We will update this list/ranking 10-15+ times throughout the offseason, and the next update will come a little quicker than you’d expect as we sift through all the undrafted free agents and try to get some local info on them with their new teams.
As a reminder, this ranking is not saying where you should take these players (although some are)…it’s just where we value them right now. Your approach/game plan to get the most you can out of the Dynasty Rookie Draft is on your shoulders.*See FFM report on 5/5 for an early preview of the ADP top 25 we’re seeing in this week’s Dynasty Rookie Drafts we’ve sampled.
Players we are very much against are at the bottom of this report – in the ‘Don Not Touch’ section.
Here we go…
#1) RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
You have to understand something within the context, if you don’t already…the football media’s favorite player in this draft is Ezekiel Elliott. He checked all the major scouting boxes – he ran a 4.4+ 40-time. He is 220+ pounds. He is a running back, and went to Ohio State.
I’m not sure which came first, the chicken or the egg… I don’t know if fans love running backs because of the coverage from football analysts, or if analysts cover running backs because the fans love them so much. Either way running backs ‘rule’ with fans – which means they rule with most fantasy football GMs.
The Dallas Cowboys generate more media heat than any team in football…there’s something about the Cowboys. Credit Jerry Jones. Credit Jimmy Johnson. I don’t know who to blame/credit. Whatever it is, what the Cowboys do is on a Professional Wrestling level of interest – hero or heel. It does not matter. The media loves to cover the ‘Boys…fans love to engage about them.
Ezekiel Elliott being taken in the top five in the draft overall by the Dallas Cowboys is like taking a turn down an abandoned road, and accidentally coming up on a unicorn lapping water at the Fountain of Youth…with the Holy Grail strapped to its back…all right next to a sign that says, “This way to the lost city of Atlantis.” I don’t know if there’s ever been a better convergence of events in recent years, as it pertains to any rookie prospect for the Dynasty Rookie Draft. The post-draft analysis was 92% about Dallas, and mostly about them drafting Elliott. It’s football analyst’s Camelot.
The ‘scouting boxes’ that I mentioned, you could substitute ‘Alabama’ in for ‘Ohio State’, and arrive at the same place. See Trent Richardson circa-2012. However, in 2012 Richardson happened to be in the same draft with another mythical creature – Andrew Luck. Elliott shares no such spotlight in this draft. This rookie draft offers a stunning lack of enthusiasm for people…after Elliott.
Ezekiel Elliott to the Dallas Cowboys is instant top 12 ADP in upcoming redrafts…not top 12 in rookie drafts, I mean top 12 overall in a redraft. His valuation in Dynasty will be on a level of any single player you can name…and that’s the part you must fully appreciate. You could trade the 1.01 draft pick (and maybe a small token extra) in the 2016 Dynasty Rookie Draft for players you would consider in the universal top 10 overall best for Fantasy. That’s the incredible valuation. That’s why Ezekiel Elliott has to be the #1 rated prospect in this Dynasty Rookie Draft.
The extreme value of Ezekiel Elliott, to you the 1.01 owner, is not to draft him in 2016. The opportunity of a lifetime is to auction off/hold for ransom Ezekiel Elliott for a top 5-10-15 existing player that you covet in all of Fantasy Football.
If there’s plenty of time until your rookie draft, and you own the 1.01, then pit all teams against each other the next few months in order to acquire what you want. Of course, not every Dynasty GM is buying/willing to pay the price for Elliott, but I suspect one out of every two of them would…whether they admit it or not.
If you’re drafting soon, too soon to trade him, then you go ahead pick Elliott…and then hold the Elliott sweepstakes afterwards. And make the deal before the preseason games start…before the value bubble can burst.
I don’t dispute that Elliott is a good/solid running back prospect. I don’t dispute that joining the Dallas Cowboys turbocharges his Fantasy value some/a lot. I know we’re having a much different conversation if Elliott had been drafted by the Browns or Jaguars. I’m not saying Elliott is a bust you must trade away. I’m simply saying this is the ultimate sell high of a player who cannot possibly live up to the hype. He’ll be really good for Dallas – but you can score more stable, elite players at other more critical positions by trading him.
#2) WR Corey Coleman, Cleveland
The one non-QB from this draft who could be a mega-star is Corey Coleman. He has all the measurables you’re looking for, and was unstoppable for the most part in college.
The two negatives I hear about Coleman are:
To that I would say…he doesn’t need that many routes. He just needs someone to get him the ball short, and let him go. Or get him the ball medium-to-deep as he’s blowing by his defender by several yards. Odell Beckham Jr. is no genius either, but mega-talent WRs don’t have to be technicians. Coleman falls into that description for me.
2) What good can come of him on the Cleveland Browns?
I’m stunned by how much him being on Cleveland has poured cold water on his NFL/Fantasy buzz. I get that Cleveland traditionally sucks, but as you saw from this past draft…’times, they are a-changing’. With Corey Coleman’s talent, I don’t believe quarterback really matters as much. Sure, I’d love him to be working with Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers, etc., but even with an RG3, it means Coleman gets a bunch of screen passes, and/or heaved-up deep balls…his perfect situation.
I’m really not worried about the quarterback in the equation here with Coleman – he’s a WR that doesn’t need the quarterback to help him…he helps make the quarterback, one of the rare few that is like that.
