Archive for rookies

Is Ezekiel Elliott a top 5RB already?

Our Draft Analyzer already has Ezekiel Elliott ranked inside the top 5RBs for 2016 (depending on your entered scoring). Is this premature? Is there too much risk counting on the runner at top 5RB value?

I say he is worth top 5-10RB consideration, no question. I caution anyone to rank him ahead of the big three RBs, LeVeon Bell, Todd Gurley, and David Johnson, but after those big guns, there are a grip of RBs that warrant that 4th rank. Devonta Freeman, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, there are a handful of running backs worth ranking in that 4th spot, and Elliott has just as much 2016 upside as any of those players. Word out of Dallas is that the rookie could see 300 carries in 2016, and while that is a bit concerning for his dynasty value, as it could wear him down, it’s fantastic news for redraft leaguers who plan to own Zeke. He is in a potent offense behind one of the best offensive lines in the league, and while Tony Romo has had trouble staying healthy over the last couple of years, that Dallas passing game, led by Dez Bryant, will make stacking the box against Elliott extremely tough. Elliott, if healthy, should easily earn top 5-10RB numbers. He could bounce around even higher than that from time to time.

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Smitty’s 2016 Rankings Cheat Sheet

smitty staff

Here at STARTERS, the famous Draft Analyzer is key to helping you create custom Cheat Sheets for your draft. The tool factors in projections, previous year’s stats, trending, etc, so be sure to use it when getting ready for your draft. However, last year I created my own stand-alone set of Rankings, and while they might differ from the Draft Analyzer here and there, I think it’s important to take a bit of variation with you to your draft! So enjoy, this is my personal set of 2016 Fantasy Football Rankings.

Smitty’s 2016 Redraft Rankings

Updated: 7/11/16


1 Aaron Rodgers GB
2 Andrew Luck IND
3 Blake Bortles JAC
4 Cam Newton CAR
5 Russell Wilson SEA
6 Drew Brees NO
7 Ben Roethlisberger PIT
8 Carson Palmer ARI
9 Tom Brady NE
10 Derek Carr OAK
11 Eli Manning NYG
12 Philip Rivers SD
13 Tony Romo DAL
14 Kirk Cousins WAS
15 Marcus Mariota TEN
16 Jameis Winston TB
17 Andy Dalton CIN
18 Tyrod Taylor BUF
19 Matt Ryan ATL
20 Matthew Stafford DET
21 Ryan Tannehill MIA
22 Robert Griffin CLE
23 Jay Cutler CHI
24 Joe Flacco BAL
25 Alex Smith KC
26 Ryan Fitzpatrick FA
27 Brock Osweiler HOU
28 Teddy Bridgewater MIN
29 Colin Kaepernick SF
30 Sam Bradford PHI
31 Geno Smith NYJ
32 Blaine Gabbert SF
33 Jared Goff LA
34 Paxton Lynch DEN
35 Mark Sanchez DEN
36 Nick Foles LA
37 Josh McCown CLE
38 Jimmy Garoppolo NE
39 Carson Wentz PHI


1 Rob Gronkowski NE
2 Jordan Reed WAS
3 Greg Olsen CAR
4 Travis Kelce KC
5 Delanie Walker TEN
6 Coby Fleener NO
7 Tyler Eifert CIN
8 Gary Barnidge CLE
9 Ladarius Green PIT
10 Julius Thomas JAC
11 Zach Ertz PHI
12 Antonio Gates SD
13 Eric Ebron DET
14 Dwayne Allen IND
15 Jimmy Graham SEA
16 Martellus Bennett NE
17 Zach Miller CHI
18 Jason Witten DAL
19 Austin Seferian-Jenkins TB
20 Jordan Cameron MIA
21 Charles Clay BUF
22 Jared Cook GB
23 Kyle Rudolph MIN
24 Clive Walford OAK
25 Will Tye NYG
26 Vance McDonald SF
27 Austin Hooper ATL
28 Richard Rodgers GB
29 Benjamin Watson BAL
30 Lance Kendricks LA
31 Cameron Brate TB
32 Jacob Tamme ATL
33 Hunter Henry SD
34 Larry Donnell NYG
35 Jace Amaro NYJ
36 Josh Hill NO
37 Maxx Williams BAL
38 Brent Celek PHI


