Here are my updated tier rankings now that we are well into training camp.
When I draft, I always have a tier sheet handy. I find that organizing players by tiers is far more beneficial than merely ranking players. I could rank Odell Beckham Jr Jr. over Julio Jones, but it is impossible to truly predict who will finish better between the two of them. Maybe Jones has fifty more yards on the season than Beckham, or maybe Beckham has one more touchdown. Who knows, but I do know that both should finish better than a guy like Mike Evans.
I also invite you to check out my articles outlining players I'm targeting as the draft unfolds. That can be used in conjunction with this article to give you a sense of when you should be drafting guys and who to draft. Players to avoid coming soon.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Injuries to his wide receivers and Fat Eddie killed him. “Fat Eddie” is now “In Shape Eddie” plus Jordy Nelson is back. The addition of Jared Cook could possibly help as well. Remember, in 2014 he threw for 4,381 yards and 38 TDs, adding 269 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. He put up even bigger numbers in 2012 and 2011. If he falls to the 5th round, he’s worth every penny.
Cam Newton, Panthers – Dominated last season with a pathetic wide receiver core. This year he gets back Kelvin Benjamin, plus Devin Funchess will be in his second year after flashing late last season and even possibly the return of Stephen Hill. There is a reason Jonathan Stewart scores so few touchdowns ... Cam.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks – Showed last year that he can have success as a pocket passer. He will have even better weapons available to him this season and while attempts may not increase very much, what he does with them might and has a great running floor.
Drew Brees, Saints - As sure a thing as there is at the QB position and has never finished outside of the top 5 since joining the Saints. The additions of Michael Thomas and Coby Fleener, plus the development of Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead IV will help ensure Brees is a top option once again.
Andrew Luck, Colts – Injury riddled season and recency bias will make Luck and Rodgers steals in early drafts. Expect a major bounce back. They also don’t have much of a run game or defense, so look for them to pass early and often. Called pass plays on 62% of their plays last season and Moncrief, Hilton, Dorsett and Allen all entering their primes. I dopped him below the first Tier because he's supposedly having a spotty camp. I wonder if he's still injured?
Carson Palmer, Cardinals – Weapons galore and he will always take his shots. Downside is that he is entering his age 37 season and has taken a good share of abuse over the years, yet great completion percentage (64%) and solid 8.7 yards per attempt last season. The team also has a Top 10 offensive line.
Tom Brady, Patriots – Would be in Tier 1 if not suspended, but between missing 4 games and his bye week, that's essentially over 30% of the fantasy season right there. A good strategy would be to buy low and play QBBC for the first four weeks to cover yourself. This team is stocked with weapons once he returns.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers – The loss of Martavis Bryant for the season along with Ladarius Green's concussion issue and Bell's our game suspension hurts. If he can actually hold onto the ball, Sammie Coates Jr could provide sufficient firepower to make up for the loss of Bryant and DeAngelo Williams for the loss of Bell, but this all knocks Big Ben down a Tier and makes him a bit shakier of a play then he would have been with all his weapons. Although he did average a league leading 328 passing yards per game and also led the league in 40+ yard completions last year.
Matthew Stafford, Lions – The teams early 2015 struggles weren’t his fault if you actually watched the tape. If you don’t agree with me, noted analyst Greg Cosell stated as such on many occasions last year. Stafford came on big time after new OC Jim Bob Cooter (I mean, his name is Jim Bob) took over (19tds and only 2ints) and they beefed up the offensive line this off-season. He is being severely under-drafted at the moment on a team without a foundation back, but with running backs that are adept at catching the ball.
Philip Rivers, Chargers – Has a chance to be a Top 5 QB and reliable starter if the offensive line and wide receivers stay healthy. Loss of Stevie Johnson hurts a bit, but James Jones should hopefully be able to limit the impact until he returns. They were starting third stringers at both positions by mid-season last year. If all goes well, he's a steal. If you are one of those people betting against Melvin Gordon III, you should be betting on this teams passing game, which includes Danny Woodhead.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins – Arguably has the best receiving core in the league with the addition of rookie Doctson to go along with DeSean Jackson, Garcon, Reed and Crowder. Threw for 4,166 yards, with 29 TDs and only 11 Ints, while also rushing for another 5 TDs. Should be even better this season despite being a limited quarterback in a contract year.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars – Young team loaded with weapons started to blossom last year and should continue to improve this season. But better defense could lead to less garbage time production and poor 58% completion rate last year.
Derek Carr, Raiders – This is a young offense on the rise and he proved that he was the one that made Davante Adams look good in college, not the other way around. Some game script criticism with better defense, but I'm betting on the young emerging talent in this Raiders offense (Walford, Cooper, Murray, Washington) along with a top 3 offensive line and a suspect run game.
Tony Romo, Cowboys – Witten is older and outside of Dez Bryant, they don’t have many great receiving options. With more reliance on the run game, it should make Romo a solid but not elite option. You also have to hold your breath every time he lands on that shoulder. The saving grace here could be the insane suspensions and injuries to their Defense, necessitating the offense to put up big points.
Tyrod Taylor, Bills – He throws a nice deep ball and ran for 568 yards and 4 TDs, yet only 20 passing touchdowns The key is Watkins, who has a foot injury and accounted for nearly 40% of Taylor's passing yards and 44% of Taylor's touchdown throws. This is also still a run first team, which stifles his potential upside, but at least he runs as well. So far all signs point to Watkins being healthy for the season.
Andy Dalton, Bengals –Additions of LaFell and Boyd are a downgrade to Sanu and Jones. While Dalton played well last year, you just can’t rely on him to be your QB1 despite stretches of great play, especially with Eifert still injured. It’s the untrustworthy factor that keeps him here.
Marcus Mariota, Titans – They’ve beefed up the run game, wide receiver core and offensive line. While the team would like to play exotic smash-mouth football, with a suspect Defense, he could end up being this years’ Bortles, the king of garbage time production.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers – Has solid weapons and has dedicated the off-season to getting into shape and fine-tuning his craft. But while he three for more than 4,000 yards as a rookie, even when the team was losing they stuck the run far more than most teams. Will that change in year 2?
Matt Ryan, Falcons – Talent isn't a question, but a lack of receiving talent beyond Julio Jones still a concern. Improved offensive line and second year comfort in this complicated offense should help a lot. I think his head was swimming more than he let on trying to learn the Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Jay Cutler, Bears – A healthy Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White could mean big numbers for Cutler, but like Dalton, huge weeks can always lead to some major duds. John Fox would also love for the run game to be the teams’ offensive foundation.
Joe Flacco, Ravens – He has better weapons this year and OC Marc Trestman likes to throw.
Ryan Fitzpatrick Jets – The first six weeks of their season is as tough as it comes, but it gets better after that. Lots of weapons and Chan Gaily loves to throw it around.
Alex Smith, Chiefs – two words: Alex. Smith. He’s not like a box of chocolates.
Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings – Limited passer on a team that runs through Adrian Peterson. Playing indoors, upgraded offensive line, the addition of rookie Treadwell and the emergence of second year player Stefon Diggs will all help elevate him to at least ... Alex Smith levels.
Robert Griffin III III, Browns – Josh Gordon is back, which is a huge boost to this offense and his value. He also gets it done with his feet and the impact of HC Hue Jackson cannot be under-estimated.
Brock Osweiler, Texans – John Elway didn’t believe in Brock after 4 years, I don’t either, but with J.J. Watt looking like he may miss some of the regular season, this is a team that may have to throw more than they were expecting and with emergence of Strong, drafting of rookie Fuller and addition of running back Miller, his weapons are looking strong.