I’d rather have Corey Coleman long-term than Ezekiel Elliott. A wide receiver always has longevity/ROI factors over a running back, in general. Plus, I think Coleman is just that gifted. However, you can’t take Coleman #1 over Elliott because people look at Coleman sideways, right now, because he’s a Cleveland Brown…and you can trade ‘the magical unicorn’ Ezekiel Elliott for riches untold. That part of the equation aside, I’d rather have Corey Coleman over anyone else in this draft…if I had to keep them the next 5–10 years.
** At this point in the Dynasty Rookie Draft, I’d mostly be OK if I had no picks for the rest of the draft. Honestly, everything from this point on has various/serious flaws and scenarios that make trading the pick/player much wiser than obtaining/keeping them. If I were holding picks after 1.02, I’d rather have more Round 3+ picks, and trade away my firsts and seconds.**
#3a) QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles
Why Jared Goff this early? Because he is arguably the single best football talent in this draft. Also, most everything about this draft is awful, so weak…someone has to be #3.
Jared Goff is probably going to have a horrible 2016 season. I know this. Jeff Fisher is the absolute worst thing that could happen to a passing game for quarterback. I am banking on the fact that Goff has a lot of those ‘next Tom Brady‘ attributes in our system, and that there will be a new coach in Los Angeles for the 2017 season.
Josh Doctson is a good-great wide receiver, but there are a lot of good-great wide receivers entering the NFL. There are not a lot of truly great quarterbacks entering the NFL… Jared Goff is a rare bird. When the offense changes for Goff, assuming that it does/with a new coach, you are looking at an elite passer…a QB1 talent for years here.
#3b) WR Josh Doctson, Washington
One of the reasons I moved Josh Doctson down past Goff was because I think I can see the future… Doctson joins a team where there are three receiving options who are much more experienced and better linked to the starting quarterback, and they are very talented, Garcon-Jackson-Reed. Are you telling me that rookie Josh Doctson is just going to show up and push past all of them, and become instant fantasy gold? Most likely, Doctson becomes a bit player and a 2016 Fantasy disappointment that leaves people looking to 2017 hopes and dreams on him.
I definitely want Doctson on my Dynasty roster, but I’m willing to roll the dice here that I could trade the pick that could get something more valuable for 2016…and then trading for Doctson in September or October 2016. I go back after Doctson via trade…when his price is reduced by 10-20-50%, as what almost always happens with rookies when Rookie Derangement Syndrome starts wearing off.
I want Doctson, but I’ll let you draft him…you trade a lot to me so you can make the pick – and then I’ll hit you back up when you’re desperate and your defenses are down in September–October, and you’ll trade him to me at a discount. If not, the world won’t come to an end.
Laquon Treadwell note:
5/6/2016: After the release of the 1.0 version of our DRD rankings, a few people emailed to ask whether it would also be wise to take Laquon Treadwell at #3 or #4 or #5 and trade him ‘hot’ as well?
It’s definitely not crazy, and is what you should look to do…if you can pull it off. Our initial stance has been that Treadwell is on our ‘Do Not Touch’ list because he normally is gone by the 1.04 pick, and I would suggest taking Elliott-Coleman-Doctson-Shepard (not Goff, because you shouldn’t reach that early…it’s an overspend) as the first four.
The reason I slide Shepard in ahead of Treadwell as a draft-and-trade is because I perceive there is some lust for Shepard, and there is a tepid response for Treadwell. I know most Fantasy analysts are probably ranking Treadwell #2 or #3 overall…and thus some sheep will follow by drafting him there in May 2016. My sense from the frontline is that people WANT Shepard…they’re buying in. On the other hand, people are ‘settling’ for Treadwell because Fantasy writers said so. My great fear, and I think a real fear: You draft Treadwell, and you’ll be stuck with no real buyers…you’ll get in at the peak of the market, and sell into a falling knife of value. You draft Shepard, and you’ll have an investment to work now and later.
Today, copycat national rankers that are using a February 2016 mainstream-mindset all line up/are holding onto their robotic-love for Treadwell. I’m telling you, that mindset is going to break…soon. Treadwell is going to become so obvious to break ranks from – given his awful landing spot for Fantasy. Once the first leak springs in the dam wall, the whole ‘dam’ thing is going to crumble soon after. Treadwell is at peak value today, and every day he depreciates another percentage. In short order, I think Treadwell is going to wind up more as a #4-6 media ranked/Dynasty drafted prospect with not a lot of enthusiasm
Include Treadwell in the ‘flip this WR’ sweepstakes if you’d like. At 1.03 or 1.04 or 1.05, if Elliott-Coleman are gone…I want to explore trading that PICK before I make the pick – the more trade partners the better…they may love Doctson or Treadwell or Shepard or even Kenneth Dixon. The more of them pitted against each other to get whomever, before the actual pick is made, the better. The key takeaway is TRADE the 1.03-4-5 pick once it’s not Coleman-Elliott. If you get stuck making the pick, taking Treadwell to trade is an option…but not my favorite option…but is an option.
For some cocktail napkin valuation, the non-Elliott/Coleman pick in the top 5 is potentially worth a top 20-25 ADP WR (today) or better…shoot for that target, make that trade. I am seeing people packaging their 1.03/4/5 + trinket for Brandin Cooks, etc. Do that all day long.
#5) WR Sterling Shepard, NY Giants
Sterling Shepard is a very good wide receiver, but he is radically overvalued in this rookie draft. I draft Shepard only to trade him.
Had Sterling Shepard gone to the Cleveland Browns, he might not even be in the top 10 of anyone’s rookie draft rankings. Much of the heat here is because he went to a New York-based team. Some of the heat is because this draft is lacking. Some of the heat is because people are daydreaming about a world where Shepard runs wild because Odell Beckham is the focus of defenses. I get that, but it never works out that way. The #2 WR who thrives opposite a great #1 is mostly a fallacy.
