The dynasty trade value chart is tailored specifically to a 12-team PPR league that starts one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end and a flex. It is meant to serve primarily as a guide for trades but is also a great resource during startup drafts. If the players and picks on each side of the trade offer add up to approximately the same number, the trade would be considered even. If you receive a trade offer that sends you players with a higher total number value than the players you are giving up, that is a trade offer worth strongly considering.
Rookie Pick Value and Strategy
In this article last offseason, we talked about how outside of the #1 overall pick (Ezekiel Elliott), it was a weak class and recommended being aggressive in moving 2016 picks for future picks with a chance to end up in the top-6 in the 2017 draft. If you were able to do that, you probably feel pretty good about the decision. We also mentioned that if you didn’t have 1.01 and could trade down from the Top 5 range to 7-to-9 and pick up some extra second rounders or future picks, it was worth pursuing. We saw that play out with Michael Thomas, Will Fuller, Derrick Henry and Hunter Henry faring at least as well as the 1.02-1.05 picks.
The strategy for this April is much different. Unlike last year, there doesn’t appear to be any reason to put a huge premium on the 1.01 versus the next few picks. It’s worth dropping down a few spots if you can pick up something of real value. The strategy with regards to top-5 picks vs. mid-late first rounders is also polar opposite. If you are able to package a 2nd rounder and late 1st to get up into that Top 6, it’s worth trying to make the move pre-draft.
Specific Pick Values
Here is a rough breakdown of how the picks should be valued pre-draft (with the value in parentheses):
1.01 (27) As of today, Leonard Fournette would be the top choice, but it’s certainly not a slam dunk. Many will prefer Corey Davis. There’s also a case to be made for Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Mike Williams and even Joe Mixon. Landing spots will determine a great deal in terms of the pecking order up top. It’s always nice to be guaranteed your top guy, but the value looks flatter at the top than normal. Each of the top six picks should be treated as a near-premium dynasty asset.
1.06 (17) As we sit a month out front the draft, there has been a little bit of a consensus that has developed stating the top-6 picks are relatively close in value and there’s a tier drop once you get to 1.07. That feels right for now. The top four running backs (Leonard Fournette, Joe Mixon, Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook) and top two receivers (Corey Davis and Mike Williams) have separated themselves from the pack a bit in terms of the perception of their dynasty values. But realize that could easily change post-draft. For example, if Mike Williams or Corey Davis end up in Cincinnati (at #9 overall) splitting targets with A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, Tyler Boyd, Giovani Bernard and company, you’d see their value fall a bit. There are plenty of other realistic scenarios imaginable that could hurt the value of the top prospects, which could shrink the top tier to four or five.
1.07 (12) Similarly, we could see the top tier expand. Players like John Ross, OJ Howard, Evan Engram, David Njoku, Juju Smith-Schuster, Chris Godwin and Alvin Kamara each have the potential to leap up into that top tier if they are drafted earlier than expected and/or are drafted into an outstanding situation. For example, we saw the top tier expand last year when Michael Thomas landed in New Orleans.
Early 2nd (5-6)
Mid-Late 2nd (3-5)
The top five dynasty values are each elite players in the short-term and 25-years old or younger. The inclusion of LeVeon Bell in the bottom of this tier is a close call due to his ever-expanding list of injuries. However, he is simply so dominant on a week-to-week fantasy basis that he belongs in this tier despite the risk.
1. Ezekiel Elliott (55) It would be nice if he showed more maturity off the field during the offseason. But from a football standpoint, little has changed for Elliott and that stability is a big reason why he has a strong case for the most valuable commodity in dynasty football. The Cowboys already have a pair of superstar OL locked up long-term (Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick) and are likely to get a long-term extension done with a third (Nick Martin). There are some questions at right tackle, but this should continue to be the league’s best offensive line throughout the next four years of Elliott’s rookie contract. The Cowboys are set at QB and WR1 for the foreseeable future as well and Elliott is still just 21-years old.
2. Mike Evans (54) The signing of Desean Jackson was ideal for Evans’ dynasty owners. Jackson’s deep speed is a big enough threat to keep opposing defenses from focusing too much coverage on Evans. But Jackson won’t soak up too many targets (especially in the red zone) to hurt Evans’ prospects. The fact that Evans gets to grow alongside of a young franchise quarterback, which breaks the tie in his favor when comparing his value to Odell Beckham’s.
3. Odell Beckham Jr (53) The Brandon Marshall signing is less ideal for Beckham’s dynasty owners. The big-bodied veteran has always been a target hog and his lack of speed at age 33 isn’t going to stop defenses from placing a Safety over top of Beckham. It’s also about time to start wondering when Eli Manning’s arm strength will drop off a cliff. We saw it happen quickly with Peyton Manning and Eli has already shown some sides. Beckham’s still a wildly talented 24-year old receiver and premium dynasty asset, but no longer the clear-cut top guy.
