Welcome back for the 12th (or is it 13th? Do message board posts count?) edition of the Bloom 100. Since I started this feature to collect my obsessive thoughts at the intersection of evaluating draft prospects and building dynasty fantasy football teams a lot has changed. Interest in fantasy football, the draft, and all things football-related have mushroomed. The voices and knowledge on all fronts are getting more numerous, varied, and intelligent every single year. I encourage you to get Matt Waldman’s RSP and a draft guide or three by talented people like Eric Galko and Optimum Scouting, Dane Brugler, Kyle Crabbs and NDT Scouting, and the team at Inside the Pylon. Social media has burrowed into our lives and minds. The accounts worth following on Twitter range far and wide, I try to give them their due every day. I feel very fortunate to still have a place at the table and thank all of you for your continued support and encouragement. Thanks as always to the hard-working people at Draft Breakdown who have revolutionized our draft preparation.
Last year did yield a few surprise non-first round studs like Dak Prescott, Tyreek Hill, Hunter Henry, and Jordan Howard, but for the most part, the underwhelming class underwhelmed. Even the strong group of first-round wideouts fell flat (time to buy on the rebound). This year’s class will bear much more fruit, so holders of multiple second, third, and fourth-round picks will be much, much happier with their bounty.
I’m going to say this a lot, but the depth of this year’s class for fantasy is unprecedented. The quality of QB, RB, WR, and TE are stronger later in the 100 than I can remember in any previous version. Because of that, IDP value is stronger down the board than it has been in previous years, and in general later picks will hold more value than they have in previous years. Incorporate this into your understanding of how to play your rookie drafts this year in the following manner...
Most Important Advice (!!!) :
Trade down. Trade down. Trade down some more and try to add 2018 picks in the process. The top seven is pretty tightly packed, and the offensive talent from 12 through 50 or later is a vast plateau. This is the deepest Bloom 100 of potential contributors at RB and WR that I have put together in a long time, maybe ever. Rankings at running back and wide receiver are going to vary greatly and good players at QB and TE will still be there later in your rookie drafts. Your 15th ranked player is likely to be there at 20-25. Your 20th ranked player is going to be there at 30-35. Your 40th ranked player… you get the idea. Draft destinations will just muddy the water further. When in doubt, trade down. You will be pleasantly surprised at what is there for you later. You will be frustrated when you see what is still there if you don’t trade down, unless you really love the player you are taking with your pick.
QB - While it is not seen as strong in NFL terms, it should be considered strong in fantasy terms. Three of the top four prospects are plus-quality runners, which gives them a high fantasy ceiling in any scenario. With strong classes elsewhere, restocking at quarterback should be cheap and easy this year.
RB - The top four is very strong, especially when PPR is factored in and the second tier of backs is very deep and talented, although I was underwhelmed when looking for backs with ceilings to be good fantasy RB2s for the long haul. There should be good talents on the board who will be on NFL rosters for a while well into the late rounds.
WR - The top three is comparable in quality to the top four last year, and the second tier stretches for miles. Wide receivers with draftable grades will be waiting for phone calls at the end of the draft. Your fourth and fifth round rookie picks will yield wide receivers with similar NFL ceilings and floors to your late second and third-round picks.
TE - Maybe the best tight end class ever. From a pure talent/ability evaluation standpoint, there are 4-7 tight ends are ahead of any tight end from last year’s class. Many of the top 10 this year project as primarily receiving tight ends. This is a great year to own a lot of picks in tight end premium leagues.
DL - The good news is that Myles Garrett is going to a 4-3 team and will give premium value in leagues that start two defensive ends if he hits. Many of the other top edge rushers that project as defensive ends have a limited fantasy ceiling, although some might have felt that way about Joey Bosa last year. Defensive tackle lacks a clear impact prospect, although this draft could give us two instant starters in start one defensive tackle leagues, maybe three if Chris Wormley lines up inside.
LB - There’s no shortage of potential impact edge rushers at 3-4 outside linebackers, and a few of the best can also line up inside. Of course an Alabama linebacker leads the off ball class with a very good second tier that might yield 4-5 starters. With the focus on the depth of the offensive class, dynasty teams looking to restock at a linebacker position with fewer elite options than ever can profit later on in rookie drafts this year, especially in sack-heavy leagues.
