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Pre-Draft Bloom 100: 1-25

A look at the top 25 rookies for IDP dynasty leagues before we know when and where they are drafted

The pre-draft Bloom 100 is a snapshot of how this year’s rookie class sorts itself out with without destination and draft position factored in, but remember that sometimes destination and draft position end up being a very large influence on a player’s dynasty outlook (even if in hindsight they were given too much weight for some players).

The Bloom 100 is ranked with the following type of dynasty fantasy football league in mind:
* Full IDP lineups including DT and CB
* PPR, start 3 WR
* Deep lineups and rosters

Of course, depending on your league scoring and settings, the placement of some positions can change, but the tier breaks and rankings within position should be good to use across all league formats.

The 2016 class features one of a dying breed of elite running backs at the top, but probably lacks the oomph of the Cooper-White-Parker tier filling out the top four from last year’s wide receiver group. The running back and wide receiver groups are reasonably deep, but the upside tails off almost immediately, and overall this is going to be a weaker rookie draft compared to 2015 and 2014 and probably when held next to the coming 2017 crop. I'll be looking to deal late 2016 firsts for 2017 firsts, and I'll be eager to trade down or get out of positions in 2016 picks. As always, you’ll get the most 2017 value for your 2016 picks during the rookie draft, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be falling values and reasons to trade up or trade other assets for extra picks. First things first, let’s get to know the 2016 class:


ELITE TIER

There's really only one player capable of taking up residence among the perennial first-round picks in fantasy leagues in this class. Make your trade up offers accordingly. I would be willing to make a Ricky Williams "trade your whole draft" offer for 1.1 this year. 

1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State - All aboard! If you feel remorse for missing on Todd Gurley, here’s your chance to make amends. Be willing to overpay for the 1.1 because few like Elliott are going to come this way at the running back position. He’s already an NFL quality receiver and blocker, and he runs with the toughness, power, vision, burst, and killer instinct of a true bell cow back. Elliott needs to break fewer runs outside, but otherwise there is little to iron out in his game. No matter where he ends up, he’ll be the lead back soon enough, Dallas is missing out on the ideal player to have at the center of their offense if they pass on him. Very early in the 2016 season, we’ll know that Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell have company at the top of the dynasty running back rankings.

Ezekiel Elliott Film on Draft Breakdown

Ezekiel Elliott and the Myth of the Replaceable Running Back (Mike Tanier - Bleacher Report)

top 15-20 WR ceiling

While this group of wide receivers lacks Amari Cooper/Kevin White or Mike Evans/Sammy Watkins level prospects, the top group could certainly settle in as strong WR2 plays for fantasy teams. That isn't as exciting as what has been available in these draft slots in the past, so trading down within this tier is advised.

2. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss - Treadwell’s lack of long speed and quick twitch may cause him to occupy a place other than WR1 on some fantasy projection lists before the draft, but not this one. Defensive backs are still plenty scared of Treadwell, and he uses that to create big separation in short and intermediate routes, while his ability to elevate and win with his long frame at the catch point mitigates the lack of separation deep. He plays with a physical edge (including as a blocker) that will translate, and like Elliott, he’s only 20 years old. Treadwell and the next three receivers on this list are close enough that destinations could reshuffle them in the post-draft rankings.

Laquon Treadwell Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Boiler Room No. 2: Laquon Treadwell

3. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU - Doctson doesn’t have a complete wide receiver game, but he is a supremely talented player at the catch point, with ball skills and body control that no one else in this class can match. He isn’t one of the best route runners in this group, but Doctson is fast and precise enough to punish cornerback mistakes. He is also one of the most athletically gifted receivers in this class. Doctson’s big play profile and penchant for scoring should make him a rising fantasy star, and if he works at his craft, he can be the centerpiece of his offense. Minnesota at 23 looks like an ideal destination for Doctson, and one that offers a WR1 role long term, albeit one in a conservative passing offense.

