RSO Rookie Draft Rankings

Updated: May 27th 2015

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With the NFL Draft in the rearview mirror and your RSO rookie draft on the horizon, let’s rank the players who should be on your radar and what kind of value they’ll provide under standard RSO contracts. Truth be told, if you have a top two or three pick this year, we’d advise trying to move back a few spots if you can get a worthwhile return, but of course that’s up to you. While all leagues are different, we’ll progress assuming standard RSO rules, which means non-PPR.

Round 1

1.1  Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper – ($6,024,012 in Year 1, $6,408,524 in Year 2, $6,793,035 in Year 3) – Cooper gets the nod at the top over Todd Gurley because of Gurley’s relative loss of value in 2015 coming off the ACL injury and because of the presumed timeshare with Tre Mason. The choice is even clearer in PPR formats.

1.2  St. Louis Rams RB Todd Gurley – ($5,656,694 in Year 1, $6,017,760 in Year 2, $6,378,826 in Year 3) – Risks aside, Jeff Fisher clearly plans to feed Gurley plenty when healthy. He’s the best running back talent to come into the league in several years and he’ll be a relative steal for you down the road if he remains healthy.

1.3  San Diego Chargers RB Melvin Gordon  – ($5,509,768 in Year 1, $5,861,455 in Year 2, $6,213,142 in Year 3) – The guess here is that Gordon makes the most immediate impact of any rookie in the class as he walks into a starting role on a team that wants to run and run often. But Gordon’s burden of carries in college portends a decline down the road.

1.4  Chicago Bears WR Kevin White – ($5,289,377 in Year 1, $5,626,996 in Year 2, $5964,616 in Year 3) – White probably drops a spot or two in PPR formats, but as a significant downfield threat who should score often in the league, he’s ready-made to complement Alshon Jeffery.

1.5  Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor – ($4,995,522 in Year 1, $5,314,385 in Year 2, $5,633,249 in Year 3) – On talent alone, Agholor may not merit this spot, but as a fit in Chip Kelly’s offense, Agholor will get the ball early and often. Bump him up in PPR formats.

1.6  Jacksonville Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon – ($4,407,814 in Year 1, $4,689,164 in Year 2, $4,970,514 in Year 3) – Here’s the first significant drop-off talent-wise in Round 1. Yeldon is not the most explosive back in the class, but he will win the starting job early and, behind an improving O-line, should score his fair share of touchdowns.

1.7  Atlanta Falcons RB Tevin Coleman – ($3,893,569 in Year 1, $4,142,095 in Year 2, $4,390,620 in Year 3) – The Falcons’ new decision-makers used a third-round pick on Coleman for a reason. It won’t be long, or difficult, before he wrests the full-time job away from Devonta Freeman and is Matt Ryan’s backfield caddy.

1.8  Detroit Lions RB Ameer Abdullah – ($3,452,788 in Year 1, $3,673,178 in Year 2, $3,893,569 in Year 3) – Another runner who probably ran too much in college, but Abdullah the butcher should see plenty of space to run in the Lions offense. He may not supplant Joique Bell from Week 1, but it won’t take too long.

1.9  Baltimore Ravens WR Breshad Perriman – ($3,379,324 in Year 1, $3,595,025 in Year 2, $3,810,727 in Year 3) – The next two receivers probably jump up one or two spots in PPR leagues, with Perriman topping DeVante Parker because he has a better quarterback, a more defined role and, from this vantage point, is simply a better player.

1.10  Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker – ($3,232,397 in Year 1, $3,438,720 in Year 2, $3,645,043 in Year 3) – A solid bet to eventually prove that he should have been ranked higher, but Parker is far from a finished product and the guess here is he won’t make much of a week-to-week impact for you until Year 3. The one thing he does best though, catch contested balls, could make him a touchdown-heavy player early.

1.11  Tennessee Titans WR Dorial Green-Beckham – ($3,085,470 in Year 1, $3,282,415 in Year 2, $3,479,360 in Year 3) – Buyer beware here obviously, and maybe it’s worth waiting for a second-round contract to take on DGB’s risk, but if it comes together, even in Year 2 or 3, Green-Beckham could be a touchdown machine and an ideal complement for Marcus Mariota.

