Ok, so we are entering Week 13 of the 2017 fantasy football season… it’s time to Re-Rank/Revisit The 2017 Rookies for the 2018 Fantasy Football Season. So, this will be from a dynasty perspective for 2018, but have some redraft spin.
For 2018 and beyond, I think it’s pretty clear that Leonard Fournette , Alvin Kamara , Kareem Hunt and Deshaun Watson sit in an elite tier.
Alvin Kamara is playing out of his mind right now. He has 546 rushing yards and 5 rushing TDs, and he has pulled in 54 receptions for 548 yards and 4 more TDs. He enters 2018 as a potential top 8 overall pick, if not higher. This will be a good debate to have once we get there in August 2018, as there is some risk ranking him in the top 1-4 overall rushers, however, as of this moment, the risk looks worth it, as he is dropping elite RB1 numbers on a weekly basis… and New Orleans loves the guy, which is more than half the battle in these situations when players explode in their first NFL season, then enter their sophomore year with extreme expecations. For now, he is a top 8 overall pick heading into 2018, and he is easily a top 1-2 overall rookie from this 2017 fantasy football rookie class (for the ‘now’ and for 2018).
Sure, Kareem Hunt is struggling right now, but fantasy football owners have short memories, and all the current doubt surrounding Hunt entering Week 13 could fade with one single game, and maybe he drops that big game in Week 13. Even if he struggles in Weeks 13-17, he will still be a big-dog candidate at the running back position heading into 2018 fantasy football drafts.
Dalvin Cook, who tore his ACL in Week 4 here in 2017, will surely be in most everyone’s top 12RBs heading into 2018 fantasy football drafts. He was a total yard beast in his first four weeks as a pro, and he is a PPR monster. He should be on track to start Week 1, but stay on the news all year on that. Where does one rank him amongst the other 2017 rookies, though? I think it’s tough to toss him anywhere but the bottom of the top tier. With the injury, and the upside of all of the other rookies in that tier, I think it’s a safe and default place to slot him.
Christian McCaffrey feels about the same in terms of risk/reward (as Cook) heading into 2018. While McCaffrey hasn’t suffered injury like Cook, he has seen inconsistent usage during his rookie campaign, enough to warrant caution when ranking him amongst the players slotted above him. Could McCaffrey get 20+ touches per game moving forward in Weeks 13-17 and enter 2018 like a top 2-3 rookie from this 2017 fantasy football rookie class? Sure. No question! But, until we see it, he sits at the bottom of the top tier, but that is still showing him respect, as he does have RR1 appeal for the future.
Leonard Fournette has both the talent and situation to be the best overall rookie from the entire 2017 draft class, but he could also disappoint and fail to stay healthy, as he is a big guy at 6-0, 228 pounds. I’m not predicting bust here, and he is still in my top 10 overall heading into 2018 (as of this moment). I’m merely suggesting that fantasy owners curb expectations for anything beyond 2-3 years (elite-wise), this way fantasy owners don’t jump ship too early on players like Antonio Brown and Julio Jones, thinking that in a swap they’d get a ton younger in a move for Fournette. The truth is, with a running back Fournette’s size and build, he might drop off at the same time an Antonio Brown drops off in talent. That doesn’t make Fournette a bust, and it certainly doesn’t take him outside of my top 10-12 overall dynasty players… 2-3 years is a long time in dynasty, that’s how fantasy football goes. Those playing and building teams more than 2-3 years down the road will often times never see the longevity in their players like they had hoped when acquiring them, as injury can take out anyone during any given year. Play for the now and 1-3 years max, and Fournette should have top 12 overall value for a few years.
Deshaun Watson is a future top 10 overall player, but as with most passers, they don’t get drafted in that range come draft day. Quarterbacks of his caliber, which is in the 1-3 overall QB range, usually fall to the late second-round or even early third-round, so definitely use ADPs and league history to your advantage when drafting and acquiring the rising star. I am confident that Watson makes a full recovery in 2018, but it’s probably a lot to ask him to play at the exact level he was playing at in Weeks 1-8 of 2017, as he was on an insane 48TD-pace for total TDs … Don’t get me wrong, he can be a 40 total TD guy, but I would expect a touch less in 2018, but I still think he is a top 1-4QB on the year in 2018.
Joe Mixon, Corey Davis and JuJu Smith-Schuster all have upside to be better than their expected 2018 draft value. Meaning, some might see them as solid RB2/WR2 options heading into 2018, but they could very well play better than that.
While this ranking now seems believable, patrick mahomes was almost an afterthought during the first half of the 2017 season, as Alex Smith was on fire. I’ve said for months now that his rise is coming, and each week it’s looking more and more likely that Mahomes takes over the starting gig in KC. Will Smith turn it around in Weeks 13-17? Time will tell, but I see elite in Mahomes — buy-low like I’ve said for a month now, and you can read more on the Bold Predictions, where Mahomes was showcased (as the first 2018 Bold Prediction).