I've been rolling out Top 150 Fantasy Rankings with explanations since the end of last season, but if you're new to this column here are a few things to keep in mind:
** This is not a mock draft. Some readers believed my rankings were a mock draft after publishing the July 31 Top 150. The players are separated into packs of 12 in my attempt to clarify in which round I believe each guy belongs, based on value. It's just a way of presenting rankings that I hope makes them easier to interpret.
** I don't advocate taking Jimmy Graham with the No. 2 pick. I do think drafters should begin considering Graham as soon as the running backs they like are gone. One of the best ways to gain an edge on opponents is to become familiar with Average Draft Position (ADP), which provides a great idea of where players will be selected. There is tons of ADP data in the 2013 Rotoworld Draft Guide. So while I assigned Graham the second highest player "grade" due to the enormous week-to-week advantage he offers at fantasy football's weakest position, his late-second round ADP suggests owners can secure Graham on the turn or somewhere in round two, even if several picks go by and he's still atop your value-based draft board.
** These rankings are geared toward standard scoring (non-PPR) although there are many references to points-per-reception leagues in the one-liners following each player. Differentiating between a particular player's value in standard versus PPR is not difficult. If you think they will catch a high volume of passes, move them up.
** If you play in a two-quarterback league, bump up the quarterbacks and be instinctive on draft day. Sometimes you have to draft with "feel." I'd even consider pulling all of the QBs off your primary cheatsheet and giving them their own cheatsheet. Your goal should be to secure two big-time quarterbacks in a two-QB league, and there are only(?) 12 rock-solid, reliable every-week starters. It's a deep position in standard leagues. In two-QB leagues, the opposite is true. And if you secure two top-dozen quarterbacks, you'll be able to grab dependable running backs and receivers while your opponents reach for Daltons and Schaubs.
On to the Top 150:
