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.
|33||Robert Griffin III||CLV||27.6|
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.
|38||Adrian L. Peterson||MIN||32.5|
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.