Dynasty League Football


Dynasty Rankings Roundtable


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.

Today, we welcome Eric Dickens, Jeff Beran and welcome back Eric Olinger. Thank you all for joining me at the Roundtable, gentlemen!

Karl: Eric, you rank Trent Richardson as your RB4, well above the consensus of other staff member’s rankings. Richardson certainly entered the league with plenty of talent and hype, but has failed to approach expectations to this point in his career. Could you elaborate as to why you believe Richardson is still a ‘hot commodity?

Eric D: I still have faith in Richardson, not because of a stubborn refusal to admit that I was wrong, but rather based on the nature of his poor performance. Several factors are at play here, including him playing in a poor passing offense to begin his career, being thrust into learning a new offense mid-season, as well as extremely high expectations to perform up to his price tag.

I believe much of his difficulties this season boil down to two important (and lacking) qualities: confidence and decision-making. I believe a full offseason learning the Colts offense will provide familiarity, and therefore confidence. Also, I believe decision making, for a running back, should be almost solely instinct based, something that familiarity should help with as well.

After going back and watching multiple games, the next biggest obstacle in Richardson’s way was the poor run-blocking of the offensive line. He was hit in the backfield a large percentage of the time, resulting in poor results. This has to be an area of focus for the Colts through free agency and the draft. Combine that with Donald Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw entering the offseason as unrestricted free agents and it is easy to see a clearer path to success for Richardson.

I think it’s also important to remember how young Richardson is (23 years old), has relatively low mileage (541 combined carries/receptions), and will likely be the feature back in the Colts offense. His ability to catch and perform in the passing game shouldn’t be overlooked either for PPR leagues. All things considered, I think Richardson is much better than he showed in the 2013 season, even if he isn’t the next Adrian Peterson.

Karl: I couldn’t disagree more with most of what Eric said. Richardson reminds me of the girlfriend you just can’t get over, despite the fact you see her out with other guys. His career average of 3.3 YPC is very telling. Richardson can catch the ball in space and seemingly has a nose for the end zone, but that seems to be what fantasy owners cling to more than anything. Many “Trent lovers” quote the Colts offensive line as a reason for his ineffectiveness, but Brown averaged 5.3 YPC in 2013. His inability to find the hole, seemed to be the true reason for his lack of success, not the offensive lines ability to make one. Richardson has five fumbles in his career, while only recording three rushes of 20+ yards.

Richardson is ranked as the consensus RB16 by DLF, and I rank him as my RB23.

Karl: Jeff, you have a few players ranked in a way that could be considered ‘controversial,’ but one player I’d like to focus on is the soon to be 32-year old Jason Witten. He’s been Tony Romo’s safety blanket for years, and has certainly proven himself to be a great fantasy football asset. Many dynasty team owners, though, would rather have a younger guy anchoring their tight end corps. You rank Witten as your TE5, care to explain?

Jeff: My Jason Witten ranking is equal parts an endorsement of Witten himself and an indictment on the current state of the tight end position in the NFL in general.  For starters, Witten is as dependable as they come both in fantasy football and in real football.  In 11 seasons, he has missed exactly ONE game which is absolutely extraordinary.  He plays through injuries, has never had a single off-the-field issue and plays in a consistently good passing offense.  He literally doesn’t have a single yellow flag attached to his name, so the fact owners can depend on him every week is a tremendously underrated and underappreciated thing, in my opinion.

Getting consistent production from the tight end spot allows me, as an owner, to start a player who might be a little more high-risk/high reward at a different position in any given week so there’s intrinsic strategic value there as well.   If there’s any knock on Witten, it’s his age and 32 just doesn’t scare me for a tight end.  I rank most positions with a three year window in mind and I’m confident that he’ll continue to produce upper echelon TE numbers (as he has for most of the past decade) for the next few seasons. After all, Tony Gonzalez just finished as the overall PPR TE2 at the age of 37 so the people who gave up on him five years ago missed out on several Top 5 PPR TE seasons. I will add here that I think a dynasty owners, in general, tend to obsess a little too much over “what could be” (i.e. potential) and lose sight of “what is” (i.e. reality) so ranking him lower than guys that might not ever even become half of what he already is just doesn’t make sense to me.  Sometimes it’s more prudent to put the crystal ball aside and read the map that’s been collecting dust instead.

