Commentary

TMR's Predraft Top 200: Turner still on top

Updated: April 23, 2009, 4:35 PM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

The game, as they say, is afoot.

If you read that with a Scottish Sean Connery type brogue, it sounds even better.

With our 100 percent free Fantasy Football game -- which includes free live scoring and auction draft capability and is fully customizable -- now open it seemed a good time to update my top 200 rankings again.

Some things to note:

I did this with an ESPN 10 team standard league in mind. That means one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end and a flex player (one running back, wide receiver or tight end). It's standard scoring, which means no points per reception and four points for a touchdown pass.

I have done this with my own personal biases in mind. At various points, I'll interject with reasons for why I have ranked certain players where. But in general ...

•  I believe you only have one kicker and one defense on a team roster at all times. When it's a bye week, you drop them and pick up another. If you have a particularly good defense, you can drop someone else to grab a bye week defense, but certainly, when drafting you should only be drafting one kicker and one defense. As a result, I have ranked only ten of each.

•  Every draft I ever do, my last two picks are defenses and kickers in that order. Read last year's draft manifesto or the update I'll do to it this upcoming year for more background, but the difference between defenses is statistically insignificant, even if you could predict which will be the most valuable in fantasy, which, by the way, you can't. Where'd last year's consensus No. 1, the Chargers, finish? Exactly. (With Merriman expected back, I did rank the Bolts in the top 10, however).

•  So my bottom 20 consists of defenses and then kickers because that is how I would draft. If you've ever read me before, you know how I feel about kickers. If you don't, suffice to say I spent less than 60 seconds on my kicker rankings.

•  I would draft two quarterbacks and two tight ends in a league this deep and otherwise fill up on running backs and wide receivers. And so I have ranked 20 each of quarterbacks and tight ends.

•  There are no rookies ranked here because I am doing this before the NFL draft. Once the draft has happened, I will update once again, with the rookies and all the veterans that they've affected, once we have a better idea of playing time, system, etc.

And with that, here we go ...

  1. Michael Turner, Falcons
  2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

    Here's my thinking on Turner being number one. First, in ESPN standard scoring, Turner outscored Peterson by 32 points. So it not only can it happen, it has happened. Second, Chester Taylor started vulturing a lot of scores from Peterson, who once again faded down the stretch (not as badly as his rookie year, but 11 points or fewer in three of the six games from weeks 11 to 16) and the Vikings still don't have a competent quarterback to keep teams from stacking the line. In Turner's case, the development of Matt Ryan, the emergence of Michael Jenkins as a decent No. 2 to Roddy White means teams must respect the pass, allowing a much easier time to run. Plus, Turner's been in the league for five years, Peterson only two and yet ... Peterson already has 20 more touches over his career.

  3. Matt Forte, Bears
  4. Brian Westbrook, Eagles
  5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

    Now that Fred is gone and they have an offseason to get the offensive line healthy? Sky's the limit.

    Clinton Portis
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesClinton Portis is consistent, scoring 11, 7 (in half a season), 11 and 9 touchdowns the past four years.

  6. Clinton Portis, Redskins
  7. Chris Johnson, Titans
  8. Steven Jackson, Rams
  9. Brandon Jacobs, Giants
  10. Marion Barber, Cowboys

    I'm assuming he is healthy and will continue to be a workhorse who will get all the goal-line touches. Think Felix Jones and Tashard Choice help Barber here by keeping him fresh.

  11. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers

    The most debate this year will be all about where you rank him. I like him a lot but I just don't see him getting 20 touchdowns again this year, especially with a healthy Jonathan Stewart around (who I like a good amount, as you'll see below). The touchdowns, obviously, were a significant part of Williams' value. Keith Hawkins of ESPN Stats & Information notes that in the history of the NFL, there have been 24 running backs that have gotten at least 20 touchdowns. Only five of them have gotten 20 or more the following season. (Emmitt Smith, Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk in case you were wondering. And I don't feel DeAngelo is in that class.)

  12. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers

    Think they get a real fullback in there, that he gets healthy and they upgrade the offensive line. I'm not as worried about Darren Sproles -- LT's a prideful guy and he's got a long offseason to think about this past year. I also feel the Chargers' defense gets a lot better than they played last season, meaning games are closer. Which means less gunslinging by Philip Rivers and more rushing. San Diego's defense improved in the second half and LT's rushing touchdowns went up from four in the first half to seven in the second, a 75 percent increase.

  13. Steve Slaton, Texans
  14. Drew Brees, Saints
  15. Thomas Jones, Jets
  16. Frank Gore, 49ers
  17. Randy Moss, Patriots
  18. Calvin Johnson, Lions
  19. Tom Brady, Patriots
  20. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

    A healthy Brady for Moss, plus the fact Anquan Boldin might not be in Arizona (thus making it easier to double-team Larry Fitzgerald) was enough to drop Fitzgerald to three among WR.

