Season-long fantasy football is a week-to-week matchup game. Philosophically, my goal is always to acquire and stockpile week winners. Players capable of blowing up in a given week and tilting the score in my favor. I want to get weekly wins. As Sean Fakete has noted, week winners tend to be touchdown scorers.
As the NFL now scores the majority of its touchdowns through the air and running backs are no longer hitting pay dirt as often as receivers, wideouts have moved to the top of my non-PPR rankings. It certainly doesn't help the cause of running backs that this year's class at the position is so littered with workload, age, injury, and situation concerns.
This is my attempt to essentially map out a fantasy draft, and provide readers with an idea of where I value players based on their potential to become week winners. Average Draft Position (ADP), position scarcity, ceilings, floors, and projected role are all considered in the rankings. I bump up players I proactively want to draft -- sometimes aggressively -- because I think there is strong evidence that suggests we should pursue them. I bump down players I do not want to draft because I believe there is evidence suggesting they're to be avoided. As is always the case, I severely devalue quarterbacks because it is a devalued position in standard, one-quarterback leagues.
I believe these rankings are best used as a rough draft for readers to tweak where they see fit based on news, injuries, and personal preferences over the course of camp and preseason.
1. Antonio Brown (WR1) -- AB's stats in 15 career games sans Le'Veon: 138-2,004-11.
2. Julio Jones (WR2) -- Last year's overall WR2 in non-PPR has room for TD growth (8).
3. Odell Beckham (WR3) -- OBJ has TD and/or 90-plus yards in 21 of his last 25 games.
4. A.J. Green (WR4) -- In line to be this year's Julio after Bengals lost 152 targets.
5. Dez Bryant (WR5) -- Has scored 38 touchdowns over his last 41 games with Romo.
6. DeAndre Hopkins (WR6) -- Coming off dominant 111-1,521-11 campaign at age 23.
7. Allen Robinson (WR7) -- A-Rob has 80-plus yards and/or TD in 16 of last 20 games.
8. Ezekiel Elliott (RB1) -- 3-down workhorse behind great OL with great schedule.
9. David Johnson (RB2) -- Pre-season workload concerns likely to prove overblown.
10. Adrian Peterson (RB3) -- "All Day" has double-digit TDs in 8 of his 9 NFL seasons.
11. Rob Gronkowski (TE1) -- Has 29 TDs and a 78-yard average over his last 35 games.
12. Todd Gurley (RB4) -- Special talent should compete to lead the league in carries.
13. Alshon Jeffery (WR8) -- Has 70-plus yards and/or touchdown in 32 of last 38 games.
14. Lamar Miller (RB5) -- O'Brien's Texans are 2nd in rushing attempts over last 2 years.
15. Brandon Marshall (WR9) -- Has been a top-5 fantasy WR in 3 of the last 4 seasons.
16. Keenan Allen (WR10) -- Better in PPR. Still a high-floor, low-end WR1 in non-PPR.
17. T.Y. Hilton (WR11) -- Has an 82-1,504-10 line over Luck's last 16 fully-played games.
18. Jamaal Charles (RB6) -- On pace for 1,731 total yards & 16 TDs before 2015 ACL tear.
19. Devonta Freeman (RB7) -- Maintains firm grip on Falcons receiving & goal-line roles.
20. Mark Ingram (RB8) -- Secure goal-line role provides big TD ceiling in high-scoring O.
21. LeSean McCoy (RB9) -- Mammoth workload upside in Bills run-dominated offense.
22. Jordy Nelson (WR12) -- Has finished as a top-12 fantasy WR in 3 of his last 4 seasons.
23. Mike Evans (WR13) -- Averaged only 7.3 targets with VJax last year. 12.5 without him.
24. Eddie Lacy (RB10) -- Back in shape in his contract year. Top-6 RB in both 2013 & 2014.
25. Brandin Cooks (WR14) -- Last year's WR12 in non-PPR. 9 TDs may be tough to repeat.
26. Jordan Reed (TE2) -- Has 109-1,218-12 receiving line in 17 career games with Cousins.
27. Doug Martin (RB11) -- 2nd in NFL in carries (288) and rushing yards (1,402) last year.
