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TMR's Predraft Top 200: Turner still on top

4/23/2009

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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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

  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