DB - The secondary is very strong this year. There’s a truly elite strong safety prospect and plenty behind him that project as instant fantasy difference makers a la Keanu Neal and Karl Joseph last year. The rookie corner rule will be in effect as we could see as many as eight corners in the top 50 of the NFL draft. Leagues that start 4-5 defensive backs will see a lot of valuable picks from the secondary in the late rounds of rookie drafts.
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
Note: Because of how tightly packed the second tiers are and how situation-dependent this strong TE class is, expect a lot of movement in the post-draft 100.
ELITE OFFENSIVE TIER
First and foremost, know that this tier is tight enough that destination is going to make a lot of difference after the draft. Fit and surrounding talent will sort this tier out. Right now, there isn’t that much difference between the value of the second pick and the seventh pick. After the draft, this group will shuffle and separate a bit.
1. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan - My clear #1 wide receiver and as long as he doesn’t land somewhere like Buffalo, he should be #1 after the draft. He can win with a terrific release and route-running, and adds value to his targets with lethal run after catch ability. Davis isn’t a true burner, but his double moves make him a vertical target and he’s a silky smooth athlete in a big frame. Think AJ Green with not quite as high a ceiling.
2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford - No one is laughing at McCaffrey as a top half of the first round pick now. He should catch 50+ passes and be a better between the tackles runner than most of the running backs that top that number as a receiver. Think Brian Westbrook with better long speed. He’ll share with another back, but that just means he won’t be Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson.
3. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State - Forget his combine numbers. He’s an explosive back and chunk play threat on every touch. He won’t contribute in the passing game volume as much as McCaffrey, but he could account for more big plays as a receiver and he’s more than able in that facet of the game. There’s some character risk and he needs to work on ball security. He might fall out of the first round, but he'll be a key component of the offense wherever he lands. Think Panthers era DeAngelo Williams with better receiving skills.
4. Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma - His past will keep him out of the first round, but it sounds like he’ll still hear his name called on the second day. Whatever you think about Mixon breaking a female student’s jaw on video, at least one NFL team will overlook that and make him the heir to their backfield. He’s not as explosive as Cook or natural as a receiver as McCaffrey, but he actually projects better as a true three-down back and falling to the second day could put him somewhere like Oakland or New Orleans, where he would likely inherit a valuable starting role in year two. Think Matt Forte (h/t Matt Waldman).
5. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU - Does Jacksonville lead back have a nice ring to it? How about Carolina? Fournette will probably be the first RB/WR drafted, but I won’t be taking him in many of my rookie drafts. He won’t have the PPR punch of any of his peers and running backs can be very situation-dependent for big games when they aren’t big contributors in the passing game. I like Matt Waldman’s Stephen Davis comparison for Fournette.
6. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson - Williams wins by dominating when the ball is in flight. He jostles his opponent uses his size and strength advantages to render them powerless to stop him. I’m not sure those advantages will translate as well against more skilled and athletic NFL corners. He’ll also need a quarterback who isn’t afraid to throw to a “covered” receiver. Think a rawer Alshon Jeffery.
7. John Ross, WR, Washington - Ross has legit take the top off of the defense speed, but he is also a sharp and sudden route runner. Will Fuller is his floor and DeSean Jackson is his ceiling. He has durability questions and his numerous surgeries could cause him to fall to a team with a strong offense in the late first… or a poor offense in the early second.
SECOND TIER OFFENSE/ELITE DEFENSE TIER
In a tight-end premium, the top three tight ends can tack onto the elite offensive tier. Foster is the clear #1 IDP and depending on your scoring, Garrett can be a strong option. None of the wide receivers or running backs in this tier have RB1/WR1 upside, except maybe Zamora, but he has a very low floor.
8. Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss - Engram won’t be the first tight end to go in the NFL Draft, but without knowing landing spots, he should be first in rookie rankings. He will be taken as an oversized slot receiver and go to a team that covets him for his receiving skills, not as a two-way tight end. He isn’t much of a threat after the catch, but his size, speed, and ball skills give him mid-TE1 upside in the right offense.