We all need to get a slap in the face, and be brought back to reality – how highly do you want to draft a wide receiver who will without a shadow of a doubt be the team’s #2 WR option? How sad is this? With top rookie draft picks you want wide receivers who are brought in to be the team’s ‘main act’, not a nice sideshow. I like Shepard a lot, but I am trading him while the iron is hot.
#6) RB C.J. Prosise, Seattle
The only reason I have C.J. Prosise ranked this highly is because I believe Seattle tipped their hand, and they are telling us that they fear Thomas Rawls’s injury or talent or whatever. The Seahawks drafted three running backs in the 2016 NFL Draft. The best and most complete of which is C.J. Prosise.
At worst, Prosise is going to be a PPR option as a third-down running back with Thomas Rawls. At best, Prosise is going to be the opening day three-down running back on a terrific offense.
I don’t love the long term, but I very much like the short term here.
#7) QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia
I’m not a huge Carson Wentz fan, but I know the Philadelphia Eagles are. I know that Carson Wentz is going to be given a year to develop (maybe less), and then be the starter in 2017. The Eagles’ future is going to center around Wentz. He may not put up gaudy passing numbers, but he’s a pretty savvy runner, and can add a couple of FF points with his feet…maybe enough to matter for Fantasy purposes, in leagues where the quarterback scoring is not as wild and crazy for passing numbers.
The fact that we have Carson Wentz up this highly is a sign of how bad this Dynasty Rookie Draft is. For more evidence, wait into you see the next rookie quarterback we have ranked.
#9) FS Sean Davis, Pittsburgh
With Pittsburgh already announcing Davis as a safety, I feel comfortable ranking him up this highly. Had Pittsburgh committed to making him a cornerback, I’d worry about his Fantasy production just because of that position lacking the bigger IDP numbers usually. However, safeties produce highly for those that play in a league that just list ‘DB’ as the option to fill.
Davis is a threat in coverage, as well as a nice hitter in the open field. He’s a guy who can get you good tackle counts along with some pass-game action (PDs and INTs).
#10) LB Jatavis Brown, San Diego
I think Jatavis Brown could wind up as the best defensive player from this draft in the long run. He’s measured athletically better than any of the other name prospects at the linebacker position, and he has proven results to go with it. Brown is fast enough to rush the quarterback, as well as hang back in coverage. He’s a monster tackling in the open field. He has it all.
Brown could be an outside linebacker, an inside linebacker, or a strong safety. The only question is whether San Diego was going to give him the push because of his late-round draft status. I think Brown will play well enough, and the opportunity is there in San Diego for him to make an immediate impact. However, Mike McCoy’s instincts scare the hell out of me…so ‘buyer beware’.
#11) CB Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville
Jalen Ramsey could be the top defender in our rankings, but I fear one thing – too many times Ramsey plays lazy. He’s very talented, but he’s lazy and sloppy…and he goes to a franchise that is not a well-oiled machine. If Ramsey went to the Patriots, I’d be ecstatic about his opportunity. Ramsey on the Jags scares me. However, I know he’s going to be thrust into the lineup right away, and probably be tested a bunch, so his initial FF-numbers should be good for passes defended. He also used to play safety, and was a big hitter at one time, before he became a diva/lazy. At his best, Ramsey could be the best IDP on the list.
#8) QB Paxton Lynch, Denver
You may be shocked to see Paxton Lynch up this high in our Rookie Draft Rankings, because you might already know we have horrific scouting grades on him coming out of college. This is simply just another situation where I take a guy whom I know the team is going to force in as a starter at some point, and that will get people all worked up about the possibilities – and then I can trade that smoke before anybody realizes there’s no fire.
I know Paxton Lynch is going to start for Denver at some point. When you look at the rest of the list of offensive players we have remaining…you tell me the guy that is the definitive starter or #1 weapon for his team at his position. I’ll save you some time searching – there isn’t one. At least Lynch is going to get his day, which means he’s going to get his hype – which means I have something to trade.
Lynch is likely in a #15-25 ADP in rookie drafts, right now. I don’t mean he’s the guy you should take at 1.08…just saying he has the 8th best value, as far as we are concerned – value to trade at some point.
#12) RB Jordan Howard, Chicago
I like Jordan Howard perhaps more than others, because I see a path most people don’t – I don’t think Jeremy Langford’svery good, and that opens the door up for a guy like Howard to take over the backfield. I also believe the power running game is what John Fox would prefer, and Howard is his guy for that… Not Langford. I wouldn’t be shocked if Howard won this job outright by opening day, with Langford seeing some time as a third-down/pass-game running back.
#13) LB Myles Jack, Jacksonville
All the loose puzzle pieces about Myles Jack scare me to death now.
I know…his highlight reel shows him as a wildly gifted linebacker in spots. You can only imagine the possibilities with him…and they’re very exciting – when Jack is at his best. But like Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack gets lazy and sloppy. Unlike Ramsey, Myles Jack has a tornado of injury concerns…the fact that he dropped out of the first round should scare the hell out of everybody. NFL teams had to know something bad to allow him to drop from top five overall to second round.
When you take Myles Jack, you’re signing up for a huge gamble. If he stays healthy, and motivated, he’ll be the best defender you could’ve taken in this draft. However, the odds say that there are problems lurking around various corners here. This is very much a ‘buyer beware’, but the upside is sweet enough that at a certain point you take a swing at it.
