At DLF we have eight staff members who participate in ranking offensive players by position. We rank (at a minimum) 50 quarterbacks, 100 running backs, 100 wide receivers, and 50 tight ends. Our participating staff members are eight guys, from eight different walks of life, with eight unique reasons for loving football, and subsequently, eight different ways of ranking NFL players in a dynasty setting.
The ‘Dynasty Rankings Roundtable’ is a new series I will be writing this year. About once a week, I will question a few of our staff members. I will inquire into their ranking of certain players, concentrating on players that staff member ranks much higher or lower than the consensus. After the staff members respond to my question, I will give my own take.
Todays participants are Eric Olinger, Ryan McDowell, and Ken Moody. Thank you for sitting down at the Roundtable, gentlemen!
Karl: Eric, your ranking of Le’Veon Bell is the highest among the DLF staff. Many consider him an upright runner who relies on volume carries, but he did finish in the top ten in PPR RB PPG. Can you explain your ranking of him as your RB4?
Eric: The reason I have Bell as my fourth ranked dynasty ppr running back is simple; age + opportunity + passing game involvement + goal line carries = fantasy goodness. As soon as the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Bell in last year’s draft I got excited. His running style fits the Steeler image perfectly. I knew he would be able to take the hard carries needed in the AFC North. What I wasn’t expecting though was how incredible he would be in the passing game. In 13 games he rushed for 860 yards and eight touchdowns while adding 45 catches for 399 yards, good enough to finish as the RB14. He’s only 21 years old and played behind one of the worst lines in all of football. Once the Steelers get a healthy Maurkice Pouncey back and upgrade the line in the off-season, he will easily improve on his 3.5 yards per carry. The arrow is pointing way up for Bell and after LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, and Doug Martin, there isn’t anyone I feel has a better four to five year window than Bell.
Karl: The fact that bell averaged 3.5 YPC scares me. I’d rather hear about how efficient a rookie back is, rather than hear that they are benefitting from volume, goal line carries, and situation. Volume can be earned after being efficient, and often times, young players can lose volume due to being inefficient. That being said, Bell has plenty of room for improvement, and time to improve. I have him ranked as my RB12 behind Alfred Morris and Shane Vereen. The consensus ranking of Bell is RB9.
Karl: Ryan, you ranked Adrian Peterson as your RB14. Of all of the DLF staff, you ranked him the lowest. With age being such a deciding factor in dynasty, running backs in particular, you must use that information as a deciding factor in your rankings. Though, he is still largely considered to be one of the “safest” plays at the position for the next year or so. Can you explain your low ranking of him?
Ryan: I don’t want to take anything away from Peterson. He’s one of the best players of our generation. Your question caused me to really dig into some of his numbers over the past few years and he really is amazing. He’s finished as a RB1 every year of his career and we all know about his amazing comeback from a late season ACL injury. With that said, he’s a player I would avoid in dynasty leagues. As you presume, I am one who puts a large emphasis on a player’s age. I prefer to build around players that will be contributors on my teams for years to come. With Peterson turning 29 years old in just two months, I’m not sure how long he has left. Also, I like to build my teams around wide receivers. So, in a startup draft, there is no chance I would take Peterson. By the time I am looking at running backs, he is long gone, and deservedly so. So, in this case, my ranking is almost all about age along with my strategy of building around youth.
Karl: I have a hard time disagreeing with much of what Ryan said, but disagreeing is what I’m good at. As much uncertainty as Peterson brings with him due to his age, he brings just as much confidence in my opinion. Despite his age, he’s been the most productive running back in recent memory. I don’t mind an age bias in dynasty, but when it comes to the best back in the game, age is one number I won’t go too crazy over. There is much uncertainty surrounding any running back in the game. Even if a player enters the league as a rookie, there is no guarantee that he’d play much more than two or three years. By that time, Peterson could still be a top ten fantasy back at 30 years old. I have Peterson ranked as my RB7 in dynasty because if it weren’t for age, he’d be ranked number one. Peterson’s consensus DLF ranking is RB6.
Karl: Ken, you ranked Cordarrelle Patterson as your WR10. I don’t believe many can disagree about Patterson’s upside. He has certainly shown flashes of greatness. I would think many people are concerned about his consistency. With the questions at quarterback and coaching staff, what makes you think that he would be a top ten option at wide receiver?
Ken: Minnesota is certainly far from a perfect team. As you mentioned, Ponder is clearly not the answer, and they do have a new head coaching staff lead by a defense oriented head coach, Mike Zimmer. But that uncertainty is, for me, mitigated by a couple of factors. One, I really like the new head coaching staff and I think Norv Turner is a pretty decent OC who will get the most out of Ponder and Patterson. And two, even more importantly, is the fact that Patterson is a tremendous freak of an athlete. In the long haul of a dynasty team, talent usually trumps situation. Given a little more time and experience he could easily become the next Josh Gordon – A terrific WR who manages to flourish in a less than ideal situation.
Karl: Patterson is certainly a talented young man with a ceiling equalled only by few, but he is also surprisingly inconsistent. Despite his top ten potential, I wouldn’t consider ranking him nearly that high due to his inability to stay on the field. NFL coaches aren’t stupid, and regardless of Patterson’s big play ability, he will also have to grasp the complexity of an NFL playbook before warranting a full time gig. While I, like Ken, do not consider situation to be the most important factor, that does make me pause when considering to move Patterson up my rankings. Ken and I represent both ends of the spectrum since I rank Patterson as my WR19. The consensus DLF ranking is WR13.
This series will help you get an idea of why our staff members rank players as they do. Some of our guys favorably rank players with high upside. Some rank veterans with low risk higher than most. Each staff member has a different personality and a unique way of viewing the task of ranking in dynasty fantasy football.
Are there any players you’d like explained by a certain staff member? Let us know in the comment section below.
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