1 Todd Gurley LA
2 Le’Veon Bell PIT
3 David Johnson ARI
4 Devonta Freeman ATL
5 Adrian Peterson MIN
6 Ezekiel Elliott DAL
7 Lamar Miller HOU
8 Jamaal Charles KC
9 Doug Martin TB
10 Jeremy Langford CHI
11 Matt Forte NYJ
12 Mark Ingram NO
13 LeSean McCoy BUF
14 C.J. Anderson DEN
15 Eddie Lacy GB
16 Carlos Hyde SF
17 DeMarco Murray TEN
18 Thomas Rawls SEA
19 Jay Ajayi MIA
20 Dion Lewis NE
21 Ryan Mathews PHI
22 Jeremy Hill CIN
23 Melvin Gordon SD
24 Matt Jones WAS
25 Ameer Abdullah DET
26 Giovani Bernard CIN
27 Latavius Murray OAK
28 Duke Johnson CLE
29 Josh Ferguson IND
30 Frank Gore IND
31 Arian Foster FA
32 Jonathan Stewart CAR
33 Danny Woodhead SD
34 Kenneth Dixon BAL
35 Chris Ivory JAC
36 T.J. Yeldon JAC
37 Karlos Williams BUF
38 Isaiah Crowell CLE
39 Charles Sims TB
40 Rashad Jennings NYG
41 Justin Forsett BAL
42 Derrick Henry TEN
43 LeGarrette Blount NE
44 Tevin Coleman ATL
45 Theo Riddick DET
46 C.J. Prosise SEA
47 Jordan Howard CHI
48 Javorius Allen BAL
49 DeAngelo Williams PIT
50 Bilal Powell NYJ
51 Shane Vereen NYG
52 Paul Perkins NYG
53 Darren McFadden DAL
54 Devontae Booker DEN
55 DeAndre Washington OAK
56 Chris Johnson ARI
57 James Starks GB
58 Chris Thompson WAS
59 Darren Sproles PHI
60 Kenyan Drake MIA
61 Tim Hightower NO
62 Charcandrick West KC
63 Ronnie Hillman DEN


1 Antonio Brown PIT
2 DeAndre Hopkins HOU
3 Julio Jones ATL
4 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG
5 Dez Bryant DAL
6 Amari Cooper OAK
7 Allen Robinson JAC
8 A.J. Green CIN
9 Mike Evans TB
10 Alshon Jeffery CHI
11 Jarvis Landry MIA
12 Jordy Nelson GB
13 Demaryius Thomas DEN
14 T.Y. Hilton IND
15 Keenan Allen SD
16 Brandon Marshall NYJ
17 Brandin Cooks NO
18 Sammy Watkins BUF
19 Randall Cobb GB
20 Allen Hurns JAC
21 Jordan Matthews PHI
22 Kelvin Benjamin CAR
23 Jeremy Maclin KC
24 Julian Edelman NE
25 Golden Tate DET
26 Doug Baldwin SEA
27 Eric Decker NYJ
28 Michael Floyd ARI
29 Larry Fitzgerald ARI
30 Emmanuel Sanders DEN
31 John Brown ARI
32 Tyler Lockett SEA
33 Devante Parker MIA
34 Donte Moncrief IND
35 DeSean Jackson WAS
36 Michael Crabtree OAK
37 Marvin Jones DET
38 Kevin White CHI
39 Corey Coleman CLE
40 Willie Snead NO
41 Torrey Smith SF
42 Dorial Green-Beckham TEN
43 Laquon Treadwell MIN
44 Sterling Shepard NYG
45 Markus Wheaton PIT
46 Vincent Jackson TB
47 Steve Smith BAL
48 Travis Benjamin SD
49 Stefon Diggs MIN
50 Tavon Austin LA
51 Kamar Aiken BAL
52 Michael Thomas NO
53 Josh Doctson WAS
54 Kendall Wright TEN
55 Mohamed Sanu ATL
56 Devin Funchess CAR
57 Phillip Dorsett IND
58 Breshad Perriman BAL
59 Josh Gordon CLE
60 Mike Wallace BAL
61 Terrance Williams DAL
62 Rishard Matthews TEN
63 Pierre Garcon WAS
64 Nelson Agholor PHI
65 Chris Hogan NE
66 Sammie Coates PIT
67 Jeff Janis GB

