- Matthew Berry, Fantasy
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So I've updated my rankings, the first of many updates I'll make before the season kicks off. Some things haven't changed: They are still geared toward the ESPN standard 10 team, 16 man roster league. Which means, at most, 160 players will be drafted. As I outlined in the 2012 Draft Day Manifesto , I never pick a defense or a kicker before the last two rounds, so that is why picks 141-160 are defenses and kickers, in that order.
However, I know many of you play in 12 team leagues (12x16=192), so I have rounded this up to a top 200. If you do play in a 12-team league, then move the defense and kicker rankings down to slots 181-200, and you're on your own for the additional pairs of kickers and defenses. I'd much rather rank an extra couple of backs and wide receivers that might actually stick to your roster longer than through your Week 1 matchup.
The rankings also follow the basic tenets that I outlined in the Manifesto. To sum up; there's a premium on elite quarterbacks and, to a lesser extent, tight ends. The running back position is full of question marks. If a player has the job basically all to and there aren't a lot of health or skills questions, I value that more than I do a "better" running back in a time-share. It's among the reasons I am higher on BenJarvus Green-Ellis than many other might be. Finally, wide receiver this year is crazy deep. Perhaps that's no more evident in Calvin Johnson being ranked at 10. Make no mistake, he is Mega, it's right there in his name and everything, but knowing how deep wide receiver is, I find it very hard to grab any, even the best one, before the very end of the first round. And truthfully, he won't be on any team of mine in a draft league this year.
Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout (which give me flashbacks to Chris Johnson's last season) drops MJD to the second round for me, and the Adrian Peterson ranking is a total stab in the dark. That will change a million times between now and the first game.
I always say use these rankings as a loose guideline. Every draft is different, as is every team construction. In places where I grouped guys of the same position, it's my way of saying "Hey, I value them all about the same." But I will use these rankings to make a statement. Yes, if I were drafting today, I would take BenJarvus Green-Ellis over Frank Gore. I just think Gore is done (and has significant downside) and while the Law Firm's upside is severely limited, his downside (without injury) is as well. Total volume play.
The scariest running back time-shares for me?; It starts with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, of course, and they are that low not based on talent but merely on the idea that I can't imagine a scenario (barring injury to one of them) that I would ever feel confident starting them on any given Sunday. Same for the Redskins running backs. I've heard reports of all three running with the first team and I do believe, at some point this season, all three will be the "starting running back" for the Redskins. And worthy of starting. But I also think there's gonna be a lot of shuffling going on and I don't trust Mike Shanahan as far as I can throw him.
Doug Martin and Jamaal Charles are the two biggest risers based on news out of camps but there's been a lot of movement based on news and frankly, my own trends in doing mock drafts. There's exceptions in a few places, but in general, I value safe early and upside later.
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11hDianna Russini and Adam Schefter
2dESPN Fantasy staff
5dFantasy Football Insiders
6dDavid M. Hale