- UPDATED Sat 8/20, 8:15 PM ET
- Rankings are based on Yahoo PPR rankings as of 8/19
- Opinions are based off 12 team PPR format with 1 QB, 2 WR, 2 RB, 1 FLEX, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF
- Players in bold have good draft value
- Players with a
strikethroughmeans they are overvalued for the position they are being drafted. May just mean there are other players at their position that could be drafted at better value. Doesn’t mean they aren’t good players, just means the risks associated with them may be too high for the ADP they are receiving. Maybe they have a tough schedule. There’s different reasons for each overvalued player.
- Players not in bold and without a strikethrough are players worth drafting but who you should monitor over the next few weeks. Whether it’s a shaky offensive line, a questionable QB situation, or injury concern I’ll be following the status of this group closely every day.
- Rankings & analysis will be updated over the next 3 weeks as we get closer to kickoff.
- Antonio Brown- no Martavis can mean even more targets. Julio is the closest thing to a #2 as it can get though. Wouldn’t argue against anyone drafting Julio first.
- Julio Jones – a whopping 14 games of 10+ targets in ’15
- Odell Beckham Jr.- year 3 + not slowing down.
- David Johnson- tremendous ability as both a runner + receiver out of the backfield. Huge upside in Arians’ offense. Only concern: fumbled 4x on just 161 touches. If he clears that up, watch out. Scary ability. Arians hinted he has the ability to carry the ball 25x and be targeted 15x in a best-game scenario case.
- Todd Gurley (*upgraded from a “strikethrough”)- Goff or Keenum at QB? Ridiculous ability but the risk here is the Rams can struggle a bit in the redzone without many RZ threats. Upside is he gets fed the ball 330-340 times this year and is used in the passing game. I think Goff can get better as the season goes on, enough to create room for Gurley in the running game. The tough thing with Gurley is he has to face Arizona & Seattle’s run D twice and also faces the Panthers & Jets’ run defenses and then faces two very improved run defenses vs. the Giants and the Dolphins. Zeke’s schedule is just not as difficult. Bottom line, drafting Gurley comes with very high upside but also some risks.
- Ezekiel Elliot (*downgraded from “bold”)- DeMarco Murray had 392 carries with Dallas in ’14. No reason Elliot can’t have 300+ carries and 35+ receptions. He is so good in space and gaining yards after contact. The downside with Elliot though is it’s less than ideal taking a rookie with the 6th pick and the Cowboys defense has enough holes where the Cowboys may trail often and be forced to throw from behind more often than normal. Elliot wasn’t a huge part of Ohio State’s pass game with only 28 receptions for 220 yards last season and a huge strength of his game is his pass-blocking ability, so you have to wonder how often he’ll be used to protect Romo versus piling up fantasy football stats. In PPR leagues I feel much more comfortable drafting Dez or DeAndre Hopkins in the 6th position.
- DeAndre Hopkins – still hasn’t gotten a new contract and is playing under just a $1 million base salary rookie contract. He will probably play like his life is depending on this year’s performance. Brock will go through learning curve in the new offense but D Hop’s motor can will him to 95 rec/ 1500 yards/ 14 TDs. However, in the 7th position I would take Dez over Hopkins because Dez’s schedule is very generous for WRs. That’s why these rankings are Yahoo’s and not my own. I’ll do another article with my own rankings.
- Rob Gronkowski (*upgraded) – The difference between Gronk last year (17.04 fantasy points/game in PPR) and a respectable TE like Travis Kelce (11.84 points/game) was 5.2 ppg. Considering Kelce is relatively valuable at TE and the #8 scoring TE last year, that’s a pretty big gap. A gap big enough to probably make the difference between a few wins/losses over the season. Gronk’s risks are that he won’t have Brady for 4 games and Jimmy G’s gameplans vs ARI, MIA, HOU & BUF will probably be filled with short reads. Bennett may dip into some RZ targets but Gronk is still the most valued target on this team and will probably have 11-13 TDs this season. You can rely on only one other tight end to even come close to that and that’s Jordan Reed who had 11 TDs last year. Let’s see how he does with a more difficult schedule this year. If you draft Gronk and then a WR in the 2nd round, I highly suggest circling undervalued RBs Latavius Murray (#40), Demarco Murray (#46), Jeremy Hill (#55), Duke Johnson (#77) and Justin Forsett at #120 because this draft is littered with risky RBS in rounds 2 through 5.
