Early 2017 dynasty position rankings: QB and RB

Jeff Ratcliffe takes a look at some dynasty fantasy rankings, where age moves to the forefront.

| 4 months ago
Colts QB Andrew Luck

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Early 2017 dynasty position rankings: QB and RB


With the Super Bowl just over a week away, it’s time to start evaluating the long-term fantasy football landscape for dynasty leagues. We’ll start today with quarterbacks and running backs, and next week we’ll do wide receivers and tight ends.

You’ll notice that the following set of rankings err toward youth when players are of similar ability. All listed ages are for next season’s opening day. These rankings are based on standard scoring and would only change slightly for PPR.

Quarterback

Rk Player Tm Age
1 Andrew Luck IND 28
2 Cam Newton CAR 28.3
3 Russell Wilson SEA 28.8
4 Aaron Rodgers GB 33.8
5 Marcus Mariota TEN 23.9
6 Jameis Winston TB 23.7
7 Derek Carr OAK 26.4
8 Dak Prescott DAL 24.1
9 Matt Ryan ATL 32.3
10 Matthew Stafford DET 29.6
11 Carson Wentz PHI 24.7
12 Kirk Cousins WAS 29.1
13 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 35.5
14 Philip Rivers LAC 35.7
15 Blake Bortles JAX 25.7
16 Andy Dalton CIN 29.9
17 Ryan Tannehill MIA 29.1
18 Drew Brees NO 38.6
19 Tom Brady NE 40.1
20 Jared Goff LAR 22.9
21 Tyrod Taylor BUF 28.1
22 Colin Kaepernick SF 29.8
23 Eli Manning NYG 36.7
24 Carson Palmer ARZ 37.7
25 Paxton Lynch DEN 23.6
26 Jimmy Garoppolo NE 25.8
27 Teddy Bridgewater MIN 24.9
28 Trevor Siemian DEN 25.7
29 Joe Flacco BLT 32.6
30 Alex Smith KC 33.3
31 Sam Bradford MIN 29.8
32 Tony Romo DAL 37.4
33 Robert Griffin III CLV 27.6
34 Cody Kessler CLV 24.3
35 Jay Cutler CHI 34.4
36 Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ 34.8
37 Cardale Jones BUF 24.9
38 Brett Hundley GB 24.2
39 Blaine Gabbert SF 27.9
40 Geno Smith NYJ 26.9

What? Aaron Rodgers isn’t the No. 1 quarterback? Well, he is in redraft leagues. But if you’re drafting in a dynasty startup, age is huge consideration. Rodgers still has plenty of good years left, but Andrew Luck is six years younger. To be able to own a player for half a decade longer is a massive difference, especially at a position with such a lengthy shelf life.

That’s exactly why Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston come in so high in this set of rankings. Both players took a step forward in their sophomore campaigns and have the potential to offer a dozen or more years of QB1 fantasy production. Ditto for Dak Prescott and Derek Carr.

From the over-30 crowd, Matt Ryan stands out as the best dynasty option. He’s coming off a massive season where everything finally came together, and he’s still young enough to give you several years of high-end production.

Just a quick word about the old-guard at quarterback. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are still elite redraft quarterbacks. If you drafted them in a startup dynasty league, you certainly could get a year or more of front-end QB1 value out of them. However, there’s no denying they’re both getting close to the end of the line. So, if you draft one of them and don’t get a young quarterback or two as well, you’re going to be a in a tough predicament when they retire. Quarterbacks don’t grow on trees, especially in dynasty rookie drafts.

