Dynasty Rookie Sleepers to Watch Out For
With the NFL Draft approaching, dynasty fantasy players will be glued and zoned in to see where their favorite targets land and begin to plan out their strategies for the 2021 rookie draft. However, there are some players that have seemingly slipped past many fantasy players’ radars.
With the right situation, some of these rookies could not only end up as good taxi squad candidates but good value in their rookie season. However, you should always be looking for upside with your rookie sleepers. You have those taxi spots for a reason. Do not waste them on guys who are somewhat hyped but will never be fantasy relevant. Target the big plays to put in your taxi squad.
You should keep an eye out during your dynasty draft for these players as well as the waivers following the conclusion of the draft.
WR – Clemson
We are going to start off with my most underrated player in the 2021 NFL Draft and 2021 fantasy season. Rodgers is 21 years old and sits at 5’10 210 pounds. However, it is not the measurables that impress me with Rodgers. When it comes to a smaller-slot WR, I cannot picture a better candidate than Rodgers. His routes and hands at Clemson were absolute perfection. It seems that it is held against Rodgers that Trevor Lawrence was his QB, but there were times that Rodgers made Lawrence look good due to his knack of always finding the ball.
Rodgers’ dad is Tee Martin, who is notoriously one of the best collegiate wide receiver coaches in the business. He has now made the move to the NFL and coaches the WR group in Baltimore. The fact that he was not only taught by his dad but brought up by the brilliant WR mind makes me have unbelievable faith in Rodgers as simply a WR who is going to figure the NFL out and become a reliable target. There is no reason that Rodgers cannot be the next Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, or even JuJu Smith-Schuster in the slot for the right team.
RB/WR – UCLA
Felton is a prospect that is being severely overlooked in both fantasy and real-life contexts. Now, I will say that there is not a lot of positive fantasy history for gadget tool players like Felton. However, this can be different. Felton was an RB at UCLA; he dominated with his explosive acceleration and speed that was often unmatched on the football field. However, at the Senior Bowl, Felton lined up as a slot WR and came away as one of the best performers in 1 on 1 drills.
This tells me that Felton could easily slide into the pass-catching role for an NFL team at RB. I do not think that Felton is a gadget player. What he is, is an elite 3rd down and passing down running back, similar to a James White. Felton could have extraordinary value in this position for the right NFL team. As of right now, most dynasty rookie mocks do not even have him being drafted. If you can add Felton to your taxi squad, then I see that as an absolute win. There is a good chance that you end up with a younger, faster, and more explosive James White or Danny Woodhead.
WR – Louisville
Tutu Atwell is a player with some hype going into the draft. However, a majority of that hype has been inflicted on him by one man, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com. Most fantasy websites and draft scouts do not have Atwell highly rated. Most of their concern is with his small 5’9 165 frame. However, Atwell is a burner through and through. He has acceleration, top-end speed, and agility, which simply is hard to match even in the NFL.
Tutu Atwell could easily go to a situation where the QB is strong, and the offense relies on vertical threats. If this happens, then there is no reason why Atwell cannot turn himself into a massive boom or bust play, even in his rookie season. I would argue that he is a more refined Mecole Hardman, and if he found himself on the Chiefs, it would be hard to pass him up in the 2nd round of rookie drafts.
WR – UNC
Dyami Brown is simply an all-around good football player and wide receiver. He is another player who can be extremely explosive, but Dyami Brown can really do it from all over the field. He has the classic ability to take a slant to the house, but his best trait is vertical route separation.
The thing that excites me the most about Brown is his year-to-year improvement. Each year at UNC, you saw his release and routes get better and better. Every year he got more separation and produced more for his squad. That is the perfect kind of taxi squad player as he can break out, like a DJ Chark, in year two and dominate the league. In fact, his ability is very similar to DJ Chark, and that is a possibly great NFL and fantasy comp for Brown.
RB – Ohio State
Trey Sermon is probably the most hyped player on this list, and most mocks have him going in the second round of rookie dynasty drafts. However, I am here to say that Sermon is the definitive #4 RB in this class and is worth a pick between 9-12 in your rookie draft. He simply does everything right, pass-catching, running, and his open space movement.
He is the definition of a complete back and can easily earn an every-down role for several NFL teams. His lateral quickness and elusiveness are fantastic. While I rate Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Javonte Williams ahead of Sermon, I love Sermon’s fantasy upside. While he is not the fastest or biggest running back, he simply makes the first guy miss and often makes the second guy miss as well. There is a real-world where Sermon ends up in the most significant role out of all the second-tier 2021 rookie RBs by year two and year three of his career. That is what happens when you are a complete back.