2016 Rookie Rankings (June Update)

We have provided a few 2016 Rookie Rankings updates since the April NFL Draft, and because many of you have upcoming rookie drafts here in June and July, here is one more update for June. Expect at least one more in July.

2016 Rookie Rankings

Date: 6/6/2016

1. Carson Wentz
2. Jared Goff
3. Paxton Lynch
4. Christian Hackenberg
5. Connor Cook
1. Ezekiel Elliott
2. Derrick Henry
3. Kenneth Dixon
4. Devontae Booker
5. Cj Prosise
6. Wendell Smallwood
7. Paul Perkins
8. Jordan Howard
9. Keith Marshall
10. Alex Collins
11. Johnathan Williams
12. Daniel Lasco
13. Kenyan Drake
14. Tyler Ervin
15. Deandre Washington
1. Laquon Treadwell
2. Josh Doctson
3. Corey Coleman
4. Michael Thomas
5. Will Fuller
6. Sterling Shepard
7. Pharoh Cooper
8. Leonte Carroo
9. Keyarris Garrett
10. Tyler Boyd
11. Moritz Boehringer
12. Braxton Miller
13. Malcolm Mitchell
14. Charone Peake
15. Rashard Higgins
16. De’runnya Wilson
17. Tajae Sharpe

1. Hunter Henry
2. Austin Hooper
3. Nick Vannett

Deep Sleepers: May

There are a ton of deep sleepers to target in 2016 fantasy football drafts, and this article will just touch on a few. We will provide more and more names as we near August, so stay tuned for future versions of this column.

Devontae Booker (RB/DEN)

CJ Anderson might have the starting job locked up in Denver, as he was signed to a huge off-season contract, but don’t sleep on Devontae Booker, a Devonta Freeman type rusher with a ton of determination. He has made it public that he plans to attack the starting gig, and he has the skill set to do it. Anderson isn’t the most secure RB1 in fantasy football, and his ADP is falling despite his huge contract and placement in that lineup. I think people fear that he isn’t for real, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that people aren’t still sleeping on Booker. They are. Take advantage and draft him as a stash type rusher.

Wendell Smallwood (RB/PHI)

Ryan Mathews and aging Darren Sproles are the only thing standing in the way of Smallwood, a runner that could easily be one of the bigger rookie running back surprises in 2016. He may not develop, so it’s important not to reach too high to grab him, but his ADP is in the crazy-low range where he isn’t even showing up in the top 100 of redraft ADPs. He has monster upside with no risk.

Running Backs to Doubt in 2016?

Below you will find a few big name running backs we caution against drafting in 2016, unless the price is right. Everything comes down to value.

Mark Ingram | RB Saints

It’s not that we doubt the guy’s talent, as he can play like a top 10RB when fed the ball. However, his ADP is in the top 10RB range, and that’s a bit high given his injury history and the potential he doesn’t get the carries he deserves. Don’t trade him away on the cheap if you own him in dynasty, but make sure you rank him in the low, low end of the RB2s heading into 2016, this way he won’t disappoint. We’ve seen some value him as a low end RB1 and that’s risky.

CJ Anderson | RB Broncos

Not only is his lack of experience a red flag, so is his inability to stay on the field. And, with Devontae Booker, the new rookie in Denver, now on the Denver roster, Anderson ‘could’ disappoint in 2016. Again, like with Ingram above, don’t sell cheap if you already own him in dynasty, but don’t draft him in upcoming drafts expecting elite RB1 numbers. His ADP is super high and we just don’t like the value even if he is relatively talented. If you plan to roll with CJ this year, just be sure to cuff him to Booker!