The last part of my defense of Witten’s ranking simply has to do with the rest of the current crop of tight ends in the NFL.  The other players who I considered ranking below the top two tiers (which include Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron) all have various degrees of concern associated with them. I could go through and give an explanation for each of the players I ranked below him, but instead I’ll just suffice it to say that with the exception of Vernon Davis, there wasn’t a single other player I felt confident will be a bona fide TE1 for the next several years.

Karl: If I were ranking Witten in a two year window, I wouldn’t disagree with Jeff. Witten is more consistent than a morning sunrise. The only problem I encounter when ranking Witten is his age. If I’m drafting a startup team, I would hesitate to spend a sixth or seventh round pick to land a player who will be 32 years old before the preseason starts. Jeff mentioned Witten’s ability to stick around for a five more years, and I disagree. Witten does not possess the athleticism of Tony Gonzalez, therefore I cannot project him to have the lengthy career that Gonzalez had. Many dynasty players place an enormous stock in age, some do not. We can all agree that age factors into the value of a player in some fashion, though. With young up-and-comers Jordan Reed, Zach Ertz, Tyler Eifert, and Ladarius Green in the mix, they will push Witten out of the spotlight sooner or later. With my ranking of Witten as TE12, I’m banking on “sooner”. The consensus DLF ranking of Witten is TE8.

Karl: Eric, many of our readers have inquired about your ranking of Nick Foles. You apparently have an admiration of him equaled by few; you ranked him as your QB4. Not only is Foles already a lightning rod topic entering the off-season, but some draft pundits have speculated an early round quarterback landing in Philadelphia. Can you explain your high ranking of Foles?

Eric O: When ranking the quarterbacks, I knew Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton were my top three players for the next 3-4 years. After those players, I was staring at the “Senior Citizen” group comprised of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees and the “Young Guns,” which included Matt Stafford, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Foles. Long term we need to be preparing for life after the “Senior Citizens.” Manning and Brees will obviously give you a much better chance of winning a Championship next season, but Foles will come at a far cheaper price and will be around for a much longer time. People seem to already forget he didn’t open the season as the starter in Philly this year, Michael Vick started the first four games before going down with a leg injury. Foles went on to throw for 2,891 yards, 27 touchdowns to just two interceptions while adding 225 rushing yards and three more scores. Obviously things can change throughout the offseason, the Lions overhauled their coaching staff, the 49ers have some free agency issues with Anquan Boldin and the Eagles have to decide what to do with Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, who is recovering from an ACL tear, but Foles excelled in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense and another full offseason in the system can only help. Now, if the Lions go out and sign a legit receiver to play opposite Calvin Johnson, I might switch these two guys, but right now Foles is my QB4.

Karl: By now, you’re used to me disagreeing with with the other staff members, but this time is different. I believe Foles is a legitimate quarterback in the NFL. Often times dynasty owners will put too much stock in what happens over the span of eleven games, but I believe, in this instance, the public isn’t giving enough credit to the aforementioned quarterback. As Eric mentioned, Foles’ statistics last year were spectacular. His weapons are among the best in the league. With DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Zach Ertz and LeSean McCoy surrounding him, Foles has plenty of toys. There have already been rumors of Jeremy Maclin re-signing in Philadelphia. I absolutely love this kid and rank him as my QB6. Personally, I see Matt Ryan and Wilson having equal or greater careers, but they are all in the same tier. The consensus DLF ranking for Foles is QB10, so if you agree with Eric and I, you may be able to acquire him on the cheap.

Thank you Eric Olinger, Jeff Beran, and Eric Dickens for participating today! I hope to welcome all of you to The Roundtable again in the near future.

Are there any players you’d like explained by a certain staff member? Let us know in the comment section below.

Follow me on Twitter: @KarlSafchick

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  1. Bob

    February 14, 2014 at 6:52 am

    I want to know where the DLF IDP experts are ranking NaVarro Bowman after his injury.

    • Zach

      February 14, 2014 at 7:13 am

      I’m also wondering about Bowman. It’s a major blow to my team if he can’t return to form

      • Eric Olinger

        February 14, 2014 at 7:48 am

        We have our IDP rankings available for free.

