Before we release the Top-200 Overall Rankings (marking the end of this wonderful rankings journey), I first wanted to host a soirée for the rookies. Because soirée’s sound like so much fun. And it’s French, so there’s bound to be croissants at some point. Right? I actually have no idea what a soirée is or what it does. Regardless, this will be a first, for me at least, and it totally wasn’t because a certain Chargers player was going to be pretty high up on the rankings. Okay, okay, it might have been one percent of my reasoning. (Alright, maybe five percent. That’s the highest I’ll go, I swear.) But coming off a year in which we probably saw one of the greatest receiver classes, there’s a lot of hype this season to see which players emerge as fantasy stalwarts immediately. Thus we must create numerical orders for such things and then fight about it!
Based on the following list, I would probably say the top-10 are ownable in all standard formats, however, once you get beyond that, it’s probably best to just keep an eye on them (in a non-stalker type of way).
2015 Rookies Rankings
I do like Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota in Dynasty Leagues, but for your run-of-the-mill standards, there are plenty of other options before these two this year. If you’re asking me to choose, here’s what I said back in May:
Jameis Winston ended being drafted by the Buccaneers as the first overall pick, as was prognosticated by nearly everyone. And those same “everyone” think he’s either the best pick for the Bucs… or the worst. True, there are some major question marks (to be honest, not just major, but very serious question marks…), including some bust potential, but when talking raw athletic ability and ceiling, there was no better quarterback prospect out there. And remember, Winston has been under the spotlight for quite some time, almost two years now, and I doubt the pressure of being the number one overall selection or acclimating to the NFL will be a huge factor this upcoming season. However, playing for the Buccaneers and Lovie Smith, well… that actually might be a factor. In the long run though, the risk/reward here isn’t a detriment (and even if he does go worst case scenario, JaMarcus Russell will continue to show his support, always taking the brunt for all first round busts… what a guy), and if you are in dynasty leagues or any kind of keeper format, Winston would be a good choice, unless you’re in a redraft league. Or you’re crab legs.
And if that’s the case, Marcus Mariota may be the better quarterback prospect next year. I mean, he may end up being the better quarterback overall as well, but it’s hard to deny the ceiling has a bit more limit than Winston’s does. Despite being involved in several trade rumors, all of them with him ending up on the Eagles (and one random Jay Cutler rumor that was full of LOL), he’ll be playing for Ken Whisenhunt and the Titans. This may not be true at the end of the year if the Titans have another terrible season, but I don’t think Whisenhunt has stopped being an above-average offense-minded coach, and there are some receiving weapons (Justin Hunter, Nate Washington, and sorta-kinda Kendall Wright) that will help carry the load. I like the situation slightly more than the Bucs, but truth be told, both of these quarterbacks should be deep league or keeper league options only.
I did opine in that same post that Amari Cooper, because of being selected by the Raiders, would probably be less valuable than Kevin White, Nelson Agholor, and DeVante Parker, but with the stellar reports coming out of camp and my continued support of Derek Carr becoming an above average quarterback, I’m willing to give him the edge at this moment.
The biggest question though is where to rank Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon. Despite my homerism, it’s hard to argue against my ranking of Gordon in first overall slot. The Chargers have a clear need at the position, and while the return of Danny Woodhead and the depressing notion that Donald Brown is still a thing could limit him as a two-down back, the versatility and overall impactful offense is definitely a place where he could thrive. Don’t get me wrong, I like Gurley a lot too (or should I say two, har har), I’m not sure when he’ll start producing quality numbers. He’s a speculative must-add at this point, since he could pay off big time at midseason.