Dynasty Trade Value Chart: Rookie Edition

Rookie Dynasty Valuations

With so much new information to digest from the NFL Draft, May’s dynasty trade value article has been split into two parts. Here, we will do a deep dive on the trade value and rankings of rookies. The normal May dynasty trade value article can be found here.

The goal here is NOT to give you a set of paint-by-numbers list of rookie rankings that you should strictly follow. Instead, the idea is to provide a frame of reference and some tools to help you to put together your own rookie draft board in a smart and logical way.

If you are just drafting off of somebody else’s rankings or blindly taking players in the order they went off the board in the NFL Draft, you are doing dynasty wrong. Have fun with it. Look for an edge. Have some conviction on players but don’t go too overboard with thinking you have all the answers.

Importance of Having a Process

One lesson learned from many years of drafting rookies is that having a logical process to the way you put together your draft board is a huge key to having success. No, it is not always easy or comfortable trying to put numbers on things. However, at least trying to do so helps you gain valuable insights and gives you the information necessary to maximize the returns you get from your dynasty rookie draft capital. You will get your best results if you have some guardrails in place to help you avoid reaching on players and, on the other hand, knowing when a player is too valuable to pass on if he slides.

The Four-Step Process

  1. Use draft capital (Draft Cap in the tables below) as a starting point. Even if all you know is that a running back was selected with the 24th-overall pick, you already have a pretty good idea of the potential dynasty value of that player with no other information based upon past history. We will not go into how we came up with these generic dynasty values for each position based upon where a player was drafted but it was covered in some depth here and here if you want more background.
  2. With a general range of value in mind based upon draft capital, look at the actual player and start making adjustments. The first adjustment is how fantasy-friendly the player’s skill set (Fant Adj) is for your specific league format. We know that real NFL value does not directly correlate with fantasy value. For example, in last year’s version of this article, we specifically noted that we wanted to adjust our generic draft capital values downward for speed receivers who provide strategic on-field value that does not lead directly to fantasy points. We used Henry Ruggs III as the example of a player who should get a negative adjustment. We also noted that we should automatically give a bump to quarterbacks with rushing upside and used Jalen Hurts as our example of a guy who should receive this positive boost.
  3. The second adjustment is for landing spot (Sit Adj). Does the player fit the system well and do you trust the coaching staff? Is the surrounding talent conducive to the player hitting his fantasy ceiling? This stuff does matter but we do not want to go overboard here. Make a small positive or negative adjustment but this should be more of a tie-breaker than something you use to take guys off your board.
  4. The final adjustment is for how talented you think the player is (Scout Adj). This is purposely a bit vague. Watch the player and use your own personal “eye test.” Incorporate rankings and scouting reports from talent evaluators you trust. This is where you can put your finger on the scale and really make your draft board your own. As noted last year, the idea here is to not go too overboard and have some intellectual humility. These are difficult evaluations and we naturally tend to view scouting reports and our opinions with more confidence than we should. It makes sense to add or subtract a few points (the recommendation here is to adjust the overall value by 15% or less) for guys we think are more or less talented than their draft capital says they are.

Superflex Round 1

Rank
Player
Pos
Pick
Team
Draft Cap
Draft Cap SF
Fant Adj
Sit Adj
Scout Adj
Dynasty Value
Superflex Value
1.01
QB
1
Jac
14.5
36.7
5%
10%
17
42
1.02
QB
3
SF
10.9
31.9
15%
5%
13
38
1.03
RB
24
Pit
33.9
33.9
5%
5%
37
37
1.04
TE
4
Atl
30.4
30.4
10%
10%
36
36
1.05
WR
5
Cin
31.8
31.8
5%
5%
35
35
1.06
QB
11
Chi
8.7
25.3
15%
10%
11
32
1.07
RB
25
Jac
33.2
33.2
-5%
32
32
1.08
QB
2
NYJ
11.2
32.8
-5%
11
31
1.09
RB
35
Den
26.3
26.3
5%
-5%
5%
28
28
1.10
WR
6
Mia
30.2
30.2
-10%
-5%
26
26
1.11
WR
10
Phi
24.8
24.8
5%
-5%
25
25
1.12
QB
15
NE
7.7
22.5
-5%
7
21

