Early 2017 dynasty position rankings: WR and TE

Odell Beckham Jr. and Rob Gronkowski head up their respective positions in Jeff Ratcliffe's dynasty rankings.

| 4 months ago
(Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

(Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Early 2017 dynasty position rankings: WR and TE

Last week, I broke down the most recent updates to my dynasty quarterback and running back rankings. Today, we’ll hit up wide receivers and tight ends.

As a reminder, all listed ages are for next season’s opening day. These rankings are based on standard scoring and would only change slightly for PPR. Like we did with quarterback and running back, you’ll notice that these rankings prioritize youth.

Wide receiver

Rk Player Tm Age
1 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 24.8
2 Mike Evans TB 24
3 Antonio Brown PIT 29.2
4 Julio Jones ATL 28.6
5 DeAndre Hopkins HST 25.3
6 Amari Cooper OAK 23.2
7 Sammy Watkins BUF 24.2
8 Allen Robinson JAX 24
9 A.J. Green CIN 29.1
10 Michael Thomas NO 23.1
11 Dez Bryant DAL 28.8
12 T.Y. Hilton IND 27.8
13 Keenan Allen LAC 25.4
14 Brandin Cooks NO 24
15 Alshon Jeffery CHI 27.6
16 Demaryius Thomas DEN 29.7
17 Jordy Nelson GB 32.3
18 DeVante Parker MIA 24.6
19 Corey Coleman CLV 23.2
20 Jarvis Landry MIA 24.8
21 Tyler Lockett SEA 24.9
22 Donte Moncrief IND 24.1
23 Stefon Diggs MIN 23.8
24 Sterling Shepard NYG 24.6
25 Doug Baldwin SEA 29
26 Josh Doctson WAS 24.8
27 Laquon Treadwell MIN 22.2
28 Kevin White CHI 25.2
29 Davante Adams GB 24.7
30 Breshad Perriman BLT 24
31 Will Fuller HST 23.4
32 Jamison Crowder WAS 24.2
33 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 30.5
34 Michael Crabtree OAK 30
35 Terrelle Pryor CLV 28.2
36 Tyreek Hill KC 23.5
37 Julian Edelman NE 31.3
38 Randall Cobb GB 27
39 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 26.6
40 Eric Decker NYJ 30.5
41 Jordan Matthews PHI 25.1
42 Golden Tate DET 29.1
43 Martavis Bryant PIT 25.7
44 Rishard Matthews TEN 27.9
45 Malcolm Mitchell NE 24.1
46 Tyler Boyd CIN 22.8
47 Kenny Britt LAR 29
48 DeSean Jackson WAS 30.8
49 Tyrell Williams LAC 25.6
50 Cameron Meredith CHI 25
51 Willie Snead NO 24.9
52 Marqise Lee JAX 25.8
53 Jeremy Maclin KC 29.3
54 Larry Fitzgerald ARZ 34
55 Tajae Sharpe TEN 22.7
56 Adam Thielen MIN 27
57 Eli Rogers PIT 24.7
58 Marvin Jones DET 27.5
59 Brandon Marshall NYJ 33.5
60 Kenny Stills MIA 25.4
61 John Brown ARZ 27.4
62 Devin Funchess CAR 23.3
63 Leonte Carroo MIA 23.6
64 Braxton Miller HST 24.8
65 Robby Anderson NYJ 24.3
66 Tavon Austin LAR 26.5
67 J.J. Nelson ARZ 25.4
68 Taylor Gabriel ATL 26.6
69 Michael Floyd NE 27.8
70 Allen Hurns JAX 25.8
71 Chris Hogan NE 28.9
72 Chris Conley KC 24.9
73 Mike Wallace BLT 31.1
74 Mohamed Sanu ATL 28
75 Josh Gordon CLV 26.4

If you have the first pick in a dynasty startup draft, the decision should be fairly easy. Odell Beckham has put up monster numbers as a pro, with over 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns in each of his first three seasons. We haven’t seen a player this prolific early in his career since Randy Moss. Better yet, Beckham won’t even be 25 on opening day. With the shelf life much longer at wide receiver than at running back, you could very well get eight more years of high end production out of Beckham.

