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Pre-Draft Fantasy Rankings

by Patrick Daugherty
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

These are as preliminary as it gets, but after three months of the offseason, we are beginning to get a general idea of player values. An update will be required after the draft, but for many, their 2016 outlook is coming into focus.  


Top 50 Running Backs


1. Le’Veon BellLaDainian Tomlinson waiting to happen if knees cooperate.

2. Todd Gurley — 10 TDs on 229 rookie carries behind awful line.  

3. David Johnson — Right skills in the right offense at the right time.  

4. Adrian Peterson — Purple Jesus still has lots of time on earth before ascending into football heaven.  

5. Doug Martin — “Good Doug” should get Chapter 3 in “A Tale of Two Dougs.”  

6. Lamar Miller — Durable and consistent. Was aggressively pursued by sophisticated rushing team.

7. C.J. Anderson — Posted 5.42 YPC over final 159 carries. Broncos went to great pains to keep.   

8. Eddie Lacy — Hammerhead runner has shed a sack of hammers from his waistline.  

9. Carlos Hyde — Dark horse for RB1 overall status in fast-paced offense.   

10. Mark Ingram — Was quietly eighth in running back receptions last season.   

11. Devonta Freeman — Averaged 3.07 yards on 113 carries after Week 9.  

12. Jeremy Langford — Rate stats didn’t match usage, but offseason has been one long vote of confidence.

13. LeSean McCoy — Durability an increasing issue, Karlos Williams an increasing threat.

14. Thomas Rawls — Sky-high upside, but legitimate downside coming off severe injury.  

15. Jamaal Charles — An epochal fantasy back, but probably headed for a committee.

16. DeMarco Murray — Breaking down, but Titans probably won’t restrict his workload.  

17. Jeremy Hill — Sophomore year was a nightmare — and Hue Jackson is gone — but still only 23.   

18. Matt Forte — Coming off career-worst year and headed toward committee.  

19. Jay Ajayi — Has RB1 potential if Dolphins keep striking out in quest for “upgrade.”  

20. Jonathan Stewart — Unlikely to match dream 2015 usage.  

21. Melvin Gordon — Admitted he was terrible as a rookie, but still has mouthwatering role.  

22. Matt Jones — Thoroughly mediocre as a rookie, but Redskins remain intriguingly psyched.

23. Giovani Bernard — Being a playmaker only gets you so far on 175-200 touches.  

24. Ryan Mathews — Pre-draft status as uncertain as one of his hamstring injuries.  

25. Ameer Abdullah — Home run hitter needs to figure out how to mix in some doubles.  

26. Latavius Murray — Raiders have talked like they’re trying to trade Murray in Dynasty leagues.

27. Alfred Morris — Could be clear-cut RB2 by the time fantasy draft season gets here.  

28. Chris Ivory — Touchdown scorer, but unpredictable committee awaits.    

29. Dion Lewis — A Sprolesian talent, but had durability issues even before torn ACL.  

30. Duke Johnson — 61 receptions were fourth amongst RBs. Could be Hue’s new Gio.   

31. Karlos Williams — A backup who will become RB1 with injury to Shady.

32. Buck Allen — Smooth pass catcher who posted disappointing 3.75 YPC as rookie.

33. Theo Riddick — Tied for 18th in the NFL in catches last season.  

34. T.J. Yeldon — Couldn’t score as a rookie, and won’t do so as sophomore if Ivory stays healthy.   

35. Spencer Ware — Could be the thunder to Jamaal Charles’ lightning.   

36. Danny Woodhead — Well established floor, but uncompelling standard league ceiling.  

37. Frank Gore — Beginning to fade. Could end up cut before Week 1.  

38. Shane Vereen — Too many cooks in G-Men’s RB kitchen, and Vereen is making salad.

39. Justin Forsett — Aging in a backfield crowded with young competition.    

40. Charles Sims — Will be tough to maintain value behind a paid Doug Martin and ascending Jameis Winston.

41. Bilal Powell — One of the least interesting pure pass-catching backs.  

42. Tevin Coleman — A bigger threat to Devonta Freeman than realized.  

43. LeGarrette Blount — Could end up “big back” or cut between now and September.  

44. Darren McFadden — Currently ahead of Alfred Morris, but that should change.  

45. Isaiah Crowell — Needs to impress Hue Jackson in camp/preseason.  

46. Rashad Jennings — Jack of all trades, but only master of being RB4.  

47. Cameron Artis-Payne — Unimpressive rookie year, but young back behind old starter.  

48. DeAngelo Williams — Pure handcuff who’s another year older after shocking 2015.  

49. Andre Ellington — Could be useful 3-4 times in PPR leagues.  

50. Ronnie Hillman — Always with the Hillman.  

 

