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Dynasty League Rookie Round Up - Week 7


Last week we took a look at how the rookie wide receivers are faring and compared them to some historical players. This week, we'll do the same with the rookie running backs.

I'll find other rookies from past seasons that have produced at a similar per-game pace, and see what stands out. Keep in mind that we're only six games into the season, so these comps could change. Still, six games are more than a third of the fantasy season, and I think it can serve as a good milestone. We'll check back in later in the season to see which players have improved or fallen off the pace.

Most of the stats in the following tables are self-explanatory; I've included expected points as a way to give some context. It gives you a sense of how valuable the player's workload is and, by comparing it to PPR points per game, you can get a sense of whether or not the player is over or underperforming their expectations. I've excluded things like touchdowns and efficiency metrics like yards per carry, because they're notoriously fickle from year to year. I personally put a lot of stock into the expected points numbers, because it tells you how valuable their team thinks they are.

 

Rookie Usage Rates

Leonard Fournette (RB, JAC)

PLAYER YEAR RU EP REC EP RU YDS REC
Leonard Fournette 2017 13.2 4.5 99.3 2.5
Doug Martin 2012 12 5.9 90.9 3.1
Ezekiel Elliott 2016 11.9 4 108.8 2.1
Zac Stacy 2013 11.4 3.8 74.8 2
Eddie Lacy 2013 11 4.3 78.5 2.3
Jordan Howard 2016 9.3 4.8 87.6 1.9

Obviously, there's a lot to like here. Zac Stacy's career started out hot until Todd Gurley came to town. Lacy and Martin have had multiple top-12 fantasy seasons (PPR). Howard and Elliott both look like long-term studs, as does Fournette.

 

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)

PLAYER YEAR RU EP REC EP RU YDS REC REC YDS
Dalvin Cook 2017 10.8 5.9 88.5 2.8 22.5
Doug Martin 2012 12 5.9 90.9 3.1 29.5
Eddie Lacy 2013 11 4.3 78.5 2.3 17.1
Trent Richardson 2012 10.7 6.6 63.3 3.4 24.5
Jordan Howard 2016 9.3 4.8 87.6 1.9 19.9
T.J. Yeldon 2015 8.6 5.9 61.7 3 23.2

Cook's rookie campaign started very well but was derailed by injury. Even so, his per-game comparables are solid, and similar to Fournette's. Trent Richardson was a bust, but he held dynasty trade value into his second and even third season. T.J. Yeldon represents a step down in quality from Fournette's comparables, but Yeldon isn't really a "bad" comparable player. He averaged nearly 10 PPR points per game in his second season, and in his first two years, produced double-digit points more often than not. It took the arrival of Fournette to relegate Yeldon to the bench.

I think that Cook and Fournette are of similar quality and have a similar long-term range of outcomes. A bold move for a Fournette owner would be to sell him for Cook plus something else. If you don't own either, you could look to acquire Cook at a discount to what it would cost to acquire Fournette.

 

Kareem Hunt (RB, KC)

PLAYER YEAR RU EP REC EP RU YDS REC REC YDS
Kareem Hunt 2017 9.4 5.3 105 3.5 42.5
Le'Veon Bell 2013 12.2 7.3 66.2 3.5 31.2
Doug Martin 2012 12 5.9 90.9 3.1 29.5
Trent Richardson 2012 10.7 6.6 63.3 3.4 24.5
T.J. Yeldon 2015 8.6 5.9 61.7 3 23.2
Giovani Bernard 2013 6.2 6.1 43.4 3.5 32.1

You don't need me to tell you that Kareem Hunt is a great dynasty asset.  Note the presence of more pass-catching backs like Giovani Bernard and Le'Veon Bell in his comps. That bodes well for his long-term outlook in PPR formats. The first comp -- Le'Veon Bell -- is probably the best, and most promising, comp in this survey.

