Fantasy Sports

Stock Down: Declining Value of 3 Dynasty Rookies

There’s an undeniable – and unavoidable – link between the NFL Draft and dynasty fantasy football. In contrast to standard redraft leagues, dynasty leagues and owners salivate about the draft every year. The nuance of knowing the right fits for certain players selected by certain teams can make an average owner a great one.

Certainly what round a player is taken in matters, but even more important is the landing spot. 

When all was said and done over the three day, seven round NFL draft held in Cleveland, the consensus among the dynasty community could be summed up in one word – anticlimactic.

This more than most years had a ton of fringe players who, with the right opportunity, could have been a savior on your dynasty roster. But there was very little talk of any individual who rocketed up rankings. In fact it was just the opposite. 

So, who are three players that have fallen hard in my rankings? Check it out.

*Side Note: Fully updated Top 30 Dynasty Rankings will be out this month*

Kenneth Gainwell – RB – Philadelphia Eagles

It’s been well documented that the running back class had three players – Najee Harris, Travis Etienne and Javonte Williams – who were in a tier of their own. Gainwell seemingly had the best chance at joining that trio based on his skill set.

That went up in smoke after Gainwell fell in the draft (5th round; 150th overall). It’s not just when he was selected, but where. The Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t pass up the value of getting Gainwell. Much to dynasty owners’ chagrin, Gainwell will be competing in a deep Philly backfield for touches.

The obvious hurdle is Miles Sanders, who has shown flashes of what made him a second round pick in 2019. Sanders was hampered by injuries in 2020 and played in 12 games. He never really got a full workload, either, averaging just 13.5 carries a contest. What really helped make Sanders a dynasty asset is the same thing that makes Gainwell intriguing – receiving ability. This took a backseat last season for Sanders, as he grabbed just 28 catches for 197 yards. 

So will Gainwell play on third downs and take over the receiving back role? Hard to say. And really, nobody knows.

Why Else?

  • It is Jalen Hurts’ first full season as the starting quarterback. As someone who is a threat with his legs, will he take away carries for others in the backfield? Also, how much will he rely on dumping it off to his running backs? 
  • The Eagles have a first year head coach in Nick Sirianni. Most recently he was the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis where they deployed a number of backs during his tenure (Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor, Jordan Wilkins, Nyhiem Hines to name a few). Will he use all of his backs like in Indy? Or will he have a lead dog?
  • I would be remiss to mention the likes of Boston Scott. He provided some quality starts as Sanders’ backup this past season and was also utilized plenty while Sanders was healthy.
  • Add onto that, the Eagles went out and signed Kerryon Johnson just days after he was waived by Detroit.
Philadelphia Eagles running backs Boston Scott (49) and Miles Sanders (26) warm up before an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla.

All of these factors lead to Kenneth Gainwell falling in my (and many) dynasty owners’ rankings. Even if you think about it in the long(ish) term, it’s likely Gainwell wouldn’t get the bulk of the workload until his third season in the league, since Sanders still has two years left on his rookie deal.

It looks like it simply comes down to banking on him being more talented than Sanders. If he is, dynasty owners will get a steal in their rookie drafts. If he isn’t, well, the expectations are low.

Chuba Hubbard – RB – Carolina Panthers

How the mighty have fallen. 

Hubbard had an absolutely insane year at Oklahoma State in 2019, showing his speed, agility and durability. He had a chance to enter the NFL draft, but chose to go back to school. From there, an injury plagued, underwhelming 2020 wrecked his stock.

Hubbard actually went a full round earlier than Gainwell at 126 overall. But as soon as the ticker came across the screen of who selected him, the message was already written in stone. The Carolina Panthers have arguably the best running back in the NFL, so Hubbard is diminished to a handcuff player at best.

There are a few more reasons why Hubbard has fallen into the deep, dark abyss of irrelevance.

Why Else?

  • Sure, Carolina lost their main backup in Mike Davis in free agency. Davis provided a boost to the offense when Christian McCaffrey was hurt for the majority of last season. However, they do have Reggie Bonnafon, who they’ve rostered since 2018. They also signed veteran Trenton Cannon in the offseason.
  • This was the first season McCaffery had any injury issues. According to Dynasty League Football Snap Count, out of 32 total games in 2018 and 2019, CMC played at least 85% of snaps in 29 of them. Suffice to say even if Hubbard is the official backup, he won’t get many snaps.
  • Lastly, if you haven’t noticed, Carolina got a new quarterback in Sam Darnold. They also got new weapons like David Moore and Terrace Marshall Jr. to go along with Robbie Anderson and DJ Moore. So to say Carolina is going to be throwing the pill more would be a wise prediction.

Honestly, even if CMC gets hurt again, there’s no guarantee Hubbard gets a lot of run this year. He was a potential second round flyer in rookie drafts pre-NFL draft. He will still get selected, sure, but it’ll be in the later rounds and he’ll probably be cut from your roster by mid year if CMC is healthy.

Seth Williams – WR – Denver Broncos

Once considered a wide receiver sleeper candidate, Williams found himself drafted by Denver in the sixth round (219 overall). 

Even though Williams set some records at Auburn, the offense was erratic and didn’t do his skills justice. Dynasty owners who did their homework were hoping to steal him in the mid to late rounds of rookie drafts. Williams is/was the type of player that makes dynasty fun – someone who flies under the radar of lazy owners.

But any thoughts of snagging him evaporated after an already stacked Denver offense selected him. I had him in my Top 30, but not anymore.  There are plenty of more reasons why you can avoid Williams.

Why Else?

  • Literally the first thing the GM of Denver, George Paton, said: he was targeted for his special teams play. Oof.
  • As of now, Drew Lock is his quarterback. Lock has a hard enough time getting Jerry Jeudy the ball, let alone a sixth round pick destined for special teams.
  • Speaking of Jeudy, the Broncos quietly have one of the best and deepest wide out corps’ in the league. It starts with Jeudy and Courtland Sutton – who is now healthy. KJ Hamler was drafted last season and showed promise. Also, the always underappreciated Tim Patrick is solid. 
  • Don’t forget they utilize their tight ends, including Noah Fant. Backs like Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams will be catching balls out of the backfield too.

All of this is a clear recipe for utter doom in Seth Williams’ rookie season. What needs to happen is for Sutton and Patrick’s contract to run out, for Denver to get a new quarterback, and for Williams to splash enough on special teams to get a chance at the “X” spot.

But that’s a huge ask.

With such a deep wide receiver class, there’s no need to draft him at this point.

What’s Next?

Look for my updated Top 30 Dynasty Rankings by the end of the month. Your drafts have either taken place or will be taking place pretty soon, so it could help prepare you!

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