Blaine Gabbert, 49ers – HC Chip Kelly likes to play fast and run a ton of plays, which has led to Kelly coached quarterbacks seeing an uptick in both their yards per attempt and completion percentages. Gabbert is also a plus athlete who can run, clocking a 4.61 forty at the combine. If he wins the job, and either Eric Rogers or DeAndre Smelter can emerge as a compliment to Torrey Smith and Bruce Ellington, he just may surprise as the teams plays catch-up all year. If Colin Kaepernick wins the job, you can then swap these guys out as they are being drafted for free right now.
Sam Bradford, Eagles – Okay supporting cast and has talent, but still nothing more than an average QB2 now running a more conservative offense.
Mark Sanchez, Broncos – Could surprise in real life, but probably not a reliable fantasy option.
Trevor Siemian, Broncos - Has a chance to be the starter. Only viable in deep 2 QB leagues.
Jared Goff, Rams – Lack of weapons and an offensive line will keep the ball in Gurley’s belly. Bright future, but this might be rough.
Geno Smith, Jets – Fitzpatrick is back, so he's back to the bench. Could get another shot next year.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers - Will he really lose his job to Gabbert again? If anyone can get the most out of him it’s Chip Kelly.
Carson Wentz, Eagles – Will probably start at some point this season.
Josh McCown, Browns – Hopefully the Browns don’t need him, but should do okay if they do.
Brian Hoyer, Bears – Cutler does seemingly get hurt every season.
Paxton Lynch, Broncos – They have to hope he doesn’t need to play this year, but great dynasty future.
Chase Daniel, Eagles – Might be their starter if Bradford goes down.
RUNNING BACK TIERS
Todd Gurley, Rams – Fully healthy and the foundation of their offense. Some worry about game script, but their Defense is solid, so they should be in most games, and while the offensive line was brutal last year, all the key linemen return and most were drafted in 2014 and 2015, so they should take a step forward as well. I also think he is a better pass catcher than he was used as last season, and he still averaged 9 yards a catch. I think it's a good bet he catches at least 2-3 passes a game with a full pre-season under his belt. People forget, he was coming off of a December knee surgery last season.
David Johnson, Cardinals – Should be their workhorse back and will see light boxes. Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington will still get a few touches, but even with just 60% of the team’s carries, that comes out to 250 carries based on last years numbers. He is also a former wide receiver who is one of the best route runners on the team, so add in catches, and he is pushing close to 300 touches easily. If you want a safe pick in this area of the draft, this is the guy.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys – Unreal landing spot and he can do it all: run the rock through people, around people and no problem lining up outside to catch passes. The Cowboys will want to limit the wear and tear on Romo as well. My only fear is Alfred Morris stealing goal-line work behind this dominant offensive line. Domestic violence charge against him looks to be debunked for now.
Lamar Miller, Texans – Rock solid RB1 who could finish in the top 3 easily. If picking towards the end of round 1, smart move may be going wide receiver in the first and Miller in the second despite the presence of the other running backs listed above.
Adrian Peterson, Vikings – Betting against him is never good and only converted 4 of 14 goal line carries, which is fluky. But while they have an upgraded offensive line and he performed well last season, he seemed to have lost just a step on some of his runs. They also have a decent receiving core with the addition of Treadwell to go along with Diggs. Reports of more plays out of shotgun too, which means McKinnon could see some more passing down work.
Le'Veon Bell, Steelers – Rehab looked like it was going better than expected, but now suspended for the first three games of the season. If you can get him at a decent cost, DeAngelo Williams is a must own handcuff. Williams also played too well last year to just ride the pine, so he could be stealing some touches when Bell returns, making Bell not a true "bell-cow." But he is an elite talent and worth covering for him for three weeks when you get to use him for the part of the season that really counts, the fantasy playoffs. Someone like Crowell has an easy opening slate to help you get weather the storm.
Mark Ingram II, Saints – Steady option that was the third overall running back before he went down in Week 13. Although he has also not played more than 13 games since 2012. But he's their foundation back and once considered a passing down liability, last year he went 50/405 on 59 targets (85% catch rate) with 8.1 YPR in only 12 games. That's upside.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – Don’t ever count this guy out, but goal line looks could go to Ware to keep him fresh coming off second ACL injury.
Eddie Lacy, Packers – Fat Eddie is now Phat Eddie after jacking up in the off-season. Has the talent and situation to put up solid RB1 numbers. All signs positive from camp so far.
C.J. Anderson, Broncos – Was the foundation of their offense during last season’s playoff run. Rookie Booker more of a compliment back that should keep Anderson fresh rather than steal his job and all signs point to the Broncos having the run be their foundation this year, the way Kubiak usually likes to play.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons – Freeman did most of his damage over only four games last year and averaged a pathetic 3.1 yards per carry between Week 9 and 17 last season. I’m not entirely sold like some, but concede that redzone ability and pass catching ability provide him a very solid floor in the PPR leagues. But Coleman will get the ball more than people are expecting, forming a Hill/Bernard type combo, especially after comments from the teams Head Coach, General Manager and Running Back coach all confirming this.
Carlos Hyde, 49ers – Chip likes to run as much as to pass and Hyde has experience running his inside zone running scheme and he thrives running out of the shotgun, averaging almost 2 yards per carry more (5.1). He's one of the league's true feature backs that will push 20 touches every game due to the 49ers up-tempo style of play even if game flow restricts his touches in the 4th quarter. Chip Kelly is not someone that abandons his scheme easily, even when behind, and due to the up-tempo nature of his offense, he doesn't often rotate when they are in attack mode, keeping Hyde in the game. He also finished last season as the top rated running back in PFF's elusive rating.
LeSean McCoy, Bills – Run heavy team, including top 3 last year in the redzone, and somehow only 27 years old. With Karlos Williams and Jonathan Williams both in trouble with the league, the jobs all his despite the addition of Reggie Bush. Jonathan Williams is someone to watch though, may only miss a game or two at most.
Doug Martin, Buccaneers – I’m probably lower on him than I should be. A better standard league option.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks – He wasn’t the passing down back last season and still put up monster numbers. Marshawn Lynch was never the team’s passing down back either and he did just fine. Finally activated from their PUP list and I’m not concerned by the presence of Alex Collins, although Christine Michael seems to have finally gotten it and will steal touches and passing down work. I still like Rawls as the team’s best early down runner and his current ADP makes him a value at the moment.
Matt Forte, Jets – The presence of Powell is keeping Forte’s value depressed, but he will end up being a solid PPR value in drafts. Powell will steal some touches and Forte may not put up big numbers on the ground, especially the first six weeks of the season, so while he is an avoid in standard leagues, he should easily catch over 75 passes in this vertical four pass offense.
DeMarco Murray, Titans – I’ll admit, it has taken me a while to get here on Murray. Derrick Henry will steal touches, and maybe the ones that count, but all reports have stated that Murray will be their lead back … at least this year. It's also worth mentioning, as Rotoworld's Rich Hribar pointed out, while Murray averaged only 2.8 yards per carry on runs behind or off tackle, he averaged 4.6 yards on runs between the guards, something that suits his power running style better. After new Titans HC Mike Mularkey took over mid-season last year, 56% of the Titans' running back runs were run between the guards. Additionally, when Murray played in Dallas, 90% of his runs came when the QB was under center, while with the Eagles, only 15% came when the QB was under center. Last season, 75% of the Titans runs came when the QB was under center ... you do the math.
