Veterans Who Lost Value After Round One
by Alan Seslowsky – Twitter: @Alanseslowsky
The NFL draft is an exciting event for fantasy football managers. The talent pool gets replenished with young, high upside players who are filled with promise. Dynasty fantasy football players have a different view on the NFL draft. Some of our useful veterans are in the crosshairs of losing fantasy value. Below are three players who lost significant value after the first round of the NFL draft.
James Robinson, RB Jaguars
James Robinson was one of the best stories of 2020. An undrafted free agent who started training camp as the RB4 on his own team. Rosterwatch co-founder, Byron Lambert, was early to identify Robinson as a player we needed to roster in our leagues. Lambert’s visit to Jaguars training camp in 2020, revealed that Leonard Fournette was either going to be traded or demoted. Lambert alerted RosterWatch Nation two weeks before the news broke by the mainstream sports media. The result was even better than anyone could have predicted. Robinson was a top-five RB in fantasy.
Entering the 2021 off-season, Robinson’s lack of draft capital along with a new coaching staff in Jacksonville made him an obvious candidate to lose value. Early startup drafts and bestball leagues accounted for the risk, but not to the extent we likely should have. James Robinson survived free agency without a significant teammate being added to the RB room, but the first round of the NFL draft was very different.
The Jaguars drafted Clemson RB, Travis Etienne, in the first round. This is not a “death sentence,” to Robinson’s value, but it is obvious he can no longer be projected as an RB1. He is better thought of as a poor man’s Kareem Hunt; meaning a playable starter in your flex spot, and is one injury away from a weekly top 12 ranking. Robinson is the headliner for players who lost value after round one.
Hayden Hurst, TE, Falcons
One of the most interesting draft narratives around Hayden Hurst, is he was famously drafted ahead of Lamar Jackson by the Baltimore Ravens in the same year. Hurst did not produce for the Ravens but was considered an efficient, low volume player. Hurst was traded last off-season to the Falcons for a second-round pick. Hayden Hurst finished the fantasy season as the TE10. He wasn’t a difference maker for your team, but he held the line and didn’t sink your team either.
Entering 2021 there was reason to be optimistic about Hurst as a fantasy player with new Head Coach Arthur Smith. Smith was a successful TE coach in Tennesee before he was a successful offensive coordinator. Smith understood how to scheme TEs into productive (fantasy) assets. In the lead-up to the draft, it became clear that Atlanta was going to draft elite TE prospect, Kyle Pitts. Pitts profiles as a true difference-maker, and should immediately be the preferred TE in the Falcon’s offense. Hurst goes from “a solid TE1 to undraftable in most leagues.
Cam Newton QB Patriots
Cam was going to be relevant in superflex leagues only. In your traditional start one QB format, Cam was always going to be a streamer or waiver wire pickup. The 2021 first-round could not have gone any better for the Patriots. They got their heir apparent to Tom Brady, in Mac Jones, without having to trade up or give away any additional assets. RosterWatch co-founder Byron Lambert identified Mac Jones as a first-round (talent) QB at the 2021 senior bowl. Lambert was singing Jones’ praises, as a pro prospect, before the “Twitterverse” took note. Mac Jones profiles as a pro-ready prospect, cerebral player, who can be plugged into the Patriots system right away. RosterWatch expects Jones to be the starter in short order. Cam Newton goes from a low-end superflex QB2, to being ranked with other non-starting QBs like Marcus Mariota and Mitch Trubisky.