  21. Andre Johnson, Texans
  22. Ryan Grant, Packers
  23. Kurt Warner, Cardinals
  24. Steve Smith, Panthers
  25. Roddy White, Falcons
  26. Reggie Wayne, Colts
  27. Terrell Owens, Bills

    Owens is always good his first year with a new team, he's got something to prove and Trent Edwards throws a good short pass, which is where T.O. will earn his keep.

  28. Joseph Addai, Colts
  29. Pierre Thomas, Saints
  30. Peyton Manning, Colts
  31. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

    Brett who?

  32. Kevin Smith, Lions

    A lot better last year than people realize. Same could be said for me.

  33. Marques Colston, Saints
  34. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals. For now.

    Again, questions about where he ends up.

  35. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks

    A happy and paid wideout on a team with no defense that likes to pass the ball? That's what I'm talking about.

    Greg Jennings
    Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesGreg Jennings has scored 21 touchdowns in his past 29 games.

  36. Tony Romo, Cowboys
  37. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
  38. Greg Jennings, Packers
  39. Brandon Marshall, Broncos
  40. Wes Welker, Patriots
  41. Philip Rivers, Chargers

    See my note on Tomlinson for why I am a bit lower on Rivers than some of my counterparts.

  42. Marshawn Lynch, Bills

    Sure, he's gonna miss three games at least. But a chip on his shoulder and an actual legit passing game to help take the pressure of the run keeps him a solid option at this point.

  43. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
  44. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins
  45. Reggie Bush, Saints
  46. Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers
  47. Jason Witten, Cowboys
  48. Vincent Jackson, Chargers

    Look at his numbers before you scratch your head. Or worse.

  49. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
  50. Roy E. Williams, Cowboys

    Now that you-know-who is gone, Roy gets to prove why he was traded for. And paid handsomely. And he plays fantasy football, which has nothing to do with anything, but a shout out for that.

  51. Santonio Holmes, Steelers
  52. Darren McFadden, Raiders

    He is healthy and he is the future. The Raiders need to see what they have in McFadden and you don't sign a guy like Jeff Garcia if you're not on a youth movement. Um, hang on there ...

  53. Donovan McNabb, Eagles
  54. Matt Ryan, Falcons
  55. Le'Ron McClain, Ravens

    At least you know he's getting it at the goal line. The Baltimore running back I trust the most.

  56. Derrick Ward, Buccaneers

    The Tampa Bay running back I trust the most.

  57. Plaxico Burress, free agent.

    Innocent until proven guilty or at least free until not, I'm basing this ranking on the idea that wherever he lands, it will be as an impact wide receiver, that he will avoid jail time in 2009 and that he realizes this is a last chance.

  58. Santana Moss, Redskins
  59. Matt Cassel, Chiefs
  60. Dallas Clark, Colts
  61. Eddie Royal, Broncos
  62. Correll Buckhalter, Broncos

    From a backup to at least a partial starting gig with potential for more moves Buckhalter higher than he's ever been with a healthy Brian Westbrook in the league.

  63. Jamal Lewis, Browns
  64. Larry Johnson, Chiefs

    Wherever he winds up, it won't be in a solo starting role. At best, it's a time share. Or if he stays in KC, it's blocking for Cassel.

    Braylon Edwards
    Jason Miller/US PresswireCue the music: "You want it all but you can't have it ... it's in your face but you can't grab it!"
  65. DeSean Jackson, Eagles
  66. Braylon Edwards, Browns (for now)

    Surprised at how far he dropped? Get it? Dropped? Whatever. Some of these are for me.

  67. Bernard Berrian, Vikings
  68. Hines Ward, Steelers
  69. Antonio Gates, Chargers
  70. Kevin Walter, Texans

    See note after Jackson, Vincent.

  71. Donald Driver, Packers
  72. Jay Cutler, Bears

    It's a new offense, he takes a major step down in his wideout talent (though Forte is a stud and Hester and Olsen are better than folks think) but the biggest reason I have Cutler down this low is similar to the Rivers thinking. The Bears are a cold-weather, ball-control offense and have what should be an elite defense. Lower-scoring, closer games than what Cutler had in Denver last year, where he had to fling it every time since the Broncos couldn't run.

  73. Laveranues Coles, Bengals
  74. Fred Taylor, Patriots
  75. Derrick Mason, Ravens
  76. Cedric Benson, Bengals

    I just got the heebie-jeebies writing that. Shudder.

  77. Willie Parker, Steelers
  78. Lance Moore, Saints
  79. David Garrard, Jaguars

    Better down the stretch than you think.

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  80. Matt Schaub, Texans
  81. Ted Ginn Jr., Dolphins
  82. Lee Evans, Bills
  83. Owen Daniels, Texans
  84. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets
  85. Anthony Gonzalez, Colts
  86. Steve Breaston, Cardinals
  87. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
  88. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
  89. Deion Branch, Seahawks
  90. Chris Henry, Bengals

    My way of saying I don't think we see Chad Ochocinco in Cincy this year.

  91. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks
  92. Sammy Morris, Patriots
  93. Edgerrin James, Cardinals
  94. Joe Flacco, Ravens
  95. Bobby Engram, Chiefs
  96. Carson Palmer, Bengals
  97. Willis McGahee, Ravens
  98. Torry Holt, Jaguars

    Nowhere to go but up. For Garrard, for Holt, for the Jaguars' offense.

