Hello and welcome to the third installment of my annual Top 100 Rookies series! If you’re new to the series, every year I put together 100 rookies entering the NFL and rank them based on the impact I believe they’ll have for fantasy football purposes. This is not a “how good this player will be for real football game impact” conversation. This is specifically designed for you to use as an initial data set in building your own rookie rankings for all sorts of fantasy football drafts. And of course, it’s here to help you learn a few fun things to help you sound smart talking football with your friends.
Yes, you’re going to disagree with some of these rankings. And that’s okay! The goal here is to give you a baseline ranking to cross-reference with your own research. And believe me when I say this list has been a work in progress for at least three years. Thanks to college fantasy and devy leagues, I’ve been following most of these players since they were in high school. It’s a blast for me to finally see them land in the NFL, live their dream, and help you (the reader) win fantasy championships.
I used to keep things limited to offensive players, but for those of you who are super nerds like me, having some individual defensive players (IDPs) included definitely helps.
Some things to note as you read:
- The position listed is where I believe they will play most frequently in the NFL.
- “EDGE” players are typically 3-4 outside linebackers or pass-rushing 4-3 defensive ends.
- “DL” are typically DTs and DEs that will work exclusively between the 0 and 5 techniques on the defensive line.
- “LB” are the playmaking off-the-ball linebackers.
- Scoring format assumed is Superflex (can start 2 QBs), PPR, and a balance between tackle-heavy and big-play (for the IDPs)
If you missed the first part of the series:
Without further ado, here are the players currently ranked No. 41 to No. 60 in the early edition of the RotoViz 2021 Top 100 Rookies series!
60. Master Teague, RB Ohio State
Back in 2018 he was a top-150 recruit in the nation according to 247Sports, and for good reason. He ran a 4.5 and leaped nearly 40 inches in the vertical in high school at 210 pounds; numbers essentially on par with NFL athletes already.
Teague did nearly nothing as a true freshman, but did look decent last season when spelling J.K. Dobbins. In fact, he racked up 849 yards from scrimmage operating in a backup role. But then when 2020 was supposed to be his time to shine, he injured his Achilles on the first day of spring practice. It’s a miracle he’s been able to play this fall at all. And it’s even more remarkable that he’s actually played well (for the most part).
Teague may return to school to post a more complete healthy feature back season, but if he doesn’t his pedigree, athleticism, and likely impending college football playoff run of production should get him drafted pretty early.
59. Dazz Newsome, WR North Carolina
If cool names earned fantasy points, Dazz Newsome would be an automatic stud. But Newsome’s production profile sends mixed signals as to whether that will actually come to fruition.
Coming into this season, Newsome already possessed a 47th-percentile Adjusted Production Index among typical NFL wide receiver prospects. And with Sam Howell at the helm in Year 2 of his quarterbacking career, Newsome looked primed to improve his profile. But instead, Newsome started off incredibly slow and inefficient, and now he’s likely to end his college career with a much worse season than 2019.
So we’re left with a prospect who doesn’t have an early breakout and also misses the 60th percentile Adjusted Production Index we like to see. However, his incredible junior season and a likely strong combine performance may be enough to buoy his future value.
58. Anthony Schwartz, WR Auburn
Since 2015 there have been 23 wide receivers to run sub-4.4 forty-yard dash times. Twenty-two of them were drafted. Seventeen were drafted inside the first three rounds. Why is this relevant? Because there is a 100% chance that Anthony Schwartz is going to run a sub-4.4 forty.
— Travis May (@FF_TravisM) October 31, 2020
Eh, but that’s just a video of him running fast. That doesn’t prove anything.
Okay, but what if he runs a 10.07-second 100 meter? And what if he’s currently on the U.S. Men’s Olympic 4x100m team? Both of those things are true. And yes, that’s a faster time than Tyreek Hill has ever run. The point is, Schwartz is ridiculously fast. And the NFL is addicted to speed.
He’s not going to finish with a perfect production profile, since he doesn’t have an early 30% dominator breakout season. However, this season he is currently at exactly 30%, and his yards per team pass attempt numbers are around the 40th percentile for NFL prospects. So he’s not perfect analytically, but he is going to get draft capital and have ridiculous speed. That’s intriguing.