In the sports betting world, one cannot brag about a certain win unless they show “receipts.” Basically this means you need to show proof.
The date of the bet.
The time of the bet.
How much money was bet.
That receipt metaphor can also be applied to fantasy football rankings. Anyone can do it if they want. Some have the platform to share their rankings to the masses, while others do it only for themselves.
Either way, you have now created something that will have a receipt. You can brag about how you got something correct, or be called out because, well, it’s the thing to do nowadays.
FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS
It’s important to understand that nobody in the entire history of the world has ever gotten fantasy football rankings exactly correct. Ever. It’s impossible. There are so many varying factors that it’s harder to predict than it is to win the lottery (that’s just rhetoric – I have no clue if it actually is, it just sounded good in my head).
However, studying, consuming information, and analyzing data on players gives someone better odds.
So here I am, dipping my toes in the vast ocean of fantasy football rankings – but with a twist.
I’ve focused mainly on dynasty football over the course of my Wisconsin Sports Heroics writing tenure. If you’re unfamiliar with dynasty football, you can check out my four part introduction series. So, I’ll be sticking to that theme with an all-rookie ranking. Maybe you join a startup league or take on an orphan dynasty team this offseason. Hopefully this will help.
Although these rankings are solely 2021 incoming rookies, they can also be utilized in a redraft league. It’s very possible someone such as Najee Harris will go in the first round in redrafts, and maybe even Ja’Marr Chase if it’s full PPR.
PRE NFL DRAFT DYNASTY RANKINGS
It’s important to remember these rankings will, without a shadow of a doubt, change. One of the biggest off-season events that will cause value discrepancy is the NFL Draft.
Many like to argue that landing spots don’t matter. Maybe it doesn’t for the top couple of players because their talent will be on display anywhere, but it certainly does for most rookies.
RANKINGS PER LEAGUE TYPE
Another variant to know before you go diving into rankings, is to remember your league type. Some people base their rankings on different criteria. There are Superflex leagues (extra flex spot for RB, WR, TE, or QB), 2 QB leagues, standard leagues (1 QB), full PPR, half PPR, no PPR, TE premium (tight ends get 1.5 points per reception).
League type, scoring and rosters have morphed throughout the years. For example, if it’s a full PPR league, I would potentially have Jaylen Waddle and Rashod Bateman over Jevonte Williams. If it was a tight end premium ranking, I’d have Kyle Pitts at number four.
It’s all relative.
I’ve split my rankings up in tiers. Basically it’s a way of separating a group of players in order for readers to know there is a significant enough distinction between the last player of a tier, and the first player of the next tier. I give a synopsis of each tier as well.
OFFICIAL DYNASTY RANKINGS
My rankings will be based on a one quarterback league that gives .5 PPR, with no tight end premium scoring.
Here is my current 2021 Dynasty Football Rookie Rankings:
1. Najee Harris – RB – Alabama
2. Ja’Marr Chase – WR – LSU
If you took 100 individuals who are supposed dynasty football experts, I’d venture to say 80 of them will have these two players at the top. I know a lot of analysts try to make a name for themselves by going against consensus. That’s why receipts are like gold. For me, these two stand above the rest, and I don’t see anything changing that. Both players did nothing to hurt their stock at their Pro Days. In fact, it was probably Ja’Marr Chase who separated himself as the clear number one wide receiver, showing his speed, quickness, and hands.
Najee Harris and Travis Etienne are considered the top two backs, and some even have Etienne over Harris. Not me. Harris is an all around back. He is fast, runs hard, and is a great pass catcher. The fluidity he shows to go along with the size he has reminds me of a modern day Larry Johnson.
3. Travis Etienne – RB – Clemson
4. Jevonte Williams – RB – North Carolina
5. Jaylen Waddle – WR – Alabama
6. Rashod Bateman – WR – Minnesota
7. Kyle Pitts – TE – Florida
This tier is pretty set. The order will likely change within the tier, especially if someone like Waddle goes to a team without a great quarterback (see: Bears, Patriots, Jets – for now).
My favorite player in this tier is Rashod Bateman. He ran an impressive 4.39 at his Pro Day, but more than that, showed some explosion in his route running. He’s not just a go up and get it guy, although his 6-4 frame is a huge bonus.
A couple other quick notes, I’m a Jevonte Williams fan. If he lands in a good spot after the draft, he could easily leap over Etienne. Kyle Pitts is the clear number one tight end. I’ve always liked Waddle. Although his frame has led to some health concerns, he’s an explosive playmaker. With the right deep ball quarterback, he’s a young DeSean Jackson clone, but with a wider route tree.
8. Trevor Lawrence – QB – Clemson
9. DeVonta Smith – WR – Alabama
10. Rondale Moore – WR – Purdue
Rondale Moore is my number 10, but number one in my heart. Certainly his 5-7 height is not ideal, but literally everything else is. He can run, jump, has great hands, and will be hard to cover in the slot. If he goes to a team where the coach knows how to utilize his skills, he’ll be a dynamite player.