1.01 Trevor Lawrence

Lawrence starts at the top due to his No. 1 overall draft capital. He also gets a small positive fantasy adjustment bump due to his rushing upside. Lawrence rushed for 17 touchdowns over his last two seasons at Clemson. He is not going to be Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen but he is going to put add fantasy value with his legs. There is a case to be made to knock Lawrence’s value down slightly due to landing spot. The surrounding talent in Jacksonville is just okay and we have a first-time NFL coach. Personally, I am going to give the new coaching staff the benefit of the doubt and not adjust downward at all but I would not fault you for doing so.

Lawrence also gets a decent positive value boost from what I’ve called the “scouting adjustment” column because, by all accounts, he is more talented than even the typical No. 1 overall quarterback. This is what we are looking to do with this scouting adjustment — compare what we believe the player’s talent level is in comparison to the average player at the position with the same draft capital.

1.02 Trey Lance

Prior to the draft, we noted that if San Francisco took a quarterback with rushing upside (Trey Lance or Justin Fields) with the third pick, that pick would be our rookie QB2. We are starting with great draft capital. The typical quarterback selected third overall would be worth about 32 points on my dynasty trade value chart sight unseen. With Lance, we are also getting a strong fantasy adjustment due to the fact that he should be a major producer with his legs. He also gets a small positive bump in value due to landing spot. Kyle Shanahan calling plays with George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebs Samuel locked in as top targets for the foreseeable future is an enviable situation for a rookie quarterback. There is even a case to be made that Lance is more talented than the typical quarterback who goes third overall but he is already starting off with a big draft capital number so I am content to not adjust any more upward.

Some may be surprised to see Lance ahead of Najee Harris, Kyle Pitts, and Ja’Marr Chase on my own personal Superflex draft board but this is why the process of trying to put numbers on things can be enlightening. Considering all the factors, this is where I land. However, please note that we are talking very small margins here from No. 2 overall to No. 5 overall on my personal draft board. The gaps are small enough that it would be very easy to let my dynasty team needs break ties here. If you are set at quarterback but have needs elsewhere, it is not at all a reach to go with one of the other positions at 1.02.

1.03 Najee Harris

Harris enters the NFL with great draft capital and the absolutely ideal three-down back skill set for PPR. The biggest debate for me is whether he is deserving of a landing-spot boost or not. This is not the dominant Steelers offensive line of past years. Far from it. On the other hand, we have a coaching staff that has a proven history of giving their lead back massive usage when they have one they trust. Here, that usage expectation is enough for me to give Harris a boost that puts him at the very top of my non-quarterback board. He is the 1.01 for me in non-Superflex formats.

1.04 Kyle Pitts

Draft capital here is a bit of a guess because we are in uncharted territory since a tight end has never gone this high in the draft. Pitts also gets a big fantasy adjustment boost. This is typical for tight ends who are drafted more for their receiving than their blocking and Pitts is a textbook case. He would likely have been a Top 10 pick even if he was only a wide receiver. Pitts also gets the benefit of the doubt for me in terms of the eye test. He just looks like he is going to be a fantasy monster and I am going to put my thumb on the scale to bump him up some due to his unique talent level.

TE-Premium Note: Pitts gets a bump to 1.01 on my board in TE-Premium scoring. If he comes anywhere close to hitting his ceiling, he will provide such a big weekly positional advantage it justifies valuing him over even the top quarterbacks and running backs.

1.05 Ja’Marr Chase

For my money, Chase is more talented than the typical wide receiver who goes fifth overall in the draft. He profiles as one of the top prospects to enter the NFL at the position in recent years given his production at age 19, his makeup, and his fantastic measurables. It is easy to make the case for him to be higher but positional scarcity is enough for me to break ties against him compared to the top guys at quarterback, running back, and tight end.

