🏆 Way Too Early 2024 Rookie Awards

A pic is worth 1000 words...

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Yes, I spent way too much time analyzing a class photo of the rookies…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by BetMGM:

  • What a picture can tell us about this rookie class

  • Watercooler: A legendary fantasy RB retires

  • 2 Early WRs to Fade: Selling two ADPs…

  • It’s 5/20. Take it away, Peter Overzet…

The NFL rookies assembled in Los Angeles over the weekend for the “Rookie Premiere” and posed for this group photo:

Rookie Photoshoot

A more sane person would look at this photo, think “That’s cool,” and move on with their day.

But I am not that person.

In fact, I’m the type of individual to analyze this photo deeply and then hand out early awards based on some very surface-level impressions.

The envelope, please…

🕵️ Most Likely To Not Tell The Bouncer Who He Is: Caleb Williams (#18, back row)

This kid gets selected first overall in the 2024 NFL Draft and tries to hide in the back of the photo?? That’s either a total boss move or a massive red flag. No in-between.

💈 Best Hair: Ricky Pearsall (#14, front row)

You know Ricky was elbowing his way to the front row once he realized what a great hair day he was having. We’re onto you, Pearsall.

💪 The Surprise Alpha Award: Joe Milton III (#19, front row)

I’ll be honest, Mr. Milton III. I was not familiar with your game. Some might wonder why Drake Maye or Ja’Lynn Polk isn’t representing the Patriots in the front row, but I completely get it. Carry on.

📷️ The Hardest Pose: Brock Bowers (#89, second row)

Poor Brock. One of the greatest TE prospects ever, and yet he will never live down looking like a schlub in the infamous photo next to Gronk. He’ll be forced to over-compensate with tough poses like this for the rest of eternity.

👻 The “My Dad Is A Hall Of Famer & I Don’t Have To Be Here” Award: Marvin Harrison Jr. (n/a)

With no licensing deal, MHJ decided to sit this one out. At this point, I’m not even convinced he’s a real player. He skipped the combine and Pro Days, too. But Pete, he was at the draft! Have you see how good these AI deepfakes are these days? I’m worried we might be spending a 1-2 turn pick on a hologram.

🏒 Winner Takes All

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Watercooler

🤠 Will the NFC East have its first back-to-back champ since 2004? Cowboys team preview.

🙏 A former Pro Bowl and all-pro RB retires. He was a fantasy cheat code for years.

⚖️ More Marvin Harrison Jr. drama. Now a lawsuit from Fanatics.

🥊 Dynasty football ranks vs. consensus. Players to load up on.

🤯 Player ages that will blow your mind. Some brain busters here.

🤣 Nathan Fielder shares a positive note. He’s right.

Best Ball Fades

ADPs are moving fast and furious through early best ball drafts on Underdog Fantasy. Today, Joe Metz is here to break down two players he’s fading at the current ADP…

As the decorated scholar Ian Hartitz once said, “Don’t hate the player, hate the ADP”.

Last week, I highlighted a handful of best ball value picks that I’m high on early this draft season, ADPs that are worth targeting now because they may not be this enticing for the entirety of summer.

Now, I’m here to do the opposite; to hate the ADP, as Ian would say.

Fading a player doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll have absolutely no exposure, but at their current costs, these are five of my best ball fades that I’m passing on in favor of better value.

👋 Drake London, WR - Falcons

I’m stepping in front of a high-speed-rail-level hype train here in hopes of spreading my arms and stopping it. Let’s see how this goes.

With Kirk Cousins joining a revamped Falcons offense, there’s an understandable level of excitement after multiple frustrating seasons. As the WR1 that earned 22% of the team’s targets last year (22% TPRR), London has naturally been the highest-priced pass catcher in the offense.

The principle is hard to disagree with. Cousins supported one of the best wideouts in fantasy for the last handful of seasons, he can clearly turn London into a league-winning threat, right?

This isn’t apples to apples. Drake London is not Justin Jefferson. And this Atlanta Falcons offense is not the Minnesota Vikings offense.

When it comes to target competition, London will have his share. Kyle Pitts was second on the team with an 18% target share last season (18% TPRR). Coincidentally, this was tied with TE2 (TE1B, TE1A?) Jonnu Smith (18% TPRR) last season. With Smith relocated to Miami, Pitts has a massive opportunity to step into an even more dominant target-earning role. Mack Hollins was the Falcons WR2 last season, but only soaked up a 6% target share. The addition of Darnell Mooney is surely an upgrade at WR2. This is all in addition to the assumption that Bijan Robinson will be far more involved both in the run and passing game.

Again, London has flashed elite target-earning ability and the fantasy ceiling we’ve seen is hard to ignore. But a WR10 price tag after finishing as the WR39 in 2023 is pricing in quite the dramatic upgrade, especially when you’re expecting more out of every other piece in the offense.

In his current ADP range, I’d much rather opt for a running back in an anchor RB or robust RB build (Saquon Barkley, Jonathan Taylor), reach a few picks for a WR like Davante Adams, or wait to get my Falcons exposure via Pitts or Mooney at a far lower opportunity cost.

👋 Chris Olave, WR - Saints

We’re seeing the same song and dance this year as we did last year, and my stance isn’t changing. A top-20 overall pick for Chris Olave feels like an incredibly irresponsible selection.

Sure, Michael Thomas is finally out of the picture and while he commanded an 18% target share when active, he only played in the first 10 weeks of the season last year. A full offseason with QB Derek Carr will certainly help, but we also saw how difficult relying on a Carr-led offense can be for fantasy purposes last season.

Olave’s target-earning ability (25% target share, 25% TPRR) keeps the WR1 upside well within his range of outcomes, but he’s also already being drafted with the expectation that he’ll be one. His range of outcomes last season didn’t showcase truly elite upside from a fantasy finish standpoint, as he only cracked the top-10 WRs in PPR formats once (Week 10, WR9), while falling outside of the top 30 WRs five separate times.

Similar to my stance on London, I simply don’t find myself pulling the trigger on Olave over other players in his vicinity like Adams or Brandon Aiyuk. Also similar to my London stance, I would simply prefer to take the discount on the Saints’ offense and load up on their WR2 in Rashid Shaheed at a much lower cost.

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