Latavius Murray, Raiders – Not an elite back despite year end numbers (267/1066/6 rushing and 41/232/0 through the air on 53 targets). Upgraded offensive line and sheer volume should allow him to put up RB2 numbers every week while he is the starter even if he leaves some yards on the field. I also wouldn't be surprised to see rookie DeAndre Washington steal touches (and possibly his job), but for now, volume alone with make Murray a safe weekly play.
Jeremy Hill, Bengals – Still young and talented. I think they go to him more this season with very little receiving options outside of Green and (an injured) Eifert. The Bengals also finished last season as a top 4 team in rushing percentage in the redzone. Game script should work in his favor and keep in mind, he has 21 touchdowns in just 32 games, pretty solid for a running back at this ADP.
Jay Ajayi, Dolphins – Would have been my second rated running back if he came out this year. Similar profile to Marshawn Lynch with great hands. Went 50/535/4 through the air his final year of college, while adding another 347/1,823/28 on the ground. Arian Foster signing will steal a good chunk of his pass catching work, but I'm not counting on Foster staying healthy all year and I don't suspect he will have much juice left after years of soft tissue injuries. A great buy-low candidate who in 49 carries last year broke 12 tackles and averaged 3.3 yards after contact per attempt.
Danny Woodhead, Chargers – PPR gold that finished as the RB3 in PPR leagues last year. Usually catches at least three passes a game, received more redzone touches than Melvin Gordon III last year and game script should be on his side with a porous Defense.
Dion Lewis, Patriots – Rehab is key. Talent isn’t a question. Will move up to Tier 3 in PPR leagues if he's all systems go.
Duke Johnson Jr, Browns – Could be a major sleeper and move up the board as the season gets closer. He will be a PPR beast, pushing 75+ catches after catching 61 as a rookie. While Crowell may handle early down and goal-line work, negative game script could mean a whole lot more of Johnson. Hue Jackson also had the fourth highest rushing percentage in the redzone last season. If you want to own just one Browns RB, Crowell the better value, but the Duke should have a safe PPR floor.
Frank Gore, Colts –Actually ran better than his 3.7ypc average. Great pickup at his current 7th round ADP as your 3rd or 4th running back, but best to let someone else take the 33 year old if his ADP rises too much. For those using the 2-2-1 RB Strategy, it is looking like Josh Ferguson could be his handcuff.
Giovani Bernard, Bengals – PPR silver. Averaged a solid 4.7 YPC going 154/730/2 on the ground, with an additional 49/472/0 through the air for 9.6 YPR on 66 targets. Like Hill, he should be involved more with Eifert out and the loss of other weapons, but Hill kills his upside in the redzone, with Bernard only scoring 2 TDs last year.
Matt Jones, Redskins – His body and hair fly’s in all directions, but that doesn’t mean he’s always going in the right direction as evidenced by his pathetic 3.4 yards per carry last year, and from Week 3 on, he actually averaged an even more pathetic 2.85 yards per carry. Additionally, 26.4% of his carries went for negative or zero yards, third worst in the league. He could easily put up Latavius Murray 2015 type numbers through sheer volume, but when he ends up in the doghouse for fumbling again, my money is on Keith Marshall or someone else stepping in eventually.
Jeremy Langford, Bears – He struggled on the ground (48/537/6 rushing - 3.6 YPC) ) and through the air (22/279/1 receiving on 42 targets - 52.4% catch rate), but being the only game in town with Forte, Bennet, Royal, Jeffery and White injured, he put up points. He will be in a time share and should be drafted as an upside PPR flex option, which means I’m probably never drafting him.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – They didn’t add anything in the draft, so he’s their workhorse. Yet, how many times did he kill you in DFS last year? Cam and Tolbert will once again vulture the goal-line carries and he doesn't catch that many passes.
Ryan Mathews, Eagles – Big winner from the draft. He’s their guy and produces when he's on the field. Just needs to stay healthy. He never stays healthy.
Rashad Jennings, Giants – Crowded backfield with Vereen and the addition of Paul Perkins, but the team has stated that he will be the lead guy. Over the final 4 games of last season, once they committed to him, he averaged 21.5 touches and 5.47 yards per carry, clocking in as the #7 fantasy RB in that stretch with nearly 18FPG. He's a steal in the 9th round of drafts right now.
Ameer Abdullah, Lions – Love the talent, but he’s not going to be a true workhorse back with Ridley in town and Riddick a pass catching beast. May have to break long runs to score touchdowns, but he's certainly capable of it.
Melvin Gordon III, Chargers – Major disappointment (at least for those who believed in him). Rookie wall and the decimation of their offensive line and receiving core didn’t help though. Juries still out especially with Woodhead in the mix. The teams wants him to succeed, but beat writer Kevin Acee mentioned that Gordon wasn't very "football smart." He had a very average start to camp but has started to come on. One to watch closely since he has big play ability.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns – Will form a RBBC with Duke Johnson Jr. A team built on analytics seems to be sold on him as their bigger back. Hopefully RG3 and a new wide receiving core can keep defenses honest and open things up for him. Has good intangibles and prominent Browns beat reporter, Mary Kay Cabot, says he is their bell cow and a lock for 1,000 yards this season. We all love the Duke, but people are sleeping on Crowell.
DeAngelo Williams, Steelers – Will put up elite numbers in the first four weeks with Bell suspended and if he plays like he did last year, he could be involved even when Bell returns, since Bell still coming off of knee surgery and this is a team that wants to be healthy in the playoffs. It's all about winning weeks and he will win you four for sure.
Charles Sims, Buccaneers – Underrated weekly PPR flex and bye week option. Managed 51/1,090/4 all-purpose yards. Look for those numbers to go up as he managed 4.9 yards per carry and flashed big time as a receiver. If Martin goes down, Sims value goes way up. He’s a weekly flex play in PPR leagues with the possibility for much more.
Christine Michael, Seahawks – Seems to have had a change of attitude on his second deployment with the Seahawks. He's finally playing to his talent level and the commitment seems to be there with HC Peter Carroll stating that he makes a great 1, 2 punch with Rawls. While I expect Rawls to be the team's main ball carrier, he could easily get 8 to 10 rushes a game and he appears to be the teams current passing down back. Clear hestiancy since we have been here before, but big upside.
Arian Foster, Dolphins – Signed to a one year deal with a guaranteed salary of only $1.5 million, that's not starter money. Beset with soft tissue injuries, with his groin muscle being torn off the bone and then tearing his Achilles last year, he didn't have a lot of juice to begin with as he enters his year 30 season. Name recognition going a long way, just like Kobe Bryant in his final year, but his best bet is to help in the screen and passing game. Early camp reports have been very positive and he will probably return high end PPR flex value with weekly RB2 upside ... until he gets hurt again.
T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars – Addition of Ivory is a major buzz kill and for some reason they just don’t trust him near the goal-line. Has the talent to be a RB1, but may have to wait a year or two now. Ranking him above Ivory because I think he stays healthy while Ivory can't.
Chris Ivory, Jaguars – Time-share with Yeldon. Should get the goal line and short yardage work, so solid flex option in standard leagues. Needs to stay healthy.
Derrick Henry, Titans – Won’t be their lead guy this year, but could score a lot of TD’s. A better standard league grab. He's a load to bring down when he gets going.
