It’s time to assess the potential of the new class of players now that they have landed with teams after the NFL draft. Keep in mind, these are rankings intended for dynasty or keeper style leagues. These rankings are more of how I view their career potential due to what team they were drafted by and what that situation looks like combined with their college performance. However, some players do have my comments on how I think they will perform this season. These are an update from my previous rankings which were pre-draft rankings. One other thing, these rankings assume that you are playing in a PPR league. If you don’t then maybe you should reconsider… or take that into account when looking at these rankings.
1. Andrew Luck QB Colts (Previous Ranking: 1) – In a dynasty league, a QB can last you a lot longer than a RB or a WR will if you get the right one. For the same reason you see so many QB’s go high in the NFL draft, you’ll see them go high in your dynasty drafts. You know the story on Luck by now. He’s got the physical and mental tools. I like some of the pieces they put around him in the draft, especially Fleener at TE. The first year doesn’t look promising, but this could be your QB for more than 10 years if he lives up to his potential.
2. Robert Griffin, III QB Redskins (5) – I really wanted to put him at the top spot. My two reasons are Mike Shanahan and Dan Snyder. I don’t trust them to properly support him with talent or with play-calling. Shanahan suits me as a guy that makes players fit his system instead of one that adapts his system to the players. That worries me. That being said, RG3 has some amazing talent and he actually has a few good players around him. Potentially his year 1 numbers could be higher than Luck’s. I worry about the protection from the O-Line however so I just hope he can stay healthy. His frame isn’t as big as Cam Newton or Luck so I wonder how he’ll be able to handle the hits if he doesn’t get the protection. Long term, he’s a great risk to take near the top of your draft.
3. Michael Floyd WR Cardinals (4) – I love his landing spot in the desert with Larry Fitzgerald. I’m not sold on Kevin Kolb but Floyd has played with sub-par QB’s at Notre Dame and was still a star. The guy is a playmaker and he will benefit from Fitzgerald being on the other side of the field. I think he makes a big impact this season as well.
4. Doug Martin RB Buccaneers (8) – I loved his PPR potential in my previous rankings. Previously I thought that would be the only reason he’d get on the field early. However, getting drafted by the Bucs pushes him up a little further because he’ll be given the chance to contribute right away instead of just situationally. I like Blount a lot but he doesn’t seem to be someone that has the consistency that NFL coaches require and he certainly doesn’t catch the ball well. Martin will give the Bucs a versatile threat while Blount can come in for the tough yardage when necessary.
5. Trent Richardson RB Browns (3) – He caught 29 passes last year. He is going to Cleveland. They do not have great WR’s, or TE’s and not that great of an O-Line. The QB position is an issue and the last several guys that have been a starter in Cleveland have been plagued by injuries. On the positive side, the Browns have come out and said he will be a workhorse. We know he has tremendous talent as well. He’s worth a top pick so don’t feel apprehension in taking him. He may even be the most productive RB this season of the rookies. I just don’t see the long term potential for him being as high as Martin.
6. Justin Blackmon WR Jaguars (2) – I hate that he went to the Jaguars. I don’t have the confidence in Blaine Gabbert or Coach Mike Mularkey. The good news for Blackmon is that he’s only a good QB away from being good. On the talent side, Blackmon seems to be sound. The only thing I worry about it is the system he played in at Oklahoma State. I worry that he may have been a product of it. That being said, he’s worth snagging if the players above are gone. You may even feel like you got a steal in a few years when Logan Thomas or some other high draft pick is tossing the ball to him.
7. Alshon Jeffery WR Bears (7) – I mentioned that I thought Jeffery could drop from my previous rankings and I ended up leaving him at 7. I like the situation he was drafted into. Cutler will feed him the ball because he’ll get some single coverage by playing with Hester and Brandon Marshall. His key is staying in shape and finding the proper motivation. I worry about the conflicting reports leading up to the draft about his weight and 40 times.
8. Coby Fleener TE Colts (unranked) – Yep, I’m advocating a TE in the top 8. The way TE’s have been scoring lately it makes sense to me to take a chance on this guy in this spot. He’ll be playing with his old teammate who just happens to be the top QB prospect. Dallas Clark is gone in Indy and Fleener replaces him perfectly. At 6’6″ 240 lbs he’s a big target but that’s not all. Did you know he ran a 4.45 40? Great TE’s are scarce in the NFL and this guy could give your team an advantage. This is especially important for those teams that are strong at other positions and could use some help at TE.