4. David Johnson (48) Johnson is probably the most valuable asset in fantasy football in the short-term. However, his 3.5-year age difference compared to Ezekiel Elliott is enough to separate the two in terms of dynasty value. The Cardinals landing a capable heir apparent to the quickly fading Carson Palmer in the 2017 draft will be key to Johnson maintaining his value over the medium term.
5. LeVeon Bell (42) Bell hasn’t been able to finish any of the last three seasons. It is worth wondering if the Steelers are planning to go year-to-year contractually and just run him into the ground. Last year he handled over 400 touches in just 15 games (including the playoffs). The insanely high usage is a double-edged sword from a fantasy perspective. On the one hand, it is cause for concern regarding Bell’s longevity (even though he just turned 25). On the other hand, the fact that the Steelers are willing to feed Bell 25+ carries and 7+ targets most weeks makes him arguably the most valuable dynasty player in the NFL when he is healthy. If Bell breaks down at 28-years old, but you’ve been able to bank a couple championships, do you really care? The potential return of Martavis Bryant should only help Bell. Bryant’s deep speed should make the Steelers offense much more dangerous, which would allow Bell to potentially cash in even more regularly in the red zone.
The second tier is a group of seven wide receivers who all slot in as mid-late first round picks in a 12-team dynasty startup draft. The younger receivers in this tier have some questions about whether they will ever be elite fantasy producers, while the older receivers in this tier have proven to be elite but are quickly approaching the age-30 cliff where we typically see a large drop in dynasty value.
6. Amari Cooper (37) Cooper narrowly bumps to the top of this tier due to the fact that he is still just 22-years old and connected at the hip to a talented young franchise quarterback in Derek Carr. Dynasty owners have to feel great about Cooper’s longevity. He should be a fantasy factor for most of the next decade. The question however is whether he’ll ever be an elite fantasy performer. The fear for dynasty owners is that he could end up being exactly what we saw last season: a dangerous deep threat who scores almost all of his touchdowns on big plays and displays major inconsistency (for fantasy) on a week-to-week basis. Desean Jackson has had a long and productive NFL career with a similar profile, but hasn’t been considered a truly premium dynasty asset.
7. Julio Jones (36)Jones would get my vote for best receiver in the NFL. He is a physical freak and has impeccable character. The three small knocks on him are his health (the foot injuries are especially troublesome), his lack of red zone usage and his age (he recently turned 28-years old). The offseason departure of brilliant coordinator Kyle Shanahan is also of some small concern for Jones, Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons offense. Jones is still a superstar with massive dynasty value though. You can pencil him in for a few more huge PPR seasons. But as we saw Calvin Johnson a few years ago (another freakish athlete who constantly dealt with lower body injuries), it may be better to get out a year early than wait one year too long.
8. Antonio Brown (34) With a long-term extension in hand, Brown is locked into a great situation over the next few years catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger (don’t believe the attention-seeking retirement talk). Brown has been a model of good health but does turn 29-years old this summer, so it is reasonable to expect he starts to slow down at some point in the next few seasons.
9. Michael Thomas (34) Thomas burst onto the scene with a massive rookie season. He was already a late first-round startup pick even before the news that Brandin Cooks (and his 117 targets) were headed to New England. Even if the Saints draft a receiver (or tight end) early, it’s reasonable to expect Thomas will pick up at least some of those targets. It’s worth noting that Thomas was an older rookie (just turned 24-years old) when comparing him to players like Amari Cooper and even the fourth-year stars like Mike Evans and Odell Beckham.
10. A.J. Green (30) Green belongs in the same tier as Jones and Brown. He was on pace for a monster season in 2016, with 66 catches on 99 targets through just nine games before going down with an injury. He was on pace for 117 catches and 1,714 receiving yards before injuring his groin. Like Brown, Green turns 29-years old this summer, which does impact his value.
11. T.Y. Hilton (30) For some reason, Hilton often gets overlooked when discussing the top dynasty assets. He just turned 27-years old and is signed through his prime years to play indoors with Andrew Luck. Hilton is coming off of his best season, with 1,448 receiving yards on 91 catches. He’s caught at least 82 passes in each of his three seasons with a healthy Andrew Luck. Not much has changed for the Colts this offseason. The offense has basically the same personnel and the defense still lacks talent, which should lead to plenty of shootouts in the coming years.
