Welcome back all of you Dynasty Lifers! I greet you that way for two reasons. One, that’s my opening line on every episode of the Dynasty Life podcast (that I probably should have retired by now). And two, if you’re reading up on 100 incoming NFL offensive playmakers in January or February then dynasty is likely (a huge part of) your life.
If you missed the November edition of this series there’s a blue hyperlink to click on, aptly placed on the word “November” because I like keeping things easy for my readers.
If you checked that out, then welcome back again! Ha! I’m not that funny, but at least I make sad attempts in that direction. Anyway, I’m done with that. I promise (*crosses fingers*).
Seriously though, we are less than a month away from NFL Combine week! It is (well past) time to dive head first into rookie draft planning and take the necessary steps to crush our league mates in the off-season. That’s why I put these lists together a few times every year. They’re just one step in the big picture process that is building your fantasy football dynasty (or maybe just building a knowledge base to impress your friends at the bar next week). Regardless of your reason for binging on rookies in January or February, I’m glad you’re here.
Keep in mind, as I say every time, I’m not saying that this list is your magical ticket to dynasty championship land. You are most definitely going to disagree with (at least) one or two of these player rankings. And that’s great! You should. The whole point of this exercise is to share my knowledge, and give you another set of data to analyze and test against your own current understanding of the incoming draft class.
So yes, Kalen Ballage truthers, I promise things will be okay even if I have him lower than you. And yes, I am probably insane for ranking DJ Moore that high. It’s fine. Let’s just tackle this class together and hopefully, we’ll teach each other something along the way.
Please do make sure and leave a comment. I want to learn something from you all. And of course, feel free to reach out to me on the Twitter (@FF_TravisM). That’s the best way to antagonize me concerning your favorite players or perhaps become my best friend.
And yes, I know this piece is incredibly long (Sorry James, the GOAT editor). There are 100 players to talk through. That takes a sec.
1) Saquon Barkley – RB1, Penn State
Surprise! Everyone’s number one player is still sitting on his throne (of Bud Light probably spouting off “Dilly Dilly!”). Saquon Barkley has been unanimously perched atop the majority of dynasty rookie ranking lists ever since he dropped 358 total yards (305 from scrimmage) on Iowa in a nationally televised prime-time game last fall. Barkley did everything in that game. He carried the rock 28 times for 211 yards. He doubled his career record (at the time) for receptions in a game by grabbing 12 passes for 94 yards. The young stud king even showed some burst in the return game. From that point on the great BAEquon could do no wrong.
It almost didn’t seem to matter that the very next game Saquon averaged 2.8 yards per carry against a less-than-stellar Indiana team. Yes, some people wanted to make a big deal out of his putrid performance against Ohio State in which he put up some of his worst tape of the year. But even then, most people chalked that up Ohio State’s dominant defensive line just eating Saquon up in the backfield before even Superman could evade a tackle.
At the very least, Saquon showed he was indeed human this past season when it came to decision-making in hitting the hole. The majority of us dynasty fanatics want to view Saquon a la “vie en rose” (all googly-eyed no matter what) but the truth is this king has a few chinks in his armor. I’m not saying he isn’t the best player in this draft class. He most definitely is. However, the last time the dynasty community was this sure on a consensus number one player this early (in the fall of his final collegiate season) it was Trent Richardson. Let that sink in. Then select Saquon first overall and move on anyway.
2) Derrius Guice – RB2, LSU
I can’t remember any time in dynasty that the number one and two picks seemed so clear this early. Obviously landing spot could change things, but Derrius Guice seems like the pick here in his own tier.
Guice runs like a madman when he’s healthy. It’s truly comical watching just one defender trying to tackle Guice with a full head of steam. He invites contact. He seeks it out and then mutilates his opponents in the second level of defenses. Derrius exhibits all of the physical traits you want to see in a feature back. Plus he’s shown decisiveness, balance, vision, and extreme perseverance through some tough nagging injuries.
The only real concerns with Guice may be health (given his playing style) and perhaps his receiving chops (given the small sample size), but most dynasty owners will look past that. Guice has RB1 potential. Treat him that way.
Tier 3 (The “Sure Things”)
3) James Washington – WR1, Oklahoma State
4) Courtland Sutton – WR2, SMU
5) Ronald Jones II – RB3, USC
6) Calvin Ridley – WR3, Alabama
7) Nick Chubb – RB4, Georgia
8) Sony Michel – RB5, Georgia