28. Randall Cobb (WR15) -- Finished as fantasy WR6 in last season Jordy Nelson played.
29. Golden Tate (WR16) -- Downtick in non-PPR, but volume will keep him consistent.
30. Demaryius Thomas (WR17) -- Efficiency declining sharply, big quarterback concerns.
31. Sammy Watkins (WR18) -- Medical/volume concerns, but week winner when healthy.
32. Jeremy Maclin (WR19) -- Safe WR2 pick. Finished as last year's WR17 in non-PPR.
33. Jarvis Landry (WR20) -- Consistent, high-volume target with room for TD growth (4).
34. Donte Moncrief (WR21) -- Classic 3rd-year breakout. 5 TDs in Luck's 7 starts last year.
35. C.J. Anderson (RB12) -- High-volume bellcow potential if he holds off rookie Booker.
36. Thomas Rawls (RB13) -- Double-digit TD upside if he gets healthy, retains lead role.
37. Amari Cooper (WR22) -- Drew only 7 RZ targets as rookie, seeing zero inside the 10.
38. Eric Decker (WR23) -- Topped 80 yards and/or scored TD in 15-of-15 games last year.
39. Le'Veon Bell (RB14) -- Too much downside for me before Round 4 of 12-team drafts.
40. Latavius Murray (RB15) -- Non-PPR value pick. Well positioned for 300-plus touches.
41. Doug Baldwin (WR24) -- Saw 14 red-zone targets in final 7 games, turned 6 into TDs.
42. Michael Floyd (WR25) -- Led Cardinals in targets after David Johnson took over at RB.
43. Jordan Matthews (WR26) -- WR23, WR20 in first two years. Target monster potential.
44. Kelvin Benjamin (WR27) -- TD upside makes Kelvin a better non-PPR than PPR pick.
45. John Brown (WR28) -- Arguably highest-floor Cardinals WR. Floyd has better ceiling.
46. Larry Fitzgerald (WR29) -- Per-game targets dipped when David Johnson took over.
47. Julian Edelman (WR30) -- Red flagged for two foot surgeries, TD regression coming.
48. Matt Forte (RB16) -- Better in PPR leagues, but should still be useful RB2 in non-PPR.
49. DeVante Parker (WR31) -- 16-game pace stats were 59-1,187-8 from Weeks 12-17.
50. Frank Gore (RB17) -- Likely big offensive improvement makes him a bargain in drafts.
51. DeAngelo Williams (RB18) -- Top-5 RB play in Weeks 1-4, should have role after that.
52. Carlos Hyde (RB19) -- Oft-injured 2-down back on bad team with bad offensive line.
53. Jeremy Hill (RB20) -- Ha 16 carries inside the 5-yard line last year. Gio only had 4.
54. Emmanuel Sanders (WR32) -- Like Sanders in 5th/6th over Demaryius in 2nd/3rd.
55. Greg Olsen (TE3) -- Still Cam's No. 1 target. Top-4 fantasy TE in back-to-back years.
56. Jonathan Stewart (RB21) -- Secure workload with limited TD & receiving potential.
57. Dion Lewis (RB22) -- Better PPR value, but was on pace for over 10 TDs last season.
58. Travis Kelce (TE4) -- ADP has fallen to 6th/7th round. Elite talent among tight ends.
59. Cam Newton (QB1) -- League-best 7.1% TD rate & 10 rush TDs both likely to regress.
60. Aaron Rodgers (QB2) -- Top-two fantasy quarterback in six of his last eight seasons.
61. Matt Jones (RB23) -- Suspect talent in position for 300-plus touches if he keeps job.
62. Danny Woodhead (RB24) -- Still viable RB2/flex in non-PPR. Chargers main RZ back.
63. Tyler Lockett (WR33) -- Including playoffs, went 34-514-6 in Seattle's final 9 games.
64. DeSean Jackson (WR34) -- 60-1,169-7 over his last 16 games of 50% or more of snaps.
65. Ryan Mathews (RB25) -- Presumed lead runner in likely balanced O under Pederson.
66. Tyler Eifert (TE5) -- TD scorer. Injury has pushed him into potential value-pick range.
67. Coby Fleener (TE6) -- Should be high-scoring TE in pass-first O. Finished TE6 in 2014.
68. Russell Wilson (QB3) -- Last year's overall QB2 has room for growth in rushing TDs (1).
69. Josh Gordon (WR35) -- Suspended Weeks 1-4 and ceiling likely lower than perceived.
70. Marvin Jones (WR36) -- Arguably the favorite to lead Lions in touchdown receptions.
