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Sat Jan 12th 2019

Time To Start Ranking Rookies

What great dynasty owners do this time of year

It's the best sports weekend of the year in my opinion - NFL Divisional Round Playoffs.  Other than enjoying the top 8 NFL teams play this weekend, what else should you be doing as a dynasty owner this weekend?  In this short series of articles I hope to give you some ideas on what you can be doing to better your teams during the NFL playoffs.  Last week's article was more about looking back and honestly assessing your team needs.  Check out last week's article here.  This week's article is more about looking forward and preparing for next year.  It's all about ranking rookies.

Poor dynasty owners just go dormant during this time of year and wait until the NFL draft or rookie drafts to reengage.  Then they just go to a website to pull up rookie rankings and draft according to the thoughts and opinions of other experts without having ever formed their own opinions. 

Great dynasty owners, however, stay engaged this time of year by making their very own rookie rankings.  The goal: have your own rookie rankings set before the NFL Combine (February 24th to March 6th).  That's more than a month away, so there is plenty of time to do so.

In this article, I'd like to share several things you can do in the next month to formulate your own opinions about this year's rookie class.

Start With Experts Rankings

Start by going to your favorite dynasty website to look at their rookie rankings.  I prefer Dynasty LeagueFootball.com or RotoViz.com because they have several people ranking so their rankings are consensus rankings.  These websites have a paywall so you do have to subscribe to see their rankings, but the rankings and articles on players is very much worth the cost.

Currently, they do not have their 2019 rookie rankings up, so you need to look for Devy rankings.  Then be prepared to remove the Devy guys that are ineligible or have not declared for the NFL Draft. 

Start with a list of the expert's tope 50-75 guys, and then move on to step two.

Watch YouTube Highlight Videos

Watch the highlight videos of each player on YouTube.com and then begin to formulate your own opinions.  Move guys up and down your board accordingly.  Granted, everyone looks good on  highlight videos, but I doubt you (like me) have time to watch every play of every game (more on that in step 3).  Highlight videos do give you a chance to see what the players do best.  It is a great way to formulate your own opinions, and it's fun to have your own opinions and not rely solely on the "experts."  Become your own expert.

Listen to Podcasts and/or Read Articles

Rely on others who are able to watch way more film than you.  Yes, some people do get to get to watch every play of every rookie player, or at least more than their highlights. Rely on them to help shape your opinion of the players too.

Personally, I love listening to podcasts as my resource because I can do it while doing others things like working out, walking the dog, doing yard-work, etc.  Others may prefer to read articles posted on dynasty websites.  Both of which with help crystalize your personal rankings.

As for Podcasts, I would recommend the following.

Watch the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl

Make time to watch the East-West Shrine Game (January 19th) and the Senior Bowl (January 26th).  Make plans to watch these games or set your DVRs so that you can watch them later.  Many of the podcasts I mentioned above will be at the practices leading up to these games so you'll get a better feel for the players (how they practiced and how they played in the game).  As you watch, note stand-out players that were not in your rankings and add them to your rankings.  Move guys up and down your rankings after watching these games.

Set Your Own Rankings Before The NFL Combine

The reason why you want to get your own rankings set before the combine is because at the combine many things change.  I believe film is more important than the "underwear olympics," but hype will build and rankings will change after the Combine for sure.  It's wise to have formed opinions on the rookies so that the Combine can be used to check one more box regarding your thoughts on players.  You don't want to be swayed too far by how someone does at the Combine.  Having your personal rankings set beforehand will help you do so.  You can take a measured approach after the Combine and move guys up or down a bit as you see fitting.

That's it.  That is what you should be doing in the next month.  After the Combine comes free agency and then the draft.  Those are the next two big events in our dynasty off-season that will radically change the value of veterans and these rookies.  Before those two big events, be sure to have your own rookie rankings set.  I promise to do the same and will have all of my rookie rankings up on the DynastyFreeks Website by mid February.  I can't wait to get started!

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