News & Analysis

Dynasty rookie fantasy values coming out of the draft

Dec 29, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Christian Kirk (3) runs the ball against Wake Forest Demon Deacons defensive back Jessie Bates III (3) in the first quarter in the 2017 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Ranking incoming rookies among current NFL players is a critical part of dynasty fantasy football rookie draft preparation. Rookie picks are among the most traded assets during the dynasty offseason. How can you make value-building trades without a sense for which veterans you’d rather own than certain rookies, and vice versa? It would be like accepting an offer on your used car without any sense of its actual value. Obviously, the recommended process is to check the current Blue Book value before establishing what you’d consider to be an acceptable sale price (or purchase price if you’re the one buying). Knowing which veterans these rookies are closely ranked to by our analyst team should help you formulate some trade ideas leading up to your dynasty rookie drafts or even when you’re on the clock.

The PFF dynasty team’s composite rankings had 12 rookies valued as top-100 dynasty players prior to the NFL draft. Following post-draft adjustments from three of our dynasty analysts there are now 13 rookies in the composite top-100 dynasty rankings. Who is the new face in the crowd? Who were the biggest risers and fallers? It’s all here.

Rookies in the PFF composite top-100 dynasty rankings: post-NFL draft edition

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 4
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 8
Highest rank: No. 4
Lowest rank: No. 15
Key veterans in same value tier: Ezekiel Elliott, Mike Evans

Barkley figures to see over 300 touches in his rookie campaign after the Giants invested the second overall pick in his talent. The question of whether he has elite touchdown or receiving upside in an offense that also includes Odell Beckham Jr. remains to be seen. It has worked out for Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh, so there is recent precedent.

Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 39
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 37
Highest rank: No. 32
Lowest rank: No. 44
Key veterans in same value tier: Jordan Howard, JuJu Smith-Schuster

Guice surprisingly fell to the end of the second round in the draft. Early-down work is up for grabs in Washington, but the dynasty team is still showing caution with Guice’s ranking as he will be competing with Chris Thompson for receiving work. Guice’s upside may be capped.

Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 58
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 47
Highest rank: No. 33
Lowest rank: No. 40
Key veterans in same value tier: Jarvis Landry, Corey Davis

Penny impressively rose 11 spots in the PFF composite dynasty rankings after being the second running back off the board in the NFL draft’s first round. Seattle was perhaps the smash landing spot available for a rookie as there is no competition from any player with significant draft pedigree. Team press conferences following the draft seemed to point to Penny being a key part of the offense and the team indicated he will be playing on all three downs and even be involved with special teams as a returner.

Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 50
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 38
Highest rank: No. 33
Lowest rank: No. 45
Key veterans in same value tier: Adam Thielen, Aaron Rodgers

Chubb landed in a bit of a confusing situation in Cleveland. The running back depth chart was already solid with Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson in the fold, but the early second-round investment by the team speaks to early and heavy utilization for Chubb. If he can surpass Hyde on the depth chart early and show some prowess in the receiving game, Chubb does have massive upside under offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 57
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 38
Highest rank: No. 45
Lowest rank: No. 71
Key veterans in same value tier: Sammy Watkins, Derrick Henry

Like Chubb, Michel landed in a situation where a committee could throw a wrench into any hopes of a potential year one breakout. However, the Patriots have rarely invested early draft capital in running backs under Bill Belichick, so perhaps there is a change in the offensive system coming in 2018.

D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 57
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 64
Highest rank: No. 51
Lowest rank: No. 84
Key veterans in same value tier: Tevin Coleman, Devin Funchess

Carolina has not been a consistent haven for top fantasy producers at the wide receiver position during Cam Newton’s career. The Panthers seem intent on transitioning to a more modern passing game after adding Curtis Samuel and Christian McCaffrey in 2017 and Moore in 2018. One potential problem for Moore is that with a handful of pass-catchers who are best utilized in a low air-yards-per-attempt capacity already there, how much target volume can he realistically command? Moore’s talent is undeniable, but as evidenced by the wide range of rankings from the PFF team, there is some uncertainty regarding whether he should be viewed as a dynasty WR3 so soon.