#14) DT DeForest Buckner, San Francisco
Had Buckner going to a pure 4-3 scheme defense, and his coaches talked him up as a defensive tackle, I might have Buckner as the #1 IDP from this rookie class. However, he’s going to a 3-4 scheme, and they’re talking about him at defensive end…that’s not his best, most disruptive position at all. He’s not going to be a big producer from the end.
Because he’s such a freakish athlete, and this draft is so weak…we’ve got him ranked up this highly because of the gamble/upside aspect…or hope he plays more DT in 4-3 alignments.
#15) LB Jaylon Smith, Dallas
I think Jaylon Smith is wildly overrated, but I also know because he went to Notre Dame and now is on the media-monster Dallas Cowboys – and thus this story cannot, will not be contained. The media is building Smith up into the next Ray Lewis. I don’t see it. However, I’m willing to draft it now, and then trade the heat next year when everybody’s going crazy about it. This is a pure draft-to-trade situation.
#16) RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee
You know the drill with Derrick Henry – the DeMarco Murray factor looms. You can try to look into the future and assume they’ll move Murray next year or whenever, but the fact that they are willing to pair Murray and Henry now would scare me that they’re always going to pair Henry with somebody.
Henry is a guy I’d rather not waste a draft pick on if I can help it, and I’m sure somebody will take him ahead of me before I even contemplated it. This Titans backfield situation is going to be a mess to figure out. However, Henry has talent, and maybe bumps Murray in 2016, and has quicker production than expected. Still, I’ll always have the fear he’s too one-dimensional for Fantasy.
#17) DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Cleveland
Ogbah is the best pure edge-rusher in the draft. If you’re looking to fill your roster with high-potential sack guys, you can’t do much better than Ogbah from this draft. He’s not an elite DE prospect, but he is very good; borderline great.
#18) DT Sheldon Rankins, New Orleans
Sheldon Rankins is the most ‘sure thing’ defensive tackle in this draft. He’s definitely going to start immediately. He may be one of the better defensive tackle producers in the NFL right away.
#19) SS Karl Joseph, Oakland
Karl Joseph is going to play sooner rather than later, and he’s going to be working on an Oakland team that has a pretty great pass rush. There are going to be a lot of opportunities for Joseph to use his ‘sticky hands’ to pick passes off, as well as make tackles against the quick passes in front of him, short/quick passes that offenses will deploy to try to minimize the Raiders pass rush. I like the IDP scoring setup here.
#20) WR Pharoh Cooper, Los Angeles
We are not huge Pharoh Cooper fans, but who else is there to catch passes for the Los Angeles Rams? Cooper should get a long look as a starter at a certain point in 2016, and working with a very talented Jared Goff…there might be something here. You might get a nice, instant blip to trade potentially.
#21) WR Malcolm Mitchell, New England
I think Malcolm Mitchell has the chance to be a fantastic wide receiver in the NFL. He was totally underutilized at Georgia, playing with a terrible pass game. You take a talent like his, match it up with the smartest minds in the NFL, and the best quarterback…and there is real hope here.
My fear is that by the time Mitchell is fully ready to be a good/great wide receiver in the NFL, Tom Brady is starting to fall off. However, Brady may be a robot/alien from the future that will never not be great. Mitchell has a chance to be one of the shock players from the 2016 rookie draft.
#22) WR Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati
I like Tyler Boyd. I know he has great hands. I know he’s a bit of a limited athlete. What I don’t like is him being the third-wheel option in Cincinnati. Marvin Jones was never that consistent of a producer for Fantasy purposes, and he’s more athletically gifted than Boyd. A very similar Mohammed Sanu only had a moment of rookie excitement, but was mostly quiet. The fact that Boyd has athletic limitations and will need to adjust some as a rookie means that you could acquire Boyd at a discounted price in September–October or 2017.
#23) LB Reggie Ragland, Buffalo
I’m not a huge Reggie Ragland fan, but I assume he’s going to be starting right away…and that’s worth something for IDP purposes.
#24) RB Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore (+5 spots)
I like Kenneth Dixon just fine…it’s more that I hate his NFL situation. I have no idea why Baltimore drafted Dixon when they already had a solid+ running back group rostered. On one hand, it’s confusing. On the other hand, the Ravens must like Dixon a lot. Most of the things the Ravens have done in the past 12 months make little sense to me.
I don’t see how Kenneth Dixon is going to matter all that much in a crowded backfield in 2016. His future may be bright, but 2016 is probably going to be a cluster…and his Fantasy value is going to drop early on. There’s no reason to draft him at a higher value when you can trade for him in October at a great discount.
**Now we’re starting to get into the heavier-risk portion of the program. There are some guys who you will think unusual to be ranked as high as they are, but we see so many flaws in the rest of this group that we’re willing to stretch our necks out for some interesting talents in the potentially perfect situation…but these are low draft status guys who teams tend to overlook.**
#25) RB Daniel Lasco, New Orleans
I’m not a huge fan of Mark Ingram, but I know for sure he’s the starter without doubt. C.J. Spiller is obviously meaningless. Tim Hightower is useful, but not the future. Daniel Lasco is a sneaky, athletic jack-of-all-trades running back who could become that high-target guy out of the backfield quicker than anyone would imagine. At least, that would be my daydream at this point of the Dynasty Rookie Draft.
#26) RB Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia (+14 spots)
I didn’t believe in the possibility of Smallwood mattering in Philadelphia in 2016…or much in the future either. He profiled as a typical smaller running back prospect (208-pounds) — fast, but not strong (14 bench reps) at an NFL size that isn’t ideal. However, the more I watched tape, and studied his work for a deeper scouting report – I started to like what I saw. He is really a very gifted, instinctual runner. The size is a fear for injury issues and general NFL effectiveness, but Smallwood has the speed-agility and instincts that can overcome…if he gets a chance.
Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles are the experienced incumbents, but Mathews has been rumored to be traded…and is always hurt. Sproles is great, but not a workhorse running back. There is a window for Smallwood to hit in 2016. It’s not a given, but I am more open to the possibilities than I was pre-Draft.
#27) RB Josh Ferguson, Indianapolis
We might be way ahead of ourselves here – I thought Josh Ferguson would be a mid-draft selection this year, but he went undrafted. I believe he has the talent to play/start in the NFL. His gift is that he is arguably the best, most fundamentally sound receiving weapon at running back in this draft. His high-end receiving skills are perfect for this new dawning era of the running back as a pass-game specialist. It’s perfect timing for him to hit the NFL.
The Colts’ running back depth chart is pretty sad after Frank Gore. Josh Ferguson could be the shock higher target PPR running back of 2016…at least that’s what it looks like in my dreams. His lowly no-draft status makes him easy for the team to jerk around – cut or placed on the practice squad. This is a team that drafted Josh Robinson on purpose last year, so I’m not all warm and fuzzy here.
#28) WR Braxton Miller, Houston
I’m not a huge Braxton Miller fan, but I know he has a little more value in Houston than does, say, Will Fuller. Brock Osweiler is not a great deep ball QB, so that’s going to limit Fuller. Osweiler is a better dink-and-dunk QB, which plays into Braxton Miller’s hands. Miller could be viable on a handful of bubble screens, and 2–4+ plays as a wildcat QB/WR. The Texans showed the commitment to getting crazy with their offense in how they used Cecil Shorts as a wildcat type wide receiver late last year, and Braxton Miller can be the ultimate wildcat wide receiver. The possibilities are fairly intriguing.
#29) TE/WR Seth DeValve, Cleveland
I wish DeValve had gone to a better situation. However, the fact that Cleveland went this highly on him (fourth round) gives me more enthusiasm. He was our top tight end deep sleeper for the 2016 NFL Draft. I was shocked, and pleased, the Browns took him this highly.
Gary Barnidge starts as the traditional tight end. There are several other more college-experienced wide receivers who will work over DeValve early, if they look at DeValve as a wide receiver. The play on DeValve is in him becoming a Jordan Reed-like tight end. DeValve is arguably the best tight end prospect in this draft; the most athletic. The gamble is whether Cleveland can figure out how to maximize his talent, and how fast they’re going to do so.
#30) WR Mitch Mathews, Kansas City
I was shocked when Mitch Mathews didn’t get drafted late (he went undrafted). It scares me a little bit. Mathews has some fantastic measurables, and was a terrific producer/had nice tape at BYU…all that in a legit 6′6″+ frame. Him not getting drafted, to me, was a total shock.
Mitch Mathews could make the roster, and find targets quickly if he’s as good as we believe he is. You can’t let a 6′6″ receiver who high-point catches better than anyone in this draft, just sit idle. Mathews could be a red zone specialist Week 1, at worst. There’s a lot here to work with, but it’s murky on how he’s going to push past all the other receivers in KC. It’s not so much Mathews has to beat out Jeremy Maclin, etc., as much as Mathews needs to carve out a niche using his height and skills to be a weapon regardless of all the other Chiefs’ options.
#31) RB Dwayne Washington, Detroit (+5 spots)
The next full scouting report we plan to do is on Dwayne Washington, so I’m going to limit my comments here. However, Washington is a highly intriguing converted wide receiver to running back prospect, who is joining a Detroit team that isn’t sure who their best starting running back is. Ameer Abdullah is just not that good. Zach Zenner is interesting, but has red flags. Dwayne Washington has a chance, because of the Lions’ roster set up today, to be a shock FF producer in 2016. Again, will get more into this with the full report soon.
#32) RB Darius Jackson, Dallas (+5 spots)
You know how everybody is unbelievably orgasmic about ‘the magical unicorn’ Ezekiel Elliott? Who is his handcuff? Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris are obvious, but what if it’s Darius Jackson at some point? He may not be in 2016, but he might be in 2017.
Jackson has some David Johnson-like parallels, so he is of interest for sure. I hate that he landed on the Cowboys, because he’s buried right away. However, I could also see a scenario where the Cowboys try to sneak him onto the practice squad, and another team poaches him right before the season starts.
Darius Jackson is a cheap lottery ticket I’d like to possess from this crappy rookie draft.
#33) RB DeAndre Washington, Oakland (+8 spots)
DeAndre Washington is the handcuff for Latavius Murray, and I know a lot of you own Murray…so you’ll do the obvious math. Washington will never be a workhorse running back, but he could handle a lot of work for a short period of time. He is a threat to take some of the pass-game activity away from Murray. In the end, Murray is much more talented in every way than Washington, but that’s no slap at Washington either.
Washington is a smart play if you’re looking to grab the handcuff for your owned Latavius, or just to block the Latavius owner.
#34) RB Kenyan Drake, Miami (-3 spots)
I like Kenyan Drake OK, but we all sit here knowing Jay Ajayi is going to be the lead running back…and Drake is known for his pass-game skills only. However, the problem with Ajayi is that he’s an injury risk. Drake may be forced into more action quicker than anyone thought, right away.
Drake has instant PPR hopes, with an outside chance they need to use him for even more work. The second Ajayi gets hurt, and Drake’s value got elevated – I’d sell Drake off, because he is a huge injury risk as well.