Top 75 Wide Receivers


1. Antonio Brown — Will catch 126 passes for 1,677 yards if he meets three-year averages.

2. Odell Beckham — 23 years old with 25 touchdowns in 27 career games.  

3. Julio Jones — 136 catches and 1,871 yards last season were both second most in NFL history.  

4. DeAndre Hopkins — A modest improvement in yards after the catch could make him the WR1.   

5. A.J. Green — League’s most underrated dominator has cleared 10 scores in past three healthy seasons.

6. Alshon Jeffery — Ingredients there for top-five season if he avoids soft-tissue injuries.  

7. Dez Bryant — Plays legendarily hard, but is it leading to a physical breakdown?

8. Allen Robinson — Hurns and Julius will make it difficult to match last year’s 14 scores.

9. Mike Evans — Improved hands would make Evans dark horse for WR1 overall status.

10. Brandon Marshall — Ridiculously consistent, but 32 in a land of 27 year olds.   

11. T.Y. Hilton — Everything went wrong in ‘15 and Hilton still caught 69 passes for 1,124 yards.  

12. Jordy Nelson — Was the WR2 overall when last we saw him in 2014.  

13. Demaryius Thomas — Will have hard time bouncing back to 10 scores without Peyton.  

14. Brandin Cooks — Quietly the WR12 as a 22-year-old sophomore last season.

15. Sammy Watkins — Watkins will be a WR1 if he plays all 16 games.  

16. Amari Cooper —Sophomore growing pains possible after quiet second half.

17. Keenan Allen — Massive target potential, but averaging Edelman-esque 10.5 YPC since rookie year.

18. John Brown — An unholy amalgamation of Antonio Brown and Brandin Cooks with limitless upside.

19. Jeremy Maclin — Still somehow only 28 years old in May.  

20. Golden Tate — Averaged 95 catches past two seasons. Now Mega is retired.  

21. Doug Baldwin — Last year’s WR7 could be massive bargain even with major TD regression.   

22. Jarvis Landry — A deluxe Julian Edelman.  

23. Emmanuel Sanders — Most underrated player in NFL past two seasons, but no Peyton is no Peyton.  

24. Michael Floyd — Consistency has eluded him, but there’s a WR1 season somewhere in Floyd’s body.  

25. Randall Cobb — Obvious bounce-back potential, but arguably 2015’s most disappointing player.

26. Julian Edelman — Increasingly injury prone, Edelman owns 10.5 career YPC.  

27. Allen Hurns — Quietest 10-touchdown season this side of Doug Baldwin. Posted 16.1 YPC.   

28. Eric Decker — Has at least 11 scores in 3-of-4 seasons. Big-time bargain potential.      

29. Donte Moncrief — Last year’s WR38 could go wild as Indy’s clear-cut No. 2 receiver.  

30. DeVante Parker — Caught 13 passes for 286 yards (22.0 YPC) in Weeks 15-17.

31. Jordan Matthews — More realistic expectations should lead to more satisfying 2016.   

32. Kelvin Benjamin — Drop-prone 25-year-old junior coming off torn ACL. TD dependent.  

33. Larry Fitzgerald — Last year’s WR9, but production took nosedive with Floyd healthy.

34. Dorial Green-Beckham — Still exceptionally raw, but was year-long improver as rookie.  

35. Tavon Austin — Four rushing scores helped make Austin the WR21 in 2015.   

36. Travis Benjamin — Sliding into one of the most utilized deep-threat roles in football.   

37. Torrey SmithChip Kelly coaxed monster year from similar one-trick pony D-Jax in 2013.

38. Tyler Lockett — Spread-the-wealth offense dampens sky-high upside.  

39. DeSean Jackson — Has only 10 touchdowns over past 25 games.

40. Willie Snead — You probably won’t want to draft Snead, but could easily repeat WR3 2015.     

41. Marvin Jones — Has five touchdowns in 27 games if you eliminate 2013 outburst.  

42. Markus Wheaton — Like Snead, you won’t want him. Like Snead, could really contribute.  

43. Vincent Jackson — Will be a WR3 if he can stay healthy. Big if.  

44. Stefon Diggs — A genuine playmaker, but hard to exceed WR3 numbers in run-first offense.