1. Adrian Peterson -- Gunning for 2,500 yards. 2012 showed you don't bet against him.
2. Jimmy Graham -- Based strictly on position, fantasy's top weekly difference maker.
3. C.J. Spiller -- Monster talent & projected workload equal monster statistical upside.
4. Doug Martin -- Last season's No. 2 fantasy RB despite losing both starting guards.
5. LeSean McCoy -- Philly could push for NFL rushing attempts lead under Chip Kelly.
6. Trent Richardson -- Injury concerns overblown; will be centerpiece of CLE offense.
7. Jamaal Charles -- Weekly consistency a concern under pass-obsessed Andy Reid.
8. Calvin Johnson -- NFL's receiving leader & No. 1 fantasy WR in back-to-back years.
9. Marshawn Lynch -- League's premier tackle breaker benefits from run-heavy offense.
10. Ray Rice -- Look for increased pass-game involvement after Dennis Pitta's injury.
11. Arian Foster -- Too many injury/performance flags to justify a top-ten fantasy pick.
12. Alfred Morris -- Heavy-volume workhorse will lose passing-down work to Roy Helu.
13. Stevan Ridley -- See Alfred Morris. Ridley will be featured in revised Pats offense.
14. Matt Forte -- A PPR special; Should be good for 75-plus catches and 230 carries.
15. Brandon Marshall -- Trestman's pass-first design is good news for his top wideout.
16. Dez Bryant -- Scary to think how good Dez'll be now that his head is on straight.
17. A.J. Green -- A.J. has enormous talent, but contends with quarterback limitations.
18. Larry Fitzgerald -- Bounce-back year a virtual lock with Carson Palmer at controls.
19. Julio Jones -- Only the mouths-to-feed factor keeps him below Bryant/Green/Fitz.
20. Demaryius Thomas -- See Julio. Supporting cast affects ceiling but dominant skill.
21. Frank Gore -- Oldie but goodie benefits from league's premier run-blocking O-Line.
22. Reggie Bush -- Love his fit in Detroit; Legitimately a candidate for 90 receptions.
23. Lamar Miller -- Downhill runner with big-play ability poised for breakout campaign.
24. Chris Johnson -- Still don't trust his effort, but remade OL looks awesome so far.
25. Steven Jackson -- Bad OL & stiff movement in preseason opener are concerns.
26. David Wilson -- Elite talent but mistake prone; Wilson is an upside drafter's pick.
27. Darren McFadden -- See Wilson and replace "mistake" with injury. Contract year.
28. DeMarco Murray -- Poor OL. Will always be injury prone due to body & play style.
29. Drew Brees -- Saints defense looks terrible again, which is good news for Brees.
30. Aaron Rodgers -- OL concerns + RB upgrades may = more run-heavy approach.
31. Cam Newton -- If Cam becomes consistent, he'll lead all QBs in fantasy scoring.
32. Andre Johnson -- Andre is 32 now, but coming off his healthiest offseason in years.
33. Rob Gronkowski -- Elite difference maker; reports on rehab(s) upbeat to this point.
34. Darren Sproles -- He's a borderline RB1 in PPR. Scores weekly double-digit points.
35. Danny Amendola -- Health allowing, Amendola will score like WR1 at WR2 cost.
36. Victor Cruz -- Still only 26 years old with consecutive top-13 fantasy WR finishes.
37. Vincent Jackson -- Last year's No. 6 fantasy WR with room for TD growth (8).
38. Randall Cobb -- Movable chess piece; strong candidate for 100-plus receptions.
39. Roddy White -- Going on 32, but has been top-15 fantasy WR six straight years.
40. Marques Colston -- Highly consistent WR1/2. Underrated in real life & fantasy.
41. Pierre Garcon -- Rising as he continues to progress through August unscathed.
42. Maurice Jones-Drew -- Aging, overused RB coming off major injury on bad team.
43. Le'Veon Bell -- Has talent limitations, but should lead all rookie RBs in touches.
44. Giovani Bernard -- Won't struggle to overtake Green-Ellis as Bengals lead back.
45. Eddie Lacy -- Was dominating camp before hamstring landed Lacy on the shelf.
46. Peyton Manning -- Can be No. 1 fantasy quarterback if body holds up at age 37.
47. Reggie Wayne -- Unlikely to repeat 2012 stats, but he is still Luck's top receiver.
48. Robert Griffin III -- Continues to climb rankings with impressive rehab: My 5th QB.
49. Chris Ivory -- Talent not a concern; durability is.
50. Antonio Brown -- Has target monster potential.
51. Steve Smith -- Love "89" at his late-sixth ADP.
52. Vernon Davis -- Should lead Niners in receiving.
53. Eric Decker -- TDs will drop; still quality WR2/flex.
