Fantasy Football 2021: Dynasty Rookie Rankings, 1st-Round Mock After NFL Draft

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2021

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) celebrates with wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) on their touchdown pass play during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. LSU won 50-7. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

And just like that, the 2021 NFL draft is over.

Fantasy managers now have even more info at their disposal as they plan for their drafts this summer.

Those managers who run a dynasty league were watching the draft a little more closely than most, as this year's event presented a hugely talented crop of skill position players who could become roster heavyweights in the coming seasons.

After OTAs and training camps, we'll have an even better sense for what these rookies can bring to the table for their teams—and, accordingly, what fantasy players can expect from them in 2021 and beyond.

Until then, however, we will break down their fits with their new teams and their college production to get an idea for which players could be immediate starters and which players you should plan to grab now and stash on your bench for the future.

The mock draft below assumes a 12-team league using points-per-reception (PPR) scoring.


2021 Fantasy Rookie Dynasty Rankings 

1. Kyle Pitts, ATL, TE

2. Najee Harris, PIT, RB

3. Ja'Marr Chase, CIN, WR

4. DeVonta Smith, PHI, WR

5. Jaylen Waddle, MIA, WR

6. Javonte Williams, DEN, RB

7. Travis Etienne, JAX, RB

8. Elijah Moore, NYJ, WR

9. Kadarius Toney, NYG, WR

10. Terrace Marshall Jr., CAR, WR

11. Rashod Bateman, BAL, WR

12. Trevor Lawrence, JAX, QB

13. Amari Rodgers, GB, WR

14. Trey Lance, SF, QB

15. Trey Sermon, SF, RB

16. Rhamondre Stevenson, NE, RB

17. Justin Fields, CHI, QB

18. Kenny Gainwell, PHI, RB

19. Rondale Moore, ARI, WR

20. Pat Freiermuth, PIT, TE

21. Michael Carter, NYJ, RB

22. D'Wayne Eskridge, SEA, WR

23. Dyami Brown, WAS, WR

24. Chuba Hubbard, CAR, RB

25. Mac Jones, NE, QB

Full rookie rankings at DraftKings.

Rusty Costanza/Associated Press


1st-Round Mock Draft

1.01 Ja'Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

1.02 Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

1.03 Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins 

1.04 Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons

1.05 Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

1.06 DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

1.07 Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals

1.08 Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos

1.09 Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

1.10 Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

1.11 Terrace Marshall, WR, Carolina Panthers

1.12 Elijah Moore, WR, New York Jets


Depending on the makeup of their existing rosters, fantasy managers can be looking for different things in a rookie dynasty draft. But there's no question that in virtually all leagues, Cincinnati Bengals wideout Ja'Marr Chase will be the first prospect off the board.

In his sophomore year alone with LSU, Chase led the FBS in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns and won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the best receiver in the nation.

And Chase's fit with the Bengals is also a great one. Look no further than the already-established connection between the wideout and Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the dynamic duo have already made the NFL record books.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Ja'Marr Chase is reunited with Joe Burrow in Cincinnati after going 5th overall. This is the 1st time in the Common Draft Era that a team used top-10 picks on a QB-WR duo that played together in college. https://t.co/HjXPGguvRe

For his part, Chase is looking to set even more records when it comes to his career as a Bengal.

"I'm going to break every record they've got, Chase told reporters on a conference call. "That's my goal right there. I'm telling you right now. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but it's going to get done."

If you are not lucky enough to nab Chase as the presumptive first pick in your rookie draft, don't lose hope. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris, Miami Dolphins wideout Jaylen Waddle and Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts are also fantastic options who should be difference-makers in any dynasty league.

The Steelers finished 32nd in the league in run offense last season, so expect Harris to make an impact right away.

Difference-making tight ends are so hard to find in dynasty leagues, and you can bet that Pitts will be a hot item in your fantasy league. He is, after all, the highest-selected tight end in the common draft era after being picked by Atlanta at No. 4 overall, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN.

The Falcons, for their part, seem like they can't wait to unleash him.

"[We] coveted that player for a long time, his skill set, the talent is clear and what he's going to bring on the field, and he's also a tremendous young man," Atlanta general manager Terry Fontenot said, per Rothstein.

With this year's crop of rookies, there are few bad choices in your dynasty league. And if you are looking to join a startup league, they should get you set up quite nicely.