Tevin Coleman, Falcons – Talented enough to steal meaningful touches from Freeman and would be an immediate RB1 if Freeman goes down. No better handcuff and deep bench stash. Plus the team's coaches and General Manager have all stated that they intend to get Coleman more involved stating that "when it comes down to it, the one difference is the flat out long speed of Tevin Coleman." Early reports from camp have been positive about his receiving ability as well.
Justin Forsett, Ravens – Entering his age 31 season and there is a ton of great competition here with West, Allen and Dixon, who could be this years David Johnson. Might be better for him to get cut or traded to a team like the Redskins.
LeGarrette Blount, Patriots - They didn't grab a back in the draft and Lewis is coming off injury. Should handle early down work, although never truly reliable since the Patriots offense is often game specific. Donald Brown could steal some touches, as crazy as that sounds, or they could bring on someone else.
Spencer Ware, Chiefs – Won’t get many touches as long as Charles is healthy, but could get the ones that count. He's a dominant force on the ground who put up elite numbers in Joe Holka's Rushing Expectations methodology. Wouldn’t be shocked if he scored 8+ TDs and he should be involved even when Charles is healthy to keep him fresh for the playoffs.
Shane Vereen, Giants – Should catch 50+ balls this year. With one year in the offense under his belt, not inconceivable he becomes a reliable weekly PPR flex option.
James Starks, Packers – Must own handcuff to Lacy, possible to have some weekly flex value.
Chris Johnson, Cardinals – Should be the handcuff to David Johnson and played well when he was their guy. Might see 30% of the team's carries and could be their closer once the team gets a big lead. RB2 if Johnson goes down.
Shaun Draughn, 49ers - Could get a few touches every week as the 49ers play an uptempo offense and don't rotate when they are moving. Could also get some solid 4th quarter work when they are down as a solid pass catching back.
Chris Thompson, Redskins - He has been working as the teams exclusive passing down back in camp. Could easily by this seasons Riddick.
Theo Riddick, Lions – Needs an injury to Abdullah or for him to face plant to rely on him week-to-week, but that happened last year when he caught 80 passes.
Javorius Allen, Ravens – The teams best pass catching back, but Forsett and Dixon are also capable pass catchers, even if not as good as him in that role. Certainly possible for him to hold weekly flex value in PPR leagues.
DeAndre Washington, Raiders – Short, but thick receiver in the Maurice Jones Drew mold. They would like him to be the receiving compliment to Murray, but could end up being much more.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings – Must own handcuff for Peterson with potential for stand-alone PPR flex value now that Bridgewater has command of the Norv Turner offense. The team has also hinted that they might take more snaps out of the shotgun. Out of the shotgun, McKinnon averaged 4.3 yards per attempt while Peterson averaged only 1.7.
Darren Sproles, Eagles – Getting up there in age, not sure you can expect too much even if he gets 5 or 6 touches every game. Seems like the team may be going to him by default.
Benny Cunningham, Rams - A change of pace back on a team that may never decide to change their pace. Gurley also a better pass catcher than he showed last year, coming off injury, but they are comfortable with Benny.
Terrance West, Ravens - It's easy to dismiss him due to career up to this point, but he's been their best running back in camp so far and it's not like Forsett is a top notch talent. Possible he forms a 1-2 punch with Buck Allen. I've moved him up here for now, but could go further.
Jonathan Williams, Bills – True three down running back who noted analyst Greg Cosell compared favorably to Ezekiel Elliot. Missed all of 2015 with injury but had a 101.9 elusive rating in 2014 that would have been good enough for second in 2015. Great dynasty hold and more talented than Karlos Williams. His DUI charge shouldn’t effect his playing time this year.
Devante Booker, Broncos – Despite his size, he’s more of a complimentary back. Would be the lead in the committee if Anderson went down or faltered.
Jordan Howard, Bears – Has a bit of an injury history, but a big and powerful running back that should easily assume early down and goal-line work for the Bears. John Fox wants the run game to be the teams’ foundation of this offense, as he did in Carolina. I've dropped him a bit since no clear indication he has seized that early down role and Fox does have a distaste for rookies.
Keith Marshall, Washington – He’s big (5’11” 219lbs) and fast (4.31 forty). He’s no sure thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jones in the doghouse again and Marshall shine when given a chance. A flier only right now but he has been getting some first team reps in practices.
Wendell Smallwood, Eagles - He displays a nice combination of vision, lateral quickness and speed. The current handcuff for Matthews, who has a substantial injury history. Could act as their change of pace back right away if Sproles has nothing left and could explode if Matthews goes down. A lower case Jamaal Charles type.
Alfred Morris, Cowboys – Behind this offensive line he could end up stealing a lot of Zeke's goal-line carries. Another sneaky candidate for few yards, but many touchdowns plus more with Elliot facing domestic violence charges.
Kenneth Dixon, Ravens – It’s a very crowded backfield with Justin Forsett, Buck Allen and Terrence West all capable and playing well so far in camp. But like David Johnson last year, if Dixon is given a chance, he could run away with the job. This is a high upside pick to own and be patient with.
C.J. Spiller, Saints – I don’t think he ever got over his foot injury, which kept him out of the pre-season and start of last season. If he proves well in pre-season he could be a major steal at his current ADP. Boom or bust in the biggest way.
Zach Zenner, Lions – Signing of Ridley a major buzz kill. Monitor him during the pre-season; Abdullah is not going to be a workhorse. Could be their goal line back.
C.J. Prosise, Seahawks – Big (6'1” 220lbs) and fast (4.48 forty). Needs to work on his game after only playing one year of running back in college after changing over from a wide receiver, has a Charles Sims like ceiling if it all comes together. Should start the season as their passing-down compliment to Thomas Rawls, but his ability to learn to better pass protect will be key to getting and staying on the field. He's missed a lot of time due to injury this pre-season and Christine Michael seems to have stolen his job.
Andre Ellington, Cardinals – Played on 31% of the snaps in games he played, but will see only a handful of touches a game unless there is an injury to Johnson. Could be useful if in dire need in PPR leagues here or there and becomes an every week PPR flex if David Johnson goes down.
Josh Ferguson, Colts – UDFA who has been making noise since OTAs. It looks like he is emerging as the handcuff to Gore and possibly the future starter on this team. He excels in the passing game and Indianapolis Star's Zak Keefer reported that he has "flashed consistently" in training camp.
Charcandrick West, Chiefs – Will need an injury to Charles and then still a part time player.
Mike Davis, 49ers - Has played well this pre-season and if Hyde goes down, he could end up being their lead back with Shaun Draughn handling passing duties.
Paul Perkins, Giants – Lots of competition here, but has juice, good balance and body control. Decent in pass protection so could carve out a role or even take over lead duties if Jennings isn't getting it done. If you're looking for upside in a Giants running back, he's your target.
Mike Gillislee, Bills - With Karlos Williams looking like a second year bust at this point, Gillislee may open the season as the teams RB2. He averaged an impressive 5.7 yards per carry last year and on a team that likes to run, that holds value. Lots of competition though.
KaDeem Carey, Bears – Needs some injuries, and he's injured himself.
Reggie Bush, Bills - Recently signed and if he can show he's fully healthy coming off of knee surgery, could have value. The problem is that there are so many running backs in the mix, it might be a RBBC from hell if Shady goes down.
Donald Brown, Patriots - Sneaky sleeper to handle early down work if Blount falters. He's not special, but the Patriots don't require their back to be.
Tyler Ervin, Texans – Not big (5’10” 192 lbs - 4.41 Forty), but has good balance, is tough, fast and explosive. A bit of Brian Westbrook to him. Will form a committee if Lamar Miller went down as possible passing down back.
