Monday, May 28, 2018
These rankings are intended for 0.5 PPR leagues and influenced by my ongoing participation in Draft.com best-ball drafts, where quarterbacks are devalued and necessarily pushed down the draft board. Running backs are pushed up by the scarcity of true bellcows and need for best-ball drafters to secure at least three. The quarterback position is as deep as it’s ever been, while individual wide receivers have seen fewer targets in recent years due at least partly to the NFL’s increased incorporation of spread concepts, running more three- and four-wideout sets that level out passing-game distributions. Draft.com’s scoring also skews touchdown heavy, enhancing the appeal of proven end-zone dominators.
1. Todd Gurley (RB1) – Led NFL in yards from scrimmage & TDs in first year under Sean McVay.
2. Le’Veon Bell (RB2) – Bell has averaged 24.9 touches per game over the past five seasons.
3. David Johnson (RB3) – Has “fresh legs” & contract-year narratives after injury-ruined 2017.
4. Alvin Kamara (RB4) – Led RBs in receiving yards as rookie. Mark Ingram’s 4-game ban helps.
5. Ezekiel Elliott (RB5) – Zeke led NFL in rushing yards per game in each of first 2 NFL seasons.
6. Saquon Barkley (RB6) – In line for 270+ carries, 50+ catches as Giants’ every-down bellcow.
7. Kareem Hunt (RB7) – Led NFL in rushing as rookie. Passing-game usage expected to grow.
8. Antonio Brown (WR1) – 100+ catches 5 straight years. Move up 2 spots in full PPR leagues.
9. Melvin Gordon (RB8) – Gordon averaged 22.0 touches per game over the past two seasons.
10. DeAndre Hopkins (WR2) – Avg’d 6.3 catches & 91.8 yards with 6 TDs in Watson’s 6 starts.
11. Julio Jones (WR3) – Due for positive-TD regression after managing 3 scores last season.
12. Odell Beckham (WR4) – Top-5 fantasy WR 3 straight years before injury-shortened 2017.
13. Leonard Fournette (RB9) – Jaguars upgraded O-Line with mauling LG Andrew Norwell.
14. Keenan Allen (WR5) – Moved ahead of Michael Thomas after Hunter Henry tore his ACL.
15. Michael Thomas (WR6) – Positive-TD regression candidate after managing 5 scores in ’17.
16. Davante Adams (WR7) – Has Aaron Rodgers’ No. 1 WR role all to himself sans Jordy Nelson.
17. A.J. Green (WR8) – Has finished as a top-12 WR in per-game scoring in 7-of-7 NFL seasons.
18. Rob Gronkowski (TE1) – Gronkowski has finished as top-2 fantasy TE in 5 of the last 7 years.
19. Mike Evans (WR9) – Steep target competition in Tampa, but maintains double-digit TD ceiling.
20. LeSean McCoy (RB10) – High bust risk in anemic Bills offense that lost 3 starting O-Linemen.
21. Devonta Freeman (RB11) – Job-secure lead back in offense due for positive-TD regression.
22. Dalvin Cook (RB12) – On pace for 340 touches before Week 4 ACL tear. “Ahead of schedule.”
23. Jerick McKinnon (RB13) – Kyle Shanahan’s handpicked lead RB. Big upside in Jimmy G offense.
24. Jordan Howard (RB14) – Receiving limitations hurt consistency, but maintains lofty TD ceiling.
25. Christian McCaffrey (RB15) – High-floor RB2 pick should move ahead of Howard in full PPR.
26. Joe Mixon (RB16) – Bengals plan to use Mixon as feature RB behind upgraded offensive line.
27. Doug Baldwin (WR10) – Set up for career year after Jimmy Graham & Paul Richardson’s exits.
28. Travis Kelce (TE2) – 80+ catches in consecutive years. QB change adds volatility to projection.
29. Kenyan Drake (RB17) – Drake averaged 119 total yards per game in Weeks 12-17 last season.
30. Rashaad Penny (RB18) – Surprise first-round pick should get opportunity to log 300+ touches.
31. Derrius Guice (RB19) – Physical inside runner will lose passing-down snaps to Chris Thompson.
32. Zach Ertz (TE3) – Model of consistency has topped 70 catches & 800 yards in 3 straight years.
33. Larry Fitzgerald (WR11) – Perennially undervalued. Has averaged 108 receptions past 3 years.
34. Tyreek Hill (WR12) – Last year’s fantasy WR5 faces target competition from Sammy Watkins.
35. Marvin Jones (WR13) – Solidified as Matthew Stafford’s No. 1 WR. Led NFL in yards/reception.
36. Adam Thielen (WR14) – Candidate for positive-TD regression after 91/1,276/4 breakout year.
37. Stefon Diggs (WR15) – Contract year. Diggs hogged touchdowns (8) over Thielen (4) in 2017.
38. T.Y. Hilton (WR16) – Nearly reached 1,000 yards with Jacoby Brissett. Rises if Luck is healthy.
39. Amari Cooper (WR17) – Jon Gruden sounds committed to featuring Cooper as true No. 1 WR.
40. Sony Michel (RB20) – Rookie upgrades on Dion Lewis, who logged 212 touches last season.
41. Alex Collins (RB21) – Ravens lead back averaged 19.2 touches per game from Week 8 onward.
42. JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR18) – 58/917/7 as 21yo rookie. More opportunity sans Martavis.
43. Aaron Rodgers (QB1) – Rodgers has been top-2 fantasy passer in 7 of last 8 healthy seasons.
44. Alshon Jeffery (WR19) – Top-15 non-PPR fantasy WR in 3 of last 5 years. High TD upside.
45. Josh Gordon (WR20) – Looked great in 5-game cameo with DeShone Kizer at QB late last year.
46. Lamar Miller (RB22) – Improved defense, healthy Deshaun Watson will help Miller’s cause.
47. Jay Ajayi (RB23) – Eagles expected to maintain RBBC of Ajayi, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles.
48. Derrick Henry (RB24) – May get out-snapped by Dion Lewis, but Henry’s TD ceiling far higher.
49. Golden Tate (WR21) – High-floor WR2 pick has 90+ receptions in 4-of-4 seasons with Lions.
50. Allen Robinson (WR22) – New Bears WR coming off 2 straight disappointing/injured seasons.