Rich Cooling: Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Explained

Richard Cooling

Welcome to another installment in our new series of articles where DLF rankers not only explain their dynasty fantasy football rankings, but also include a number of the 2023 rookie draft pick selections so you can see how we each, individually, value those dynasty rookie picks in comparison to players as if it were a dynasty fantasy football startup draft.

Be sure to catch all of the Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Explained series.

DLF has always offered our readers multiple sets of dynasty fantasy football rankings from different experts to provide a broad view of player rankings. With many different strategies for building a successful dynasty team, no single set of rankings could possibly meet the needs of every coach. Instead, we’ve long subscribed to the idea of our experts providing their own individual rankings, ultimately giving our readers the opportunity to gravitate to a particular expert who closely matches their own style of ranking or, perhaps, instead choosing to use an average ranking across all experts. Valuation variability between players in the rankings can often be large but that variability can provide opportunity as well. Our DLF expert rankers should always be able to explain why they are higher, or lower, on a particular player.

While explaining our rankings will provide greater insight alone, we are also including a number of 2023 rookie draft selections interspersed with the players so you can get a better idea of how each of our rankers values those selections when compared to existing veteran players. As would be expected, you will find a great degree of variability in the valuation of these picks as well depending on the style of the ranker. Each draft class has its own quality and depth and, depending on how the ranker values that quality and depth, individual rookie selections will appear earlier or later on the list.

A note about the tables. The Rank column indicates this ranker’s personal rankings. The AVG column indicates the consensus rankings value at the time these rankings were created. The “+/-” column indicates how much higher or lower the ranker is to the consensus average.

Each week we will provide rankings for 120 players and 2023 rookie draft picks, alternating between 1QB and Superflex rankings. For a deeper list of rankings, please visit our consensus dynasty fantasy football rankings.

SUPERFLEX DYNASTY FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS: RICH COOLING

When looking at Dynasty, I believe in value over everything, which is how I approach my rankings. Rather than viewing rankings as a list, I consider every player as having a specific value. I use these values both as trade values and also to determine rankings. The value scale for me is one to 100, with the number one player overall having the value of 100 and everyone else working backward from that starting point. If multiple players have the same value, that creates a tier, and I will rank accordingly within that tier.

In creating the values, I consider every input I can. I am considering expected production, resale value, age, contract situation, health, competition, and team situation. I then track these values over time and incorporate current and future picks.

Specifically, regarding Superflex formats, it is very apparent that Quarterbacks are king, mainly due to the positional scarcity, which is evident in my rankings. In building a Superflex roster, I want to have four starting quarterbacks as a minimum and therefore value an average player much higher than most other positions.

Rankings: 1 - 24

RankAVG+ / -NamePosTeamAge
121Josh AllenQBBUF26
21-1Patrick MahomesQBKC27
330Jalen HurtsQBPHI24
440Joe BurrowQBCIN26
550Justin HerbertQBLAC24
660Justin JeffersonWRMIN23
7103Trevor LawrenceQBJAC23
880Lamar JacksonQBFA26
97-2Ja'Marr ChaseWRCIN22
10144Justin FieldsQBCHI23
11121CeeDee LambWRDAL23
123018Deshaun WatsonQBCLE27
139-4AJ BrownWRPHI25
1413-1Dak PrescottQBDAL29
15183Kyler MurrayQBARI25
162023 Rookie 1.01
17214Garrett WilsonWRNYJ22
1811-7Jaylen WaddleWRMIA24
19267Chris OlaveWRNO22
20255Breece HallRBNYJ21
212023 Rookie 1.02
223311Tee HigginsWRCIN24
2322-1Kenneth WalkerRBSEA22
2416-8Tua TagovailoaQBMIA24

The top 6 don’t offer up any surprises. The elite quarterbacks are well known, and every one, along with Justin Jefferson, values them as almost unobtainable assets. However, I have a couple of distinct tiers within this section because of my values. Allen and Mahomes are interchangeable at one and two. They have the same value, and you’re genuinely splitting hairs between them. The second tier is Jalen Hurts and Joe Burrow, both truly elite in great situations with surrounding talent but a slight question mark to be a tier below the elite two at the position.

My third tier is a much larger group with four quarterbacks and two elite wide receivers. It may surprise some, but Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields deserve their spot in this company. While neither had a groundbreaking rookie year, they showed me enough this last season that they will be a franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future and someone you can feel confident building your dynasty roster around.