Brandon Wilds, Falcons - Really big, strong back and fast for his size. Only a waiver wire guy, but if Freeman and Coleman get injured, he would be next up and could produce nicely.
Darren McFadden, Cowboys – Purely a handcuff for Elliot and he's also injured.
Dexter McCluster, Titans – Will get a handful of touches a game, but tough to rely on for any real production.
Stevan Ridley, Lions – Now fully recovered from his knee injury, the Lions early favorite for early down work. Draft Twitter loves the idea of Zack Zenner, but Ridley is a seasoned pro. Monitor closely, if he plays well, could be their goal line back and sneaky play to score 8+ touchdowns.
Kenyan Drake, Dolphins – Explosive for his size (6’1” 210lbs - 4.45 forty), but not a lead back. More of a package specific player, but conceivable he could be the Charles Sims to Ajayi’s Doug Martin. Horrible in pass pro in college, which isn't good for him seeing the field and one reason Arian Foster was signed.
Lance Dunbar, Cowboys – Was prolific catching passes last year for them, but Elliot may never leave the field.
Kelvin Taylor, 49ers – A downhill no nonsense runner that should act as Hyde’s handcuff.
Cameron Artis-Payne, Panthers – Just a guy.
Ronnie Hillman, Broncos – Will form a committee with rookie Booker if Anderson falters or goes down.
WIDE RECEIVER TIERS
Antonio Brown, Steelers – The best wide receiver in Fantasy as long as Big Ben stays healthy.
Julio Jones, Falcons – An absolute beast and he’s the only game in town.
A.J. Green, Bengals – The focal point of their offense that will probably get force-fed the ball even more with Eifert injured and Jones and Sanu gone. He should push for over 150 targets like he did in 2012 and 2013.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys – Lack of truly being featured the past two years have kept his ceiling down but there is no more talented a wide receiver in the league and addition of new OC Scott Linehan has a history of force feeding WR1's (see Calvin Johnson). Recency bias may allow you to grab him in the 2nd round of drafts, the best red zone receiver outside of Gronk.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texas – Brock not much of an upgrade over Hoyer, if at all, but Fuller, Strong, Shorts and Lamar Miller should help open up some space for him while J.J. Watt’s injury should also ensure that this team is throwing the ball a lot with a weaker defense.
Brandon Marshall, Jets – Will this be the year he finally slows down? I doubt it. No reason he doesn’t have another 109/1,502/14 line this season with Ryan Fitzpatrick back in the fold in an offense headed by Chan Gailey. There really is no reason for me or anyone not to rank him with the top three guys, but yet I don't. Hmmmm.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars – Still getting better and I wouldn't bet against him catching another 14 TDs. He's an ascending talent, don't pay attention to people that throw around the word regression when it comes to Allen. Like Gurley, his baseline has yet to be set.
Keenan Allen, Chargers – Was on pace for a 134/1,450/8 line before he went down in Week 8 last season with a lacerated kidney. I preached last pre-season that he had Antonio Brown upside and he was proving me right. With Stevie Johnson injured with a knee injury, Allen will see over 150
Alshon Jeffery Bears – If only the guy could just stretch properly before he played. As Rotoworld's Evan Silva pointed out, 95/1,314/11 over last 16 games … too bad they came over two years. Kevin White is the real deal though, and each pass catcher can expect around 140 targets this year like they did back in the Alshon/Marshall days.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers – He’s a better player than he showed last season and expect his TD total (3) to triple.
Sammy Watkins, Bills – Foot injury is a concern, but he's back practicing already. He's a second round talent that you can get in the third. Per PFF, he ranked fourth in average depth of target (18.3) with 34 targets over 20 yards and he also led the league in touchdowns on deep passes (8) and second in deep play yards (606).
T.Y. Hilton, Colts – Luck’s go to guy stymied last year by bad quarterback play. Despite the rise of Moncrief, beat reporter’s say that Hilton will still see the most targets.
Jordy Nelson, Packers – Entering age 31 season and he's still dealing with lingering leg issues. Rodgers loves him, but he just needs to show us something before I can move him up.
Randall Cobb, Packers – Faltered being the focal point of their offense last season when he played hurt and teams just filled the middle of the field. With Jordy Nelson (presumably) back, he’ll be back to being an every week high end WR2 in PPR leagues, putting up numbers closer to his 2014 line of 91/1,287/12.
Brandin Cooks, Saints – Proved many doubters wrong going 84/1,138/9. He’s also just 22 years old. Beat reporters have been raving about him all off-season, but more mouths to feed this year though with Fleener, Snead, Thomas and possibly Spiller.
Amari Cooper, Raiders –He hit the rookie wall last season, but he is capable of being a Tier 1 receiver. Reports have come out that he played much of the season with plantar fasciitis in his foot, which could certainly explain things.
Demaryius Thomas, Broncos – Should actually have a better season with Mark Sanchez at the helm, but not really sure what that’s saying. We obviously know his insane upside, but he’s not playing with 2013 Peyton Manning.
Donte Moncrief, Colts – Big time talent that is only 22 years old. Should be locked and loaded as a solid WR2 if Luck stays healthy and he may be the breakout receiver of this season.
Golden Tate, Lions – Stafford loves to throw and Tate is going to be his go to guy. He put up big time numbers in the past when Calvin Johnson missed time and now will have a full off-season preparing for that role. Without a true foundation running back this team will be pass happy once again, throwing on 66% of their plays last season.
Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs – Fought through some injuries and still put up 87/1,088/8. He dominated 26.8% of the team's target share last season, seeing 124 targets, and accounted for 40% of the teams passing touchdowns. While this offense will never be prolific, Maclin is one of the steadier wide receiver two options.
Eric Decker, Jets – Put up 80/1,027/12 last season. Should see a similar line this season even if a slight touchdown regression. But with no true foundation back, the Chan Gailey offense should be pass happy once again
Josh Gordon, Browns – He's baaaaccckk ... But he will miss the first four games. The good news is that he is reinstated in time for training camp and can be around the team during his four game suspension. If he can stay clean and get into game shape, he's a WR1 at a discounted price playing with his college QB RGIII and a great offensive coach in Hue Jackson. At this point in the draft you are looking for upside, and there is no player with one bigger.
Julian Edelman, Patriots – The four game Brady suspension hurts. Couple that with their bye week and that means a diminished Edelman for more than a third of the regular fantasy season. He’s great, but probably let someone else over draft him especially coming off foot surgery.
Jarvis Landry, Dolphins – A 111/1,159/6 line seems like it should be a yearly occurrence for Landry. Once bodies start flying, Tannehill will once again look his way despite other options. He's his safety blanket whether your want to admit it or not.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks – His production last season was no fluke, but the progress of Tyler Lockett and return of Jimmy Graham could cap some of his touchdown upside, but he has some serious mojo with Wilson, and that cannot be underestimated.
Marvin Jones Jr, Lions – Underrated talent with a nose for the endzone, owning the 6th best touchdown to target rate in the redzone the past three seasons per Numberfire. The Lions will throw a ton with a suspect run game and Jones could possibly finish with more fantasy points than Tate. Reports from camp is that he is Stafford's go to guy right now.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals – Floyd, Brown and Fitzgerald are all extremely talented, you just don’t know which one will go off each week, capping their upside. If you can work it, all make for great WR3's (as opposed to WR2's) on your fantasy team with my bet on Floyd being the most consistent in a contract year. Keep in mind, in addition to these three they also have JJ Nelson, Andre Ellington and David Johnson catching passes out of the backfield.
