Evan Silva

Dynasty Rankings

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Silva's Dynasty Rookie Ranks

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Quarterbacks

Not only is quarterback the most valuable position in pro sports, it is also the toughest to evaluate. Just 10-of-26 (38.5%) quarterbacks drafted in the first round between 2006 and 2015 could be characterized as successes, and that’s stretching to include Jay Cutler, Ryan Tannehill, and Sam Bradford. So we have a projection problem. We also have a quarterback worth problem in fantasy football, where the position is severely devalued in leagues that require you to start just one. It is fantasy’s most replaceable weekly position. Therefore, I’m mostly letting my competition draft rookie quarterbacks in Dynasty leagues. If I do draft one, it will be far later than his ADP and that rookie must offer a big weekly ceiling.

 


1. Browns QB DeShone Kizer (Second Round, No. 52)

I think Rotoworld draft analyst Josh Norris put it well when he stated 2015 Kizer was the best quarterback prospect in the 2017 class. The bottom fell out on Kizer during a dumpster-fire 2016 Notre Dame season. Kizer’s college coach didn’t support him during the year or during the pre-draft process, and he wound up as the lowest-cost quarterback in terms of real-life draft capital among the top four. Kizer’s floor is almost nonexistent, but like Patrick Mahomes his ceiling is sky high in a Hue Jackson offense with Corey Coleman, David Njoku, Kenny Britt, Duke Johnson, and perhaps even Josh Gordon in place as potential-ridden pass catchers behind a Browns offensive line that has a chance to be among the best in the league. Indications from the 2017 preseason are that Kizer could be this year’s first rookie quarterback to see the field.

2. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (First Round, No. 10)

While Deshaun Watson provides a decent ceiling, it’s nowhere near as high as Mahomes’, whose sheer physical tools ranked among the league’s elite the moment the Chiefs turned in their draft card. We can’t anticipate Mahomes seeing the field before late in 2017 or even the 2018 season, so he’ll likely occupy a non-producing Dynasty roster spot the entirety of his first year. Alex Smith’s guaranteed money runs out after this season. The Chiefs’ in-place pass-catcher corps is average, but Andy Reid’s tutelage is a major plus as a proven quarterback maximizer. From Brett Favre to Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, and now Smith, Reid has shown a consistent willingness to adapt his offense to highlight strengths and minimize weaknesses. Mahomes also offers rushing upside after scoring 22 TDs on the ground as a 29-game starter at Texas Tech.

3. Texans QB Deshaun Watson (First Round, No. 12)

Watson is the best bet to provide year-one fantasy contributions in this quarterback class, and his plus mobility to go with a respectable supporting cast give Watson short- and long-range upside. An 81st-percentile athlete with 4.66 speed, Watson piled up 26 rushing TDs as a 35-game starter at Clemson. Physical route technician DeAndre Hopkins, 4.32 lid-lifter Will Fuller, and capable possession tight ends C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin form a talented pass-catcher corps yet to be fully unlocked. In terms of accuracy and arm strength, however, Watson is the worst prospect among the top-four quarterbacks drafted this year.

Editor's Note: The 2017 Draft Guide provides tiers, projections, ADP reports, mock drafts for many different types of leagues, Sleepers and Busts and much more. Get the NFL Draft Guide now.

4. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky (First Round, No. 2)

Again, upside is one of my primary criteria when evaluating quarterbacks as Dynasty prospects. Of the four QBs drafted in the first two rounds, Trubisky would appear to have the lowest ceiling based on skill set, supporting cast, coaching history, and team philosophy in Chicago. I see him as a Ryan Tannehill-level player at his peak. As a small-sample, 13-game college starter, Trubisky also has one of the lowest floors. With all of that said, Trubisky impressed enough in his first training camp and preseason game to be worthy of a fourth-round Dynasty rookie pick.

5. 49ers QB C.J. Beathard (Third Round, No. 104)

A career 58.1% passer who slumped to 56.5% as a senior at Iowa, Beathard does have a few things going for him. He has a rifle arm, tying Mahomes for the second best ball velocity at the Combine (55 MPH) behind Davis Webb (56). And according to Peter King’s MMQB article on the 49ers’ draft, Beathard was coveted by offense-savvy coach Kyle Shanahan. “He processes the game so well,” said Shanahan. “Tough as sh--. Got a chance. He reminds me a lot of Kirk Cousins.” King reported Beathard was “the only quarterback Shanahan wanted in this draft.” Beathard played well enough in his first training camp and preseason game to put heat on Matt Barkley for the 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback job behind journeyman placeholder Brian Hoyer.

