Josh Stock | Nov 11, 2018 | 0
Late Round Rookie Watch-List
With the start of pre-season underway, it gives Fantasy owners like you and me another opportunity to watch and evaluate the rookie class, that podcasters such as myself, preach about all offseason. Thus far through the first pre-season slate, I am happy with a handful of late round to waiver wire rookies that I have kept my eyes on and added to my squads. It seems like rookie evaluations never end, and in the following article are some rookies that I am adding to my watchlist, picking up, or even attempting to trade for throughout the early part of the season.
MARQUEZ VALDEZ-SCANTLING WR GB / EQUANIMOUS ST. BROWN WR GB
Try saying these two names 5 times fast! These two wide receivers are going to give announcers nightmares every Wednesday or Saturday nights, because of how many syllables are in their names. But as J’Mon Moore was struggling with drops in his first preseason action, these two flashed playing with the backup quarterbacks of Green Bay. Although they still have to beat out the likes of Geronimo Allison, I think both of these guys have the potential to push for that role at some point in 2018.
Marquez Valdez-Scantling (MVS) was a guy I liked all the way through the rookie offseason process, watching his college tape MVS really showed off his speed and athletic ability, but many still doubted him because of the quality of competition he faced at South Florida. After MVS measured in at the combine at 6’4 and ran a 4.37 40 yard dash, I was convinced that he could perform in the NFL, and a guy to keep a close eye on going through the preseason. After his performance on Thursday, where he consistently got past the Titans secondary, gaining 101 yards on 5 catches and scoring a touchdown, I am actively figuring out his price in every league.
Equanimeous St. Brown (ESB) is a different story, this guy attended a top-flight school, and was supposed to be one of the best wide receivers in this years draft class, but fell to the sixth round of the NFL Draft. Many want to believe that it was because he wouldn’t play special teams and refused stretch, but since he was taking kick off reps during pre-game on Thursday, it has to be because no one wanted to say his name. During his first preseason action, ESB also had an impressive performance, with his old college teammate throwing him the ball in Deshone Kizer, showing that has the potential to be a complete wide receiver in the NFL. ESB got behind the defense and went across the middle consistently as he ended the game with 4 receptions for 66 yards.
Both prospects are interesting, they are both fast, tall, athletic, and both could be deadly with a guy like Aaron Rodgers throwing them the ball. In a situation like this, if I am looking to acquire one of these prospects, I want to go after the cheapest one. With MVS being on some waiver wires in the fantasy realm, he will be the guy I am targeting as an end of the bench stash.
DAURICE FOUNTAIN WR IND
When the Colts drafted Deon Cain and Daurice Fountain they both turned into guys that I wanted going to keep an eye on, and like a lot of other people at first, I was leaning more towards Deon Cain as my WR to target with the thought the Cain was a more complete wide receiver than Fountain was. Once reports started to swirl that Lucks was going to be ready to go this season, my interest in these two prospects spiked. With Cain being drafted majority of the time, and Fountain potentially sitting in waivers, I quickly added Fountain to my roster everywhere I could.
At the time of the add, the only worry for me was if Fountain was going to get his chance in 2018, with the unfortunate injury to fellow rookie Deon Cain, this worry was no more. Now Fountain only has to beat out the likes of Chester Rogers, something I think he could easily do with his field-stretching ability that will play perfectly into Andrew Luck’s arm.
Fountain has the ability to add a much-needed spark to the Colts offense, and it’s now only a matter of time before he makes his impact in 2018. Fountain has been going in later rounds of rookies drafts, and sometimes even undrafted. If Fountain is available on waivers in your league he’s worth an add, or at the very least someone adds to your watchlist for the second half of the preseason.
JORDAN AKINS TE HOU
When I started scouting the 2018 rookie tight ends, Jordan Akins really jumped off the tape for me, being big and athletic he was everything I was looking for in a rookie tight end. But when I found out his age, being 26 years old I quickly jumped off the bandwagon, my spot was quickly filled after the NFL Draft. When my fellow Co-Host of The Dynasty Tailgate, Mitch Pristine first pitched me the idea of adding Jordan Akins off of waivers in a league we were co-owning, I was completely against it. Being a 26-year-old rookie tight end, I just didn’t see how we would get the value out of him that he expected. After a day of pitching me the idea of adding this tight end, and proving to me that there was no one on the roster that I believe is better than him, I caved hopped back on the bandwagon and we added him to our fantasy roster.
After the first week of the preseason, I am happy that Mitch talked me into adding Akins, granted he only had two receptions but started to prove that he could be a red zone target scoring touchdowns on both of them. With only having guys like Ryan Griffen, and Stephen Anderson ahead of him I could see Akins making an impact in the 2018 season. In all my of my drafts to date, Jordan Akins went with a 5th round flyer or undrafted, in a horrible tight end market this guy is a great stash option for your roster.
