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RotoPat: Fantasy Top 50s 2018

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

With barely a week to go until Eagles/Falcons, here are my crunch-time rankings. These are my favorite 32 quarterbacks, 50 running backs, 60 receivers and 25 tight ends. I tried to go format-agnostic, but hewed much closer to PPR than standard. Ultimately, I abide by, “would I really draft this player over this player?” For more in-depth analysis, check out the Rotoworld Draft Guide.   

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Top 32 Quarterbacks

1. Aaron Rodgers — Led 2017 NFL in TDs before breaking collarbone. Has better overall supporting cast in ‘18.

2. Tom Brady — MVP had SB-record 505 yards in last start. Age and WR corps are questions, but annual ones.

3. Russell Wilson — Recovered from injury-ruined ‘16 for QB1 finish. SEA’s plan to run more likely dropped quickly. 

4. Drew Brees — 2017’s flukily-low 4.3 TD percentage likely to regress closer to 5.3 career mean.

5. Cam Newton — Last year’s QB2 has enhanced play-caller and supporting cast after addition by subtraction.  

6. Deshaun Watson — Dual-threat coming off major injury whose TD and INT rates are likely to normalize.

7. Matthew Stafford — Has remained prolific while growing ever-more efficient. Impressive stable of weapons.

8. Carson Wentz — League-leading 7.5 TD rate will regress. Possible sluggish start as he returns from torn ACL.

9. Ben Roethlisberger — League’s best trio of weapons should help Ben equal last year’s QB10 finish.  

10. Kirk CousinsMike Zimmer not as pass happy as Jay Gruden, but Cousins has best weapons of his career.  

11. Andrew Luck — 5.9 TD percentage since start of ‘14 season second highest in league. Slow start the worry.  

12. Jimmy Garoppolo — Lots to love, but needs unheralded supporting cast to fully tap projected upside.

13. Philip Rivers — Has averaged 30 TDs over past decade while posting 7.87 YPA and 64.8 completion percentage.

14. Pat Mahomes — Uber-aggressive Mahomes’ fourth-best weapon (Watkins) would be second on most teams.    

15. Matt Ryan — Reversion to three-year touchdown mean of 26 would make Ryan QB1 more weeks than not.

16. Alex Smith — #NewAlex won’t repeat his career 2017, but he has decent stable of weapons in pass-happy O.

17. Marcus Mariota — Old system was poor, but Mariota never rose above it. Cautious optimism, not breathless anticipation.  