45. Kevin White — Post-hype sleeper whose discount will fade as season approaches.  

46. Jeff Janis — Could make everyone forget about James Jones in a hurry.  

47. Breshad Perriman — Freakish size/speed prospect with major injury concerns.  

48. Michael Crabtree — Cleared 55 yards once after Week 9, averaging 8.71 yards per catch.  

49. Mohamed Sanu — Could end up plug-and-play WR3 in offense desperate for targets.   

50. Mike Wallace — Finally in offense that caters to his skills. WR3 status not out of the question.

51. Steve Smith Sr. — Should be more of a role player after surprising 2014-15 target totals.   

52. Nelson Agholor — Getting clean slate — and improved depth chart standing — on nightmare ‘15.  

53. Ted Ginn — You won’t draft him, but might end up using him.  

54. Brandon LaFell — Better health and more defined role could make for bounce-back year.  

55. Rishard Matthews — Was 17th in yards per route run last season, but questionable landing spot.

56. Kendall Wright — Annual underachiever in increasingly crowded receiver corps.  

57. Stevie Johnson — Compiler with advancing age and increased competition.

58. Phillip Dorsett — Zero fantasy expectations + prodigious raw skill = potential diamond in the rough.

59. Chris Hogan — Undistinguished, but noteworthy when Brady/Belichick take a shine.  

60. Rueben Randle — Giants were all too happy to move on, but TD scorer still shockingly young.  

61. Davante Adams — Exposed as a JAG in 2015, Adams owns anemic career 10.6 YPC.   

62. Jermaine Kearse — Start him with three players on bye and pray for a touchdown.  

63. Sammie Coates — Had lost rookie year, but path to WR4 value is there.  

64. Brian Quick — Couldn’t escape L.A., but still has theoretical upside.  

65. Pierre Garcon — Being phased out for the cool kids.  

66. Anquan Boldin — Averaged five catches per game for awful offense last season.

67. Kenny Britt — Coming off best year since 2010. Still only 27.  

68. Devin Funchess — Funchess’ development figures to remain methodical.   

69. Kenny Stills — Promising player, but Miami doesn’t suit Stills’ skills.  

70. Jaelen Strong — Strong is a knucklehead, but could be Houston’s No. 2 receiver.  

71. Josh Gordon — Gordon’s tenuous status won’t be made official until August.   

72. Brian Hartline — WR4 volume will be there if Gordon’s ban remains.  

73. Seth Roberts — Five TDs and 15.0 YPC last season.

74. Charles Johnson — Still lots of upside after injury-ruined 2015.  

75. DeAndre Smelter — Downfield threat who redshirted as a rookie.   


Top 32 Quarterbacks


1. Aaron Rodgers — Rodgers remains in his prime, and has much improved weapons.

2. Cam Newton — Likely won’t match historic 2015, but is still only 27.  

3. Russell Wilson — Ridiculously durable, Wilson’s most consistent quality is improvement.    

4. Andrew Luck — 2014’s No. 1 overall player will rebound on injury-ruined ‘15.

5. Ben Roethlisberger — Even without Martavis Bryant, Ben’s weapons are envy of the NFL.

6. Drew Brees — Ludicrously productive with a makeshift supporting cast last season that should be more polished.  

7. Eli Manning — In Year 3 of tailor-made system with league’s top playmaking wideout.   

8. Tom Brady — Still angry and in unreasonably good shape, but currently suspended.    

9. Blake Bortles — Can’t match last year’s TD rate, but has imposing trio of red-zone threats.

10. Carson Palmer — Injury threat looms, but weekly candidate for QB1 overall finishes.

11. Derek Carr — Not a finished product, but boomed more than busted in 2015.

12. Philip Rivers — Faded badly each of the past two second halves.  

13. Andy Dalton — Still has A.J. and Eifert, but no Hue, Marvin or Mohamed hurts.  

14. Ryan Tannehill — Lots of weapons and elite play-caller in Adam Gase.

