The Senior Bowl has passed and we are in a full on frenzy as we head full on into a chaotic NFL Draft period. With so many changes and unknown variables this spring it is as important as ever to be honed in dynasty and devy fantasy football players. I am, once again, opening up the mailbag to make sure that I am giving the most personal and helpful advice possible!
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Which Devy Players Benefit from a Wild January in the Transfer Portal?
This is a tremendous question, and truly needs a full article (or five) to dig into fully. The transfer portal was both exciting and exhausting to track this January as players scrambled to adjust to an unprecedented year where eligibility was frozen, making roster spots less secure.
Cody Brown, an incoming freshman and Tiyon Evans, a JUCO transfer, are the only two running backs currently standing at the University of Tennessee. Eric Gray and Ty Chandler accounted for 69% of the Vols rushing yards in 2020 and 94% of the rushing attempts by running backs. New head coach Josh Heupel is sure to add to this running back room but both of these relatively unknown devy prospects should see touches quickly in an offense that will be run at a lot quicker of a pace than Tennessee has experienced in a while.
I really like Charleston Rambo landing in Miami. He had a breakout year with the Sooners in 2019 but then fell off the radar. The Hurricanes need someone to absorb volume from either D’Eriq King or Jake Garcia in 2021 and the big bodied wide out could shoot his NFL draft stock into Day 2 territory with a successful season.
The transfer of WanDale Robinson to Kentucky is not being hyped up enough. The highly athletic hybrid offensive weapon was not seeing as much action in an inefficient Nebraska offense. The Wildcats are known for being innovative and I think that with the SEC limelight on his, Robinson will propel into a fantasy football favorite over the next season or two.
Another sneaky transfer is Andrew Parchment to Florida State. Parchment has had a journey; starting off at JUCO then transferring to Northern Iowa then the University of Kansas and now with the Seminoles. He is 6-2, 180 and can find himself in the perfection situation with the addition of Mackenzie Milton. Bonus: if Milton stays healthy, although the NFL will surely be weary, he may be able to play his way into the 2022 NFL Draft conversation too.
Why are we Still Fighting to Accept James Robinson’s Dynasty Value?
This is a great question, and I love that you used Cam Akers as the barometer of value. When I compare the two players I find myself higher on Akers, similar to the consensus being alluded to in this question. In my recently updated dynasty big board rankings, I have Cam Akers as my 46th overall player in superflex leagues and RB16. James Robinson finds himself much lower, RB23 and 94th overall.
It is impossible not to love James Robinson and his ability to find the field and earn the volume that he did in his rookie campaign. The Jaguars, though, are currently overhauling their entire organization, including the removal of the coaching staff that first gave Robinson his shot. I fully expect them to both sign a veteran running back in free agency and spend Day 2 draft capital on the position. That makes Robinson, to me, one piece of a three headed running back by committee moving forward. It does not make him fantasy football irrelevant but it also does not make him a difference maker moving forward. I see his fantasy football value going down the same path as Phillip Lindsey.
Akers is a great player to compare Robinson to because he finds himself in a very “in between” position. He showed us flashes of bell-cow back ability and RB1 territory upside as a rookie but did not blow us away like Jonathan Taylor did. Akers has just a low of a floor as Robinson and is also dealing with the threat of backfield mates taking his job. The key difference, though, for me is that the Rams organization showed their dedication to Akers by featuring and relying, on him down the stretch. He should be the lead back and see over 200 touches next season. I can’t say the same about Robinson and when it comes to fantasy football, especially at the running back position, I am going to fade variability whenever I have the opportunity to.
What Makes the 2021 Rookie Class Special?
I love this question. I spend a lot of time on my podcasts talking about the character of each incoming class. It is often the first thing somebody just getting into the incoming class wants to know; what positions are strong and which are weak. The 2021 NFL Draft is no different, it has a lot of character to it.
The biggest takeaway from this year’s rookie class will be the depth of the wide receiver position. We talked a lot about how deep the 2020 NFL Draft class was and it pales in comparison. I can legitimately see anywhere from 12-15 wideouts being taken in the first two days of the NFL Draft. Even the ones selected on day three, though, still get me excited. In five years I fully expect us to be raving about the big names like Ja’Marr Chase and Devonta Smith but we also may be discussing names like South Dakota’s Cade Johnson or Alabama Birmingham’s Myron Mitchell and Austin Watkins.
This time next year we will be yearning for the tight end talent that will go off the board. Kyle Pitts is dominating headlines but Brevin Jordan and Pat Friermuth would be headliners in many other classes. As we dig deeper into what are likely to be fourth and fifth round rookie draft selections, we also find high upside with tight ends like Hunter Long, Kenny Yeboah, Quintin Morris and Tony Poljan.