18. Derek Carr — A supposed natural in Chucky’s system. Carr looking to get back to ‘15-16 average of 30 TDs.

19. Jared Goff — Goff’s 2017 seemed near his outer limits, but Brandin Cooks’ arrival boosts his repeat odds.  

20. Jameis Winston — Settling in as a poor man’s Matthew Stafford, but off-field problems loom large.   

21. Andy Dalton — Improved health from John Ross and Tyler Eifert would make Dalton a regular streamer.

22. Dak Prescott — Cavalry didn’t come for a WR corps that needed upgrading. OL issues mounting.  

23. Eli Manning — So many weapons, but Eli’s dead arm was hospital ball-ing teammates in the preseason.

24. Ryan Tannehill — Now on the wrong side of 30, Tanne’s supporting cast is deeper if not necessarily better.  

25. Mitchell Trubisky — Everything is new. That increases Trubisky’s upside, but leaves his downside intact.   

26. Blake Bortles — Narrative would be different had the Jags been eliminated by his 87-yard WC performance.

27. Case Keenum — If nothing else, Keenum has proven he can have serviceable games with two stud receivers.  

28. Sam Darnold — Youngest Week 1 starter in NFL history figures to alternate eye-poppers with catastrophes.

29. Joe Flacco — On the Alex Smith anger diet, but with half the weapons.

30. Tyrod Taylor — Taylor is good, but he is not “hold off the No. 1 overall pick for 16 games” good.

31. Josh Allen — Inefficient college quarterback begins NFL career with uniquely inefficient receiver trio.

32. Ryan Fitzpatrick — Will be difficult to live the stream with tough early-season schedule.

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Top 50 Running Backs

1. Le’Veon Bell — If you’re looking for a “Todd Gurley season,” draft the guy who has already had three of them.

2. David Johnson — Johnson’s 2,118 2016 YFS most by anyone past three seasons. Aiming for 1K/1K.  

3. Todd Gurley — Even with disastrous '16 mixed in, TG tied for league lead in rushing TDs over past three years.

4. Ezekiel Elliott — Only Bell has averaged more touches since Zeke entered NFL. ‘Boys have nowhere else to turn.

5. Alvin Kamara — Was RB3 on 201 touches. Inevitable regression will be countered by enhanced Weeks 1-4 role.

6. Melvin Gordon — Missed three games in '16 and still has third most touches over past two years. No competition.

7. Saquon Barkley — Special player who will begin career with the role dreams are made of.  

8. Kareem Hunt — Rushing champ will face invitingly soft fronts if cannon-armed Pat Mahomes starts hot.  

9. Christian McCaffrey — 25-30 weekly touches isn’t happening, but 18-22 could turn CMC into a league-winner.

10. Devonta Freeman — Fifth in RB YFS over the past three seasons. Role is secure and his RB1 output predictable.

11. Leonard Fournette — Durability and stamina were major rookie bugaboos. Responded by losing 15 pounds.  

12. LeSean McCoy — Risk on every front. Age, OL, 2017 production, bad QB, off field. Mammoth role indisputable.

13. Dalvin Cook — Vikings have telegraphed keeping the ACL training wheels on via Latavius Murray.   

14. Jordan Howard — Third in rushing and 11th in TDs over past two years in offense that couldn’t tie its shoes.

15. Joe Mixon — Lost weight after hot 2017 finish (5.02 YPC over final four). Has the skills to do it all.

16. Kenyan Drake — One of 2017’s great swing players. Capable of winning leagues if Dolphins get out of his way.

17. Jerick McKinnon — Slowed by calf, McKinnon leaving door open for former Shanny Superstar Alfred Morris.

18. Lamar Miller — Miller has averaged just 3.87 yards on 501 Texans carries but is locked into an every-down role

19. Alex Collins — Looking to settle in as a Jordan Howard fantasy replicant.  

20. Jay Ajayi — Missed summer practice time in Eagles’ bottomless backfield has upped intrigue factor.  

21. Rex BurkheadSony Michel’s lost summer has left the door open for big-time Burkhead #SZN

22. Dion Lewis — Can handle any situation. Increased Titans hurry-up O would be trump card over Henry.  

23. Derrick Henry — A more limited player than Dion, but the things he’s good at, he’s really good at.

24. Jamaal Williams — Lacks Aaron Jones’ upside but better at keeping floor tidy. Workmanlike pays off in Pack O.

25. Mark Ingram — At the mercy of Alvin Kamara’s Weeks 1-4. Contract-year player could be de-emphasized.

26. Marshawn Lynch — Refreshed in 2017, but OAK kept governor on. Gruden unlikely to have such patience.

27. Royce FreemanLeGarrette Blount-type runner who had the preseason Broncos were looking for.  

28. Carlos Hyde — Held serve on early downs in the preseason, but Nick Chubb is on speed dial.

29. Chris Thompson — A difference-making talent who has always had a case of the Jordan Reeds.

30. Tevin Coleman — Won’t escape the RB3 twilight zone without injury to Freeman.

31. Peyton Barber — Like a son to Dirk Koetter, Barber also played better football than Ronald Jones this summer.

32. Chris CarsonPete Carroll talks a lot. Carson was his favorite summer subject. ‘Hawks still a meritocracy?

