Pre-NFL Draft RB Rankings: 2017

As we anxiously wait for the NFL Draft at the end of April, we’ll have to preoccupy ourselves with the combine and way-too-early dynasty rookie rankings. I’ve decided to try and be more proactive with sharing my research, study, and thoughts of how I rank these incoming players. I’ll do this through the Half Tier System.

The Half Tier System Benefits

The Half Tier System allows for more flexibility and better reveals the “gaps” between players than a standard Tier System. For example, a list can only separate every player by a number, which is impossible to determine the actual gap between the players. Whereas, the standard Tier System works in a similar way by separating a cluster of players by full tiers.

Yet, the Half Tier System can separate players by a “half” tier, a “full” tier, or even “a tier and a half,” and also minimize the total number of tiers.

Also, an advantage of the Half Tier is when a player that is valued more by the fantasy community than the individual who is drafting, that said player can be moved a half tier down instead of a full tier down. This will prevent that said player from being lost in a group of players with inferior valued players. The drafter can then decide his or her strategy by either drafting that said player — and look to move him later — or a player that he or she prefers.

Pre-NFL Draft Rookie RB Rankings: 2017

Notice how Tier 2 is empty. This signifies that, at this time, the gap between Mixon — if a team decides to give him a chance — and McCaffrey and Kamara is significant. It also means that I haven’t found a player that I’m comfortable enough putting into the second tier.

Even more so, this reveals the gap that I feel are between Fournette and Cook and the rest of the field (again, as we have a “wait-and-see” approach with Mixon).

Why does this matter? This matters because if I think there is a big gap and the players I value are off the board, then I might be looking at other positions to draft, or looking to trade down all together.


So far, Mixon and McCaffrey are my two biggest question marks. I’m tempted to move both players up a half tier because of talent. Yet, based on other qualifiers, I’m still hesitant to do so. The reasons for Mixon is obvious, but my reasons for McCaffrey are more controversial in the dynasty community.

For McCaffrey it’s his smaller size. It probably shouldn’t make me pause as much as it does, but he reminds me of Ameer Abdullah, who is full of talent and yet, can’t stay on the field. However, his talent is too much to put him in Tier 3, so this is a good example of where the half tiers come are efficient.


Clearly, this is a small sample size. Yet, this is an efficient strategy when more players and positions are in the discussion.

I’ll continue to update this graph as I receive new information and continue to research more players.

Bonus Material

Here’s some of my research at this time. A couple players I haven’t decided on yet. As I said, I’ll update this periodically.

**I’ll update these rankings as I continue to research and gain new information**

Next Article: Pre-NFL Draft WR Rankings:2017.