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Patience. It’s not natural. No one is born with it. If you have kids you know this…it’s not the default. And this plays right into the benefit of the general fantasy population for the game’s most popular sport. It’s all inclusive, all right now.

Come on in, grab a beer. Have a seat and pick some football players for a little more than an hour. It’s so easy. Then, check it twice a week for five minutes total and dominate the emotional well-being of your co-workers, friends, and neighbors. Hell, sit behind a screen and obliterate complete strangers from around the world. And when Sunday rolls around you just gave yourself a reason to veg in front of the TV, be incredibly distracted at church, watch the stattracker on your phone while driving and totally neglect everyone of importance in your life for the sake of yelling at John Kuhn when he vultures a TD from anyone of fantasy relevance on the Packers. It’s simple and easy for everyone to play. Millennials rejoice! Participation! (As a millennial, I’d like to state on the record I will not give my kids trophies for finishing last…)

So, you can continue to be impatient and play with patsies in the redraft leagues, or you can step up your game and play with some patience in the dynasty realms of fantasy. It’s like moving from Novice difficulty to Hard mode. Legendary? We’ll get you there. In dynasty patience is a virtue, assets come in the form of current college prospects two years away, and your most important draft season happens in May-July instead of late August. And it’s the way die-hard fantasy addicts get to play all the freaking year round. Welcome to the best form of fantasy football!

Since we’re approaching the dynasty draft season, now’s the time for some RANKINGS! Overall ranks, positional ranks and then, today, rookie ranks will hopefully give you all the ammunition needed to compete not just this year, but for years and years. You’ve heard, “If you build it, they will come.” And what’s the “they” in our context? Belts. Belts on belts on belts. (Or trophies. Or money. Whatever. Just freaking win). So…here’s how you ‘build’ your team. Let’s start with the 2017 Rookies!

Note: I’ll touch on strategy after the ranks come out, but as a general marker I try to view dynasty football value through a three-year window.

Top 50 2017 Rookies

 Rank Name Team Position
1 Corey Davis TEN WR
2 Leonard Fournette JAC RB
3 Christian McCaffrey CAR RB
4 Joe Mixon CIN RB
5 Mike Williams LAC WR
6 John Ross CIN WR
7 Dalvin Cook MIN RB
8 O.J. Howard TB TE
9 Zay Jones BUF WR
10 Deshaun Watson HOU QB
11 Samaje Perine WAS RB
12 Alvin Kamara NO RB
13 David Njoku CLE TE
14 Jamaal Williams GB RB
15 Juju Smith-Schuster PIT WR
16 Joe Williams SF RB
17 Kareem Hunt KC RB
18 Evan Engram NYG TE
19 Patrick Mahomes KC QB
20 Carlos Henderson DEN WR
21 Curtis Samuel CAR WR
22 Mitch Trubisky CHI QB
23 D’Onta Foreman HOU RB
24 Taywan Taylor TEN WR
25 Marlon Mack IND RB
26 Jeremy McNichols TB RB
27 Chris Godwin TB WR
28 Wayne Gallman NYG RB
29 Dede Westbrook JAC WR
30 Cooper Kupp LAR WR
31 DeShone Kizer CLE QB
32 Gerald Everett LAR TE
33 Jake Butt DEN TE
34 ArDarius Stewart NYJ WR
35 Amara Darboh SEA WR
36 Kenny Golladay DET WR
37 Adam Shaheen CHI TE
38 Josh Reynolds LAR WR
39 Nathan Peterman BUF QB
40 C.J. Beathard SF QB
41 Joshua Dobbs PIT QB
42 Isaiah Ford MIA WR
43 James Conner PIT RB
44 Malachi Dupre GB WR
45 Davis Webb NYG QB
46 Brian Hill ATL RB
47 Chad Hansen NYJ WR
48 Bucky Hodges MIN TE
49 Elijah Hood OAK RB
50 KD Cannon SF WR

A few notes from the 50:

