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Standard Fantasy Football Rankings – 2017 Season Long Drafts

Top 30 Quarterback Rankings

Bye Weeks in Parenthesis ()

QB1a

Aaron Rodgers (8) GB
Tom Brady (9) NE
Drew Brees (5) NO

QB1b

Matt Ryan (5) ATL
Kirk Cousins (5) WASH

QB2a
Derek Carr (10) OAK
Phillip Rivers (9) LAC
Marcus Mariota (8) TEN
Jameis Winston (11) TB
Russell Wilson (6) SEA
Andrew Luck (11) IND

QB2b

Matthew Stafford (7) DET
Dak Prescott (6) DAL
Ben Roelisberger (9) PIT
Eli Manning (8) NYG
Sam Bradford (9) MIN
Cam Newton (11) CAR
Carson Wentz (10) PHI

QB3
Carson Palmer (8) ARI
Andy Dalton (6) CIN
Joe Flacco (10) BAL
Brian Hoyer (11) SF
Jay Cutler (11) MIA
Tyrod Taylor (6) BUF
Alex Smith (10) KC
Trevor Siemian (5) Den
Jared Goff (8) LAR
Josh McCown (11) NYJ
Mike Glennon (9) CHI
Blake Bortles (8) JAX
Tom Savage (7) HOU

Top 30 Standard Tight End Rankings

TE1a

Rob Gronkowski (9)
Travis Kelce (10)

TE1b

Greg Olsen (11)
Jimmy Graham (6)
Jordan Reed (5)

TE2

Zach Ertz (10)
Tyler Eifert (6)
Martellus Bennett (8)
Delanie Walker (8)
Kyle Rudolph (9)
Hunter Henry (9)
Eric Ebron (7)

TE3

Jason Witten (6)
Coby Fleener (5)
Jack Doyle (11)
C.J. Fiedorowicz (7)
Charles Clay (6)

TE4

Evan Engram (8)
Julius Thomas (11)
Benjamin Watson (10)
Austin Hooper (5)
Jared Cook (10)
Jermaine Gresham (8)
Cameron Brate (11)
Zach Miller (9)
David Njoku (9)
Dwayne Allen (9)
Antonio Gates (9)

Top 50-ish Standard Running Back Rankings

Bye Weeks in Parenthesis ()

RB1a

David Johnson (8) ARI

Le’Veon Bell (9) PIT

RB1b

LeSean McCoy (6) BUF

Devonta Freeman (5) ATL

Melvin Gordon (9) SD

Jay Ajayi (11) MIA

RB2a

DeMarco Murray (8) TEN

Marshawn Lynch (10) OAK

Isaiah Crowell (9) CLE

Jordon Howard (9) CHI

Ezekiel Elliott (6) DAL

Lamar Miller (7) HOU

Todd Gurley (8) LAR

Mike Gillislee (9) NE

RB2b

Kareem Hunt (10) KC

Frank Gore (11) IND

Leonard Fournette (8) JAX

Dalvin Cook (9) MIN

Danny Woodhead (10) BAL

Christian McCafferey (11) CAR

Doug Martin (11) TB

C.J. Anderson (5) DEN

RB3a

Joe Mixon (6) CIN

Adrian Peterson (5) NO

Paul Perkins (8) NYG

Terrence West (10) BAL

Jonathan Stewart (11) CAR

Carlos Hyde (11) SF

Ty Montgomery (8) GB

Rob Kelly (5) WASH

Ameer Abdullah (7) DET

Thomas Rawls (6) SEA

Derrick Henry (8) TEN

LaGarrette Blount (10) PHI

Theo Riddick (7) DET

RB4

Matt Forte (11) NYJ

C.J. Prosise (6) SEA

Alvin Kamara (5) NO

Duke Johnson (9) CLE

Samaje Perine (5) WASH

James White (9) NE

Giovani Bernard (6) CIN

Tevin Coleman (5) ATL

Matt Breida (11) SF

RB5

Jeremy Hill (6) CIN

Eddie Lacy (6) SEA

Bilal Powell (11) NYJ

Mark Ingram (5) NO

Darren Sprolles (10) PHI

T.J. Yeldon (8) JAX

Chris Thompson (5) WASH

Jalen Richard (10) OAK

Wendell Smallwood (10) PHI

Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings:

Stephen Gostkowski (9) NE
Justin Tucker (10) BAL
Matt Bryant (5) ATL
Mason Crosby (8) GB
Dan Bailey (6) DAL
Adam Vinatieri (11) IND
Matt Prater (7) DET
Cairo Santos (10) KC
Sebastian Janikowski (10) OAK
Will Lutz (5) NO
Steven Hauschka (6) BUF
Chris Boswell (9) PIT
Graham Gano (11) CAR
Brandon McManus (5) DEN
Dustin Hopkins (5) WAS
Phil Dawson (8) ARI
Josh Lambo (9) LAC
Caleb Sturgis (10) PHI
Blair Walsh (6) SEA
Nick Novak (7) HOU
Kai Forbath (9) MIN
Chandler Catanzaro (11) NYJ
Ryan Succop (8) TEN
Jason Myers (8) JAC
Jake Elliott (6) CIN
Andrew Franks (11) MIA
Robbie Gould (11) SF

Top 50-ish Standard Wide Receiver Rankings

Bye Weeks in Parenthesis ()

WR1a

Antonio Brown (9) PIT
Julio Jones (5) ATL
Odell Beckham Jr (8) NYG

WR1b

Mike Evans (11) TB
A.J. Green (6) CIN
Jordy Nelson (8) GB
Michael Thomas (5) NO
Dez Bryant (6) DAL
Doug Baldwin (6) SEA
Amari Cooper (10) OAK

WR2a

Tyreek Hill (10) KC
Brandon Cooks (9) NE
Demaryius Thomas (5) DEN
T.Y. Hilton (11) IND
Golden Tate (7) DET
Deandre Hopkins (7) HOU
Alshon Jeffery (10) PHI

WR2b

Allen Robinson (8) JAX
Tyrell Williams (9) LAC
Terrelle Pryor (5) WAS
Michael Crabtree (10) Oak
Devonte Adams (8) GB
Emmanuel Sanders (5) DEN
Stephon Diggs (9) MIN
Keenan Allen (9) LAC

WR3

Sammy Watkins (8) LAR
Pierre Garçon (11) SF
Martavis Bryant (9) PIT
Chris Hogan (9) NE
Willie Snead (5) NO
Jamison Crowder (5) WAS
Larry Fitzgerald (8) ARI
Marvin Jones (7) DET
Kelvin Benjamin (11) CAR
Devonte Parker (11) MIA
Jeremy Maclin (10) BAL
Jarvis Landry (11) MIA
Brandon Marshall (11) NYG
Cory Coleman (9) CLE
DeSean Jackson (11) TB
Donte Moncrief (11) IND

WR4

Kenny Britt (9) CLE
Randall Cobb (8) GB
Ted Ginn Jr. (5) NO
Corey Davis (8) TEN
Mike Wallace (10) Bal
Jordan Matthews (8) BUF
J.J. Nelson (8) ARI
John Brown (8) ARI
Malcolm Mitchell (9) NE
Rishard Matthews (8) TEN
Cole Beasly (6) DAL
Eric Decker (8) TEN
Cooper Kupp (8) LAR
Taylor Gabriel (5) ATL
Adam Thielen (9) MIN

Defense/Special Teams Fantasy Rankings:

Broncos (5)
Cardinals (8)
Texans (7)
Seahawks (6)
Vikings (9)
Patriots (9)
Rams (8)
Chiefs (10)
Panthers (11)
Steelers (9)
Giants (8)
Falcons (5)
Eagles (10)
Ravens (10)
Jaguars (8)
Dolphins (11)
Buccaneers (11)
Chargers (9)
Bengals (6)
Raiders (10)
Packers (8)
Titans (8)
Redskins (5)
Colts (11)
Bills (6)
Cowboys (6)
Lions (7)
Browns (9)
Bears (9)
Jets (11)
Saints (5)
49ers (11)

PPR Fantasy Football Rankings – 2017 Season Long Drafts

Top 30 Quarterback Rankings

Bye Weeks in Parenthesis ()

QB1a

Aaron Rodgers (8) GB
Tom Brady (9) NE
Drew Brees (5) NO

QB1b

Matt Ryan (5) ATL
Kirk Cousins (5) WASH

QB2a

Derek Carr (10) OAK
Phillip Rivers (9) LAC
Marcus Mariota (8) TEN
Jameis Winston (11) TB
Russell Wilson (6) SEA
Andrew Luck (11) IND

QB2b

Matthew Stafford (7) DET
Dak Prescott (6) DAL
Ben Roelisberger (9) PIT
Eli Manning (8) NYG
Sam Bradford (9) MIN
Cam Newton (11) CAR
Carson Wentz (10) PHI

QB3

Carson Palmer (8) ARI
Andy Dalton (6) CIN
Joe Flacco (10) BAL
Brian Hoyer (11) SF
Jay Cutler (11) MIA
Tyrod Taylor (6) BUF
Alex Smith (10) KC
Trevor Siemian (5) DEN
Jared Goff (8) LAR
Josh McCown (11) NYJ
Mike Glennon (9) CHI
Blake Bortles (8) JAX
Tom Savage (7) HOU

Top 30 PPR Tight End Rankings:

TE1a

Rob Gronkowski (9) NE
Travis Kelce (10) KC

TE1b

Greg Olsen (11) CAR
Jimmy Graham (6) SEA
Jordan Reed (5) WASH

TE2

Zach Ertz (10) PHI
Hunter Henry (9) LAC
Tyler Eifert (6) CIN
Kyle Rudolph (9) MIN
Delanie Walker (8) TEN
Martellus Bennett (8) GB
Eric Ebron (7) DET

TE3

Jason Witten (6) DAL
Charles Clay (6) BUF
Coby Fleener (5) NO
Jack Doyle (11) IND
C.J. Fiedorowicz (7) HOU

TE4

Evan Engram (8) NYG
Julius Thomas (11) MIA
Ben Watson (10) BAL
Zach Miller (9) CHI
Jared Cook (10) OAK
Cameron Brate (11) TB
Dwayne Allen (9)
David Njoku (9) CLE
Jermaine Gresham (8) ARI
Austin Hooper (5) ATL
Antonio Gates (9) LAC

Top 50-ish PPR Running Back Rankings

Bye Weeks in Parenthesis ()

RB1a

David Johnson (8) ARI
Le’Veon Bell (9) PIT

RB1b

LeSean McCoy (6) BUF
Devonta Freeman (5) ATL
Melvin Gordon (9) SD
Jay Ajayi (11) MIA

RB2a

DeMarco Murray (8) TEN
Marshawn Lynch (10) OAK
Jordon Howard (9) CHI
Isaiah Crowell (9) CLE
Ezekiel Elliot (6) DAL
Lamar Miller (7) HOU
Todd Gurley (8) LAR
Mike Gillislee (9) NE

