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Dynasty League Rookie Round Up - Week 1

Each week, I'll take a quick look at the top rookies in dynasty fantasy football leagues. I'll review their recent performance (PPR scoring) and offer some thoughts about their upcoming games as well as their long term dynasty value.

As the season progresses, the format might change a bit, but for Week 1, I'll review all the high profile prospects, as well as some surprises. I've sorted them by their Week 1 fantasy points.

Let's get to it.

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Week 1 Rookie Standouts


DeShone Kizer, Cleveland Browns - 20.8 points - What more do you want? He won the starting job in camp. The Browns liked him enough to cut Brock Osweiler. He started the first game of the season and put up a very competitive fantasy stat line. Will he be a superstar? Who knows. He could bust, like Blake Bortles. Even sure things like Andrew Luck don't always turn out as expected. For now, Kizer is a solid streaming option and is worth holding in dynasty leagues where you have bench room to accommodate a developmental quarterback.

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans - 6.7 points - You want a lot more than this. He's got draft pedigree, but let's face it, the Texans haven't exactly handled the quarterback position well in recent years. Maybe it's all the Texans' fault for starting Savage in the first place. Then again, the Texans will be managing Watson for the next five years. Part of one game is obviously not enough to go by, so I won't condemn Watson's career yet. But there's not much need to roster him in standard formats unless rosters are very deep or you're very desperate.


Running Backs

Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs - 45.6 points - Hunt may never again score 45 fantasy points in a game; he is virtually guaranteed to regress in a negative way. When he does, see if you can acquire Hunt for anything approaching a reasonable price. Opportunity is the name of the game at the running back position, and Hunt has it in spades. Spencer Ware is out of the way, and Charcandrick West is just a backup. Even better (for Hunt), the Chiefs have a terrible cap situation next year, which makes it less likely that any significant competition is brought in. They may even release one of Ware or West, for some cap relief. Hunt is looking at a couple of seasons at least of great opportunity, and is worth at least an early first round rookie pick.

Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears - 25.3 points - Cohen may never again score 25 fantasy points in a game; so what? He should definitely be rostered in all dynasty formats. You may decide to wait until the hype (and his price) dies down a bit, but definitely keep him on the radar. Cohen's size is a concern, but just because it's rare for small players to succeed long term doesn't mean it can't happen. Near-term, Cohen's opportunity is very good. Jordan Howard will remain the workhorse, but Cohen should continue to get some rushing work and a lot of passing work, since the Bears figure to be trailing a lot. For reference, here are all the rookie running backs since 2000 to record more than 50 rushing yards and 10 targets in a game:

One game does not predict the future. But you couldn't ask for a much better signal than Cohen's Week 1 performance. He's worth a large waiver bid or at least a high second-round rookie pick, in my opinion. Blowing your entire FAAB budget for the year on him might be a bit extreme though.

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars - 21.4 points - Not much needs to be said here. T.J. Yeldon was inactive, which bodes very well for Fournette's involvement in the passing game. Consider it an early boost to his already considerable upside. Easily worth more than a first round rookie pick.

Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings - 16.7 points - Another no-brainer. Latavius Murray earned just two carries, and Jerick McKinnon three. Breaking Adrian Peterson's Vikings' rookie rushing record speaks for itself. Also worth more than a first round rookie pick.

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts - 11.5 points - A promising beginning, but don't get carried away. We've been trying to bury Frank Gore for years and it hasn't happened yet. Mack scored, but was also stymied on all but one run. Blowout losses offer poor representations of how a team wants to utilize its players. Still, the arrow is definitely pointing up; he's worth an early second round rookie pick, maybe more.

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers - 11.5 points - McCaffrey was involved early and often in his debut, and his outlook remains fantastic. It was always a given that Jonathan Stewart would be heavily involved, but McCaffrey offers much more as a receiver, and will still get ground work too. Stewart is unlikely to be back next year, and McCaffrey is worth a first round pick plus something.

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals - 5.4 points - It's hard to lose dynasty value after one game, but Mixon comes close. The workload was split between all three backs, with Giovani Bernard showing the best, and Mixon the poorest. His long term outlook is still great, but his immediate outlook is poor. He's still worth an early first round rookie pick, but if he has another bad game or two, see if you can acquire him for something less.


Wide Receivers

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions - 22.9 points - Touchdowns are notoriously fickle, so don't read too much into his two Week 1 scores. Market share of receiving opportunity, on the other hand, is a good indicator. Golladay rendered Marvin Jones irrelevant in Week 1. Like most rookies, expect Golladay to have ups and downs. But pay attention to his usage, and if he remains consistently involved, especially ahead of Jones, over the next few weeks, his value will solidify. As it is, he's worth a first round rookie pick.

Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams - 17.6 points - Kupp also had a very nice debut and his value is climbing. Unlike Golladay, however, Kupp has a potential superstar (Sammy Watkins) to compete with. He's also got a poorer QB and is on a team that probably wants to feature Todd Gurley. Kupp's worth an early second rounder.

Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans - 12.9 points - His college production and draft pedigree lock in his value, and his surprisingly good debut only helps. After missing most of camp, expectations for Week 1 were low. Davis performed very well however, and remains, in my opinion, the most valuable rookie in dynasty formats.

Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills - 3.1 points - Not a great debut, but the overall situation remains positive. Jones has a very good prospect profile, and not much competition for targets. If Buffalo upgrades their quarterback this offseason, Jones' situation could be even better. An early second-round value.


Tight Ends

Evan Engram, New York Giants - 8.4 points - The absence of Odell Beckham obviously helps, but Engram's involvement in Week 1 is a great indicator for his future usage. Of all the rookie tight ends, Engram has the most value for this season. He'll probably finish outside the top 12, but should be streamable if you need a spot start. The tight end position is usually undervalued in dynasty leagues, for two reasons. First, you typically only need to start one. Second, it usually takes a season or two for tight ends to develop. Engram's a solid hold if you have him, and if you can get him for anything less than a mid-first round pick I'd do it. But only if you have roster space to hold him.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers - 7.7 points - He's not a great prospect, but should get used in San Francisco's talent-short passing game. I'd stay away. Between the rookie TE learning curve, the poor offense, and the high likelihood that more skill players are brought in next year, I don't think Kittle's value will hold up. If you own him and aren't desperate at the position, consider selling him for anything more than what you initially paid.

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams - 4.9 points - Everett's a better prospect than Kittle, but also has more competition for targets around him. Only worth holding in the deepest of leagues or if you're truly in dire straits. I'd happily sell for anything more than I paid.

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns - 4 points - Arguably the best prospect at the position, his short term outlook isn't as good as Engram's. Partly that's because Engram has the better QB (Week 1 notwithstanding), but also because Cleveland has an underrated sophomore tight end by the name of Seth DeValve. Njoku will eventually be the No. 1, but it might take awhile. Hold steady if you're an owner; if not, try to acquire after a few dull weeks.


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