  • Corey Davis is the clear #1 in this class. Some are saying he’s the clearest #1 we’ve seen in dynasty since Amari Cooper a few years back. I wouldn’t argue with his clarity, but Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott seemed like locks for #1 the past two years. In general, you should target WR over RB, because their shelf life is so much longer. Again, in general. With Davis, though, you have a pairing of talent with opportunity. He steps into a WR-deprived system with a young and rising QB in Marcus Mariota. Given his size and playmaking ability in college Davis could catapult into the top 15 of WR. Typically you can’t expect massive numbers from rookie WR, but Davis may break the mold similarly to the crop we saw come out in 2014.
  • This is a much deeper draft than year’s past. As you target draft picks and begin to , if you’re like me, stockpile them, the value of a 2nd rounder this year is equivalent to a mid-late 1st rounder last year. There’s great value bleeding into the beginning of the 3rd round with this class, especially at the RB position. Load up on some fliers late and let them blossom into great assets, a la Jordan Howard and, potentially, Wendell Smallwood and Devontae Booker last year.
  • I put Fournette slightly over McCaffrey due to the seemingly immediate workload he’ll have coming his way. In the Jags offense he should get the goal line looks, while also toting the rock between the 20’s. If you follow Jacksonville’s draft patterns the past few years their trajectory seems to indicate a change of identity from the gun-slinging, play from behind offense two years ago to a more run-balanced bruising team that is led by the speed of their defense. In PPR formats, though, which is also now the standard for ESPN leagues starting this year (that’s a fun wrinkle), McCaffrey jumps to #2, while Fournette slips to the back end of the top 5 behind Ross and Williams.
  • I’m really high on the talent of John Ross. Paired beside A.J. Green he could see some openings in the secondary, and actually elevate A.J.’s value by taking some attention from him. It will be interesting to see how they utilize his talent in comparison to their other dynamic rookie, Joe Mixon.
  • Speaking of Mixon, start the countdown for Jeremy Hill finding a new home. Best fit? Carolina paired with McCaffrey. That’s a 1-2 punch that would save Cam from the punishment and make their offense dynamic. Will it happen? Haha, probably not.

Have thoughts on the rankings? Questions about other players? Well…

DROP A COMMENT!

Follow [email protected] on Twitter at @matthayes for far more than just fantasy advice.

  1. Saints says:
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    Hay [email protected]
    Thanks for the rankings. I dont see John Ross as high. Primarily because i dont like those “HR-Hitters” in fantasy. Those 15 Pt weeks switching up with 2 Point weeks get you crazy.
    Your Karrem Hunt ranking is pretty remarkable if you look at other rankings what are your thoughts on him ?

    • @Saints: Totally get the boom or bust thought with Ross, but I think he could be featured in space out in the flats and through underneath routes that would separate him from others like his build. Desean Jackson initially did that before getting destroyed by the Falcons in two straight season. Opposite A.J. he could see a lot of looks.

      Or he could be Torrey Smith, haha.

      As for Hunt, I’m actually quite high on him, but I also actually like Spencer Ware, whereas others are lower on him. 17 is right around other rankings, with FantasyPors consensus pegging him at 15. A close friend has him back end of the first round, and if you take him there it’s not a bad move. 9-18 are all really close.

      Thanks for the first comment!

      • Saints says:
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        @[email protected]:
        No problem :) I can understand your argument on ross still wont change my mind. I did the fault two years ago to pick dorsett and i regret it big time :D
        I’m actually ranking Zay Jones higher than ross.
        @Hunt oh ok i can see your argument. In my dynasty rookie draft the first 5+Howard+Smith Schuster are gone. I can use some RB help (only holding Gurley and Ajayi) while I’m pretty deep on Wideouts. what is your take on Perine do you like the player more than Hunt or just the situation ?

        • @Saints: Whew…Dorsett. That one’s rough. And I like Zay (feel like I have him higher than most), but not quite above the weapon of Ross.

          I’d take Perine over Hunt given the backfield situations, but they’re quite close. Andy Reid can do wonders with young RBs.

          • Saints says:
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            @[email protected]:
            Ok i have some of the same thoughts. I’m picking in 5 picks so i will just wait it out and pick the guy who is falling.
            Your Joe Williams ranking is pretty high as well. Do you like the player exceptionally well or arent you sold at all on hyde?

            Are you playing/thinking about IDP’s in football too ?

            • @Saints: There’s a story Peter King wrote on MMQB about Kyle Shanahan and the SF draft war room. He was in there for the draft and mentioned how Williams wasn’t even on the 49ers board, but Shanahan came in and essentially demanded they look at him and consider taking him. Then they did. To me, that matters. The HC got his guy. I don’t believe in Hyde much (also not this regime’s guy) and none of the other options are special. Seems to be an easy path to some serious PT.

              Also, I won’t be doing IDP rankings. I’m not well-versed enough in them.

  2. Henry Muto says:
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    In no way do I see Fournette dropping below 4 in a PPR league and no way behind Ross or even Williams. Elite RB’s still rule the day sure its great to have a bunch of WR’s but most leagues I play in require 2 starting RBs so unless you want to be playing way behind the other teams with DJ, Bell, Elliot, ect you better get yourself some potentially great RB’s. I watched like 40 PPR rookie drafts so far from high stakes sites and in 0 of them did Ross go before Fournette and only 1 did Williams. There is a clear top 4 this year in my book in PPR. Cook, Williams and Ross are not in that top 4. In fact of those 4 drafts I seen in about 38 of them the top 4 were all the same but in different orders.

    Just my opinion.

    • @Henry Muto: Love the opinion. And most would likely agree with you. I like the other two because WR already hold a higher dynasty value than RB given their shelf life, and then I don’t foresee Fournette being involved heavily in the passing game.

      I’ll state it better this way: the 2-5 positions for me become a lot murkier in a PPR.

      I’m also higher on Ross and Williams than some others.

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