1.06 Justin Fields

Fields gets a big boost for his rushing upside. He is a freakishly gifted athlete who has the potential to put up big numbers on the ground. The eye test for me says he is more talented than the typical quarterback drafted 11th overall. Even putting my thumb on the scale to boost him up, I have a hard time justifying him much higher than the middle of the first round of rookie drafts. In fact, it would not be hard to drop him behind Travis Etienne based upon the mediocre landing spot in Chicago. There are going to be some ugly weather games during the fantasy playoffs many years and the long-term skill position outlook is not great given that Allen Robinson is playing out a franchise tag and there is not much behind him.

1.07 Travis Etienne

Etienne comes in as the 1.04 in non-Superflex on my board. You can argue for giving him a positive fantasy boost due to his receiving upside but there is also the fact that he is not exactly built to be a true workhorse back (like Najee Harris), which for me cancels the receiving upside out to some extent. The landing spot is less than ideal. James Robinson is still likely to have a role and Etienne may not get all of the red zone work.

1.08 Zach Wilson

Wilson ranks a little bit lower than his draft capital would otherwise indicate. He is a better athlete than some give him credit for but not likely to be a big difference-maker on the ground. While the Jets made some very strong moves in the draft and have a lot of assets moving forward, it is fair to knock Wilson just slightly for his landing spot. The weapons are just average and this organization has exactly earned the benefit of the doubt. I won’t fault anyone who believes Wilson is less talented than the typical No. 2 overall pick. He is not a player I have seen enough to have a strong opinion on, so this is a place where I will lean on others whose scouting opinion I trust. Unfortunately, there is a strong split amongst that cohort. Matt Waldman is not a fan but others I trust like Dane Brugler are high on him. In short, I considered adjusting downward but am just going to leave him as is on my board. Positional needs could push him up as high as 1.07 or as low as 1.09 for me in my actual Superflex rookie drafts.

1.09 Javonte Williams

Williams has the perfect skill set to develop into a true three-down back. He earns a small positive fantasy adjustment. He is also a personal favorite of mine from the college football DFS season who passes my eye test, so he gets a further boost. It is fair to factor in a slight negative adjustment due to landing spot. Melvin Gordon III could limit his upside in year one and the Broncos offense has been subpar in recent years.

1.10 Jaylen Waddle

Waddle receives one of my bigger negative fantasy adjustments due to no fault of his own. We have just seen so many times how receivers with elite speed get pushed up draft boards due to the tactical advantage they can provide an offense. This does not directly translate to fantasy points for us, however. He also gets a small ding for landing spot because Tua Tagovailoa remains an unproven commodity at the NFL level.

1.11 DeVonta Smith

Smith and Waddle are essentially tied on my board and comparing these two to each other is something I am still working through. Smith has a more fantasy-friendly skill set. We have seen him be a massive volume hog in college so he gets a boost there. Like Waddle, he gets a small deduction for landing spot because the Eagles have been a below-average passing offense in recent years and could be more run-heavy with Jalen Hurts at quarterback. There will be strong consideration on my end to give Smith a small scouting boost, which would allow him to leapfrog Waddle. Use your own judgment here.

1.12 Mac Jones

As we noted in the lead-up to the draft, there is a real tier break at the end of the first round in Superflex leagues. It is hard to get overly excited about Mac Jones (lack of rushing upside) or the New England offense in general (WR1 Nelson Agholor). However, the same is true about whoever you might rank as your rookie WR4. All of that puts Jones almost in a tier of his own at 1.12 in Superflex leagues.

