of the most important things to remember is that the landing spot, and situation that these players find themselves in, outside of elite, elite prospects like Saquon Barkley, will ultimately dictate their fantasy success going forward. I.E. Alvin Kamara, who is outstanding in the passing game, but imagine he landed on a team like the New York Jets or the Seattle Seahawks, where the offenses aren't designed to feed the running back the ball through the air like the Saints are. Another important caveat is that combine numbers aren't everything. Last year I LOVED Dalvin Cook coming out of Florida State, I compared him to Devonta Freeman every chance I could. He busted like Johnny Sins at the combine. But we saw in just 4 games last year that, barring injuries, he'll be a stud in this league because he can play on all 3-downs at high-level and he has traits like vision and balance that can't be measured at the combine. Don't get lost in the sauce when it comes to numbers, box scores, height/weight, measurables and etc. Watch film on the rookie running backs if you need to, it'll take 10 minutes and it'll save you a boom or bust pick next summer.

Also want to show you this graph:



Nick Ercolano
Nick Ercolano

Author



Leave a comment


Also in Blog

Week 15 Pickem'
Week 15 Pickem'

by Noah Pires December 13, 2018

Last week was glorious. 10-6 is the best mark I've had in a while, so if there's a time for you to jump on the wagon, it's right now. I haven't felt this good in weeks, and as the year is coming to a close, I'm closing in on a .500 record, meaning if you've been tailing me, it would be like you didn't even bet at all. Without further ado, let's take a look at Week 15's picks and why I believe I'm going 16-0.

Continue Reading

Week 15 D/ST Streamers
Week 15 D/ST Streamers

by Noah Pires December 12, 2018

Hope You Didn't Sit The Bears Last Week. Or Plug In The Bills. In The Case You Are Still In The Running For "League Winner 2018", Here Are The D/STs To Stream In Week 15:

Continue Reading

Waiver Wire Pickups for Fantasy Football Playoffs - Week 15
Waiver Wire Pickups for Fantasy Football Playoffs - Week 15

by Nick Ercolano December 10, 2018

Week 14 is in the novels, so we're looking at snatching the gold mines off of the waiver wire. Let's get it. This list will only be composed of players owned in 55% or less of Yahoo leagues.

Continue Reading