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, I wanted to start a new annual tradition and put out a rookie ranking list based on tiers and specifically geared towards dynasty league value. I choose tiers here because it’s just too hard at this point to really value one player over another when you’re looking past the top few guys. 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 two top players in Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans vying for the top spot in fantasy drafts and dominating the headlines. This year the first round is a bit broader, with 5 guys who really stand out as having elite potential and then a decent amount of high ceiling players into the second round. The running back draw this year is deeper and the wide receiver draw is thinner but with lots of role players in the third tier and beyond that could develop dynasty relevance in a few years. It seems to me that this is a so-so year for IDP. While the the edge rusher pool is deep, I don’t see elite LB talent in this draft. So, with no further ado, here is the Clein 60 for 2015:
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. Todd Gurley RB (STL) – Gurley may not be a short term answer, but long term he has all the requisite skills to succeed.
2. Amari Cooper WR (OAK) – One of those guys that, barring injury, will most likely be a WR1 right out of the gate.
3. Kevin White WR (CHI) – Bit of a risk of one-year-wonder here but the body type and skill is too much to ignore.
4. Melvin Gordon RB (SD) – Perfect situation to walk into, they traded up to get him, that’s good enough for me.
5. DeVante Parker WR (MIA) – Another perfect fit. Risk here from a scheme perspective as they spread the ball around, but clearly the most talented WR on the roster.
Tier 2 – Elite upside with Risk
6. Breshad Perriman WR (BAL) – Some have compared him to Troy Williamson, do you feel lucky?
7. Dorial Green-Beckham WR (TEN) – Lands in a decent spot with Mariota to grow with, but 2 years since he’s been on the field? don’t expect much this season.
8. TJ Yeldon RB (JAX) – Not on most people’s top 3 RB list, but lands in a situation that his skills may be good enough to exploit.
9. Nelson Agholor WR (PHI) – Jeremy Macklin 2.0?
10. Jameis Winston QB (TB) – Never liked his game, mostly due to immaturity, but Cam Newton was immature coming out and he did pretty well, so…
11. Tevin Coleman RB (ATL) – Coleman is a warrior. Risk here is that Freeman and Coleman form a dynamic duo and neither really breaks out.
Tier 3 – Decent upside but imperfect situations
12. Devin Funchess WR (CAR) – Gets the benefit of a developing offense, a WR and TE taking coverage away from him, and a super-solid QB situation.
13. Ameer Abdullah RB (DET) – No doubt picked up to take on a Reggie Bush role which limits his upside. That said, if he stays healthy, the sky is the limit.
14. Marcus Mariota QB (TEN) – There’s no guarantee that this regime stays very long. That and his transition to a pro-style offense makes him risky in my book.
15. Jaelen Strong WR (HOU) – Talented receiver with athletic upside, but will be WR2 in Houston for a long while.
16. Jay Ajayi RB (MIA) – Considered by many to be the #3 RB in this solid class, fell into a great situation with Lamar Miller at the end of his contract, knee questions remain though.
17. Duke Johnson RB (CLE) – Into a crowded (and young) backfield in a horrible offense, but the cream always rises to the top, right?
Tier 4 – Role players with upside over time
18. Maxx Williams TE (BAL) – I’m not enamored with him truth be told. Will never be a top 3 TE, so he will go in most drafts before I consider him.
19. Phillip Dorsett WR (IND) – Certainly fell into a great situation offensively, but crowded and will probably have to find a niche as a deep threat.
20. David Johnson RB (ARI) – Has the size to be an every down back but not the skills…right now. Falls into the perfect situation, I’m not convinced Andre Ellington is the long term answer.
21. David Cobb RB (TEN) – Some think he’ll overtake Bishop Sankey, some don’t. I think it’s worth taking him at this point and waiting to find out!
22. Tyler Lockett WR (SEA) – I’m just not convinced there are enough targets to go around in this offense. That said, Lockett may be their most talented WR day 1.
23. Devin Smith WR (NYJ) – talented but no better than #3 for at least 2 years. Decker and Marshall will dominate targets IMO.
24. Javorius Allen RB (BAL) – Forsett seems like the #1 guy for a year, maybe two. If they give Allen time to develop and don’t draft over him (a big IF), he could be a solid value pick here.
Tier 5 – Role players with upside over time and IDP LBs worth considering
25. Eric Kendricks LB (MIN) – Kinda sad that the IDP don’t show up until Tier 5 this year, but I call ’em as I see ’em. Kendricks has an open shot at the lucrative MLB spot in a 4-3 base.
26. Chris Conley WR (KC) – Unlimited athletic upside but on poor passing offense and didn’t flash on the field at UGA. Can you say Stephen Hill?