After that top 10, there is a clear and distinct tier break. Using my value chart, I value Justin Fields and Ja’maar Chase as an 80, yet CeeDee Lamb, who comes in at number 11 on the ranks, is a 66. That 14-point gap is around an early 2023 2nd-round pick, highlighting this tier break’s size.

CeeDee Lamb, down to the Rookie 1.01, constitutes the next tier. Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray are the big standouts in this group. Both have serious question marks for very different reasons. Both are elite fantasy options and will have very long careers that will produce vast volumes of fantasy points. With Kyler Murray, I appreciate the concerns about the ACL Injury, but this time, in 12 months, he will likely be a top six to eight pick in superflex formats, and I’m happy to take the discount and wait the six to nine months for that pick. With Deshaun Watson, I think last season was a huge hurdle to overcome and a lot of rust to blow off. However, he will likely return to elite status with an entire off-season. Unless something drastic happens, the rookie 1.01 falls here as my overall running back one. The hype is unbelievable, but Bijan Robinson is the real deal.

The next grouping of players constitutes some colossal boom/bust potential. This second round is littered with players who could be first-round start-up picks next year or disappoint and hurt your rosters. Higgins, Hall, Wilson, and Olave are all elite talents, and I’m happy paying a slight premium to get them for their peak years. I would include the rookie 1.02 in that conversation, which will likely be the Quarterback one in this year’s class. Waddle would be ranked a tier higher if I had absolute certainty about his quarterback, and he wasn’t sharing an offense with a player who will likely command close to a 30% target share each of the next two seasons. This brings us to Tua Tagovailoa. If you could guarantee his health and his playing in Miami with two elite receivers for the next three seasons, he would likely be ranked ahead of Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray, pushing that tier of elite quarterbacks. However, those are two severe question marks that constitute the value drop.

Rankings: 25 - 48

RankAVG+ / -NamePosTeamAge
2520-5Amon-Ra St. BrownWRDET23
2619-7Tyreek HillWRMIA28
2717-10Christian McCaffreyRBSF26
2824-4Saquon BarkleyRBNYG26
292023 Rookie 1.03
30377Mark AndrewsTEBAL27
3115-16Jonathan TaylorRBIND24
32342Drake LondonWRATL21
33407DeVonta SmithWRPHI24
342023 Rookie 1.04
355116Rhamondre StevensonRBNE24
3623-13Stefon DiggsWRBUF29
3728-9DK MetcalfWRSEA25
382023 Rookie 1.05
397233Kirk CousinsQBMIN34
4010060Kenny PickettQBPIT24
4135-6Travis KelceTEKC33
4232-10Cooper KuppWRLAR29
438542Russell WilsonQBDEN34
4436-8Austin EkelerRBLAC27
459146Derek CarrQBFA31
467024Aaron RodgersQBGB39
479043Daniel JonesQBFA25
4827-21Davante AdamsWRLV30

This next group is fascinating to me. While I appreciate the incredible production players like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Jonathan Taylor can put up for your fantasy teams. They’re both looking at one season of elite production across the last three. Therefore, I am lower than the consensus from a pure rankings perspective. If you’re already rostering them or pushing for a title, I understand valuing them much higher. However, I can’t get on board with ranking them any higher, given the risk and potential for them to lose significant value with a single injury. Being seven spots lower than the consensus on Tyreek is a little surprising. Still, given his advancing age and reliance on his speed and athleticism, there is the risk that his value could plummet alongside the running backs he is in a tier with here.

The next tier includes three rookie picks from 1.03 to 1.05; they’re all very close in value and almost interchangeable depending on roster need/situation. This tier also has the first tight end off the board. Despite a down year, I still have this as Mark Andrews, as I view him as the highest combination of production, age, and future potential. Drake London and DeVonta Smith are still super underrated and offer elite profiles at a discount despite putting up impressive numbers in challenging circumstances. Rhamondre Stevenson being in this tier may surprise some, but I can’t understand why more people aren’t higher on him. He was fantastic last season and will likely be finding an even more significant workload next year, with Damien Harris likely to leave in free agency. It’s not very often you get young running backs who combine goalline ability with receiving workload that has produced for fantasy at the cost of Stevenson.

Stefon Diggs is similar to the Tyreek Hill situation. I would rather be out a year early than a year too late on an aging wide receiver, so I can’t value him as the elite producer he has been, as one injury, trade, or bad stretch of games will see his value plummet.

