Now that my dynasty rookie drafts have commenced (eight complete, two in progress and two still pending plus at least four redraft leagues) and I’ve seen things play out, my rankings have shifted a bit.
I’ll spare you the preamble, but if you’re interested in my process when determining my positional rankings, you can find that and my QB rankings here. I also ranked the glamour positions at wide receiver and running back if that’s something that interests you. I also ranked the tight ends, though they’re not as sexy as last year’s class. Team rookie camps have concluded, and mini-camps and OTAs are in full swing, and as more information keeps trickling out heading into training camps, my rankings will continue to be fluid. As of June 6, 2018, the below rankings are my most up to date rookie rankings for dynasty. The tinkering never ends.
Throughout the process, the quarterback rankings remained relatively steady, with the only change being the removal of Mike White and addition of Tanner Lee. I’m not sold on Lee’s talent as much as I can see him getting a chance if Blake Bortles falters during the season. White, on the other hand, is behind both Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush with his only chance of getting on the field is a series of unfortunate events. Recent positive news on Davis Webb gives me a little a little pause on having Kyle Lauletta so high, so he may get bumped down a few notches as the off-season plays out. That also applies to Logan Woodside as it’s already looking like he might be the odd man out in the Cincy backup pecking order.
At running back, there was a bit of a shakeup, mainly caused by the addition of Jaylen Samuels. I went on a Samuels rant in the running back write up, and I can’t stress how high I am on him and his ability to do so many things on the field- and do them well. The other big movers for me have been Ito Smith and Nyheim Hines. The more I’ve looked into Smith and the injuries and contract situations of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, the more I like Smith as a sneaky dynasty option going forward. Hines, on the other hand, feels like Josh Ferguson all over again. Many people like Marlon Mack and others are high on Jordan Wilkins, so Hines, basically an elite returner and 3rd down receiving back, falls for me as the season draws near.
Kalen Ballage is another player I’m higher on than most. An athletic freak with an incredible size (6’2″, 228lbs) speed(4.46) combination, who is a talented route runner with great hands out of the backfield. Todd McShay had him as the RB6 in this class, and Matthew Berry has said he’ll be every single one of his fantasy teams for this season. The Dolphins have already declared their backfield is in a full competition for touches. No reason we can’t see Ballage as the day one receiving option with an increased workload as the year progresses. All of the criticisms thrown at Ballage are eerily similar to what we heard about David Johnson a few years ago coming into the league. The lack of college production is concerning, but there is also a reason Arizona State gutted their entire coaching staff after the season.
Wide receiver is a bit of a mess once we get into my 3rd tier and I expect more jostling for position until the season kicks off. The significant addition was Tre’Quan Smith who was outside of my top-20 and is now 13th. I was probably too high on Cam Meredith and Ted Ginn, so I’ve come around on Smith a bit. It simply came down to me not seeing enough film on him or know enough about him as a college player to comfortably squeeze him into my top-20 (he was sitting at 21 most of the off-season). After the Saints brought in Meredith and passed heavily to the running backs last season, I was not going to fall into the “Well, he plays with Drew Brees” trap.
Another addition to my top-20 is Packers’ 5th round pick Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Valdes-Scantling isn’t the best route runner in this group, but that can (hopefully) be coached up. He’s a size-speed freak who clocked an absurd 4.37 forty time at 6’4″ and 204lbs. Valdes-Scantling has a similar athletic profile to the departed Jordy Nelson. If he can develop alongside Aaron Rodgers, he could be a great sleeper candidate who fills in the vacated Jordy role.
My biggest faller was D.J. Chark. I liked Chark early in the process as a sleeper, but the more he excelled at the Senior Bowl and Combine, I kept moving him lower as the shine of the “sleeper” label wore off. In the nearly three weeks since I compiled these “final” rankings, a few tweaks have taken place. I’ve come down on Jaleel Scott a bit, although I still really like him in best ball. DaeSean Hamilton is too low, and I could probably bump Courtland Sutton and Keke Coutee up a spot or two also. I just really hate Hamilton and Sutton landing on the same team behind established veterans with quarterback questions.
Tight end has had a few small moves, but nothing of significance. I’m a little too low on Jordan Aikens and could probably move Goedert up a spot.
I hope you enjoyed this look into my rankings and the thought process that goes behind it during each step of the off-season. Feel free to reach out to me via twitter @dibari22 if you want to discuss rankings further or if you have any questions about players I didn’t mention or if you want to tell me how much you hate my rankings. Good luck this season!