2016 Fantasy Football – Rookie Dynasty Rankings

By Chet Gresham – @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

  1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
    Elliott landed in the best position of any rookie. The Dallas offensive line is arguably the best in the league, and the Cowboys have shown a commitment to the run lately. Dez Bryant will help soften the defense, and Elliott should get plenty of work, and he’s good enough to be an every-down back in the NFL from Day 1. His blocking is the best out of all the rookie running backs, and you’ve seen what he can do with the ball in his hands. Plus, he is a great pass catcher. The sky truly is the limit for Elliott this season.

  2. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Vikings
    Treadwell is one of the best, if not the best, receiver to come out of the draft this year, but he landed on a team that does not prefer to pass the ball. Now with Stefon Diggs and Treadwell, the Vikings should up those passing attempts some, but we can’t expect Treadwell to put up big numbers out of the gate. Thankfully in dynasty leagues, we have a bit more time to let him develop along with Teddy Bridgewater, and I think Treadwell ends up being worth a top pick.

  3. Corey Coleman, WR, Browns
    Coleman is a very good prospect and will be thrust into the limelight as he’s the best wide receiver on the Browns this season. That might not mean a ton, but Travis Benjamin put together decent numbers last season despite the poor overall offense, and Coleman is projected to be a better receiver. His long-term outlook is good and just depends on Hue Jackson grooming a starting quarterback.

  4. Derrick Henry, RB, Titans
    Henry could easily win the goal-line snaps this season, which would give him a definite boost, but he will start the 2016 season behind DeMarco Murray. The good news is that Henry should edge Murray out over the next couple of years and the Titans have some talent on offense that could boost Henry up over the long term.

  5. Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
    Thomas should fit right into the Saints’ offense as a Marques Colston replacement, and since Colston had not played at full health for a few years now, Thomas could really put a dent in some tasty fantasy stats. Drew Brees loves throwing the ball over the middle, and Thomas should be running plenty of seam routes. He has a lot of upside in this offense, and as long as Brees is playing, he should have value in dynasty leagues.

  6. Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
    Shepard should be able to beat out Victor Cruz for slot duties and also line up outside at times. The Giants will also pass the ball early and often this season, and Shepard should be in line for the second-most targets on the team. He is a great route runner and makes for a perfect fit in Ben McAdoo’s offense. If things work out like the Giants want, Shepard will remain the No. 2 target for years to come.

  7. Josh Doctson, WR, Redskins
    If Doctson didn’t have so many receivers to compete with or a quarterback poised for free agency, I’d have him much higher in my dynasty rankings, but I do believe he is the most talented receiver on their team right now, so it shouldn’t take him too long to make an impact.

  8. Kenneth Dixon, RB, Ravens
    Dixon should be able to beat out Javorius Allen, which would only leave an oldish Justin Forsett, who is coming off an injury, to pass on the depth chart. I like Dixon’s chances to see significant playing time this year, which could give him a good foothold for the coming seasons.

  9. Leonte Carroo, WR, Dolphins
    Carroo has a ton of talent, and the Dolphins went after him aggressively in the 2016 NFL Draft. Based on talent alone, I could see him as a Top-5 dynasty-rookie pick, but he will need to deal with Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker for the next few years, which could hurt his target share.

  10. Paul Perkins, RB, Giants
    The Giants gave touches to multiple running backs last season, rendering them all fairly useless in fantasy. Perkins should get into that rotation at some point though and has good upside if he can get rolling. Their lead back is 31-year-old Rashard Jennings, which gives Perkins a nice opportunity to move on the lead position, and he does have the ability to be a three-down back.

  11. C.J. Prosise, RB, Seahawks
    Prosise has a ton of ability and could see work in the passing game early on, but Thomas Rawls will be the bell cow to start the season, and Alex Collins and/or Christine Michael would probably be in the mix if Rawls were to get hurt this year. The true value for Prosise comes in the future, as he’s shown tremendous upside after converting to running back and still has room to grow as a runner.

  12. Jordan Howard, RB, Bears
    Howard isn’t exactly a dynamic runner, but he should be a serviceable short-yardage back and could end up splitting time with Jeremy Langford as John Fox has been known to go that route before.

  13. Jared Goff, QB, Rams
    Goff is the no-doubt starter for the Rams this season, but will only be asked to hand off the ball to Todd Gurley and not throw interceptions. I like Goff’s long-term outlook, but it will be tough for him to have any fantasy value this season. Thankfully in dynasty, that’s not a huge concern. If you are getting old at quarterback, grab Goff earlier than later.

  14. Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Patriots
    Mitchell has a ton of upside if he can win a starting job in New England, and even if that doesn’t happen this year, I do see it happening at some point.

