#5 – after the rookies
The end of the rookie draft was supposed to usher in a period of free agency frenzy. However, a league-wide vote in favour of a supplemental draft led to a change of plan. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, the supplemental draft is a place for picking up undrafted veteran and rookie players.
Some NFL starting QBs were still available, as well as big-name free agents that will surely find themselves a team in 2020.
Supplemental signal callers
Sam Darnold, Phillip Rivers and Dwayne Haskins all found teams in the first round of the supplemental draft. All three make sense as a QB3 in a dynasty league – Rivers should be good value behind a much improved Colts offensive line to the one he had in LA. Expect Rivers to provide short term benefit considering his age. At 38, he’s also coming off the worst year of his career in recent memory. Rivers will be hoping to put his last year as a Charger behind him in Indianapolis.
Darnold has a tough schedule and a lack of surrounding talent, but he did take a step up in 2019. He went 7-6 last year, as his team went 6-2 down the stretch. In the second half of the season, Darnold threw 13 TDs to just 4 INTs. He continues to show flashes of brilliance, but the odds are stacked against him. Adam Gase’s offence ranked 31st in the league last year, largely due to poor O line play. It may take the removal of Gase and an overhaul in the trenches to see the best of Sam Darnold.
Haskins showed flashes of ability towards the end of his rookie year in Washington. He threw for a combined 394 yards and 4 TDs in Week 16 and 17 losses to the Eagles and Giants. Haskins could be a surprise performer in the coming year if he can take a step up. On paper, his stats from 2019 make for dismal reading. 7 TDs and 7 INTs in 8 starts won’t cut it in the NFL. With rookie receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden and running back Antonio Gibson added to the receiving corps, he will have more weapons to work with. He might have to sit on a dynasty team’s bench this year while we monitor his progress in his second season.
Jadeveon Clowney, currently without a team, was also selected in the first round of the supplemental draft. Clowney had a disappointing 2019, managing only 3 sacks. If he ends up in the right place, he might play a rotational role on a dynasty roster. A lot will depend on where he ends up.
Physical corner Logan Ryan and experienced defensive end Everton Griffen went undrafted. I was shocked to see these guys not get picked up across 23 rounds of selections. Both will find a team in time, and should produce in the short term.
Griffen is 32, and only a viable option for this year. I picked him up in free agency because my team lacked depth along the defensive line. Griffen will certainly find a team. The Vikings could bring him back, with the Browns and Seahawks also allegedly interested. Did I mention has 8 sacks or more in 5 of his last 6 seasons? I’m more than happy to have him on my bench.
Finally, Logan Ryan remains a free agent in the league. He’s 29, and cornerbacks don’t scream value in fantasy football. However, playing in the slot increases his value. He registered 113 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 4 interceptions last year. He is on my watchlist for now. If the New York Jets pick up Ryan as rumoured, I’m staying away. Gang Green has Brian Poole in the slot, and Ryan would likely be asked to play on the outside. This immediately diminishes his value in a dynasty league. As with all free agents in fantasy football, his landing spot is crucial.
Quintez Cephus was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 5th Round of the 2020 draft. I was surprised to see that he hadn’t been picked up in the supplemental draft. With places available on my taxi squad for more rookies, Cephus will sit for a year before deciding whether he is a long term option on my team. I don’t expect he will see much action as a rookie.
Cole McDonald was a rookie quarterback available after the supplemental draft. He will most likely sit as QB2 behind Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee. He threw for over 4,000 yards and 33 TDs at Hawaii in 2019. I’m not convinced that Tannehill can produce for the Titans in the long term. Should McDonald take the chance when it comes, it may be possible to trade him for future draft capital.
One more blockbuster trade
In the background of the whole draft process, negotiations were rumbling on. One of the guys in my league was keen on my first round veteran, Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook.
I like Cook, but I don’t love him. He had 13 TDs and over 1,100 yards in 2019. You can’t argue with numbers like that. However, the fall in production from backs like Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley worry me. Cook will soon be in his second contract, and with every year that passes the risk of a downturn increases. Cook will most likely have a great 2019, and had this been a redraft league he would have been the cornerstone of my team. However, this is a dynasty league, and I’ll always have an eye on future seasons.
Cook’s value meant that it would take an irresistible offer to let him go. After multiple offers back and forth, we settled on a deal. I surrendered Cook and Rams safety Taylor Rapp. In return, I picked up Green Bay WR Davante Adams, Jags pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue and Jets safety Jamal Adams.
Making sense of the trade
The downside here is that my backfield is now lacking an RB1. I’ll be going into the season with Chicago’s David Montgomery and three rookies (see my last article for the guys). Giving up Cook, who will put significant points up throughout the year, will hurt.
However, Davante Adams is Aaron Rodgers’ favourite target in Green Bay. I’m hoping that bringing Jordan Love to the Packers will make Rodgers determined to prove his worth in 2020. In order to do so, Adams should see plenty of the ball next year.
Yannick Ngakoue strengthens my defensive line, but the question mark remains over his future. The Jacksonville defence had a down year in 2019, but Ngakoue still chipped in with 8 sacks and an interception. It’s likely that he will be traded before the season starts, or else he will hold out. The first option could see Ngakoue become another franchise’s leading pass rusher. The latter would make this trade disastrous. It’s a high risk-high reward trade and I’m excited to see how it pans out.
Finally, Jamal Adams is the NFL’s best young safety. Not only that, he is so much more than a safety. He had 22 QB pressures in 2019, and Gregg Williams loves to use him in blitz packages. Adams may not be a Jet for long, but wherever he plays, he will produce. Giving up Taylor Rapp, who had over 100 total tackles as a rookie last season, wasn’t ideal. However, Adams is without doubt an upgrade.
In Cook and Rapp, I’ve given up two players who amassed 434.5 points between them in 2019. D. Adams, Ngakoue and J. Adams were worth 645.23 points. If each player performs as expect next year, I’m set to win that trade.
That’s it for the Dynasty Virgin Diaries. Who knows, maybe they’ll return in the future?
-Tom Scott @downthemannyrd