Best Ball Rookies’ Stock Watch Post-NFL Draft
I posted a tweet on quick thoughts on Rookies’ stock up or stock down after the NFL Draft (and right before the BBM4 launch). I wanted to take time to elaborate on stances on these rookies and where I stand on them in May best ball drafts. It will be fun to watch the market adjust to rookies throughout the summer. We also taped a show on the Fanspeak Network this week breaking down the rookies’ landing spots and who we like more in this episode of Sibling Showdown Best Ball.
But let me warn you if you’re new to best ball, the rookie steam is real once the preseason starts. Last year Romeo Doubs, George Pickens, and Dameon Pierce‘s ADPs absolutely skyrocketed in August.
I know it’s a lot of hypothesizing about the rookies’ roles, but if you have a good read that a rookie will get a lot of usage their first season, then try to jump on them in drafts before the market catches on. Getting closing-line ADP value is a key on these rookies.
Another key is not over-reacting to news this summer one way or another. Remember when Bengals’ camp reports in 2021 were that Ja’Marr Chase couldn’t catch? The drafters that grabbed him as his stock fell were paid off in a big way that season. Conversely, remember last season after the Hall of Fame game when Josh Jacobs played and people were concerned about Jacobs’ role and thought Zamir White could be the guy for the Raiders. These all seem so silly now, but at the time when you are flooded with info, you need to react to the market and see where you can take advantage.
But let’s first take a post-NFL Draft early look in May at the rookies and which ones I will target and fade early.
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For better or worse, I’ve never been high on targeting rookies in best ball (outside of rookies/sophomore drafts of course). I think the public overestimates how soon they’ll start (possibly Richardson, Anthony?). They also overestimate how many spike weeks rookie QBs put up relative to QBs drafted in the same area.
Think of the rookie QBs the last few seasons, the only ones you wanted were Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow before he got hurt in 2020. And those were outlier examples. We will take a deeper dive analysis this offseason with a longer data sample to show the same results. Even Justin Fields, with a rushing floor, was not worth taking in 2021. The rushing floor of Anthony Richardson and the upside of what you believe they’ll become in the NFL are always tempting. But you have to look at their ADP and the opportunity cost of which QBs you are drafting the rookies over.
I may have some rookie QB shares but I’ll be under the field.
-Bijan Robinson (Falcons) – current ADP: 6.8
-Jaymhr Gibbs (Lions) – current ADP: 38.8
-Devon Achane (Dolphins) – current ADP: 115
The market has already adjusted to liking the landing spots for these RBs too. But all could go even higher with training camp buzz. So I have an interest in all 3 of these RBs now.
Wait and See:
-Roschon Johnson (Bears) – current ADP: 139
-Kendre Miller (Saints) – current ADP: 144
-Chase Brown (Bengals) – current ADP: 170
If one of these RBs falls to me or I’m drafting a more zero RB draft, I may have an interest. I think all 3 of these backs will have a role on their team and their ADPs are all reasonable right now. As you can see from the chart above, Kendre Miller’s ADP is the one that has gone up since the draft a lot. So I’m drafting them if they fall to me and fit my strategy. But I’m not prioritizing him or these backs yet. And I’m also willing to be more aggressive with these backs as the offseason evolves.
-Zach Charbonnet (Seahawks – great handcuff) – current ADP: 100.8
-Tajae Spears (Titans) – current ADP: 171
-Tank Bigsby (Jaguars) – current ADP: 175
-Other later-round RBs
I honestly think Charbonnet is being taken way too early with Kenneth Walker’s role on the Seahawks. Yes, he’s a great handcuff and he’ll get work this season. But that’s a steep price to pay. I’m not interested in Charbonnet at that price.
I do not have an interest in the other RB’s unless it’s a late round flier. The market currently seems to agree with me. We have to be careful with running backs like this. I drafted a couple of rookie RBs in the late rounds last year that were completely useless in Isiah Spiller and Hassan Haskins. Getting total zeros from players or unusable players hurts, even when they are late-round picks. Much more on unusable players this best ball season! So I’m going to try to be more careful with that this season.
Which rookie wide receiver is the best value at their current ADP?
