Fantasy Impact: Rookie Post Draft Evaluations in top 10 Order
Updated: May 5
1. Najee Harris - Steelers(24th overall) Young running backs come at a premium, especially in dynasty or keeper leagues. Harris separates himself from all other backs in this draft by being the only back inheriting a spot as the premiere back from day one. Furthermore, his production throughout college was nearly unparalleled. He ranked second in the FBS with 251 carries, third with 1,466 yards, and he first among all backs with 26 rushing touchdowns. He also scored four times as a receiver (43-425-9.9) ultimately leading the nation in total TDs. Not to mention the plethora of RBs that Alabama has produced under Nick Sabin(Derrick Henry, Shawn Alexander, Mark Ingram, Kenyan Drake, josh jacobs).
2. Kyle Pitts - Falcons(4th overall)
I have never seen a tight end so highly prospected out of college and I can’t say it’s overhype. After all there is a reason Pitts is just the 2nd tight end to ever receive a 99 overall draft score by NextGenStats(the first was Vernon Davis). The hype around him means you are going to be forced to draft him higher then you want and accept more risk then you are comfortable with. That being said, if you think he has even the slightest chance of becoming the next Travis Kelce or Rob Gronkowski then you can't afford to pass him up in dynasty leagues. Redraft leagues are a different story. Tight ends are historically unproductive in fantasy during their rookies seasons. Even Rob Gronkowski who is statistically the greatest fantasy tight end of all time, had just over 500 receiving yards in his rookie campaign.
3. Ja’mmar Chase - Bengals(5th overall)
There isn't much to say regarding Chase, so here is all you need to know. First, Ja'mmar Chase is a stud receiver and he'll be catching passes with a stud quarterback. Secondly, there is a lot of volume to be had at the receiver position in the Bengals offense. Third and most importantly, Chase and Burrow have past chemistry meaning they will likely capitalize that possible volume. In 2019 with Burrow under center, Chase led the FBS with 1,780 receiving yards(setting the SEC record) and 20 receiving touchdowns on 84 receptions.
4. Trevor Lawrence - Jaguars(1st overall)
Trevor Lawrence is the most valuable player in this years draft class, and he is inheriting a good situation on a team that will do anything to see him succeed. That being said, fantasy quarterbacks come a dime a dozen. The hype surrounding Lawrence means he'll be drafted far too early in most leagues and I'd rather have a rare talent at RB/WR/TE as they are far more difficult to come by. All that being said I would like reiterate that Lawrence is a rare talent and I cannot wait to watch him light up the NFL in Jacksonville.
5. Davante Smith - Eagles(10th overall)
If Davante Smith is as good as his stats indicate, he is going to make absolute work out of the volume he is going to see in 2021. Smith led the FBS with 23 receiving touchdowns, which put him fifth nationally in all-time receiving TDs(46 in four years). He also led the country in receptions (117) and receiving yards (1,856). More importantly he finished the year strong, earning MVP in the College Football Playoff semifinals after garnering seven receptions, 130 yards, three TDs. Then he more than excelled in the first half of the national title game racking up 12 receptions, 215 yards, three TDs before being sidelined with a dislocated finger.
6. Justin Fields - Bears(11th overall)
7. Travis Etienne - Jaguars(25th overall)
As we mentioned earlier, young running backs come at a premium in fantasy and capable backs in the right situation produce from day one. Just take a look at the top rookie running backs from last year for example; Jonathan Taylor(6th) James Robinson(7th) Antonio Gibson(14th) De’andre Swift(16th) CEH(22) JK Dobbins (27th) and Cam Aker(45th). Etienne is more then capable on the ground and in the air, but he is hardly in the right situation. James Robinson emerged as an RB1 last season and will halt Etienne's fantasy value for now. In the long run he is talented and well rounded enough to find his role as a fantasy stud somewhere. It's just a matter of time.
8. Jalen Waddle
9. Trey Lance
10. Rashad Batemen - Ravens(27th overall)
Rahsad is not my favorite receiver in this draft, but he is a first round talent that landed on a team that has plenty need to utilize him. Playing across from Marquez Brown as the number WR2 should keep most of opposing defenses off his back and allow him to shine as Lamar Jackson’s newest weapon. That being said the ravens have a all in Approach to the running game and with Marquez Brown and Mark Andrews, it is clear Batemen’s value does have a ceiling.