JOHN KELLY RB LAR
John Kelly was one of the Dynasty Tailgates favorite prospects in the offseason, we like Kelly so much that before the draft we were making out pitch for drafting him at the end of the first round of rookie drafts. But then the draft happened, where Kelly was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and stuck behind the mighty Todd Gurley. This news made people leave the John Kelly fan club, Kelly dropped drastically in drafts, falling to the 3rd to 4th rounds of rookie drafts, but we at The Dynasty Tailgate held strong. We re-evaluated, adjusted our rankings, and started to make our pitch of John Kelly being a must-own handcuff for one of the best fantasy running backs.
Kelly in our eyes was always a hard runner, a guy that will try to get you every inch on every play and a running back that will be able to provide you with a little bit of everything, and reminded us a lot of Devonta Freeman. In his first preseason action, you could see that as he played physical, showed off his agility, and got involved in the passing game. At the end of the day racking up 77 yards on 13 carries with one 20+ yard gain and a 40 yard gain late in the third quarter, Kelly also caught the ball 2 times totaling 14 yards. Kelly very well may not do anything this year, but he is a must add as a Gurley owner, or if you just want to stick it to the Gurley owner if he happens to miss any time in the future. Add John Kelly to your watch list.
RYAN NALL RB CHI
I always viewed Ryan Nall as a very bland prospect, and never thought that he would be a special fantasy prospect. But after the draft, Nall signed as an undrafted rookie in a very interesting spot for his dynasty value. The Chicago Bears, along with a lot of the NFL, seem perfectly content running a running back by committee to handle their rushing and passing down work.
With the passing down work being handled by Tarik Cohen and Benny Cunningham, if Tarik Cohen gets hurt, Ryan Nall has a great opportunity to play himself into the next man up role behind the always hurt Jordan Howard. In two preseason games, Nall flashed some ability, rushing for 108 yards on 16 carries, nearly a 7 yard per carry average. There’s a lot that Nall has to prove to make the Bears active roster but with guys like Knile Davis and Taquan Mizzell ahead of him for the job, he is a guy to keep an eye on throughout the rest of the preseason, if not a skeptical add in leagues with bigger rosters.
CHRIS WARREN III RB OAK
Coming out of Texas Chris Warren III was someone that I was a fan of through the draft grade process. Although Warren didn’t pop off the screen when I was watching his film, his numbers he put up at the combine really impressed me, and he started to rise up my rookie ranks before the draft. Going into the draft I knew he would probably be a late round draft pick, but seeing him go undrafted was bit of a surprise, and as an undrafted free agent Chris Warren signed with the Oakland Raiders.
Although his landing spot crushed his very slim hope of making an early impact, I think he put himself in a great spot for his long-term future. Chris Warren will have to wait to get into the fold in Oakland, but I don’t think he will have to wait long with aging running backs Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin ahead of him. Warren has turned some heads in camp, both with the Raiders and the dynasty community, by knocking a poor Lions defensive back into oblivion and posting a nice 86 yards on 13 carry stat line in their first preseason game. Even Warren is a nonfactor now, I look at him as a Gruden type back, that will linger on this team because of his physicality. If Lynch misses some time this year, I could easily see Warren stealing valuable carries away from the ever disappointing Doug Martin. Chris Warren is a guy everyone should add to their watchlist and monitor all year long, especially if the injury bug bits the Oakland backfield.
ANTONIO CALLAWAY WR CLE
Antonio Callaway is a surprising addition to my honorable mentions list but with every Callaway, shareholders fear becoming a reality in the first week of camp, with Callaway getting caught with Marijuana in his car, the time to strike for a highly talented wide receiver is now! Yes, you are bringing a lot of risk onto your team since he already potentially wasted two of his strikes, but if you can come to a price point your comfortable dealing for him don’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
I say this because it’s really not that crazy to believe that the marijuana in his car was not his, players with his background are put through a rigorous drug screen process, and if Callaway failed a drug test I believe we would have heard about that first if not shortly after police found the drugs. Unfortunately, I still think Callaway’s failure to clean his vehicle before bringing it up to Cleveland will cost him a few games in 2018, but the future’s still bright, and he’s in the right place to fight his problem with marijuana.
PHILLIP LINDSAY RB DEN
When I saw Phillip Lindsay’s tape this offseason, I thought that he could be a very capable receiving option for the team that wanted him, but signing with the crowded running back room in Denver was not the best spot for his fantasy value in my opinion. But in his first Preseason action, Lindsay easily looked like the best receiving option in the Broncos backfield, and reports coming out are that the Broncos coaching staff is taking notice as well. Lindsay still has a lot of work to do just to avoid the practice squad this season but is worth an add to your watch list, just to keep tabs on him throughout the season.