  99. Justin Gage, Titans
  100. Kevin Curtis, Eagles
  101. Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings
  102. Chris Cooley, Redskins
  103. Fred Jackson, Bills

    Even with the signing of Dominic Rhodes, I like Jackson a lot considering his pass-catching skills, the Lynch suspension and knowing the offense.

  104. LenDale White, Titans

    The Big Fat Bartolo Colon of the NFL.

  105. Chris Chambers, Chargers
  106. Darren Sproles, Chargers
  107. Eli Manning, Giants
  108. Kyle Orton, Broncos

    You gotta admit, he has some nice weapons and a pass-happy coach. Serious sleeper.

    Tim Hightower
    Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesAll you need to know about Tim Hightower in three simple stats: 143 carries, 399 yards, 10 touchdowns.
  109. Johnnie Lee Higgins, Raiders
  110. Sidney Rice, Vikings
  111. Devin Hester
  112. Domenik Hixon, Giants
  113. Tim Hightower, Cardinals
  114. Earnest Graham, Buccaneers
  115. Chester Taylor, Vikings
  116. Antwaan Randle El, Redskins
  117. Patrick Crayton, Cowboys
  118. Justin Fargas, Raiders
  119. Julius Jones, Seahawks
  120. Felix Jones, Cowboys
  121. John Carlson, Seahawks
  122. Ricky Williams, Dolphins
  123. Leon Washington, Jets
  124. Jerious Norwood, Falcons
  125. Tony Scheffler, Broncos
  126. Josh Morgan, 49ers
  127. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals
  128. Donnie Avery, Rams
  129. Dustin Keller, Jets
  130. Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers
  131. Tashard Choice, Cowboys
  132. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
  133. Nate Washington, Titans
  134. Michael Jenkins, Falcons
  135. Davone Bess, Dolphins
  136. Devery Henderson, Saints
  137. Peyton Hillis, Broncos
  138. Greg Camarillo, Dolphins
  139. Dominic Rhodes, Bills
  140. Mark Bradley, Chiefs
  141. Trent Edwards, Bills
  142. Isaac Bruce, 49ers
  143. Sinorice Moss, Giants
  144. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
  145. Ray Rice, Ravens
  146. Michael Bush, Raiders
  147. Greg Olsen, Bears
  148. Zach Miller, Raiders
  149. Malcolm Kelly, Redskins

    Bit of a sleeper surprise here, considering he was injured as a rookie, but the Redskins absolutely loved him and at this point, you're just drafting upside. He's got a lot.

  150. Dennis Northcutt, Jaguars
  151. Laurence Maroney, Patriots
  152. Chaz Schilens, Raiders
  153. Mark Clayton, Ravens
  154. James Jones, Packers
  155. Maurice Morris, Lions
  156. Anthony Fasano, Dolphins
  157. LaMont Jordan, Broncos
  158. Kevin Faulk, Patriots
  159. Ladell Betts, Redskins
  160. J.J. Arrington, Broncos
  161. Kevin Boss, Giants
  162. Donald Lee, Packers
  163. Brandon Jones, 49ers
  164. Brandon Jackson, Packers
  165. Kolby Smith, Chiefs
  166. Danny Ware, Giants
  167. Heath Miller, Steelers
  168. Bryant Johnson, Lions
  169. T.J. Duckett, Seahawks
  170. Bo Scaife, Titans
  171. Brent Celek, Eagles
  172. Miles Austin, Cowboys
  173. Jerome Harrison, Browns
  174. Earl Bennett, Bears
  175. Mike Walker, Jaguars
  176. Steve Smith, Giants
  177. Joey Galloway, Patriots
  178. Vernon Davis, 49ers
    Rob Bironas
    Bob Levey/Icon SMILast season, Rob Bironas was first among kickers in ... ah, who cares. He kicks the ball, that's all you need to know.
  179. Malcolm Floyd, Chargers
  180. Harry Douglas, Falcons
  181. Titans D/ST,
  182. Steelers D/ST
  183. Ravens D/ST
  184. Eagles D/ST
  185. Buccaneers D/ST
  186. Bears D/ST
  187. Giants D/ST
  188. Vikings D/ST
  189. Chargers D/ST
  190. Jets D/ST
  191. Rob Bironas, Titans
  192. Nate Kaeding, Chargers
  193. Jason Elam, Falcons
  194. David Akers, Eagles
  195. Nick Folk, Cowboys
  196. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
  197. Mason Crosby, Packers
  198. Ryan Longwell, Packers
  199. Josh Brown, Rams
  200. Jeff Reed, Steelers

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is now on Twitter as TheRealTMR. He may or may not be interesting on it. He is a five-time award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. He is also the creator of RotoPass.com, a Web site that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his Cyberfriend

• Senior Fantasy analyst for ESPN
• Member, FSWA and FSTA Halls of Fame
• Best-selling author of "Fantasy Life"