12. DeAndre Hopkins (29) Before the Texans emerged as the favorites to land Tony Romo, Hopkins was not in this tier. With Romo in Houston, Hopkins should jump right back to being a redraft WR1 and elite producer. Even without Romo, not all is lost for Hopkins. He’s still just 24-years old and has proven to be a talented (if not quite elite) receiver.
The next tier is full of talented young players with major upside but also some serious risk factors. In 2017, you have to gamble more than typical in round two of a dynasty startup and it just comes down to picking your poison. Along with the top few rookies, these are the players worth targeting in the top 25 of a startup.
13. Keenan Allen (27) The bad news: Allen has basically played in just 8 games over the past two seasons (7.5 games in 2015 and just one half in 2016) due to a pair of injuries. The good news: In those eight games, Allen caught a whopping 73 passes for 788 yards (a pace of 146 catches and 1,576 yards over one full 16-game season). How do you properly value a player with such obvious PPR upside, but also possessing such major injury risk? The depth of the WR position overall means it isn’t too hard to partially insure against another injury and allows you to bet on the upside of the 24-year old Allen.
14. Todd Gurley (27) For whatever reason, Gurley seems to get a pass when it comes to his own struggles. Without a doubt the Rams woeful offensive line, awful play-calling and terrible passing game share some of the blame for Gurley’s rotten 2016 numbers. But Gurley also seemed to take it easy in his preparation for the 2016 season, showing up to camp slimmer and less powerful than he was as a rookie. He didn’t have the same juice as a sophomore that he showed in 2015. The Rams have made some positive steps this offseason, with a new coach and some major financial investments in the OL (the signing of top LT Andrew Whitworth). Jared Goff and the passing game are still highly questionable and Gurley’s dynasty value is tied to Goff becoming at least a passable starter.
15. Allen Robinson (27)As with Gurley, the focus on Robinson’s 2015 hasn’t fallen on the player himself as much as it has the poor play of others. And certainly Blake Bortles was awful. But Robinson struggled with drops and concentration issues even when the ball came in on time and accurately. He produced less despite seeing more targets than teammate Marqise Lee and has seen his catch rate drop from 59% as a rookie, to 53% in 2015 and all the way down to 48% last season. Robinson is entering a contract year and it will be interesting to see if he is willing to sign a long-term deal at a reduced rate following a subpar season or if he is willing to play it out and hope to strike it big next spring. Not too much has changed for the Jaguars offense so far this offseason except for some relatively equal swaps on the offensive line and the departure of Julius Thomas. The drafting of Leonard Fournette at #4 overall might hurt Robinson’s dynasty value a bit. He’s topped 150 targets each of the past two seasons and could see a decrease should the Jaguars commit to pairing their ascending defense with a run-heavy offensive scheme.
16. Sammy Watkins (26) If you’re an optimist on Watkins, you can point to Julio Jones who suffered through a number of injuries in his first three seasons before breaking out in a big way in his first fully healthy season in Year 4. Like Jones, you’ll probably always have to worry about occasional lower-leg injuries even in a best-case scenario. Watkins has shown enough flashes of talent and is young enough (still just 23-years old), to hold out hope that he eventually lives up to the hype. You can’t ignore the massive injury risk, but shouldn’t give up hope yet either.
17. Melvin Gordon (25) Gordon is a polarizing player. If you didn’t like his talent as a rookie, it was easy to write off his big 2016 season as primarily the result of unsustainable volume and massive red-zone usage. Even if you espouse the latter view, Danny Woodhead is now in Baltimore and there is still very little talent behind Gordon. He looks poised to see a massive workload for the second-straight season.
18. Devonta Freeman (24) Despite Tevin Coleman behind him stealing touches and “vulturing” touchdowns, it would probably be best for Freeman’s long-term dynasty value if he is able to hammer out a deal this offseason to stay in Atlanta long-term. He is a perfect fit in the team’s zone-blocking scheme and benefits from the high-powered passing game and the fast track in Atlanta. The loss of Kyle Shanahan to San Francisco is a minor concern, but virtually every piece of the Falcons potent offense will return in 2017.
19. Brandin Cooks (24) It feels strange to say a trade to New England to play with Tom Brady hurts a player’s dynasty value, but that’s where we’re at with Cooks. The Saints passing offense is one of the few more prolific than the Patriots’. Plus, the Patriots are suddenly flush with pass-catching talent. Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Dwayne Allen and a trio of pass-catching running backs is a lot of mouths to feed. While Cooks was inconsistent on a week-to-week basis in New Orleans, he could be even more up and down in New England. It’s not all negative though. The Patriots very rarely are the team sending early picks out, so it is clear the organization highly values the 23-year old speedster and has a plan to put his skills to use. There’s also better reason to believe that the Patriots will have a strong plan in place for the post-Brady years than the Saints will for the post-Brees era due to the long track record of success New England has shown in reloading.
This large tier is players who make sense in the third round of a startup, though if you are picking late second, you may have to reach into this tier. None of these players is a lock for huge short-term value and aren't first round redraft picks either due to positional value, injury concerns or lack of proven production.
20. Rob Gronkowski (23) The Patriots won a Super Bowl without Gronkowski and barely missed a beat without their injured star. New England has continued to add even more weapons to the passing game this offseason with the additions of Brandin Cooks and Rex Burkhead (replacing Martellus Bennett with Dwayne Allen was essentially a lateral move). Where does this leave Gronkowski? He is still a great player and the top tight end in the game (though just narrowly over Travis Kelce). But it is fair to question if the new-found wide receiver depth in New England will further move Gronkowski back to the pack at tight end. If Gronkowski ends up being just a very good fantasy tight end (instead of a major difference-maker), then it is tough to rank him inside the overall top-20 when you also have to factor in his massive injury risk.
21. Dez Bryant (22) Bryant hasn’t been a real fantasy factor since 2014. He has battled injuries each of the past two years and is only 28-years old, so there is reason for optimism that he bounces back to the fantasy WR1 he was from 2012-14 if he can just stay healthy a full season. However, even if he does regain his old form, this is a more run-heavy offense now than it was during Tony Romo’s prime years. So he may never again produce the monster fantasy stats we saw previously.
22. Jordan Howard (22) There is a clear danger in overvaluing a dozen-game sample size from a late-round rookie running back. On the other hand, Howard was incredibly productive and passed the eye test with flying colors. With Alshon Jeffery in Philadelphia, Howard is going to be the focus for opposing defenses and he will need new quarterback Mike Glennon to at least be serviceable.
23. Andrew Luck (21) Luck is a rock solid long-term investment. But he probably won’t provide the same weekly advantage as other players in this same tier due to the depth of the quarterback position. He has shown his toughness in playing through serious injuries in recent years (including a painful shoulder injury in 2016 that required offseason surgery).
24. Travis Kelce (21) Kelce finally emerged as a consistent standout PPR performer down the stretch of the 2016 season, putting together a string of 100-yard receiving games. However, he still is not used heavily in the red zone, which gives Gronkowski the narrow advantage as #1 dynasty tight end.
25. Alshon Jeffery (20) The free agency market for Jeffery was surprisingly tepid. He was only able to manage a one-year deal for $9.5M. In a market that saw mediocre players like Robert Woods (5 years, $34M with $15M guaranteed) cash in, the relatively small deal for Jeffery is a red flag. Whether teams are concerned about his injury history, recent PED suspension, or some other factor, it is worth noting that Jeffery may not be quite as highly-regarded by the NFL as he is dynasty owners. On the bright side, the fit in Philadelphia is ideal. Jeffery has little real competition for the role of top receiver. Wentz showed promise as a rookie and was willing to attack tight windows to give his receivers a chance to come down with the ball.
26. Jay Ajayi (19) Ajayi was a revelation in the second-half of the 2016 season. The Dolphins committed to feeding him a heavy dose or carries and Ajayi responded with some big performances that sparked a long win streak and playoff appearance. Though there have not been many concrete reports, there remain rumors that Ajayi has a knee condition that could imperil his long-term prospects. Laremy Tunsil should be excellent at left tackle, but his move opens up another hole at guard.
27. Derrick Henry (18) Reports out of Tennessee are that the starting job will again belong to DeMarco Murray. Barring an injury, patience will be key for Henry’s owners. He passed the eye test last year and the Titans have one of the league’s better young offensive lines, so Henry is worth more now than he was last year wen he went mid-1st round of rookie drafts.
28. Lamar Miller (17) Lamar Miller handled a healthy 299 touches in just 14 games. Bill O’Brien reportedly wants to dial down his usage a bit in 2017. But the hope for Miller’s dynasty owners is that an improved Texans offense will lead to more fantasy production on a per-carry basis. The return of Nick Martin at Center should make a big difference, but the real jump is dependent upon Tony Romo landing in Houston. Better quarterback play will raise the fantasy prospects for all of the Texans skill players after struggling through with Brock Osweiler last season.
29. Davante Adams(16) Adams emerged as the clear #2 receiver in his third season and looked much better than in 2015 (when he was dogged by an ankle injury). Adams is in the final year of his rookie contract however and with both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb under contract for 2018, the Packers will have some interesting choices to make next offseason. While Adams has shown himself to be a starting caliber receiver, much of his fantasy value is purely due to Aaron Rodgers so his contract status will be worth watching closely.
