Dynasty League Football


John Hogue: Dynasty Superflex Rookie Rankings Explained

A behind the scene look at ranking methodology and individual rookie rankings vs the consensus.

Tyjae Spears

Earlier this year, we introduced a new series, called Dynasty Rankings Explained, where DLF rankers not only explained their dynasty fantasy football rankings, and included a number of the 2023 rookie draft pick selections so you could see how we each, individually, value those dynasty rookie picks in comparison to players as if it were a dynasty fantasy football startup draft. Now that we are well past the NFL Draft and looking forward to the NFL Season starting, we decided to bring it back, this time focusing on our dynasty rookie rankings.

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.

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 than the consensus average.

Each week we will provide rankings for 48 dynasty rookies in a Superflex, PPR format. For a closer look at all our rankings, please visit our consensus dynasty fantasy football rankings and catch all of the Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Explained series.


“Draft for value, trade for need.”

The first time I heard that, I heard it from my kindred spirit – and dynasty’s favorite Outhouse – Russ Fisher. It changed the way I manage dynasty startups, it led to the creation of the Quarterback X-treme strategy, and above all else, it shifted me to an abundance mindset as I navigated the startup draft board.

It gives us permission to ignore starting requirements, youth vs. experience, even Average Draft Position, at least to some extent. Simply accrue the most value you can possibly get on a roster, and take advantage of the fact that every player – and his corresponding value – is available to you in this startup. Then, cash in that currency for utility before the season starts.

It’s brilliant, it’s simple, and it’s brilliant in its simplicity.

Here’s the thing though: it works in the startup, but things change when your only opportunity to improve your roster is in a quick four-round rookie draft. At the very least, we should acknowledge that “value” looks very different in the rookie draft than in the startup draft. In the startup, we don’t have holes in our rosters because we don’t have rosters yet. But by the rookie draft, we are well aware of our roster deficiencies, and we have one opportunity to correct them without making a trade that extracts value from a position of strength.

Internally, we have an opportunity to fill holes in our rosters if we’re willing to disregard the concept of value and focus on our own needs. Externally, value is altered by the single most basic economic principle: supply and demand. Let’s look at 2022 as a perfect example; an absolutely loaded WR class, and we already have several breakouts from that class. But there was one QB who could help a rebuilding superflex roster in need of QB head count. Kenny Pickett wasn’t a great option at QB, but the lack of supply at the position made him a worthy selection over more “valuable” players at other positions.

My superflex rookie rankings generally ignore the value of a player, but rather, reflect the supply of the position and the opportunity to use a rookie pick to fill a roster hole. It is somewhat class-dependent, with the 2023 class being very top-heavy at all four fantasy positions and not much depth at any position. It is also dependent on the overall landscape of each position, and the availability of veteran players at the position that can be acquired for the cost of a rookie pick. In other words, WRs in this year’s class are devalued – even though there are only four players with a substantial opportunity – because there are dozens of veteran WRs who can be acquired just as easily.

Rookies 1 - 12

RankAVG+ / -NamePosTeamAge
110Bijan RobinsonRBATL21
231Bryce YoungQBCAR22
341CJ StroudQBHOU21
42-2Anthony RichardsonQBIND21
550Jaxon Smith-NjigbaWRSEA21
660Jahmyr GibbsRBDET21
770Jordan AddisonWRMIN21
8124Dalton KincaidTEBUF23
98-1Quentin JohnstonWRLAC21
109-1Zay FlowersWRBAL22
112110Roschon JohnsonRBCHI22
122311Tyjae SpearsRBTEN22

Controversy hits early, as I rank both Bryce Young and CJ Stroud ahead of Anthony Richardson. Here’s the thing: in Year One, who has the top-12 upside? It’s very obviously Richardson, with his rushing abilities and overall willingness to tuck the ball away and run. Developing a pocket passer is a long, slow process, but a superior athlete will be a superior athlete from Day One. But as those pocket passers develop, they slowly – but ultimately – surpass the run-first QB and settle in with a higher floor… and a longer career expectancy, due to their more sustainable style of play. Richardson could develop into a great pocket passer as well, but this is a probability bet that the better, more polished passers will stay better and more polished.

The top seven players all belong in an elite tier, with mini tier breaks within the tier. But the tier break after 1.07 reflects the fact that I would rather draft Jordan Addison than trade back for Quentin Johnston and a little extra draft capital. Addison is a more talented player in a better situation, and I am willing to pay a premium for that.

Dalton Kincaid also jumps ahead of Johnston and Zay Flowers, even without a TE premium, which means Kincaid probably belongs in a tier by himself. The difficulty in finding TEs drives this ranking, and makes a talented player with first-round draft capital in an elite offense the slam dunk eighth pick.

Similar process leads to the rankings of Roschon Johnson and Tyjae Spears, nearly a round higher than consensus. The RB position is just very difficult to navigate, especially through the wrong lens. People often chase draft capital, and a player who doesn’t have first round draft capital and/or walks into an immediate starting role will be devalued, if not disregarded. The reality is, a talented rusher in a good situation will have the same opportunity to score fantasy points as anyone else, just at a different point in the season. From my perspective, Johnson is already the best, most complete RB on the Chicago Bears’ depth chart and will take over the starting job at some point, and Spears is the clear-cut RB2 behind a starter going into his eighth season, in a run-heavy offense. Two potential league winners, at a position that 1) is hard to identify potential league winners before the season starts, and 2) absolutely wins leagues, no matter how dismal the position seems overall.

