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.
1 QB DYNASTY FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS: TIM RIORDAN
In dynasty fantasy football, there tends to be two designations that one can approach their team, “win now” or “win later.” I don’t like that way of thinking. I believe it is accepting defeat at some point, and why is that any fun? Fantasy football should always be about winning! Dynasty, re-draft, best ball, empire, devy, however you play the game, the goal should be to win! That’s why I like to approach my dynasty startup drafts and roster building with a different mantra. I say there doesn’t need to be an either/or approach. For my teams, I’m always trying to “win now and win later.” That is how I approached putting together these rankings.
With that mantra in mind, you will find some drastic differences between my rankings and the DLF ADP. I believe that is acceptable for dynasty rankings, because the margin for error is much larger in dynasty than it is for redraft. You aren’t just projecting these players with just 2023 in mind. We’re looking ahead to the entire career of fantasy football production to come, so some players may drastically rise or fall from one ranker to another.
Bellcow running backs are important to roster building in dynasty leagues. They’re the hardest players to come upon, they’re the most valuable trade assets, and they’re the easiest way to win right now. That’s a bit different than how most rankers approach dynasty rankings, so generally you’ll see running backs higher ranked on my board while wide receivers suffer a bit. I’m also not afraid to take a player if they’re in the high 20’s or even low 30’s. I find that these players become great values, especially in startup drafts, and can help set your team apart from the rest of the pack.
Rankings: 1 - 24
|Rank||AVG||+ / -||Name||Pos||Team||Age|
|6||2023 Rookie 1.01|
Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase are in a tier by themselves at the top of almost everyone’s dynasty rankings. They’re both 23 year-old wide receivers who dominate their offenses and could still be approaching their ceiling. I wouldn’t be surprised if one, or both, of these players are Hall of Famers at the end of their careers, even with so many wide receivers being held out of the Hall recently. If you draft them, you could see another 10 years of fantasy football domination.
After that is where the fork in the road hits. Are you going to go after a running back who will be the centerpiece of your contending team for the next two to three years, or will you go after a stud wide receiver who could be on your roster for the next decade? I decide to lean towards the running backs in this case, which is why my next four picks, if you include the 2023 Rookie 1.01 (AKA Bijan Robinson), are all running backs.
Ironically, Christian McCaffrey is the healthiest of the three backs ranked 3-5, but Jonathan Taylor and Breece Hall have much longer careers ahead of them. For just this season, I’d take McCaffrey over the other two, but Taylor and Hall still have several years of high-end production ahead of them.
CeeDee Lamb and Jaylen Waddle take a pretty deep dive here going from fourth overall to 11th and fifth to 13th respectively. This is a factor of me pushing more win-now running backs over two wide receivers who likely won’t win you a league in the next two years, but have a much longer shelf life. I’ll take the impact of a Christian McCaffrey or a Saquon Barkley over Lamb or Waddle in my dynasty leagues.
Two quarterbacks sneak into the second round here with Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen being ranked 21st and 22nd. In a one-quarterback league, it’s such a nice luxury to have your quarterback position locked up and secured for the next 10-15 years! Other quarterbacks will rise and fall, but Mahomes and Allen have shown that they can consistently be at the top of the rankings.
Finally, Tee Higgins falls all the way from 8th overall to 24th overall in my rankings. I believe his ADP got juiced up with trade rumors this off-season that are not going to come to fruition. He only has one year left on his rookie contract, but who knows if he’ll make his way out of Cincinnati at that point. It could be several years until Higgins gets to be the alpha wide receiver for a team, and until then, he’s proved to be a WR2 for fantasy football.
Rankings: 25 - 48
|Rank||AVG||+ / -||Name||Pos||Team||Age|
|27||10||-17||Amon-Ra St. Brown||WR||DET||23|
|31||2023 Rookie 1.02|
|32||2023 Rookie 1.03|
Amon-Ra St. Brown is another player who falls a long way down my rankings, 17 picks from pick 10 to 27. I am probably too low on St. Brown here, but it is because I feel really great about Jameson Williams’ ability to overtake him in the fantasy football pecking order this season in Detroit. I have Williams ranked nine spots over his ADP at 47 overall. I wouldn’t be surprised if, after this season, Williams is going well ahead of St. Brown in dynasty startup drafts.
The 1.02 Rookie Pick and 1.03 rookie pick are grouped together here at 31 and 32 overall, and you won’t see another rookie pick for a while in these rankings. After Jahmyr Gibbs and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, I believe there is a big dropoff to the fourth rookie pick. The weight of Gibbs scared me off at first, but I’ve really come around to his skill set watching his film and reading his DLF Rookie Profile by Emerson Beery. He likely won’t be a bell cow back, which is what moves this pick into the third round of the startup drafts, but his ceiling, especially in PPR leagues, could make this ranking a huge value in a year’s time.
Our first tight ends enter the fold here in this range, with Kyle Pitts coming off the board, followed by Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews at picks 33, 38, and 46 respectively. Kelce is still a very high-end fantasy value for me, even if he only gives us one more year of fantasy production. The tight end position in fantasy football is a mess, and Kelce continues to be the lone consistent stud, while other players rise and fall with the tides. I’ll keep putting Kelce high up in my ranks until he forces me not to. Mark Andrews loses some value in these rankings, going off the board as my 4th overall tight end. Quarterback question marks and competition at the position force me to move Andrews down a peg here. Lamar Jackson isn’t long for the Ravens, even if he does play there in 2023, and the position is a wasteland after that for Baltimore. Meanwhile, Isaiah Likely showed some flash at times last season and I really liked Charlie Kolar coming out of Iowa State. I don’t think either of them will overtake Andrews anytime soon, but that is a lot of talent at that position.
At running back, we see Javonte Williams ranked 26th overall, nine spots over his DLF ADP. Williams suffered a very bad ACL injury, similar to the one JK Dobbins suffered in 2021, so it will take him a while to get back on the field. When he does return, he’ll be a part of a Sean Payton offense that has always been incredibly fantasy-friendly to the running back position. We’ve seen how talented Williams is, and Melvin Gordon isn’t in Denver to take carries away from him anymore. Once he’s back on the field, expect his dynasty ADP to skyrocket.
Rankings: 49 - 72
|Rank||AVG||+ / -||Name||Pos||Team||Age|
|62||2023 Rookie 1.04|
|66||2023 Rookie 1.05|
|67||2023 Rookie 1.06|
|72||2023 Rookie 1.07|
Kicking off the second 50 in my rankings are Michael Pittman, who falls 19 spots to 50th overall, and Amari Cooper, who climbs 13 spots to 51st overall. The Colts appear to be in a world of trouble at the quarterback position. Unless the Panthers or Texans make a draft-day mistake, they’ll be stuck choosing between Will Levis and Anthony Richardson to be the quarterback of the future. Both players are very volatile assets, who will likely succeed more with their legs than they will with their arms. Pittman has survived some rough quarterback situations in his career, and I don’t see it getting much better going forward. Meanwhile, for Cooper, I am a believer in this Browns passing game with Deshaun Watson. After over a season being off the field, Watson came back and predictably struggled, while Cooper’s fantasy value took the brunt of the damage. Before Watson, Cooper was a league-winning wide receiver, finishing as a top 12 wide receiver five times in a span of ten games. I’m buying a bounce-back season from Cooper, who is still just 28 years old.
At quarterback, Justin Herbert takes a serious fall from 37 to 64 overall in my rankings. It’s not to say I’m particularly down on Herbert, I just like Lamar Jackson and Trevor Lawrence more, so I had to move them in front of Herbert. He doesn’t do enough in the running game to earn a top spot in my quarterback rankings. His package of pass targets is also in flux long-term, with Keenan Allen nearing the end of his career and Austin Ekeler requesting a trade. I’m excited to see what Herbert can do with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, but I also believe that Justin Herbert’s best fantasy football season is in the past.
I do not understand why Marquise Brown is a top 45 pick in dynasty ADP right now. What has he done in the NFL to deserve that kind of draft capital? If managers are really considering Brown the 45th-best player in fantasy, I’d be out there selling.