Superflex Round 2

Rank
Player
Pos
Pick
Team
Draft Cap
Draft Cap SF
Fant Adj
Sit Adj
Scout Adj
Dynasty Value
Superflex Value
2.01
WR
20
NYG
17.0
17.0
-5%
16
16
2.02
WR
34
NYJ
11.4
11.4
10%
5%
13
13
2.03
WR
27
Bal
13.4
13.4
-10%
5%
13
13
2.04
RB
88
LAR
9.7
9.7
5%
10%
5%
12
12
2.05
WR
49
Ari
9.5
9.5
5%
10
10
2.06
RB
107
NYJ
7.6
7.6
5%
5%
5%
9
9
2.07
WR
59
Car
8.2
8.2
5%
9
9
2.08
WR
56
Sea
8.6
8.6
-10%
-5%
7
7
2.09
WR
57
LAR
8.4
8.4
-10%
-5%
7
7
2.10
WR
77
LAC
6.8
6.8
5%
7
7
2.11
WR
85
GB
6.5
6.5
5%
5%
7
7
2.12
QB
66
Min
2.2
6.3
10%
2
7

2.01 Kadarius Toney

Toney is a fun player to watch and he could be a volume pass catcher if he hits his ceiling. There is real competition for targets in New York, however. If there was one constant in pre-draft analysis here in the lead-up to the draft it was an uncharacteristic lack of excitement about 2nd round rookie picks and here we are. It is hard to get pumped up about Toney at 2.01 but I’m not in love with the other options either.

2.02 Elijah Moore

Moore has an enticing PPR skill set. He profiles as a potential high-volume slot wide receiver with big-play ability. If you are solid on Zach Wilson, I think you can make the case to bump Moore up ahead of Toney.

2.03 Rashod Bateman

We do not want to go too overboard with landing spot adjustments but we have to account for the fact that Baltimore finished dead last in the NFL in passing attempts (406) and passing yards (2,739) in 2020. This is a tiny passing pie and Bateman will have to compete with Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown for targets.

2.04 Trey Sermon

The hardest player in the draft to value. Taking running backs selected outside of the Top 75 over first-round wide receivers has been a disaster in dynasty drafts for most of the past decade. On the other hand, Sermon is a talented back who may have gone earlier but for some bad injury luck. Plus, he lands in an extremely running back-friendly scheme. I won’t talk you out of taking him as high as 1.07 in non-Superflex or 2.01 in Superflex. It comes down to risk versus reward and you can certainly make the case for swinging for the fences with Sermon. It is tempting to adjust him way up the board and I may do so in leagues I am desperate at running backs but this is where keeping draft capital in the back of your mind may save you from a mistake.

Let’s put Sermon’s pick 89 draft capital in some context. Here are 18 running backs drafted between pick 75 and 100 in the previous 10 drafts :

Player (Draft Slot)

There are a few players who hit and a few players who still could develop but for the most part, running backs taken in this range have been a rookie draft landmine.

2.05 Rondale Moore

Moore is a fun player with PPR upside. Arizona ranks in the mid-tier of passing offenses in all categories and DeAndre Hopkins will be tough to displace as the WR1, however.

2.06 Michael Carter

The analysis is similar here to the Trey Sermon discussion but fourth-round running backs have been an even worse investment than late-third round guys. The upside and potential role are enticing, however.

2.07 Terrace Marshall Jr

Marshall slid further in the draft than expected due in part to some injury concerns. Sam Darnold has not been a quarterback capable of providing a fantasy boost. D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson limit his short-term upside slightly.

2.08 D'Wayne Eskridge

Eskridge gets a negative adjustment as a speed guy whose NFL value may exceed his fantasy potential. Despite that, he is a fun player to watch who is likely to end up on many of my rosters if he slides into the third round of rookie drafts.

2.09 Tutu Atwell

Reading between the lines, it seems like the Rams were targeting Eskridge and had to settle for Atwell when Seattle sniped them one pick ahead. Atwell is tiny.

2.10 Josh Palmer

Palmer gets a boost for landing spot and his skill set. Maybe you boost him even a bit more to leapfrog him over the two speedy second-rounders on your draft board.

2.11 Amari Rodgers

The Randall Cobb comparisons are apt and enticing. If we were more confident Aaron Rodgers would actually be throwing him passes, we could bump him up to the middle of the second round.

2.12 Kellen Mond

This is the part of Superflex drafts where we can start to look at the next tier of quarterbacks. Mond moves to the top of that list due to his athleticism.

