Football is back as the first preseason game was played last Thursday. With football coming back, so does fantasy football. Like a lot of people (myself included), you’re scouring the internet for rankings. There’s plenty of rankings out there, but none of them tell you where to take a defense. I am going to present my strategy.
What’s my strategy exactly? I rank players by round. If I’m in a ten team league, I break the players up by tens, 12 team league, I break players in groups of 12 and so on. Not only am I going to list players at a certain spot, but I’m going to explain why I put them in their respective spot.
- Adrian Peterson, RB Minnesota Vikings: How can you go against this guy? Every year he plays at least 14 games a season and he gets 1,000 yards. He’s been extremely healthy, and last time he came back after missing some time it was a monster season, over 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s the team’s workhorse, you can’t go wrong drafting AP first. The only worry about Peterson is that he was seen limping off the field recently in practice, but it’s only minor according to sources.
- Le’Veon Bell, RB Pittsburgh Steelers: I’m not too worried about the two game suspension, he missed the first three games last year and was the second best running back last year. Bell proved last year that he is a playmaker. The Steelers didn’t lose a lot of key pieces last year, which leads me to believe it’ll be the same great offense we saw last season. Running backs are king in fantasy football, draft Bell and you’ll be a great team in your league.
- Jamaal Charles, RB Kansas City Chiefs: This guy was great last year. I had him and he averaged around 18-20 points a game for me. One thing we look for in the top running backs is that they’re the true workhorse, and Charles is exactly that. Due to some good play last year in Charles’ absence, Knile Davis has become a more desirable back and may force you to take him higher. There’s a lot of upside with Charles, he’ll be a great guy to have this year.
- Eddie Lacy, RB Green Bay Packers: The best thing about having a Packers running back is that they’ll be in the redzone a lot. Also, when you play the Packers you always have to worry about the passing game. Lacy gained 1,139 yards and 13 total touchdowns. He’s an every down threat, and like the three above, he’s the workhorse of his team. If I believed he was going to get more carries I’d rank him higher, but the Packers still throw a lot. Regardless, If I’m picking fourth I’m going Eddie Lacy, unless the guys above are available.
- Marshawn Lynch, RB Seattle Seahawks: Beast mode is still a beast. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks like to control the clock, and when they do that they turn to Lynch. He’s used in all situations; getting the team upfield, and punching it on the goal line. I wish he was a little better in the passing game, but he’s still a great anchor to have. The Seahawks have a good offense and Lynch will be a big part of their success this year.
- Antonio Brown, WR Pittsburgh Steelers: This guy was off the charts last year, and I as much as I love running backs, I can make some ground up with Brown. Like I said with Le’Veon Bell, nothing has really changed for the Steelers offense, so I see no reason why Brown can’t be dominated again. He’s the first choice for Ben Roethlisberger, and can make great catches in traffic. On top of that, he makes great plays in space. I’ll take Brown knowing he can make up for me not getting a top running back.
- Rob Gronkowski, TE New England Patriots: I usually have a hard time taking tight ends in the first round, but how can you go against this guy? He’s a huge part of one the best offenses in the NFL. The whole Tom Brady situation is a little shaky, but if we see Jimmy Garoppolo in, he’s going to be looking Gronk’s way to bail him out of tough situations (not to mention what a threat he is in the endzone). Gronkowski is a great player, and I believe he’ll pick up from where he left off last year as the best tight end in the league.
- Dez Bryant, WR Dallas Cowboys: If you really thought Dez Bryant was going to miss some games this year, you’re way wrong. The Cowboys had to sign this guy. I mean, last year he gained 1,320 yards and led the NFL in receiving touchdowns at 16. He was a big part of their offense last year, and will be an even bigger part this year since DeMarco Murray moved on to Philly. If anyone has a chance to challenge Antonio Brown for the No. 1 wide receiver, it’s Bryant.
- C.J. Anderson, RB Denver Broncos: This guy stepped up in a big way for the Broncos last year. He climbed his way up the depth chart by performing well in the absence of fellow running backs Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman. With Peyton Manning under center the Broncos will pass quite a bit, but they also get a fair share of running done too. It’ll be interesting to see how the Broncos use their running backs, but Anderson will be the focal point of their rushing attack. As we saw last year, his value will skyrocket if Manning can’t stay healthy. He’s a good pick late in the first round.
- Demaryius Thomas, WR Denver Broncos: I really didn’t plan on having Broncos players go nine and ten, I just call it how I see it. The way I see it, Manning will be looking Thomas’ way quite a bit. With Julius Thomas and Wes Welker gone, he’ll be battling Emmanuel Sanders and Owen Daniels for targets, but will still get a majority. We know Manning will put up fantastic numbers still, which means so will Broncos receivers. Who better to have than Manning’s first look?
- Odell Beckham Jr, WR New York Giants: This guy’s a stud, point blank. His hands are phenomenal, just go to YouTube and search Odell Beckham catches. His hands aren’t the only weapon this guy has, he can do great things in space. I think it’s safe to say that Beckham Jr. is going to be Eli Manning’s first look. If you need more evidence to take this guy, in his last four games last year, he had over 100 yards and at least one touchdown in each of them. Beckham Jr. has a special talent and will have some monster games this year.
- Julio Jones, WR Atlanta Falcons: This is going to be a huge year for Jones. We know Matt Ryan has good skills in the pocket, we know Jones is a great route runner and can’t get free against some of the best defenders. These aren’t even the two best things going for him. The two best things going for Jones are this; One, new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will bring a great scheme to this offense. Two, there isn’t much of a running game to this offense. I mean there is potential, but I think the Falcons are going to pass a lot. That’s where they’re strongest. Jones will have some great games this year.