[Editor's note: These rankings were last updated Friday evening by Matthew Berry and account for latest news, including Marques Colston's injury.]
So, these are my rankings. At least, these are them as of 12:09 pm ET on September 6, 2011. They'll change, no doubt, so always be sure to look at the posted date. Fantasy news changes all the time -- since my "Love / hate" column, I've made many, many changes. This update includes buying Ray Rice's increased goal line touches (as he told me on our podcast) and legit concerns about Arian Foster's second hamstring injury plus the struggles of Kansas City's offense in the preseason and, of course, Peyton Manning's continued injury concerns. All the Colts, including Peyton, have moved significantly down here as the unknown is fairly scary.
Preseason news and performance has also continued moves in Tim Hightower, Ryan Grant, James Starks, Daniel Thomas, Reggie Bush, Antonio Brown, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Lance Kendricks, Mike Sims-Walker, Larry Fitzgerald, Evan Moore and many others ranks. I am still hanging tough on Michael Vick, though I understand why you might want to bail on him at one. This is not for the weak of heart.
The ranks are based on an ESPN standard ten team league standard league, which means four points per touchdown pass, no PPR, one point per 25 yards passing or 10 yards rushing and receiving, etc.
These ranks are built with all my personal biases built in that I wrote about in the Draft Day Manifesto , where I value elite quarterbacks and tight ends more than most, where I am drafting lots of running backs and wideouts late, going for upside, where I am waiting until the last two rounds for my defense and kicker and so on. A guy like Hines Ward will always be there, so I'd rather draft a guy like Brandon Gibson, who might be something or might totally flame out, than a guy like Ward, who is what he is at this point. Hines Ward (or, at least his stats) will always be available on a 10 team league's waiver wire.
An ESPN standard league goes 160 players deep, which is why you have all the defense and kickers between slots 140 and 160. But just for fun, I threw in another 90 guys to make it a top 250, which is basically enough for a 16 team league (and which is why I added an extra six defenses and kickers at the end).
As I also say in the Manifesto, use these as a guide, not a gospel. Every draft is different, every league is different and I'm not a slave to these rankings when I draft so you definitely shouldn't be. Runs happen, your team takes different shape depending on what slot you draft in so this list is not a one size fits all. Use it as a guide. In areas where I've grouped players at a certain position, I like them about the same, so it's just personal preference.
Matthew Berry's Top 250 for 2011: ESPN Standard Scoring
Rankings based on 10-team ESPN standard league with 16-player rosters, starting one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one running back/wide receiver, a tight end, a team defense and a kicker.