      • Eric Olinger

        February 14, 2014 at 7:52 am

        Drafting a start-up team I am treating Bowman as if the injury never happened. I’d much rather deal with an ACL injury than an Achilles. He might start the year slow or on the PUP list but by mid-season he should be solid and by the end of the year he should be back to his old self. Plus he is only 25 years old.

        • Bob

          February 14, 2014 at 9:30 am

          I looked at the rankings and thought top 5 was high for a player coming off injury. Wanted to know your thoughts post injury. I hope he gets back to his old form.


          • Karl Safchick

            February 14, 2014 at 3:57 pm

            Hey Bob. I would consider Bowman a top 5 LB for sure. I consider David, Kuechly, Wagner, Alonso, and Bowman to be the top tier. If your league is sack heavy, you can sprinkle in guys like Aldon Smith, Houston, and Miller. Be on the lookout, I will eventually be interviewing the IDP guys for a Rountable discussion.

  2. Boys

    February 14, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Interesting take on your Rankings of Players. After reading this I went to the Rankings page for RBs, now I am puzzled by your methodology.

    Seattle and San Fran are both running teams while Denver and Detroit are both pass heavy; why do you rank the RBs for those passing teams well above the RBs for those running teams?

    As an example:

    Bush is a consensus #19 you have him #14 – 5 spots higher
    Lynch is a consensus #8 you have him #22 – 14 spots lower
    Bush had 1006/506 Yards with 4/3 TDs
    Lynch had 1257/316 Yards with 12/2 TDs

    Granted Lynch has a potential DUI hanging over his head but his health has not caused him to miss the games that Bush has missed and Bush is a year older. Seems to me that they should be ranked closer together and I would like to hear a detailed rationale from you on your methodology.

    If in a Dynasty format you are looking at who can produce over a 2-3 year future window, it would seem that Lynch has as much if not more potential than Bush.

    Thank you

    • UnderDog

      February 14, 2014 at 8:06 am

      Don’t mean to speak for the sitekeepers but…

      One thing I always have to keep in mind/account for is that all of the rankings here are PPR (my league is not PPR).

    • Slick

      February 14, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Yes, I would like to hear more about Andre Brown.
      His rankings range from 25 – 68 (that has to be some kind of record).
      Would love to hear Jeff B’s take on why he is top 25 and also Ken M who is ranking him like his career is over. And yes, I currently own him.


      • Ken Moody

        February 14, 2014 at 9:58 am

        I try to look at players in a 3 year window. Brown is 27, not very dynamic, on a struggling offense, and just doesn’t do much for me. I would much rather gamble on some younger players with more upside. I know I’m an outlier on him, so feel free to disregard my opinion if you are looking for more of a uniform consensus. But I think one of the things that makes these rankings useful are seeing differing opinions and sometimes being forced to think outside your own box. I know I have to all the time when ranking players, looking at how others guys rank someone forces me to constantly re-evaluate my own perceptions of players. Thanks! KM

      • Jeff Beran

        February 14, 2014 at 9:59 am

        Good question. I’m pretty surprised others are so down on him. He’s certainly not the most talented guy in the world but when it comes to New York Giants running backs, that doesn’t seem to matter much. My ranking is based on several factors which include but are not limited to:
        1. I expect NY to re-sign him on the cheap. They have gaping holes all over their team and will probably use their cap space to address those issues.
        2. From the reports I’ve read, it sounds more likely that David Wilson’s career is over than it does that he’ll play again.
        3. Given the probability of #1 and #2, Brown will be the starting running back in 2014. With improved OL play, he’ll be an effective 3-down back.
        4. He catches passes.
        5. He’s 27 but he has an extremely small amount of mileage on his tires (214 career carries).
        6. Based on the short careers and high volatility of the RB position, I generally rank them with a smaller window (approx. 2 years) than I do for other positions.

        When it comes to rankings, I think I tend to put a little more stock in immediate opportunity (and likewise a little less in “potential”) than other rankers so with that in mind, it makes sense that I’m the highest on him.

