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Corey Davis or Sammy Watkins?: Figuring out where I’d draft the incoming rookies

Without looking at ADP’s, I see which NFL players I would comfortably take incoming rookies over.

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I posed this question to the Twittersphere Friday just to see if my fellow tweeters were as hyped on Corey Davis as I was. The winning answer was Randall Cobb. If you picked that, well done because both Corey Davis and Cobb right next to each other when it comes to ADP, with Davis currently at 8.05 and Cobb at 8.06. So basically you think that Davis is being taken exactly where he should be. Give yourself a pat on the back.

However, if you are more hyped on the rookie receiver like myself, then the next most popular answer might have been yours. 33% of people said Sammy Watkins, which I’m kind of onboard with and it means that there are people who’re equally as stoked as I about Davis—or very untrusting of Watkins’ ability to stay healthy—as Watkins’ ADP is currently 4.04. That’s a whole four round jump then where Davis is currently ranked!

I’ve decided to try this exercise with myself for the other incoming rookies that are receiving plenty of fantasy buzz. But, I don’t want to look at ADPs and pick from that because that takes the fun out of it. Instead, I’m going to just look over last year’s results, use this thing that’s rattling around in my skull, and pick a current player I would feel 100% comfortable taking the rookie over. Then, I’ll see where that player is ranked per ADP and see how crazy or sane my thought was. Feel free to play along.

Let’s begin!

Leonard Fournette over Jay Ajayi

Maybe I’m too skeptical of Ajayi but I am not sold on him as a top 10 fantasy back. He had stretches last year when he was fantastic, but how much of his fantasy success was inflated by three 200 plus yard games, two of which coming against the Buffalo Bills? There is a very real chance that this comes back to bite me and Ajayi will just make it his thing to regularly run 200 yards vs the Bills but I’m not seeing it. I also thought about putting DeMarco Murray here given his age and sharing a backfield with Derrick Henry, but I’m not 100% confident in that pick. I would feel very comfortable taking Fournette over Ajayi.

Jay Ajayi ADP: 2.02
Leonard Fournette ADP: 2.07
Final thoughts: * pats self on back *

Christian McCaffrey over Spencer Ware

Two things worry me about Ware: 1) he will be battling against rookie Kareem Hunt to keep his starting job and 2) he scored only three touchdowns last year. That means I have to rely on touches and yards to get me fantasy points which goes back to worry #1. If Ware’s role is diminished in Kansas City, he doesn’t have the role of redzone back to makeup for loss of touches. Meanwhile in Carolina, the Panthers are going to find ways to get McCaffrey the ball. Jonathan Stewart will certainly have a role in the offense and that does worry me, but McCaffrey offers so much in the running, passing and return game that he will make in impact on the field and fantasy from day one.

Spencer Ware ADP: 3.07
Christian McCaffrey ADP: 4.05
Final thoughts: jumps a round, including leap frogging Adrian Peterson, Carlos Hyde and Eddie Lacy. I don’t know if I’d take McCaff above Hyde but that’s the curse of not knowing ADPs.

Mike Williams over Rishard Matthews

Right off the bat Williams worries me because of injury. He’s currently out with a mild disk herniation in his lower back and he will miss the rest of offseason programs. Not great for a rookie receiver who’s coming into an already crowded offense. If it wasn’t for that injury, I’d buy him a lot higher than I did here, but it is what it is. Matthews role will diminish with Davis coming in and clearly just instantly becoming a 100 catch, 1,500 yard, 12 touchdown guy. Clearly. I could be looking too much into this injury but I’m worried that it’s going to delay Williams’ connection with Philip Rivers.

Rishard Matthews ADP: 9.06
Mike Williams ADP: 10.02
Final thoughts: a little higher than his current ADP but I’m ok with that.

Joe Mixon over Mark Ingram

This may not be groundbreaking but Ingram was the first back I could think of that I’d be ok taking Mixon over. Most of that is entirely because of the Bengals’ backfield. They have now three starting caliber backs and I’m not so sure how everything is going to work its way out. Yes Hill didn’t have an amazing year last year but he’s never not been a top 20 fantasy back. Giovani Bernard is best in PPR given his pass catching abilities but Mixon has a chance to take touches from both backs. Until it’s clear he’s the #1 guy in Cincy, I’m lukewarm on taking a him high.

Mark Ingram ADP: 5.11
Joe Mixon ADP: 4.12
Final thoughts: welp, clearly I am not with the majority here.

David Njoku over Julius Thomas

I went with Njoku here because I think he’s going to have the biggest role cut out for him from day one among the rookie tight ends. O.J. Howard, as much as I love him, will be battling with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and fellow tight end Cameron Brate for touches and Evan Engram has Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard to lose targets to. Njoku has... no one. Well, Corey Coleman. But still, is he really losing targets or just coexisting? I have ZERO faith in Julius Thomas no matter what news comes out of training camp. He has let me down too many times since leaving Denver for me to get my heart broken again. I’d take Njoku over Thomas 11 out of 10 times.

Julius Thomas ADP: 12.08
David Njoku ADP: 14.04
Final thoughts: Njoku goes from 20th TE to 14th in my book. That’s really not that big a jump and the people he’s leap frogging I can make reasons for. Again, 11/10

Which current NFL players would you be willing to draft these rookies over? Let me know in the comments.