6. Steelers QB Josh Dobbs (Fourth Round, No. 135)

A heady prospect with a degree in aerospace engineering, Dobbs set Tennessee all-time records for rushing yards (2,160) and rushing touchdowns (32) by a quarterback, averaging a crisp 4.93 yards per career carry. While Dobbs is a major work in progress as a passer, he offers more long-term appeal than current Steelers backup Landry Jones behind 35-year-old starter Ben Roethlisberger, who is going year to year with his career after considering retirement this offseason. The Steelers, of course, are loaded with talent at the skill positions and on the offensive line. Dobbs drew some pre-draft comparisons to Dak Prescott. Dobbs impressed in his preseason debut, bouncing back from two early-game interceptions to turn in a largely promising performance.

7. Bills QB Nathan Peterman (Fifth Round, No. 171)

Smart, coachable, and fundamentally sound, Peterman has drawn comparisons to Kirk Cousins and Andy Dalton. Tyrod Taylor’s “two-year, $30.5 million” deal contains just $1 million guaranteed beyond 2017, and there are strong indications the Bills would prefer to move on from Tyrod after this season. They saw enough from Peterman in his preseason debut to promote him over T.J. Yates as Taylor’s main backup. Although Peterman appears closer to playing, I ranked Dobbs ahead of him because I prefer Dobbs’ dual-threat upside.

8. Giants QB Davis Webb (Third Round, No. 87)

Compared to Nick Foles by Rookie Scouting Portfolio’s Matt Waldman, Webb offers plus size (6’5/229) and a strong arm but wasn’t an efficient passer or rushing threat at the college level. Webb is appealing only on the basis of draft capital and 36-year-old Eli Manning’s steep downward trajectory. In Webb’s first training camp, he was unable to make any headway on Josh Johnson and Geno Smith for the Giants’ primary backup job.

9. Broncos QB Chad Kelly (Seventh Round, No. 253)

Truly one of the most intriguing Mr. Irrelevant picks of all time, Kelly showed an early-round skill set in two years at Ole Miss, but nearly fell out of the draft altogether due to injury and off-field concerns. As neither Trevor Siemian nor Paxton Lynch is remotely a surefire franchise quarterback, there is a non-zero chance Kelly could emerge as the Broncos’ best signal-caller option by 2018.

10. Lions QB Brad Kaaya (Sixth Round, No. 215)

Not particularly strong armed, accurate, or athletic, Kaaya was drafted because of his smarts (34 Wonderlic score) and pro-style-offense experience at Miami. He strictly profiles as an NFL backup.

Running Backs

Running backs are colossal injury risks and increasingly viewed as replaceable by NFL teams, who have no qualms moving on from them if they make on- or off-field mistakes or show the slightest hint of decline. Due to running backs' short shelf lives, I factor early expected impact into these rankings just as much – if not more – than long-term bankable talent. Regardless of scoring format, I want running backs who already excel at catching passes or have shown potential to become assets in the passing game.

1. Bengals RB Joe Mixon (Second Round, No. 48)

Draft capital was the lone missing piece for Mixon’s post-draft projection, and the Bengals’ willingness to select him in round two addressed it. Mixon has drawn Le’Veon Bell comparisons as a runner and is a skilled enough pass catcher I believe he could start at wide receiver in the NFL. On size and athletic measurables alone, Mixon compares favorably to Ezekiel Elliott. Giovani Bernard is coming off a torn ACL, while Jeremy Hill’s effectiveness has dipped each year he’s been in the league. Hill’s contract is up after this year. In an explosive offense where his receiving ability is sure to be highlighted, Mixon is a safe bet for short-term impact with the highest long-term ceiling in this running back class.

2. Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (First Round, No. 8)

Mixon, McCaffrey, and Leonard Fournette were all in near-even contention for my No. 1 post-draft Dynasty rookie back, with Dalvin Cook a very close fourth. I wouldn’t have any problem with someone taking McCaffrey over Mixon, and when on the clock I might even do so myself. Initially in Carolina, McCaffrey will have to compete with Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton for goal-line carries, while Newton’s averseness to targeting running backs in the passing game is a short- and long-term concern. A landing spot like Indianapolis, Philadelphia, or New Orleans would have been better for McCaffrey’s outlook. There’s a chance he turns out to be a better real-life than fantasy back.

3. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette (First Round, No. 4)

All five of my Dynasty leagues use PPR scoring. If I were in a non-PPR Dynasty league, I would rank Fournette ahead of McCaffrey and quite possibly Mixon. Fournette is a passing-game question mark with shaky pass-blocking tape who dropped 8-of-48 catchable targets (credit: PFF) in his college career. Still, Fournette possesses the top Speed Score in this year’s running back class with 4.51 jets at 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, and the Jaguars’ No. 4 overall selection of him suggests they will treat Fournette as a true offensive centerpiece. In terms of sheer carries, Fournette offers the best upside among the top-four backs. He will have to overcome sub-par quarterback and offensive line play to realize his potential. It is discouraging that Fournette suffered a foot injury in his first training camp after he battled recurring foot problems in his final year at LSU, severely diminishing his effectiveness much of the season.


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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