33. Adrian Peterson — 16 games of lead-back duty probably isn’t happening, but AD looks like early-season freebie.

34. Sony Michel — Fact that B.B. invested 1st-round pick speaks volumes, but knee and fumbling issues foreboding.

35. Tarik CohenMatt Nagy is promising Darren Sproles-type role for John Fox’s most-abandoned player.

36. Isaiah Crowell — Once undervalued, Crowell let a “hot-hand” situation develop with disappointing summer.    

37. Giovani BernardYou can check out any time you like/but you can never leave.

38. Bilal Powell — Only thing Jets can agree on with Powell is that he might be as good as Isaiah Crowell.

39. Duke Johnson — New deal was intriguing, but Hyde and Chubb means it’s still not happening on early downs.

40. Kerryon Johnson — Strong preseason, but only guaranteed role and snaps in Detroit are Theo Riddick’s.

41. Rashaad Penny — Zero margin for error with Chris Carson making Pete Carroll blush.  

42. Ronald Jones — Looking ready for an Ameer Abdullah-type season.

43. Theo Riddick — Break glass in case of bye week emergency.

44. Devontae Booker — Seems destined for third-down duties, at worst.

45. Jordan Wilkins — The best combination of projected early work and future upside in chaotic backfield.  

46. James White — You never know when you might need White, but you usually know when you don’t.

47. Alfred Morris — The band began with zero expectations for reunion album, but early sounds surprisingly good.   

48. Ty Montgomery — Seems determined to miss out on every last chance.  

49. Aaron Jones — More explosive than Jamaal Williams, but two-game ban a major stumbling block.

50. Marlon Mack — Idk.

Top 60 Receivers

1. Antonio Brown — Brown’s 582 catches and 7,848 yards since 2013 most ever over five-year span.

2. DeAndre Hopkins — Let’s see what this guy can do with 16 games of a real quarterback.  

3. Odell Beckham — Second in receiving TDs since 2014 despite missing 17 games.

4. Julio Jones — Only second receiver in league history to post four-straight 1,400-yard seasons.

5. Michael Thomas — 2,382 yards over first two seasons ninth most in NFL history. Unquestioned lead target.

6. A.J. Green — 80.5 receiving yards per game for Green’s career would rank fifth in NFL history.

7. Keenan Allen — Allen’s 159 targets last season were 38 more than any other Charger during Philip Rivers era.

8. Davante Adams — Stranger player. One of four WRs ever to post back-to-back sub-1,000-yard/10-TD seasons.

9. T.Y. Hilton — Has averaged 90 yards per game over Andrew Luck’s past two full seasons. 65.3 the other two.

10. Mike Evans — Evans has No. 1 overall upside, but enough question marks for WR2 downside.

11. Stefon Diggs — This rank is equal parts hedge and aspiration. Diggs overdue for Keenan Allen-style breakout.

12. Tyreek Hill — Last year’s WR8 probably doesn’t get enough respect. I’m hedging on variance-prone skill-set.

13. Adam Thielen — Has just nine touchdowns on 2,243 yards over past two seasons. Regression coming?

14. Larry Fitzgerald — Late-career Fitz has settled in as a turbocharged Tony Gonzalez. Even at WR, that plays.  

15. JuJu Smith-Schuster — Made only seven rookie starts and still finished as the WR20.

16. Amari Cooper — Circumstance seems to be forcing Cooper toward more slot. Would be ideal “slump buster.”

17. Doug Baldwin — Summer knee injury a concern, but Baldwin has less target competition than ever.

18. Chris Hogan — Was a top-10 receiver before injury last season. Pats lost 240 targets from 2017 team.

19. Jarvis Landry — Coming off a deeply bizarre 2017 season, but has a way of making himself indispensable.

20. Josh Gordon — Probably too optimistic, but unbeatable upside in the late fourth round.  

21. Golden Tate — The better version of Jarvis Landry, but Kenny Golladay is creepin’ on up.

22. Brandin Cooks — Upside perennially capped by outside forces, but will give the “Watkins role” a better name.  

23. Marquise Goodwin — Olympian who finally learned WR from Kyle Shanahan. Leaving Bills O a hell of a drug.

24. Demaryius Thomas — Amazingly, Case Keenum will be 30-YO Thomas’ best QB since 2014 Peyton Manning.

25. Marvin Jones — Last year’s WR11 has volatile fantasy skill-set in an increasingly crowded receiver corps.

26. Robby Anderson — Genuinely explosive player who is growing into featured role quite nicely.

27. Allen Robinson — Coming off torn ACL and was disappointing in 2016. Everything is new in Chicago.

28. Corey Davis — Hit on all cylinders during the offseason. Needs Marcus Mariota to get in gear.

29. Emmanuel Sanders — A good player likely to rebound from lost 2017.

30. Kenny Stills — Gets better and more vestaile with each passing season. Quietly WR28 last year.

31. Cooper Kupp — Elderly rookie established instant chemistry with Jared Goff. Concern is loaded supporting cast.

32. Alshon Jeffery — Missing multiple weeks. It’s been four years since last 1,000-yard season.

33. Jamison Crowder — Disappointing '17, but finished as WR33. Alex Smith will love his intermediate availability.