Thomas Rawls | RB Seahawks

He is still equal parts sleeper and risk, so know that the potential is there. This is great for those that bought low months and months ago in dynasty. Keep him, or trade him high… but don’t sell dirt cheap. All that said, don’t go drafting him at high-end RB2 value at this point, as the Seahawks drafted two rookies that have big skill sets, one being CJ Prosise. Cuff him to Rawls if you roll with Rawls this year! If drafting today, though, I think I avoid Rawls at his current asking price. I bought low in a lot of leagues, and I’m happy about that, but values change and some players turn into risks at the going rates. This is that situation.

Where to rank Ezekiel Elliott amongst 2016 running backs?

Everyone knows that Ezekiel Elliott is the top-ranked rookie heading into any 2016 rookie-only fantasy football draft. He is the top dog, no question. But, how good can he be right away? Many expect top 4-8RB numbers in time, but can he be that good in just his first season? We say yes. It’s safe to assume, that if healthy, he is going to see the kind of workload in Dallas that could have him producing 1,000-1,200 rushing yards, 25-30 receptions for 300-400 yards and near double-digit touchdowns. It’s tough to expect that out of any rookie rusher, as they often times hit a rookie wall near Weeks 11-14. However, this offensive line in Dallas is elite, and the offense will be more well-rounded than last year, so much so that even if Tony Romo misses some time here or there, the rushing game will help keep defenses honest, something that couldn’t always be said last year. Don’t draft Elliott as a top 5-8RB in 2016, as his ADP is more in the middle-to-late second-round. If you draft him higher than you need to, you limit the upside and ceiling potential and you increase the risk (should he get hurt, or struggle early on).

2016 Rookie-Only Draft (post NFL Draft)

Below is a fresh 2016 Fantasy Football Rookie-Only Expert Draft. This is a real draft amongst ‘experts’ in the fantasy football industry, so it’s an interesting take on where to slot 2016 rookies. With the NFL Draft complete, it’s time to see where the 2016 rookies fall as you prepare for your rookie-only league drafts.

Round One

1.01 Elliott, Ezekiel DAL RB (R)
1.02 Doctson, Josh WAS WR (R)
1.03 Treadwell, Laquon MIN WR (R)
1.04 Coleman, Corey CLE WR (R)
1.05 Shepard, Sterling NYG WR (R)
1.06 Henry, Derrick TEN RB (R)
1.07 Fuller, Will HOU WR (R)
1.08 Dixon, Kenneth BAL RB (R)
1.09 Thomas, Michael NOS WR (R)
1.10 Boyd, Tyler CIN WR (R)
1.11 Carroo, Leonte MIA WR (R)
1.12 Booker, Devontae DEN RB (R)

First-Round Observations: No shock seeign Ezekel Elliott go at the 1.01. In fact, there is no reason you should ever see another player ever drafted at the 1.01 in any upcoming rookie-only draft. I’m not suggesting that a player can’t come out of nowhere and be this year’s David Johnson, but ADPs suggest you can get a TON via trade if you don’t want Elliott for whatever reason. I think the first three receivers going right after Elliott is par for the course, as Doctson, Treadwell and Coleman have the most upside after Elliott, but keep an eye on Kenneth Dixon (1.08) and Devontae Booker (1.12). Derek Henry was a big name player heading into the 2016 NFL Draft, but his situation behind DeMarco Murray is not an attractive one heading into the next couple of years.

