Fantasy Football: Pre-Draft Special | News
Fall may be a few weeks away, but the NFL has returned to us. With it, the finest mesh of manliness and geekdom: fantasy football.
As you prepare to draft, remember that everything is relative and a good player ranking, like ours, is not a substitute for your own draft board. That is, enjoy my opinion about how players rank in relation to each other, but base your draft getting on value.
The formula: Value = [Rank - (Injury Risk/Potential) x (Scarcity + Need)] / League Psychology
Value means answering this rambling question: "Who is the best player available... ...at the position I need most... ...whose potential outweighs the fear that they'll get hurt... ...in a position that's thin... ...when I think they'll be drafted before my next turn?"
Your decision between Matt Forte and Reggie Bush may be an easy one, but what if you're trying to pick between Darren McFadden and Jimmy Graham? That's a more realistic Draft Day dilemma.
Use the Value Formula. Every position has different tiers and the drop off between them can be steep. While Graham may be a Top 3 guy, your #10 TE is still okay. But your team's success will probably hinge on your running backs and the difference between tiers may be between primary backs and someone splitting time.
Eat wings, talk trash, draft well.
(This ranking is based on a Standard Scoring League. Adjust as necessary for your league type.)
1. Arian Foster (Hou - RB) - Duh.
2. Ray Rice (Bal - RB) - Duh, part 2.
3. LeSean McCoy (Phi - RB) - Duh, part 3.
4. Aaron Rodgers (GB - QB) - Easier to believe Rodgers throws for 45 TDs than Megatron catches another 16 TDs.
5. Calvin Johnson (Det - WR) - Still in a class of his own.
6. Tom Brady (NE - QB) - He has a new toy in Brandon Lloyd.
7. Drew Brees (NO - QB) - No more Meachem but he does have...
8. Jimmy Graham (NO - TE) - He'll catch some of Meachem's TDs.
9. Chris Johnson (Ten - RB) - Still had 1400 total yards in 2011.
10. Matthew Stafford (Det - QB) - 5000 yds and 45 TDs isn't out the question. He could end up being the #1 QB in the game.
11. Matt Forte (Chi - RB) - Runs well, catches well but will lose TDs to Michael Bush.
12. Darren McFadden (Oak - RB) - When healthy, he's a Top 5 RB.
13. Jamaal Charles (KC - RB) - Had a whole year to recover but comes back to find Peyton Hill taking goal line carries away.
14. A.J. Green (Cin - WR) - Year two is looking promising.
15. Larry Fitzgerald (Ari - WR) - Would be higher but Arizona doesn't have a QB still.
16. Rob Gronkowski (NE - TE) - Word is Brady likes Angel Hernandez more but 17 TDs says plenty.
17. Cam Newton (Car - QB) - Probably won't run for as many TDs but should grow in the passing game.
18. DeMarco Murray (Dal - RB) - Don't trust his injury history or brief success but could be a winner.
19. Ryan Mathews (SD - RB) - After the first couple of games, he'll be a Top 10 guy.
20. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jac - RB) - Probably won't start the first game.
21. Julio Jones (Atl - WR) - Could end the year as the second best WR in the league.
22. Marshawn Lynch (Sea - RB) - Back spasms, the July DUI, rookie QB... tricky pick.
23. Andre Johnson (Hou - WR) - Coming off injury on a running team, he's still a stud.
24. Roddy White (Atl - WR) - Julio won't take that much away; could be a great pick-up.
25. Adrian Peterson (Min - RB) - He says he's ready. Could be a great value pick... or a wasted one.
26. Victor Cruz (NYG - WR) - Can he repeat?
27. Brandon Marshall (Chi - WR) - Looked good in 2011 and now he has a full season with his ol' Bronco buddy, Cutler
28. Steven Jackson (StL - RB) - A former Top 5 back who is sturdy and consistent. Great value here.
29. Wes Welker (NE - WR) - Even with Lloyd in the mix, Welker is a receptions machine.
30. Percy Harvin (Min - WR) - Could be a difference maker for your team at this spot.
31. Jordy Nelson (GB - WR) - Jennings has a hard time staying healthy and Nelson could reap the benefits.
32. Greg Jennings (GB - WR) - But Jennings is still crazy talented.
33. Trent Richardson (Cle - RB) - Not convinced he'll be healthy after two knee surgeries, or that he'll succeed in Cleveland.
34. Hakeem Nicks (NYG - WR) -- Cruz hurt him a little bit but the Giants are going to throw the ball 600+ times this year and he'll get his share.
35. Dwayne Bowe (KC - WR) - Never a question about his talent.
36. Fred Jackson (Buf - RB) - Don't sweat Spillar taking carries away, The Fred will produce.
37. Matt Ryan (Atl - QB) - Julio, Roddy and Tony might put Matty Ice in the Top 5
38. Mike Wallace (Pit - WR) - If he'd stayed out, Antonio Brown would have gladly taken those TDs
39. Brandon Lloyd (NE - WR) - Brady's deep threat.
40. Marques Colston (NO - WR) - Brees' deep threat.
41. Michael Turner (Atl - RB) - The most undervalued and underrated running back in the league, real or imagined.
42. Frank Gore (SF - RB) - Once a Top 5 guy, still producing. Maybe the 2nd most underrated
43. Antonio Gates (SD - TE) - Getting older but still a top flight TE
44. Antonio Brown (Pit - WR) - A burner with good hands.
45. Reggie Bush (Mia - RB) - Was last year a fluke or is Bush finally pulling it together?
46. Doug Martin (TB - RB) - The next Curtis Martin?
47. Vincent Jackson (TB - WR) - All he does is put up 1100 yds and 7+ TDs a year.
48. Dez Bryant (Dal - WR) - If he stays out of trouble, he could be a real beast.
49. Darren Sproles (NO - RB) - In a PPR, he's gold.
50. Aaron Hernandez (NE - TE) - Brady's new favorite?
Next Tier Great Values: Tony Romo (Dal - QB), Peyton Manning (Den - QB), DeSean Jackson (Phi - WR), Torrey Smith (Bal - WR), Reggie Wayne (Ind - WR), Darrius Heyward-Bey (Oak - WR), Jermichael Finley (GB - TE), Steve Smith (Car - WR), Miles Austin (Dal - WR), Philip Rivers (SD - QB), Vernon Davis (SF - TE), Eli Manning (NYG - QB), Brandon Pettigrew (Det - TE), Beanie Wells (Ari - RB), Stevan Ridley (NE - RB)