71. Michael Crabtree (WR37) -- Low-ceiling possession WR fell off in 2nd half last season.
72. Andrew Luck (QB4) -- Strong rebound bet with great schedule & explosive weapons.
73. Rashad Jennings (RB26) -- Averaged 21.5 touches over Giants final 4 games last year.
74. Jeremy Langford (RB27) -- Penciled in as leader of Bears running back committee.
75. Drew Brees (QB5) -- Mouth-watering weapons. Top-6 fantasy QB in 10 straight years.
76. Kamar Aiken (WR38) -- My pick to lead Ravens in targets and receptions this season.
77. Kevin White (WR39) -- Terrell Owens-esque WR talent with target volume concerns.
78. Tavon Austin (WR40) -- Rams featured WR. Goff likely to upgrade on Keenum/Foles.
79. Allen Hurns (WR41) -- Major TD regression candidate after 64-catch, 10-score season.
80. Antonio Gates (TE7) -- Last year's TE7 in PPG. He's still Rivers' top red-zone weapon.
81. Torrey Smith (WR42) -- Led NFL in yards per catch (20.1). No. 1 WR in high-volume O.
82. Duke Johnson (RB28) -- Receiving-oriented RB has a lot less juice in non-PPR scoring.
83. Giovani Bernard (RB29) -- PPR guy. Has scored 2 touchdowns over his last 18 games.
84. Charles Sims (RB30) -- RB3/4 in non-PPR becomes RB1/2 if Doug Martin misses time.
85. Ameer Abdullah (RB31) -- Limited receiving/RZ usage.
86. Melvin Gordon (RB32) -- Left field in RZ as rookie.
87. LeGarrette Blount (RB33) -- 23 TDs/30 games in NE.
88. Arian Foster (RB34) -- Shaping up as Dolphins starter.
89. Julius Thomas (TE8) -- 29 TDs over last 39 games.
90. Delanie Walker (TE9) -- Likely to lose a ton of targets.
91. Ladarius Green (TE10) -- Big upside. Also big enigma.
92. Zach Ertz (TE11) -- Can jump to every-week TE1 if he figures out how to score TDs.
93. Gary Barnidge (TE12) -- Gordon's conditional reinstatement caps Barnidge's ceiling.
94. Corey Coleman (WR43) -- See Gary Barnidge. Still an intriguing WR4/5 pick to stash.
95. DeMarco Murray (RB35) -- Declining lead member of RBBC in a low-scoring offense.
96. Chris Ivory (RB36) -- Expected to start over Yeldon & handle Jaguars goal-line work.
97. Bilal Powell (RB37) -- Should offer standalone flex value behind 31-year-old Forte.
98. Justin Forsett (RB38) -- Penciled in as Ravens lead back. I'm skeptical he will last.
99. Eric Ebron (TE13) -- Boldin signing hurts, but still has third-year breakout potential.
100. Dwayne Allen (TE14) -- Sneaky bet to lead Colts smallish pass-catcher corps in TDs.
101. Devin Funchess (WR44) -- Breakout candidate if Benjamin doesn't return at full tilt.
102. Willie Snead (WR45) -- Last year's WR35 in non-PPR. Michael Thomas poses threat.
103. Sterling Shepard (WR46) -- Better PPR pick. Should finish No. 2 on NYG in targets.
104. Martellus Bennett (TE15) -- Expected to have big role. Cheap candidate for 7-9 TDs.
105. Ben Roethlisberger (QB6) -- Martavis loss is significant. Was overdrafted all spring.
106. Markus Wheaton (WR47) -- Topped 70 yards in just 2/18 games, including playoffs.
107. Laquon Treadwell (WR48) -- Highest-upside member of low-upside passing game.
108. Carson Palmer (QB7) -- Coming off career highs in TDs, yards, and passer rating.
109. Tom Brady (QB8) -- Suspended Weeks 1-4. Will return as a top-five QB in Week 5.
110. Philip Rivers (QB9) -- Last year's fantasy QB2 until K. Allen injury. QB23 rest of way.
111. Jay Ajayi (RB39) -- Will be favorite for Dolphins RB work if/when Foster goes down.
112. Derrick Henry (RB40) -- D. Murray looked washed last year. Worth stab as an RB4/5.
113. Stefon Diggs (WR49) -- Had under 70 yards in each of last 9 weeks. Treadwell added.
114. DeAndre Washington (RB41) -- Locked-in specialty role. Can he threaten Latavius?
115. Vincent Jackson (WR50) -- 16-game pace was 62-1,050-6 in his eight healthy weeks.
116. Phillip Dorsett (WR51) -- 4.33 burner should be a near-full-time player in 3-WR O.