RB2b

Danny Woodhead (10) BAL
Kareem Hunt (10) KC
Dalvin Cook (9) MIN
Christian McCafferey (11) CAR
Frank Gore (11) IND
Leonard Fournette (8) JAX
Doug Martin (11) TB
C.J. Anderson (5) DEN

RB3a

Joe Mixon (6) CIN
Ty Montgomery (8) GB
Theo Riddick (7) DET
Adrian Peterson (5) NO
Paul Perkins (8) NYG
Matt Forte (11) NYJ
Carlos Hyde (11) SF
Jonathan Stewart (11) CAR
LaGarrette Blount (10) PHI
Derrick Henery (8) TEN
C.J. Prosise (6) SEA
Alvin Kamara (5) NO

RB4

Ameer Abdullah (7) DET
Terrence West (10) BAL
Duke Johnson (9) CLE
James White (9) NE
Giovani Bernard (6) CIN
Tevin Coleman (5) ATL
Rob Kelly (5) WASH
Thomas Rawls (6) SEA
Matt Breida (11) SF
Samaje Perine (5) WASH

RB5

Chris Thompson (5) WASH
Mark Ingram (5) NO
T.J. Yeldon (8) JAX
Jeremy Hill (6) CIN
Wendell Smallwood (10) PHI
Bilal Powell (11) NYJ
Eddie Lacy (6) SEA
Darren Sprolles (10) PHI
Jalen Richard (10) OAK

Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings:

Stephen Gostkowski (9) NE
Justin Tucker (10) BAL
Matt Bryant (5) ATL
Mason Crosby (8) GB
Dan Bailey (6) DAL
Adam Vinatieri (11) IND
Matt Prater (7) DET
Cairo Santos (10) KC
Sebastian Janikowski (10) OAK
Will Lutz (5) NO
Steven Hauschka (6) BUF
Chris Boswell (9) PIT
Graham Gano (11) CAR
Brandon McManus (5) DEN
Dustin Hopkins (5) WAS
Phil Dawson (8) ARI
Josh Lambo (9) LAC
Caleb Sturgis (10) PHI
Roberto Aguayo (11) TB
Blair Walsh (6) SEA
Nick Novak (7) HOU
Kai Forbath (9) MIN
Chandler Catanzaro (11) NYJ
Connor Barth (8) CHI
Ryan Succop (8) TEN
Jason Myers (8) JAC
Jake Elliott (6) CIN
Andrew Franks (11) MIA
Robbie Gould (11) SF

Top 50-ish PPR Wide Receiver Rankings

Bye Weeks in Parenthesis ()

WR1a

Antonio Brown (9) PIT
Julio Jones (5) ATL
Odell Beckham Jr (8) NYG

WR1b

Mike Evans (11) TB
A.J. Green (6) CIN
Michael Thomas (5) NO
Jordy Nelson (8) GB
Dez Bryant (6) DAL
Doug Baldwin (6) SEA
Amari Cooper (10) OAK
T.Y. Hilton (11) IND

WR2a

Brandin Cooks (9) NE
Demaryius Thomas (5) DEN
Golden Tate (7) DET
Tyreek Hill (10) KC
DeAndre Hopkins (7) HOU
Alshon Jeffery (10) PHI

WR2b

Allen Robinson (8) JAX
Tyrell Williams (9) LAC
Michael Crabtree (10) Oak
Stephon Diggs (9) MIN
Devonte Adams (8) GB
Terrelle Pryor (5) WAS
Emmanuel Sanders (5) DEN
Keenan Allen (9) LAC

WR3

Jamison Crowder (5) WAS
Pierre Garçon (11) SF
Willie Snead (5) NO
Larry Fitzgerald (8) ARI
Jarvis Landry (11) MIA
Chris Hogan (9) NE
Sammy Watkins (8) LAR
Mike Wallace (10) BAL
Devonte Parker (11) MIA
Donte Moncrief (11) IND
Marvin Jones (7) DET
Brandon Marshall (11) NYG
DeSean Jackson (11) TB

WR4

Martavis Bryant (9) PIT
Kelvin Benjamin (11) CAR
Cory Coleman (9) CLE
Randall Cobb (8) GB
Jordan Matthews (6) BUF
Ted Ginn Jr. (5) NO

WR5

Jeremy Maclin (10) Bal
Cory Coleman (9) CLE
Corey Davis (8) TEN
J.J. Nelson (8) ARI
John Brown (8) ARI
Rishard Matthews (8) TEN
Malcolm Mitchell (9) NE
Cole Beasly (6) DAL
Cooper Kupp (8) LAR
Kenny Britt (9) CLE
Eric Decker (8) TEN
Taylor Gabriel (5) ATL
Adam Thielen (9) MIN
Zay Jones (6) BUF

Defense/Special Teams Rankings:

Broncos (5)
Cardinals (8)
Texans (7)
Seahawks (6)
Vikings (9)
Patriots (9)
Rams (8)
Chiefs (10)
Panthers (11)
Giants (8)
Falcons (5)
Jaguars (8)
Ravens (10)
Eagles (10)
Steelers (9)
Dolphins (11)
Buccaneers (11)
Chargers (9)
Bengals (6)
Raiders (10)
Packers (8)
Titans (8)
Colts (11)
Redskins (5)
Bills (6)
Cowboys (6)
Lions (7)
Browns (9)
Bears (9)
Jets (11)
Saints (5)
49ers (11)

Player Notes By Position

Top 30-ish Fantasy Football Quarterback Notes

Bye Weeks in Parenthesis ()

Aaron Rodgers (8) GB

Notes: Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the league, and the Packers’ running game is not a team strength. The team relies heavily on the passing game, and Rodgers’ 40 touchdowns in 2017 were best in the league. Adding TE Martellus Bennett will only improve the TD numbers. The offensive line may have taken a step back, so there is some risk here. His parents may hate him, but I like Aaron Rodgers in 2017.

Tom Brady (9) NE

Notes: Brady is coming off an excellent 2016. After missing the first four games due to suspension, Brady threw for over 300 yards in five of his 12 games and had an incredible 28:2 touchdown to interception ratio. Brady comes into 2017 with an excellent supporting cast that has improved this offseason. Brady is getting older, but it’s very reasonable to trust Bellichick’s history of moving players before they begin their decline. He’s old and his arm strength has diminished, but Brady is still poised to have a terrific 2017 season.

Drew Brees (5) NO

Notes: Brees was the only QB to pass for over 5K yards last season and led the league in passing attempts, completions and yardage. Losing WR Brandon Cooks will hurt, but Brees has lost top receiving targets in the past without losing a step. The defense will be improved in 2017, and the team aims to be focused on running the ball more, so we expect Brees to take a step back. But he should still finish as a Top 5 QB.

Matt Ryan (5) ATL

Notes: Losing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers is going to impact the Falcons offense in 2017 negatively. But the team has signaled that they want to continue with basically the same system under new OC Steve Sarkisian (University of Alabama). Ryan still has a lot of great talent around him; moreover, he is coming off a season that saw career highs in passing yardage and passing TDs. His offensive line has regressed and his production is going to drop off a little this season.

Andrew Luck (11) IND

Notes: The offensive line appears to be improving and he has proven weapons around him. WR T.Y. Hilton has finished in the Top 25 every year of his career and is a consistent target. If WR Donte Moncrief can stay healthy, and TE Jack Doyal can continue to play at a high level, Luck should finish as a Top 5 quarterback this season. There is some risk here with Luck having offseason shoulder surgery, but he is a supreme talent. 2017 could be the year that things come together for him and the Colts.
Update 8/1: Luck is slowly healing from offseason shoulder surgery and the team is going to take it slow with their star quarterback. It’s unlikely he will start the season on the PUP, but he may have a slow start to the season, possibly missing a game or two. We’ll keep you posted.
Update 8/18: Center Ryan Kelly is the linchpin for the Colts offensive line and will miss a couple of months due to a foot injury. The team has no depth behind him and is scrambling to find someone to play center. This is not good and I’ve knocked Luck and Hilton down in my rankings.
Update 8/29: Luck will miss week one of the regular season and possible more. Still no difinitive word on when he will be back.

Kirk Cousins (5) WASH

Notes: Offensive coordinator Sean McVay, WR Desean Jackson, and WR Pierre Garcon have moved on. Free agent acquisition WR Terrelle Pryor and unproven, second-year WR Josh Doctson will be the new starting outside receivers. The offense will continue to run through TE Jordan Reed, and WR Jamison Crowder proved himself to be a reliable target last year. Rookie RB Samaje Perine offers a boost to the running game, and that should help the offense as a whole. Cousins is an accurate passer, and Pryor and Doctson are big targets, so we don’t expect much regression for Cousins in a contract year. He won’t be a Redskins for much longer, but he will be hot while he’s in Washington.

Russell Wilson (6) SEA

Notes: With even an average offensive line, Wilson would be much higher on this list. He has great athleticism and talent, but the line is so bad that Wilson is running for his life; he’s getting injured too much to put him in a top tier. He has good weapons around him, and he does a great job of extending plays when the pocket breaks down. If his offensive line doesn’t get him killed, Wilson should finish in the Top 8 in 2017.

Derek Carr (10) OAK

Notes: Carr is a good quarterback with a bright future ahead of him. He had an incredible 2016 year that was unfortunately cut short because of an injury. A porous Raiders defense put a lot of pressure on Carr, and he rose to the occasion. Carr had six weeks with 3+TDs, and the team has added more receiving weapons in TE Jared Cook and WR Cordarrelle Patterson. We expect that the addition of Marshawn Lynch, and improvements on defense will help Carr find Top 10 production in a tough division.

Phillip Rivers (9) LAC

Notes: While the Chargers seemed to invent ways to lose games in 2016, Rivers quietly turned in a solid fantasy performance. Throwing 21 interceptions did not help things, but the emergence of RB Melvin Gordon, WR Tyrell Williams, and TE Hunter Henry gives me reason to think the Chargers are on the rise, especially if Keenan Allen is healthy. The defense looks to be improving under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and that could take some pressure off the passing game and reduce the number of interceptions for Rivers. With a healthy offensive line and WR Keenan Allen returning, this team could be a surprise team in the AFC West.

Jameis Winston (11) TB

Notes: I would like to rank Winston higher, but I need to see better decision-making before that happens. He progressed well from his rookie season, but he is still showing some growing pains. Coach Dirk Koetter and company made a push to surround Winston with plenty of weapons, adding Djax in free agency and O.J. Howard in the draft. Winston has shown that he only has eyes for Mike Evans, and the added talent will give him the opportunity to spread the ball around. It won’t be a make or break year for Winston, but this season will tell us if he can handle success in the NFL.