        • slick

          February 14, 2014 at 10:42 am

          wow. excellent analysis from both sides. love it and it is very helpful. since i own him and happen to be a giants fan, i am certainly interested in him doing well. but i would certainly deal him if his value peaked (which would likely be early in the season after some success). after hearing from both of you, i actually think the extremes in rankings fit his profile perfectly. i guess that is something we should all keep in mind with this series. sometimes, extremes are not only accurate but telling. one last point – Jeff B. mentioned in #4 reason that he catches passes. this is a huge plus, but am i projecting correctly that this is especially true with new OC mcadoo? i can see alot of no huddle, dumpoffs, screens, where he would shine. thoughts? again, thanks again for the quick and excellent replies.

    • Karl Safchick

      February 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Hey Boys. I think you are analyzing your RB backwards. When I rank players I do so with little regard for which team they play for. Certain player whom are in favorable positions, yet lack skill, could find themselves on a different team in the blink of an eye. To your question specifically, I am afraid of many factors when it comes to Lynch. My eyes work the same as yours, in that I think he is an amazing runner. He actually led me to my first title in my home dynasty league. He will always hold a soft spot in my heart for that. Unfortunately, what he has done for dynasty owners doesn’t mean anything for what he will do in the future. Lynch has an impending DUI case which could land him in the office of Mr. Rodger Godell. If he is suspending for the first quarter of the season, I could easily see the young guys showing what they could do. They didn’t draft two talented RB to sit on the bench. I’m also worried about how much tread Lynch still has on his tires. The fact that he has no guaranteed money left on his contract, doesn’t help the situation either. I hope that answers some of your questions. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. You can hit me up on Twitter, or I’ll check in on here tomorrow.

  3. Jacob Feldman

    February 14, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Classic quote from Karl: “Richardson reminds me of the girlfriend you just can’t get over, despite the fact you see her out with other guys.”

  4. TJ

    February 14, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Would you trade Jimmy Graham for AJ Green straight up?

    • Seth

      February 14, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      I recently traded Graham and Kendall Wright for AJ Green and Jordan Cameron. Graham and Gronk are in tiers by themselves but we start 3WRs and only 1TE in the league, so I liked AJG over Graham. Non-PPR league btw.

  5. BigD

    February 14, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    yes I would. right now. graham seems to have injury problems starting to surface. green is a top 3 wr and jimmy is the top te. the trade is fair no doubt, but I like greens longevity over jimmy. I love brees over ginger Dalton for sure…..but green has the upside without injury history. i’m going that route.

  6. esloan35

    February 15, 2014 at 6:59 am

    Anybody in their right mind think Andrew Luck is worth RG3 and 1.7 in this years draft. I have been going round and round with a fellow owner.

    • Sean C.

      February 15, 2014 at 8:09 am

      No way! Luck is by far the best player in the deal. RG3 may never regain pre injury form. That’s a huge risk! I would say this years draft is deep, but no way I trade Luck for that. Luck has been the #8 QB for 2 consecutive years and he’s going to improve!!

    • David

      February 15, 2014 at 8:20 am

      Depends on your league. In a 12-team league with one QB starter, I would definitely do this deal. 3 reasons.
      1. QB and QB 12 typically have a small per game point differential
      2. Griffin was insanely accurate in 2012 and terrible in 2013. In college he was amazingly accurate. Which one is the likely outlier?
      3. RGIII will give you more rushing yards

      You get a shot at Amaro or one of the top 5 WR at 1.07 as well.

      • BigD

        February 15, 2014 at 8:39 am

        no stop put luck down and backup slowly….then turn and run away fro that deal as fast as you can

        • esloan35

          February 15, 2014 at 7:06 pm

          Thanks for the intel fellas..

    • bigefat

      February 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      I wouldn’t trade the 1.07 for RG3. I just don’t trust him. Seems like too much value is in those repaired legs! While he’s intelligent he doesn’t try to avoid the hit. Too risky!

  7. Rustyram78

    February 15, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Trouble getting onto the forum.

    In a vacuum anyone agree with moving Larry Fitz, TRich and the 1.12 for the 1.01?

    • esloan35

      February 15, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      I just don’t feel a strong number one this year. I am sure the combine will raise the value some. But, I would hold. You have some assets. Roll with them.

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