#35) WR Moritz Boehringer, Minnesota
At a certain point, you just close your eyes and throw this dart. Boehringer measurables are terrific, but there are a lot of guys who are big and athletic that don’t amount to anything in the NFL. He’s no ‘sure thing’, and he’s playing on a team with a horrific passing game…but at a certain point, you roll the dice on his athleticism and see what happens.
#36) QB Cardale Jones, Buffalo
There are times that I watch Cardale Jones and believe he’s one of the best quarterback prospects I’ve seen in a while. There are other times I watch Jones play, and I’m left scratching my head. However, there are more moments where I think Cardale’s got a huge upside than not.
If you suspect Jones has some talent, he now gets put onto a franchise where only Tyrod Taylor stands between him and the starting job. Nothing against Tyrod, but I know he’s going to run the ball a lot and take hits, so he is a perpetual injury risk. Cardale Jones could be a shock starter in 2016 due to injury, and then we’ll find out how good Cardale really is. I think he might shock everyone with his natural instincts.
#37) WR Robby Anderson, NY Jets
On a different team, in a better situation, I might have Robby Anderson in the top 15 on this list. However, he goes to a horrible situation in New York. At least, horrible for 2016. There’s no way Anderson’s going to sneak in to a key starter’s role naturally in 2016. If Anderson’s going to hit – it’s going to be in 2017+.
Again, I say… Anderson is the Antonio Brown/Stefon Diggs of this draft. The guy who’s a better technical receiver than scouts recognize.
#38) CB Will Jackson, Cincinnati
I like Will Jackson, but I have some fears of him as an IDP – because if he’s as good as I think he could be, it won’t be long before teams are NOT throwing his way…and then he’s going to be lacking for Fantasy output. He may be a little bit of a victim of his own success, if he’s as good as can be. However, he also gambles a ton and leaves himself open to getting burned…in that case, he may thrive for Fantasy purposes because quarterbacks would keep targeting his gambling ways.
#39) QB Dak Prescott, Dallas (-4 spots)
Much like with all the enthusiasm about Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith, any prospect the Cowboys take that has name recognition is going to get pushed higher than he should be. Imagine what would happen if Tony Romo gets hurt, AGAIN, and Dallas has to run with Prescott in a pinch? Prescott’s value would rise quickly, and he’s a decent little quarterback – a guy whose style is built more for instant success/usefulness in the NFL.
If Dak Prescott has a great debut game in place of an injured Tony Romo, he will be treated like he’s the next Tom Brady. Because of the ‘Dallas’ label, we have Prescott ranked higher than we ever thought we would.
#40) LB Nick Vigil, Cincinnati
I like Nick Vigil a lot more for Fantasy purposes than as a pure NFL player. Because Vigil is such a terrific athlete he should be able to do a lot of stat-producing things at linebacker – he can be great in the coverage aspect. He’s also quick enough to bum-rush/slither into the backfield for TFLs. He seems to be a decent enough linebacker to chase down/assist on tackles as well. He may not be considered a great NFL player, but I think we might all really enjoy his IDP output.
#41) DE Carl Nassib, Cleveland
Carl Nassib is a prospect of great interest to me.
Sometimes, I get the feeling he’s going to struggle in the NFL because of his thinner body type. On the other hand, I get the feeling that he’s the hardest working player in this 2016 NFL rookie class, and he’s going to ‘will’ his way into becoming a Pro Bowl player. At a certain point, I just want a ‘ticket to the show’ on him.
#42) DE Shaq Lawson, Buffalo
Shaq Lawson is a good player, but I’m not in love with the situation he’s going to in Buffalo…unless Rex Ryan is going to get after the quarterback this year. The 2015 Buffalo Bills were a ‘D-Line drops back into coverage’ kind of team…not lending itself to defensive ends racking up numbers. Your hope with Lawson is that Ryan goes back to the crazy blitzing days of the 46 defense. I’m not sure that he will. It won’t matter when Ryan is dismissed after the 2016 season.
#43) WR Tyreek Hill, Kansas City
Tyreek Hill is up this highly only because he is a freakish speed-demon athlete for the NFL – a 4.29 40-time with a 6.5+ three-cone. Between his use in the return game, and what he could do on bubble screen type passes, Hill may be a bit of a shock producer in 2016. He has a ton of off-field issues that got him dismissed from Oklahoma State, and he’s not somebody I would set my watch by for the future, but I do recognize he could pop quickly and give you options to use or to trade in the frenzy.
#44) TE Rico Gathers, Dallas
Gathers is the Baylor basketball-to-football conversion TE prospect of 2016. He didn’t play a down of football in college, but was a four-year starter as a power forward – the nation’s leader in offensive rebounds.
Gathers did get tested at a Pro Day, and his athleticism measurables were so-so. He has nice size at 6′7″+, but obviously he’s so raw. He also has to figure out a way to become a pertinent Fantasy asset over Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar, and James Hanna. It’s a long shot on top of a long shot in 2016. He’s a guy that may not matter for a few years, if ever.
#45) WR Leonte Carroo, Miami
I’m not as over the moon with Leonte Carroo as a lot of people are, but I do realize he’s a pretty good wide receiver. However, he goes into a bad situation in Miami contending for targets with Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker, along with weak quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Unless one of the two top WRs get hurt, I don’t know how Carroo is going to matter anytime soon.
#46) RB Brandon Wilds, Atlanta
On another NFL roster, Brandon Wilds might be among our top 15. I believe Wilds is by far the best receiving running back weapon/prospect in this draft. I know it. I know it. I know it. I don’t know if anybody else knows it though. I know there is no natural way he’s jumping over Devonta Freeman.
My main hope here is that the Falcons cut Wilds right before the season starts, and they try to stash him on the practice squad, but another RB desperate team poaches him away.
#47) DE Joey Bosa, San Diego
I’m not a fan of Joey Bosa. However, I do understand he’s above average athletically, and he’s definitely going to play because of his draft status. At a certain point, that’s going to mean something for some IDP numbers. I’d rather trade Bosa than keep him.
#48) DE Charles Tapper, Dallas
Charles Tapper could be the surprise pass-rush IDP of this rookie class. He may be forced into the action right away with the entire Dallas defensive line seemingly under suspension for the first few games of the year. Tapper is a 4.5+ runner off the edge. I’m getting more intrigued by him by the day.
#49) SS Derrick Kindred, Cleveland (+7 spots)
I could see Kindred starting on opening-day. He’s a big-hitter with decent coverage skills as well – 86 tackles last season, along with 2 interceptions (and 8 INTs in his college career). I really liked his tape. We had him rated the fifth-best safety prospect in this class, a top 50 overall prospect.
#50) TE Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles
A legit 6′6″ tight end who ran into some off-field issues pre-draft, in addition to coming off an injury that forced him to miss pre-draft workouts. Much of this is a blind dart throw – the Rams need a tight end, and Jared Goff is a talent to work with. There’s a window where this might work.
#51) WR Jordan Payton, Cleveland
Jordan Payton is a professional receiver, but below average in athleticism…but more pressing: he is surrounded by a ton of talent at wide receiver just brought in by Cleveland. There’s no way Payton will be the #1 target given Corey Coleman’s existence. Payton will be useful, but probably not a star.
#52) WR Ricardo Louis, Cleveland
Ricardo Louis has some metrics in our system that suggest he might be a star, but there’s also a lot of inconsistency and question marks as well. On the team that already features Corey Coleman and Jordan Payton among others, Louis is not going to have an easy time dashing past those guys. There is hope here, but a lot of roadblocks as well.
#53) DT Sheldon Day, Jacksonville
#54) LB Joe Schobert, Cleveland
#55) RB Keith Marshall, Washington
#56) DE Noah Spence, Tampa Bay
#57) SS Kevin Byard, Tennessee
#58) DT Jonathan Bullard, Chicago
#59) SS Keanu Neal, Atlanta
#60) LB Elandon Roberts, New England
#61) LB Travis Feeney, Washington
#62) DT Javon Hargrave, Pittsburgh
#63) DT Justin Zimmer, Buffalo
#64) CB Xavien Howard, Miami (+13 spots)
#65) LB Blake Martinez, Green Bay
#66) TE/WR Thomas Duarte, Miami
#67) QB Vernon Adams, Seattle (-16 spots)
#68) RB Alex Collins, Seattle
#69) RB Terron Beckham, NY Jets (-6 spots)
#70) WR Devon Cajuste, San Francisco
#71) RB Tyler Ervin, Houston
#72 DT Adam Gotsis, Denver
#73) LB Deion Jones, Atlanta
#74) SS Clayton Fejedelem, Cincinnati
#75) DT Kenny Clark, Green Bay
#76) WR Daniel Braverman, Chicago
#77) WR Trevor Davis, Green Bay
#78) WR Keyarris Garrett, Carolina
#79) WR Marquez North, Los Angeles
#80) TE Ben Braunecker, Chicago
#81) RB Brandon Ross, Minnesota
#82) CB Eli Apple, NY Giants
#83) DT Andrew Billings, Cincinnati
#84) LB Tyler Matakevich, Pittsburgh (+2 spots)
#85) DB Justin Simmons, Denver
#86) FS Jeremy Cash, Carolina
#87) PK Roberto Aguayo, Tampa Bay
#88) DE Dean Lowry, Green Bay
#89) DT Vernon Butler, Carolina
#90) WR Rashard Higgins, Cleveland
#91) LB Cory James, Oakland
#92) LB Scooby Wright, Cleveland
#93) DE Matt Judon, Baltimore
#94) FS Darian Thompson, NY Giants
#95) RB Marshaun Coprich, NY Giants
#96) WR Devin Lucien, New England (-18 spots)
#97) WR Kolby Listenbee, Buffalo (-18 spots)
#98) LB Kamalei Correa, Baltimore
#99) CB Eric Murray, Kansas City
#100) QB Brandon Allen, Jacksonville
#101) QB Jeff Driskel, San Francisco
#102) WR Jakeem Grant, Miami
#103) DT Adolphus Washington, Buffalo
#104) TE Temarrick Hemingway, Los Angeles
#105) CB Will Redmond, San Francisco
#106) S/CB T.J. Green, Indianapolis
#107) LB Kentrell Brothers, Minnesota
#108) WR Mike Thomas, Los Angeles
#109) LB Nick Kwiatkoski, Chicago
#110) CB Cyrus Jones, New England
#111) DE Anthony Zettel, Detroit
#112) LB Trevor Bates, Indianapolis
#113) WR Chris Moore, Baltimore
#114) WR D.J. Foster, New England
#115) CB James Bradberry, Carolina
#116) TE Austin Hooper, Atlanta
#117) CB Vernon Hargreaves, Tampa Bay
#118) LB Kyler Fackrell, Green Bay
#119) FS Deon Bush, Chicago (-25 spots)
#120) DE/LB Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville
#121) DE Shilique Calhoun, Oakland
#122) DT Maliek Collins, Dallas
#123) DT Austin Johnson, Tennessee
#124) DE Kevin Dodd, Tennessee
#125) Jordan Jenkins, NY Jets
#126) FB Dan Vitale Tampa Bay
#127) CB Brandon Williams, Arizona
#128) CB Daryl Worley, Carolina
#129) LB B.J. Goodson, NY Giants
#130) TE Jerell Adams, NY Giants
#131) WR Demarcus Ayers, Pittsburgh
#132) CB Ryan Smith, Tampa Bay
#133) WR Jamal Robinson, Jacksonville
#134) CB Zach Sanchez, Carolina
#135) WR Cody Core, Cincinnati
#136) WR Paul McRoberts, Los Angeles
#137) DT Chris Jones, Kansas City
#138) LB/FB Will Ratelle, Atlanta
#139) LB Su’a Cravens, Washington
#140) RB Brandon Burks, Green Bay
#141) WR Kenny Lawler, Seattle
#142) WR Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee
#143) WR Charone Peake, NY Jets
#144) DT Matt Ioannidis, Washington
#145) DE Alex McCalister, Philadelphia
#146) WR Devin Fuller, Atlanta
#147) TE Cedrick Lang, NY Giants
#148) CB Tavon Young, Baltimore
#149) DT Willie Henry, Baltimore
#150) DeVondre Campbell, Atlanta
#151) DB Kamu Grugier-Hill
#152) CB Kalan Reed, Tennessee
#153) TE David Morgan, Minnesota
#154) LB Joe Walker, Philadelphia
#155) LB Joshua Perry, San Diego
#156) FS Marqui Christian, Arizona
#157) LB Aaron Wallace, Tennessee
#158) FS Deandre Houston-Carson, Chicago
#159) DT Davis Onyemata, New Orleans
#160) CB LeShaun Sims, Tennessee
#161) DT Vincent Valentine, New England
#162) CB Kevon Seymour, Buffalo
#163) CB Trey Caldwell, Cleveland
#164) CB Justin Burris, NY Jets
#165) QB Kevin Hogan, Kansas City
#166) SS Jayron Kearse
#167) QB Nate Sudfeld, Washington
#168) LB Devante Bond, Tampa Bay
#169) CB D.J. White, Kansas City
#170) DE Tyrone Holmes, Jacksonville
#171) LB Josh Forrest, Los Angeles
#172) CB Keivarae Russell, Kansas City
#173) DE Dadi Nicolas, Kansas City
#174) CB Maurice Canady, Baltimore
#175) LB Steven Daniels, Washington
#176) LB Anthony Morrison, Indianapolis
#177) RB Zac Brooks, Seattle
#178) LB Ronald Blair, San Francisco
#179) DT Hassan Ridgeway, Indianapolis
#180) CB Anthony Brown, Dallas
#181) FS Kavon Frazier, Dallas
#182) CB Prince Iworah, San Francisco
#183) QB Brandon Doughty, Miami
#184) SS Kevin Dillon, Houston
#185) DT Quinton Jefferson, Seattle
#186) CB Blake Countess, Philadelphia
#187) LB Antwione Williams, Detroit
#188) SS Will Parks, Denver
#189) Duke Williams, Los Angeles
#190) FS Jalen Mills, Philadelphia
Prospects we are not taking (because they’ll be gone before we’d ever think about them/we don’t like them)….
WR Laquon Treadwell, Minnesota – Mediocre WR going to a dreadful pass-game offense. He’ll go way ahead of the point I’d ever think of him.
WR Michael Thomas, New Orleans – I’m not a fan of his talent, and think he’ll be average or a bust.
TE Hunter Henry, San Diego – He won’t matter for a year or two at best…by then, you could make a play for him cheaper. I am suspect of his talents in general as it is.
WR Will Fuller, Houston – He’ll be OK, but I won’t come close to paying the price. A shaky WR, who is one-dimensional as a deep ball receiver…goes to work with a weak deep ball passer.
TE Nick Vannett, Seattle – He’s no good for Fantasy.
WR Aaron Burbridge, San Francisco – A mediocre prospect going to a team with a ton of talented young WRs…little chance he makes any impact…or the team.
RB Devontae Booker, Denver – I don’t like Booker at all, and I just can’t pull the trigger on him. His are nowhere near CJA’s or Hillman’s skills.
DE Robert Nkemdiche, Arizona
LB Darron Lee, NY Jets
RB/WR Keenan Reynolds, Baltimore
RB Jonathan Williams, Buffalo
LB Leonard Floyd, Chicago
Other ‘Do Not Touch” by Alpha:
CB Mackensie Alexander, Minnesota
SS Vonn Bell, New Orleans
QB Jacoby Brissett, New England
QB Trevone Boykin, Seattle
CB Artie Burns, Pittsburgh
QB Connor Cook, Oakland
QB Christian Hackenberg, NY Jets
QB Cody Kessler, USC
SS Miles Killebrew, Detroit
CB Harlan Miller, Arizona
RB Paul Perkins, NY Giants
RB Jhurell Pressley, Minnesota
DT D.J. Reader, Houston
DT Jarran Reed, Seattle
DT A’Shawn Robinson, Detroit
WR Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City
CB Rashard Robinson, San Francisco
QB Jake Rudock, Detroit
TE Beau Sandland, Carolina
RB Kelvin Taylor, San Francisco
DE Jihad Ward, Oakland
WR De’Runnya Wilson, Free Agent
DE Jonathan Woodward, Jacksonville