1.12  Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess – ($2,865,079 in Year 1, $3,047,956 in Year 2, $3,230,834 in Year 3) – If Kelvin Benjamin worked out well for you, feel free to go back to the well. Like Benjamin, Funchess is big (6-4, 232) and not super fast, but he can make contested catches in the red zone. The upside may not be crazy high, but Funchess should be steady.

Round 2

2.1  Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson – ($1,351,730 in Year 1, $1,438,010 in Year 2, $1,524,291 in Year 3) – Hitting on a second-round pick is where you can really make a killing cap-wise. Johnson is high upside as the third-round pick should eventually take the starting job from Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. But the offense is still going to stink in the short term.

2.2  Indianapolis Colts WR Philip Dorsett – ($1,337,037 in Year 1, $1,422,380 in Year 2, $1,507,723 in Year 3) – Another high-upside play who could provide surplus value down the road. If T.Y. Hilton departs in free agency (probably unlikely), Dorsett becomes an immediate fantasy starter. And if not, his dynamic speed should play well downfield with the league’s best deep passer.

2.3  Pittsburgh Steelers WR Sammie Coates – ($1,322,344 in Year 1, $1,406,7494 in Year 3, $1491,154 in Year 3) – Others may not be so high on Coates, partially because he’ll be competing for balls with not just Antonio Brown but Martavius Bryant and Markus Wheaton. But Coates’ big-play ability and Ben Roethlisberger’s big arm should work well together. Bump him down in PPR leagues.

2.4  Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson – ($1,307,652 in Year 1, $1,391,119 in Year 2, $1,474,586 in Year 3) – Johnson landed in a weird spot for his skillset. One of the more advanced receiving backs in the draft, Johnson overlaps in that area with incumbent Andre Ellington, but the two should still split time moving forward. Bump up in PPR leagues.

2.5  Baltimore Ravens RB Javorius “Buck” Allen – ($1,292,959 in Year 1, $1,375,488 in Year 2, $1,458,017 in Year 3) – A home-run swing worth taking after we saw what a relatively marginal talent like Justin Forsett did in the Ravens offense last year. Sure, there’s no Gary Kubiak to scheme the run game, but Allen could be the guy in Baltimore if Forsett falls of a cliff health-wise. And if he never puts it together, the contract isn’t prohibitive.

2.6  Tennessee Titans RB David Cobb – ($1,278,266 in Year 1, $1,359,857 in Year 2, $1,441,449 in Year 3) – Here’s where our questions about what Ken Whisenhunt is going to do with Marcus Mariota seep into the rankings. With a more creative offensive mind, Mariota’s running back would have huge value. That’s not the case, so we’ll bump Cobb down while he tries to steal Bishop Sankey’s job (easier than it sounds).

2.7  Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota – ($1,263,573 in Year 1, $1,344,227 in Year 2, $1,424,881 in Year 3) – If Mariota had landed in Philadelphia, he’d rank near the top five. But with Whisenhunt, where Mariota will be square-pegged, there just won’t be enough upside. With so many starting-caliber fantasy QBs out there, the reward on hitting on a back or receiver outweighs Mariota’s talent until now.

2.8  Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston – ($1,248,881 in Year 1, $1,328,596 in Year 2, $1,408,312 in Year 3) – Winston may be the purer pocket passer, and he may have better immediate weapons in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, but he still has a terrible offensive line and a limited running game. Winston’s lack of value on the ground compared to Mariota bumps him below the No. 2 overall pick.

2.9  Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones – ($1,234,188 in Year 1, $1,312,966 in Year 2, $1,391,755 in Year 3) – New GM Scott McCloughan knows that Alfred Morris can’t be relied upon to handle his normal workload moving forward and, with Roy Helu departed in free agency, Jones, a third-round pick, steps in as the immediate Morris caddy. He’s probably great value in this spot.

2.10  Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi – ($1,219,495 in Year 1, $1,297,335 in Year 2, $1,375,176 in Year 3) – Another player who could end up belonging much higher on the list, but Ajayi slid to the fifth-round of the NFL Draft for significant injury concerns that shouldn’t be overlooked. But even if he starts for half a season at some point over the next three years, he proves worthy of the roster spot at this price.