Does "slant boy" take handoffs? I can't remember, but highly doubt it. pic.twitter.com/sC6FC0R0Tr
— Josh Larky ↗️ (@jlarkytweets) February 18, 2021
I understand DeVonta Smith was the Heisman winner. He is nine overall, so it’s not like I’m knocking him. I just think there are other players with higher ceilings is all.
Trevor Lawrence, unsurprisingly, is the first quarterback to be ranked. Again, in superflex or two quarterback rankings, he’s top three. Not much to say other than he’s a stud who will get every chance in Jacksonville to be successful.
11. Elijah Moore – WR – Ole Miss
12. Terrace Marshall Jr – WR – LSU
13. Kenneth Gainwell – RB – Memphis
I call this the wild card trio. Kenneth Gainwell could pull an Antonio Gibson. It makes sense, both being backs out of Memphis who are speedy, a bit undersized, and don’t have a lengthy collegiate resume. So he has the opportunity to fly up radars as the offseason rolls along. For now, he’s RB4 in my rankings.
I think the big play ability of Elijah Moore and Marshall Jr. separates them from a very deep wide receiver class. They’re both very different players. Moore is strictly a slot receiver with his slight frame and blazing speed. Meanwhile, Marshall Jr. is a long striding outside receiver who successfully replaced Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase at LSU this season.
14. Trey Sermon – RB – Ohio State
15. Zach Wilson – QB – BYU
16. Michael Carter – RB – North Carolina
17. Dyami Brown – WR – North Carolina
18. Chuba Hubbard – RB – Oklahoma State
In this tier we really see the huge distinction between the top three running backs, and backs 5-7. The most interesting of them could be Chuba Hubbard, whose name was lumped in with last year’s group of Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers, JK Dobbins, D’Andre Swift and Clyde-Edwards Helaire. Hubbard decided to go back to Oklahoma State, where his stock dropped dramatically after a very subpar year.
Chuba Hubbard is a tough eval but has insane highlights
-9 TDs, 6.6 YPTouch as a freshmen
-Huge workload as RSsoph: 351 touches, 2300 yards, 21 TDs
-Opted to play in 2021, got hurt, caught only 8 passes, generally disappointed
-Track athlete who should post blazing times pic.twitter.com/pSEQLT4IZe
— Davis Mattek (davismattek.eth) (@DavisMattek) February 15, 2021
Zach Wilson is my QB2. Dynasty owners should target him in the mid second round, and if he’s still sitting on the board in the late second, it’ll be a steal. In Superflex league rookie drafts, he likely goes in the first round – potentially top half depending on how an owner perceives his stock.
19. Khalil Herbert – RB – Virginia Tech
20. Trey Lance – QB – North Dakota State
21. Brevin Jordan – TE – Miami
22. Jermar Jefferson – RB – Oregon State
23. Amon-Ra St. Brown – WR – USC
I love this tier. There’s a wide variety with all core four fantasy positions. I’m higher than most – maybe to a fault – on Brevin Jordan, but his tape and football acumen are dynamite. Trey Lance has a ceiling you may not be able to see, and running backs Khalil Herbert and Jermar Jefferson could be a couple of sleeper backs.
24. Justin Fields – QB – Ohio State
25. Pat Freiermuth – TE – Penn State
26. Kadarius Toney – WR – Florida
27. D’Wayne Eskridge – WR – Western Michigan
28. Tylan Wallace – WR – Oklahoma State
29. Seth Williams – WR – Auburn
30. Tutu Atwell – WR – Louisville
If I were to pick one player where I could be way off in this group, it’s Justin Fields. There is very little bad tape on him, although it’s a wonder why Georgia head coach Kirby Smart picked Jacob Fromm over Fields, which ultimately led Fields going to Ohio State.
Compared to a lot of other rankings, I have Kadarius Toney a lot lower. In the right system he could be pretty good. A lot of wide receivers are in this tier. There’s always a possibility one of them will surprise, but for now, Tutu Atwell rounds out my Top 30.
Once again, these rankings would shift if we were talking about full ppr, superflex, or tight end premium leagues.
In total, there are 14 wide receivers, nine running backs, four quarterbacks and three tight ends.
Dynasty owners need to be smart in their rookie drafts. After you get by the top handful of wideouts, the rest of the class is deep, so it’ll be unnecessary to reach for one.
For example, if you are sitting at number 18 overall (in a 12 team league, that would be 2.06 – sixth pick of the second round ), and the top four backs are off the board, taking a flyer on a back like Trey Sermon, Chuba Hubbard, or Michael Carter instead of wide outs like Terrace Marshall Jr. or Dyami Brown makes sense. Simply because there aren’t as many running backs, so hit rate odds are lower.
Either way, knowing which players are at the top of their positions coming out of the college ranks is the essence of dynasty football.
These Top 30 are, without a doubt, going to change. Look for an updated list after the NFL Draft. Don’t let anyone tell you different, landing spots matter.