Dynasty Strategy: Post-Draft Rookie Top-65

This article is part of our Dynasty Strategy series.

Here is my attempt at ranking the top 65 dynasty fantasy football targets, assuming 1QB format with either PPR or 0.5PPR scoring. It’s split up into eight tiers, within which the players are meant to read as largely interchangeable.

          ——————Tier 1——————

Robinson’s landing spot turned out to be about as good as expected, while Gibbs’ post-draft circumstances are a fair amount better than expected. In PPR scoring especially the two backs might score closer together than most rankings have figured to this point.

——————Tier 2——————

Watch Addison start fast in Minnesota – the Vikings passing game had a great deal of bad slack between T.J. Hockenson and K.J. Osborn, both of whom would produce more efficiently if they had their target rates lowered. Addison would draw a high target rate on raw merit, but the circumstances beg it, too.

Smith-Njigba should be a When Not If case at worst, but if the Seahawks run fewer tight end reps than in 2022 then there could be room for JSN to make a fast start.

Johnston will thrive if the Chargers have enough sense to primarily feature him on routes with higher depths than average. With the attention drawn by the other, underneath-oriented Chargers route runners defenses won’t have the idle resources to sit deep on Johnston. They should think of him as a three-point specialist who lands long-range strikes when the defense gets lax on its safety discipline. It’s a role that suits him, and one where he can routinely threaten game-breaking plays while otherwise providing cover for Ekeler, Williams and Allen underneath.

I was probably just way too low on Rice before the draft, but even if not there is so much opportunity capital in playing a starter-like snap count in the Mahomes offense that Rice would arguably warrant a ranking this high on that basis alone. Rice is probably pretty good, though, and he might be more than that. If he is, then he becomes the likely WR1 for Kansas City as soon as this year and would also be a potential heir to the general target lead in Kansas City whenever Travis Kelce loses momentum.

——————TIER 3——————

Ending up with Shane Steichen – a vertically-minded playcaller – might be the best-case scenario for Richardson.

Mims and Downs land in spots with a bit of clutter, but both players should prove productive with their playing time and in both cases there should be 600-snap upside in 2023.

Charbonnet landing with Seattle is brutal for his fantasy upside, though he should have regular flex utility given how often Seattle intends to run the ball. Charbonnet is a problem for Ken Walker too – it won’t just be scraps for the rookie. Still, Charbonnet could have been a top-10 fantasy back on another team.

——————TIER 4——————

Stroud and Young are both valuable in superflex or 2QB formats, but for 1QB I worry that they don’t offer much upside for the trouble. Neither player is likely to run much in the NFL, especially Stroud, and there’s also not much reason to project either as a top-five passer type, especially Young.

Achane probably can’t play more than 500 or so snaps per season but he can do a lot of damage per touch, especially with Mike McDaniel calling the plays. 

Mayer, LaPorta and Kincaid all land in decent but not obviously great situations. Mayer should make quick work of Austin Hooper, but who knows what that will be worth in a potentially weak Josh McDaniels offense. LaPorta faces a similar situation with Jared Goff, though at least the overall health of the Lions offense is preferable to Las Vegas. Kincaid plays in the most enviable offense, but with Dawson Knox there it’s not obvious how the Bills will get Kincaid to 40 snaps most weeks.

Reed could play 800-plus snaps for the Packers as a rookie, but Flowers’ playing time and opportunity level might lag in comparison with all of Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham and Mark Andrews drawing targets in a run-heavy offense. Mingo should be a viable starter but might not draw targets rapidly enough to offset the modest projections of the Carolina passing game.

——————TIER 5——————

Brown should emerge as the backup to Joe Mixon, and who knows what’s going on with him. McBride fell to the seventh but his ability is obvious and if Dalvin Cook is traded then it’s pointedly clear no other Vikings back can run like McBride. Miller probably has some ability but might be stuck behind Kamara and Jamaal Williams for a bit. Bigsby is a better backup to Etienne than JaMycal Hasty or Snoop Conner, but that’s not saying much. Abanikanda is the most talented back in this tier but Breece Hall might be a top-five talent league wide at running back. Spears is unlikely to withstand volume and might not have any available to him with Derrick Henry around.