 

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)

PLAYER YEAR RU EP REC EP RU YDS REC REC YDS
Christian McCaffrey 2017 3.1 13 17.3 6.2 48.8
Giovani Bernard 2013 6.2 6.1 43.4 3.5 32.1
Charles Sims 2014 4.1 4.7 23.1 2.4 23.8
C.J. Prosise 2016 3.4 4.4 28.7 2.8 34.7
Duke Johnson 2015 3.3 6.9 23.7 3.9 33.4
Christian McCaffrey 2017 3.1 13 17.3 6.2 48.8
Zurlon Tipton 2014 2.4 7.3 9 3 34

Zurlon Tipton is a red flag, and none of the others have top-end ceilings. On the other hand, Bernard, Sims, and Johnson have had reliable, consistent PPR value. There's a good chance that McCaffrey was overdrafted in rookie drafts, but he could certainly settle in as a long-term RB2 or RB3.

 

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

PLAYER YEAR RU EP REC EP RU YDS REC REC YDS
Alvin Kamara 2017 2.8 9 31.6 4.8 31.8
Giovani Bernard 2013 6.2 6.1 43.4 3.5 32.1
Javorius Allen 2015 5 5.5 32.2 2.8 21.4
C.J. Prosise 2016 3.4 4.4 28.7 2.8 34.7
Duke Johnson 2015 3.3 6.9 23.7 3.9 33.4
Zurlon Tipton 2014 2.4 7.3 9 3 34

Notice the overlap between Kamara and McCaffrey's comparable players. Both have the same range of outcomes, from Tipton to Bernard. Like Fournette and Cook, I think Kamara and McCaffrey have a very similar range of outcomes. If you can find a price discrepancy between them, it's worth trying to take advantage of.

 

Tarik Cohen (RB, CHI)

PLAYER YEAR RU EP REC EP RU YDS REC REC YDS
Tarik Cohen 2017 4.1 8.1 37.7 4.3 26.8
Giovani Bernard 2013 6.2 6.1 43.4 3.5 32.1
David Johnson 2015 5.1 5.1 36.3 2.2 28.6
Javorius Allen 2015 5 5.5 32.2 2.8 21.4
Andre Ellington 2013 4.3 5.2 43.5 2.6 24.7
Duke Johnson 2015 3.3 6.9 23.7 3.9 33.4

How about that! Cohen's production has tailed off recently, but he's still keeping good company. The David Johnson comp is very impressive, and all of the others have been valuable dynasty assets. You could look at the overlap between Cohen, Kamara, and McCaffrey, and decide that the real value opportunity lies in Cohen.

 

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

PLAYER YEAR RU EP REC EP RU YDS REC REC YDS
Joe Mixon 2017 7.3 2.9 37.4 2.2 15.6
Joseph Randle 2013 6.6 2.7 32.8 1.6 12.2
Melvin Gordon 2015 6.5 3.6 45.8 2.4 13.7
Matt Jones 2015 6.4 2.7 37.8 1.5 23.4
Jeremy Langford 2015 5.8 4.1 35.8 1.5 18.6
Ameer Abdullah 2015 4.4 3.3 37.4 1.6 11.4

Talk about a mixed bag. The best-case scenario here is Melvin Gordon, who struggled as a rookie before breaking out in his second and third seasons. Mixon owners have to hope for the same, but the rest of the comparables here are dicey at best. Abdullah has shown signs but not consistency. Langford, Jones, and Randle had moments but not sustained success. As we've seen with other high profile running backs, like Trent Richardson for example, Mixon should hold his dynasty trade value for quite a while. So don't panic yet if you're an owner. On the other hand, I would strongly consider swapping Mixon for Cook or some other "full value" package.

 

Takeaways

If my dynasty team isn't competing this year, I like buying into injuries. Dalvin Cook's ACL tear is unfortunate, but unlikely to be a long-term problem. I also like to find players with similar potential outcomes, like Cohen, Kamara, and McCaffrey, and move from the more expensive to the less expensive player and pick up something extra. It's not exactly breaking news, but Kareem Hunt should be considered the most valuable rookie running back. He's got the workload on both the ground and through the air and has done well with it. It's too early to panic, but I would consider swapping out of Joe Mixon if I can get something equal to what I spent to get him.

 

More 2017 Dynasty League Strategy




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