Josh Doctson Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Film Room No. 3 - Josh Doctson

4. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor - Coleman could easily be the best fantasy wide receiver in this class. He looks like a more combative, bigger Tavon Austin who actually can play outside wide receiver reasonably well. Coleman had some drops issues and Baylor’s offense doesn’t ask him to be a precise route runner, but his quickness, speed, and competitive edge should make him a very useful player in the NFL. His run after catch ability means he should get more short targets than Doctson, which gives him more PPR upside.

Corey Coleman Film on Draft Breakdown

Corey Coleman could be a ready-made fantasy star (Matt Harmon)

5. Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma - Shepard impressed me in many ways on tape, including outstanding blocking and a nose for the end zone plus game in the air, despite being on the slot receiver/undersized end of the NFL wide receiver prospect spectrum. He has separation speed deep and Shepard can elude and create after the catch. He can hoover up targets from the slot, but his ability to play outside is underrated. With the right quarterback, Shepard could be #2 on the post-draft list.

Sterling Shepard Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Film Room No. 72 - Sterling Shepard with Matt Harmon

top 25 wr upside

Unless the situation is sweet, the offensive skill player values are going to drop off of a cliff in the mid first round. This is a rare case where it might be advisable to trade out of 1.7/1.8 before the draft, although a running back that lands in a perfect spot will likely occupy at least one of these spots post-draft.

6. Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State - Thomas’s lack of production at Ohio State is more a function of his offense than any shortcomings on his part. He’s a better prospect than teammate and 2015 Jets second round pick Devin Smith, and the NFL has him as a peer to Doctson and Treadwell as a prospect even though we don’t in fantasy circles. Thomas is sneaky athletic, physical, long and strong receiver who reminds of his uncle Keyshawn Johnson at times, but he'll be more likely to settle as a #2 than a #1 in his offense.

Michael Thomas (Ohio State) Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Boiler Room No. 8 - WR Michael Thomas Ohio State

7. Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers - Carroo isn’t quite as impressive as the five receivers ahead of him on this list, but he uses a combination of speed, a sturdy build, good hands, and ball skills to get the most out of what he has. He could be in the top 5 mix with an ideal landing spot and stands out on tape and on paper.

Leonte Carroo Film on Draft Breakdown

Leonte Carroo set up for quick transition to NFL game (Matt Harmon)

blue chip IDP tier

Even though there are longevity and NFL role productivity questions about Myles Jack, there is no reason to overthink things in the late first. Jack has the profile to be a massive impact IDP if he is allowed to roam free. In a weak offensive class, this is a layup in leagues that start 3-4 linebackers with decent IDP scoring.

8. Myles Jack, LB. UCLA - Jack is a bit of a projection, as UCLA had him playing away from the ball a lot. He’s actually a viable slot corner and can cover in man as well as any linebacker I’ve watched leading up to a draft. His production in the pros will be hampered if he is used that way frequently, but if Jack is allowed to seek and destroy in a linebacker role, he’ll be an IDP stud. Worth a late rookie draft first as long as there’s no fall out of the NFL first because of his knee.

Myles Jack Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Film Room No. 61: Myles Jack with Eric Stoner

solid nfl prospects with situational upside

Yeah it gets bleak quickly. None of the players in this tier will bubble up near the top of their position group in the pros, but in the right situation, they could have an RB2/WR2/TE1 spike at the top of their peak years. No one in this group is compelling enough to take over a 2017 first round pick.

9. Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia - Mitchell will never project as a #1, which limits his fantasy ceiling, but his athleticism, route running, hands, ball skills, and toughness will be very useful as a #2, and in a good pass offense, he could be very productive. He is just coming into his own after a 2013 ACL tear, on a celebration in the end zone.