Likewise, Mike Evans will only be 24 when the season starts. He’s coming off a massive season where he led all receivers in targets with 168, and proved the “bad hands” narratives woefully inaccurate with just seven drops on the year. Unlike Beckham, Evans has a young quarterback who is still on the upslope of his career.

After the Big 2, it’s difficult to make an argument against two of the two redraft options in Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. Both players are still under 30 years old, and provided they stay healthy, will still provide several years of high-end production. The same can also be said for A.J. Green.

But there’s also a need to project forward in dynasty startups. You’ll notice the top 20 doesn’t even remotely resemble re-draft rankings for the position. Players like Jordy Nelson, Dez Byant and T.Y. Hilton slide back slightly. While Amari Cooper, Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson move up due to age.

You’ll also need to evaluate the long-term career arc of players who have yet to fully hit, or potentially haven’t hit at all. DeVante Parker and Corey Coleman are former first-rounders who have flashed at the pro level and offer high ceilings. Josh Doctson and Laquon Treadwell are also former Day 1 picks with upside, but neither has done anything in the NFL outside of Doctson’s 57-yard reception in Week 2. So it’s really a balance that you need to strike between established productivity and potential future fantasy output.

Tight end

Rk Player Tm Age
1 Rob Gronkowski NE 28.3
2 Jordan Reed WAS 27.2
3 Hunter Henry LAC 22.8
4 Travis Kelce KC 27.9
5 Tyler Eifert CIN 27
6 Eric Ebron DET 24.4
7 Zach Ertz PHI 26.8
8 Greg Olsen CAR 32.5
9 Jimmy Graham SEA 30.8
10 Kyle Rudolph MIN 27.8
11 Austin Hooper ATL 22.9
12 Cameron Brate TB 26.2
13 Delanie Walker TEN 33.1
14 C.J. Fiedorowicz HST 25.9
15 Martellus Bennett NE 30.5
16 Tyler Higbee LAR 24.7
17 Ladarius Green PIT 27.3
18 Julius Thomas JAX 29.2
19 Vance McDonald SF 27.2
20 Antonio Gates LAC 37.2
21 Jason Witten DAL 35.3
22 Clive Walford OAK 25.9
23 Zach Miller CHI 32.9
24 Maxx Williams BLT 23.4
25 Charles Clay BUF 28.6

I’m not going to lie to you. Tight end is pretty rough right now. Injuries, inconsistency, and a general lack of incoming talent has left very few desirable options at the position. Unfortunately, that starts at the top with Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Reed. Don’t get me wrong. Both players are fantastic, but we need to use the qualifier “when healthy.” Injuries are always going to be a concern with these two, and that needs to be considered if you plan to take either player in a startup.

Hunter Henry stands out as arguably the most appealing option in the top 10. He’s coming off a strong rookie campaign where he didn’t suffer some of the growing pains we tend to see with first-year tight ends. With Antonio Gates on his last legs, Henry figures to be a fantasy force in short order. He has the skill set to be an elite-level fantasy option.

There’s also appeal in two of Henry’s draft class cohort. By many accounts, Tyler Higbee was this past draft’s most athletic tight end. We didn’t get to see much of him in his rookie campaign, but his arrow is point up. Likewise, Austin Hooper has a lot of appeal in a favorable offense in Atlanta.

An ideal strategy would be to try to grab at least one of these young guns and couple him with a top-25 veteran. In addition to the three aforementioned players, we could also include Eric Ebron in the “young guns” category. There are several strong veteran options, but I’d recommend shying away from Gates and Jason Witten. Both have been fantasy stalwarts for over a decade, but each is quickly approaching his respective expiration date.

| 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.

  • Mike J.

    So one can easily see why Bucs fans are clamoring for more targets for Jameis.