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Rookies to avoid in Fantasy Football: Top 5

Fantasy Football is here and it is getting close to the beginning of the season, drafts are in full swing, and I wanted to get ahead of the curve and dish out some advice. We all want to predict the next big thing, we have developed a brand in doing so here at Undrafted and our consistent ramblings on the podcast are no different. We have been talking about Fantasy Football for weeks now and without a doubt consider ourselves experts, but with the hype we seem to have let something slip by the wayside.

Since well before the draft, myself, Alex and Adam have been the hype train into the stations of the newest Rookie class to enter the league and we have been getting way too excited about potential. I have found myself in 5 Fantasy Football leagues this year and the temptation to draft Rookies is very real. That bright purple star next to their names on Sleeper draws my eye every time, however I have behaved myself enough not to bet my franchise on something that has nothing yet to show us.

So here I come with 5 Rookies to avoid in Fantasy Football. This list is specific to re-draft leagues and in no particular order, however I will comment on their value in a Dynasty, the reason for this is nearly ever Rookie who makes a roster could have value down the road, but I want to talk about results in 2021 Fantasy Football.

Devonta Smith – Philadelphia Eagles

With 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft the Eagles selected Smith to be their new premiere receiver and to be the core that their pass attack is built around. Now the Slim Reaper is obviously talented, he won the Heisman as proof of this, however he was not the first player at his position off the board for a reason. Smith looks fragile, and while he is absolutely tough, the NFL is a very different league and will not wait for him to get up to speed. If his physical tools are fine for the NFL, that may not matter due to the awful Quarterback situation that may be brewing in Philly.

Image Credit – CBS 42

I am the first to say that I am not convinced by Jalen Hurts. I may be more convinced than I was when they had Carson Wentz under centre, however that isn’t hard. I do not believe Smith will thrive in his first year with Hurts and with the recent trade for Gardner Minshew, I am even more concerned with the Eagles Quarterback plan. In a re-draft league he is a complete no-no from me.

Dynasty Outlook – If you run a Dynasty league for your Fantasy Football then Smith has a massive upside. His talent is undeniable, however it will take some time to get up to full speed. It may also take a change at Quarterback. Expect Smith to distance himself from the pack as the clear number 1 going into year 2, but for Re-Drafts this year he is a bust.

Travis Etienne – Jacksonville Jaguars

Okay granted, this one is low hanging fruit, but even before his season ending injury, I was out on picking the Clemson product. It was romantic when the Jaguars picked Lawrence and then Etienne in the draft, reuniting the pair for a reign of terror over the NFL right? Well, no probably not! Thing is although Jacksonville have a relatively weak division, they are still not close to becoming a contender. It is nearly impossible to be the worse team in a division that includes Houston, however from a fantasy stand point, Etienne was always going to struggle.

A talented, first round worthy player in his own right, he arrived in Jacksonville into probably the worst overall situation of all the Rookie Running Backs, well at least the ones with a chance to start. His Offensive Line is pretty much terrible, he has a Rookie Quarterback learning the ropes with him, and the likelihood is that Jacksonville will more often than not chase games. If that is the case, at least for him as a Rushing threat, this season would have been a long and unproductive one.

Dynasty Outlook – Like most of the top Rookie’s he is going early in Dynasty leagues, however for me he is not a Fantasy Football RB1 even when fully healthy. If you want him you have to take him relatively early and then hope you can grab his handcuff in James Robinson too. I haven’t picked him in any of my five leagues, all of which drafted before his injury, however in two years time when his owners drop him, I may take a flyer on the comeback.

Brevin Jordan – Houston Texans

Everything is bigger in Texas right? Including it would seem, with the way the Texans are approaching this rebuild, that even the dumpster fires there have to be the absolute biggest they can be. Even so, the Texans will score points and they will need people to chase the Fantasy Football points. The Running Backs are rejects from former teams, however none will be much of a factor on the ground as the game will be gone before it begins. That is why we look to the Receivers for the precious points we all crave.

Enter Brevin Jordan, the Miami product has fallen into an excellent situation, hoping to become the target for the check downs and the short gains. A true stat padder roll, and especially valuable in PPR leagues, so why then in round 27/27 in our current draft is he still on the board. Well reports from camp have him giving up on multiple plays, and this red flag could not be bigger. If his attitude changes and he starts to pick up steam, he will be available on the waiver wire.

Dynasty Outlook – Well right now there isn’t one. Once Watson’s legal issues are resolved, he will be on the first transport out of Houston so their Quarterback situation is diabolical. Tyrod Taylor is okay as a stand in and Davis Mills has some potential, but on the island of misfit toys no one will do well. If Jordan is already showing a lack of effort, he will be without a team before he can be of any use to your in Fantasy Football.

Rashod Bateman – Baltimore Ravens

Well, we all saw this one coming, what do all Ravens receivers have in common under the Lamar Jackson reign in Baltimore? Absolutely no value whatsoever in Fantasy Football. Okay, so that is a little harsh, but no one picks any of their players to start, case and point arguably their best receiver Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown was taken in our latest draft in the 16th round. He was the 4th Wideout drafted on that team and the 59th drafted overall in our 12 team PPR league.

Image Credit – Ebony Bird

This complete lack of value is stark, because the Ravens are a contender, but they just do not focus on the Wide Receivers, therefore it is completely worthless in a Re-Draft league to bother with Bateman because he will be a none factor due to the Ravens extremely run heavy offense. This is not his fault, however he is the victim of his situation.

Dynasty Outlook – For me this does not change anytime soon. The Ravens play a very specific game plan and it is unlikely to change because it works. He may have the odd splash game but there are many Receivers, significantly less talented who will be a better option for your Fantasy Football Rookies.

IDP Corner

Every Single Rookie Cornerback

If like me you absolutely love an Individual Defense Player (IDP) league you will already have your structure for picking those players laid out but if you are new or do not have a system, let me break it down for you. For your Defensive Line you want Sack heavy players or players from teams with a great run Defense. For Linebackers, grab as many Middle Linebackers as you can, they are tackle machines and over a season are worth so much more than your outside Linebackers picking up sacks. For Defensive Backs avoid Corners and draft heavy tackling Safeties, for similar reasons to the Linebackers. I cannot stress enough though, avoid Cornerbacks.

That rings especially true for Rookie Corners, who while they will be targeted more often, they will also likely require safety help to bring the Receiver down. Take for example Justin Simmons and Patrick Surtain. Both are excellent players and make Denver a harder team to face, however I expect a career year for Simmons cleaning up the mess that Surtain may cause. That is not to say that Patrick Surtain will not have a great year, it is to say that he will be a worthless Fantasy Football player.

Dynasty Outlook – Were you not listening to me earlier… DO NOT PICK CORNERBACKS IN FANTASY FOOTBALL. Thank you for coming to my T.E.D talk.

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