The NFL has become a year-long sport to invest time in and fantasy football has become a year-long affair as well.
You have your standard redraft leagues (picking a new team each season) that won’t pop up until Fall, but the real fantasy sports die-hards are playing in dynasty leagues that are live around NFL Draft time. For those unfamiliar with dynasty leagues, you draft a team and those players can be on your team in perpetuity unless you cut them, trade them, or they retire in real life.
It tests your ability to build a team that can sustain success over several seasons.
This includes being able to draft rookie talent that will help fill holes in your roster. I only recently started playing dynasty fantasy football with a start-up league and another where I took over management of a team that was in complete disarray — seriously, the previous ownership can only be described as fantasy malpractice.
Also of note, the start-up league is a Development Fantasy League, meaning we each drafted one college player last off-season to go on a “taxi-squad.” This means players like Saquon Barkley and Josh Rosen were already rostered for this draft, making the draft pool thin with only four rounds for 12 teams to draft. The other league was a full rookie draft comprised of six rounds for 10 teams to draft.
Following two rookie drafts, I took note of where some of the Packers’ rookies went. Their top three picks in the 2018 NFL Draft were defensive players, but there are three receivers in this Packers draft class who could eventually contribute to fantasy teams.
J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown are all big-bodied receivers who will compete to fill the outside receiver role opposite of Davante Adams. Based on these two drafts — both with a heavy number of Packer fans— there has been some hesitation for drafting these players.
Last season, the Packers added DeAngelo Yancey and Malachi Dupre in the draft and Michael Clark as a UDFA to compete for a wide receiver role. Yancey was relegated to practice squad duty, Dupre is with the Bills now, and Michael Clark is the only one of the three to get promoted to the active roster.
So, naturally, there’s some hesitation this season when the Packers load up on receiver.
The first Packer to be drafted in both drafts was J’Mon Moore out of Missouri. Being selected in the fourth round certainly helped his fantasy draft stock, and he was the Packers’ highest-drafted receiver since Ty Montgomery (third-round, 2015). As we learned last year, though, what round you’re drafted in doesn’t always guarantee you a roster spot for the Packers. Moore has high upside with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons before leaving Mizzou.
Moore was taken in the second round at pick nine in the four-round draft, and in the third round at pick six in the six-round draft. So, if you have yet to draft your dynasty rookies, expect Moore to go somewhere in the middle of the draft behind guys like Anthony Miller (Bears) and Michael Gallup (Cowboys).
Equanimeous St. Brown was difficult to track. In the Development Fantasy league, St. Brown was already on a taxi squad from last season. In the full rookie draft, he went seven spots behind Moore in round four at pick 3. Interestingly, though, three of the seven picks between Moore and St. Brown were also receivers, so they weren’t as close as you might think.
After a terrific sophomore season at Notre Dame, in which St. Brown caught nine touchdowns and had 961 yards, he slipped the following season to four touchdowns and 468 yards. Despite falling to the sixth round in the NFL Draft, there’s still plenty of upside. He’s close to 6’5” and has 4.48 speed. St. Brown was also new backup QB DeShone Kizer’s favorite target when they were both at Notre Dame for that excellent sophomore season. That connection could help St. Brown develop more quickly if both are getting second-team reps in practice.
Valdes-Scantling was picked in the last round of the four-round draft at pick eight and in the fifth round of the six-round draft. Both times, he was selected by yours truly.
Valdes-Scantling ran the second fastest 40 time at the combine posting a 4.37. Like his fellow rookie Packer receivers, Valdez-Scantling is well over 6-feet tall (6’4”), but unlike them he posses elite speed. What drew me to him in both drafts was the possibility of him developing into a big play deep threat to stretch the field.
For fantasy owners that select these receivers, you’re hoping that they turn out more like the running back draft class selected last year instead of the receiver class from ‘17. But in order to do that, they have to compete with Geronimo Allison, Trevor Davis and Michael Clark to get reps as the third, fourth or fifth wideout in the offense.
Do your homework before drafting because the opportunity for fantasy relevance is wide open for these rookies.