54. Dwayne Bowe -- Alex Smith has limiting effect on WRs. (See Michael Crabtree.)
55. DeSean Jackson -- Camp standout will be go-to guy in Chip Kelly's passing attack.
56. Torrey Smith -- As BAL pass catchers drop like flies, Smith is set up to break out.
57. Tom Brady -- My QB6; Brady has lost weapons but looks like a man on a mission.
58. Daryl Richardson -- Has jumped to the head of the pack in St. Louis' tailback derby.
59. Montee Ball -- Still confident he'll wrest Denver's lead back job from Ronnie Hillman.
60. Shane Vereen -- Sprolesian upside with a 2012 Woodhead floor (RB24 in non-PPR).
61. Matthew Stafford -- Pass-dominated offense. Elite arm talent. Best WR in football.
62. Tony Gonzalez -- Steady and reliable locked-in TE1 in pass-heavy Falcons offense.
63. T.Y. Hilton -- I'd bump him up another round if the Colts locked in Hilton as a starter.
64. Wes Welker -- Volume-dependent WR whose volume will take a hit on the Broncos.
65. Mike Wallace -- Lack of chemistry with Tannehill in camp practices is concerning.
66. Greg Jennings -- Won't struggle to lead Vikings in targets at Harvin's old Z position.
67. Hakeem Nicks -- Boom-bust pick in contract year. Is he capable of staying healthy?
68. Andrew Luck -- Testament to QB depth; His Average Draft Position is mid-seventh.
69. Ryan Mathews -- Stripped of passing-down duty on team that will have to pass a lot.
70. Colin Kaepernick -- Individually talented enough to compensate for shaky weapons.
71. Cecil Shorts -- Inevitable comeback-mode targets can make up for weak QB play.
72. Russell Wilson -- Controlled playmaker's statistical ceiling capped by loss of Harvin.
73. Matt Ryan -- Quality starter lacks elite upside due to independent talent limitations.
74. Josh Gordon -- Andre Johnson-like skill set but Gordon oozes Knucklehead Factor.
75. Jordy Nelson -- I had Nelson in the fourth round before surgery to fix a nerve in knee.
76. James Jones -- Packers best red-zone WR will benefit if Jordy Nelson misses time.
77. Anquan Boldin -- Limited player at this point in career, but could be heavily targeted.
78. Jason Witten -- Reliable, high-volume tight end has never been big touchdown scorer.
79. Ahmad Bradshaw -- You're in fine shape if he's your RB3; will beat out Vick Ballard.
80. Ben Tate -- Arian Foster's injury/workload red flags make Tate an enticing RB3/flex.
81. Stevie Johnson -- Beware likelihood of less featured role under new coaching staff.
82. Bernard Pierce -- Will flirt with standalone flex value if BAL plays run-heavy offense.
83. Chris Givens -- Rams' version of DeSean Jackson looks headed for year-two leap.
84. Vincent Brown -- Big durability concern, but tentative favorite to lead SD in catches.
85. Mike Williams -- TD-dependent receiver but serviceable WR3 in non-PPR leagues.
86. Kenny Britt -- Consistency an unavoidable problem in low-percentage pass offense.
87. Tavon Austin -- ADP finally dropping to the point he's worth a look as a PPR WR3.
88. DeAngelo Williams -- Stock back on downswing with J-Stew expected for Week 1.
89. Golden Tate -- Has great chance to be focus of Seattle pass game in contract year.
90. Tony Romo -- Last of the locked-in QB1s; Last season's No. 8 quarterback scorer.
91. Rashard Mendenhall -- Bad OL & pass-happy Arians make undesirable RB situation.
92. Bryce Brown -- Brown could flirt with standalone flex value if he holds off Chris Polk.
93. Isaiah Pead -- Rough preseason opener, but talented enough to push for starting job.
94. Greg Olsen -- Last year's No. 6 overall fantasy tight end doesn't get enough respect.
95. Jonathan Stewart -- Once among NFL's top young RBs, now can't stay off the shelf.
96. Michael Floyd -- Obvious breakout candidate in WR-friendly offense with QB upgrade.
97. Ryan Broyles -- Knee flareups are somewhat concerning, but 80-plus catch potential.
98. Miles Austin -- Middle-of-the-road WR3 ceiling. Little chance to be difference maker.
99. Jordan Cameron -- Look for a fast start during Josh Gordon's two-game absence.
100. Andre Brown -- People have gone overboard on Brown based on seventh-round ADP.
101. Mark Ingram -- Early-down thumper only, so Saints defensive losses hurt his outlook.
102. Ronnie Hillman -- May start the opener, but long shot to sustain fantasy start-ability.
103. Jermichael Finley -- Chris Mortensen reported Finley's camp has been "just okay."
