Rookie tiers are perfect right after the NFL Draft. For dynasty leaguers, the days after the NFL draft are filled with excitement and potential. Rookie drafts start to happen, trades angling to hit a certain spot so you can nab that player, all sorts of fun happens in May. With that in mind, for the second year I am putting out a rookie ranking list based on tiers and specifically geared towards dynasty league value. I choose tiers here because value is fluid as players progress towards training camp, preseason and their rookie season. I choose 60 players as most rookie leagues have no more than 5 round rookie drafts and 60 players should cover it. Beyond that they are pretty much all reaches anyway.
Last year we had five elite players in tier 1. This year the tier 1 is smaller with only 3 players I feel are elite picks. This year’s offensive prospects leave much to be desired compared to the past two years in my opinion, not that there won’t be players that pop in lower tiers but it’s more of a crap-shoot than in previous years. The Running back draw this year shallower as is the wide receiver draw, the good news being that the IDP end of this draft has some real potential at LB and DE along with Safety. Though even there guys like Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith would be in the elite tier without injuries but are devalued as of now due to their continued recoveries. So, with no further ado, here is the Clein 60 for 2016:
Scoring takes into account:
- typical offensive scoring without consideration to PPR (so you could move some WRs and receiving RBs up in certain instances to account for PPR)
- IDP considers individual positions separately (DT, DE, S, CB, LB)
- Assumes 12-team leagues
Tier 1 – Elite
1. Ezekiel Elliott RB (DAL) – The best RB in the draft goes to the best situation. An Elite RB1 from the get go and first pick in almost every rookie draft
2. Josh Doctson WR (WAS) – Will be WR1 by yr. 2. I like this offense and if Kirk Cousins progresses they will be a nice tandem for a long time. No worries taking him 2nd in the draft.
3. Corey Coleman WR (CLE) – A Brandon Cooks clone who will be the best WR on the team immediately but no telling if Cleveland will be able to produce enough points to make him relevant fast.
Tier 2 – Elite upside with Risk
4. Derrick Henry RB (TEN) – I believe he will succeed despite the Bama RB stigma. Will have to share time with DeMarco Murray for a bit but eventually will win out.
5. Sterling Shepard WR (NYG) – Upside capped by OBJ but perfect situation to make it as a WR2. Has great athleticism and no real threat to his place once he gets used to the NFL.
6. Michael Thomas WR (NOS) – Another perfect situation with very little stopping him from being a solid WR2 behind Brandon Cooks in a great passing offense.
7. Will Fuller WR (HOU) – Upside capped by DeAndre Hopkins but another great situation in a developing offense. Although…
8. Braxton Miller WR (HOU) – Miller and Fuller do different things, Fuller is a deep threat, Miller more of an athlete. Will they cancel each other out?
9. Jordan Howard WR (PHI) – Not picked until the 5th but goes to the Bears where it’s pretty wide open. Has size and Athleticism to be a 3 down back.
Tier 3 – Decent upside but imperfect situations
10. Carson Wentz QB (PHI) – Like his game and his situation more than Goff. Not as good at Winston/Mariota at this stage but could develop quickly.
11. Jared Goff QB (LAR) – Won’t be asked to do much early with a strong running game and defense. Will start early and could develop quickly.
12. Laquon Treadwell WR (MIN) – Hate his skills and his situation. He had a Quad Score that was in the 5th percentile for WRs. Will get over-drafted in many leagues.
13. Kenneth Dixon RB (BAL) – All around good player on a good team with a crowded backfield. Will certainly stick to the regular season and it will be interesting if he can compete.
14. Kenyan Drake RB (MIA) – At worst he’s a over-sized 3rd down back, at best he takes over at some point. My guess is that at least he shares time his rookie year.
15. CJ Prosise RB (SEA) – Love the landing spot but deep and young backfield mates. Projects as a passing down back with size and talent to start if Rawls is injured.