34. Nelson Agholor — Unlikely to repeat WR28 finish, but Alshon Jeffery being in the mystery zone will help.

35. Julian Edelman — Will return from suspension in Week 5 to an offense that probably missed him dearly.

36. Sterling Shepard — WR36 with Odell Beckham in 2016, WR42 without him last year.

37. Robert Woods — I’m going to be honest — I have zero idea where to rank Robert Woods.

38. Will FullerDeSean Jackson 2.0 when healthy, but rarely healthy. Already has hamstring injury.  

39. Keelan Cole — The forgotten man of Jacksonville looks like Jags’ No. 1 in wake of Marqise Lee’s injury.

40. Sammy Watkins — A go route specialist who will occasionally team up with Pat Mahomes to win weeks.

41. Michael Crabtree — Born to be a post-30 Ravens receiver. Should score his typical eight TDs.

42. Pierre Garcon — 32 and coming off a neck injury as Marquise Goodwin rises.

43. Devin FunchessD.J. Moore’s presence coupled with a Greg Olsen resurgence would make Fun a WR4.

44. Randall Cobb — Healthy, Cobb is locked into profitable role of being Aaron Rodgers’ No. 2. Or being cut…

45. Tyler Lockett — Opportunity knocking, but that’s nothing new for one of fantasy’s Rosebuds.

46. John Brown — Tantalizing talent derailed by sickle cell issues. Ravens projecting big things.

47. Kelvin Benjamin — Mr. Inefficient somehow paired up with a QB even more inefficient than Cam Newton.

48. Jordy Nelson — I hate betting against Nelson, but he appeared three steps slow in 2017.  

49. Allen Hurns — Could be useful in fantasy if he finally shakes injury bug for target-desperate Cowboys.

50. Rishard Matthews — Missed entire summer for offense in transition.

51. Kenny Golladay — Talent is not the problem. Being behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate is.

52. Quincy Enunwa — Primary middle-of-field threat for team lacking a tight end.  

53. Tyrell Williams — Always a potential week winner, but you never know which weeks.

54. Mike Williams — Touchdown upside in an offense that never stops throwing.

55. Ryan Grant — Plan on some PPRin’ opposite T.Y. Hilton’s big playin’.

56. D.J. Moore — Panthers want Moore to happen, but summer was an exercise in tedium.  

57. Chris Godwin — Makes plays when he’s on the field. D-Jax still there and QBs changing in Week 4.

58. John Ross — Ross’ 57-yard touchdown was one of the vids of the summer.

59. Michael Gallup — On the Sterling Shepard rookie diet. Needed for big snaps, ready or not.

60. Anthony Miller — Has slot role on lock, but hard to know what Bears’ new offense will actually look like.

Top 25 Tight Ends

1. Rob Gronkowski — Gronk appeared in only 13 games last season and was … the TE2 by a mile.

2. Travis Kelce — Just the eighth tight end in NFL history to post back-to-back 1K seasons.

3. Zach Ertz — Has progressed from TE9 to TE6 to TE3. Will be leaned on especially heavily while Jeffery is out.

4. Delanie Walker — In same vein as Kelce, just eighth TE in NFL history with four-straight 800-yard seasons.

5. Jimmy Graham — At “TD Frankenstein” stage of his career, Graham positioned to improve on 2017’s TE7 finish.

6. Evan Engram —People are so afraid of overdrafting Engram that his TE6/TE7 ADP is actually quite reasonable.

7. Greg Olsen — Drew “back to normal” summer raves, but caution warranted with 33-YO TE coming off lost year.

8. Trey Burton — Bossed the summer for the Bears’ under construction offense.

9. Jack Doyle — Ebron was a summer ghost. Doyle will be inviting short-area target for a regenerating Luck.  

10. Kyle Rudolph — Pure floor play who has exceeded 532 yards once in seven years.

11. Jordan Reed — Has appeared in more than 12 games once. Supposedly healthy now.  

12. David Njoku — No longer sharing snaps, Njoku is on a Travis Kelce-type trajectory.

13. George Kittle —Injuries were a problem in college, as a rookie and this summer.

14. Tyler Eifert — Poor man’s Gronk a top-eight tight end whenever healthy.

15. Charles ClayKyle Rudolph-ian talent usually battling a lingering injury.

16. Jared Cook — Has quietly thrown career narrative in reverse.

17. Ricky Seals-JonesPlayed a ton of first-team snaps this summer after intriguing 2017 finish.

18. Ben Watson — A high-end streamer in an offense that always targets tight ends.

19. O.J. Howard — Bucs’ undying devotion to Cameron Brate a roadblock, but scary upside.

20. Austin Hooper — Since you can’t draft Eric Ebron this season, you might as well draft Austin Hooper.  

21. Austin Seferian-Jenkins — Catch-and-fall specialist in a crowded, perhaps dysfunctional offense.

22. Cameron Brate — Harvard man has a TE2 PhD.

23. Mike Gesicki — Great athlete who could develop into TE2 streamer.

24. Vance McDonald — Legitimate upside in Steelers O, but battling mysterious foot issue.

25. Virgil Green — Post-post-post hype sleeper for a quarterback used to nailing seam touchdowns?

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Patrick Daugherty

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for NBC Sports Edge. He can be found on Twitter .