#4: The Rookie Draft – defence
As some of you will already know, this week I set up my first ever dynasty league. Last week, we drafted the veterans. Today is all about the rookie draft on defence.
I went into the draft with three second round picks after trading out of the first round. Further wheeling and dealing left me with 13 rookie picks.
Last time out, I ran through the players selected on offence. You might remember my heartbreak at seeing Chase Young go off the board at the end of the second round. Let’s take a look at the players selected on the defensive side of the ball.
If you’re struggling for IDP selections in your dynasty league, check out Dre’s superb work here.
For each IDP selected, their 2019 stats will be translated into points in the league they’re entering. It’s clear that college production does not necessarily translate at the next level. However, it might prove somewhat useful to consider how they might transition into the NFL.
3.05 – Patrick Queen (LB), Baltimore Ravens
Queen was the centrepiece of the LSU defence in 2019. He is NFL ready, and has found himself in a great spot in Baltimore, who are still to find a long term replacement for CJ Mosley. Taken in the first round of the Draft, Ravens fans will expect to see plenty of him in his rookie year.
Queen registered 85 total solo tackles in 2019, 3 sacks, 2 passes defended and 1 interception. Should he replicate these numbers, it would translate to 88.5 fantasy points in his rookie year.
With Queen likely to contribute to the Baltimore defence from the outset, he will be used as a rotational piece in my team this year.
4.03 – Kenneth Murray (LB), LA Chargers
I was surprised to see Kenneth Murray fall this far, and so swooped here in the fourth round. He had a great year at Oklahoma in 2019, recording 69 solo tackles and 4 passes defended. Like Patrick Queen, Murray is going to contribute right away for the Chargers.
Murray’s production in 2019 would have translated to 108.75 fantasy points. Don’t expect him to spend as much time on the field in his first year in the NFL, but will be a consistent dynasty league performer over time.
5.11 – AJ Epenesa (DL), Buffalo Bills
Epenesa was touted as a first round draft pick at the start of the college season, and so he will have been disappointed to fall to the second round of the NFL Draft.
He amassed 11.5 sacks in 2019, but there are concerns about his overall athleticism. It might prove difficult for Epenesa to replicate those numbers in his rookie year. if he does, it would equate to 93.5 fantasy points.
Further to issues surrounding his athleticism, he’s joining an already fearsome Buffalo defence. It may be some time before we see the former Iowa defensive end.
Epenesa is a long term investment. It may be some time before he contributes in Buffalo. As a mid-to-late round selection, you may get decent returns in years to come.
6.02 – Ashtyn Davis (DB), New York Jets
This selection was a gut reaction. Jamal Adams is one of the best safeties in the league, and is expecting a blockbuster extension sooner rather than later. His defensive backfield partner Marcus Maye is also in a contract year. He may be sacrificed in order to pay Adams.
It came as a shock to many that the Jets took Ashtyn Davis here with more pressing needs on the roster. This tells me that they like what they see from the former walk-on at California.
Davis has blistering speed, and will be utilised on special teams in his rookie year. Davis is a candidate for the taxi squad in 2020 with an eye to contributing in 2021.
6.06 – Zack Baun (LB), New Orleans Saints
I was delighted with the value of this pick. Baun has landed in a great spot on New Orleans, and had impressive production at college level.
In terms of college production in 2019, Baun brings promising value. He had 12.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 76 total takcles and interception for a defensive TD. This would have resulted in 124.25 fantasy points.
It will be interesting to see how much Baun contributes in pre-season before deciding whether he will spend 2020 on the bench or in the taxi squad.
6.08 – Antoine Winfield Jnr (DB), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winfield Jnr has found himself in that many “draft sleeper” articles that he can’t really be labelled a sleeper anymore.
He’s joining a Tampa Bay backfield on the back of 7 interceptions last year at Minnesota. He also had 85 total tackles, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
Of all the players listed above, Winfield Jnr would have contributed the most points to a dynasty league side. His production in 2019 would have resulted in 130 points.
The Buccaneers were superb against the run last year. Winfield Jnr may well be a welcome addition to boost their pass defence in 2020 and beyond. In the sixth round of this rookie draft, he was too good to turn down.
That’s it for the 2020 rookies on defence. I’m keen to know what you think in the comments section or on Twitter.
-Tom Scott @downthemannyrd