Snakes & Ladders: Rookies Edition


By @GOATdistrict

Posted June 27, 2017

We are excited to introduce our newest series to the site Snakes & Ladders.  We’ll be giving you a closer look at who is climbing up the ladders in our rankings, as well as who is sliding down those slithering snakes in our tiers.   We’ll take a look at each player, their current situation, where their ADP is and how you should approach those players.

Here at the GOAT District, we do our best to keep our site rankings & tiers as up-to-date as possible.  Meaning, if they aren’t updated weekly, it’s pretty darn close. When we update our rankings & tiers, we do so due to the constant flow of new information, and that is why players slide down or climb up our rankings on almost a daily basis, just like the board game. Most of you will remember it from when you were kids, while the rest of you might know it from your parent’s or grand-parent’s old toy collections.  That’s if they haven’t been sold in garage sales or on Kijiji, of course. Either way, this is the start of a whole new series we will be featuring on this site moving forward and we hope it helps you with your player evaluations.

Let’s start this off with the ROOKIES…


Leonard Fournette (+1) 2 to 1:

It could be the clear workhorse RB1 role waiting for him in Jacksonville; the film of him steamrolling defenses like a tractor combing it’s corn fields?  Or simply that the Jaguars intend to play that old school football and running the ball down their opponent’s throats, with Fournette touching the ball 25-30 times a game.  It’s probably a combination of all of the above. All we know is as we approach our rookies drafts, he’s the one player that we want with a 1.01 rookie draft pick.  We know, we know…you love Davis.  So do most people.  We love Leonard Fournette.  His current ADP according to is 2.10 in start-ups.  If you can follow Elliot or Bell up with a Leanord Fournette as your RB1 & RB2, that is one scary back field that your opponents will have to try to match on a weekly basis; especially when you consider the depth at the WR position and the devalued TE position.

James Connor (+9) 27 to 16:

JC has a clear defined role as Lev Bell’s backup, which has immense value in itself… cue RB1 DeAngelo Williams anytime Bell has missed games due to injury or suspension.  James is also a great dude with a great story where he beat cancer while recovering from a severe injury, who will be playing pro in the same city where he played his college ball.  All the dominoes are lined up for Connor to succeed when the opportunity arises.  As long as he keeps improving as a pro, he can become the Steeler’s next workhorse and a nice RB1 for fantasy owners lucky enough to get him.  He’s going a little too late in rookie drafts, so take advantage and grab him in the late second, early third.  In start-ups, especially if you draft Bell in the 1.01-1.05 range, JC going at 14.03 according to  For a rookie RB playing on that high powered offense, behind a guy who is one puff away from getting kicked out of the league, that is a steal.

Elijah McGuire (+16) 46 to 30:

For whatever reason, the Jets don’t seem to want to give Powell the workhorse role in NY.  Maybe they feel he just can’t handle the workload.  On the other hand, there are whispers that Matt Forte is in line for the workhorse role, with Powell playing more of a backup role.  Thing is, Forte is 31 years old and has a lot of mileage on his tires from his Chicago years.  With the team not showing trust in Powell, McGuire may find himself in an opportunistic situation sooner rather then later.  He can catch the ball, has good vision and according to HC Mitchell, “He’s a student of the game” as per .  Going 47.40 in rookie drafts, as per our friends over at, pick him up at the end of the 3rd, beginning of the 4th round of your rookie drafts and you might get yourself a RB3-4 with upside for cheap.



Christian McCaffrey (-1) 1 to 2:

It’s only one spot, but it’s a big one.  He was our #1 rookie since before the draft due to his versatility, pass catching abilities and how well he fits into the new NFL.  As we approach training camp, the questions we have are more about his quarterback, not necessarily about McCaffrey. The biggest question for us when it comes to CMC is his rapport with Newton.  If Cam is not throwing and fully participating in practice yet as he recovers from surgery, how can that not slow down the rookie running back’s progress?  That for us is enough to lower him that one spot from the top.  Why you ask?  The main reason we value rookie running backs higher than any other position when it comes to rookies as a whole, is that the good ones have the ability to produce early in their young careers vs most tight ends and receivers.  Cam not being there to practice with his new weapons will surely slow down CMC’s growth as he tries to adapt to the NFL.  This will also affect how quickly Newton himself gets used to the new system implemented in the Panthers offense. Between that and adapting to new additions McCaffrey & Samuel, we see another factor that could quite possibly slow down CMC coming out of the gate the first few weeks of the 2017 season.  Having said all that, he’s still our #2 and we love his potential once he and Cam get on the same page.

Evan Engram (-6) 11 to 17:

After Njoku, Engram is our second ranked rookie tight end. We don’t value rookie tight ends as highly as most, due to a) the length of time they take to develop, 3-4 years in a lot of cases; b) we really don’t know how they will actually fit into their respective offenses or in the NFL. Engram seems like the most pro-ready of the 3 big rookie TEs, but who really knows if he will be mostly blocking or catching passes.  With OBJ, Marshall, Shepard &  Vereen all splitting targets, who knows just how many targets will even be left for him, if any, in his first season.  Long term, EE can become a Greg Olsen type TE1 for your fantasy team, but again, there’s no guarantee, see Max Williams’ career to date.  If he falls and you have deep benches to wait 2-3 years, draft him.  Otherwise, let someone else waist and early rookie draft pick on him, and then if he hits and becomes a stud TE, you can trade for him then.  Yes you are paying a premium, but at least you are doing so knowing what he can do.  If you draft him now, in either start-up or rookie draft, that is one less chance you have of finding your team a fantasy stud who can help you from year 1, or at least year 2.

OJ Howard (-7) 15 to 22:

There is no question OJ Howard is a really good football player and he will certainly help the Bucs offense for many years to come.  However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be the next Gronk, as a few out there have predicted…and as many have drafted.  His current ADP is 6.12 according to; that is insane!  Way too early for someone who won’t produce as a TE1 until at least his second or maybe even third season.  Our philosophy here at GOAT District is “play to win now”.  Taking OJ in the 6th round of a start up just doesn’t fit well with that philosophy.  On top of that, Cameron Brate is still there and coming back as Winston’s favorite target from 2016. Everyone is giving Howard the keys to the starting TE job in TB, but Brate is still there and he’s not going anywhere yet.  According to the latest reports from, “this trend has continued into OTAs”.  Let someone else reach for his name, who may or may not pan out.  If he does, like Engram, trade for him once he’s proven himself worthy.  Until then, let him clog someone else’s bench in 2017.






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