30. Doug Baldwin (16)Despite backing up his insane 2015-second half with a strong season in 2016, Baldwin remains underrated in dynasty circles. He is just 28-years old and under contract long-term in Seattle. The Seahawks continue to make puzzling choices on the offensive line and until that unit improves, the whole Seahawks offense will be held back from reaching its full potential.
31. Carlos Hyde (16) Hyde was a perfect fit in Chip Kelly’s inside zone, shotgun system that he was familiar with from his time at Ohio State. Having to switch back to a more traditional offense isn’t ideal. However, Kyle Shanahan has proven to be one of the best run-game coaches in the league. Hyde shares many traits with Devonta Freeman who excelled in Kelly’s offense. Though the 49ers could address the RB position in the draft, there is very little in the way of competition for Hyde on the current roster (also-rans like Mike Davis, DuJuan Harris and Raheem Mostert).
32. Aaron Rodgers (16) After a stretch of average fantasy production, Rodgers put the cape back on and was incredible over the final 12 weeks of the 2016 season. The injuries at running back forced Green Bay to an incredibly pass-heavy offense and it was surprisingly effective. From a fantasy perspective, Rodgers owners also benefitted from a Green Bay pass defense that fell apart in 2016 after a rash of injuries in the secondary. It doesn’t look much better on paper after free agency, so we could continue to see a lot of Green Bay shootouts in 2017. The Packers suffered some free agent defections on the interior of the offensive line, but the unit is still better than it was a few years ago. Rodgers is 33-years old, but in today’s NFL, that means he’s just hitting his prime years.
33. Hunter Henry (15) In the past 15 years, only Henry and Rob Gronkowski caught 8+ touchdowns as rookies. Henry accomplished the feat despite the Chargers trying to force the ball to Antonio Gates in the red zone for much of the second half of the season in an attempt to break the all-time tight end touchdown record. At a position that is notoriously difficult for young players, Henry’s performance as just a 21-year old rookie was especially impressive. While Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert are more proven options, both have amassed long injury histories that make Henry a more valuable long-term dynasty asset.
34. Jarvis Landry (15) The Dolphins made Kenny Stills a major priority and were able to retain him in free agency. They also upgraded at tight end with the addition of Julius Thomas. Expect the Dolphins to continue to pound the ball with Ajayi and spread it around between Landry, Stills, Thomas and Devante Parker. While Landry should remain a solid, high-floor PPR option, his upside is somewhat limited as he is unlikely to ever see the 160+ targets that he did in 2015.
This tier is filled primarily with elite performers that have major longevity concerns, either due to injury or age. It also has a couple mobile quarterbacks who may or may not be able to retain their fantasy value as they age and presumably run less. Lastly, there are a few young receivers who have flashed potential but may never rise above the WR3 ranks.
35. Jordan Reed (14) If we didn’t have to worry about concussions and other injury issues, Reed would rank as a top-15 dynasty asset. He has put up huge numbers in recent years when healthy. The concussions make Reed one of the riskiest investments in fantasy football however and can’t be ignored. The relatively solid depth at the tight end position allows you to roster a solid backup at a cheap price to insure partially against another Reed injury.
36. Cam Newton (14) The talk of the Panthers wanting Newton to run less is concerning for Newton’s dynasty owners. His rushing production (especially down around the goal line) has been the primary driver of his fantasy value. The Panthers have theoretically upgraded the line with the big-money signing of Matt Kalil, though Vikings fans may dispute that notion. Newton lost his primary deep threat (Ted Ginn Jr.) and the Panthers offense is badly in need of a talent injection in the early rounds of the draft.
37. Russell Wilson (14) Wilson’s performance in 2016 was impressive considering the woeful state of the Seahawks offensive line. The signing of Luke Joeckel is better than nothing, but there are still plenty of questions along the Seattle front. When things are clicking, we know Wilson is capable of the type of monster fantasy games that are needed to move the needle in terms of value at the quarterback position.
38. Kelvin Benjamin (14) Benjamin’s value is relatively low after struggling in 2016. He is one of the best trade targets in the league if you buy into the notion that it takes two years to truly recover form an ACL injury for most guys. Benjamin wasn’t himself in 2016 and dealt with swelling and pain in his knee throughout the middle part of the season. He remains the clear #1 in Carolina and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Benjamin, Newton and the Carolina offense have a bounce back season.
39. Corey Coleman (14) The Browns swapped Terrelle Pryor out for Kenny Britt. Essentially a lateral move. The quarterback position is still a mess, but the Browns have plenty of assets to make a bold move either in the draft or through a trade to upgrade the position. Coleman can fit in either as a high-volume slot receiver or as an outside threat.