Royce Freeman, RB, Denver Broncos

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 87
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 73
Highest rank: No. 46
Lowest rank: No. 97
Key veterans in same value tier: LeSean McCoy, Jamison Crowder

What you think of Freeman in Denver is likely based on your evaluation of Devontae Booker’s abilities. Freeman was drafted in the third round, which is decent pedigree-wise, but not high enough to be a surefire starter from the jump. Booker has shown some ability in the receiving game, posting 30-plus receptions in back-to-back seasons but has also averaged just 3.5 and 3.8 yards per carry over the same span. C.J. Anderson got 280 touches last year and finished as PPR RB18. If Freeman can win Anderson’s job, he will prove to be one of the biggest discounts in dynasty this offseason.

Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 81
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 74
Highest rank: No. 71
Lowest rank: No. 77
Key veterans in same value tier: Emmanuel Sanders, Alex Collins

Of rookies outside the top-50, Jones has the tightest distribution of ranks from our team, ranging from 71 to 77 overall. He rose up the board slightly after being selected by Tampa Bay, a team with no established lead running back.

Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 115
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 75
Highest rank: No. 52
Lowest rank: No. 89
Key veterans in same value tier: Will Fuller, Dez Bryant

Kirk didn’t make the cut in our pre-NFL draft top-100, but his early draft pedigree and NFL situation propelled him up the board 40 spots, making him our biggest post-NFL draft riser. Cardinals brass has already stated that Kirk will begin his career as a perimeter receiver, allowing Larry Fitzgerald to continue to work the slot. This is a bonus for Kirk in the near term (and his dynasty owners), as he won’t have to sit behind the future Hall of Famer and can start scoring fantasy points right away in an offense looking to reassign 124 vacated targets from outbound free agents Jaron Brown and John Brown.

Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 73
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 81
Highest rank: No. 66
Lowest rank: No. 105
Key veterans in same value tier: Duke Johnson, Sterling Shepard

The biggest post-NFL draft faller in the PFF composite dynasty rankings, Sutton slid out of the first round of the NFL draft and landed in Denver where he will back up two aging former fantasy stars. Demaryius Thomas managed to grind out a PPR WR16 in what was a down year for wide receivers across the board but is entering his age-30 season. Emmanuel Sanders was a rumored cap casualty early in the offseason and struggled to stay healthy in 2017. Sutton figures to play a limited role in 2018 unless the team decides to move on from Sanders after all, but patient dynasty owners could see him become fantasy relevant in 2019.

James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 84
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 83
Highest rank: No. 59
Lowest rank: No. 107
Key veterans in same value tier: Sterling Shepard, Mike Williams

Washington’s ranking remained essentially unchanged as the team barely responded to his landing in Pittsburgh as the heir to the Martavis Bryant role. The team does appear very split on Washington’s fantasy potential though, with 58 spots separating his high and low ranks.

Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 97
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 89
Highest rank: No. 74
Lowest rank: No. 99
Key veterans in same value tier: Chris Thompson, Martavis Bryant

Johnson gained value among our dynasty rankers after being selected in the second round. Detroit has been a muddy committee for a number of seasons, so it’s not a sure bet the Johnson will be anything more than an early-down grinder. However, at this price, there’s little risk.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Overall dynasty rank, pre-NFL draft: No. 88
Overall dynasty rank, post-NFL draft: No. 90
Highest rank: No. 58
Lowest rank: No. 106
Key veterans in same value tier: Marlon Mack, Chris Godwin

In the pre-draft version of this article, I predicted that Ridley would be the biggest post-draft riser among our dynasty rankers on the strength of what I said would was a lock first-round profile. Ridley was indeed selected in the first round, but our rankers aren’t impressed yet. The Alabama product’s perceived value remained flat. His year-one baseline begins with inheriting Taylor Gabriel’s 51 vacated targets. From there, Ridley would need to begin cutting into Mohamed Sanu’s target share.

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