Malcolm Mitchell Film on Draft Breakdown

Malcolm Mitchell is a Top 10 Receiver in the 2016 Draft (Matt Harmon)

10. Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech - Dixon is greater than the sum of his parts a la Fred Jackson. He is an everydown back who is more effective in all facets of the game than his middling athleticism indicates he should be. Dixon may be buried for his whole rookie contract behind an entrenched starter, but if he lands on a team with instability in the backfield (and there are a lot), I’ll target him when I can't trade in the late first.

Kenneth Dixon Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Boiler Room No. 29: Kenneth Dixon

11. Devontae Booker, RB, Utah - Booker, like Dixon, isn’t really special physically in any way, but he’s a three-down back who runs hot and is willing to put the offense on his back. He has been a favorite late round pick in early MFL10s, because he has been a willing and able offensive centerpiece, but I won't be taking him if he's blocked by an established starter.

Devontae Booker Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Boiler Room: Devontae Booker

12. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama - Landing spot will be crucial for Henry. He has good feet and a surprising second gear for a huge back, but he is still limited by his greatest asset - his mass. Behind a good line, his size will wear down a defense and add yardage to the end of most runs. Behind a bad line, he’ll get sideways and be rendered harmless too often to get value from his defensive end-sized frame. Stay tuned.

Derrick Henry Film on Draft Breakdown

Derrick Henry needs the right fit (Greg Cosell)

13. Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas - Williams has NFL size with surprising lateral agility and balance. His burst is subtle but impressive, with a combination of elusiveness and tackle breaking ability that should translate well. Williams finishes his runs like a pro, and a second day pick would show his NFL team isn’t worried about the foot surgery that cost him 2015. He could move to the top of this tier if he lands somewhere with a long-term opening at running back on the second day.

Jonathan Williams Film on Draft Breakdown

Scouting Report - Jonathan Williams (Jon Ledyard)

14. Tyler Higbee, TE, Western Kentucky - Higbee has a pre-draft incident to clear up but there is little question that he is the best receiving tight end in this class. The converted wide receiver has the speed, hands, ball skills, and ability after the catch. His draft slot will tell a lot about what the league thought of his incident. With a top 100 pick and good quarterback, he'll be worth a look in the late first of rookie drafts.

Tyler Higbee Film on Draft Breakdown

Potential Offensive Draft Steals (Lance Zierlein)

15. Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas - Henry is a good two-way tight end who won’t leave the field. He has dependable hands, and Henry is big and rugged over the middle of the field. He is not a dynamic target or runner after the catch, but Henry could be at least as productive as Gary Barnidge or Ben Watson were last year if he was given their roles and target shares. He should fall somewhere on the Heath Miller-Jason Witten axis.

Hunter Henry Film on Draft Breakdown

Scout: Hunter Henry draft's most complete tight end in years

16. Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State - Higgins is not an athletic wonder, but don’t let that conceal his high level of play. He plays with intense focus in his routes and when the ball arrives, which creates separation downfield and successful outcomes. He will be tested by the upgrade in level of competition athletically, including more physical corners who attack his slight frame at the line, but with a good timing based passing offense, Higgins can click with his quarterback.

Rashard Higgins Film on Draft Breakdown

Reception Perception: Rashard Higgins - Never Tell Me The Odds (Matt Harmon)

high ceiling/low floor WR prospects

Things don't get that much better in the late second. A name or two in this tier will look a lot better after we see destination and/or draft position enhance their standing, but they are just as likely to let the air out of the balloon by falling well into the third day, or in Fuller's case, landing somewhere like Houston or Minnesota.

17. Charone Peake, WR, Clemson - Peake is athletically gifted with very strong character reports, but a torn ACL and great wide receiver groups at Clemson have kept him from a signature season, despite NFL size and speed. Hands and ball skills lapses plague his game, but Peake has a ton of latent upside as a late bloomer a la Martavis Bryant.