9. Ronnie Hillman RB Broncos (unranked) – This is a guy who I moved up substantially because of the team he was drafted by. The Broncos have an aging Willis McGahee and an uninspiring Knowshon Moreno. I imagine owners of those two RB’s will be taking a look at Hillman. He’s a good receiver out of the backfield and that will be where he satisfies his owners this season. He has good enough size to take on a decent amount of carries so I would think he would be a solid contributor even after Peyton Manning moves on from Denver.
10. David Wilson RB Giants (10) – The former Hokie will be in a good offense with an injury prone guy in front of him on the depth chart. That means he’ll be fresh when he is asked to shoulder the load for an inevitable 3-4 games mid-season. If he does well, he might just end up being the guy down the road for the Giants. That is, after all, how Bradshaw became the guy for the Giants.
11. Nick Toon WR Saints (16) – The only receiver in this class with Hall of Fame blood moves up 5 spots because he is going to play in the pass happy Saints offense. If you draft him, you better hope Brees signs that franchise tender. I would hate to see Chase Daniel throwing to him.
12. Isaiah Pead RB Rams (19) – Jeff Fisher coaches the Rams now, right? So he’ll wear out Steven Jackson in about 3 or 4 weeks and you’ll be able to plug Isaiah Pead in after that. It’s not like Sam Bradford really has anyone to throw to other than Pead anyway… who just happens to be a pretty good receiver out of the backfield. I’ve heard a lot of Chris Johnson comparisons here but Pead is not nearly that fast so let’s cool that a bit.
13. Kendall Wright WR Titans (9) – Wright lands with the Titans where the situation is exactly as I described for him to shoot up my rankings. Kenny Britt and Nate Washington are good guys to have on the outside and Wright can work from the slot. Chris Johnson is an obvious weapon and Jared Cook will also roam the field over the middle to open up some field for Wright. However, I’m uneasy about the Titans QB situation and their inconsistency on the O-line the last few years. Long term I think he does well but this season is a real crapshoot.
14. Lamar Miller RB Miami (12) – He was able to stay put In Miami since the Dolphins selected him after a successful career at the U. Good upside and very speedy. I can barely name any players on Miami’s offense without looking and that is what worries me. Miller should have some highlight reel plays this season with his speed.
15. Mohamed Sanu WR Bengals (14) – Bengals WR’s have been hit hard by age, drugs, injuries and reality TV the last few years. Sanu comes into a team with an emerging stars on offense with Dalton, Green and Gresham. Consistent production should be expected in a role similar to Derrick Mason or T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
16. Brandon Weeden QB Browns (unranked) – Look, I know he is 28 already. I know he plays for the Browns. I know he may have even been a product of a good college system. But, he’s a big guy and he’s mature. This could be what Cleveland needed. If you are down this far then you might just end up with a guy who puts up decent numbers in his rookie year that you can trade away for a higher draft pick next year to a bad team in your league.
17. Ryan Tannehill QB Dolphins (20) – I don’t believe in him yet but he’s a phenomenal athlete. The Dolphins have eventually got to get it right at QB. He’ll get a chance to prove himself there… I just hope they sign some receivers that I can name before he actually starts a game.
18. Stephen Hill WR Jets (18) – He basically will fill in where Plaxico did last year. He’ll catch some TD’s because of his size and you’ll hope his QB play improves over the next couple of seasons so you can start him every week. He did run a 4.36 at the combine which makes him an intriguing guy if you feel like reaching a little earlier.
19. Ryan Lindley QB Cardinals (unranked) – if you want to take a QB flier, then this is your man. He has a decent shot at being a starter by week 3 if things go the way they went last year in Arizona.
20. A.J. Jenkins WR 49ers (unranked) – I like his upside. He’s fast and can learn a thing or two from Randy Moss. Moss helped Kenny Britt develop in one season in Tennessee. Perhaps he’ll do the same for Jenkins.
More updates to come on these rankings and more for fantasy football. Tweet me with requests/questions @phileyoung or leave it in the comments below.