Scott was a steal for the Bears, but now he’s unlikely to play much until Chase Claypool is gone. Hyatt might be able to take snaps from Darius Slayton, he might not. Tillman looks like a swing backup for Cleveland. Dell was productive at Houston and has fun tape but he has weak athletic testing and his production does not grade especially well after age adjustment.

——————TIER 6——————

Evans could be a productive beneficiary to any ongoing issues between Cam Akers and Sean McVay. Gray won’t be a starter in the NFL but he can earn snaps right away in an off-the-bench role, and he’s capable both as a runner and receiver. Rodriguez is a better pure runner than Brian Robinson, though probably worse as a receiver. Hull, to me, is a middle-class man’s Chase Brown. The sales pitch for Roschon Johnson reads like that of a fullback.

Levis probably can’t play – there’s no reason to suggest he’s a better prospect than Malik Willis – but maybe the Titans will resort to the wishbone formation.

Musgrave and Kraft are both interesting tight end prospects, so it’s somewhat annoying that Green Bay – a team that has recently been stingy toward its tight end usage – took them both.

That Hutchinson fell to the sixth round is something that I just can’t understand and I’m certain is wrong. NFL teams take receivers far worse than him on Day 2 of every draft, including this one. A player like Josh Palmer can go in the third, but Hutchinson isn’t worth a fifth-round pick? No. Don’t write him off yet, worse as the odds are than a week ago. Robert Woods is aging and has long been injury prone, Dell is a fidget spinner, Nico Collins is probably no more than a WR2, and John Metchie projects as a WR2-type at most, too. I feel comfortable saying that if Hutchinson gets his foot in the door he’s not getting pushed back out.

Jones was very productive for Purdue in 2022 – a lot of receivers would be if they played six seasons – and he should be the slot heir apparent to Tyler Boyd in Cincinnati. With Boutte nothing can be ruled out – WR1 of the class or first to get cut are both on the table. Washington lacks athleticism and is short additionally, but the Penn State product seems to have innate ability as a receiver and should be monitored closely in Jacksonville just in case he wins a swing backup role.

——————TIER 7——————

Prince is a well-built and fast runner who maybe lacks instincts otherwise, though those were the labels most often tagged on Isiah Pacheco last year. Vaughn might be able to give Dallas 300 or so snaps, but his selection more so seems to lock in Ronald Jones as the backup to Tony Pollard. McIntosh might be able to steal the roster spot of DeeJay Dallas. Tucker faces an unspecified health concern but the Buccaneers running backs are not more talented than him.

Hooker would theoretically get the next shot if the Lions get sick of Jared Goff. Haener is a better prospect than Ian Book, at least.

Schoonmaker, Washington and Strange look like blockers. Higgins definitely won’t be blocking, but it’s also not clear whether he’ll stick at tight end in the first place after playing receiver previously.

Palmer is a fly and post specialist, if that. Moreno-Cropper showed a lot of ability at Fresno State and could be better than Jalen Tolbert or Simi Fehoko. Douglas was a high-efficiency, high-volume receiver for Liberty and can’t be ruled out with the Patriots. Nacua isn’t an exciting selection for the Rams, yet there’s zero doubt he’s more talented than Ben Skowronek. Perry is unusually coordinated for a 6-foot-4 wideout and is worth monitoring in New Orleans. Tucker is a good WR5 type but the Raiders are fools for taking him where they did. Wicks might need some development time but has an interesting combination of ball skills and range at the catch point.

——————TIER 8——————

I think Demus and Johnson are more talented than many of the receivers ranked ahead of them, but Demus (injury) and Johnson (character) also face off-field concerns that the players ranked ahead of them don’t. Iosivas is very athletic but also seems raw despite turning 24 this fall.

Valladay has a workhorse game and mindset but he has a third-down back frame and running style — he should work fine as a rotational back in the NFL, though. Brooks is athletic for a bigger back and was productive at both BYU and California. Mitchell is a blur and might be able to take Justice Hill‘s roster spot despite going undrafted. Evans is very dense and runs well for his build, so he’s worth monitoring with the Rams in case he gets his fundamentals in order.

I hold out hope for Tune to one day emerge as a starting quarterback, but with Kyler Murray in Arizona he won’t so much as get the chance for some number of years.

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