This article is part of our Dynasty Watch series.
This is my final stab at the pre-draft rookie top 50 for 1QB, PPR leagues.
- Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
- Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
At the risk of jinxing one or all, these guys are close to can't-miss prospects to me. Chase is the cleanest wide receiver prospect in a long time, Etienne is a three-down big-play threat, Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect in NFL history, and Pitts might be the same at tight end.
- Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
- Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
- Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
- Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
- Elijah Moore, WR, Mississippi
- DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Harris is the heir to substantial draft capital and is definitely skilled, though to me his value has more to do with the draft capital than distinguished talent. I would probably try trade him if I owned a share.
Waddle is the opposite situation to Harris – there's no guarantee that he lands in a good spot, but the talent is compelling no matter what. Marshall and Bateman probably have the most conventionally clean profiles of this WR tier, even if they lack some of the obvious big-play ability of Waddle and Moore. If Smith isn't going to do any athletic testing before the draft then I have to assume a pessimistic athletic profile, and if I do that then it largely negates his otherwise compelling production. If Smith runs a 4.45 or better then I'm willing to move him back ahead of Marshall/Bateman/Moore.
- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
- Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
- Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
- Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
- Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
- Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
- Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State
- Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
Fields and Lance have a higher bust risk than Lawrence but as much upside in fantasy. If rushing production has something to do with that then that's fine.
All the wide receivers in this group posted satisfactory production and athletic testing, but in Toney's case his production is dubious and mostly offset by his high draft capital as a projected first-round pick.
Javonte Williams is a fashionable RB1 projection in this draft but I can't advise anyone to take a 212-pound rotational back with 4.58 speed over wide receivers who profile as potential Pro Bowl talents. I realize this leaves me at bitter odds with most of the online draft community, but I just don't have the energy to care. Let's just see how it goes, okay?
- Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
- Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
- Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
- Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
- Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
- Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa
- Seth Williams, WR, Auburn
- Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
- Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
- Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
- Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State
- Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami (FL)
Zach Wilson is listed this high mostly in acknowledgment of his draft capital as the presumed starter. I have no faith that it will go well, so I'd sell early if I owned a Wilson share. Same with Mac Jones.
The wide receivers in this group have plenty going for them, but in an exceedingly strong class they fall this far due to slight concerns that aren't shared by the previously mentioned ones. Schwartz is all speed and youth, Rodgers and St. Brown might be slot dependent, Smith-Marsette is skinny, and Williams just strikes me as a less athletic Denzel Mims...which is still a good player, but Collins and Terry have more convincing big WR profiles to me.
Kylin Hill is as good of a player as Javonte Williams, but someone is on the warpath to slander Hill to any journalist willing to print everything they're told. Hill has been referred to as a bad teammate by one reputable reporter, even though that reporter goes on to say the sole reason Hill is a bad teammate is because he opted out of the season after 'butting heads' with Mike Leach. Make no mistake – the case against Hill is that he was rude to Mike Leach, not a coherent criticism of his talent or work ethic. But it's an issue that affects Hill's draft capital, which weakens the floor under whatever three-down upside he might have. Gainwell and Carter can't match the three-down abilities of Williams or Hill, but they are convincing as Gio Bernard-type rotational runners, and in PPR scoring they should contend for flex viability early in their careers.
Freiermuth is the by-default TE2 in a super weak class. He should prove a Kyle Rudolph type at the absolute worst, but there's room for better outcomes too. Jordan is more of a pass-catching specialist and probably has more upside than Freiermuth as a result, but Jordan's athletic profile leaves him with a barely viable projection that doesn't leave much objective space between himself and someone like Hunter Bryant from last year.
- Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas
- Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR, Illinois
- Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford
- Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina
- Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State
- D'Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
- Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
- Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo
- Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State
- Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma
- Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette
Darden is one of my favorite players in the draft, but as a slot receiver it's important to remember that his opportunity for snaps might be limited in a league with plenty of competent slot targets already. Imatorbhebhe and Fehoko at size/athleticism sleepers who might benefit from inflation in a class that is more so made up of receivers around the 6-foot mark. Smith, Johnson and Eskridge are smallish types but ones who should have enough athleticism to compete for swing backup outside snaps at the very least, and they'd otherwise conventionally project well for slot tasks.
Hubbard was supposed to test well but did not, altering his projection from something like Lamar Miller to something more like Ryan Grant. Patterson is tiny but super productive. Sermon is somewhat productive but built high like Josh Adams. Stevenson is productive with a great frame but has character and athleticism questions. Mitchell was a very good player at Lafayette and posted a blazing 4.35 40, but at 17 pounds lighter than his previously listed weight. Upside and downside with each case.
- Pooka Williams, WR/RB, Kansas
- Cornell Powell WR, Clemson
- Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech
- Chris Evans, RB, Michigan
- Hunter Long, TE, Boston College
- Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame
- Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia
- Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M
Williams has a disturbing history and isn't guaranteed anything, but I would love his upside as a slot prospect. Not many players know how to exploit space like him, and it's too easy to imagine him splitting the safeties after the catch. Powell doesn't profile as more than an outside-oriented WR3, so it's not easy to project production specifically, but it is easy to imagine him earning snaps through various means and that's the first step in the fantasy puzzle.
Herbert and Evans both project as rotational backs at most, with Herbert heavier on production and Evans stronger on athletic testing.
Long is arguably underrated – he was productive at Boston College and is at least an average athlete for an in-line tight end. I don't understand the Tommy Tremble hype but it looks like he'll go high enough for draft capital alone to justify his inclusion here, if not higher in the rankings. But that's just me acknowledging the market.
Nothing at all is assured for Newman or Mond, but their athleticism makes them interesting for upside if they somehow end up with starting opportunities.