  15. DeAndre Washington, RB, Raiders
    The Raiders let it be known they were looking for running back help after Latavius Murray had a lackluster 2016. That should give Washington some room to push Murray for touches, and I think Washington has the ability to do just that. He’s no lock, but he has a decent opportunity on a team that appears to be on the upswing.

  16. Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
    Boyd landed in a good spot in Cincinnati, as the team just lost Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones to free agency. Add in an ankle injury to Tyler Eifert, and Boyd may be relied on sooner than we thought.

  17. Will Fuller, WR, Texans
    Fuller is going to quickly become a solid deep threat and should develop as a route runner. My biggest problem with him is Brock Osweiler, who is not a great deep-ball passer.

  18. Devontae Booker, RB, Broncos
    Booker should be able to compete with Ronnie Hillman for the No. 2 running back job and could push C.J. Anderson for touches. I like Anderson quite a bit though and think as long as he is healthy, he’ll be able to hold off Booker.

  19. Paxton Lynch, QB, Broncos
    Lynch should start this season at some point, and I think he’ll be given every opportunity to do that starting Week 1. He’s the Broncos first attempt at finding a long-term quarterback, and if he can win that job, his career upside is high. Add in the fact that his GM is John Elway, who knows what it takes to become a great quarterback, and I like his chances to succeed.

  20. Jordan Payton, WR, Browns
    With Brian Hartline gone, Payton gets a clear path to playing time this season. He is above average across the board and makes for a nice complement to Corey Coleman.

  21. Keith Marshall, RB, Redskins
    Marshall should be able to push Matt Jones for work this season, but the incumbent remains the favorite to lead in touches. Moving forward, he does have a shot at winning the job, but most likely, he’ll be part of a committee.

  22. Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins
    Drake is in a good situation because the Dolphins aren’t sold on Jay Ajayi as the starter. The trouble is, Drake isn’t a lead back by trade. He’s better as a receiver, which also means he’ll need to be proficient as a blocker. I think he gets on the field, but unless Ajayi is hurt, I see Drake as being a change-of-pace back this season and into the future.

  23. Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons
    Most tight ends don’t do much during their rookie seasons, but Hooper does have a pretty clear path to starting and could surprise people early if he gets used in the red zone. His long-term value is also good due to his ability as an all-around tight end, excelling in both receiving and blocking.

  24. Mike Thomas, WR, Rams
    Thomas landed in a good spot, as the Rams are weak at receiver, but also a bad spot in the short term due to their run-first ways. But the long-term outlook is up, as Jared Goff has the ability to become a useful starter in this league and Thomas should grow with him.

  25. Braxton Miller, WR, Texans
    Miller should start his career in the slot, which would be a good spot for him to get some early value as he is a strong runner after the catch. He could push Will Fuller for playing time and they could hurt each others upside.

  26. Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
    Wentz truly does need time on the sidelines before being thrown into the fire, so hopefully the Eagles don’t rush him. With some seasoning, he should be a valuable fantasy player in the long term.

  27. Hunter Henry, TE, San Diego
    Henry is a good receiver, and with targets, he will have fantasy value. But he’ll start out behind Antonio Gates this season and will need to improve as a blocker before he can become a full-time player.

  28. Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles
    Smallwood is getting some hype due to the player he’ll need to overtake on the depth chart, Ryan Mathews’ history of injuries. If Mathews were to suffer an injury, Smallwood will have a clear opportunity.

  29. Jonathan Williams, RB, Bills
    Williams is a strong runner, and if he had landed in a different spot, I’d have him much higher, but he has some tough competition in Buffalo. Much will depend on how long LeSean McCoy is a viable starter, but even when he goes, Karlos Williams should be next in line to lead.

  30. Tyler Higbee, TE, Rams
    If it weren’t for Higbee’s off-the-field trouble, he’d probably be higher, but he’ll need to prove he’s even going to be able to stay in the league before I invest too much in him. Thankfully, you can get him fairly cheap in dynasty drafts and his upside is high enough that risking a third- or fourth-round rookie pick on him isn’t that crazy.

  31. Demarcus Robinson, WR, Chiefs
    Robinson could be a steal for Kansas City in this draft, or his character concerns could have him out of the league in a couple years. Thankfully in rookie dynasty drafts, you’re not giving up too much at where you can draft him, and his athletic ability alone gives him great upside.

  32. Peyton Barber, RB, Bucs
    Barber has two talented backs ahead of him, in Doug Martin and Charles Sims, but he is also a talented back. Barber shouldn’t have any trouble beating out Mike James and landing as the No. 3 back, and Barber could challenge Sims for some touches, but his value needs to be looked at as long term at this point.

