5 Rookies I Like More Than RotoViz

We posted our 2017 dynasty rookie rankings earlier this week; now it’s time for us to plant some flags as individual analysts. Here are five rookies I like more than our overall rookie rankings.

Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans

RotoViz Rank 31.4 — My Rank 15

I’m handily the highest on Jonnu Smith, so let me briefly explain why. Smith earned the highest likelihood of success in Phil Watkins TE Model. Not only is it tops among 2017 TEs, it’s higher than previous prospects like Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz, Eric Ebron, and Hunter Henry. Smith is currently blocked by Delanie Walker, but that’s okay. TEs typically take awhile to mature, and Smith’s value isn’t artificially inflated by the expectation of immediate contribution. Walker is 32 and can be cut after this season for a cap savings of $6.2 million.1 For that matter, Anthony Fasano is gone and Jace Amaro is in the final year of his deal. Smith could have an immediate, albeit limited role, and could be in line to take over for Walker. Paired with Marcus Mariota, he could make a very good fantasy TE. The final piece of the puzzle for me is that, after the top eight to ten prospects, there aren’t a lot of sure-fire, immediate contributors. Rather than take a lesser running back or wide receiver that may also need time to develop, I’ll take a shot here on a potential TE1.

Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants

RotoViz Rank 32.4 — My Rank 17

When I looked at rookie RB situations, Gallman came out with one of the better opportunities. Here’s what I said:

Shaun Draughn is a 30-year-old journeyman averaging 3.2 yards per carry, Shane Vereen isn’t a workhorse, and Gallman was drafted with an earlier pick than Paul Perkins. Perkins and Vereen have some contract protection, but Draughn does not. With only about 63 percent of last year’s carries accounted for, Gallman should secure a role even if he doesn’t beat Perkins outright.

I also happen to think Gallman can win out against Perkins and take over as the Giants lead RB. Blair Andrews reported that Gallman earned the highest RB Workhorse Score among 2017 RBs. His score of 87.1 handily beats Perkins’ numbers.

ArDarius Stewart, WR, New York Jets

RotoViz Rank 35 — My Rank 21

Technically, this should be Chad Hansen, but since RotoDoc already wrote him up, I’ll do a quick blurb on Stewart. Like RotoDoc’s love of Hansen, my attraction to Stewart is essentially opportunity based. Outside of Quincy Enunwa, there are no sure bets for playing time. Also like RotoDoc, I like Hansen as a prospect better than Stewart, but Stewart does have the advantage of higher draft capital. He’s also earned a few positive blurbs already. He’s an older prospect, but seems like a candidate for immediate playing time, which is useful if you either need help right away or are looking for a potential quick-flip scenario.

Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

RotoViz Rank 27.5 — My Rank 16

Kupp is the antithesis of a RotoViz darling. He’s old, his raw numbers are inflated, and he’s hitched to Jared Goff. Indeed, he’s already older than Mike Evans and actually earned a negative Phenom Index score. So what do I like? He still had a solid career market share of receiving yards (0.35) and TDs (0.4) and his comps include Austin Collie, Kendall Wright, and others. He’s a third-round draft pick. That’s not great, but it’s better than several of the WRs we’ve ranked ahead of him. And I think his situation is decent. The Rams literally have no WRs about whom you’d say “yeah, that guy is locked in.” Tavon Austin is nothing special. Robert Woods can be cut as soon as next year if he doesn’t pan out. Beyond that is a whole lot of lesser draft picks and question marks. A new coaching staff offsets the quarterback concerns a bit. I don’t think Kupp will be a superstar but I do think he has a better-than-expected chance to be a solid contributor.

Chad Williams, WR, Arizona Cardinals

RotoViz Rank 29.9 — My Rank 23

Williams wasn’t a great collegiate producer, which is definitely a red flag. He checks in with just 20 percent career market shares of receiving yards and TDs. He’s quite athletic though, and much like the other players I’ve highlighted in this article, could have an opportunity to contribute sooner rather than later. Larry Fitzgerald is near the end of the line, John Brown is in the final year of his contract, and nobody else presents much of a threat.

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  1. I’m not saying he will get cut, just that if his play declines, it’s a real possibility.  (back)
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