Dak Prescott (6) DAL

Notes: Prescott performed great last season, but the team didn’t ask him to do a lot. Furthermore, I don’t think the rookie magic will follow him into his sophomore year. He is consistent, and his rushing ability gives him a nice floor every week. However, I don’t see Prescott as a league winner. The shuffles on the offensive line are not insignificant and his supporting cast, sans Elliot and Dez, don’t impress me. I feel he is overpriced and his ADP ensures that I won’t own him in any leagues. If Elliot gets suspended for a portion of this season, the wheels will fall off in Dallas.

Matthew Stafford (7) DET

Notes: Stafford was a stud for the first six games of 2016, but his production fell off as the season progressed. He injured a finger on his throwing hand and hobbled through the final four games of the season. The offense endured a lot of injuries and still finished second in the NFC North behind the Packers. With everyone healthy, Stafford still has good upside, but his lack of consistency makes me a little nervous.

Eli Manning (8) NYG

Notes: Ugh! Eli boasts the best receiving corps in the league, and I want to rank Eli higher, but each time I try, I’m haunted by his play last year. He threw for barely over 4,000 yards and had 26:16 touchdown to interception ratio. He looked confused in games, and his poor play can’t be attributed to injury. Eli was bad last year. The hope for the Giants is that the addition of Brandon Marshall and drafting a real tight end will help. The Giants don’t have an impressive running game, so the potential is there for Eli to bounce back in 2017. Just be prepared for inconsistency. The good Eli, bad Eli stigma is real.

Marcus Mariota (8) TEN

Notes: Mariota had an up-and-down season in 2016, but it’s important to note that he performed well against average defenses. The team’s schedule projects to be easier this year, and Mariota should heal from a late-season leg injury. The Titans have built a good team around him and the addition of Eric Decker shouldn’t be underestimated. Mariota could be a big surprise in 2017, though the “exotic smashmouth” game scripts may limit his opportunities.

Sam Bradford (9) MIN

Notes: A devastating knee injury to Bridgewater left the Vikings scrambling for a quarterback at the start of the 2016 season. Bradford was brought in and he answered with an incredible 71.6 completion percentage. And he did it with a banged up offensive line and receiving corps. With a year to adjust to the scheme, a healthy support cast, and the addition of a Delvin Cook (an excellent pass catching RB), Bradford is poised to have the best season of his career. A dominating Vikings defense should produce games scripts that will limit his upside. Nevertheless, I expect Bradford to have a stable floor and be a solid QB2.

Ben Roelisberger (9) PIT

Notes: In his 12-year career, Big Ben has played 16 games only three times. His upside is huge, but his consistency is a huge problem if you want to start him every week. Aside from injuries, there is a large disparity between how he plays at home and how he plays on the road. Statistically, he is great at home, but terrible on the road. Roelisberger is a good streaming option, but his inconsistency makes him a fantasy liability as an every-week starter.

Cam Newton (11) CAR

Notes: Newton is coming off a miserable 2016 campaign that saw him finish as QB17. WR Ted Ginn Jr and WR Cory Brown have departed. WR Kelvin Benjamin gained enough weight to look like Queen Latifah. The additions of RB/WR Christian McCaffery and WR Curtis Samuel will help, but the WR corps is thin. Newton is not an accurate passer, so the addition of “chess pieces” like McCaffery and Samuel may not be as effective as the team hopes. Newton’s fantasy value has been a result of his running prowess, and I don’t expect him to run as much in 2017.

Carson Palmer (8) ARI

Notes: Palmer and the Cards had a pretty significant regression last season. His 26:14 touchdown to interception ratio is not what you’re looking for in a fantasy quarterback. He was sacked 25 times in 2015 and a whopping 40 times in 2016. The biggest contributing factor to this could have been the absence of WR John Brown. Arians’ offense doesn’t just like to take shots downfield; it must lengthen the field to implement the scheme. Palmer has a path to out-perform this ranking, but I’ll need to see a 100% healthy John Brown to consider moving him up.
UPDATE 8/16: It looks like Brown’s sickle-cell issues are not resolved. I’ve moved Palmer down.

Carson Wentz (10) PHI

Notes: Wentz started his rookie season on fire, but quickly faded in the second half of the season. Injuries to the offensive line were the main culprit, but it exposed his poor decision making under pressure. The Eagles put a lot of effort in building a better supporting cast with the additions of WRs Alshon Jeffery, Torry Smith and RB LaGarrette Blount. But Jeffery is an injury waiting to happen. Smith still has speed, but he never realized his potential from a production standpoint; moreover, I don’t think Blount is a player to get overly excited about. I think Wentz will be a good quarterback in the future, but I don’t believe that leap will happen this year. If everyone stays healthy he has real upside, but things rarely go as planned in the NFL.

Joe Flacco (10) BAL

Notes: There is always fantasy football value in opportunity, but Joe Flacco may be the exception to that rule. Flacco was one pass attempt short of leading the league in attempts last season, yet finished QB20. His supporting cast was not very good, and he had a 20:15 touchdown to interception ratio. The additions of Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead could help Flacco’s numbers this season, but the offensive line has regressed and that is a concern. I feel like top 15 is Flacco’s ceiling.
Update 7/31: Flacco injured his back in practice and will miss some camp/preseason time. It doesn’t look serious, but we’ll be monitoring the situation.
Update 8/29: Flacco is back to practice and will be ready for week one.

Tyrod Taylor (6) BUF

Notes: Taylor is a great streaming option. He has high upside, but he is not consistent. WR Sammy Watkins missed most of the last season with a lingering foot injury, but even when Watkins played, his presence on the field didn’t translate into better numbers for Taylor. 2016 starting WRs Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin are gone, and the team doesn’t have any effective replacements. Taylor’s value is in his running prowess, but that’s not enough for me to rank him as a QB2. He’s a streaming QB at best.
UPDATE 8/11: Sammy Watkins has been traded and Jordan Matthews and Anquan Boldin are now the starting receivers in Buffalo. This is a major shakeup and doesn’t bode well for Taylor’s value. The run-first Bills look like the run-only Bills

Andy Dalton (6) CIN

Notes: Dalton is a player I may have ranked too low. When Green and Eifort are healthy, Dalton can be a QB1. Add in rookies WR John Ross and RB Joe Mixon, and Dalton has a lot of very potent weapons around him. Dalton and the Cinci offense looks great on paper, but the loss of key players on the offensive line plays against Dalton’s weaknesses. Dalton is not good under pressure; also, he is not good when a play breaks down. If the line shows little effect from the loss of talent, Dalton will quickly move up in my rankings. But as it stands now, Dalton will have to spend 2017 making quick decisions under pressure, and I don’t think he can thrive in that type of environment.

Blake Bortles (8) JAX

Notes: Ugh! Did you see his throwing motion last year? I still don’t understand how a quarterback regresses on his mechanics in his third year. I think the cat is out of the bag and Bortles isn’t very good. I expect the Jags defense to improve this season, which limits Bortles’ garbage-time potential. Also, I think Fournette is the real deal. If Bortles does improve this year, I believe he becomes average at best. Sadly, he’s more teenage-mutant than ninja Bortles.

Alex Smith (10) KC

Notes: The writing is on the wall for Alex Smith with the drafting of Patrick Mahomes. Smith has been serviceable, and I expect him to start all 16 games in 2017. However, this incarnation of the Chiefs is not going to produce a viable fantasy quarterback. Smith averaged less than one passing touchdown a game last season. I’ll pass.

Brian Hoyer (11) SF

Notes: I don’t think Kyle Shanahan’s first year in San Francisco is going to be a memorable one and I don’t expect much from Hoyer, either. Hoyer has shown himself to be a competent quarterback, and he is familiar with Shanahan’s system, so there is real upside here. But the lack of talent around him is a big concern. I expect the Hoyer to Garçon connection to be great, but that’s about it.

Jay Cutler (11) MIA

Notes: With Tannehill out with a season-ending knee injury, Cutler has been signed to a one-year deal. Cutler is familiar with Gase’s system and should be an effective game manager. The offense will run through Ajayi and Cutler’s aggressive style may be a good fit in Miami.

Mike Glennon (9) CHI

Notes: I’m not sure what the Bears were thinking when they sold the farm to move up in the 2017 NFL draft to get QB Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky will not be ready to play this year so that Glennon will be the starting QB for 2017. Glennon is capable, and this is the first chance he has had to run an offense since his rookie year. I would like to rank him higher, but the offense doesn’t look good, and his weapons are mostly unproven. Also, Jordan Howard will be the centerpiece of the offense. I don’t see Glennon having much upside. His upside will grow if Kevin White is finally healthy, but that’s a big “if.”

Jared Goff (8) LAR

Notes: I’m a Sean McVay believer, and I think Goff will benefit greatly from McVay’s tutelage. But the entire offense will need to improve for Goff to reach his potential, and that’s not going to happen quickly.

Top 50-ish Fantasy Football Running Back Notes

Bye Weeks in Parenthesis ()
The stat lines for running backs are listed: receptions/receiving yards/touchdowns

David Johnson (8) ARI

Notes: Johnson is as good as it gets. 293/1239/16 on the ground and 80/879/4 receiving. He’s an outstanding athlete, and he’s durable. He’s my #1 overall pick, and it’s not even close.

Le’Veon Bell (9) PIT

Notes: Bell produced an incredible 261/1,268/7 on the ground with 75/616/2 through the air in 12 games last season. Bell is supremely talented and the top pick for some fantasy players, but he comes with risk. He has a long injury history, and he is one bong hit away from a lengthy suspension.

LeSean McCoy (6) BUF

Notes: The Bill are built for the run and McCoy is still one of the most dynamic running backs in the league. Mike Gillislee poached a few touchdowns from McCoy last year, Gillislee is now a Patriot and McCoy’s rushing touchdowns could receive a bump. The addition of blocking fullback Patrick DiMarco will help an already great rushing attack. The Bills receiver corps is questionable, and this could result in more receptions for McCoy. He comes with some injury concerns. McCoy missed one game last season and four games in 2015.

Ezekiel Elliot (6) DAL

Notes: Elliot lived up to his rookie hype last season with an incredible 322/1,631/15 on the ground. Yes, he plays behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL, but he has stand-alone talent. The Cowboys front five shuffled some this offseason but is expected to be very good, and Elliot is poised for another great season. His off the field issues are going to cost him a game or two, but I don’t think it should affect his fantasy value. He is also poised to be more of a factor in the passing game.
UPDATE 8/11: Elliot is facing a six-game suspension. This is a major blow to Elliot’s value and to the Cowboys as a team. Elliot will miss almost half of your fantasy season, but he should have a Texas-sized chip on his shoulder when he returns just in time for a fantasy playoff run. More to come…
Update 8/29: Elliot is appealing his suspension. We will know more by the end of the week.

Darren McFadden (6) DAL

Notes: With the Elliot suspension, suddenly McFadden is relevant again. His value is certainly capped by his six-week window. It may be difficult securing both Zeke and McFadden. I expect them to both go somewhere around the 3rd-4th round.