9. OJ Howard, TE, Alabama - I’m not too worried about Howard being downplayed in the Crimson Tide offense because they weren’t a pass-first team. I am a little worried about his being a two-way tight end dooming him to a place like Jacksonville or Buffalo, or otherwise limiting his fantasy upside. His overall athletic ability will place him among the best in the NFL and he shown the ball skills and run after catch prowess to be a solid TE1 if he isn’t used primarily as a blocker.
10. David Njoku, TE, Miami-Florida - I see some Vernon Davis in Njoku after the catch, and I have a feeling that after the draft he will jump Howard because he’ll land in a better pass offense by virtue of going later in the first round. Njoku is almost two years younger than Howard, and he has a higher ceiling, even if it might take longer to reach it.
11. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama - It seems like a nearly annual rookie draft ritual to take an Alabama inside linebacker among the first off the board in our rookie drafts. Foster has some medical questions about his shoulder, but otherwise he is an equal prospect to current Ravens stud linebacker CJ Mosley. With the number of true three-down linebackers shrinking, he is still worth consideration in the late first, even with his failed drug test at the combine. His evaluation as a player doesn’t change for me and I still think he’ll be drafted to become an every-down starter even if that in the top 20 instead of top 12.
12. Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma - Westbrook has some off-field questions and he’s rail thin, but he’s as sudden as any wide receiver in this draft in his breaks, he has a legit fifth gear, and he’s mentally and physically tough despite his lack of mass. He is a rare wide receiver who is just as elusive and explosive before the catch as he is after the catch.
13. ArDarius Stewart, WR, Alabama - Like Howard, Stewart’s production won’t wow you, but the way he notched it should. He’s solidly built and plays bigger than his 5’11” 204 frame, with breakaway speed, excellent yards after catch moves and strategies, and a combative nature as a blocker and runner. He’ll be a better pro than college player, as Stewart’s game has a lot of room to grow.
14. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M - Garrett fits more along the Julius Peppers/Mario Williams axis than the Khalil Mack/Von Miller axis, but that means he is more likely to stay a 4-3 DE (as Cleveland will draft him to be one in Gregg Williams’ scheme) even though he does come with some effort questions to go with his sky high ceiling.
15. Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State - Godwin is a tantalizing player, with the skills and traits to rise to the top of the deep class of #2 receivers in this draft. He could also tease and fall short of expectations as he often does on some of the plays he almost makes (that to be fair, many other draft receivers couldn’t come close on). He is one of the top second tier receivers in most rankings and will require a late first or early second if you want him.
16. Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo - The second tier of backs didn’t bowl me over. I see a lot of specialists in the age of running back by committee. Hunt is one of the few that could translate as a primary back. He is at least average in every area of the game with an ideal low-build, compact running style and a second gear. Hunt is elusive with the feet and vision to find the cutback lane and fit very well in a zone scheme. If his landing spot lines up with opportunity, pencil him into the late first.
17. Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma - Perine is a legit power back at the next level with a thick lower body and very stubborn running style. He isn’t a liability as a pass catcher, but Perine will never be a true three-down back. Still, he can be a workhorse finisher of games and drives a la LeGarrette Blount. In the right offense, that can be a solid RB2 in fantasy leagues.
18. Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC - In the right passing attack, Smith-Schuster could be a high volume short and intermediate receiver who is a consistent producer. However, his game won’t make him a big factor in a lesser passing attack because he doesn’t add a lot of value to his targets or create great separation. He’ll get the most out of what he has to offer, but his ceiling is limited.
19. Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech - There’s enough there for Henderson to become a very exciting player in the right spot. He is lightning quick before and after the catch, accelerates with the best of this class, and sometimes flashes top-end ball skills. There’s also not enough there to know how Henderson will translate as a wide receiver that has to rely on route running. He’s a high ceiling project.
20. Ishmael Zamora, WR, Baylor - I’m a sucker for upside prospects like Zamora. A 4.53 40 at 6’3” 224 presents mismatch issues for most defensive backs, and Zamora has shown good enough hands and ball skills to get that size and speed into play downfield. He has a long way to go as a receiver, with a small sample size and character questions, but Zamora is the kind of prospect that hits big if he hits.
21. Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee - Kamara could be the fourth or even third back off of the board in the draft, and that equals a lot of opportunity, so I might be underrating him. I don’t see a natural runner, but his speed and intensity can create big plays and he breaks more tackles than runners with his body type normally do. Kamara can play on pass downs, but he’s not a true workhorse. I’m willing to move up him to the late first in the right situation, but he’ll drop if a path to opportunity isn’t apparent.
LIMITED CEILING SECOND TIER OFFENSE/SECOND TIER DEFENSE
We are past the premium IDP picks and my favorites in the second tier of offensive prospects, but the wide receivers could easily shuffle between this tier and the tier above based on destination.
22. Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida - Davis plays the position with the bad intentions and sideline-to-sideline range you want on Sundays. He has three-down upside but has to stay healthy. Don’t be surprised if he’s a first-round pick next week.
23. Jamal Adams, S, LSU - It’s hard to get excited about taking a safety in your rookie draft, but Adams has a fantasy-friendly style and skillset and should be drafted high enough to likely be a day one, every down starter. He should be very active coming downhill and key a defense with his playmaking ability.
24. Budda Baker, S, Washington - If you liked Bob Sanders, you’ll love Budda Baker. He plays like his hair is on fire and has outstanding natural speed and quicks to go with his sense of urgency. He might not be in the box as much as Adams, but Baker is a magnet for the ball. Like Sanders, the biggest issue is staying healthy with a reckless style in an undersized frame.
25. Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU - Williams is a tough-minded, no nonsense back who looks ready for Sundays. He’s good enough at everything to be a three-down back, but he might not be the best on his NFL roster at anything. Williams lacks elite athleticism or eye-popping highlights, but he’s a grinder who could take over a backfield for a few years in the right spot.
26. Bucky Hodges, WR/TE, Virginia Tech - A 6’6” 257 pound wide receiver? That was what Hodges was with the Hokies. His ball skills and hands pass the sniff test, and his speed and explosion match much smaller, lighter wide receiver prospects. As a tight end, he could be a force, and even as a wide receiver he would probably rank around the same level in fantasy terms. If he lands someplace like Pittsburgh, watch out.
27. Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington - Kupp isn’t sudden or explosive, but he is a master techician already and he dominated the vaunted Washington secondary in 2014, so I’m not worried about level of competition. With a precise quarterback, he could be an 80-90 catch a season wideout.
28. Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan - Darboh is more of a build up speed wideout and he’s not going to juke anyone out of their shoes, but he is excellent at winning on release and winning the ball in the air with positioning and ball skills. Like the rest of this deep second tier of wide receivers, he could move up in an offense that maximizes his skillset.
29. Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M - The Matt Waldman favorite is lanky, but he has preternatural reactions to the ball at times and he has enough speed to make his length very threatening deep.
30. Chad Hansen, WR, California - And the second tier just keeps going and going. There’s not much separating Hansen from Godwin if he has the better quarterback. He has the speed to stretch defenses and slice through defenses after the catch, and Hansen can win 50-50 balls. He’s a one-year wonder who might have his best football ahead of him.
31. Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky - Taylor is a deep threat and very slippery after the catch, but he’s not a polished route runner and his size could relegate him to the slot. Still, a la Corey Davis, he was very productive when the opponent knew he was Plan A, B, and C.
32. Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech - This ranking might make it seem like I’m down on Ford, but he’s part of that deep second tier, so I could just as easily have him around 12-15 after the draft. He’s explosive and sudden, but not refined or physical. Ford can become a very dangerous #2 with some development.
33. Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State - Sometimes the Bloom 100 ranking can just be boiled down to “avoid at ADP”. Tyreek Hill might make Samuel look very enticing and he will likely go in the top 15 of every rookie draft. If he lands somewhere like New Orleans, heck I might reverse my opinion on him. For all of his speed, Samuel has a long way to go to be a wide receiver, so right now we’re looking at a Darren Sproles-type role to begin and patience to reap the benefits.
34. Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina - Here’s another ranking that basically means “avoid at ADP”. Jones production came mostly on routes that don’t demonstrate NFL wideout skills and while his measureables and Senior Bowl indicate an arrow that points up, I didn’t see that enough on his tape to put him at or near of the top of this tier without knowing his destination, even though he should be one of the first wide receivers drafted on the second day.
35. Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina - Sometimes the Welker/Amendola comparison fits. Switzer actually showed more big ability than his gritty, quicker than fast slot peers and he projects as one of the best slot receivers in this class. The big question is whether he goes to an offense that will give him the same kind of opportunity in the slot that Jamison Crowder has gotten in Washington.
36. Tyus Bowser, LB, Houston - Bowser pops off the screen with his explosion as an edge rusher, and he has the ability to drop into coverage and easily be an everydown linebacker. He was a college basketball player and still has a lot more upside than his college production indicates. He’s a got better chance of becoming what people want Haason Reddick to be at the next level. Being a force player in Justis Mosqueda terms only helps.
THE QUARTERBACK TIER
This quarterback class is being downplayed in NFL terms, but they all have low-to-mid QB1 upside in fantasy terms because of either their running ability or playing style. They can all be good value picks if they fall this far in rookie drafts, but beware going too early on any of them. They should be cheaper than Goff and Wentz were last year with a higher fantasy ceiling.
37. DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame - Kizer has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this class, whether we are talking about NFL stock or fantasy stock. Think Daunte Culpepper - a deep arm, running ability that translates because of his size, and the ability to engage defenses despite a processor than can be a half-beat behind. He might fall to the second round, but the extra development time will actually increase his chances of success.
38. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson - Watson is the safest quarterback pick in the draft, and he’ll level off as a solid QBBC option in any event. I see a lot of Alex Smith in both fantasy and NFL terms, which isn’t terrible, but I’m not sure he’ll change the fate of the fantasy or NFL teams that take him. His running ability won’t be as dangerous in the NFL, and the accuracy/decision-making flaws will have to be fixed for Watson to get into the top tier of fantasy or NFL quarterbacks.
39. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech - What Mahomes lacks in running upside, he makes up for with his gunslinging nature and arm strength that keep the whole field in play. He should end up on the Jay Cutler-Matthew Stafford axis, which doesn’t necessary equal Super Bowls or elite fantasy seasons, but with the right surroundings and development, we can’t rule it out.
40. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina - Think Ryan Tannehill, right down the the very limited college experience, being stuck behind a quarterback who had no NFL future, plus athleticism to add value runner, all the traits you want in a passer with some of the skills, but lacking that something, the rug that ties the room together. He should be the first quarterback drafted and will get many chances to fail, but his NFL and fantasy ceiling makes it hard to want to take him when his draft position will make him go earlier than he should in fantasy rookie drafts.
SOLID IDP/SOLID ROLE PLAYER OFFENSE
The IDP core contributors could fall in this year’s class because everyone will have their favorite WR and RB to target in the first three rounds. After the deep second tier of wide receivers, we have a lot of situation-dependent players who don’t necessarily project as big-time NFL starters, but have the talent to be productive in the right role/spot.
41. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt - Cunningham isn’t in the same class as Foster or Davis, but he should be drafted to be a three-down linebacker. I don’t see him nearly as stout and consistent as you would want in a highly-drafted off-ball linebacker, but that probably won’t stop him from going in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.
42. Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida - Anzalone is versatile, athletic, and he has the skills to be a three-down linebacker in a pass-happy NFL. He would be higher in this list if he showed he could stay healthy with consistency.
43. Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama - Everett is a smooth, fluid athlete with the classic basketball player convert outlook as a pass-catching tight end. He might be a better natural receiver and player after the catch than Engram, but he won’t be drafted nearly as high and be destined for as big a role… at first.
44. Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland - Shaheen is a hulk of a man with good hands and the natural route running and ball skills to make an impact in a passing game, even though his frame would make you think blocking tight end. He has to ramp up from a low level of competition, but he looked like a man among boys at Ashland exactly the way he should have if he has an NFL future.
45. Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama - Allen will be a strong option in start one defensive tackle leagues as long as he is classified there in the pros. The shoulder issue isn’t going to keep him from going high and as long as he isn’t classified as a defensive end, it shouldn’t keep you from taking him if your lineups make a player like him valuable.
46. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford - Thomas won’t have to wait long to hear his name called in the NFL draft, but he doesn’t have the same upside as Joey Bosa in fantasy leagues despite as similar draft outlook. He will be more of a “disruption” producer and Lance Zierlein’s Justin Smith comparison should illustrate why his NFL value won’t necessary show up in the ways we care about in fantasy leagues.
