Any competent dynasty fantasy owner is in-the-know during the off-season. But when it comes to post-NFL draft, they become hyper aware. Just before the draft commenced, I published my Top 30 Dynasty Rankings.

Now that the annual draft festivities are well in the rear view mirror, those rankings have been changed, changed again, and then changed double.

FACTORS

There are a handful of factors that came into play while adjusting the rankings. Rookies didn’t all of a sudden become less talented. However, their situations obviously changed. By situations, I mean the team/organization they were selected by, draft capital spent by said team, competition at the position, who their head coach is, the offensive system, etc. 

RANKINGS WILL CHANGE

It’s important to remember, these rankings will change. Teams will still make acquisitions, injuries will occur, etc. Although the NFL draft really gives a nice feel for the value of dynasty rookies, it’s always flexible.

RANKINGS PER LEAGUE TYPE 

The last variant to know before we dive into rankings, is to know your league type. Some people base their rankings on different criteria. There are Superflex leagues, 2 QB leagues, standard leagues, full PPR, half PPR, no PPR, TE premium, best ball – to name a few.

TIERS

Below you will see a similar layout as before that includes tiered rankings and a synopsis of each tier. 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.

Also, you will find in parentheses where the player was ranked a month ago.

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 updated 2021 Dynasty Football Rookie Rankings:

  1. Najee Harris (1) – RB – Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Ja’Marr Chase (2) – WR – Cincinnati Bengals

I said from the start it would take some sort of epic disaster to change the top part of my rankings – especially the top two. Long story short, nothing has changed. In fact, the landing spots for Ja’Marr Chase and Najee Harris have even separated them further from the rest of the pack. Harris is already making waves in Pittsburgh, and Chase lands with his former college quarterback. Consider yourself lucky to snag one of the two in a rookie draft.

If Ja’Marr Chase wasn’t already the top wide out prospect for the 2021 class, his landing spot with former college quarterback Joe Burrow solidified it. He’s a near can’t-miss. 

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  1. Javonte Williams (4) – RB – Denver Broncos
  2. Travis Etienne (3) – RB – Jacksonville Jaguars
  3. Kyle Pitts (7)  – TE – Atlanta Falcons
  4. Trevor Lawrence (8) – QB – Jacksonville Jaguars

This tier looks pretty different from the first go-round, but it makes sense (in my head, of course). First off, there are now only four players as opposed to five in this tier. Jaylen Waddle and Rashod Bateman dropped to the next tier while Trevor Lawrence bumped up.

Here’s the logic: Lawrence moved up by default. The landing spots for a number of the wide receivers and running backs were meh, at best. What put Lawrence at number six and in the second tier was the fact he got his college backfield mate Travis Etienne in Jacksonville. 

Former Clemson teammates Travis Etienne and Trevor Lawrence will pair up once again in the NFL. While there’s no questioning Lawrence’s immediate role, dynasty owners will be watching like a hawk to see how head coach Urban Meyer utilizes Etienne.

Speaking of Etienne, he drops to my third ranked back. I had Williams and Etienne neck-and-neck anyway. Williams in Denver is one of the better landing spots for any running back sans Harris.

Lastly, not sure if you’ve lived under a rock, but this Kyle Pitts guy is pretty good. He jumped up a couple spots after landing in Atlanta and the trade of Julio Jones. A lot more targets to go around.

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  1. Jaylen Waddle (5) – WR – Miami Dolphins
  2. Rashod Bateman (6) – WR – Baltimore Ravens
  3. DeVonta Smith (9) – WR – Philadelphia Eagles

It’s interesting to see how this tier played out. I could easily guarantee one of these three wide receivers becomes a dynasty mainstay. Hot take, I know. They each have vastly different skill sets – Waddle is a burner, Bateman is a go up and get it, sneaky quick athlete, and Smith is a crisp route runner who has legitimately no flaws in his game except his size. 

My favorite player in this tier is still Rashod Bateman, even though he ended up in Baltimore. His 4.39 and explosiveness at his pro day can’t be forgotten, not to mention he’s 6-4. A lot of dynasty owners are probably fading him, so you could potentially get Bateman at a good value.

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  1. Elijah Moore (11) – WR – New York Jets
  2. Trey Sermon (14) – RB – San Francisco 49ers
  3. Rondale Moore (10) – WR – Arizona Cardinals
  4. Terrace Marshall Jr (12) – WR – Carolina Panthers

The next tier sees the biggest jump up in the rankings so far. Trey Sermon was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. The immediate reaction for most dynasty owners was along the lines of, “they don’t really need a running back.” 

But Sermon has a number of things in his favor. First, San Fran traded up to get him. Second, whatever running back is in Kyle Shanahan’s system is likely to be successful. Next, Jeff Wilson will be out for some time, so Sermon finds himself in a battle with Wayne Gallman for the backup role. And lastly, every single non-rookie running back for San Fran has a contract that is up after the 2022 season. The door will be open.

Trey Sermon is in a semi-crowded backfield in San Francisco for at least this year, but the immediate future looks bright for a player who was taken with high draft capital.

