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Top 200 fantasy football rankings v3.0
(Editor's note 2: Our composite Top 200 rankings will be updated for a fourth time by Wednesday August 29. Be sure to check back to see how they shake out.)
(Editor’s note: Rankings were published on August 17 and do not reflect Vincent Brown’s injury.)
Now that every NFL team has played at least one preseason game, the FOXSports.com fantasy department agreed it was time slap a fresh coat of paint on the 2012 Top 200 fantasy football rankings. Each contributor provided a few words of analysis to explain the biggest mover and shakers over the last few weeks.
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Ryan Fowler Analysis
Like most, I'm starting to feel a little anxious because of MJD's holdout. So much so, that I dropped him to my 10th running back overall. The preseason hype surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs was enough to draw my attention to Jamaal Charles and remind me just how good he was prior to last season's injury. He's had time to heal and jumped inside my RB Top 10. I've also officially bought in to the Doug Martin hype. One of my industy connections down in Tampa Bay has made it clear to me that Greg Schiano will give the lion's share of the carries to the rookie out of Boise State. Still, keep an eye on LeGarrette Blount as a vulture inside the five.
As for Andrew Luck. I'm sold. Not just because of one statistically sound preseason game against the St. Louis Rams. His footwork and poise in the pocket made me comfortable enough to draft him as my backup quarterback in one league just this past weekend. He and Donald Brown have shot up my draft board. In Brown's case, we're looking for definitive No. 1 backs in a RBBC league. At the moment, Delone Carter and Mewelde Moore do not scare me as possible threats in the Colts' rushing game.
Overall, the depth of the WR and TE pools this season is incredible. Owen Daniels was selected in the last round of a 12-team PPR league and Dustin Keller, the Jets' leading receiver in 2011, went undrafted. Be patient and don't reach on either position.
Ah, Maurice Jones-Drew. To quote John Nash from A Beautiful Mind, “I’m terrified, mortified, petrified, stupefied… by you.” You might have been the league’s leading rusher in 2011, and holdouts are a common occurrence in these NFL times, but this dispute seems particularly passionate on both sides. Throw in the lingering rancor from the similar sabbatical Chris Johnson took last season, and I’m treating MJD like movie fans treated The Three Stooges: staying the hell away. After all, first-round fantasy selections are supposed to be the foundation for your roster, and any cracks in the groundwork could collapse the entire team. Let someone else roll the dice with an early pick on the Jacksonville back.
In other running back news, Kevin Smith makes the biggest jump in my revised rankings, with Mikel Leshoure not quite back and Jahvid Best starting the season on the PUP list. He’s definitely not what one would define as a “sexy” pick, but with Detroit’s high-octane offense, he’s a solid value selection at his current standing.
Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were impressive in their preseason debuts, but I’m not totally swayed to alter their position just yet. Besides, with the depth at the position, they’ll need to perform above and beyond the call of duty to crack into the top-12.
It’s too early to completely dock Jason Witten, though he does take a small tumble. From the receiver ranks, Lee Evans’ release and Jones-Drew’s absence suddenly makes Justin Blackmon an intriguing entity as a primary target in Jacksonville. Yes, even with Blaine Gabbert under center.
Does the opening note of the FOX NFL Sunday music induce a Pavlovian response? I just thought I’d ask.
Anyway, the advent of the preseason slate forces us to revisit our ranking sheets and tweak accordingly. Under the best circumstances, you spend time pondering the value of backup running backs, second quarterbacks and wide receivers popping onto the radar. As we know, there’s usually much more to consider.
On Wednesday morning, The Dan Patrick Show advised fans and fantasy owners about an injury sustained by Jason Witten during Monday’s preseason opener against the Raiders. Witten will miss the remainder of the preseason because of a spleen injury. As a result, he dropped to ninth in my tight end rankings and nearly three full rounds overall.
At the top of the heap, I bounced Maurice Jones-Drew down to eighth among running backs because of his prolonged holdout. Images of Chris Johnson’s early struggles in 2011 roam through my head when pondering Jones-Drew for this season. He slides behind DeMarco Murray and Darren McFadden. Given their injury histories, I can’t say that I’m overjoyed by their lofty draft statuses, but the landscape is what it is. Rashad Jennings slides up to a RB40 rank (104 overall) based on the expectation of an early workload even if Jones-Drew returns from vacation for the opener. My gut says he’ll bounce significantly higher when we next revisit the rankings.
Adrian Peterson rises back to RB1 territory at the 12th slot. Even if he misses six games to PUP, the numbers will get there barring a setback. Toby Gerhart still sits at the 32nd slot, as I anticipate a double-digit touch count for him in the early going, at a minimum.
Trent Richardson slides six spots in the RB rankings and nearly two rounds overall following his knee procedure. The specter of Dr. James Andrews just doesn’t inspire confidence.
New Packers running back Cedric Benson enters as RB47 (128 overall). Fantasy owners were never enthralled with James Starks.
I saw enough of Brandon Marshall flying around in Chicago in elevate him to fifth among WRs (24th overall). Terrell Owens joins the Seahawks and enters the rankings as my 55th receiver (153 overall).
Andrew Luck moves from QB19 to QB16, and from 124 to 108 overall. Looks good, bad team, lots of throwing – he’ll be a nice QB2 … I jumped Matt Ryan over Jay Cutler to the QB12 slot, because I’m liking Ryan just a little more these days.
Adrian Peterson’s healthy has him up from RB19 to RB14, and from 48 to 33 overall. If he stays healthy, he’ll keep moving up … Donald Brown looked good in the preseason opener, and moves from RB28 to RB25 … James Starks drops from RB32 to RB42 with the arrival of Cedric Benson in Green Bay.
I jumped Brandon Marshall over Wes Welker into the WR9 slot … Percy Harvin drops from WR12 to WR14 due to Kyle Rudolph and fear of migraines … Titus Young has been called “unstoppable” in Lions’ camp, and moves from WR42 to WR36. I believe … The Titans’ duo of Nate Washington (WR54 to WR48) and Kendall Wright (WR76 to WR58) moves up based on nervousness about Kenny Britt.
Tony Gonzalez jumps over Jacob Tamme and Brent Celek into the TE9 slot. It sounds like Tamme will share looks with Joel Dreessen (now TE24).
What do you think? Sound off! Tweet at the fantasy department:
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