We can now get to the most significant discrepancy in this rankings exercise. As I said at the beginning, I view Quarterbacks as king in the Superflex format, as do most people. However, where I differ dramatically is this next tier of solid unsexy QB2 types. A mid-tier QB2 is more valuable than almost any other non-elite player in fantasy. They are so much more stable as an asset as well because of the longevity of the position. Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, and Derek Carr are all in their thirties but will all have at least two more seasons of fantasy production, if not more. How many other players can you say that for? If you think it’s a high number, go and look at ADP from two years ago in this range, it’s not pretty.

Rankings: 49 - 72

RankAVG+ / -NamePosTeamAge
496112Trey LanceQBSF22
509343Geno SmithQBFA32
5131-20Travis EtienneRBJAC24
522023 Rookie 1.06
5339-14Kyle PittsTEATL22
5438-16D'Andre SwiftRBDET24
55583JK DobbinsRBBAL24
5643-13Chris GodwinWRTB26
572023 Rookie 1.07
587719Jahan DotsonWRWAS22
5942-17Michael PittmanWRIND25
60644Rashod BatemanWRBAL23
612023 Rookie 1.08
6260-2Diontae JohnsonWRPIT26
6341-22Nick ChubbRBCLE27
642023 Rookie 1.09
6545-20DJ MooreWRCAR25
6656-10George PickensWRPIT21
6729-38Deebo SamuelWRSF27
6854-14Amari CooperWRCLE28
6962-7Christian WatsonWRGB23
7046-24Josh JacobsRBLV25
7150-21Javonte WilliamsRBDEN22
72731Brandon AiyukWRSF24

Continuing from the previous section Trey Lance and Geno Smith belongs in the tier with most of the other middling quarterbacks.

The next tier is a group of players I like but need help getting on board with their prices in ADP. Kyle Pitts, Travis Etienne, and DeAndre Swift are all elite talents and have obvious fantasy upside, but for their current prices in ADP, it’s just too rich for me.

Bateman and Dotson are two players I have been higher than consensus on since before they entered the league. They’re both impressive talents and expect big breakout seasons this year. A couple more rookie picks and the ever-underrated Diontae Johnson leads us to the next big group of players that I’m far lower on than consensus. If we start with the wide receivers in this tier first. Michael Pittman, DJ Moore, George Pickens, Deebo Samuel, Amari Cooper, and Christian Watson. Each of these players, for various reasons, has been overhyped beyond their production level. Each player has flashed and has a section of supporters enough so that some people would call themselves truthers. However, when the time comes, the fantasy production has yet to match up to the hype and price.

Moving across to the running backs, Nick Chubb, Josh Jacobs, and Javonte Williams offer too much unknown to value them any higher. Nick Chubb is now 27, and I fear the cliff could be approaching soon. Josh Jacobs is a free agent, and I can’t get a handle on what his future holds. Javonte Williams is returning from a brutal injury, and we expect him to miss time at the beginning of the season. That will then put us heading into the final year of his rookie contract, having never seen sustained production.

Rankings: 73 - 96

RankAVG+ / -NamePosTeamAge
7347-26Najee HarrisRBPIT24
748713Matthew StaffordQBLAR35
759520Calvin RidleyWRJAC28
7644-32Treylon BurksWRTEN22
7765-12Marquise BrownWRARI25
7867-11Terry McLaurinWRWAS27
7957-22Jameson WilliamsWRDET21
8079-1Mike WilliamsWRLAC28
8171-10Courtland SuttonWRDEN27
8280-2Christian KirkWRJAC26
832023 Rookie 1.10
8453-31Aaron JonesRBGB28
8574-11Tony PollardRBDAL25
862023 Rookie 1.11
8769-18JuJu Smith-SchusterWRKC26
8859-29Derrick HenryRBTEN29
8952-37Jerry JeudyWRDEN23
902023 Rookie 1.12
9186-5Mac JonesQBNE24
9276-16Keenan AllenWRLAC30
9348-45Dalvin CookRBMIN27
942023 Rookie 2.01
9512126James ConnerRBARI27
9668-28Dameon PierceRBHOU23

Continuing the theme I mentioned earlier regarding Kyler Murray – Calvin Ridley. I am always willing to wait on elite talent already produced for fantasy purposes. He won’t have played for almost two years and is 28. Still, playing with Trevor Lawrence and a natural fit on those intermediate routes that Lawrence excels throwing, I’m confident Ridley has several years of elite production left in him.

