Creating dynasty rankings is an involved process. I’ve always had informal ones. Sheets that guided how I would approach drafts, trades, and waiver wire pickups. Getting them down for everyone is a daunting task. If you get a dynasty ranking wrong, it could take seasons to realize how incorrect you were.
And you don’t always get the immediate gratification of being right on someone. For every analyst that held on to believing in DJ Chark after a bleak rookie season, there are ones that had to wait years for DeVante Parker.
Rankings as a list never entirely did it for me. There’s nuance lost. Risk/reward couldn’t possibly be fully baked into a single number. And I was never the Kevin MacArthur type, needing a number to justify a move.
That’s how I got the idea for this article. If we struggle to set things down, why not show a little bit of that and have this serve as something of a live blog while I go through creating rankings.
I don’t know how others do it, and I resisted the temptation to chat with our own Tommy Garrett about his process. Still, I’ve always found it easier to do things positionally, so we start with my favorite, the running backs.
Through ten, I’m already feeling uneasy. There are a few things people might take issue with, but I still see Barkley as the top running back in dynasty fantasy football. In doing so much with so little, I can only imagine what would occur under the best of circumstances. I prefer to think of Barkley and McCaffrey as 1A and 1B rather than 1 and 2. Zeke and Kamara hold steady. We finally got the promise delivered with the heaps of potential Cook and Fournette had when they came into the league. Aaron Jones was an absolute monster to end the season, and Nick Chubb was a top 10 fantasy RB this season and still hasn’t hit his ceiling.
And then there’s Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley. They’re not just sentimental picks for me. Bell took a brave gamble on his future two years ago, and while I do believe he returned to form, Adam Gase and company did not fully reflect his skillset in their first year together in Gotham. However, only two games with single-digit fantasy points show he’s still as talented as he was in Pittsburgh.
Todd Gurley single-handedly got fantasy players to their playoffs in 2018. That talent didn’t evaporate. Reports of arthritis, a scaling back of workload, and the addition of Darrell Henderson all had dynasty players hitting the sell button, but I’m still a believer. Creating dynasty rankings doesn’t look at loyalty fondly. Yet, I’ll give the edge to a player that’s been at the mountaintop before I look to a situation others consider more favorable.
Numbers 11-24 see some interesting names miss the cut. Unfound to this point are Kareem Hunt, Sony Michel, and any of the San Francisco 49ers RBs that were impressive for stretches of 2019. Jacobs and Mixon could have both made the top ten. You’d have to pay me an excessive amount of money to tackle Derrick Henry.
Both Los Angeles Chargers RBs are in this range, and while my head tells me Austin Ekeler can’t possibly keep up his ludicrous per touch efficiency, my heart never wants to see it stop. Marlon Mack is behind one of the best offensive lines in football, and while I don’t see him as a transcendent talent, it looks like the Indianapolis Colts will continue to invest elsewhere on the roster.
Kerryon Johnson, Miles Sanders, and Phillip Lindsay have all flashed impressive ability while not quite dominating outright. They’re reliable but could always see some cut into their work. Chris Carson and James Conner are both on teams that want to more or less commit to a single RB, but Carson’s injury and Conner’s yoyoing efficiency hold them further down than they might be otherwise.
All of this serves as a highlight. There are a lot of intriguing names still out there, including Rashaad Penny, Devonta Freeman, Kenyan Drake, Derrius Guice, and many more I enjoy watching.
PFN is fully committing to dynasty fantasy football as we move forward. Creating dynasty rankings is the start of a lot of work that will be done. Redraft is over. This is where dynasties begin.