47. Derek Barnett, OLB/DE, Tennessee - Barnett will move up as a defensive end, but move down as a linebacker. He was highly productive with great smarts and skills, but he lacks the athletic upside to be a true difference maker in IDP leagues. Barnett will go in the first round and he’s a safe impact player at a tough NFL position, but that won’t translate to huge fantasy numbers except in the perfect situation.
48. Josh Jones, S, NC State - Jones projects as a do-everything safety and he can show up on the stat sheet in a lot of ways. If he was more disciplined, he could fit in the top tier of safeties and in a lesser class, he would be higher on this list. He’ll be easy money in the late rounds with sexier IDPs going earlier in the NFL and rookie drafts.
49. Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson - Usually I shy away from high cut upright backs like Gallman, but he runs with toughness and power to transcend his less than optimal style. He has get to the edge speed and wins collisions, and Gallman is also a functional pass catcher. He’s not necessary lead back material, but Gallman has plenty to offer his NFL team.
50. Joe Williams, RB, Utah - Williams burst is among the best in this class and he has the feet to get through small creases. He might never be a three-down back, but Williams is an explosive back who can be a productive part of a committee. There are questions about his brief “retirement”, but Williams has a very high playmaking ceiling for a back likely to go on the third day.
51. Haason Reddick, LB, Temple - Reddick will likely go in the first round of the NFL draft and be one of the first IDPs off of the board in rookie drafts, but he is a “I don’t see it” player for me. He will get an everydown role, but he isn’t among the best 5-10 edge rushers or off-ball linebackers in this class in my estimation.
52. Jonnu Smith, TE, Florida International - Smith is yet another receiving tight end who could have big fantasy upside in the right destination. He’s athletically gifted enough and instinctive enough after the catch to make a lot of hay in the passing game, but he needs to be more consistent at catching the ball to unlock his potential.
53. D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas - I know this ranking will get some hackles up, but I never saw a back that played to the measureables on tape. Foreman’s NFL application is limited and he will be overdrafted. Treat this an avoid at ADP ranking.
54. Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming - Hill has the size and all-around athleticism to be a good NFL backup. He is functional in the passing game and will hold up between the tackles on Sundays. I’ll take notice if he lands somewhere with a path to opportunity.
55. Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida - Mack can create chunk plays with speed outside and he’s a smooth cutter, but he’ll never lead his backfield in touches. If he can develop as a pass catcher and get his big play ability into play more often, he could be relevant in fantasy leagues.
56. Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State - I like McNichols speed and game as a pass catcher, but I don’t want much to do with him as an inside runner. He’ll contribute to his offense and could be interesting in PPR leagues, but his measureables and production mean he’ll be drafted much higher than I would take him in rookie drafts.
PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT OFFENSIVE TIER/SOLID IDP DEPTH
At this point in your rookie draft, you are looking for ceiling that will take some patience to develop, or if roster spots are at a premium, IDPs who can contribute right away. This tier is strong in sack-heavy leagues with a good EDGE class.
57. Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU - Dupre has length and NFL athleticism, but he was buried in a terrible pass offense at LSU and will need time to develop. His ceiling is similar to a lot of names above him on this list.
58. Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee - Malone projects as a size/speed vertical threat, but that might not be enough to be relevant in fantasy leagues. If he can develop more facets to his game, he can be a very profitable late pick.
59. Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State - McMillan has great reactions and flies to the ball, but he isn’t going to hold up in run defense inside. He’s not an elite athlete, although he’ll be drafted early enough to have a path to start quickly.
60. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State - Hooker is on the Earl Thomas-Reggie Nelson axis, but he is aggressive coming upfield and should be thrown in the fire early. He’ll ballhawk in the deep middle with the best of them.
61. Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo - Roberts isn’t among the most athletic tight end prospects in this class, but he’s huge with good hands and a classic red zone specialist profile. He could vault up the rankings in the right spot.
62. Carl Lawson, DE/OLB, Auburn - I love Lawson’s mean streak and power, but he lacks a high ceiling as a pass rusher and will probably play outside in a 3-4 which limits his fantasy upside. He also has durability questions.
63. Takkarist McKinley, DE/OLB, UCLA - McKinley can get a lot better with added skills and bend as a pass rusher, but his motor runs hot and he is very athletic. He can be productive as a 3-4 OLB.
64. Derek Rivers, DE/OLB, Youngstown State - Forget about the Penguins pedigree and know that Rivers is a force player. If a team like Dallas or Atlanta drafts him as a defensive end, Rivers will move up.
65. Mack Hollins, WR, North Carolina - Hollins has the advantage of being a special teams wonder, and he’s got the speed to be a factor downfield. Still, he looks more like a Jermaine Kearse type than a secret stud.
66. Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State - Davis has all the of the athletic traits you want including size, but he needs a few years in the incubator to be more than a jumpball downfield receiver. If he can become a better route runner, Davis could be a day three steal.
67. Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois - This class is brimming with big wideouts who have the athleticism to stick in the NFL. Golladay qualifies, especially if he can add a physical edge to his game.
RUNNING BACKS I LIKE MORE THAN I SHOULD
I’m not sure if any of these six will get drafted before the sixth round, but I like all of them to outproduce expectations if they ever get a real shot. Then again, they could languish as third-stringers or practice squad backs until more talented future rookies take their jobs.
68. Joseph Yearby, RB, Miami-Florida - Yearby is likely to go undrafted, but I see a lot to like in all three facets of his game and he has the Thomas Rawls white hot energy to his game. As long as he makes a roster I’ll try to stash him in my deeper leagues.
69. Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina - I like Hood’s power more than D’Onta Foreman, and I won’t be surprised if he has a better career. His feet are also better than a typical power back.
70. Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP - Jones has some hidden speed at the second level to go with outstanding measured quicks and explosion. He’s also a combative, compact back. He could easily be 20-30 spots higher in the postdraft list if an NFL team takes him in the first five rounds, but he could also be buried in this deep running back class.
71. Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State - Pumphrey is part of the mighty mite mini-tier with Tarik Cohen. His acceleration and quicks absolutely fit in the NFL, but his role might never make him a consistent fantasy factor.
72. Tarik Cohen, RB, NC A&T - Cohen joins Pumphrey as an undersized back with an oversized playmaking ability. He is a human highlight reel and will be a fan favorite. Darren Sproles gives both of these backs hope.
73. James Conner, RB, Pitt - Conner is a wonderful story after overcoming cancer, and he can hang in the NFL as a solid power backup. I don’t think he’ll ever be the best running back on his roster, but injuries can put him in a spot to be productive.
ROOKIE CORNER RULE/SECOND TIER IDP DEPTH
I have done well in deep IDP leagues reserving a late pick for a rookie corner who gets a lot of opportunity because teams like to test them. In general, taking players with early opportunity is a good idea in deep dynasty leagues so that you can either capitalize or move on early.
74. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State - The rookie corner rule can steal you some cheap points late in mixed rookie drafts. Lattimore has Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie length, speed, and explosion, and he’ll be targeted a ton this year.
75. Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State - Conley is the better and more versatile of the two Buckeye corners, and he might even be drafted higher. As a day one starter, he could be very valuable in IDP leagues.
76. Blair Brown, LB, Ohio - Brown lacks ideal size at inside linebacker, but he has a nose for the ball and is likely to outplay and outproduce his draft slot. One of the few off-ball linebackers worth stashing this year.
77. Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan - Peppers will be a sneaky good pick in leagues that score return yardage. He and Melifonwu are a mini-tier in typical IDP leagues as safeties who should play a ton, but in space or coverage more than in the box.
78. Obi Melifonwu, S, Uconn - After Garrett, Melifonwu is the most freakish athlete in this year’s class. He might end up as a corner/safety combination, but he’ll be drafted high and he should be an everydown player in time.
79. Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC - Jackson has some of the hidden upside of Peppers with his ability to contribute on offense and he could benefit from the rookie corner rule if he starts in year one.
80. TJ Watt, DE/OLB, Wisconsin - Watt doesn’t play to his measureables or anywhere near the standard set by his brother, but he will go early in the draft and he’s a force player.
81. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama - Humphrey isn’t as gaudy an athlete as some of the other top corners, but he is more hard-nosed and active as a tackler. He should be drafted high enough for the rookie corner rule.