  33. Cardale Jones, QB, Bills
    I think at this point in your rookie drafts, you could do much worse than drafting Jones, who has similar upside to the top quarterbacks in the draft. He, of course, could fall flat, but I think in a few years, Jones will be sought after.

  34. Alex Collins, RB, Seahawks
    Collins is a sound, but not dynamic back. He has a lot of competition with Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise, which will hurt him long term.

  35. Tajaé Sharpe, WR, Titans
    Sharpe is a great route runner and should impress the coaches quickly in camp. He does have some good competition, and his team seems set on running the ball despite a good quarterback and receivers, but he has the ability to become a full-time talent in the NFL.

  36. Brandon Wilds, RB, Saints
    Wilds has patience as a runner and reads blocks better than Tevin Coleman. If Coleman doesn’t progress in that area this season, Wilds has the ability to beat him out if Devonta Freeman were to get injured. But as it is, Wilds should be able to win the No. 3 running back spot and be ready to step up in case of injuries.

  37. Tyler Ervin, RB, Texans
    Ervin has the talent to beat out Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue, which would put him in a pretty good spot behind Lamar Miller, who has never topped 216 rushing attempts in a season; however, Ervin will need to learn a bit more patience at the line before that can happen.

  38. Connor Cook, QB, Raiders
    Cook is extremely accurate on short to intermediate passes and could easily develop into a starting quarterback. Right now, he’s behind Derek Carr, and that will most likely stay that way, but I could see Cook getting a shot once his rookie deal is over.

  39. Ricardo Louis, WR, Browns
    Louis has good athletic ability, and if Terrelle Pryor can’t turn the corner as a wide receiver, Louis would be the most capable to play across from Corey Coleman.

  40. Charone Peake, WR, Jets
    Peake has good hands and modest route-running ability, which should go toward making him a capable possession receiver, and he should push to be on the field in four-receiver sets quickly.

  41. Rashawn Scott, WR, Dolphins
    Scott will have a deep wide receiver group to contend with, but he has the ability to play in the NFL quickly, as he is proficient in route-running and yards after the catch, plus he competes well for balls in the air.

  42. Temarrick Hemingway, TE, Rams
    Hemingway doesn’t have the off-the-field problems of Tyler Higbee and is also a good player. With some development as a blocker, Hemingway could easily be the next starting tight end for the Rams if Higbee can’t turn his life around.

  43. Rashard Higgins, WR, Browns
    The Browns did pretty well on their receiving picks this season, but Higgins probably has the furthest to go. He has the ability, but his speed is an impediment.

  44. Daniel Braverman, WR, Bears
    Braverman has a good shot at being a productive receiver in the NFL. He is capable in most aspects of the game, but will have trouble putting up fantasy numbers in Chicago as long as Kevin White and Alshon Jeffery are there and Joh Fox is the coach.

  45. Keyarris Garrett, WR, Panthers
    Garrett has the size to be a threat in the end zone or on the boundaries, but so do Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess. Garrett could push Funchess if the latter were to regress any, but I don’t think Garrett has the fundamentals to do it quickly in his career.

  46. Marquez North, WR, Rams
    North has all the natural ability to become a very good NFL receiver. Injuries hampered him in his college career and subsequently in the NFL Draft, but as far as late-round rookie fliers go, he’s worth the pick.

  47. Moritz Boehringer, WR, Vikings
    Boehinger has the physical abilities to be a starting NFL wide receiver, but he’s also a project. He is extremely physical and can outplay a defender for a catch, but he’ll need to be a student in his first couple years if he wants to stay in the league.

  48. Chris Moore, WR, Ravens
    Moore is a good deep threat, but lacks the skills at the moment to be much beyond that.

  49. Pharoh Cooper, WR, Rams
    Cooper is similar to Tavon Austin, which probably puts him on the wrong team to see much work, and who really needs another Tavon Austin?

  50. Tevaun Smith, WR, Colts
    Smith landed on a good team to develop, as the Colts will continue to spread their offense out and pass the ball with Andrew Luck. Smith will need to wow coaches with his hands and running ability while learning to become a better route runner.

  51. Kenny Lawler, WR, Seahawks
    Lawler is good at beating the defender to the ball, but not good at getting open.

  52. Hakeem Valles, TE, Cardinals
    Valles has the skill to usurp Jermaine Gresham as the Cardinals starting tight end sooner than later. Of course, Bruce Arians doesn’t use his tight ends in the passing game as much as we’d like, but Valles is worth a roster spot in deep dynasty leagues.

  53. Daniel Lasco, RB, Saints
    Lasco has good athletic ability, but will need to refine it to stick with a NFL team.

  54. Devon Cajuste, WR, 49ers
    Cajuste is another athletic receiver who needs a lot of refinement to stick in the league.

For more recommendations, check out WalterFootball.com’s Fantasy Football Rankings.

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