Ranking the 2016 fantasy rookies

Jeff Ratcliffe breaks down his combined offensive and IDP rookie draft board for 2016 with insights, analysis, and draft strategy.

| 1 year ago
(Jon Durr/Getty Images)

(Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Ranking the 2016 fantasy rookies

With fantasy rookie drafts in full swing, it’s a great time to take stock of this year’s class and discuss how we should approach dynasty rookie drafts. The following set of tiers is how I’m organizing my rookie draft board.

You’ll see below that both offensive and defensive players are included. Those in leagues without IDP can simply disregard the right column. Folks in IDP leagues may also want to do so.

What? Disregard defensive players in an IDP league? I know. It’s blasphemous, but hear me out. For starters, this is a relatively weak IDP class. There really isn’t much to get excited about on the defensive side of the ball.

But even this was a stellar class, I’d still recommend focusing on offensive players. Here’s why: In deep dynasty leagues with IDP, it’s very difficult (and sometimes near impossible) to pick up a starting-caliber offensive player during the season. In those same leagues, you can pick up fantasy-relevant defensive players nearly every week.

Simply put, IDP just isn’t as valuable as offense. That’s why in rookie drafts, it’s wise to stockpile as much offensive talent as possible. I’m not saying to never draft IDP, but only do so when it’s a value. This is where the tiers below come into play. Follow this draft board in your rookie drafts, and you’ll load up on talent from this year’s class.


Rk Player Pos Tm Rk Player Pos Tm
1 Ezekiel Elliott RB DAL

If you have the first pick in your rookie draft this year, don’t overthink it. Elliott is head and shoulders above the crowd thanks to a primo landing spot behind an offensive line that graded out as our top unit in each of the last four years and produce a 1,000-yard season for Darren McFadden. Elliott has prototype size, impressive speed (sub-4.5 40), and is a polished pass blocker. He’s arguably the most complete back to enter the league in the last decade. Pick him first overall and then get your popcorn ready.

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| Director of Fantasy

Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.


    I don’t understand one thing. You say Bridgewater has never had a good receiver to throw to, or not one of Treadwell’s talent level. Yet, you have Stefon Diggs 2 spots higher than him in your rankings?

  • RyanMM

    This was by far my favorite article last year and I’m thrilled to see it back again. Thank you!

  • ak

    Please bring it back for 2017! One of my absolute favorites, so useful for rookie drafts.