Jay Ajayi (11) MIA

Notes: Ajayi had an unprecedented three 200+ yard games last year, but his lack of consistency was a nightmare for fantasy owners. Injuries on the offensive line and an ineffective passing attack contributed to the ups and downs, but Ajayi still managed to finish with 309/1,459/9 stat line. The offensive line has shuffled this offseason to boost the running game and Ajayi could be in for another great season.
UPDATE 8/4: Tannehill is out for the season. Ajayi may get more work, but he will be less efficient as defenses will be able to key in on him. The rankings have been updated.
UPDATE 8/7: Jay Cutler has been signed to replace Tannehill. I think this is a good thing for Ajayi. Cutler’s aggressive nature will keep defenses in check.

Devonta Freeman (5) ATL

Notes: Freeman boasted 227/1,079/11 on the ground and 54/462/2 through the air in 2016. OC Kyle Shanahan has moved on, but Freeman has stated the offense will stay “pretty much the same, a few tweaks here and there, but a majority of the same play calls.” That’s good news for Freeman. The bad news is that the offense will have some regression and Tevin Coleman has proven to be an excellent runner in his own right. Coleman will be a part of the game plan every week, and Freeman would need to suffer only a minor injury for Coleman to see significantly more playing time.

Melvin Gordon (9) LAC

Notes: After a disappointing rookie year in 2015, Gordon was surprisingly good in 2016. Woodhead was lost for the season early, and Gordon was thrust into a featured back role. Gordon showed good hands (41 receptions) and scored 12 total touchdowns. He is talented, but not impressively efficient. Gordon’s fantasy value is more a product of opportunity than talent. The Chargers’ new head coach Anthony Lynn has had success with coaching up running backs, and Gordon should exceed his 2016 numbers.

Jordon Howard (9) CHI

Notes: The 5th-round pick from Indiana took full advantage of his opportunity last season and ended with an impressive 252/1,313/6. He’s talented, but not overly quick or powerful and his situation is not very good. The Bears shuffled their offense this offseason, but they still do not look to be a good team. But Howard has a lot of what fantasy players are looking for—opportunity. He will lose some passing down work to newcomers to Cohen and Cunningham, but the offense is going to feature him, and he will get 300+ touches barring injury.

DeMarco Murray (8) TEN

Notes: Murray quieted his critics last year with 1,664 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns. He thrived in Mike Mularkey’s “exotic smash mouth” system. I see a little bit of regression on the horizon for Murray. Derrick Henry won’t stay in the stable for long, especially in goal line situations, and I expect more production from the passing game in 2017. Expect Murray to remain a big part of the game plan with a little less production.

Marshawn Lynch (10) OAK

Notes: Beast mode is back and playing behind a great offensive line. In fact, this is probably the best offense Lynch has played with in his entire career. Unfortunately, Lynch is 31-years old and retired a year ago because of chronic back problems. I don’t think spending a year traveling the globe eating Skittles has helped his back heal, and it’s going to take a lot of work for him to get into NFL shape. It’s a possibility that his back won’t be able to handle the physical stress of a full workload every week. Even if he’s not the Marshawn Lynch of old, he will still be better than Latavius Murry, and Lynch could be a touchdown monster this year. We’ll know more as the preseason progresses.

Isaiah Crowell (9) CLE

Notes: Crowell was 198/952/7 on the ground with 40/319/0 receiving last year. The Browns were not good in 2016, but Hue Jackson proved once again that he knows how to run the ball. Bad game scripts limited Crowell’s rushing attempts, but he did a lot with his carries. The offensive line has improved, and the team added a lot of young talent on defense. I expect the team as a whole to improve in 2017 and Crowell should be the primary beneficiary.

Lamar Miller (7) HOU

Notes: Miller posted 268/1,073/5 rushing and 31/188/1 receiving last season. The lack of touchdowns is concerning, and coach Bill O’Brian expressed his interest in easing Miller’s workload to try to keep him fresh. Miller was banged up early in 2016 and was not as effective as he could have been. The team spent a third-round pick on bruiser D’Onta Forman and it looks like they want to keep Miller fresh. Miller is a very good runner but may be in a bad situation. Houston’s offense is free of Oeswieler, but still may not be very good, and that doesn’t bode well for Miller.

Todd Gurley (8) LAC

Notes: Gurley was the biggest fantasy bust of 2016. Part of the blame lies with terrible offensive line play, but even when he had opportunities, Gurley just couldn’t get it done. Jeff Fisher got fired and replaced by the highly-capable Sean McVay. The offensive line has been revamped and will improve in 2017, and McVay will bring a new system and new culture to the offense. Gurley is an elite runner, and the new coaching staff will get him back to form.

Mike Gillislee (9) NE

Notes: I love Gillislee this year. He’s an impressive runner on a team that will be killing the clock a lot this season. The Pats running back stable is crowded. However, Gillislee is so good, he vultured seven touchdowns from LeSean McCoy last season. He’s somewhat unproven and not as big as Blount, but he will be the best option for early down work in New England. Expect Gillislee to be the king of garbage time in 2017.

Danny Woodhead (10) BAL

Notes: Coming off an early 2016 ACL tear, Woodhead signed a contract with the Ravens. 1 out of 5 of Joe Flacco’s pass attempts last season was to a running back, so there will be a lot of opportunity for Woodhead. He’s 32-years old and is coming off an ACL tear, so there is some risk, but he will quickly become Flacco’s favorite target.
UPDATE 8/4: The offensive line has suffered injuries to multiple starters. He’s been dropped in my rankings.

Frank Gore (11) IND

Notes: Frank Gore is still doing his thing. He is 34-years old and entering his 13th, and probably final, season. He’s not the athlete he used to be, but he does everything right, and he will be the lead back in a potent offense. As long as he can avoid injury, he will be a solid fantasy producer in 2017. He finished last year as RB12, and there’s no reason to expect less than RB20 this year.

Leonard Fournette (8) JAX

Notes: Fournette is the real deal. The fourth overall pick is supposed to start the season as the Jaguar’s bell cow running back. Unfortunately, the Jags only ran the ball 37% of the time in 2016. Fournette is not a good receiver, and he could become a casualty of poor game scripts. In 31 games at LSU, Fournette caught 40 balls with eight drops. T.J. Yeldon will be the receiving back. I expect the Jags defense will improve this season, but I’m still concerned that Fournette may not get enough opportunity to be a top fantasy option.

Dalvin Cook (9) MIN

Notes: I don’t think it will take long for Cook to emerge as the Vikings starter. Latavius Murray will probably be the short yardage back, limiting Cook’s touchdown totals, but I expect Cook’s pass catching ability to make up for a lack of touchdowns. Cook is agile and quick but doesn’t have impressive power at the point of contact. His pass protection will need work, so there is some risk here. Cook starts the season as the best running back on the team, and I think the Vikings will trust the rookie with primary back duties sooner rather than later.

Doug Martin (11) TB

Notes: Martin will miss the first three games of the season due to suspension. He’s a risky pick, but he’s the best running option on a good offense. Injury risk is high for Martin, but his numbers from 2012 (319/1,454/11) and 2015 (288/1.402/6) can’t be ignored. You can get him cheap because of the injury risk and the suspension, and I recommend doing so.

C.J. Anderson (5) DEN

Notes: Anderson has talent as a runner and receiver, but just can’t stay healthy. Anderson suffered a season-ending injury in week 7 and was replaced by Devonte Booker, who floundered for the remainder of the year. The team added Jamal Charles and beefed up the offensive line this offseason to improve the running game. I expect an RBBC (running back by comity) unless Charles shows that he can’t play at a high level anymore. If that happens, Anderson could see a lot of work, but that could lead to another serious injury.

Joe Mixon (6) CIN

Notes: Mixon is not as powerful as Hill, and not as good a pass catcher as Bernard, but he has the most complete skill set in Cincinnati. Marvin Lewis is not a rookie-friendly coach, but the high draft pick spent on Mixon indicates that he may be a part of the game plan early on. Bernard is recovering from an ACL injury, and that could be an opportunity for Mixon to be involved early. The offensive line could be terrible, so I’m not putting much fantasy stock in the Bengals’ this season.

Samaje Perine (5) WASH

Notes: Rookie Samaje Perine is the most talented running back in Washington and he will be the starter sooner rather than later. Perine is a powerful runner with surprising quickness for a 5’11’’ 233lb running back. The Redskins have a potent offense but were not good around the goal line last season. Perine’s presence should change that. Fat Rob may steal some work early in the season, but it’s only a matter of time before Perine dominates the carries.
UPDATE 8/11: Perine fell on his face in his preseason debut. I don’t often put stock in preseason, but he fumbled, dropped an easy pass, and didn’t impress at all. All is not lost, but this did not help him and I’m sure his coaches are less likely to expedite his starter status.

Christian McCaffrey (11) CAR

Notes: The 8th overall pick in the 2017 draft has excellent athleticism and an NFL pedigree. But I’m not convinced that he pushes Stewart completely out of the starting role. Time will tell, and McCaffrey may be the running back of the future for Carolina, but there will still be a learning curve with pass protection and the speed of the NFL. Also, I am concerned that Newton is not the best fit for a short, quick passing game, which may limit McCaffrey’s PPR value. Cam threw only 44 passes to his running backs last season.

Spencer Ware (10) KC

Notes: Jamal Charles is gone, and West proved he is best as a change of pace back. Spencer Ware does everything well and is a solid starting RB2, producing 1,369 yards from scrimmage last season. The team traded up to get Kareem Hunt in the draft, but I expect they will ease him into action. There is a new incarnation of the Chief’s brewing with Mahomes and Hunt, but I expect Ware to bear the load, as long as he can stay healthy.
Update 8/29: Ware is out for the season.

LeGarrette Blount (10) PHI

Notes: Blount rushed for over 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns for New England last year. He joins an Eagles team that has a great offensive line. I don’t think Ryan Mathews will be playing in Philly this season, so I expect Blount to see some early down work as well as goal line touches. The presence of Sproles and Smallwood will limit Blount’s opportunities.

Theo Riddick (7) DET

Notes: Riddick is one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league. He had 53 catches in ten games last season and 80 catches in a full 2015 campaign. He has some value as a runner if Ameer Abdullah misses time, but Riddick is much better suited as the primary pass catching back. His season was cut short by injuries to both wrists and started breaking down under a full workload.

Adrian Peterson (5) NO

Notes: Adrian Peterson has been one of the best running backs in the league throughout his career, and he now finds himself playing behind an excellent offensive line. But it remains to be seen how good of a fit he will be in New Orleans. The Saints have expressed that they want to be a more run-focused team, but a poor defense has hindered that transition. Peterson has not shown that he functions well out of the shotgun and the running back stable is crowded. I don’t think he gets as much work as many fantasy players hope. I don’t think Peterson is over the hill, and I expect him to be the most productive back this season.