Running back

Rk Player Tm Age
1 Ezekiel Elliott DAL 22.1
2 Le’Veon Bell PIT 25.6
3 David Johnson ARZ 25.7
4 Melvin Gordon LAC 24.4
5 Jay Ajayi MIA 24.2
6 Jordan Howard CHI 22.8
7 Todd Gurley LAR 23.1
8 Derrick Henry TEN 23.1
9 Carlos Hyde SF 26.0
10 Devonta Freeman ATL 25.5
11 Kenneth Dixon BLT 23.6
12 Mark Ingram NO 27.7
13 LeSean McCoy BUF 29.2
14 Lamar Miller HST 26.4
15 C.J. Anderson DEN 26.6
16 C.J. Prosise SEA 23.3
17 DeMarco Murray TEN 29.6
18 Eddie Lacy GB 27.3
19 Tevin Coleman ATL 24.4
20 Rob Kelley WAS 24.9
21 Ameer Abdullah DET 24.2
22 Isaiah Crowell CLV 24.7
23 Giovani Bernard CIN 25.8
24 Jerick McKinnon MIN 25.3
25 Paul Perkins NYG 22.8
26 Dion Lewis NE 26.9
27 Spencer Ware KC 25.8
28 Latavius Murray OAK 27.6
29 Duke Johnson CLV 24.0
30 Jeremy Hill CIN 24.9
31 Thomas Rawls SEA 24.1
32 Bilal Powell NYJ 28.9
33 Ty Montgomery GB 24.6
34 T.J. Yeldon JAX 23.9
35 Jonathan Stewart CAR 30.5
36 Devontae Booker DEN 25.3
37 Theo Riddick DET 26.3
38 Adrian L. Peterson MIN 32.5
39 Jamaal Charles KC 30.7
40 LeGarrette Blount NE 30.8
41 Wendell Smallwood PHI 23.6
42 Matt Forte NYJ 31.7
43 Danny Woodhead LAC 32.6
44 Jalen Richard OAK 23.9
45 Kenyan Drake MIA 23.6
46 Chris Ivory JAX 29.5
47 Terrance West BLT 26.6
48 Charles Sims TB 27.0
49 DeAndre Washington OAK 24.5
50 Frank Gore IND 34.3
51 Christine Michael GB 26.8
52 Ryan Mathews PHI 29.9
53 Jonathan Williams BUF 23.6
54 Zach Zenner DET 26.0
55 James White NE 25.6
56 Shane Vereen NYG 28.5
57 Doug Martin TB 28.6
58 Rashad Jennings NYG 32.5
59 Matt Jones WAS 24.8
60 Mike Gillislee BUF 26.9
61 Alfred Morris DAL 28.7
62 Jacquizz Rodgers TB 27.6
63 Darren Sproles PHI 34.2
64 Tim Hightower NO 31.3
65 Cameron Artis-Payne CAR 27.2

While we’re certainly paying attention to age at quarterback, it’s an even more important factor with running backs. You’ll notice that there isn’t a single player in the top 10 who will be older than 26 on opening day and just two players over 28 in the top 30. Simply put: draft young running backs in dynasty startups. Then plan to continue to cycle in rookies at the position every year.

It’s tempting to put Le’Veon Bell at No. 1, but only slightly. Ezekiel Elliott is over three years younger and is coming off a massive rookie season. You may have also heard that he plays behind one of the league’s best offensive lines. While wide receivers tend to hold their value much longer than running backs, an argument certainly could be made for Elliott as the No. 1 overall pick in dynasty startup drafts.

Melvin Gordon, Jordan Howard and Jay Ajayi are each coming off impressive campaigns in 2016. The same cannot be said for Todd Gurley. However, that isn’t a reason to completely avoid him in a startup draft. The talent and opportunity are still there for Gurley. He remains a top-10 dynasty option, especially with the Rams arrow pointing up under new head coach Sean McVay.

Sometimes, but not always, in dynasty startups players with unproven potential trump those with existing resumes. Kenneth Dixon and C.J. Prosise both showed flashes in 2016, but neither player put together a breakout season. However, those flashes coupled with opportunity make them more appealing than some of their more established peers in the same range of these rankings. The same could also be said for Paul Perkins.

In other circumstances, it’s the lack of opportunity that holds some of these players back. Tevin Coleman entered the league with home-run-hitting ability, which came to the surface this past season. He was one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers at the running back position. Unfortunately, the committee situation with Devonta Freeman depresses Coleman’s dynasty value.

| 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.

  • evo34

    Lacy and Bernard seem aggressive, given the risks involved with each.

  • TorreyAnderson

    How you know you’re an awful fantasy QB and should probably just take your ball and go home: You’re ranked below a guy who may never even play again.

  • Mike J.

    Considering Jameis Winston just turned 23, 23 days ago, I look a tad askance at his listed age of 23.7.

  • paulieorkid

    Why is Carlos Hyde considered the 9th best Dynasty RB?