104. Kyle Rudolph -- One of fantasy's most overdrafted players at his eighth-round ADP.
105. Jared Cook -- Lacks skill set to be high-volume TE, which results in inconsistency.
106. Emmanuel Sanders -- Some breakout appeal, but beware rookie Markus Wheaton.
107. Kenbrell Thompkins -- Fast riser appears to have locked up starting job on Patriots.
108. Denarius Moore -- Bottom-3 OL + noodle-armed Flynn = hard times for deep threat.
109. Rueben Randle -- WR2/3 if Nicks misses time.
110. BenJarvus Green-Ellis -- RB3/flex upside at best.
111. DeAndre Hopkins -- Only WR4 in run-heavy offense.
112. Martellus Bennett -- Trestman O suits his strengths.
113. Coby Fleener -- Unreliable TE1, but improving outlook.
114. Sidney Rice -- Has been fairly ordinary in five of his six NFL seasons. Just a WR4.
115. Kendall Wright -- Concerning that he's not been entrenched on Titans first-team O.
116. Zac Stacy -- Stacy has put no noticeable heat on Daryl Richardson's starting job.
117. Lance Moore -- Pedestrian WR4 can be started confidently during the bye weeks.
118. Alshon Jeffery -- Some breakout potential, but 4th in line for targets on the Bears.
119. Michael Vick -- Highest ceiling of all QB2s; off to fantastic start under Chip Kelly.
120. Jay Cutler -- Can finish as a top-10 fantasy QB if he buys into Trestman's scheme.
121. Justin Blackmon -- 4-game suspension; possible every-week WR3 when he returns.
122. Cordarrelle Patterson -- Insane talent & already making big strides as route runner.
123. Eli Manning -- If Giants D is bad -- and it definitely may be -- Eli benefits in fantasy.
124. Carson Palmer -- Enters pass-first Arians offense surrounded by big-time weapons.
125. Darrius Heyward-Bey -- Time with Colts starting offense shouldn't last much longer.
126. Ben Roethlisberger -- Marginal weapons, Steelers intent on becoming run-first team.
127. Antonio Gates -- Fantasy stock quietly ascending as Bolts wideouts drop like flies.
128. Roy Helu -- Third-down back becomes every-week fantasy starter if Alf goes down.
129. Joique Bell -- Plus versatility; likely to be Lions lead back in the event of Bush injury.
130. Christine Michael -- Legit top-10 NFL RB ability; better Lynch handcuff than Turbin.
131. Jacquizz Rodgers -- Change-of-pace back only, but No. 2 behind 30-year-old S-Jax.
132. Sam Bradford -- Breakout candidate QB2 with easily best supporting cast of career.
133. Brandon Myers -- Not a sexy pick, but could reach 70 catches again in Giants O.
134. Joe Flacco -- After Boldin & Pitta losses, Ravens best personnel now in run game.
135. Josh Freeman -- TD-oriented receivers make inconsistent player a decent QB2.
136. Jeremy Kerley -- Heavy favorite to lead Jets in catches; recommended PPR flier.
137. Dustin Keller -- Chemistry on point with Tannehill. Sleeper to lead Fins in catches.
138. Nate Washington -- Still holding out hope Washington lands on Ravens or 49ers.
139. Greg Little -- WR4/5 type may offer WR3 value during Josh Gordon's 2-game ban.
140. Rod Streater -- Nice sleeper on team that'll often dink & dunk in comeback mode.
141. Aaron Dobson -- Kenbrell Thompkins shaping up as better Pats rookie WR pick.
142. Knowshon Moreno -- Third string at moment, but still has chance to make starts.
143. Andy Dalton -- Talented supporting cast should help make Dalton a workable QB2.
144. Shonn Greene -- Runs like a slug, but will get change-of-pace and goal-line work.
145. Rob Housler -- Plus talent; Will Arians commit to TE as big part of pass game?
146. Zach Sudfeld -- Can be passable TE1 for as much time as Gronkowski misses.
147. Dwayne Allen -- It would be easier to be bullish on Allen without the foot ailment.
148. Stephen Hill -- Put himself on the radar with impressive camp; talent not an issue.
149. Markus Wheaton -- Explosive player could pass Emmanuel Sanders eventually.
150. Keenan Allen -- Stock rising following Danario Alexander & Malcom Floyd injuries.
Also on the Radar: Brandon Weeden, Matt Schaub, Ryan Tannehill, Philip Rivers, Ryan Williams, Michael Bush, Kendall Hunter, Pierre Thomas, Johnathan Franklin, LaMichael James, Vick Ballard, DuJuan Harris, Danny Woodhead, Fred Jackson, Brian Quick, Austin Collie, Andre Roberts, Doug Baldwin, Jon Baldwin, Brian Hartline, Robert Woods, Dexter McCluster, Brandon Pettigrew, Owen Daniels, Julius Thomas, Fred Davis, Tyler Eifert, David Ausberry.
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