Paul Perkins (8) NYG

Notes: I’m not a Perkins fan, but there is an opportunity for fantasy value here. McAdoo has already named Perkins the starter and the team didn’t make running back a top priority in the draft. Vareen will be back and will probably be the primary pass-catching back, while 4th-round pick Wayne Gallman may emerge as the goal line back. The Giants run blocking has been poor and it remains to be seen if their offseason efforts to improve have worked.

Jonathan Stewart (11) CAR

Notes: The Panthers spent two early-round picks on WR/RB players in Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. Stewart is 30-years old, and the writing is on the wall. But I’m not expecting McCaffrey to step in as the week one starter. Stewart still has some left in the tank, and I expect McCaffrey to be more WR than RB. Stewart is on his way out, but I don’t think the Panthers write him out of the offense just yet. We’ll have to see how training camp and the preseason unfold.

Bilal Powell (11) NYJ

Notes: I’m not sure who the quarterback for the Jets will be in 2017, but I’m pretty sure he will suck, as will the Jet’s offense. Powell’s saving grace will be garbage-time dump-off passes. Powell was very good last season when he wasn’t sharing the workload with Matt Forte, and I expect Powell to have a more prominent role even with a healthy Forte. But I’m taking the under on all things Jets- except losses.

Ty Montgomery (8) GB

Notes: Wide receiver Ty Montgomery was thrust into the starting running back role due to injuries to Lacy and Starks. He only carried the ball 77 times but added 44 receptions. He was very hit or miss for fantasy, and I don’t expect that to change this year. Lacy and Starks are gone; moreover, the team spent 4th and 5th round picks on running backs, Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones. Jones will need some work, but Williams should see playing time this season. Montgomery bulked up this offseason, and having a year to prepare for running back duties should help his production. However, this is a pass-first offense, and Montgomery’s inconsistency is a big concern.

Derrick Henry (8) TEN

Notes: DeMarco Murray is the lead back in Tennessee, but Henry’s rookie season saw his opportunity and production increase in the second half of the season, especially around the goal line. Henry is the Titans’ future featured running back, and I expect his role to expand this season. Murray has had injury problems in the past, and even a minor injury could thrust Henry into the starting role.

Carlos Hyde (11) SF

Notes: I love the talent. Hyde is an elusive power back that can break for nice chunks of yardage. But Hyde cannot stay healthy. New head coach Kyle Shanahan drafted Joe Williams in the third round, and Hyde may not be a good fit for Shanahan’s zone-read rushing attack. Not a particularly good receiver, Hyde may be phased out of the 49er’s rushing attack. He’ll begin the season as the starter, but I expect Joe Williams will be knocking on the door.

C.J. Prosise (6) SEA

Notes: At 6’1’’ 225lbs, Prosise doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional third down back, but his downfield receiving skills make him one of the most dangerous pass-catching backs in the league. He’s quick, strong and showed great talent his rookie season. An injury is the biggest concern with Prosise. He has had numerous injuries throughout college and his professional career, and he will be playing behind the worst offensive line in football. I love the player, but his situation gives me serious concern

Alvin Kamara (5) NO

Notes: Kamara is a pass-catching back that has landed in a perfect spot. The Saints passed to the running back more than any other team in the league last season. Kamara has great hands and is very good in space. Some close to the team see Darren Sproles type production. The Saints traded a 2018 second-round pick to get Kamara, so the team sees something that they like. Kamara will have good value in PPR and leagues with points for return yardage but will be limited unless Peterson or Ingram miss time.

Ameer Abdullah (7) DET

Notes: Abdullah is very talented and a threat to score every time he gets the ball in space. The Lions didn’t address the running back position in the draft and have touted Abdullah as the starter all offseason. But the Lions are not good at running the ball, and the presence of superior short-yardage backs Zenner and Washington, coupled with superior pass catcher Riddick, limits Abdullah’s floor. An injury is always a concern, and we have a very small sample size from last season. Abdullah is a dangerous weapon that may find limited opportunities this season.

Terrance West (10) BAL

Notes: West led Baltimore in carries, yards, and touchdowns last season (193/774/5). His talent isn’t very exciting, but his opportunity shouldn’t be overlooked. Woodhead is locked in as the passing down back, but West should receive most of the early-down and goal line work.

Duke Johnson (9) CLE

Notes: Johnson disappointed fantasy owners last year. The Browns were in a lot of negative game scripts, and Johnson was supposed to be the primary pass-catching running back. But Crowell was utilized much more than anticipated in the passing game. Crowell had just 20 targets fewer than Johnson. Johnson still has good PPR value; he was 6th in the league in receptions, and 4th in the league in receiving yards among running backs. If he makes a move to the slot, as some reports have suggested, his value will increase.

James White (9) NE

Notes: The emergence of White last season was a little bit of a head scratcher for me. Dion Lewis is way more talented, but injury prone. I’m assuming the Pats value the durability over talent as White was awarded a contract extension. I still expect Lewis to cut into White’s production this season, and the Pat’s game scripts will favor Gillislee or Burkhead to White and Lewis.

Giovani Bernard (6) CIN

Notes: Bernard tore his ACL in November and a timetable for his return is not known. Reporters close to the Bengals speculate that Bernard will avoid the PUP list and only miss a couple of weeks. Joe Mixon will have the opportunity to impress in Bernard’s absence, but I think Bernard will have his role restored when he returns. We will know more as training camp and preseason unfolds.

Tevin Coleman (5) ATL

Notes: Coleman derives his fantasy value as a viable flex play and a back-up with RB1 upside. If anything happens to Freeman, Coleman can seamlessly fill his role. With Shanahan gone, it remains to be seen how the workload will be split, but I expect the Falcons to give Coleman more opportunities this season. Coleman’s receiving numbers last year, 31/421/3 on 40 targets, show that he can do it all. He has stand-alone value with monster upside if anything happens to Freeman.

Eddie Lacy (6) SEA

Notes: Feastmode rumbles into Seattle in an attempt to re-establish a power running game. I’m not at all a believer, but there is a broad range of possible outcomes with Lacy. In my opinion, he’s more fat than powerful, and the Seahawks offensive line is terrible. Lacy’s love of cheeseburgers and a crowded running back stable ensure I won’t be owning him.

Thomas Rawls (6) SEA

Notes: Like I said, I’m not a believer this year, but Rawls knows the system and he’s slated as the starter. With Lacy sitting behind him, it wouldn’t take a serious injury for Rawls to sit. Rawls is the better back and should get the starts when he is 100%.

Matt Forte (11) NYJ

Notes: Forte’s reign as a reliable fantasy stud is over. He had good stretches last season, but he was not efficient. An injury ended his season early and gave Powell a chance to impress. Forte’s age and the fact that he is playing on the Jets are enough for me to avoid Forte at all costs. He will still have an opportunity, and probably start the season as the starter, but I’m not a taker.

Darren Sproles (10) PHI

Notes: Sproles was surprisingly effective on the ground in Doug Pederson’s system last season, logging a career-high 94 carries for 438 yards and two touchdowns. Sproles is still a dangerous receiver out of the backfield at age 33. Sproles is a serviceable backup in PPR leagues and has upside potential in certain matchups. Not an ideal backup, but serviceable.

Kareem Hunt (10) KC

Notes: The Chiefs traded up for Hunt in the third-round, and it appears that Hunt will be the future at the position. He is a smart runner with good vision and balance. Hunt has three-down talent and will compete with Ware for the starting job. I don’t think he supplants Ware, but that remains to be seen. It looks like Charcandrick West may be the odd man out in Kansas City.
Update 8/29: Ware is out for the season and Hunt is the week one starter.

T.J. Yeldon (8) JAX

Notes: With the drafting Of Leonard Fournette, Yeldon’s role looks to be primarily 3rd downs and passing plays. He caught 50 passes for 312 yards last season, so he will still have value in PPR leagues.

Jeremy Hill (6) CIN

Notes: Hill’s time in Cincinnati appears to be winding down. His production has decreased, he was not offered a contract extension, and the team drafted Joe Mixon in the second-round. Coach Marvin Lewis has always been hesitant to trust rookies with a heavy workload, and Giovani Bernard will miss the first couple of games rehabbing his ACL, so Hill will see the field quite a bit to start the season. If Mixon can grasp the system, and Bernard gets healthy, Hill will probably be relegated to goal line work and situation early down work. Hill will need an excellent start to the season to salvage his career in Cincinnati.

Mark Ingram (5) NO

Notes: It’s long been my theory that the Saints hate Mark Ingram. He’s a very good runner and is productive when he is given opportunity. With the arrival of Adrian Peterson and the team moving up in the third round to draft Alvin Kamara, it appears the hate continues. It’s difficult to have trust in this situation and I recommend staying away.

Chris Thompson (5) WASH

Notes: Washington’s offense is potent and likes to pass a lot. And when they pass, Thompson is likely to be on the field. His talent doesn’t wow, but his opportunity gives him a high floor in PPR leagues. He was 68/356/3 on the ground and 49/349/2 receiving last season.

Jalen Richard (10) OAK

Notes: Richard shows big play ability but lacks consistency. Lynch will be the primary running back for the Raiders, but Richard should have a receiving back role. If anything happens to Lynch, Richard’s value could increase.

James Connor (9) PIT

Notes: Le’Veon Bell has never had a season where he played all 16 games and is one toke away from a year-long suspension. Connor was drafted to possibly be the running back of the future for the Steelers. He is a powerful runner with good balance and is difficult to tackle. He is one of the most valuable handcuffs and may be a good target for dynasty leagues.

Top 50-ish Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Notes

Bye Weeks in Parenthesis ()
The stat lines for receivers are listed: receptions/receiving yards/touchdowns

Antonio Brown (9) PIT

Notes: Over the last four seasons, Brown has averaged 120 receptions, 1,579 yards, and 10.8 TD. He was twice the #1 fantasy WR and has finished no lower than seventh in that span. He is a stud and is showing no signs of slowing down. There is a risk here: Roethlisberger will most likely not play 16 games, so Brown’s upside will take a hit the weeks that Big Ben is not on the field.

Julio Jones (5) ATL

Notes: When he is healthy, he will produce. Jones was 83/1,409/6 in fourteen games last season. QB Matt Ryan has shown that he will lock on to Jones and the two have excellent chemistry. I am expecting a slight regression in the offense with Shanahan leaving, but I don’t think Julio’s numbers will get effected. New OC Sarkisian expressed his desire to get Jones more involved in the red zone, but that remains to be seen. Julio Jones is a stud in the prime of his career.

Odell Beckham Jr (8) NYG

Notes: The Giants have one of the most talented receiving corps in the league, and OBJ will be the center piece of the passing game. Big questions are surrounding Eli, but OBJ will still be highly productive. With Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard to contend with, defenses will have to keep single coverage on Beckham more often than not. If Beckham can keep his childish fits under control, he should be a top receiver this season. Let’s hope Beckham’s crazy and Marshall’s crazy don’t clash too hard.

Mike Evans (11) TB

Notes: Evans was a target monster last year with 173 targets that resulted in a 96/1,321/12 stat line. I expect his targets will diminish with the arrival of Djax and the possible emergence of O.J. Howard, but QB Jameis Winston will continue to look for Evans as the clear #1 option in the passing game. The added weapons, especially Jackson, should also help Evans avoid double coverage.

A.J. Green (6) CIN

Notes: The Bengals lost most of the talent on their offensive line this off-season, and the team did little in free agency or the draft to replace the guys that were lost. If the line is as bad as it looks, there will be a lot of quick passes to help keep the pressure off QB Andy Dalton. Dalton does not work well under pressure, or when plays break down, so there is some concern here. I think Green will see a lot of work in a quick passing game. Even if the Bengals offense experiences some regression, Green will still be productive.

Jordy Nelson (8) GB

Notes: Nelson is Aaron Rodger’s top target, so you should consider him as a top receiver on that merit alone. I don’t think his touchdown production last year (14) was a total fluke. 14 TDs may be high, but I think 12 is still realistic. With serious deficiencies in the running game, the Packers offense will have to move the ball through the air. Nelson is athletic but tends to be a little lazy and take plays off. The chemistry with his quarterback is second to none, and he is the go-to receiver in Green Bay.

T.Y. Hilton (11) IND

Notes: The Colts seem to have fixed some of their offensive line woes, and I am expecting Andrew Luck to get back to form. Hilton is a stud and led the league with 1,448 yards last season. Injuries to Dante Moncrief probably inflated Hilton’s numbers, but Hilton is the still the #1 going into 2017. If you believe in Andrew Luck’s resurgence, then you want to stock in Hilton. He won’t score a lot of touchdowns, but he will see a lot of volume. Moreover, PPR leagues value him especially.
Update 8/18: Luck’s questionable status to start the season and a key injury at center have caused me to drop Hilton.

Michael Thomas (5) NO

Notes: Thomas had a breakout rookie campaign in 2016 with a 92/1,137/9 stat line. With Brandon Cooks traded to New England, Thomas will have a little competition to be the #1. Brees is one of the all-time best, and though he will spread the ball around, Thomas is the most talented receiver the Saints have; he will get targeted a lot.

Dez Bryant (6) DAL

Notes: Talent has never been an issue for Bryant, he has top-5 talent, and he showed increasingly good report with Dak Prescott as the 2016 season progressed. He is the top target on in a good offense but hasn’t been able to stay healthy the last two seasons. The offensive line shuffling could result in some regression for the Cowboys, but Dez, when healthy, will always be a big part of the game plan. There are some mental and work ethic issues with Bryant, as well as a lingering foot problem.
And for the record: he didn’t catch it.

Doug Baldwin (6) SEA

Notes: Baldwin never seems to get the respect he deserves, but his numbers cannot be denied. Last year he logged 94/1,128 yards/7 touchdowns as QB Russell Wilson’s favorite target. Wilson was limited by lower leg injuries last season, and I expect Baldwin’s numbers could improve in 2017. Seattle’s offensive line could land Wilson in the hospital, and inconsistency can be expected from Baldwin. Baldwin had seven games with 5 or less catches last year but has the potential and ability to lead the league in any given week.

Amari Cooper (10) OAK

Notes: Cooper has done very well his first two seasons in the league, topping 1,000 yards both years. Year three is traditionally the year that receivers reach their potential, and Cooper is playing in an excellent offense with a terrific quarterback. The Raiders are a young team on the rise, and I believe this is the year Cooper establishes himself as the clear number one target for Derek Carr. Crabtree will be involved, but Cooper will be the guy.

Demaryius Thomas (5) DEN

Notes: Thomas has had at least 90 receptions and 1,000 yards in each of his last five season. His status as an elite receiver is gone, but he has shown to be a consistent producer and he is poised for another season as a solid WR2. The quarterback situation in sketchy in Denver, but whoever starts at QB, Thomas will be the #1 target in the passing offense.

Golden Tate (7) DET

Notes: Tate found himself in the doghouse for a couple of games last year, but it looks like Tate and OC Jim Bob Cooter have made up, and I expect Tate to be the #1 option in the passing game moving forward. He’s not a typical #1, and don’t expect much touchdown production, but Tate will get a lot of looks and will be the favorite target for QB Matt Stafford. He’s had 90+ receptions every season for the last three years. He has a high floor, especially in PPR leagues.

Tyreek Hill (10) KC

Notes: Hill had an incredible rookie year, scoring 12 touchdowns as a runner, receiver, and returner. Most of that production came in the second half of the season as Hill gained the trust of coach Andy Reid. Jeremy Maclin is gone, and it looks like Hill will have a more prominent role in the offense. Hill only played on 42% of snaps last season, but the team has expressed its’ desire to increase his usage. He is not a refined receiver, but his athleticism can create separation, and he is a threat to score every time he gets the ball in space.

DeAndre Hopkins (7) HOU

Notes: Hopkins was targeted 151 times last season, 7th most in the league. Houston’s quarterback situation is a little murky, but anyone will be an improvement over Brock Osweiler. Hopkins has never missed a game in his 4-year career and will be the focal point of the passing game. He has a high floor with upside.

Alshon Jeffery (10) PHI

Notes: Jeffery’s career has been plagued by injuries. He has missed 12 games in the last two seasons. Jeffery expected to see a big payday in free agency, but instead signed a “prove it” deal with the Eagles. He’s in a good spot and could be a real difference maker for Philly, but he’ll have to stay healthy. He’s very risky, but he has WR1 talent.

Brandin Cooks (9) NE

Notes: He is going to have monster games, and he will disappear in others. The Pats spent a first-round to get Cooks, but the Pats have a lot of talented weapons to deploy, so don’t expect Cooks to be “the guy.” Cooks will have a role, and he will scorch defenders in single coverage, but Brady doesn’t have the arm to hit Cooks deep a la Brees. Cooks has big upside with a shaky floor.

Allen Robinson (8) JAX

Notes: The Jags’ offense was bad all around last year. The addition of Fornette should help the offense move the ball and produce sustained drives. Robinson had a monster 80/1,400/14 stat line in 2015 but regressed to 73/883/6 last season. Bortles is mostly to blame, so a lot of Robinson’s value is hinged on if Bortles can improve in 2017.

Sammy Watkins (6) BUF

Notes: A monster talent with a long injury history. Watkins has missed 11 games in three years and played several games at less than 100%. The Bills were 2nd to last in passing offense last season, and the offense will continue to run through LeSean McCoy. The Bills lost starting WRs Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin in free agency and used a 2nd round draft pick on WR Zay Jones. Watkins had surgery in January and is expected to be ready for training camp. Watkins offers high risk, but high upside.
UPDATE 8/11: Watkins is now a Ram. This is not good for his fantasy value. His rapport with Taylor was the majority of his value and now he has Goff. I would take a very cautious approach with Watkins.

Terrelle Pryor (5) WAS

Notes: Last season Pryor proved he could be a quality receiver in the NFL. He posted 77/1,007/4 on 140 targets for Cleveland. This season Pryor is in a much better offense, but there is almost no chance he sees 140 targets in Washington. I do, however, think the quality of targets will be much improved. Cousins is an accurate passer, and Pryor is a big target with an excellent catch radius that can win contested balls. Pryor is very fast and I expect him to fit well into DeSean Jackson’s former role. Pryor’s usage could dramatically increase if there is an injury to Reed or Crowder.

Tyrell Williams (9) LAC

Notes: I’m a big believer in Rivers this year, and I think Tyrell Williams will be Rivers’ #1 target by the end of the season. Keenan Allen is back, but for how long? Rookie Mike Williams hurt himself in the very first rookie practice and may have a slow start to the season. Williams is tall, quick, and most importantly, has Rivers’ trust. Williams was 69/1,149/8 last season, and I think he will eclipse that production in 2017.

Julian Edelman (9) NE

Notes: When the Pats brought in Cooks, it looked like he was going to replace Edelman, but then the Pats gave Edelman a contract extension. New England now seems to have a very potent passing attack. Edelman has excellent chemistry with Brady, and I think the Cooks signing will help Edelman more than hurt him. Cooks demands double coverage, and that will open up underneath routes for Edelman. Brady spreads the ball around, and there is always week-to-week inconsistency with considering Patriots’ players not named Tom Brady.
Update 8/25: Edelman is out for the season

Michael Crabtree (10) OAK

Notes: I expect this is the year Amari Cooper makes a push to separate himself as the number one in Oakland, but Crabtree will still have a productive role in an excellent offense. Crabtree has had consistent numbers in his two years in Oakland. In 2015, he was 85/922/9 on 146 targets, and last year was 89/1,003/8 on 145 targets. Carr trusts Crabtree, and while Cooper may be the future, Crabtree is still very much involved in the present. I’m projecting only a slight downtick in Crabtree’s numbers this season.

John Brown (8) ARI

Notes: I like Brown a lot, but there is some risk here. Brown had an injury-plagued 2016 as the Cardinals team struggled as a whole. Brown’s biggest health issue, complications from the sickle-cell trait, are reported to be under control, but the condition has the potential to flare up again. Brown is a very quick speedster with great hands and is dangerous after the catch. He is an important part of coach Bruce Arians’ scheme. Brown concentrated on conditioning this offseason and gained 12lbs. Early indications are that he’s ready to return to form.
UPDATE 8/16: It looks like Brown’s sickle-cell problems have not significantly improved. This is not good for Brown or the Cards as a whole. Brown has dropped significantly in my rankings.

Stephon Diggs (9) MIN

Notes: Diggs was 84/903/3 on 111 targets in 13 games last season. When he is healthy, he can be a PPR stud, but there are consistency issues. His best week last season was against division rival Packers when he posted 9/182/1. One of his worse weeks was also against Packers when he posted 4/29/1. He could get you 150+ yards; he could get you less than 20. He has the potential to catch a lot of balls, but don’t expect many touchdowns. Having played with Bradford for a full year should help his consistency.

Davante Adams (8) GB

Notes: Adams had a productive 2016 and posted 75/997/12 on 75 targets. Randel Cobb’s injury issues were probably the biggest factor in Adams’ uptick in usage. Adams now has a rapport with Rodgers, and I expect Adams to be the #2 behind Jordy Nelson still. Cobb’s return will eat into Adams usage, but Green Bay will throw a lot this year, and Adams will still be a big part of the game plan in 2017.

Emmanuel Sanders (5) DEN

Notes: Sanders has no less than 76 receptions and 1,032 yards in each of his three seasons in Denver. Even with poor quarterback play, Sanders can be productive. Mike McCoy has been brought in to run the offense, and Sanders has described it as “wide receiver heaven”. Sanders is not consistent, but he can have a high ceiling in a favorable matchup.

Keenan Allen (9) LAC

Notes: Allen has played in nine games the last two seasons, so there is a lot of risks here. Allen and Rivers have an excellent rapport, and Allen has WR1 potential in PPR formats. The emergence of Henry and Williams suggests Rivers won’t lock on to Allen as he has in the past, but Allen could still be a WR1 in any given week. Allen had surgery to repair his ACL in September 2016, so Allen may start the season on a limited snap count.