Charone Peake Film on Draft Breakdown

Charone Peake the latest fantasy star from Clemson? (Alex Gelhar)

18. Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame - He could be the first receiver off of the board. Defensive backs just can’t contend with his speed and sudden breaks in his routes. Fuller has tactical value simply by lining up on the field and forcing the defense to account for his presence. The problem is that he’s not very physical, and he doesn’t always play the ball well in the air. Fuller lacks my ball mentality and he could be undone by untimely drops in a role that doesn’t give a receiver a ton of opportunities. Despite his likely high draft slot, Fuller’s weekly fantasy consistency will be maddening, and he comes with a high bust risk. We will see him get the behind defenses on Sundays, but whether they are highlight or lowlight plays is up to Fuller.

Will Fuller Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Boiler Room No. 16: William "Flash" Fuller

19. Mike Thomas, WR, Southern Miss - I can’t figure out why Thomas isn’t generating more buzz, but it is good any time you are in agreement with Matt Waldman. Thomas plays faster and more explosive than his solid metrics. The big play game in the air and ability to summon up something extra when the play calls for it gives me a lot of confidence in Thomas’s ability to get even better after coming from modest beginnings.

Mike Thomas (Southern Miss) Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Film Room No. 69 - Southern Miss WR Mike Thomas

20. Keyarris Garrett, WR, Tulsa - The raw materials are there for a very exciting NFL receiver. Garrett’s long frame and confident game above the rim makes his easy glide middling speed enough to be dangerous downfield. He’s a boom/bust prospect pushed up the board in a weak offensive skill player crop.

Keyarris Garrett Film on Draft Breakdown

Dynasty Draft Profile: Keyarris Garrett (Rich Hribar)

swinging for a single in the late second

I love to focus on upside in my rookie drafts, but without situational enhancements, I've got to tell you, this RB/WR/TE draft class offers little in the way of pure ceiling outside of the obvious candidates. This will be the place in your draft to trade down even for suboptimal value, unless you have a pet outside of the top 20. Hopefully you'll find someone else that does. This tier represents safe solid swings of the bat that will get you one of the top remaining IDPs or a quarterback guaranteed to get an extended shot at starting in the NFL. A few of the RB/WR/TE that will make their appearance in 26-50 range will get a boost into this range because of destination.

21. Jared Goff, QB, California - Goff has the sad likely fate of ending up as the quarterback for the Rams, Browns, 49ers, or Eagles, or possibly the quarterback-in-waiting for the Cowboys. He has Matt Waldman’s endorsement, which is enough to make to me say he’s a good punt in the late second to recoup some value from your pick, but unlikely to generate real fantasy value until year three at the earliest, and that’s if he ever does.

Jared Goff Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Boiler Room No. 29: Jared Goff and Pocket Presence

22. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State - Lee has the athletic profile, almost certain first-round draft pedigree and likely chase role to be a very strong fantasy linebacker, but he has to get stronger, tougher, and more instinctive to fulfill that promise. He’ll probably be taken earlier than I would grab him on draft position alone.

Darron Lee Film on Draft Breakdown

PFF Scouting Report: Darron Lee

23. Joey Bosa, DE/OLB, Ohio State - Bosa’s value will be hurt badly if he is listed as an outside linebacker, but most of the landing spots in the 4-8 range don’t carry that danger. He has more of a Chris Long fantasy profile when we look back at EDGE players who have gone top 10 in the NFL, which translates to a low ceiling.

Joey Bosa Film on Draft Breakdown

SI 50: No. 8 - DE Joey Bosa

24. Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State - Wentz has surprising scramble/running ability for a classic pocket passer sized quarterback, but he is less “pro ready” than Goff, and just as likely to be hampered by his team and the high bar for fantasy quarterbacks to matter until superflex/2QB is the norm.

Carson Wentz Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Film Room No. 52 - Carson Wentz with Mark Schofield

25. Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis - Lynch, like Wentz, can move very well for a prototypically built pocket passer, and that enhances his fantasy potential. The downside of spending a rookie pick on him is the wait for him to hit his peak and low quarterback positional value.

Paxton Lynch Film on Draft Breakdown

Matt Waldman RSP Film Room No. 66 - Paxton Lynch with David Igono