Rankings: 73 - 96
|Rank||AVG||+ / -||Name||Pos||Team||Age|
|79||2023 Rookie 1.08|
|88||2023 Rookie 1.09|
|93||2023 Rookie 1.10|
|96||2023 Rookie 1.11|
Cam Akers comes into my rankings here 10 picks over his ADP of 84 overall. He really came on at the end of last season, and won me a very important fantasy league. Sean McVay has a history of sticking to one back more than most coaches do, and Cam Akers may finally be healthy enough to be that back for the Rams. He could be a great option to buy low at just 23 years old.
I’ve moved Dameon Pierce down quite a bit here, as I expect the Texans to continue addressing this position, as they already have by bringing in Devin Singletary. I take draft capital very seriously in my dynasty rankings, especially at running back, and Pierce was drafted in a spot to be a piece of a running back rotation. After a very hot start to 2022, he started to fall off before an injury ended his season.
Elijah Moore could be an incredible value in fantasy leagues as he gets a fresh start in Cleveland, I hope. It was really disappointing to see the way his career played out in New York. We knew there were some maturity issues at Ole Miss, and it’s safe to assume those issues followed him to the Big Apple. When he was on the field and in the good graces of his coaches and quarterback, we saw flashes of greatness. He should be heavily involved in this Cleveland Browns passing game.
We see the picks 1.08, 1.09, 1.10, and 1.11 slot into this range of the rankings, as this is the point where it’s ok to take a lottery ticket on a pick over a player who is on the decline or doesn’t make much of a fantasy impact. Josh Downs and Jalen Hyatt are two high-impact wide receivers who are going in this range in DLF Rookie ADP. I’d happily take a shot on them over a player like Diontae Johnson or Miles Sanders.
Rankings: 97 - 120
|Rank||AVG||+ / -||Name||Pos||Team||Age|
|2023 Rookie 1.12|
We begin this final section of my rankings with Skyy Moore in Kansas City. I have him ranked 11 spots over his ADP at 97 overall. The last time we saw him, he was catching a Super Bowl touchdown from Patrick Mahomes. JuJu Smith-Schuster has moved on and this offense is totally devoid of an impact receiver other than Travis Kelce. I believe this year Moore will emerge as the number two option in the Chiefs’ passing game this season, and that would make him a great value around pick 100 in a startup draft. Moore’s struggles started in special teams, where he suffered a few fumbles, and he never got his rookie season going in the right direction. His second-round draft capital means that the Chiefs cannot give up on him so quickly.
Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott both come in 27 spots lower than their Dynasty ADP in this section. I have them ranked as the quarterback 10 and 12 in dynasty leagues right now. They’re getting pushed down the board because, in a one quarterback league, I’m not going to go out of my way to make sure I have a low-end QB1 over flex players who may have larger impacts on my team. Quarterback is not an afterthought in these leagues, but it’s pretty close. It isn’t a hard position to trade for, or to rebuild with waivers or rookie drafts.
Rashaad Penny is an interesting name in this range. He was signed by the Eagles and appeared to be their direct replacement for Miles Sanders, but then we saw the contract. He signed a one-year deal worth $1.35 million with just $600,000 guaranteed. With such a small contract, the Eagles may not consider him a large part of their offense just yet, and may even bring in another running back in the draft. He was really starting to get going last year before another injury ended his season early. If he avoids any rookie competition, and proves he’s healthy this offseason, Penny could have a large role in the Eagles’ offense, but he will need to earn it.
AJ Dillon is far-and-away the biggest faller I have in my rankings. He falls 40 spots from 76 overall to 116 overall in my rankings. I have him as the running back 35 while he’s being drafted as the 25th back off the board. I really don’t have much interest at all in him for fantasy football. Three years in and all we’ve seen from him is an ability to stay on the field and to find the end zone. Pair that with a declining offense and there are 34 running backs that I would rather have ahead of him.
The NFL Draft is under a month away, and these rankings will drastically change with the results of those three days. The time is now to take advantage of value that won’t be there in a month’s time. These rankings, and all of the tools available at DLF, can help you navigate the value of your rookie picks and dynasty assets before we learn where the 2023 rookies are going to be playing football this year!
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