27. Justin Hardy WR (ATL) – Actually falls into a pretty good spot as #3 with an aging #2 (Roddy White) in his last years. That said, no more than a long term WR2 in his first contract.
28. Kenny Bell WR (TB) – See Justin Hardy, replacing White with Vjax (both of which I once owned, back in their heyday)!
29. Josh Robinson RB (IND) – This Vick Ballard clone with better athleticism actually hit the perfect team. Behind Gore he could develop to fantasy relevance in the near future.
30. Shaq Thompon LB (CAR) – Projects as a long term pick with Kueckly and Davis hogging the tackles for a few more years. That said, could be a gem as the next Thomas Davis in this D.
31. Stephone Anthony LB (NO) – Great opportunity to be a foundation for a rebuilding defense but doesn’t project as an elite LB1.
32. DeAndre Smelter WR (SF) – Really too bad he landed here. I think Kap is what he is and targets will be few and far between in this O. Could develop with elite measurables though.
Tier 6 – Bottom of the third round reaches and the Elite Edge rushing tier
33. Vic Beasley DE (ATL) – Beasley and Fowler are neck and neck with elite upside here, I put Beasley first due to slightly better measurables.
34. Dante Fowler DE (JAX) – Staying close to home and on a defense that quietly was pretty good last year. Upside is unlimited if they move him around like an LB.
35. Mike Davis RB (SF) – Fell in behind Carlos Hyde which is a tough situation. Only meaningful snaps will be due to injury, a solid buy and hold prospect.
36. Randy Gregory DE (DAL) – Could get playing time early with Greg Hardy on suspension, will develop behind him afterwards.
37. Darren Waller WR (BAL) – Like his teammate DeAndre Smelter, falls into a so-so passing offense with a long development curve. Buyer beware.
38. Jeremy Langford RB (CHI) – Don’t unlike his situation to learn behind Forte. Risk of being drafted over is large enough to warrant this position though.
39. Zach Zenner RB (DET) – UDFA that could actually make waves in the future. Can you imaging a Zenner/Abdullah combination backfield? I can!
40. Tre McBride WR (TEN) – A long shot in this offense with DGB drafted ahead of him for sure, though I like his measurables and if he gets cut, could move on to a better situation.
41. Leonard Williams DE (NYJ) – Just hate where he went on an already packed D-line in a system that doesn’t necessarily help him from a fantasy perspective. Still uber-talented though.
Tier 7 – The best of the rest
42. Landon Collins S (NYG) – No need to draft a DB before this point, though Collins falls into a perfect situation for IDP purposes.
43. Thomas Rawls RB (SEA) – Long odds here but another in the line of Beast Mode successors that could have a chance.
44. DeVante Davis WR (PHI) – WR friendly scheme but buried on the depth chart as a UDFA.
45. Matt Jones RB (WAS) – I’m a Gator fan and I don’t even think much of Jones. A plodder that fits the scheme in Washington, that’s all he has going for him.
46. Bud Dupree LB (PIT) – Love his landing spot and his athleticism, will have some time to develop but when he does he could be special.
47. Stefon Diggs WR (MIN) – Will be hard to crack this deep WR corp but Diggs was an elite college prospect and if he’s focused he could develop.
48. Paul Dawson LB (CIN) – Doesn’t project as an elite upside player though LB stats have been pretty good in Cincy so he could carve out a niche.
49. Shane Ray LB (DEN) – Too much drama for my taste here, but Denver seems to like him so if you believe his draft status you may take a crack at him.
50. Owa Odighizuwa DE (NYG) – Will have to wait his turn and fell due to hip issues, but decent flier prospect at this point.
51. Denzel Perryman LB (SD) – Will start off as a special teamer but has the athleticism to make a dent in the future.
52. Synjyn Days RB (DAL) – Product of the Georgia Tech offensive system, though he falls into a great spot in Dallas don’t you think?
53. Cameron Artis-Payne RB (CAR) – Doesn’t project as an elite future fantasy star but could definitely spell JStew (brittle alert!) a bit.
54. Clive Walford TE (OAK) – Says it all that this is the second TE on the list and he’s at 54.
55. Benardrick McKinney LB (HOU) – Another one that could pop if given the opportunity but will start on special teams
56. Brett Hundley QB (GB) – Have to put Hundley, Grayson & Petty here as buy and hold candidates in very good long term situations.
57. Garrett Grayson QB (NO) – See Brett Hundley.
58. Bryce Petty QB (NYJ) – See Garrett Grayson.
59. Malcolm Brown RB (STL) – Thought of as a sleeper pre-draft, probably won’t make it in STL so if he falls to a better situation, you never know what happens.
60. Rashad Greene WR (JAX) – MR. IRRELEVANT! Also thought of as a sleeper pre-draft and this WR corp can definitely be cracked if he proves his worth.