Thu Jan 24th 2019
Re-Ranking the 2018 Rookie Class
How accurate was I?
It's always fun this time of year to look back at your rookie rankings before last year's rookie draft and then re-rank the class. It helps you detect where you were right and wrong. Taking an honest look only helps you improve your process by revealing reasons why you're successful and unsuccessful. I recommend that you do this. This is how great dynasty owners develop their skills. You can do this privately, but I have to do so publically.
So... see where I hit and where I missed as an analyst last year. Here is my top 24 rookies were I to re-rank last year's rookie class. The parenthetical note shows where I had them ranked before last year's rookie draft in one-QB leagues. Naturally, some changes were due to injuries, coaching changes, and other factors, but that's part of what we consider when ranking player too. How'd I do? I welcome your comments.
- Saquon Barkley (1): He was the no-doubt #1 pick last year and showed us why. No one can take pride in ranking him #1 last year. He played incredibly even with an awful offense. He's already by #2 ranked RB behind Gurley.
- Nick Chubb (2): I do take some pride in this pick. I had him as a steady #2 in last year's rookie draft throughout the process. I aggressively traded for him in all my leagues, picking him up in one and unable to in another. He's my #6 ranked RB already and is poised to explode in an (can we say it?) explosive new offense in Cleveland.
- Kerryon Johnson (5): I am proud of this one too. I had him ranked far higher than everyone else in the industry. While he was injured a lot, he did score 13 points per game when he did play. I hope the injuries are a fluke, and Detroit becomes a run-first team next year.
- Sony Michel (7): I was not as high on him as others, but not because of his talent. I just hate drafting Patriot players since they rotate guys in and out so much and scheme game to game. He's been nuts in the playoffs, but I still question if it will carry over week-to-week next year. Still, I'd rank him #4 now.
- D.J. Moore (9): It took him some time, but he finally became a play-maker near the end of the year. He was my top ranked WR in the rookie draft and he remains there. Cam Newton's recent injury scare is the only thing that could drop him in the rankings.
- Baker Mayfield (21): Okay. Maybe I'm just an OU hater. This is by far my biggest miss. Mayfield was ridiculous this year. I'd normally not take a QB this early in a rookie draft, but he deserves it. He's on an up-and-coming team and has control of it. He'll be a star for decades to come.
- Phillip Lindsay (unranked): It's hard to consider this a miss when everyone missed it. He was by far the biggest rookie surprise. I still have some questions about his ability to stay healthy and remain the lead back with a new coaching staff and a higher drafted player in Freeman.
- Derrius Guice (3): His ACL injury and complications with infections are the only reason he has dropped. If he becomes a full participant in the offseason, he'd move back up to #3 for me without a doubt.
- Christian Kirk (11): He showed enough to stay about where I had him. Arizona's offense could not have been worse last year. They will be better next year. I had him as my #3 WR in last year's rookie draft but now have moved him up to #2. I think the new offense (while coach Kingsberry is certainly suspect) will be much better next year.
- Donte Pettis (16): I was way higher on him than most analysts. I ended the season even more confident in his ability. If Antonio Brown ends up in San Francisco, I would like him less. If not, I suspect he'll be the #1 WR for the 49ers next year.
- Calvin Ridley (12): He was incredibly inconsistent this year, but just the fact that he could have such explosive games means that he has what it takes to dominate. He was my #4 WR coming into the rookie drafts last year. He's in the same spot. He'll figure to be a bigger part of the offense in year too, even with the offensive coordinator change.
- Courtland Sutton (18): I was a lot lower than most on Sutton. His situation sure helped this year with both veteran WRs leaving via trade (Thomas) and injury (Sanders). I am still a bit uncertain that he'll be better than his rookie teammate, Hamilton. He does have the more prototypical size to be the WR #1 so I will reluctantly rank him here.
- Sam Darnold (26): He was surprisingly great. Again, I don't normally rank QBs this high, but I see him as a decade long starter. Adam Gase will only make him better. If I had a tier-break it would be here. I'm confident in these top 13.
- Royce Freeman (6): Phillip Lindsay made this one of my biggest busts. While Lindsay certainly out-played him, I still like his chance to be a lead back. He will have a role in Denver. I believe the new coaching staff will get him more involved. His draft pedigree demands it.
- Rashaad Penny (4): See above. Draft pedigree demands that he not fall too far in my rankings, but he was worse than Freeman when he got his chances. Seattle will always play the best player, but I have to think Penny is ultimately better than Chris Carson.
- Dallas Goedert (25): I only had him ranked at #25 because of where he was drafted - to Philadelphia behind Zach Ertz. Otherwise, he would have been a top 15 rookie for me. Still, he played really well and Philadelphia knows how to involve two TEs. Plus, they may not be able to afford Ertz before too long.
- Antonio Callaway (19): I was higher on him than most last year. He proved me right with a very solid year. His character issues kept everyone hesitant on ranking him higher. So far, apart from the one off-season incident, he has stayed clean and productive. I like being in on the Cleveland offense since Mayfield landed there.
- Anthony Miller (10): This was a bit of a miss, but I am still hopeful. I think Allen Robinson cannot hold off Miller in the long run. I also thought Nagy's offense would be more explosive than it was. They became a very defensive team, and rightfully so. Still, I love Miller's play and believe he'll become the #1 WR in Chicago in the next 2-3 years.
- James Washington (14): He had is fair share of great plays in the preseason and a few in-season. I still believe in his talent and Pittsburg's ability to draft great WRs. The Antonio Brown situation is just boosting his stock.
- Keke Coutee (27): He was a surprise. Hopkins will always be the #1 there in Houston, but I believe Coutee can beat out Fuller to get the next most targets. Both Fuller and Coutee are injury prone, so it may be that whoever is healthy is the second option in Houston.
- Daesean Hamilton (28): He out-played Sutton at the end of the season. Some of that may be the result of poor QB play in Keenum, but it could be that the reliable shorter-route guy is just better at getting open. I really want to move him up higher than this but draft pedigree is keeping me from doing so. I may regret that.
- Michael Gallup (15): His ranking fell because of the Amari Copper trade. He'll never be the #1 WR in Dallas now. That said, he may be a better fit as a #2 WR, so I am still hopeful for his ability to contribute to the offense and to our fantasy teams.
- Ronald Jones (8): I hate this one. I wanted to rank him way lower than #8 last year, but I felt I his draft pedigree and wide open opportunity at Tampa Bay made me keep him in the top 10. I don't believe in him, but have to keep him in my top 24 for the exact same reasons.
- Josh Rosen (20): I am still a believer. He was my #1 QB in last year's rookie draft. I don't believe he'll ever jump Mayfield in my rankings again, but I could see him jumping Darnold. The new coaching changes will give him the opportunity to prove it.
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