Rounds 3 and Later

Rank
Player
Pos
Pick
Team
Draft Cap
Draft Cap SF
Fant Adj
Sit Adj
Scout Adj
Dynasty Value
Superflex Value
3.01
QB
64
TB
2.3
6.6
2
7
3.02
QB
67
Hou
2.1
6.2
5%
2
7
3.03
WR
89
Hou
6.3
6.3
6
6
3.04
WR
82
Was
6.6
6.6
-5%
6
6
3.05
TE
55
Pit
5.7
5.7
5%
5%
6
6
3.06
RB
120
NE
6.2
6.2
-5%
6
6
3.07
RB
126
Car
5.7
5.7
5
5
3.08
RB
119
Min
6.2
6.2
-10%
-10%
-5%
5
5
3.09
RB
150
Phi
4.1
4.1
5%
5%
4
4
3.10
WR
112
Det
3.7
3.7
10%
10%
4
4
3.11
WR
91
Cle
5.2
5.2
-5%
-10%
4
4
3.12
WR
109
Ten
3.8
3.8
4
4
4.01
QB
133
NO
1.1
3.3
5%
5%
1
4
4.02
WR
129
TB
3.5
3.5
5%
4
4
4.03
TE
83
Car
3.5
3.5
-5%
3
3
4.04
TE
81
Mia
3.6
3.6
-5%
-5%
3
3
4.05
WR
131
Bal
3.4
3.4
5%
-10%
3
3
4.06
TE
97
LAC
3.7
3.7
5%
3
3
4.07
TE
124
Was
2.6
2.6
3
3
4.08
Kylen Gransen
TE
127
Ind
2.5
2.5
3
3
4.09
Eli Mitchell
RB
194
SF
2.1
2.1
10%
5%
2
2
4.10
TE
147
Hou
2.1
2.1
10%
2
2
4.11
WR
141
LAR
2.3
2.3
2
2
4.12
TE
145
Jac
2.2
2.2
2
2
5.01
RB
198
LAC
2.7
2.7
5%
2
2
5.02
RB
196
NYG
2.1
2.1
2
2
5.03
RB
202
Cin
2.7
2.7
5%
2
2
5.04
WR
157
Min
1.8
1.8
5%
2
2
5.05
RB
256
GB
1.8
1.8
5%
5%
2
2
5.06
RB
217
Chi
1.8
1.8
5%
2
2
5.07
RB
257
Det
1.8
1.8
5%
2
2
5.08
RB
233
LAR
1.8
1.8
2
2
5.09
RB
244
Mia
1.8
1.8
2
2
5.10
TE
162
KC
1.7
1.7
2
2
5.11
TE
168
Min
1.5
1.5
2
2
5.12
WR
181
KC
1.2
1.2
5%
5%
5%
1
1
6.01
WR
179
Dal
1.3
1.3
1
1
6.02
WR
187
Atl
1.1
1.1
5%
5%
1
1
6.03
QB
218
Ind
0.4
1.2
0
1
6.04
WR
203
Buf
1.0
1.0
1
1
6.05
WR
204
Car
1.0
1.0
1
1
6.06
WR
205
Ten
1.0
1.0
1
1
6.07
WR
209
Jac
0.9
0.9
1
1
6.08
WR
221
Chi
0.9
0.9
5%
1
1
6.09
WR
211
Cle
0.9
0.9
5%
-5%
1
1
6.10
WR
219
Den
0.9
0.9
1
1
6.11
WR
229
Ind
0.9
0.9
1
1
6.12
WR
242
NE
0.9
0.9
1
1
7.01
WR
249
LAR
0.9
0.9
1
1
7.02
WR
255
NO
0.9
0.9
1
1
7.03
WR
258
Was
0.9
0.9
1
1

Above are all of the remaining drafted skill position players on my board. Note, there will be some undrafted players who deserve to be added to the list but we are still figuring out landing spots as of Sunday morning.


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