40. Demaryius Thomas (14) New coach Vance Joseph has challenged Thomas to regain his once-dominant form. Thomas is 29-years old and has dealt with lingering injuries in recent years (including a hip problem last season). However, he should still have a few fantasy WR2 seasons left in his body.
41. Stefon Diggs (14) Diggs is an enigma. He flashes major upside at times and has put together the type of huge games that are rare from guys so young. But he also has long stretches where he fades into the background. While he has shown some big-play ability lined up to the outside, he looks like he is settling into more of a high-volume slot receiver. Adam Thielen has been used in similar ways and just signed a long-term extension to stay in Minnesota.
42. Tyler Eifert (13) Eifert is going into his fifth season and has yet to put together a full 16-game season. The injury issues are the only thing holding him back. When healthy, he has averaged nearly a touchdown per game over the past two seasons. He had offseason back surgery but is expected to be healthy in time for OTAs this spring.
43. Jordy Nelson (12) Nelson was the most valuable receiver in fantasy football down the stretch of the 2017 season. He also turns 32-years old in May. It is so difficult to value players when they hit this age range. On the one hand, it’s entirely reasonable to expect another big WR1 season and a WR2 season in 2018 with some potential minor fantasy value in 2019 and beyond. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be a shock if he fell off the cliff sooner and he is one injury away from the party being over.
44. Martavis Bryant (12) While it isn’t official yet, reports indicate Bryant should be re-instated by the NFL soon. There are two potential courses of action for Bryant owners: 1. Cash in immediately after the re-instatement when his value inevitably shoots up (he should be worth a mid-late 1st rounder). (Many took that approach with Josh Gordon at this time last year and came out ahead.) 2. Ride it out and gamble that he is able to keep his head on straight and make good on his massive talent. It’s a fine line to walk and depends upon your roster makeup and level of risk aversion.
45. LeSean McCoy (10) McCoy turns 29-years old and is already entering his 9th NFL season. On paper, he seems like a good bet to fall off the age cliff. However, he still looked like one of the league’s best backs in 2016. We’re to the point of the value rankings where all the guys have some serious risk involved and McCoy is no different. A healthy Sammy Watkins would help the Bills offense and the return of Tyrod Taylor is a major positive for McCoy.
46. DeMarco Murray (10) Titans coaches have left no doubt that they expect Murray to remain as the workhorse lead back in Tennessee. Pencil him in for at least one more RB1 fantasy season. Beyond that however, it gets very murky. His contract numbers for 2018 are very reasonable, but Derrick Henry is lurking and Murray recently turned 29-years old. Figure one more year of Murray as the lead, an even split in 2018 and that may be about it for the veteran back.
47. Mark Ingram (10) Ingram basically stands alone in the Saints backfield as of today (Daniel Lasco is probably his top competition). However, it shouldn’t be a surprise if the Saints look to snag a top young pass-catching back in the early rounds of the draft (it would be fun to see someone like Curtis Samuel in NO). Ingram is still just 27-years old and should have a few more RB2 seasons in him even if he continues to split carries.
48. Tevin Coleman (10)Coleman’s dynasty value will be heavily impacted by the contract negotiations ongoing with Devonta Freeman. If Atlanta decides to let Freeman play out his deal in 2017, Coleman would be poised to shoot up the rankings. Should Freeman ink a long-term deal, Coleman will be relegated to backup for at least the next two years and would then likely have to hit free agency with an uncertain landing spot for 2019.
49. Tyreek Hill (10) Hill was one of the breakout stars of 2016. He seemed to break off a long touchdown almost every week in the second-half of the season. Because of the reliance upon big plays, Hill is a tough guy to value. Nobody is going to be able to score from distance with that much regularity, so it’s possible we see his fantasy production come back to earth. On the other hand, the pure explosiveness he displayed should lead to more touches and perhaps an ability to sustain the WR2 production over the long-term.
In this tier, we have a big group of players who have emerged as slightly above replacement level at their positions (low-end QB1, TE1, RB2 and WR3) and may or may not ever develop into more than that. We also have some second-year players who disappointed as rookies but still have time to live up to their draft pedigrees. There are also some interesting veteran WR2 types who are potentially undervalued by the dynasty community.
50. Donte Moncrief (9) Moncrief doesn’t play to his crazy athletic profile. He has become mostly a possession receiver and red zone weapon. He is still young and in a great spot as the WR2 in Indianapolis should he ever put it all together.