16. Alex Collins RB (SEA) – Much like Miller and Fuller for HOU, Collins and Prosise will have to compete for space and while both land in good situations, it’s hard to see how both succeed.
17. Paul Perkins RB (NYG) – Actually LOVE this landing place for Perkins. Aging and talentless competition in this backfield makes him a great pickup. The cream rises to the top right?
Tier 4 – Role players with upside over time
18. Tyler Boyd WR (CIN) – Boyd never projected to an elite WR for me anyway and he lands in a spot where he’ll have to compete just to get on the field.
19. Leonte Carroo WR (MIA) – See Tyler Boyd.
20. Hunter Henry TE (SD) – I like this crop of TEs even less than last years. Henry will sit behind Antonio Gates for a bit but even when he gets the gig is he really exciting?
21. Jonathan Williams RB (BUF) – Like this kid’s potential but lands in a spot with a deep backfield and after being drafted in the 5th is not going to be given anything.
22. Malcolm Mitchell WR (NEP) – Not that big but in this offense that doesn’t matter. Could develop into a solid outside receiver for the Pats over time.
23. Pharoh Cooper WR (LAR) – Lands on a run first offense but Tavon Austin, Brian Quick and Kenny Britt could all be gone next season so who knows, a decent buy/hold at least.
24. Devontae Booker RB (DEN) – Hard not to like his situation as CJ Anderson’s backup and eventual successor. Hillman is a role player and nobody else in the backfield can match Booker’s talent.
Tier 5 – Role players with upside over time and IDP LBs worth considering
25. Myles Jack LB (JAX) – With injuries to Jack, Smith and Ragland it’s hard consider any prior to the 3rd round in rookie drafts. That said, if the injury resolves, Jack is a no brainer.
26. Jaylon Smith LB (DAL) – Risky pick for Dallas, risky pick for you. Like Jack, if the injury resolves he’s a no brainer so if he gets to the 3rd rd. it’s hard to pass him up IMO.
27. Paxton Lynch QB (DEN) – Will compete with Mark Sanchez and eventually start if not right out of the gate. Has weapons but won’t be asked to do much with that D leading the charge.
28. Tyler Ervin RB (HOU) – Projects as a change of pace back behind Lamar Miller so I wouldn’t expect too much too soon.
29. DeAndre Washington RB (OAK) – See Tyler Ervin.
30. Darron Lee LB (NYJ) – If he plays inside, and I think he will, could be a great pick. Lots of athleticism to play 3 downs.
31. Reggie Ragland LB (BUF) – Fell a bit on injury scare but he has a great opportunity to start next to Preston Brown.
32. Joey Bosa DE (SD) – Like his motor but being a 3-4 DE is not conducive to fantasy stardom, unless your JJ Watt of course, which Bosa is not! Will be over-picked in most leagues.
Tier 6 – Bottom of the third round reaches and the Elite Edge rushing tier
33. Keith Marshall RB (WAS) – Picked in the 7th isn’t a ringing endorsement but beyond Matt Jones he has little competition and has 3 down back potential soooo…
34. Ricardo Louis WR (CLE) – Decent skills and an SEC pedigree. Lands in WR corps bereft of talent so a flyer on him could be successful earlier rather than later.
35. Su’a Cravens LB (WAS) – Like this landing spot as WAS LB corp is in transition. If he plays well in training camp could take a starting spot and run with it.
36. Demarcus Robinson WR (KC) – Talented receiver who never put it together at Florida. Could surprise some folks but in this offense even if he’s WR1 it won’t mean much.
37. Deion Jones LB (ATL) – Dan Quinn is getting quicker on defense and he’s not likely to sit on Jones. I would expect Jones fits in the WLB slot and runs with it.
38. Noah Spence DE (TB) – One of only two early DEs that went to 4-3 defenses. Putting him lower than Bosa only due to character concerns. Can be elite if he stays out of trouble.
39. Keanu Neal S (ATL) – Keanu Neal is Dan Quinn’s new Kam Chancellor and there is no question in my mind Neal can live up to it. Sneaky good pick for IDP leagues.
