Shawn Siegele unveils his 2020 Dynasty Top 150 and breaks the rankings into tiers. The dynasty rankings include SuperFlex formats, tight end premium scoring, and the new rookies who will be part of the 2020 NFL Draft.
We took a short interlude from the Dynasty Tiers Series to focus on the NFL combine and examine how the 2020 prospects performed in our projection and comparison tools. One of the best weekends of the football calendar presented us with a wealth of new information.
2020 Freak Scores: Henry Ruggs Blazes and a Sleeper Posts an Epic Score
2020 RB Prospect Lab Rankings: The Best Prospect Since Barry Sanders and a Rich Man’s Derrick Henry Lead the Way
200 Comps – The Combine Explorer Finds the Top Athletic Matches for the Top 10 WR Prospects
Now it’s time to get back into our dynasty startup tiers and use what we’ve learned to polish our rookie rankings. We’ll continue to update as the offseason progresses, but one of the best parts of this exercise is to include rookies. It’s also a good challenge to balance QB and TE values by employing Superflex and TE Premium. This requires us to emphasize all positions and consider what the draft and free agency might bring.
In Part 1, we looked at the Elite Eight dynasty players in all of fantasy and placed them into three tiers. Today, we jump into a larger Tier 4 that includes the star WRs for you to build your franchise around.
This is the group that will take you from mid-first to mid-second in superflex startups. It’s a balanced tier that allows you to trade down and pick up extra value for later in the proceedings.
In TE-premium formats, Kittle may be the gem. He’s difficult for even the top WRs to match in raw points, and he provides a contest-tilting advantage at TE. Over the last two years he’s fallen just short of Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz in PPG, and the offensive context requires him to outperform expectations to keep the gap small.
But Kittle is three years younger than Ertz and four years younger than Kelce. If he has a bad season, it won’t automatically be assumed that he’s in his age decline. The window to both play Kittle and eventually re-trade him is much wider.
Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams
Evans, Hopkins, and Adams are just young enough to remain potential first-round startup selections, and just old enough not to challenge for a spot in the overall top five.
With WRs in this range, you could still get more dominant seasons than with younger RBs, but you’re at risk of suddenly losing trade value with a down season. Older receivers bust more often and bounce back less frequently.
The key insight here is that for any player you draft in a startup, you want to be able to play them for a certain window and then trade them at close to peak value. All NFL players are one play from having their values go to zero, but older players are going to see their trade values decline even if they stay healthy. That may be intuitive, but the extent to which you lose trade value is shocking.
By contrast, Smith-Schuster is coming off of the kind of season that would crush an older player. His ADP has crumbled in early FFPC Best Ball leagues, but his dynasty value remains robust.
Smith-Schuster’s final season at USC was the last time he suffered an injury-plagued season. He slid in the NFL draft as a result and immediately rebounded to score 486 points over his first two NFL seasons.
That was the sixth-best result in the last 20 years.
At 23, he’s younger than many players with far less experience. This could be your last opportunity to grab him at anything approaching a discount.
Tyreek Hill, Chris Godwin
Earlier this week, Curtis Patrick made the case for Hill as a top-five overall player who should be your top dynasty acquisition target. Once you check out his argument, you’ll be sending out offers to the Hill owner in all of your leagues.
On RotoViz Overtime, Colm Kelly and I discussed one of his suggested offers: Godwin + 2020 Round 2. I lean Godwin after the 23-year-old finished in the top three in yards, touchdowns, points, and fantasy points over expectation (FPOE). Godwin outperformed his volume, but that’s a very good sign for his future.
Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson
Watson is a mid-first-round pick in Superflex, with Murray falling at the turn. The potentially transcendent second-year passer is the more intriguing and controversial player here.
It’s not difficult to envision a scenario where Murray follows Lamar Jackson’s path in Year 2. Jackson only managed a 5-point advantage over the rookie in Expected Points last season, but the MVP gained an extra 120 in points over expectation.
As we know from Blair Andrews in The Wrong Read, No. 56, Murray’s explosion should happen this year.
As Murray continues to lobby for the addition of CeeDee Lamb in the draft, the Cardinals are busy putting the pieces in place for a thrilling 2020.
Elliott will turn 25 in July, and the two-year trade value loss for a 25-year-old RB is similar to that of a 28-year-old WR. We’ve seen this ugly dynamic play out in visceral terms over the last year with mid-career RBs Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, and Le’Veon Bell experiencing precipitous drops in value.
Elliott remains an elite RB1 in redraft and a solid dynasty startup purchase, but the signs of the eventual decline are already showing up in his numbers. His efficiency numbers are no longer what they once were, and he recently gave back the receiving EP gains he made in 2018.
Elliott is still going ahead of Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara, two Tier-3 backs, and enthusiasts will be thrilled to find him in this range. By contrast, owners who build for the long haul may still prefer a couple of young WRs from Tier 5.
In fact, the two most egregious omissions from this tier may be a pair of RotoViz favorites who could anchor your team for the next decade. Stay tuned for Part 3 where we dive into the tier that will set your draft apart.