- Dez Bryant –looks phenomenal in preseason and can be a monster if Romo stays upright. Dallas’s defense has enough holes where they should be forced into some shootouts. Love this pick at #9
- AJ Green- Marvin Jones gone. Mohammed Sanu gone. Brandon Lafell injured. Tyler Eifert’s status unknown. But rookie WR Tyler Boyd from Pittsburgh is fast and can stretch the field to create room for Green. Cincy’s offense can put up points and AJ is Dalton’s favorite target. Huge upside this year to have more targets than ever.
- Adrian Peterson- #2 in league with 357 touches last year. I imagine a paced workload in some games to preserve AP for a real chance at a deep playoff run, but AP is still “the guy” in a run-first Minnesota offense. At #11 this is good value.
12. Lamar Miller- huge upside and in a good offense with a coach who likes to run. Risk is Houston is sorting out injuries on the O-line and offense will have learning curve under Brock.
- Allen Robinson– a nightmare for DBs with his size and playmaking ability. 7 games of 10+ touches in ’15 but with an improved defense the need for Bortles to throw as often may not be there as much. Still has 90 rec/1300 yards/12 TD capability this season.
- Brandon Marshall- Marshall and Decker are great mismatches with their big bodies, but can Marshall replicate a 109 reception season with 1,500+ yards? Probably not, but his floor is probably something like 80 rec/1,000 yards/8 TD if 100% healthy. A bit expensive at #14 when looking at the rest of the WR pool.
- Le’Veon Bell- Good news: suspension reduced to 3 games. Bad news: I wouldn’t make this pick unless it’s handcuffed with D. Will and he is projected to go 7th round, a round I see some good sleepers in. Unless you find another RB late with a good first 3 week schedule, this may be an expensive pick. Steelers also have a brutal schedule.
- Brandin Cooks- yardage and reception monster. Ceiling of 1,500 yards in this offense with 10+ targets/gm. He averaged 8.1 targets per game last year in year 2 and Brees loves him as a target. Can only imagine that going up in year 3.
- Keenan Allen- 67 rec/725 yards & 4 TDs in 8 games before lacerating his kidney last year. 77 receptions as a rookie in 2014. Chargers don’t have a great D and Rivers slings the ball for high percentage throws and can move the chains every week. Rivers says Allen has “really matured” and in year 3 I expect big things. Allen was targeted 11.1 times/game last year before getting hurt and I expect numbers like 87/1,270/9 TDs for Allen
Mark Ingram-Saints are back to having an explosive pass game. Ingram’s touches will suffer. Ranked too high.
- Mike Evans(*downgraded from bold)- targeted 34 times the last 3 games of 2015 and Winston will only get better. The downside? Evans dropped FIFTEEN of 19 redzone targets last year and had just 3 TDs. If he cleans that up, watch out. He is a monster target who averaged 9.9 targets/game in 2015 and can explode for huge weeks. High risk/high reward. Has a great playoff schedule versus the Saints, Cowboys and Saints again in Week 16. However, I can pass on Evans and wait for TY Hilton (31.2 ADP) and get more reliability and just as much production.
Doug Martin-problems right now on TB O-line . Until they patch up the line #20 is too high when I can get Eddie Lacy at #26 on a mission behind a healthy GB line with Jordy Nelson creating space in the box.
- Alshon Jeffery- High reward but durability always an issue. Bears starting C is out for the year and Kevin White is a big bodied WR next to him, which can help or hurt Jeffery depending on how you look at it. Healthy, Jeffery is great at #21, especially with Forte out of town and Cutler most likely relying on his most dependable receiver.
- Jamaal Charles (*Upgraded from “strikethrough”)-
CJ Anderson-(*downgraded. was a play to monitor)- RBs always benefit in Gary Kubiak’s offense but he also only received 152 carries last year and 179 in 2014 under John Fox. Devontae Booker is a talented right runner behind him receiving some first round reps. Monitor Anderson’s reports the next few weeks, I think this is too risky for a 2nd round. I’d much rather Charles, Lacy or Freeman in this spot.
- Jordy Nelson- can bounce back big off the ACL injury. Injured in August of ’15 so he’s had a full year to heal. Makes this entire offense better and Rodgers will be happy to have him.
- Devonta Freeman- he’s ranked 9th still on ESPN and that’s a mistake because Dan Quinn has openly said that even though Freeman has the ability to be an every-down back, a committee with Tevon Coleman is the best for “what they’re trying to do.” Freeman is way better than Coleman is and the upside with Freeman is he’s a target out of the backfield in an offense very top heavy with targets (him and Julio will receive the lion’s share of touches on this team). At #9 this was crazy but in the late 2nd/early 3rd round I like this pick.
- Eddie Lacy- lost weight, motivated, Packers O-line is healthy, and Jordy Nelson will create room for the running game. Should get 240-260 carries this year and 1,050+ yards. Great value in the 3rd.
- Sammy Watkins- if healthy he’s a superstar and has a talented Tyrod Taylor throwing him the ball in an offense that lacks playmakers. His targets can reach another level this season. Monitor his health before you draft, he’s expected to play in the Bills preseason game this weekend.
- LeSean McCoy- will be featured a lot in this offense in year 2. I like his value in the 3rd round.
- TY Hilton – a steal in the 3rd round. This is Andrew Luck’s favorite target in a season where the Colts need a big rebound. The Colts’ D has enough holes where Luck will have to put up points. Hilton’s average ADP is 31.2 right now and he’s too undervalued. I’ll draft the guy with the 4.34 40 who will be leaned on heavily.
- Amari Cooper- played through injuries last year and still produced heavy as a rookie. Raiders offense is only going to get better and their O-line is solid. He’s healthy now and is a stud.
- Demaryius Thomas- can probably go for 85 receptions/1,200 yards/10 TDS in this offense. I think whoever starts for Denver at QB will be fine and can move the chains, but without a clear cut starter named and on a team built around defense, it’s tough for me imagining much upside at this pick. TY Hilton offers much more upside.
Cam Newton-just so expensive in the 3rd round if you look at the schedule he faces. The entire NFC South got better on defense. That’s 6 games a year. He faces the Vikings, @Broncos, Cardinals, @Seahawks, Chiefs, and @Oakland. Panthers will have a tough road to 10 wins this year. No thanks. Thomas Rawls-unknown how his return will be from injury. Seattle has some speedy playmakers at WR and will probably spread the ball more so than they have in the past. I just think Rawls in round 3 is too expensive. Brutal schedule no less.
- Aaron Rodgers- He will play with a vengeance this year and it makes me want to take him for that reason alone (not to mention Jordy coming back). The Packers’ schedule offers some games that scream “shootout” – home vs the Cowboys & Colts, a playoff rematch in Washington, and some other fun matchups vs the Giants and Lions. However, if you opt to get a cheaper QB I have a very strong case as to why a tandem of Eli & Tony Romo drafted together could work. Romo and Eli both have good FF playoff schedules (they play each other in Week 14….shootout potential). They also both play the Redskins twice during the regular season and can both be in for shootouts in those matchups. They both play the Packers and will have to keep up with Aaron Rodgers. When they play the Bengals they’ll have to keep up with one of the top 5 offenses in the league. It sets up for a very valuable QB tandem that can be drafted late while you stockpile talent at WR/RB early in the draft.
- Carlos Hyde – risky QB situation. Great talent though and in Chip Kelly’s offense will be featured a lot. Can’t tell how this offense will be just yet though.
- Eric Decker- always the beneficiary of facing #2 CBs thanks to Brandon Marshall’s presence. Gets a ton of redzone looks on a team that gets into the redzone. Downside is the Jets have a tough early schedule and they also play tough defense in Bowles’ system. The offense probably won’t be forced to throw enough for fantasy value in the 3rd. Other WR options have more upside.
- Andrew Luck (downgraded. was in bold)- The Colts have holes on defense and Luck will be throwing often. Weapons TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief have homerun potential on every play and with games versus the Chargers, Packers, Steelers, and Raiders, Luck has a 35 TD season waiting for him with probably another 2 rushing TDs to add to the bottom line. The downside with this pick is his schedule gets tough for the playoffs – Texans, @Vikings, @Raiders. His regular season schedule isn’t too generous either.
- Jordan Reed- ended last season on fire catching 23 straight passes at one stretch and the Redskins will probably find themselves in a few shootouts this year.
Russell Wilson– (*downgraded)- brutal schedule. I really want to take Wilson because he ended last season on fire once Seattle spread the offense out and started going with more 3 WR sets. But the Seahawks face the Rams twice, the Cardinals twice, and then outside the division they face the Jets, Panthers, and the Patriots. Not to mention they face defenses flying under the radar when they play the Dolphins and Falcons. The Dolphins defensive line has Ndamukung Suh, Mario Williams, and Cameron Wake. Scary. And the Falcons drafted 3 players who will impact the defense right away. Plus Vic Beasley will be in year 2 and has Dwight Freeney and Derrick Shelby to draw some double teams away from him. Desmond Burfict at CB is awesome for Atlanta. Russell Wilson’s got a tough slate.
Doug Baldwin-Aside from the tough schedule, I don’t think he can produce 14 TDs again. 11 of those TDs came over a 5 game stretch, just a pure statistical anamoly for a guy who had just 15 TDs his first 4 years in the league. He was quoted saying “Do I expect to score 14 TDs again? No, I don’t, and the reason is because we are a run first offense. In the redzone we are going to try to pound it into the endzone.” Case closed.
- Randall Cobb- will be motivated this year and better with Nelson’s return. Two years removed from 91 catches & 1,287 yards. I don’t think he has that pedigree but GB also has 4 shootouts on the schedule. High upside as a 4th round pick.
- Greg Olsen- Mr. reliable. Wouldn’t argue a TE grab here with one of the best. But Travis Kelce in year 3 also has some value later in the draft.
- Drew Brees- monster offense that will spread the ball out to Cooks, Coby Fleener, Willie Snead, and new found gem Michael Thomas out of Ohio State. Michael Thomas is a stud and will be a star in the NFL. I can see Cooks going for 1,350 yards in this offense and Michael Thomas having 900+ yards and 7TDs+. One of my plans with QB this year (depending on how the draft goes) is to not overspend and get Eli in the 7th and Romo in the 9th/10th who have great schedules to compliment each other and have favorable playoff schedules. Eli might be worth 2-2.5 pts/week less than Drew Brees over the course of the season but if you rotate Eli & Romo into your starting lineup the right weeks with the right matchups it could pay off. Up to you to decide.
Matt Forte-on the wrong side of 30 in a RB by committee situation.
- Golden Tate- can have 90-95 receptions in this offense. Lions will throw the ball with quick reads and Tate and Boldin will be featured a ton in the short game. Tate has high value for PPR but a bit less in standard because Boldin will take some redzone targets away from him and Jones will get a lot of the looks down the field.
- DeMarco Murray- running behind a monster offensive line and will want to prove last year he was the victim of a poor offensive system. The Titans wanted to run the ball down teams’ throats and that bodes well for a guy who was the NFL rushing leader just 2 years ago. Steal.
- Ben Roethlisberger- tough schedule. A 30-35 TD season is very real though. If WR Eli Rodgers in the slot can make some plays in a real game, Big Ben will no doubt have a much better year than last year’s 21 TD 16 INT performance. His TD:INT ratio will improve. The troubling thing with the Steelers is that they were awful on the road last year and Big Ben had just a 5:9 TD:INT ratio on the road. If I don’t grab Aaron Rodgers or Luck I plan on going with my Eli/Romo tandem.
Jeremy Maclin(downgraded) – diving into Maclin’s numbers a little more, he only had 9 games of more than 50 yards la st year. So almost half of his games his production was underwhelming. Since you’d have to get him in the 4th or 5th round, that’s expensive to have one of your starting WRs not perform at a high level that often. KC’s offense always has a cap on production in their system.
- Latavius Murray- Jack Del Rio is quoted saying that the Raiders want to give Murray “even more of a workload.” The Raiders want to establish the run, which Del Rio feels they didn’t do a good enough job of last year. The knock on Murray is he didn’t finish last year strong and can he handle a full workload – with a good offseason and a great O-line Murray should be in line for another 1,000 yard season and play a role in the pass game as well. He has a tough schedule but late Round 4/early round 5 this is a good pick.
- Jarvis Landry- 110 receptions last year and a great motor in an offense under a coach who helped Peyton Manning have his best statistical season and Jay Cutler have his best season. Miami will throw the ball often. In PPR Landry is a no brainer with the amount he’ll be targeted. Miami has a balanced offense with Devante Parker on the outside, Jordan Cameron at tight end, and Foster/Ajayi out of the backfield. Landry has some serious playmaking ability and can put up numbers.
- Donte Moncrief- speedy receiver in an offense that will throw and put up points. High upside. Games vs the Packers, Steelers, Chargers, and Raiders all have chances to be shootouts.
- Julian Edelman- schedule consists of Seattle, Arizona, LA, Denver, Houston and the Jets/Dolphins twice. Brutal. Playoff schedule is Baltimore, @Denver, then the Jets. Edelman’s never had more than 7 TDs in a season and I can’t imagine that changing this year with the addition of Martellus Bennett and Tom Brady being out for 4 games.
- Jeremy Hill- drafting Jeremy Hill means gambling on him overcoming the mental hurdle of fumbling in the playoffs and costing Cincinnati the game. All reports point to him having a great preseason and I’m a believer in Hill bouncing back. He’s a heady player and is motivated to have a bounceback type of season after he rushed for over 5YPC as a rookie and then those numbers dipped last year. Giovani Bernard is supposed to be featured a bit in the slot and will be the passing back while Hill is more the north/south power back in this offense. In the 5th round Hill can end up being a solid RB2 in 12 team leagues behind a great offensive line. Hill’s biggest upside is that he’s in a good offense and will have redzone opportunities.
Ryan Matthews-shaky offensive line in Philadelphia right now. I don’t want to be a part of this running game until I see something that proves me wrong.
- Michael Floyd- good player but Fitzgerald and Jon Brown just seem to take away too much production from him. He played through some injuries last year and this year can have around 1,050-1,100 yards but he has to share the ball with two other big WRs and the Cardinals face the Patriots, Jets, Dolphins, and Rams/Seahawks twice. Too tough of a schedule for me to not shop for a better valued WR.
- Jordan Matthews- will probably get a ton of targets in the Eagles’ offense. Downside is if the Eagles line doesn’t hold up this season then that will eat into Matthews’ numbers. Upside is he’s on an offense that lacks targets, he’s the clear #1, and the Eagles could find themselves in shootouts with the Giants/Cowboys. I don’t trust this line yet though.
Jonathan Stewart-Carolina has games @ Denver, Minnesota, Arizona, Oakland, KC, before playing all the improved defenses in the NFC South twice. Too difficult of a schedule for me to expect any sort of great production from him and he won’t help you much in the pass game for PPR.
Kelvin Benjamin– ^^too difficult of a schedule
Matt Jones-just sprained his AC joint in preseason and the Redskins O-line has been looking shaky in he run game.
- Devante Parker- explosive playmaker who didn’t put up big numbers last year but at 6’3 showed DeAndre Hopkins-like flashes down the field last year. Landry is still the #1 in Miami but Parker is in for something along the lines of 70 receptions/1,000 yards/8 TDs
Rounds 6-15 will be added as the weekend goes on. Will be posted on Twitter @spreadinvestor when updated.