A few more wide outs find themselves in this tier. I love Rondale Moore. It’s unclear his role right away though. There will be dynasty owners who fade him because DeAndre Hopkins will get the majority of the targets in Arizona. That, and Christian Kirk still has a year left on his rookie deal. But a Murray to Moore combo in the near future is salivating. 

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  1. Zach Wilson (15) – QB – New York Jets
  2. Michael Carter (16) – RB – New York Jets
  3. Dyami Brown (17) – WR – Washington Football Team
  4. Justin Fields (24) – QB – Chicago Bears

And just like that, this tier finds thee biggest jump of the rankings – Mr. Justin Fields. It wasn’t the fact that he went to the Bears and will likely be their starter by mid-season. Chicago is no-man’s land for quarterbacks, I get it. A lot of it was players I had above him such as Chuba Hubbard, Khalil Herbert, Jermar Jefferson, Brevin Jordan, etc., who all significantly fell. 

The other part of it is, I probably had him too low in the first place. Fields is a no-joking-around, all business player. It was easy to see that vibe post-draft and it struck a chord with me (hard hitting analysis, I know). It won’t shock me if he jumps above Zach Wilson and into the Top 12 by the start of the NFL season.

The quietest wide receiver with sneaky value sits in this tier as well – Dyami Brown. The only pass catchers for Washington are Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas and Curtis Samuel. Brown will likely share a role with Adam Humphries to start the year but his athleticism will put him in a starting role sooner rather than later. Dynasty owners should be able to snag him late in the second round of rookie drafts.

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  1. Trey Lance (20) – QB – San Francisco 49ers
  2. Amon-Ra St. Brown – WR (23) – Detroit Lions
  3. Kenneth Gainwell (13) – RB – Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Kadarius Toney (26) – WR – New York Giants
  5. D’Wayne Eskridge (27) – WR – Seattle Seahawks
  6. Nico Collins (NR) – WR – Houston Texans
  7. Elijah Mitchell (NR) – RB – San Francisco 49ers
  8. Chuba Hubbard (18) – RB – Carolina Panthers

I label this one the boom or bust tier. All three wide outs in the middle of this tier could be a dynasty asset. But I also have reservations about them. Toney goes to an offense that still has question marks, including the quarterback. Eskridge is already 24-years-old, while Nico Collins sat out last year and goes into a murky quarterback situation in Houston. But if any of these fellas fall into the third round of rookie drafts, you’d best grab one.

Nico Collins is one of my highest risers in this year’s rookie class. Although Collins took the year off at Michigan, he was taken by a Texans team who is searching for a young wide out to take a big role. Collins could be that player.

Elijah Mitchell is “that guy” for me. I was thoroughly disappointed he was drafted to San Francisco, where, after already selected Sermon, their backfield is crowded. He was my James Robinson-type of player for 2021 (except, well, he was drafted). I still think his talent is too good for him not to find a home, and an eventual role, whether that’s in San Fran or not.

Wrapping up this tier, it’s no surprise Chuba dropped seven spots to number 25 after being drafted by Carolina.

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  1. Pat Freiermuth (25) – TE – Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Tylan Wallace (28) – WR – Baltimore Ravens
  3. Rhamondre Stevenson (NR) – RB – New England Patriots
  4. Mac Jones (NR) – QB – New England Patriots
  5. Khalil Herbert (19) – RB – Chicago Bears 

Khalil Herbert was a back I thought could be a sleeper given the right fit, but going to Chicago squashed that for the time being. He had the largest drop of 11 spots in my rankings.

There are two Patriots who sneak into the Top 30. Rhamondre Stevenson is a name to remember. Although Bill Belichick drives fantasy owners bonkers with his running back usage, Stevenson could make waves. Rumor has it Sony Michel could be cut, James White only re-upped for one year, and Rex Burkhead left in free agency. There’s plenty of room between Damian Harris and Stevenson for the foreseeable future.

Players Who Dropped Out of Top 30

Brevin Jordan (21); Jermar Jefferson (22); Seth Williams (29); Tutu Atwell (30)

FINAL THOUGHTS

What caught my attention was how far a number of players fell. Again, it’s not that their talent got any worse in the last month, but situation matters. So does draft capital.

The first time around, there were 14 wide receivers. That dropped slightly to 13. As for running backs, there were only nine. Presently, there are a few more backs I like late in rookie drafts to take a chance on, so you’ll find 10. Five quarterbacks and two tight ends round out the Top 30.

Here’s the general consensus in the dynasty community on this year’s rookie class – it’s not deep. After the first seven or eight picks, there are a lot of dart throws. That doesn’t mean one won’t hit. On the contrary, there will be plenty. Just take Brandon Aiyuk and Chase Claypool from a season ago. They were both being taken near the third round of rookie drafts. But the odds are a little lower this year. 

To me, if you have a top six to eight pick, I’d play hardball on any trade offers. Meanwhile, if I’m holding a late first or multiple seconds, I’m looking to collect future draft assets (2023 is going to be stacked).

Again, these will change. I’ll have at least one more Top 30 ranking out during training camp in August. 

EVEN MORE?

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