51. Josh Doctson (9) Terrelle Pryor is in town on a one-year deal, but the departures of both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon present a massive opportunity for the 2016 1st-rounder to break out in year two. He’s still worth a late-first rounder despite the injury-plagued rookie year if you have lost faith and want to cut your losses.
52. Marcus Mariota (9)Mariota had the occasional monster fantasy weeks in 2016 that get you very excited about his long-term potential. The next step for the Titans will be to surround their young signal-caller with some legitimate weapons. It will be interesting to see how many of their early picks they invest on offense vs. defense. We could see them focus primarily on improving the defense while trying to remain a ground and pound offense. There’s a little more risk with Mariota than there is Carr and Winston, but also a bit more upside due to his athleticism.
53. Derek Carr (9) Carr emerged in a big way in 2016 and is a safe bet to have fantasy value for much of the next decade. He doesn’t have the rushing upside of some of the other young quarterbacks, which hurts his value a little bit. But as the Raiders continue to add weapons around him (Jared Cook is a nice addition and expect the Raiders to add a rookie running back early), he should remain a rock solid fantasy QB1.
54. Jameis Winston (9) The addition of Desean Jackson is huge for Winston. He now has a pair of dangerous deep threats and a go-to red zone guy in Cameron Brate. Like Carr, Winston is a safe bet to retain fantasy value for much of the next decade.
55. Isaiah Crowell (8) It would be nice to see Crowell work out a long-term extension to stay in Cleveland (he was tendered as a restricted free agent). Despite the lack of movement on a long-term deal, Crowell was one of the big winners of the free agency scramble. With the additions of J.C. Tretter and Kevin Zeitler (along with the big extension for Joel Bitonio), the Browns suddenly have the makings of one of the league’s best offensive lines moving forward.
56. C.J. Anderson (8) The signing of mauling guard Ronald Leary was a positive, but the Broncos still have major questions along the offensive line. If the Broncos can fill some of the remaining holes along their front (perhaps in the first round of the draft), Anderson could have a major bounce back season in 2017. The Broncos clearly want to lean on their run game and Anderson has looked excellent when in top condition.
57. Terrelle Pryor (8) Pryor looked like he was on his way to becoming one of the top receivers in the league early in 2016. He is a physical freak and looked on his way to a fantasy WR1 season. But the wheels seemed to come off midway through. Some of that can be put on the atrocious quarterback play. But it’s also possible that opposing defenses figured out Pryor once some film was out and were simply able to find ways to limit the long-striding former quarterback. The landing spot in Washington on a one-year “prove it” deal is ideal from a fantasy perspective. But the Browns unwillingness to invest heavily in their popular star player despite a boatload of cap space is a major red flag.
58. Jamison Crowder (8) Crowder is another one of the top trade targets for this offseason because he has sneaky potential to put together a breakout third season. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson depart (along with their 214 combined targets). Josh Doctson is an unknown and while Terrelle Pryor will get most of the fantasy hype, it shouldn’t be a surprise if it is actually Crowder who emerges as the most productive wide receiver in Washington. A long-term deal for Kirk Cousins would boost Crowder’s value. The two have developed a nice rapport and Cousins has emerged as one of the league’s most prolific passers.
59. DeVante Parker (8) Parker flashed at times in 2016, but continued reports of immaturity and poor preparation are a big red-flag. The relatively big money awarded to Kenny Stills doesn’t bode well for Parker either.
61. Randall Cobb (7) After a surprisingly quiet regular season, Cobb exploded with a three-touchdown performance in the playoffs. Cobb is still just 26-years old and is under contract to play with Aaron Rodgers for two more years. But after back-to-back disappointing seasons, it is fair to wonder if Cobb is “just a guy” when it comes to fantasy production in an increasingly deep field of wide receivers.
62. Sterling Shepard (7) The addition of volume possession receiver Brandon Marshall is almost certainly a blow to Shepard’s short-term prospects. At best, Shepard will push for 2a/2b status. It’s also possible he falls to third in the pecking order in what isn’t a prolific enough passing offense to support three viable fantasy options. Longer-term, Shepard’s fantasy prospects are also murky as Eli Manning ages and Beckham continues to dominate the targets.
63. Jordan Matthews (7) Matthews has always been a fair of the analytics types due to his college market share and his measurables. However, at the NFL level he has looked more like an average player occasionally boosted to fantasy relevance due to a lack of other viable options on the roster. With the arrival of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency, it will be very interesting to see how many targets Matthews is able to garner from Carson Wentz. If you can get even a late-1st for Matthews, now may be a good time to sell.