2.11  Baltimore Ravens TE Maxx Williams – ($1,204,803 in Year 1, $1,281,705 in Year 2, $1,358,607 in Year 3) – Is a low-end starting tight end worth this spot in the second round? That’s up to you, but that’s what Williams should turn out to be early in his career, with the chance of becoming top-five tight end worthy come Year 3.

2.12  Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett – ($1,190,110 in Year 1, $1,266,074 in Year 2, $1,342,039 in Year 3) – Tough call between Lockett and Jaelen Strong here, but we’ll give the edge to Lockett, whom the Seahawks traded up to select. If he can be Russell Wilson’s big-play threat early, he’ll provide you plenty of surplus value down the road.

Just missed: Houston Texans WR Jaelen Strong, Oakland Raiders TE Clive Walford, New York Jets WR Devin Smith, San Francisco 49ers RB Mike Davis, Green Bay Packers WR Ty Montgomery, Atlanta Falcons WR Justin Hardy, Chicago Bears RB Jeremy Langford

Marketwatch 2015: Stock Up/Down

Updated: May 27th 2015

Now that the NFL Draft and NFL Free Agency are over, team depth charts are starting to form as OTAs get underway. With all this in mind, which moves have had the most impact from a fantasy perspective for your Reality Sports Online fantasy leagues? Let’s dive in, and I’ll try to avoid topics I’ve already significantly covered this offseason and focus more on the moves that impact the stock of some fantasy players we haven’t delved into much yet.

Stock Up

1) Melvin Gordon, Running Back, San Diego Chargers

While I agree with the St. Louis Rams that Todd Gurley was the best running back in the 2015 NFL Draft, I think Gordon inserted himself to the best situation right away. The Chargers invested heavily on the offensive line in the offseason, re-signing King Dunlap and grabbing the versatile Orlando Franklin away from their division rival Denver Broncos. Gordon reminds some of having similar traits to Jamaal Charles and should be featured in the screen game as well in spite of having only 22 catches at Wisconsin as quarterback Philip Rivers loves to dump the ball off.

Coaches have already raved about Gordon’s pass blocking, which bodes well for him being on the field in most situations. Based on lackluster performance from Donald Brown, Branden Oliver, and Danny Woodhead being a specialist in the passing game who is coming off a serious injury, I love what Gordon brings to the table immediately for the Chargers. Down the line, you are looking at a top ten fantasy running back as well.

2) Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Miami Dolphins

With a new contract in tow and coming off a season in which he passed for over 4,000 yards, 27 touchdowns and only threw 12 interceptions, one has to be excited about Tannehill’s passing prospects in 2015. Then factor in the deep-ball ability of wide receiver Kenny Stills, who was acquired in a trade with New Orleans, the drafting in the first round of wide receiver DeVante Parker, and the signing of veteran Greg Jennings to join second year slot receiver wunderkind Jarvis Landry and the Dolphins receiving corps is formidable. This doesn’t even account for the addition by subtraction of team chemistry vacuum cleaner Mike Wallace and adding tight end Jordan Cameron, who just two years ago showed he was one of the more promising targets at the position.

Expect continued development and a strong running game under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s high-powered system, and Tannehill to beat opponents with both his arm and his legs in 2015.

3) Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks

By now you know that my love for Wilson goes beyond rationality. The addition of Jimmy Graham gives Wilson the weapon over the middle of the field and more importantly in the red-zone that will bolster Wilson’s passing yards and especially passing touchdowns in 2015. The Seahawks typically have late round success in the draft as well, and used several picks to bolster the offensive line. However, the most impactful pick to the team may be the drafting of WR/KR Tyler Lockett in the third round, as the Seahawks surrendered four draft picks to move up and take the 5’11, 170 lb. receiver out of Kansas State. Given that the Seahawks tend to do well in the middle rounds of the draft, the trade with Washington to move up and pick Lockett suggests the team is very high on him.

Before you start having flashbacks to Percy Harvin’s forced Seattle stint, don’t view Lockett as the gadget play guy. On this team he is just another weapon along with the dependable Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson, when he returns mid-season from an injured ACL that occurred in the playoffs. Add in Super Bowl surprise Chris Matthews and his 6’5 frame, and Wilson has more weapons than he’s ever had to pick apart defenses. In a contract year, he’ll be grateful for that.

4) DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans

Nobody did more with less from the quarterback position than Hopkins in 2014. Hopkins only turns 23 next month and finished 2014 with 76 receptions for 1,210 yards and 6 touchdowns. Now, Andre Johnson is in Indy and the team didn’t use first round capital to grab another wide receiver, waiting until the third round to grab Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong, who provides a nice complement to Hopkins. Coach Bill O’Brien has gone on record calling Hopkins one of the best in the game right now. With Cecil Shorts being a possession type receiving option for the Texans and Strong being a rookie who the team is limiting to play outside receiver only, the sky is the limit for Hopkins. Be prepared to pony up for him if he’s available in your auction.

5) Jonathan Stewart, Running Back, Carolina Panthers

Down the stretch last year, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better running back than J-Stew. The team went 5-1 in his last six games and he averaged 99 rushing yards a game in that stretch. With no real competition and the team getting more receiving weapons as well in the draft (Devin Funchess), Stewart figures to be a sleeper for the first time in a long time. He’s still only 28 years old and under contract through 2018.

Stock Down

1) Devonta Freeman, Running Back, Atlanta Falcons

It wasn’t like Freeman set the world on fire with his rookie campaign. However, when the team cut Steven Jackson and let Jacquizz Rodgers leave via free agency, things looked decent for the former Seminole to be the bell-cow for the Falcons this year. When the team didn’t draft local product Gurley at #8 overall, opting instead for defensive help and then didn’t draft a running back in round two either, things seemed like the job may have been Freeman’s heading into training camp. That changed quickly in Round 3 when the Falcons selected Indiana running back Tevin Coleman, who draftniks view as a home run hitter who has superior skills (and better pass blocking ability than Freeman).

Freeman is thought of to be a better fit for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme, however indications this week are that these two will get equally share of training camp reps. This did work with some success in Cleveland last year before center Alex Mack’s injury. From a RSO perspective, the drafting of Coleman simply casts some of Freeman’s trade value in doubt and for that reason, his stock is down.

2) Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings

By most accounts, Bridgewater had a successful rookie season. especially from a completion percentage perspective. However, Minnesota’s offense is in slight turmoil. Running back Adrian Peterson wants out, Wallace is a chemistry killer who either gets targeted or complains, and the team passed up on Bridgewater’s college teammate Parker in the draft.  Count me as someone who isn’t overly excited by the Vikings receiving corps or Cordarrelle Patterson living up to his potential anytime soon.

3) Dennis Pitta, Tight End, Baltimore Ravens

While Pitta is optimistic he’ll play in 2015, I’m more bearish. The Ravens picked University of Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams in the second round as the first tight end of the draft board and used another of their nine picks to select another tight end in the draft. Pitta turns 30 this year and has suffered two hip dislocations. His 2015 salary is guaranteed by the Ravens, but expecting anything from Pitta in 2015 is wishful and in the “bonus” category. Probably worth dropping him, even if you are rooting for him to get back into the Ravens lineup.

4) Tre Mason, Running Back, St. Louis Rams

No Reality Sports Online owner left the 2015 NFL Draft more queasy than those owning Mason. Those owners came into their 2015 offseason thinking they have a rookie on the cheap for 2 or 3 more years (after all with the optimism around Zac Stacy in the 2014 offseason, Mason was probably a second rounder in your rookie draft), only to have a rookie season with 765 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns erased by the drafting of Gurley.

While the transition to Gurley, who is recovering from knee surgery, may be slow in 2015, you don’t draft a running back 8th overall to sit him on the bench when he becomes healthy. Mason may be entrenched as the starter for now but unless the Rams trade him, RSO owners will be left holding the bag on something that one of his father’s De La Soul albums (Buhloone Mindstate) fought hard to combat, because Mason’s Rams career has blown up and might go pop.

5) Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots

This may fall in the master of the obvious category, especially if Brady’s four game suspension sticks (I’m guessing it will get cut in half). Those owners who have Brady locked up though will have to search for a backup option and he may start the season a little bit rusty. Additionally, the loss of future draft picks could hurt from a weapons perspective. The Patriots also did very little to upgrade at the receiver position in the 2015 draft. Which means your investment in 2015 has lost a little bit of air.

I’m curious what you think about these players and others you feel strongly about. Feel free to follow or reach out to me on Twitter @mattgoody2. See you soon!