John Brown, Cardinals – See Floyd, Michael. Despite nagging hamstring issues last season, he went 65/1003/7 on 97 targets (67% catch rate, 15.4 YPC) and except for a zero in Week 10, he had at least 3 catches in every game. He also played nearly 81% of the team's snaps.
Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers – Cam played well last year and he will resume his role as their top dog. Garbage time TDs won't be as frequent this year for him and there is word he could be on a snap count to start the season. Not someone to target aggresively, but still a great red zone threat for Cam.
Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos – Conceding I could be too low on him, but the quarterback situation here scares me.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks – He’s a baller and put up a crazy 2.35 fantasy point per target last year. Hit talent isn't a question and is 20 picks cheaper than Baldwin but offers the same type of value. The problem is that this team will still have the run as its foundation and Russell Wilson may not have much more than 500 pass attempts, if that. He’s someone to target now, but if his ADP rises too much, back off.
Michael Crabtree, Raiders – Should be an 85-catch guy again this year. What a difference a quarterback makes.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins – Not as big a believer in his talents as some others. Don’t see him as a true number one and wouldn’t be surprised if Leonte Carroo ate into his production like Rishard Matthews did last year.
Stefon Diggs, Vikings – With a year under his belt and now locked in as a starter; I think we have only seen a glimpse of his talents. While depth of target a concern, he has great run after the catch ability, is playing indoors and rookie Treadwell should allow him to work against teams second or third corners. He's a great bargain in the 9th round, just monitor ADP.
Kevin White, Bears – It is entirely possible he is a Top 10 wide receiver next year, making that Allen Robinson type leap. He would have been the best wide receiver in this year’s class and ESPN beat reporter, Jeff Dickerson, recently remarked that White looked like a "beast" in OTA's.
DeSean Jackson, Redskins – Lots of mouths to feed. He’s a better standard and best ball player, than PPR guy. Love his talent; they just aren’t going to be maximized in this offense.
Jordan Matthews, Eagles – Despite the hype, he’s best as a complimentary receiver and your WR3.
Torrey Smith, Ravens – Even though Chip is great at scheming wide receivers open, Smith still has to play with Kaepernick or Gabbert. I’m not buying a huge bounce back to where he can regularly be relied on in fantasy beyond your WR3. Will have some big weeks.
Kamar Aiken, Ravens – If Steve Smith can’t return to form, he is their possession receiver and Flacco loves him. Underrated talent that could easily see over 125 targets again this season on a team that passed the ball 65% of the time under OC Marc Trestman.
Corey Coleman, Browns – In this range, he's not a great value, but when you are as talented as he is, you get them on your team. He’s not Odell Beckham Jr Jr. yet, but has a chance to be ODB3 in the near future. The return of Josh Gordon helps him, it's not easy facing number one corners as a rookie.
Bruce Ellington, 49ers - Chip Kelly is "intrigued" by him. Cousin to Andre, they are similar players that can both handle the slot or even handle some carries out of the backfield. Kelly is a creative offensive mind that can utilize his talents and there really is nothing on this team outside of Hyde. Ran 4.45 forty with impressive 39.5 vertical. If things click, 80 catch potential in a position that regularly sees this most targets in the Kelly offense.
Willie Snead IV, Saints – Emerged as a reliable target for Brees, but might be third on the pecking order this year behind Cooks and Fleener. He’ll probably catch 75+ passes, but touchdowns could be hard to come by. Best drafted as your WR4, but he’s a cheap way into this offense that threw 65% of the time last season and he works all over the field.
Sterling Shepard, Giants – Great landing spot. While his route running has been heavily lauded, it’s his toughness and fight for the ball mentality that won me over. He’s a more athletic Jarvis Landry. The Giants have at least 30% of their targets available for new distribution and passed on 62% of their plays. He should easily see 100+ targets, especially if Cruz can’t return to form.
Michael Thomas, Saints – He has already pushed Brandon Coleman to the bench as the team's slot receiver and has been receiving rave reviews in camp. Would not be surprised if he finished the year with the best rookie receiver numbers playing with Drew Brees on a team that will throw a ton with a suspect Defense.
Allen Hurns, Jaguars – He was right there with Allen Robinson for a lot of the season, but reduction in targets and garbage time TDs will drop his numbers playing with a better defense, a proper run game and the return on Julius Thomas. He only had 65 catches without them.
Tavon Austin, Rams - Last season he saw 86 targets and went 52/473/5 through the air adding an additional 52/434/4 on the ground. With teams focusing on Todd Gurley, Austin’s number could certainly improve this season making him a viable WR3 with some upside.
Laquon Treadwell, Vikings – 75/850/8 certainly possible since this team will feature the run and a lot of short passes, where he thrives. Will see a lot of teams top corners this year, which makes him a bit of a risk, but bright future.
Dorial Green-Beckham, Eagles – Has the potential to be truly dominant after a year under his belt and after missing a full season of college football. He reported to camp in shape but still hasn't turned the corner on the mental part of the game and being traded for next to nothing is telling. At least on the Eagles he will be starting on the outside.
Phillip Dorsett, Colts – Lots of mouths to feed, but Luck can take advantage of his speed and they should go three wide a ton this year. He was their first round pick last year and they will use him.
Devin Funchess, Panthers – I'm starting to buy the hype that he is the teams best wide receiver in camp this year. The light started to turn on towards the end of the season and has played well this pre-season. The return of Kelvin Benjamin should help him see plus matchups but the problem is that Ginn listed as their WR2, with Funchess as the WR3. Someone to monitor closely and could easily have an Allen Hurns 2015 like season with only 60 cacthes but 8 TDs.
Travis Benjamin, Chargers – Great fit and gets a bump with Stevie Johnson injured. Could easily catch 10+ TDs, but those TDs might come in bunches, so tough to rely on from week-to-week in PPR leagues.
Mike Wallace, Ravens – Back with a quarterback that can take advantage of his talents. A 2011 72/1193/8 line not out of the realm of possibility and he's starting as of now.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals – Not an elite athlete and sometimes issues with separation, but runs good routes, good hands and physical for size. Will man the slot with Lafell and Green outside. PPR guy. Also a shot to be this years Diggs, very similar to Sharpe.
Chris Hogan, Patriots – Seems to be carving out a role with Amendola and Edelman battling through injuries. Early reports are that he has been the go to receiver for both quarterbacks, getting open and making plays. He might just supplant one of those guys in the starting lineup and it's off to the PPR races.
Terrelle Pryor, Browns - Rave reviews early in OTA's and currently listed as a starter. He's a gifted athlete and there is opportunity on this team. Hopefully, he is not another Cordarrelle Patterson, but at this point in the draft, that doesn't matter.
Anquan Boldin, Lions – Like Steve Smith, don’t ever count this guy out and landed on a pass first team that will go three wide a lot. Not huge upside, but could catch a decent amount of passes and touchdowns making him a good bench spot in a pinch or waiver wire pickup when needed in PPR leagues.
Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers – Entering his age 33 season. Let someone else grab him since he has little upside, but could very well outplay this ranking by quite a bit.
Josh Doctson, Washington – Love the player, but lots of mouths to feed. And while Cousins is a limited player, the Gruden/Dalton connection did okay for AJ Green. A true breakout is probably a year away, but DJax, Garcon and Reed all major injury risks, so he will be viable at some time this season.
Sammie Coates Jr, Steelers – An athletic clone of Martavis Bryant who showed up to camp in excellent shape. He has been running with the 1’s in camp and just has to show he can hold onto the ball. Could be a major steal if things click.
Tajae Sharp, Titans – There has been buzz about him in camp since OTAs and he listed as a starter right now. With Green-Beckham gone could he be this years Stefon Diggs? I'm starting to buy-in depsite athletic limitations that he will be. He has great hands, runs good routes and makes tough catches.
Kendall Wright, Titans – He will be starting in the slot as usual. Worth grabbing in dynasty leagues and stashing once he hits free agency next year.
Brandon LaFell, Bengals – His name will elicit boos and hisses from people on twitter, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable piece on your fantasy team. He played injured all season and it showed, dropping passes like they were pieces of hot coal. Expect a bounce back as their #2 wide receiver with Eifert injured and Sanu and Jones gone. Can play the slot and outside. Recent report on hand injury drops him a tier and is something to watch.
Tyrell Williams, Chargers - He's was an undrafted free agent last year for the Chargers and did enough in camp for them to work hard to stash him away on their team and practice squad. He stands 6'4" 210lbs and ran a 4.42 forty with a monster 39.5 vertical. Malcolm Floyd took him under his wing last season and he flashed in the pre-season. Worth monitoring especially now that Stevie Johnson is out with a knee injury, he could move up a few Tiers by the start of the season easily.
Rishard Matthews, Titans – Will be a better real life player than a fantasy player. No better than 3rd in the pecking order.
Will Fuller V, Texans – Remember how well Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas did with Brock at the helm? And Fuller is no Sanders or Thomas. May just be a one-trick pony to start the season, but will have some huge weeks. Better best ball or DFS play.
Ted Ginn Jr, Panthers – The return of Benjamin will limit his production big time, especially since he has horrible hands. It was fun while it lasted though.
Breshad Perriman, Ravens – Is he healthy yet? Bueller, Bueller. WR1 potential if he’s actually healthy. But he's not healthy.
Terrance Williams, Cowboys – He will catch 1 TD on 2 catches with 4 targets for three or four games in a row … don’t bite. Not a bad best ball flier in the 14th or 15th round.
Jamison Crowder, Redskins – Did well in the slot, but now even more mouths to feed. Needs to win a starting job first.
Jaelen Strong, Texans – Earned raves from HC Bill O'Brien during this off-season and beat writers alike. He’s a big body receiver who has the inside track to their second receiver role opposite Hopkins. Beat reporters have been hyping him up over Fuller all off-season and with J.J. Watt injured, this team may have to pass a lot to start the season. Could be a great redzone threat too with no legit tight end on the team.
Robert Woods, Bills – Report recently came out that he played with a torn groin for most of last season. He is the unquestioned #2 wide receiver on the team and if Watkins can't go, he’s their number one.
Steve Smith, Ravens – One of my favorite players ever, but he’s old and coming off a serious injury. I would never count him out, but I’m not drafting him either. Currently dealing with injury still in camp.
Davante Adams, Packers – He’s a disaster, but they haven't given up on him yet. Still their #3.
Malcolm Mitchell, Patriots - 6'0” 198lbs and ran a 4.45 forty. A lot to like: runs great routes, good hands, yac and toughness. Injuries stunted his college production, but should start for the Pats at some point this season. There’s certainly value in that. Has an outside chance to be the most productive first year receiver in this year’s rookie class and has been a star in camp so far.
Kenny Britt, Rams – Goff should help, but this team runs through Gurley.
Brian Quick, Rams – Has shown flashes, but hard to trust him or this passing game.
Chalres Jonhons, Vikings - Right now he is running ahead of Treadwell and was hurt most of last season with broken ribs. Not a lot of volume in this offense and Treadwell the superior talent, but someone worth watching.
Nelson Agholor, Eagles – Their first round pick last year, he will be starting outside along with Green-Beckham and with Matthews in the slot. Great athlete but dealing with drops going back to college and things haven't clicked with him yet. The offense should be more conservative this year with HC Pederson coming from KC and Agholor only fourth in the pecking. If you just want to bet on talent, then he's worth a shot.
Dontrelle Inman, Chargers - Has a chance to man the slot with Stevie Johnson injured. There is value in that role, but has to beat out Williams, who is more of a deep threat.
Kenny Stills, Dolphins – Has never realized his full potential, and with Tannehill and an influx of new receivers, that doesn’t look like it will happen this year either but he is currently the teams #3.
Danny Amendola, Patriots - Took a pay cut to stay with the team but has been dealing with injuries once again. Could be cut as Hogan emerges.
Andre Johnson, Titans - Didn't seem to have much left last year. But there may be opportunity with Green-Beckham gone.
Tre McBride, Titans - Has played much better after essentially a red shirt rookie year coming out of a small college. With Green-Beckham gone, he is running with the number two's and they in part released DGB because he has emerged. GReat dynasty grab.
Paul Richardson Jr, Seahawks – Richardson has been injured his first two seasons in the league, but he’s fully healthy now and trained with Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett during the off-season. He has 4.40 forty jets and was a Matt Waldman favorite coming out of college.
Victor Cruz, Giants – Essentially just a dart throw until you actually see him put in a few weeks of full practice and a pre-season game or two. He may never recover from his injury properly.
Cecil Shorts, Texans - Will man the slot in all three wide sets. But this is a run first team with an alpha number one receiver in Hopkins.
J.J. Nelson, Cardinals – Deep threat speedster (5’10 165lbs with 4.28 forty) that needs an injury in front of him to have any reliable impact.
T.J. Jones, Lions – Some size and speed (6’ 190lbs and 4.48 forty). Worth monitoring during pre-season to see if he can win the 3rd receiver role. Would be their deep threat, which holds value and Stafford has been raving about him. A name to keep in mind.
Albert Wilson, Chiefs – Wilson, Conley and Streater all have talent and it’s worth monitoring who wins out in camp in addition to tracking Maclin’s recovery from injury. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a ton of production to go around in this offense, but the winner of that battle can be moved up.
Chris Conley, Chiefs – See Wilson, Albert.
Rod Streater, Chiefs – See Wilson, Albert.
Kenbrell Thompkins, Jets –Currently the #3 wide receiver on a team that likes to use four receivers.
Cole Beasley, Cowboys - Could have 3 or 4 catches a game, but not much upside.
Ty Montgomery, Packers - Has a chance to be their #3 receiver, someone worth monitoring.
Jeff Janis, Packers – Started coming on, could have decent value if he wins their third receiver job. There is value to be had in this offense.
Jared Abbrederis, Packers - Outside shot at the teams #3 receiving role.
Rueben Randle, Eagles - Looks like he will be cut soon.
Stephen Hill, Panthers - Maybe ... but probably not. But maybe. If you are looking for upside on your final pick, he's it.
Mike Thomas, Rams – Good size and speed (6'1" 200lbs - 4.5 forty) and plays even bigger with toughness and physicality. Could emerge to be a reliable WR2, but probably a year away as he adjusts to the NFL game and while he plays with a rookie QB.
Rashard Higgins, Browns – Not a great athlete, but does everything well. Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception is a fan.
Keyarris Garrett, Panthers - Inexplicably went undrafted, but landing on a team in need of additional receiving weapons. He is big (6’3” 220lbs), fast (4.53 forty) and only dropped 3 of the 99 catchable passes thrown his way in 2015. Someone to monitor in camp.
