As soon as ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ is selected to conclude Round 7 of the NFL draft and all 32 teams finalize their collective group of unsigned free agents, the next big move in the football schedule is the kicking off of dynasty rookie drafts kicking off.
Dynasty leagues might be the fastest growing segment of the fantasy football hobby that is played by millions across the globe. For dynasty leagues that are already established, the annual draft is usually a small affair, consisting of only the incoming rookies.
Here is a look at the rankings for the first two rounds of the 2017 class of rookies, and their value, not just in dynasty formats, but also how they fit into redraft leagues as well.
Rankings are based on 12-team PPR leagues
RB | Jacksonville Jaguars
Most people will go with Corey Davis here at the top, but I’m not going to miss out on a special running back if given the opportunity to acquire one. Fournette is considered every bit as promising as Ezekiel Elliott and was drafted in that same No. 4 spot by the Jags, who desperately needed a featured running back to take pressure off of Blake Bortles. Fournette has a very intriguing size-to-speed ratio and is an underrated pass catcher. I think he walks right into a featured role with 1,200-yard, 10+ touchdown ability as a rookie. It’s much easier to find wideouts than running backs, so when I see a kid draw Bo Jackson comparisons, I’m very interested in adding that to my fantasy squads.
WR | Tennessee Titans
If you feel safer about taking a wide receiver with the top pick, Corey Davis is the consensus top option for you. Davis broke all kinds of MAC records at Western Michigan and is the all-time leader in receiving yards (5,278) in NCAA history. At 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, Davis was a man among boys in college and has WR2/3 potential as soon as this year for a rising Titans offense.
RB | Carolina Pantherstake over as the featured runner in Carolina sooner, rather than later.
- Read more about the Carolina Panthers newest running back in our double-header fantasy preview article on Christian McCaffrey here
RB | Cincinnati Bengals
Setting aside off-the-field concerns, Mixon was a special talent at Oklahoma who has ideal size, excellent speed, and soft hands. He has the potential to eat into Gio Bernard‘s third down role and will make Jeremy Hill, who has averaged 10 touchdowns over each of the past three seasons, expendable.
WR | Los Angeles Chargers
At 6-foot-4, 218, Williams is ideally suited to be a red zone monster, but one who also has the wheels to get down the field and out-muscle overmatched defensive backs. Keenan Allen has struggled with injuries and Antonio Gates is nearing the end of his brilliant career, so Williams has a good chance to have an immediate role for one of the best passing games in the AFC.
RB Minnesota Vikings
Cook was one of my favorite players to watch, as he was dazzling as a three-down star at Florida State. But marred by subpar combine numbers and off-the-field concerns, he slipped into the second round. The Vikings also just signed Latavius Murray, but Cook should take over as the change-of-pace runner and third down back right away.
WR | Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals made Ross, who broke the NFL combine record with a 4.22-second 40-yard dash, the No. 9 pick in the 2017 NFL draft. More than just a speedster, Ross caught 81 balls at Washington and will add a dangerous element to the Bengals’ passing attack and help A.J. Green see less attention from opposing defensive backs. Word of caution: Ross has already suffered two major knee injuries, so he’s a bit of an injury risk.
TE | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Redraft owners may want to avoid prioritizing a rookie tight end, as the learning curve is steep, especially for a tight end that was underutilized in college. But Howard is built like a defensive end that can run a 4.51 40-yard dash. He’s an amazing athlete that will be a down-the-seams nightmare for opposing DB’s and major red zone weapon. He should develop into a top-5 fantasy tight end in short order.
RB | New Orleans Saints
Heading into the draft, many analysts thought Kamara was the fourth-best runner in this class, with a borderline first-round value. The landing spot almost couldn’t be better, as Kamara is expected to take over the pass-catching role for the Saints that turned Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles into fantasy stars. Kamara is also an excellent runner, who could approach 200 touches as a rookie and is a darkhorse candidate to catch 60-70 balls.
TE | New York Giants
An ideal landing spot for this talented tight end, Engram should open the season as the starter for a New York offense loaded with pass-catching weapons. The Giants have lacked an impact tight end for some time, and they liked the former Mississippi star enough to draft him ahead of Miami’s David Njoku, who was the consensus No. 2 tight end.
WR | Buffalo Bills
Jones set records for East Carolina, where he was peppered with targets and had the most catches in FBS single-season history. The Bills had to address their lack of pass-catchers behind Sammy Watkins and traded up for the 6-foot-2, 201 pound Jones- who should start right away for the new-look Bills. As a side note, Buffalo declined to pick of Watkins’s fifth-year option, so if he’s allowed to walk next season, Jones could become Buffalo’s No. 1 wideout as early as 2018.
WR | Pittsburgh Steelers
After a disappointing final season at USC, JuJu Smith-Schuster fell off from the early favorite to be the top receiver in the NFL draft to the point where he slipped into a fantasy-friendly situation in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have done a good job grooming young wideouts and are thin outside of superstar Antonio Brown and volatile Martavis Bryant. Smith-Schuster has a good size/speed profile and could conceivably earn playing time quite early. And if Bryant slips up again, JuJu could become an immediate factor.
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