The Rest…

Round One

2.01 Prosise, C.J. SEA RB (R)
2.02 Howard, Jordan CHI RB (R)
2.03 Goff, Jared RAM QB (R)
2.04 Perkins, Paul NYG RB (R)
2.05 Marshall, Keith WAS RB (R)
2.06 Henry, Hunter SDC TE (R)
2.07 Thomas, Mike RAM WR (R)
2.08 Williams, Jonathan BUF RB (R)
2.09 Mitchell, Malcolm NEP WR (R)
2.10 Hogan, Chris NEP WR
2.11 Hooper, Austin ATL TE (R)
2.12 Allen, Dwayne IND TE

Round One

3.01 Washington, DeAndre OAK RB (R)
3.02 Higbee, Tyler RAM TE (R)
3.03 Payton, Jordan CLE WR (R)
3.04 Drake, Kenyan MIA RB (R)
3.05 Miller, Braxton HOU WR (R)
3.06 Moore, Chris BAL WR (R)
3.07 Wentz, Carson PHI QB (R)
3.08 Cooper, Pharoh RAM WR (R)
3.09 Ervin, Tyler HOU RB (R)
3.10 Garrett, Keyarris CAR WR (R)
3.11 Smallwood, Wendell PHI RB (R)
3.12 Lynch, Paxton DEN QB (R)

Round One

4.01 Higgins, Rashard CLE WR (R)
4.02 Smelter, DeAndre SFO WR
4.03 Ferguson, Josh IND RB (R)
4.04 Heuerman, Jeff DEN TE
4.05 Collins, Alex SEA RB (R)
4.06 Listenbee, Kolby BUF WR (R)
4.07 Janis, Jeff GBP WR
4.08 Quick, Brian RAM WR
4.09 Peake, Charone NYJ WR (R)
4.10 Miller, Zach CHI TE
4.11 Sharpe, Tajae TEN WR (R)
4.12 Tucker, Justin BAL PK

2016 Rookie Rankings (Post Draft)

Below are our post-draft 2016 Rookie Rankings. We still rounds 4-7 to go, so note that some of the players ranked below could jump up, or down, depending on what team drafts them, or doesn’t draft them, in rounds 4-7. An example of a guy who could jump high is Kenneth Dixon, or even Devontae Booker.

Top Fantasy Football Rankings – Post Draft

  1. Ezekiel Elliott RB DAL – He couldn’t have landed in a better spot. He has top 5RB upside for the future and possibly top 5-10 upside for 2016.
  2. Corey Coleman WR CLE – Very talented, he just needs consistent QB play, which may or may not happen in CLE.
  3. Josh Doctson WR WAS – Also very talented. Great landing spot.
  4. Laquon Treadwell WR MIN – Not elite speed wise but if he gets enough targets, which is questionable in MIN, he could develop into a solid NFL wide receiver in 2-3 years.
  5. Derrick Henry RB TEN – Horrible landing spot, as DeMarco Murray is the main man in TEN.
  6. Will Fuller WR HOU – Decent spot, but given Hopkins is a top 1-3 fantasy WR, it’s tough seeing Fuller ever becoming a stud in fantasy.
  7. Kenneth Dixon RB TBA – Hopefully he lands in a good spot in rounds 4-7. If not, he could drop on these rankings. He could also climb high if he finds a great situation. Sleeper!
  8. Carson Wentz QB PHI – Solid situation, good talent. Not sure he is ever going to be a top 5 fantasy QB, though.
  9. Jared Goff QB LA – Same thing said about Wentz goes here.
  10. Paxton Lynch QB DEN – He excites us a touch more than the other two QBs above, but he is more raw and could take longer to develop.
  11. CJ Prosise RB SEA – Not a great spot, but Rawls isn’t exactly a for sure – yet.
  12. Devontae Booker RB TBA – Could be huge if he gets drafted into the right spot in rounds 4-7, or he could drop off the map if drafted as a total backup.
  13. Alex Collins RB TBA – Where will he go? If drafted into a good spot, he jumps a ton! Sleeper!
  14. Michael Thomas WR NO – Good spot, good talent.
  15. Kenyan Drake RB MIA – Good spot, but we don’t love his upside, so this is a good thing for Jay Ajayi.
  16. Tyler Boyd WR CIN – Not elite.
  17. Sterling Shepard WR NYG – Not likely elite.
  18. Braxton Miller WR HOU – Crowded situation.
  19. Leonte Carroo WR MIA – Solid talent, but very, very crowded situation.
  20. The Rest