82. Kevin King, CB, Washington - King is similar to Lattimore with a terrific set of athletic qualities and the ability to make the wow play. I won’t be surprised if he stays in the pacific northwest as a long-term #2 (or #1 if Richard Sherman is eventually dealt or allowed to leave).
83. Jordan Willis, DE/OLB, Kansas State - Willis is a force player, but doesn’t look the part on the field. Still, he could be drafted highly as a defensive end have a shot to be an everyweek IDP starter in time. He’s not nearly as interesting as a 3-4 OLB.
84. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan - Charlton can line up inside and outside and like many of the pass rushers in this class, it appears that he has room to grow as a player. He’ll stay on the defensive line and is worth stashing away in deeper leagues that have sack-heavy scoring and two defensive end spots.
85. Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri - Harris may well go in the top 15 next week but I don’t like his lack of awareness. Let someone else take him too him on draft pedigree.
CEILING DEVELOPMENTAL OFFENSE/INTRIGUING IDP DEVELOPMENTAL PROJECTS
These players have high ceilings for being available so late, but low chances of hitting if on offense, and profiles that make for IDP value if they can develop on defense.
86. George Kittle, TE, Iowa - Kittle has great speed and toughness. I might be underrating him and will be willing to move him up a lot if he is paired with the right quarterback.
87. Elijah McGuire, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette - McGuire is a good athlete with plus pass receiving ability, but he might not even get drafted in this strong class. Like with most of the second tier backs, I’ll be shuffling him around after the draft based on path to opportunity.
88. Stacy Coley, WR, Miami-Florida - Coley has some Travis Benjamin to his game but is a long-term project. He can be a vertical threat and finish the play, but can he be more?
89. Speedy Noil, WR, Texas A&M - Noil is maybe the most explosive athlete in the wide receiver class, and he’s tough to boot, but he could also wash out early in his career because of lack of skill and trust from coaches. A player to stash away if he can make a roster.
90. Chad Williams, WR, Grambling - I like Williams ability to stretch the field and make plays in the air. He showed out well at the Senior Bowl. Character questions and level of play may keep him from getting drafted and likely ticket him for a practice squad.
91. Josh Harvey-Clemons, S/LB, Louisville - Harvey-Clemons fits as a safety/linebacker hybrid who can be a very productive IDP if he is classified as a safety and fits in a defense that lets him spend a lot of time in the box.
92. Delano Hill, S, Michigan - Hill is a box safety through and through. If he gets drafted to a team with a clear path to that role, he might rack up tackles, but don’t ask him to play deep or man coverage.
93. Kendell Beckwith, LB, LSU - Beckwith projects as a two-down linebacker, but one that can be very active in run support. If he goes on the second day, his team might try to press him into a larger role than he’s capable of a la Benardrick McKinney
94. Chris Wormley, DE, Michigan - Wormley has ridiculous bend for a guy who can also be a 3-4 end with the size to take up two blockers. He might be a surprise IDP factor in time with the number of 3-4 ends that are relevant right now.
95. Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State - McDowell is big enough to line up inside and athletic enough to line up outside. He has IDP starter upside as a 3-4 defensive end or defensive tackle.
96. Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State - Brown has size, strength, and toughness, but we won’t see what he’s capable of for 2-3 years, and his ceiling isn’t as high as other projects on this list.
97. Jalen Robinette, WR, Air Force - I see some Vincent Jackson in Robinette with his size and speed, but the rest of his game is under construction. Likely a practice squad project.
98. Tim Patrick, WR, Utah - Patrick is yet another in the bumper crop of long receivers with the speed and athleticism to hang around in the NFL. He played well against some of the top corners in this draft and could sneak into the third day.
99. Derrick Griffin, WR, Texas Southern - I couldn’t leave Griffin out with his tall drink of water 6’6” 230 frame and basketball background. If he makes a practice squad, remember his name.
100. Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss - Kelly can play with any quarterback in this class. He is very athletic and both mentally and physically tough. His arm strength and ability to hang in the pocket both pass NFL muster. His injuries and off field questions may knock him out of the draft, but his NFL and fantasy ceiling is right there with the top four quarterbacks.