Jarvis Landry (11) MIA

Notes: Landry has averaged 96 receptions over his first three seasons, and has reached 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons. There has been a lot of hype about DeVante Parker, but Landry is the #1. He has only scored 13 touchdowns over the last three seasons, and the addition of Julius Thomas leads me to believe that Landry’s touchdown numbers don’t have much chance to improve. If the offensive line can stay healthy, this entire offense could be much improved. I think the offense will run through Ajayi, and there are too many mouths to feed in the passing game to get too excited about any of Tannehill’s weapons.
UPDATE 8/4: Tannehill is out for the season. I don’t think Landry’s workload will diminish, but his efficiency will. The rankings have been updated to reflect this.
UPDATE 8/7: It’s been revealed that Landry is under investigation for battery. No timetable has been given for a resolution, but if Landry misses time it could be a boost to Parker’s value.

Pierre Garçon (11) SF

Notes: Garçon had a whopping 184 targets in 2013, the last year Kyle Shanahan was the OC in Washington. Those targets resulted in a 113/1,346/5 stat line with career highs in receptions and yardage for Garçon. Shanahan’s system favors the X receiver, and Garçon will be force-fed a lot this season. At 31-years old, Garçon has slowed down a bit physically, but his veteran savvy will serve him well in 2017.

Willie Snead (5) NO

Notes: Brandon Cooks is gone and Willie Snead may be the biggest beneficiary. Snead is efficient and does a lot of things well as a receiver. He will be the #2 option for Drew Brees, and I expect his talent and opportunity will translate to solid weekly fantasy production.

Larry Fitzgerald (8) ARI

Notes: He’s a future HOFer and still has enough in the tank to contribute this year. If QB Carson Palmer can stay healthy, Fitz will continue to be a PPR machine. He’s aging, but the team has adjusted how they use him. If John Brown has his sickle cell related issues figured out, it should help open up things underneath for Fitzgerald.

Jamison Crowder (5) WAS

Notes: A lot has changed in the Redskins’ receiver corps this offseason, and Crowder remains as the only proven wide receiver for Kirk Cousins. Crowder has great hands and after the catch ability. Entering his third year, Crowder is poised for a big season. The offense runs through Jordan Reed, but Crowder led the team in red zone targets last season.

Jeremy Maclin (10) BAL

Notes: Maclin had an injury-laden 2016, and was somewhat of a surprise cut this offseason. Maclin now finds himself in a perfect spot as he will now most likely be Flacco’s number one target. The Raven’s passing game lost its two most vital pieces this offseason in Dennis Pitta and Steve Smith. In my opinion, Maclin begins the season as the best receiver on the Ravens. Flacco was second in the league last season in pass attempts so that Maclin could be in for a big workload in 2017.

Donte Moncrief (11) IND

Notes: The 4th year receiver has a lot of potential and one of the best quarterbacks in the game, but just can’t seem to stay healthy. Moncrief played nine games last season and finished with 30/307/7 on 56 targets. Seven touchdowns in nine games are certainly worth noting, but Moncrief’s numbers have been very pedestrian so far in his career. I want to be more excited about him, but I’m going to have to see real production before I do. Potential doesn’t always translate into fantasy points.

Marvin Jones (7) DET

Notes: Jones was a top fantasy receiver for the first couple of weeks last season, and then completely fell off the map. Injuries were his biggest issues, and he seems to be healed and ready for 2017. Jones is still big, fast and capable of making circus catches. The Lions are built to throw the ball, and Jones is poised for a rebound season. Jones could be an excellent late round pick.

Brandon Marshall (11) NYG

Notes: Brandon Marshall is just one season removed from 109/1,504/14 with the Jets with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the quarterback. Marshall is still in New York but is now playing with Eli and the Giants. The Giants are a much better team, though Marshall will not see the usage he did in with the Jets. Marshall now joins Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard in what is arguably the best receiving trio in the league. My only concern here is Eli, as he did not look good last season. It remains to be seen how Marshall fits in what the Giants are going to do this season, but I estimate that Marshall will get enough high-value targets in the red zone to flirt with WR2 numbers some weeks. OBJ will be the number one, but Marshall could be a very nice compliment to a potentially potent passing game. The Giants success hinges squarely on Eli Manning this season.

DeSean Jackson (11) TB

Notes: Jackson is an excellent fit for the Bucs. Winston has a big arm, and Mike Evans needed a compliment that can take the top of a defense and open things up. For fantasy purposes, Djax is a difficult guy to own. He will miss a game or two with injury, and probably be slowed another game or two as well. He will win you your week if you play him in the 3-4 weeks he goes bananas; he will disappoint you the 3-4 weeks he disappears. For the frustration factor alone, I will not own Jackson. Is this the year Djax bucks that trend with a new team and new quarterback? Draft him at your own risk.

Martavis Bryant (9) PIT

Notes: At 6’4” 211lbs, Bryant is a supreme physical talent with unfortunate off the field issues. He’s only 25-years old and is coming off a year-long suspension. There is a lot of risk here- think Josh Gordon. Bryant is lightning fast, running a sub 4.4 forty yard, and excels in contested ball situations. He is the best red zone target on a high-powered offense so there is a lot of fantasy potential here. Bryant is on thin ice with the league, but if you can handle the risk, Bryant could pay off in a big way for your fantasy team.
UPDATE 8/14: Bryant has been officially reinstated.

Kelvin Benjamin (11) CAR

Notes: The Panthers picked up Benjamin’s fifth-year option for 2018, but he showed up to OTAs overweight and has been working with trainers to try to get back into shape. Benjamin had a breakout rookie season in 2014 with 73/1,008/9 on 146 targets. He missed 2015 with injury, and last year he was slightly less productive but more efficient with 63/941/7. The Panthers used this year’s draft to revamp their offense and add shifty speedsters, McCaffrey and Samuels. They will eat into Benjamin’s targets, but could also give him better opportunities down field.

Kenny Britt (9) CLE

Notes: Fantasy owners have long since waited for the 6’3” 223lb Britt to pop, and last year we saw some promise in his 68/1,002/6 stat line. This offseason Britt signed a four-year, $32.5 million-dollar contract with the Browns, and that was that. Britt is in a new system, with a shaky quarterback situation, and I’m having trouble getting excited about him. He could emerge as a garbage time darling a la Terrelle Pryor, but Britt is not at all the player Pryor is, and I expect he will quietly fade away.

Randall Cobb (8) GB

Notes: Cobb’s effectiveness on the field is hinged on his athleticism and ability to create separation in the middle of the field. Injuries have limited him, and he will need to be fully healthy in 2017 if he wants to regain his role in the offense. The team has expressed that they want him to be more involved this year, but it will depend on Cobb. We will be monitoring his training camp and preseason snaps to see if Cobb will be in a position to increase his share of Rodgers’ attention.

Robert Woods (8) LAR

Notes: Woods is a capable receiver with good route running ability and better than average speed and quickness; however, he was not heavily utilized in Buffalo. The Bills don’t throw a lot, and Woods was the clear #2 to Sammy Watkins. He has played 16 games only once in his four-year career, so there is some injury concern. Woods signed a sizeable 5-year, $34 million-dollar contract with $15 million guaranteed. He will most likely lead the team in targets this season, and if he can stay healthy, could be a solid WR3 with a stable floor.
UPDATE 8/11: Poor Woods.. He gets out of Watkins’ shadow in Buffalo, only to get right back under it in LA. He’s been dropped from my rankings.

Cameron Meredith (9) CHI

Notes: The good news is Meredith could lead his team in receiving this season. The bad news is he plays for the Bears. Meredith is a converted quarterback that took a big step last season, finishing for 66/888/4 on 96 targets. Entering his third season, Meredith could continue to progress and become a viable fantasy receiver if he can work his way into a more consistent role. He had three games with just one reception, and six games with three or less receptions last season. The quarterback play for the Bears may be an issue, and if Kevin White is healthy, Meredith may have limited opportunities.
Update 8/29: Meredith is out for the season.

DeVante Parker (11) MIA

Notes: The Miami hype train just won’t shut up about this guy. The 2015 first-round pick has combined for 82/1,238/7 on 141 targets in his two-year career. Those are not at all bad numbers, but if you listen to the Dolphins, this guy is supposed to be the next Julio Jones. Parker, at 6’3” 212lbs, has a lot of raw talent and is heading into his third year, but I just don’t see a fantasy explosion on the horizon. There are a lot good receiving weapons in Miami, and I don’t see him getting the opportunity to be a fantasy stud. He has value, but don’t believe the hype.
UPDATE 8/4: Tannehill is out for the season and this will limit Parker’s upside.
UPDATE 8/7: Jarvis Landry is under investigation for battery. If Landry misses time, Parker could be the primary beneficiary.

Ted Ginn Jr. (5) NO

Notes: What Ginn lacks in talent and receiving ability, he makes up for in speed. The former Panther signed with NFC South rival Saints, and will be slotted as the field stretching receiver for Drew Brees. Brees makes everyone around him better, and I expect Ginn’s fantasy value to be what it has always been- unstable floor, high ceiling. Ginn’s speed and veteran savvy will make him a dangerous weapon when paired with Brees, but I’m still suspicious of his hands.

Mike Wallace (10) BAL

Notes: Mike Wallace is not a hot name in most fantasy circles, but you should respect what he offers. He has missed one game in nine seasons, plays in a high-volume passing offense, and posted 72/1,017/4 last season. He will most likely be the #2 option behind Maclin, but the departed Steve Smith, and Dennis Pitta leave behind 222 targets from 2016. Wallace is not a sexy fantasy name, but he is a serviceable backup that deserves roster consideration.

Corey Colman (9) CLE

Notes: Colman was a first round pick last year, but has his rookie season derailed by a broken hand that cost him several weeks. The Brown’s passing attack was dismal last season, and most of the targets went to Terrelle Pryor. Pryor is gone, and the team signed veteran Kenny Britt. The quarterback situation is still shaky, but the Browns offense should improve this season and Colman is expected to be the future at the receiving position in Cleveland.

Richard Matthews (8) TEN

Notes: Matthews had a solid 2016 season with 65/945/9 on 108 targets. He showed great chemistry with Mariota and the two were very productive. The Titans drafted Corey Davis in the first round of the 2017 draft and added Eric Decker in free agency. The receiving corps suddenly has a lot of talent and Matthew’s value is diminished, but he has the best rapport with Mariota and will not quickly fade.

Cole Beasley (6) DAL

Notes: Beasley isn’t a fantasy stud, but he is very important to the Cowboys’ offense and should have a stable floor this season. He’s a poor man’s Wes Welker and should continue to be a chain mover for Dak. Beasley knows how to get open, has great hands, and sees red zone targets. He was 75/833/5 on 98 targets last season- all career highs.