Rookies 13 - 24

RankAVG+ / -NamePosTeamAge
13130Zach CharbonnetRBSEA22
142814Tank BigsbyRBJAC21
1511-4Devon AchaneRBMIA21
1614-2Kendre MillerRBNO21
1715-2Michael MayerTELV22
18191Sam LaPortaTEDET22
194728Deuce VaughnRBDAL21
2017-3Marvin MimsWRDEN21
2120-1Jonathan MingoWRCAR22
2210-12Will LevisQBTEN24
2316-7Josh DownsWRIND21
24251Jayden ReedWRGB23

While I think Johnson and Spears are in better situations than some of the other RBs, I do believe that the third tier stretches from 1.09 well into the second round. Zach Charbonnet, Tank Bigsby, Devon Achane, Kendre Miller, and even Deuce Vaughn all have an opportunity to work their way into the starting lineup with a combination of strong preseason play and possibly an injury to the starter.

Mixed into the tier are TEs Michael Mayer and Sam LaPorta, and WRs Marvin Mims and Jonathan Mingo before a tier break a full round after it began. The four pass catchers should all see significant playing time, at positions that their respective teams could use some young talent.

One of my biggest discrepancies from consensus is Will Levis; the Tennessee Titans could absolutely move on from Ryan Tannehill in the next eight months, but second round draft capital is far from a guarantee. The Titans know their best chance to be competitive in 2023 – with an aging roster and a closing window – is Tannehill. If they underperform, the answer in 2024 would likely be Mr. Outside Hire. And even if a switch were to happen in-season, who is to say that Levis gets the end of season audition and not 2022 pick Malik Willis? Bottom line: if they were excited about Levis as the heir apparent, they would have drafted him in the first round, with a fifth year option. They didn’t. That speaks volumes.

Rookies 25 - 36

RankAVG+ / -NamePosTeamAge
25305Tank DellWRHOU23
2618-8Rashee RiceWRKC22
275831Deneric PrinceRBKC23
28368Michael WilsonWRARI23
2927-2Luke MusgraveTEGB22
304313Sean TuckerRBTB21
31321Luke SchoonmakerTEDAL24
3231-1Israel AbanikandaRBNYJ20
33352Zach EvansRBLAR22
3429-5Chase BrownRBCIN23
3526-9Cedric TillmanWRCLE23
36404Puka NacuaWRLAR23

We’re obviously throwing darts the rest of the draft, as hit rates are super low in this range. The goal isn’t to find a high floor flex option, because that doesn’t really exist at this point in the draft. Let’s look for the guys who have the upside to smash their ADP and become long-term starters. Who are the Stefon Diggs and Austin Ekeler’s of this class?

Tank Dell and Rashee Rice find themselves in great situations with very limited competition for targets, and Michael Wilson’s opportunity share is really only diminished by Marquise Brown. Deneric Prince is already making a strong case for a share of the Kansas City backfield, and Sean Tucker was considered one of the best RB prospects in the class before a heart condition threatened his career. Now, Tucker seems to be medically cleared and working his way up a below-average depth chart in Tampa Bay.

Even Israel Abanikanda, Zach Evans, and Chase Brown have a reasonable climb up their respective depth charts. Abanikanda has the stiffest competition, led by second-year starter Breece Hall, but the recovery from an ACL injury in 2022 could neutralize Hall and open the door for any of the Jets’ many RBs. Evans should have no problem securing the RB2 job behind Cam Akers, and Brown is the only early downs rusher behind Joe Mixon in Cincinnati.

Rookies 37 - 48

RankAVG+ / -NamePosTeamAge
37414Eric GrayRBNYG23
385315Xavier HutchinsonWRHOU23
395112Evan HullRBIND22
4022-18Hendon HookerQBDET25
41498Stetson BennettQBLAR25
425614Chris RodriguezRBWAS23
4338-5DeWayne McBrideRBMIN22
445915Aidan O'ConnellQBLV24
4533-12Tucker KraftTEGB22
4644-2Brenton StrangeTEJAC22
4724-23Jalin HyattWRNYG21
4846-2Charlie JonesWRCIN24

Several backup RBs find themselves in the fourth round as longshot lotto tickets, due to the nature of the position and the likelihood that injuries cast them into starting consideration in the near future. Eric Gray (Saquon Barkley/Matt Breida), Evan Hull (Jonathan Taylor/Deon Jackson), and DeWayne McBride (Alexander Mattison/Ty Chandler) all have several layers of depth to surpass, but if the injury bug bites any of those teams, the fourth round rookie pick sees some action.

Quarterbacks Hendon Hooker, Stetson Bennett, and Aiden O’Connell just sneak into these rankings, for essentially the same reason: one injury to a susceptible starter and they’re getting a Gardner Minshew/Brock Purdy-type audition. I think Hooker is the best player of the three, and would have the best offense at his disposal. But Bennett is a proven winner after back-to-back National Championship wins, and Matthew Stafford is quite possibly the shakiest starter in the league. And if Stafford isn’t the shakiest starter, it’s because that distinction goes to Jimmy Garoppolo, who will have to contend with offenses run by Pat Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Russell Wilson, all while avoiding injury… a feat he has struggled to accomplish his entire career. O’Connell almost feels like an inevitability, and he would step into a good offense with excellent pass catchers, a strong running game, and an offensive-minded head coach. Not to mention all of those AFC West shootouts.

In other words, forget value; if you need RB help or you need QB depth, take some shots late at filling those needs. The rookie draft is the best time to fill those needs.

Be sure to check out our complete Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings
John Hogue: Dynasty Superflex Rookie Rankings Explained
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1 month ago

In a 12 team SF, I was able to get Prince and Tucker as UDFA which I was pretty happy about. You might ask “why didn’t you just draft them to begin with?” A fair question lol – I didn’t have a 1st, but had picks 2.04, 2.09, 3.03, 3.12, and 4.09 and selected Miller, Rice, Downs, Ernest Jones (IDP league), and Zach Evans. Wanted some RB lottery tickets to trade off this time next year.

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