40. Wendell Smallwood RB (PHI) – Smallwood isn’t small, I swear he gets knocked because of the name. Eagles have sneaky good situation to rise and smallwood has NFL talent.
41. Kevin Dodd DE (TEN) – Also fell to 4-3 D so great landing spot. Dodd is not as talented as Spence and Bosa but will develop if you stash him, worth the pick in the 4th/5th.
Tier 7 – The best of the rest
42. Jordan Jenkins LB (NYJ) – It’s possible you have Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins starting on D for the Jets this year. Jordan is strictly an OLB though, which limits his upside.
43. Karl Joseph S (OAK) – I’m less enamored with Joseph but he will compete to start with Nate Allen and most likely win, so on the field early is good on a up and coming D.
44. Charone Peake WR (NYJ) – Early sleeper goes to talent-laden WR corp. Will sit behind Marshall/Decker in 2 receiver sets but could be WR3 pretty soon and once Marshall leaves…
45. Christian Hackenberg QB (NYJ) – Do you believe he’s good like his freshman year or more like his Soph/Junior years? Has most upside in QB room here so we’ll find out.
46. Sheldon Rankins DT (NOS) – If you play starting DTs, he’s the cream of the crop this year. Even if not, he’ll outperform some DEs as a 3-technique tackle in NO.
47. BJ Goodson LB (NYG) – REALLY like his landing spot as everyone knows NYG LB corps is weak. If he beats out Keenan Robinson for MLB spot the sky is the limit. WLB would be good too.
48. Blake Martinez LB (GBP) – Similar to Goodson Martinez falls to a great situation. If he can win an ILB spot in training camp he can be fantasy relevant.
49. Joe Shobert LB (CLE) – With Daryl Smith gone with a good training camp Shobert could very well start. On a team devoid of talent that is a scintillating prospect.
50. Shilique Calhoun DE (OAK) – May need time to develop but has a weak depth chart in Oakland and should develop to a starter at some point as a 4-3 DE.
51. Cardale Jones QB (BUF) – Will need time to develop but could be one of the best 5th round picks you’ve ever snagged. Or he just doesn’t develop but at this round who cares?
52. Kentrell Brothers LB (MIN) – If he proves NFL quality, which is a semi-big IF, he could make the starting rotation as SLB (assuming Barr moves to WLB).
53. Jalen Ramsey CB (JAX) – Not a fan of picking CBs in rookie drafts but Ramsey has elite potential so I mention him as a late round flier if you are into CB rookie theory.
54. Austin Hooper TE (ATL) – Says it all that this is the second TE on the list and he’s at 54. Good situation in ATL but can he take advantage of it? Not sure.
55. Dak Prescott QB (DAL) – Love the landing spot. If he develops and Romo continues his injury prone ways, Prescott could find himself a starter on America’s team in a couple of years.
56. Jacoby Brissett QB (NEP) – Will get coached in NE but hard pressed to believe he’s the second coming of Tom Brady. An interesting hold only because of the team he plays for.
57. Robert Nkemdiche DT (ARI) – Plays 3-4 DE so not excited for the landing spot but Nkemdiche is extremely athletic and that worked out for Calais Campbell sooo…
58. Scooby Wright LB (CLE) – Probably the best landing spot for him. He’s unathletic with great intangibles. If he does start he’ll be productive, the question is how long will he last.
59. Rashard Higgins WR (CLE) – Same as Scooby goes to a team with lots of holes, especially at WR. Can carve out a relevant fantasy spot just not sure if he can keep it for long.
60. Jeff Driskel QB (SF) – MR. IRRELEVANT! Ok, when I saw this pick I was very intrigued. Driskel is a solid-built dual threat, perfect for Chip Kelly’s offense. With all the uncertainty swirling at the QB position in San Fran, stranger things have happened then a highly recruited but under-achieving college QB getting a chance to succeed in the perfect NFL offense for his skills. Just sayin…