  21. Keith Marshall RB TBA
  22. Christian Hackenberg QB NYJ
  23. Wendell Smallwood RB TBA
  24. Deandre Washington RB TBA
  25. Hunter Henry TE SD
  26. Austin Hooper TE ATL

2016 NFL Draft Results (Round One)

Below is the entire first-round of the 2016 NFL Draft. View the draft results below, but also comment below on all of the fantasy implications! Look for our fantasy analysis to follow!

1 – Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff QB CAL
2 – Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz QB North Dakota St.
3 – San Diego Chargers: Joey Bosa DE Ohio St.
4 – Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio St.
5 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey CB Florida St.
6 – Baltimore Ravens: Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame
7 – San Francisco 49ers: DeForest Buckner DE Oregon
8 – Tennessee Titans: Jack Conklin OT Michigan St.
9 – Chicago Bears: Leonard Floyd OLB Georgia
10 – New York Giants: Eli Apple CB Ohio St.
11 – Tampa Bay Bucs: Vernon Hargreaves III CB Florida
12 – New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins DE Louisville
13 – Miami Dolphins: Laremy Tunsil OT Ole Miss
14 – Oakland Raiders: Karl Joseph S West Virginia
15 – Cleveland Browns: Corey Coleman WR Baylor
16 – Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker OT Ohio St.
17 – Atlanta Falcons: Keanu Neal S Florida
18 – Indianapolis Colts: Ryan Kelly C Alabama
19 – Buffalo Bills: Shaq Lawson DE Clemson
20 – New York Jets: Darron Lee OLB Ohio St.
21 – Houston Texans: Will Fuller WR Notre Dame
22 – Washington Redskins: Josh Doctson WR TCU
23 – Minnesota Vikings: Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss
24 – Cincinnati Bengals: William Jackson III CB Houston
25 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Artie Burns CB Miami
26 – Denver Broncos: Paxton Lynch QB Memphis
27 – Green Bay Packers: Kenny Clark DT UCLA
28 – San Francisco 49ers: Joshua Garnett G Stanford
30 – Arizona Cardinals: Robert Nkemdiche DT Ole Miss
31 – Carolina Panthers: Vernon Butler DT Louisiana Tech
32 – Seattle Seahawks: Germain Ifedi OT Texas A&M

Final 2016 NFL Mock Draft

Below is our Final 2016 NFL Mock Draft prior to the 2016 NFL Draft, which takes place this week (Thursday). Who will your favorite team draft this week?

2016 NFL Mock Draft

1 – Los Angeles Rams: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
2 – Philadelphia Eagles: Jared Goff, QB, California
3 – San Diego Chargers: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
4 – Dallas Cowboys: Joey Bosa, DE/OLB, Ohio State
5 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
6 – Baltimore Ravens: Jalen Ramsey, S/CB, Florida State
7 – San Francisco 49ers: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
8 – Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
9 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeForest Buckner, DE/DT, Oregon
10 – New York Giants: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
11 – Chicago Bears: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
12 – New Orleans Saints: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
13 – Miami Dolphins: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
14 – Oakland Raiders: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
15 – Tennessee Titans: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
16 – Detroit Lions: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
17 – Atlanta Falcons: Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
18 – Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
19 – Buffalo Bills: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
20 – New York Jets: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
21 – Washington Redskins: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
22 – Houston Texans: William Jackson, CB, Houston
23 – Minnesota Vikings: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
24 – Cincinnati Bengals: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
25 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
26 – Seattle Seahawks: Taylor Decker, OT/G, Ohio State
27 – Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Bullard, DE/DT, Florida
28 – Kansas City Chiefs: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
29 – Arizona Cardinals: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
31 – Carolina Panthers: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
30 – Denver Broncos: A’Shawn Robinson, DE/DT, Alabama
2.01 – Cleveland Browns: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson