Early Dynasty Rankings- First Round

by Chris Foster

The NFL draft has come and gone and it is time to start preparing for the upcoming season. Some of you, a daring group I might add, may have rookie drafts coming up in the next month and we need to get you prepared for them! I applaud the leagues that conduct an early May or summer draft before really knowing how players settle into their teams. Obviously, once camps start in the NFL, things can change, players value can increase and decrease. We also have to sift through things that coaches and reporters are saying about players from now until week 1, and with all that information, we have to tailor our draft strategies accordingly!

This dynasty rank is based on a league that starts 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, and 1(RB,WR,TE) Flex and is a .5ppr league. All projections are also based on Dynasty Value (projecting a players value over the next 3-5 years) and could change based on your roster needs.

Stay tuned for Round 2 later in the week!

1.01= Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Say what you want, but Fournette is the safest pick in this draft. Many have compared him to Ezekiel Elliot who was taken in the exact same spot a year ago, but they are very different players. The better comparison for Fournette would be Jordan Howard. Howard was obviously taken in the draft much later than Fournette, but they have closer running styles and the Bears offense was comparable to the Jaguars last season. Even as a part of a subpar offense, Howard managed to finish as the 9th best running back last season. I think we can all agree that Fournette is more talented than Howard, and expect him to easily finish in the Top 10. He is also a better pass catcher than given credit for, his high school film is indicative of that being true. LSU just rarely used him that manner. Draft Fournette #1 overall with confidence.

1.02= Corey Davis (Tennessee Titans)

Wide Receivers project better long term in dynasty. They tend to be more predictable and sustain longer lifespans in the NFL. The Titans were able to secure Corey Davis with the #5 overall pick. Davis is a great route runner and has enough speed to be a homerun threat with the ball in his hands. Marcus Mariota is an extremely accurate passer, which means he can hit Davis on routes that set him up to be able to produce yards after the catch. My only concern is Davis going to an offense that is run first and has Derrick Henry waiting in the wing once DeMarco Murray steps aside. I don’t see the Titans philosophy changing anytime soon, but there is enough here to make Davis a solid WR2 with WR1 upside.

1.03= Christian McCaffery (Carolina Panthers)

McCaffery’s offseason workouts and combine performance pushed him from a second round/late first round pick to a top ten pick last week in the draft. The Carolina Panthers fell in love with McCaffery and have commented that they want to evolve their offense around his skill set. McCaffery is looked at by many as a receiving back, but he can run between the tackles as well. He was the running for Standford by the way, which is known for hard-nosed between the tackle running. I think McCaffery will be an RB2 with RB1 upside, especially in PPR leagues. Yet, I believe there is a gamble here in seeing if Cam Newton and this Carolina offense conform around their new toy.

1.04= Dalvin Cook (Minnesota Vikings)

The heir to the Adrian Peterson throne is now in Minnesota, and it is not Latavius Murray. Murray is a short-term obstacle in the way of Dalvin Cook. Cook could easily supplant Murray by the midway point of the season this year. Remember, Murray had a difficult time holding off Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington last season in Oakland. We can all agree that Cook is a much better prospect than either of those two guys. Cook will be the man in Minnesota for many years to come. He is projected to be a flex/RB2 this season with greater things to come in the future.

1.05= Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals)

Mixon may be the most complete back in the class, but he also has the most competition of any of the previous running backs both short and long term. Mixon will be a great fit in the Cinci offense but he will have both Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard to deal with this season when it comes to carries. Hill’s contract expires at the end of the year, and it looks like he is likely on his way out when it comes to an end, but Bernard just signed a long-term deal last offseason. That will limit the upside of Mixon this season making him a flex play with RB2 upside.

1.06= Mike Williams (Los Angeles Chargers)

The Chargers know that Phillip Rivers window is shutting and are trying to give him the weapons to make a run for the Super Bowl! Mike Williams will provide a nice big target for him down around the RedZone. This situation reminds me of Michael Thomas last season with the Saints, who are also a pass heavy offense. He was able to flourish and become the top dynasty asset from a year ago. The difference, however, is the competition around Williams in San Diego. With Keenan Allen, health permitting, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, Hunter Henry, and Antonio Gates coming back, that is a lot of mouths for Rivers to feed! That doesn’t even include Melvin Gordon. Williams talent is undeniable, but with so many options for Rivers, it will take a toll on Williams fantasy stock. Especially, since most of those guys are young, with the exception of Gates. Williams will, unfortunately, be a borderline flex play this year.

1.07= Alvin Kamara (New Orleans Saints)

Kamara is in a similar situation as Joe Mixon from a competition standpoint, but the Saints organization tends to use players like Kamara in a more steady fashion. Peterson could be one of the league’s best, but his injury concerns could pave a strong pathway to extra carries for Kamara. He will definitely be a contributor in the passing game even with Peterson and Ingram healthy, but if one, goes down his value will skyrocket. He is a low-end flex with plenty of upside.

1.08= John Ross (Cincinnati Bengals)

It is hard to see Ross as more than Will Fuller 2.0. Yet, if you watch the tape, he is much more than Will Fuller. Fuller had a limited route tree, bad drops, and relied too much on his speed. Ross is much more polished than Fuller and can provide underneath work as well as serve as a deep threat for the Bengals offense. He is not complete as Williams or Davis but should serve as a useful flex in most leagues.

1.09= Evan Engram (New York Giants)

It is highly possible that Engram may never line up as an inline tight end. He is much more of a big slot receiver than he is a tight end. That will make him extremely useful for fantasy football. In an offense that will bolster OBJ and Brandon Marshall, Engram could be the forgotten man in the defensive gameplan. His skillset would make him one of the top wide receivers in this class, let alone the top tight end. He has the chance to be a high TE1 this season.

1.10= David Njoku (Cleveland Browns)

I get it, he plays for the Browns now so we can flush his career down the toilet, right? Not so fast as Lee Corso would say. Just a year ago Gary Barnidge, who has since been cut, finished as a top 5 tight end in this Cleveland offense with a revolving door at quarterback. It is always said that a tight end becomes a young quarterback’s best friend. Well, if it is Cody Kessler, DeShaun Kizer, or someone they draft next year, they will get extremely comfortable with David Njoku. I think that Njoku was the best all around and most proven tight end coming into the draft. He will be a reliable target for years to come in Cleveland. He could even be a low TE1 this season. Stay patient.

1.11= O.J. Howard (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Based on measurables, he is the best Tight End in the draft, but that is not how games are won. He had an extremely low production at Alabama in a pro-style offense. He now goes to the Tampa Bay Bucs who are extremely balanced and plan to use more two-tight end sets with him and Cameron Brate. With Brate, Mike Evans, and DeSean Jackson, it is likely that an unproven tight end becomes the fourth option in the passing game, which is why I have him ranked below the other tight ends. I see him as a TE2 this year with the abilities to become a TE1 in the future.

1.12= Kareem Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs)

Hunt has the ability to be a three-down back and with his landing spot, he now has the pathway as well. Spencer Ware was extremely average last season as the lead back and Hunt will likely split time with Ware as soon as Week 1. Despite being relatively unknown to the common fan entering the draft, he could be an RB2 as early as this season based on his landing location.

Check out Round 2 Dynasty Draft later on this week!

As always feel free to contact us on twitter at @No_HuddleFFB or contact me at @cfoster9

Image via Sporting News (Getty Images)


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