Eric Decker (8) TEN

Notes: Decker missed most of the last season with shoulder and hip injuries, was released by the Jets and is now a Titan. Decker has been a consistent fantasy player for the past several years, but he may not get the volume in Tennessee’s run-first offense. Decker could find himself as a top target in the red zone, where Mariota has shown high efficiency, and still be a viable fantasy option in spite of low volume.

Taylor Gabriel (5) ATL

Notes: Gabriel joined the Falcons after the Browns cut him just after training camp last year. It took him a few weeks to adjust, but Gabriel eventually became a key part of a potent Atlanta offense. Gabriel is very fast and has big play ability. He averaged just over five targets a game over the second half of the season, but he scored five touchdowns in his final six games of the regular season. It remains to be seen how much he is used post-Shanahan, but his big play prowess gives him big upside any given week.

Adam Thielen (9) MIN

Notes: Thielen had a solid third year with a 69/967/5 stat line. Consistency is a big issue here, as with any Vikings’ receiver. Thielen had four 7+ reception games and eleven games with four or less receptions. I expect more passing from Bradford this season, but I also expect Laquan Tredwell to step up and absorb Cordarrelle Patterson’s vacated targets and possibly more.

Jordan Matthews (10) PHI

Notes: Matthew’s stint as an outside receiver is over and he will return to his more natural slot position. The additions of Alshon Jeffery and Tory Smith will certainly limit his opportunities, but he should be more efficient. An injury to either outside receiver could create more opportunity, but as it stands now, Matthews is probably third or fourth in the pecking order for targets behind Jeffery, Ertz, and Sproles. He is also dealing with a knee issue; therefore, we will be monitoring his health.
UPDATE 8/11: Matthews is now the #1 in Buffalo. I don’t think this was a good move for the Bills, but it does help Matthew’s fantasy value. He should get a lot more volume, but I don’t think he is well-suited to be a true #1. Time will tell and he could make a nice late-round flyer.

Kevin White (9) CHI

Notes: White was the seventh overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft and has played in only four games. He has had a series of injuries, and the Bears hope he is finally ready to go in 2017. He is expected to fill Alshon Jeffrey’s role and has tremendous athleticism. He has not had the opportunity to refine his route tree, so he may be limited in how the offense deploys him. He has the natural ability to be very good, but I need to see him play before I rank him higher. He is a late round flyer at best.

Josh Doctson (5) WASH

Notes: Washington envisioned Doctson as the receiver of the future when they drafted him in the first round of the 2016 draft. Achilles injuries ended his rookie season very early, so Doctson will have some catching up to do. There are plenty of weapons in Washington, so I don’t see a lot of opportunity for him this season, but Pryor is on a one year deal, and I expect the team to groom him to be the #1 in 2018. Doctson is fast and aggressive at the point of contact, but expect him to ease into playing time this season.

Top 20-ish Fantasy Football Tight End Notes

Bye Weeks in Parenthesis ()
The stat lines for tight ends are listed: receptions/receiving yards/touchdowns

Rob Gronkowski (9) NE

Notes: Gronk smash! He’s the most dominant tight end in the league. An injury is always a concern, and he missed eight games last season. Gronk had back surgery in December, and all indications are that he will be ready to go for 2017. He has started training camp with no limitations. When healthy, he’s a favorite target for Brady.

Travis Kelce (10) KC

Notes: Kelce finished as the top fantasy tight end in 2016. His 85/1,125/4 stat line is noticeably lacking touchdowns, but his week-to-week production is outstanding. With Maclin gone, Kelce will probably be the most targeted option in the passing game. He had offseason shoulder surgery and may miss training camp time, but he is expected to be fully healthy for the start of the regular season.

Jordan Reed (5) WASH

Notes: Reed has never played a full season, never topped 1,000 yards receiving, and has had double-digit touchdowns only once (2015). Gruden has said that “the offense runs through Reed,” and that may be true, but Reed has a long history of injury. When he is on the field, he can be dominant, but if you draft him, you will want to get a good TE to back him up.
Update 7/29: Reed is dealing with toe and ankle issues and is missing time in camp. Missing camp time is not a big deal, but this could be a case of turf toe. Gruden said his ankle injury is due to overcompensating for his toe. It’s early and they will be cautious, but this doesn’t look good.
Update 8/14: Reed had a consultation with a surgeon and it was determined that they are going to try a special shoe. It looks like a last-ditch effort to avoid surgery. I’ve dropped him in my rankings. We’re closely monitoring the situation.
Update 8/29: Reed is back on the field. Roster with caution.

Greg Olsen (11) CAR

Notes: Olsen is the most consistent elite tight end in fantasy. He has posted 125+ targets, 75+ receptions and 1,000+ yards every year for the last three seasons, and he hasn’t missed a game since 2007. His touchdown production isn’t impressive, but he is durable and has a very high floor. He led the team in receiving last season and could do the same in 2017.

Jimmy Graham (6) SEA

Notes: Graham’s 2015 patellar tendon tear was supposed to end/limit his career, but he answered with a very strong 2016. He was 65/923/6 last season and finished a top-3 fantasy tight end. He will never see the targets he did in New Orleans, but Graham has developed a good rapport with Wilson and is the #2 target behind Doug Baldwin. Graham has proven to be durable minus the 2015 tendon tear and should be a safe pick with a solid floor and good week-to-week upside.

Kyle Rudolph (8) MIN

Notes: Rudolph had a career year last season, posting 83/840/7 on 132 targets, and quickly became one of Bradford’s most trusted targets. Rudolph quietly finished as the 3rd best fantasy tight end last season and could be a late-round bargain. He has played 16 games in three of his six seasons, so there is some risk.

Zach Ertz (10) PHI

Notes: Ertz has developed into an important piece of the Eagles offense over the last two seasons. The additions of Jeffreys and Smith will most likely eat into his targets, but he should still have a sold floor in 2017.

Hunter Henry (9) LAC

Notes: Henry is an excellent receiver with good speed, quickness, and hands. As a rookie last season, he posted 36/478/8 on 54 targets. He will need to improve as a blocker if he wants to supplant Antonio Gates as the every-down tight end entirely, but he has Rivers’ trust, and that should ensure an uptick in his usage in 2017.

Tyler Eifert (6) CIN

Notes: Eifert has tremendous ability, and Dalton has no problem feeding him the ball, especially around the goal line. An injury is a big concern with Eifert. He has missed 26 games in the last three years; moreover, he’s been limited in several others. When he is healthy, he can be dominant, but you will need a good backup if you draft him.

Delanie Walker (8) TEN

Notes: Walker has 100+ targets every season for the last three years, and has been the primary target in the passing game. Over the past two seasons, the Titans have spent high draft capital on receivers and brought in Eric Decker this offseason. Walker’s role looks to be diminishing, but there is still a stable floor here.

Martellus Bennett (8) GB

Notes: I’m a Bennett believer, but with realistic expectations. He has never had a 1,000-yard receiving season, has never scored more than seven touchdowns, and has topped 65 receptions only once in his nine-year career. I believe careers highs are possible for him this season. This will be the best situation Bennett has ever been in, and I’m not buying the “Rodgers doesn’t throw to the tight end” narrative because Rodgers has never had a quality tight end to throw to. If Bennett can stay healthy, he will be a part of the game plan every week.

Eric Ebron

Notes: Ebron is entering his fourth year and has been somewhat of a fantasy disappointment thus far. He has yet to play a 16-game season and has six touchdowns in three years. The Lions exercised his fifth-year option, so the team has plans to continue developing him. Anquan Boldin has left, so I expect Ebron to fill that role, and his usage to continue to grow this season. He has real injury risk, but he could be a late-round bargain.

Jason Witten (6) DAL

Notes: He’s a future HOFer and a trusted part of the offense. Witten is in the twilight of his career but still has fantasy value. His floor isn’t what it used to be, but he will give you something every week. Witten doesn’t have the athleticism to create separation anymore. As a result, his touchdown production has suffered. You don’t want him as your starting tight end, but he is a serviceable fantasy backup.

Coby Fleener (5) NO

Notes: It’s no secret that I am not a Fleener believer, but he plays with Drew Brees and that carries value. This year will be Fleener’s second year with the Saints, and perhaps he will begin to grasp the system and see more work with Cooks’ departure vacating 117 targets. Fleener has a low floor and sporadic upside. Last season he had three games with 8+ targets. Two of those games he logged less than 40 yards receiving, the other he was 7/109/1. He is the only Saints receiving weapon that has no chance of seeing my fantasy roster this season.

Jack Doyle (11) IND

Notes: Doyle finished 2017 with 59/584/5, and proved to the team that he could deliver when called upon. Dwayne Allen has moved on, and Doyle looks to be the starter. He will share time with Erik Swoope, but Doyle is more experienced and should get the majority of work. Swoope is more athletic than Doyle, so I expect Swoope to eat into Doyle’s production eventually.

C.J. Fiedorowicz (7)

Notes: Last season Fiedorowicz showed that he could handle the starting workload, but was limited by poor quarterback play. He finished as a top-20 fantasy tight end and should continue to improve with a change at quarterback. Fiedorowicz shares duties with Ryan Griffin, but Fiedorowicz sees the majority of targets. He’s not a fantasy starter yet. Nevertheless, he has the potential to grow.

Charles Clay (6)

Notes: Clay is a well-rounded tight end. He is a good receiver and blocker, so he will be on the field a lot. Unfortunately, the Bills are a run first team so, though he may be on the field on most plays, his usage as a pass-catcher is sporadic. He has good upside and finished the 2016 season with a string of great games- four touchdowns in his final four games- but his week to week production limits his fantasy potential.

Austin Hooper (5) ATL

Notes: Hooper saw limited opportunity in his rookie season, but did enough to impress the team. Hooper is the starting pass-catching tight end on a potent Falcons offense. He has big play ability and the opportunity to make a fantasy impact this season. He has a low floor, and it remains to be seen how big of a role he will play.

Julius Thomas (11) MIA

Notes: Thomas lost his luster as a fantasy player since his 2013-2014 seasons that produced 24 touchdowns. Thomas’ offensive coordinator for those two years in Denver was Adam Gase, the new head coach for Miami. I don’t expect Thomas to return to fantasy stardom as a Dolphin, but there is potential, though his role remains to be seen.

Evan Engram (8) NYG

Notes: The Giants addressed their tight end woes by selecting Engram with the 23rd overall pick. Engram is built like a receiver, athletic, and will be a matchup nightmare for defenses. He does not profile as an effective blocker, but the Giants intend on working with him to improve. With all the weapons in New York, I don’t think the rookie will get enough opportunity to make a fantasy impact this season.

Jared Cook (10) OAK

Notes: I’m not a Jared Cook believer, but his athleticism and situation may have some fantasy relevance. The Raiders have a great passing offense, though only 83 targets went to tight ends in 2016. He is still a “big name,” but I would avoid him.