A couple of 2022 rookie wide receivers are found in this tier of wide receivers. I was never the biggest Treylon Burks fan coming out, and nothing that happened last year changed my mind. Add onto that the Titans’ question marks at quarterback, and I am concerned about his value moving forward. I was a fan of Jameson Williams and will be quick to move him up these ranks if he impresses early in the season, but his lack of involvement at the back end of last year when the Lions were trying to win has me slightly concerned. Yes, they were easing him back in, but I still wanted to see more than just a handful of deep routes per week.

Tony Pollard will likely jump a round or two in these rankings if he re-signs with the cowboys or finds a new home where he is the undisputed lead back. However, with that question hanging over him, I can’t value him any higher despite his impressive 2022 season. Aaron Jones, Derrick Henry, and Dalvin Cook are all one-year rentals at this stage. If you’re a contender in 2023, their value will be much higher, but I can’t project any value beyond this season, so I can’t invest anything higher in them.

James Conner is one player that I am much higher than the consensus on for the last six months. After producing back-to-back top-10 performances in points per game, Conner is being placed on the scrap heap. However, he is absolutely in the same conversation as the three backs I mentioned above. Yes, the offense will likely take a step back without Kyler Murray. Still, he is under contract, and I find it hard to believe the Cardinals spend any significant resources at the running back position with so many other holes on the roster. He should be in that one-year rental category.

Rankings: 97 - 120

RankAVG+ / -NamePosTeamAge
9763-34George KittleTESF29
9849-49Joe MixonRBCIN26
992023 Rookie 2.02
10066-34Mike EvansWRTB29
10189-12Elijah MooreWRNYJ22
10284-18Rachaad WhiteRBTB24
10392-11Dallas GoedertTEPHI28
1041095Khalil HerbertRBCHI24
1052023 Rookie 2.03
10682-24Jared GoffQBDET28
10755-52Alvin KamaraRBNO27
10898-10Tyler LockettWRSEA30
10912314James CookRBBUF23
1102023 Rookie 2.04
1111143Isiah PachecoRBKC23
1122023 Rookie 2.05
1131174Jakobi MeyersWRNE26
114106-8Cam AkersRBLAR23
11583-32TJ HockensonTEMIN25
11694-22Pat FreiermuthTEPIT24
117113-4Dalton SchultzTEFA26
11875-43Miles SandersRBPHI25
119104-15Kadarius ToneyWRKC24
1202023 Rookie 2.06

This final section finds a few more one-year rental running backs, Joe Mixon and Alvin Kamara. I also have two of my favorite breakout backs. Khalil Herbert, Isiah Pacheco, and James Cook flashed in limited work. However, they can take over their backfields this year and see colossal value boosts over the next 12 months.

A comprehensive section of middling tight ends can also be found in this value bracket. These valuations show how I view the tight-end position. Middling tight ends tend to get overvalued as people scramble for an answer at the position. In start-ups, I either go early at the position or opt-out entirely, choosing to attack the position with volume later in drafts. This carries over to how I value and rank the position. While Dallas Goedert, TJ Hockenson, Pat Freirmuth, and Dalton Schultz have vital attributes, they all have produced only a couple of points per game over a replacement-level tight end. That is a production I can replace by attacking the position with volume and allowing me to spend my resources in other positions.

Unranked

A few of the higher-ranked players that you won’t find in my top 120. DeAndre Hopkins is an absolute stud on the field and was a screaming value all last off-season. However, a 30-year-old wide receiver on the trade block with no knowledge of where he will be playing next year is a player I can’t be investing too heavily in.

AJ Dillon has been overhyped as the heir apparent to Aaron Jones since he was drafted. Still, with the Packers restructuring Aaron Jones’ contract so that he is around for at least one more year, AJ Dillon will again be demoted to a 1B-type role at best.

Last year’s most divisive player, Gabriel Davis, is still overvalued, as the Bills will look to add more options to the receiving game. Furthermore, Khalil Shakir will likely take the next step in his development.

Since before he was drafted, I have been lower than the consensus on Darnell Mooney. However, that continues as the Bears will invest heavily in the receiving options around Justin Fields, and Mooney will settle into a deep-threat role as the number two receiver at best.

Be sure to check out our complete Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings
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Rich Cooling: Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Explained