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is currently being selected 20 spots ahead of any other wideout in this year's class 🤔 pic.twitter.com/bHeK8h0QQS
— Underdog Fantasy (@UnderdogFantasy) May 5, 2023
-JSN (Seahawks) – current ADP: 59
-Jordan Addison (Vikings) – current ADP: 78
-Quentin Johnston (Chargers) – current ADP: 91
-Jonathan Mingo (Panthers) – current ADP: 144
-Rashee Rice (Chiefs) – current ADP: 152
-Jayden Reed (Packers) – current ADP: 191
The chart above from Underdog really illustrates the ADP boom of the rookie wide receiver. While JSN’s stock has gone through the roof, I’m going to let the market settle and hope I can get shares at a better price. He’s currently being drafted around WR #1s and 2s like Terry McLaurin, Christian Kirk, Michael Pittman, Chris Godwin, and 10 picks above his own teammate, Tyler Lockett.
The rest of these rookies at their current ADP (even if it has risen since the Draft), I have a lot of interest in. I think now is the time to buy especially on Addison, Mingo, Rice, and Reed before their price goes up during training camp/preseason.
Wait and See:
-Jalin Hyatt (Giants) – current ADP: 135
Hyatt could be a top target for the Giants’ but it’s a crowded, unclear wide receiver room right now. He’s also very raw and I could see taking some time to settle in. For that reason, I’m taking a wait-and-see approach on him.
-Zay Flowers (Ravens) – current ADP: 98
-Josh Downs (Colts) – current ADP: 175
-Cedric Tillman (Browns) – current ADP: 210
-Other rookie receivers at this point of the offseason
In the case of Flowers, I think that price is too steep considering that he’ll compete with targets with Odell Beckham, Bateman, and of course, Mark Andrews. And on a team that’s a pass-happy offense. Though Lamar Jackson wants to throw for 6,000 yards this year, so there’s that. Honestly, I don’t love the receivers in this range in general, so currently this is a range I’m targeting a QB, RB, or TE.
The other receivers the price is low, but I don’t see their upside in year 1. So my interest is nothing more than a late-round flier on them.
-Dalton Kinkaid (Bills) – current ADP: 128
-Sam LaPorta (Lions) – current ADP: 182
-Michael Mayer (Raiders) – current ADP: 164
-Luke Musgrave (Packers) – current ADP: 213
-Luke Schoonmaker (Cowboys) – current ADP: 214
Really all the top projected rookie tight ends (outside of Darnell Washington behind Friermuth) landed in awesome spots for playing time and usage! I was high going into the Draft on this strong rookie tight end class and now that they have found their teams, I love the fits and I’m very interested in all 5 of these rookie tight ends.
As you can see from chart, Kinkaid’s price has skyrocketed since the draft going to the Bills. I think most know they are going to try to use him as a big slot receiver. So while the price is high, I actually want to get more shares of Kinkaid now before the price goes up further.
Unlike the wide receiver, running back, and quarterback positions, these tight ends are being taken around other TEs that don’t wow me. So I like getting value with these tight ends that all are in a position to have a great role in year 1!
- This early in the best ball season is a great time to grab rookies before their ADPs get steamed up during training camp and preseason. But grab the right ones and really think through their opportunity and usage for the first season.
- I’m staying away from the rookies’ whose prices are already too high and waiting to see if the market settles on them (JSN, Flowers)
- Be wary of the RBs that could be true handcuffs. If they end up as unusable players (never get you any points all season), that hurts. I’m trying to learn from my lesson last year.
- I’m mostly staying away from rookie QBs as I don’t believe they will match the ADP value and would rather draft other QBs in a similar range. Anthony Richardson steam is already out of control.
- I’m overdrafting the 5 top rookie tight ends, as I think they are all in great spots and you are not sacrificing opportunity costs for other tight ends in the same range.
- As we get into camps and then preseason, watch to not overreact to news. Its mind blowing how ADPs will rise and fall based on camp reports. Dig deep to make sure you’re reacting to the right news. This is an opportunity we’ll discuss in greater detail further into the summer as we can find ways to take advantage of reactions to camp news.
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Watch our Rookies’ show on the Fanspeak Network:
Sibling Showdown Best Ball Strategy