2020 Dynasty Rookie Rankings: Your Fantasy Draft Guide to the Top 50
Getty Images. Pictured: Jerry Jeudy, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, CeeDee Lamb
- Matthew Freedman reveals his 2020 dynasty rookie rankings -- your comprehensive draft guide to the top 50 players.
With the 2020 NFL Draft in the books, it’s time to update my rookie dynasty fantasy football rankings.
Here are the previous versions my rankings.
- Version 1: After the college regular season
- Version 2: After the combine
- Version 3: After free agency
In creating these rankings, I’ve focused on draft capital, college production, physical profile, recruitment grade, projected opportunity and team fit.
A word on my player-by-player analysis: For the guys in Rounds 1-2, I’ve written extensive notes. For most of the prospects in Rounds 3 and beyond, I’m less verbose. Let’s be honest: Most of the guys after Round 2 won’t be relevant in three years anyway.
Before we dig into the rankings, let’s run through my overall process.
Pre- vs. Post-Draft Rookie Dynasty Rankings
There are a few significant changes from my latest version. For instance, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is now my No. 1 player, whereas before the draft I had him ranked No. 17. That’s a massive move! I had expected him to go in Rounds 2-3, but he went in Round 1 and landed in a fantastic long-term situation with the Kansas City Chiefs.
But for the most part, there aren’t many big changes between the pre- and post-draft rankings, because most of my draft position projections were relatively accurate, which means that most of the factors that go into my model were already set.
You might ask: “What about landing spot?”
The tetrad of college production, physical profile, recruitment grade and draft position mean more than our initial perceptions of a guy’s early-career circumstances.
It’s not hard for us to know — to quantify — a guy’s college production, physical profile, recruitment grade and draft position. We can put exact numbers to each category. And once those numbers are in place, they never change.
But we’re not very good, especially shortly after the draft, at evaluating a guy’s landing spot and projecting the usage he’s likely to have with his team. That’s something we just can’t know.
And yet that seems to be what most people focus on immediately after the draft.
Example: Last year, people were way too low on wide receiver A.J. Brown because they focused more on the fact that we expected him to play with quarterback Marcus Mariota and behind wide receiver Corey Davis than on all the other factors that matter.
- College production: Back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons in the SEC
- Physical profile: 6-foot and 226 pounds, 4.49-second 40-yard dash, 22 years old
- Recruitment grade: 4 stars
- Draft position: Round 2, pick No. 51
We’re not great at evaluating circumstances anyway — and circumstances can and often do change. So there are a few really big changes in these rankings, but because my draft position projections were relatively good, there are also a lot of similarities.
Dynasty Rankings Methodology
Here are some general notes on my ranking process and perspective.
- Age: I place a premium on youth, which correlates with longevity and degree of future production. As a result, I tend to have younger players ranked ahead of older players: The younger players have more long-term upside.
- Production window: In creating the rankings, I’ve focused most on the production we can reasonably expect from players within the next three years. After that time frame, projections are highly uncertain, although I still value the unknown long-tailed potential younger players possess.
- Positional scarcity: I tend to devalue players at positions of depth. As a result, quarterbacks are usually low in my rankings because there are so many viable options at the position.
- Longevity: Everything else equal, I usually rank wide receivers ahead of running backs because receivers as a group last longer in the league and maintain value deeper into their careers.
- Draft position: In general, the higher a player is selected in the draft, the more productive he’s likely to be in the NFL. I don’t let draft position dictate my entire process, but if rank contrary to draft position, I need to have a good reason for doing so.
Positional Value in Rookie Dynasty Rankings
In dynasty, it’s hard to build a consistent contender if you aren’t strong at wide receiver and tight end. Patching together production is much easier to do at running back and quarterback, and that knowledge informs the way I rank players, draft rookies and build teams.