64. Michael Crabtree (7) Crabtree’s production lines up favorably with more hyped players of a similar age (Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, etc.), but he continues to be undervalued in the dynasty community because of the perception that Amari Cooper will inevitably emerge as a true lead receiver and steal targets away. That may not happen as the two both have their own distinct roles. Cooper is the big-play guy while Crabtree is the Carr’s trusted third-down and red zone go-to guy.
65. Emmanuel Sanders (7) Like Crabtree, Sanders is an undervalued dynasty commodity. He is still just 29-years old and provides a solid WR2 option with a high weekly floor.
66. Willie Snead (7) The surprising trade of Brandin Cooks thrusts Snead into the role of WR2 in New Orleans. That spot has consistently produced big fantasy numbers. If the Saints go defense-heavy early in the draft, it would further boost Snead’s dynasty value.
67. Tyler Lockett (7) Lockett is a solid candidate for a “post-hype” breakout in his third season. After seeing his value inflated last offseason with glowing reports from Pete Carroll and touts from prominent fantasy commentators. He suffered through a disappointing, injury-plagued year and has seen his dynasty value fall accordingly. However, he again showed some late season flashes of exciting ability and the potential remains for him to become a long-term WR2 in PPR leagues.
68. Laquon Treadwell (7) Easily the most disappointing player in the overall mediocre 2016 rookie class, Treadwell caught just one ball. And his polish as a route runner and technician was supposed to be one of his strong points. The pedigree is still there and Treadwell wouldn’t be the first receiver to struggle as a rookie and go on to a productive career, but there is obviously plenty of reason to doubt his long-term prospects.
69. Spencer Ware (6) Ware was a revelation early in the season, with improved ability as a pass-catcher to go along with his bruising interior rushing ability. But he faded badly down the stretch. It’s hard to know what to make of him going into 2016. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Chiefs invest an early pick in a running back and see Ware’s value plummet. If he can dodge that bullet though and remain the top back in 2017, Andy Reid’s lead back has proven to be a very valuable fantasy commodity over the past 15 years.
70. Pierre Garcon (6) Very quietly, Garcon was possibly the biggest winner in free agency. The X-receiver is the go-to guy in Kyle Shanahan’s offense and sees a massive share of targets. We’ve seen this first-hand with Garcon in the same role in Washington during 2013 and racking up a ridiculous 181 targets and 113 receptions. Say what you will about Brian Hoyer, but he has never been shy about force feeding his top wideout (like DeAndre Hopkins and his 191 targets in 2015). This may sound crazy in late March, but don’t be shocked if Garcon is able to manage 95+ receptions in 2017. He can still be had as a throw-in to trades and makes for an ideal trade target for teams needing a veteran wide receiver.
71. Ameer Abdullah (6) Abdullah is probably locked into a timeshare with Theo Riddick (who signed a relatively lucrative long-term extension last year). Even if Abdullah gets the majority of the carries, Riddick's presence limits Abdullah’s upside.
72. Eddie Lacy (6) The signing of Lacy by the Seahawks is intriguing. If he gets his weight under control and can stay healthy, he could be a poor-man’s Marshawn Lynch in terms of fantasy production and revive his career.
73. Giovani Bernard (6) Bernard’s recovery from ACL injury is reportedly well ahead of schedule. Jeremy Hill will get another chance in 2017 after flopping in 2016, but he is in the final year of his deal and skating on thin ice in terms of his long-term outlook in Cincinnati. If the Bengals don’t add a back early in the draft, expect Bernard to re-emerge as the 1A back in Cincinnati and a solid RB2 in PPR.
74. Zach Ertz (6) Ertz again teased by saving his best for the final few weeks of the season. Does it presage a breakout next season or is it just another red herring? The addition of Alshon Jeffery is less than ideal for Ertz’s prospects in the red zone.
75. Greg Olsen (6) The 32-year old hasn't slowed much and we've seen top tight ends remain productive at 34-years old, so it's possible we see two or three more TE1 seasons out of Olsen.
Tier 7 (Value 3-5)
We won't discuss these players in depth, but rounding out the Top 100 are the following players:
Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Kyle Rudolph, Eric Ebron, Theo Riddick, Doug Martin, Jeremy Hill, Rob Kelley, Latavius Murray, Paul Perkins, Kenneth Dixon, Marvin Jones, Kevin White, Kenny Stills, Cameron Meredith, Breshad Perriman, John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, J.J. Nelson, Brandon Marshall
Each guy in this tier should be worth somewhere in the neighborhod of a mid-2nd round rookie pick to mid-3rd rounder. We have some younger players who have produced in the neighborhood of replacement level, but have some modest upside. We also have plenty of veterans who should have short-term value for contenders and are worthy targets if trying to fill in the last few holes to chase a championship.