Roger Lewis - Giants – Solid athlete (4.46 forty, a 36-inch vertical and 10-foot-5 broad jump) but comes with off-field baggage, which most likely led to going undrafted. There is an opportunity here though with Sheppard in the slot and Beckham on the outside if Cruz can’t get healthy. Someone to watch rather than draft.
Pharaoh Cooper, Rams – A better real life player than a fantasy player this year. Some Golden Tate to his game.
Devin Smith, Jets –Has a chance for some big weeks as their deep threat, but better best ball league player than reliable weekly fantasy starter especially since he’s still coming back from major knee injury.
Stevie Johnson, Chargers – Torn meniscus in camp will sideline him for some time, still waiting to see for how long. He's more talented then he showed last year.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings - Maybe .... nah.
Jordan Payton, Browns - Good size and speed (6'1" 207lbs 4.47 forty). Matt Waldman likes him and thinks he’s a smooth and understated route runner. Long term WR3 at best.
Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs – Suspended four times in college, so is a raw prospect, but tons of potential. Outside chance he emerges over Conley, Streater and Wilson.
Devin Lucien, Patriots – Lots of mouths to feed here, but if Amendola is released, will battle with Mitchell for outside duties. Underrated talent.
Rashawn Scott, Miami – Joins a crowded receiving corp. Could be cut, but worth monitoring where he lands.
DeAndre Smelter, 49ers - He's big (6'2" 227lbs with massive 11" hands) and fast. He tore his ACL so his draft stock plummeted last year, yet the 49ers still drafted him in the 4th round. Lance Zierlein compared him to Eric Decker, but he might miss the whole season with injury once again.
TIGHT END TIERS
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots – The most dominant player at any position for fantasy. In 80 games, he’s scored 65 times and averages 70 yards a game over his career.
Jordan Reed, Redskins – Love the talent and put up a monster 87/952/11 last season. Although DJax missed 7 games and with Doctson in town and Crowder coming on, those numbers will most likely go down a bit. Concussion history also a major concern. If you use a high pick on him, I would handcuff with Niles Paul.
Coby Fleener, Saints – Couldn’t have landed in a better spot. The 125 targets Watson leaves behind are all his. Snead and Cooks are also both under six feet, while Fleener stands 6'6" with 4.51 jets. His hands an issue, but Brees will take full advantage.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs – The offense frustratingly caps his upside, but his ADP is down to the middle of the 6th round, which is a nice place to get him.
Zach Ertz, Eagles – I'm higher on him than most since he is the team’s best receiver by far. He caught 75 passes last season but only 2 TDs. Look for those TD totals to increase this year under new HC Pederson who has a history of featuring the tight end, unlike Chip Kelly.
Greg Olsen, Panthers – Return of Benjamin and emergence of Funchess could impact his bottom line. He was the only game in town last season.
Julius Thomas, Jaguars – Should be their number two receiver behind Robinson and major threat in the redzone. Local press called him "nearly unstoppable" in OTAs.
Antonio Gates, Chargers – The juice is gone, but will catch a ton of passes and many of the ones that count, especially with Stevie Johnson injured.
Delanie Walker, Titans – A steady option, but they have a full complement of receivers this year, in addition to Demarco Murray.
Gary Barnidge, Browns – Won’t be the only show in town, but should still be RGIII’s security blanket.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals – A touchdown monster and clear-cut second option in their passing game. Return from ankle surgery key so if you draft him, you need a quality backup.
Eric Ebron, Lions – They need him to step up and I think he does. Lions beat writers seem to agree. Only concern is return after serious ankle injury in camp. If you are looking for someone to breakout at the position, he's the guy.
Dwayne Allen, Colts – With Fleener gone, the tight end targets are all his and new Colts OC Rob Chudzinski loves to feature the tight end, as a former one himself. He just needs to stay healthy, which has been a big problem for him throughout his career.
Martellus Bennett, Patriots – Should have at least 3 or 4 catches a game and probably many of the ones that count. ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss suggested that the Patriots will use two-tight end sets as their base offense this year, which means a whole lot of Marty B.
Jared Cook, Packers – Has tore it up at camp so far and Rodgers has been looking his way often. What a difference a quarterback makes.
Jason Witten, Dallas – The juice is gone, but still will catch a ton of balls.
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks – He's been actived but as ESPN's Stephania Bell recently said: "Of all the different surgeries that these guys have, those who fared the worst when it comes to rate of return to play and performance metrics like yards gained and touchdowns scored, it was patellar tendon repair." He's a good bet for TDs, but may not give you much else beyond that.
Zach Miller, Bears – Will be third or fourth on the pecking order, but will be involved every week.
Charles Clay, Bills – Their number three receiver behind Watkins and McCoy.
Virgil Green, Broncos - Freak athlete who has been used mainly as a blocker so far despite being mainly a pass catching tight end in college. Has been their number one tight end in camp and catching touchdowns regularly. The Kubiak offense loves involving the tight end. Major sleeper if they do indeed use him this year.
Jordan Cameron, Dolphins – HC Gase wants him to be more involved and he was able to get great production out of Julius Thomas in Denver and Zach Miller in Chicago. Early reports from camp have not been positive though.
Will Tye, Giants – A touchdown dependent tight end that very may well catch a lot of touchdowns. A lot more mouths to feed, but he’s a big body for Manning in the redzone and proved to be a reliable target. Could surprise as a Top 12 tight end if he wins the starting job.
Vance McDonald, 49ers – At least he starts. That’s something. Now if he could just catch.
Jace Amaro, Jets – Could move up if plays well during pre-season after missing all of his sophomore year, he also could be cut. So far so good though in camp.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buccaneers – Built like a building but currently in the doghouse.
Cameron Brate, Bucs - ASJ seems to be imploding while Brate is showing dominance in the red zone drills.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings – Is always touchdown dependent. His talent is lost on this team.
Jesse James, Stealers - With Green maybe done for the year, the job looks like it is his and they like him. He's a big guy so could be a solid redzone option. Will be touchdown dependant.
Troy Niklas, Cardinals - Physically gifted receiver compared to Kelce. Looks like the light could be turning on in year three.
Tyler Higbee, Rams – Great dynasty stash who has been killing it in the pre-season. They don't call him Babay Gronk for nothing.
Larry Donnell, Giants – Still in a battle with Tye for the starting role.
Hunter Henry, Chargers – Great dynasty hold. Their tight end of the future.
Austin Hooper, Falcons – Rookie tight ends rarely make much of an impact, but he has the best chance.
Richard Rogers, Packers – Signing of Cook a killer to his value, but still a chance he wins the starting job.
Jeff Heuerman, Broncos – The Broncos believe in him and should be fully healthy after injured rookie season. Elway expects him to “step in and be a force," but still behind Green at the moment.
Dion Sims, Dolphins – Needs an injury in front of him to have any value.
Niles Paul, Washington - Missed last season with an ankle injury in preseason, could be a stud if Reed gets another concussion.
Maxx Williams, Ravens – If he wins the starting job, move him way up. Great hands and route runner. But now Denis Pitta may be back? The team has 4 or 5 starting caliber tight ends.
Tyler Kroft, Bengals – Needed an injury to Eifert to have relevance, and he got it. He's a great athlete and showed progress as his rookie season went on.
Josh Hill, Saints – He’s going to mostly block, but will inevitably catch a few touchdowns.
Crockett Gillmore, Ravens – Played well last season, but Williams and Watson kill his value.
Brent Celek, Eagles – Should block more than catch this year.
Lance Kendricks, Rams – Their blocking tight end.
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