117. Mohamed Sanu (WR52) -- Cheap candidate for 100-plus targets, around 70 catches.
118. Travis Benjamin (WR53) -- Likely low-volume WR behind Allen, Gates, Woodhead.
119. Michael Thomas (WR54) -- Replacing Colston in slot. Reportedly lighting up camp.
120. Blake Bortles (QB10) -- Has skill set & weapons to be perennial top-10 fantasy QB.
121. Kirk Cousins (QB11) -- Led NFL in completion rate (69.8%). Flush with playmakers.
122. Tyrod Taylor (QB12) -- Cheap price with big weekly upside. Ideal late-round QB.
123. Eli Manning (QB13) -- High-floor late-round QB w/ back-to-back top-10 QB seasons.
124. Terrance Williams (WR55) -- Scored 8 touchdowns in Romo's last full season ('14).
125. Sammie Coates (WR56) -- Early-camp signs he may threaten Wheaton's No. 2 role.
126. T.J. Yeldon (RB42) -- Needs Chris Ivory injury to become useful in fantasy leagues.
127. Mike Wallace (WR57) -- Penciled in as Flacco's primary deep threat to begin year.
128. Isaiah Crowell (RB43) -- Game flow is huge concern as 2-down RB on a bad team.
129. Matthew Stafford (QB14) -- High-volume passer often lasts until 11th/12th rounds.
130. Matt Ryan (QB15) -- TD progression coming. Was bad value in '15; good value in '16.
131. Tony Romo (QB16) -- Low-ceiling late-round QB with continued medical concerns.
132. Josh Doctson (WR58) -- Slow start seems likely. Early-season stash with big talent.
133. Derek Carr (QB17) -- Could start hot Weeks 1-5: @ NO, vs ATL, @ TEN, @ BAL, vs SD.
134. Ryan Tannehill (QB18) -- Tough stretch to open season: @ SEA, @ NE, vs CLE, @ CIN.
135. Jay Cutler (QB19) -- Undervalued/underrated? Elite weapons give him 30-TD upside.
136. Joe Flacco (QB20) -- High-volume passer sneaky bet for career-best fantasy season.
137. Jameis Winston (QB21) -- Limited by run-first offense, tough non-division schedule.
138. Marcus Mariota (QB22) -- Seems ticketed for conservative role in slow, run-heavy O.
139. C.J. Prosise (RB44) -- Versatile prospect missing practice time with hamstring strain.
140. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE16) -- Beat writers say "$10 million talent, 10-cent head."
141. Jason Witten (TE17) -- Has topped 70 yards in just 2 games over the last 2 seasons.
142. Will Tye (TE18) -- From Week 10 on last year, his 16-game pace stats were 73-841-7.
143. Zach Miller (TE19) -- Targets? Big 2015 games came with White, Jeffery, Royal hurt.
144. Bruce Ellington (WR59) -- Chip Kelly's new slot WR. Sleeper to lead 49ers in catches.
145. Ben Watson (TE20) -- Sleeper to lead pass-heavy Ravens in receiving touchdowns.
146. Jerick McKinnon (RB45) -- Would push for RB1 value if Adrian Peterson missed time.
147. James Starks (RB46) -- Beat writers say Lacy-Starks could form an early-season RBBC.
148. Tevin Coleman (RB47) -- League-winning potential if Devonta Freeman goes down.
149. Spencer Ware (RB48) -- 2nd in line for carries in K.C. Also threat for goal-line work?
150. Jordan Howard (RB49) -- Profiles as Bears best option on short-yardage/goal-line runs.
Missed: Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Teddy Bridgewater, Brock Osweiler, Jared Goff, Sam Bradford, Robert Griffin III; Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, Shane Vereen, Theo Riddick, Darren McFadden, Kenyan Drake, Darren Sproles, Chris Johnson, Shaun Draughn, Devontae Booker, Paul Perkins, Wendell Smallwood, Charcandrick West, Keith Marshall, Andre Ellington, Tim Hightower, Mike Gillislee, Karlos Williams; Steve Smith Sr., Dorial Green-Beckham, Anquan Boldin, Brandon LaFell, Rishard Matthews, Will Fuller, Ted Ginn, Kendall Wright, Stevie Johnson, Pierre Garcon, Nelson Agholor, Victor Cruz, Tyler Boyd, Jermaine Kearse, Robert Woods, Breshad Perriman, Chris Hogan, Jamison Crowder, Chris Moore, Seth Roberts; Vance McDonald, Jordan Cameron, Charles Clay, Kyle Rudolph, Clive Walford, Jimmy Graham, Richard Rodgers