15. Jameis Winston — Will have top-three weeks fueled by Mike Evans.  

16. Matt RyanMohamed Sanu isn’t how you summit a plateau.  

17. Tony Romo — As good as ever, but also as fragile as ever.  

18. Kirk Cousins — Stars aligning again will require trip through asteroid belt.  

19. Marcus Mariota — Needs to run more. Needs fewer MCL injuries.   

20. Joe Flacco — Could have best supporting cast of his career if health obliges.   

21. Tyrod Taylor — Peaks, valleys and frequent exposure to massive hits.   

22. Matthew Stafford — Had trouble enough as it is with Calvin Johnson.

23. Jay Cutler — Smokin’ Jay headed for a post-Gase hangover.  

24. Alex Smith — Dual, yes. Threat? Not so much.

25. Ryan Fitzpatrick — Career year still featured 59.6 completion percentage, 6.95 YPA.  

26. Teddy Bridgewater — Has only 28 touchdowns through 29 NFL games.   

27. Brock Osweiler — Osweiler’s last act in 2015 was getting benched.  

28. Sam Bradford — No one ever said it was easy being Sam Bradford.    

29. Colin Kaepernick — Upside would be enormous with Chip Kelly, alas.  

30. Robert Griffin III — Needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.   

31. Blaine Gabbert — No.  

32. Mark Sanchez — This really needs not to happen.


Top 32 Tight Ends


1. Rob Gronkowski — Has missed only two games over the past two seasons.  

2. Greg Olsen — Coming off back-to-back career years.  

3. Gary Barnidge — De facto No. 1 receiver for coach who features tight ends.  

4. Jordan Reed — Durability issues only reason he’s not ahead of Barnidge.

5. Travis Kelce — Zeus’ rise has been methodical, but mountaintop approaching.  

6. Tyler Eifert — Rich man’s Kyle Rudolph who’s had trouble staying healthy.  

7. Coby Fleener — Has 75-catch floor in offense that peppers TEs with targets.  

8. Zach Ertz — 35/450/1 over final four games. Got $20M guaranteed in January.

9. Delanie Walker — Has been a warrior, but target competition getting more fierce.  

10. Ladarius Green — Averaged 14.1 YPC for his career. Now getting biggest opportunity.  

11. Eric Ebron — Frustratingly incremental, but took steps forward in 2015. Desperately needed.

12. Antonio Gates — 16 games seem extremely unlikely.

13. Dwayne Allen — Disappointing career thus far, but needed in the red zone.  

14. Martellus Bennett — Merciful middle ground between Hernandez and Chandler. Concerning 8.3 YPC in ‘15.   

15. Clive Walford — Headed for increased role, but lots of mouths to feed.   

16. Julius Thomas — Has only 944 yards over his past 25 games.  

17. Jimmy Graham — Strong candidate for reserve/PUP list.  

18. Jordan Cameron — Pathetic 2015, but playing for a coach who utilizes tight ends.  

19. Austin Seferian-Jenkins — Still more questions than answers at this point in his career.  

20. Charles Clay — Most overpaid player in football?

21. Kyle Rudolph — Crazily, Rudolph’s sleeve didn’t make him a better player.  

22. Jason Witten — Even with a healthy Romo, Witten’s upside is vanishing.

23. Zach Miller — Huge surprise last year, but is 31 with insane injury history.  

24. Will Tye — Could take big step forward considering lack of targets behind OBJ.  

25. Jared Cook — Finally has a good quarterback, but 16 TDs in 107 games.  

26. Richard Rodgers — Cook’s addition makes Rodgers the NFL’s new Scott Chandler.

27. Jace Amaro — Missed all of 2015, but Jets haven’t added competition.  

28. Ben Watson — Storybook 2015 unlikely to have a sequel.  

29. Crockett Gillmore — Recovering from shoulder surgery. Too much competition.  

30. Jacob Tamme — Will hopefully have more competition for targets this season.

31. Luke Willson — Will be low-end TE2 until Jimmy Graham returns.  

32. Ryan Griffin — The Texans need to draft a tight end.


Patrick Daugherty
Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .