This is my June update to the Fantasy Football Top 150. I'll have more extensive writeups on every player and rankings explanations in my July edition, as training camp draws near. We're still in an information-gathering phase of the offseason, with penciled-in depth charts and role expectations.
As for criteria, keep in mind I place special value on non-quarterbacks I believe will be week-to-week difference makers in head-to-head fantasy matchups. Non-QBs who can swing scoring with monster box-score stats. Hence my high ranking of elite tight ends Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, and Rob Gronkowski. Still only 26, I expect Thomas to continue his ascent with Eric Decker's 87-1,288-11 removed from Denver's offense. 25-year-old Gronk's ACL recovery appears to be on or even ahead of schedule. As for 27-year-old Graham? He puts fantasy football teams on his back.
I bump down quarterbacks because they are most replaceable. Almost like a fantasy defense, you can field a championship-caliber squad streaming quarterbacks as matchup plays week to week. Try doing that at other positions and you're liable to end up with zeroes. Would I love to have Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, or Drew Brees on my team? Yes. I'd just rather use my first- and second-round fantasy picks on RB1s and WR1s. Or Graham. Or Thomas. Or Gronk.
There are many ways to win in fantasy football. This is how I think it's best to do it.
1. LeSean McCoy -- Centerpiece of NFL's top rushing attack. 26 in July.
2. Adrian Peterson -- Expect heavy volume as Vikings break in rookie QB.
3. Jamaal Charles -- Splitting hairs between McCoy-AP-Charles at the top.
4. Matt Forte -- Slippery all-purpose bellcow runner in top-three NFL offense.
5. Eddie Lacy -- Fat Eddie's TDs should rise with Aaron Rodgers healthy.
6. Jimmy Graham -- Premier difference maker at fantasy's weakest position.
7. Calvin Johnson -- First, first, third in wideout scoring past three seasons.
8. Dez Bryant -- New pass-happy OC Linehan could vault Dez past Calvin.
9. Demaryius Thomas -- Another serious candidate to be 2014's top WR1.
10. DeMarco Murray -- Ideal fit for wide-open Linehan O. Will crush in PPR.
11. Julio Jones -- Expect big bounce-back season for Falcons pass game.
12. A.J. Green -- 14th, fourth, fourth in receiver scoring since entering NFL.
13. Marshawn Lynch -- 1,002 carries last three years. Could lose 50+ in '14.
14. Montee Ball -- 4.7 YPC as rookie. Set for 20 touches/game in Peyton O.
15. Le'Veon Bell -- Three-down volume RB with high TD & reception ceilings.
16. Arian Foster -- Good bet to bounce back after injury-shortened season.
17. Julius Thomas -- Expect Julius' role to further expand post-Eric Decker.
18. Rob Gronkowski -- Has already risen based on positive health reports.
19. Keenan Allen -- Philip Rivers' clear No. 1 target. 100-reception candidate.
20. Jordy Nelson -- My WR7, but top-five upside with Aaron Rodgers healthy.
21. Brandon Marshall -- Jay Cutler continued to force feed Marshall in 2013.
22. Alshon Jeffery -- Room for TD growth after managing 7 in breakout year.
23. Randall Cobb -- Was on pace for 112/1,547/11 before he got hurt last year.
24. Peyton Manning -- Regression likely but still favorite to be 2014's top QB.
25. Aaron Rodgers -- Should be biggest threat to Peyton with health restored.
26. Zac Stacy -- Bellcow runner on St. Louis team committing to run game.
27. Drew Brees -- Top-two fantasy quarterback in five of his last six seasons.
28. Doug Martin -- Lovie Smith is a run-game believer. Martin is his best back.
29. Andre Johnson -- Going on 33, but enough left to flirt with top-10 WR1 stats.
30. C.J. Spiller -- Game breaker averaged 4.62 YPC despite playing hurt in '13.
31. Antonio Brown -- Fairly volume dependent, but should remain 100-catch guy.
32. Toby Gerhart -- Has three-down tools. Jags will ride him 'til wheels fall off.
33. Pierre Garcon -- Receptions will drop but TDs (5) & YPR (11.9) should rise.
34. Larry Fitzgerald -- Has lost upside for various reasons, but still strong WR2.
35. Giovani Bernard -- Will get vultured at goal line, but total touches will grow.
36. Roddy White -- Easy bounce-back bet was borderline dominant late in '13.
37. Matthew Stafford -- May lose volume post-Linehan, but will gain efficiency.
38. Bishop Sankey -- Lackluster tape, but ideal measurables and opportunity.
39. Alfred Morris -- Suspect fit for new coach Jay Gruden's pass-first offense.
40. Torrey Smith -- Will play the Andre Johnson role in Gary Kubiak's system.
41. Vincent Jackson -- Josh McCown will love throwing V-Jax 50:50 jump balls.
42. Victor Cruz -- Will be ex-Packers assistant Ben McAdoo's Randall Cobb.
43. Marques Colston -- Last ten games of '13 put him on pace for 98/1,213/8.
44. Michael Crabtree -- Contract year. Will reemerge as Niners' No. 1 wideout.
45. Vernon Davis -- TD scorer should continue to hover around 50-55 catches.
46. Ryan Mathews -- Chargers seem intent on limiting usage to keep him fresh.
47. Percy Harvin -- Great talent, but volume a concern with run-first Seahawks.
48. Joique Bell -- I expect Bell to bypass Reggie Bush as Lions carry leader.
49. Jordan Cameron -- Becomes clear focus of pass game post-Josh Gordon.
50. Reggie Bush -- Expect Sproles role under ex-Saints assistant Joe Lombardi.
51. Andre Ellington -- 5.53 YPC as rookie. Can he hold up as true feature back?
52. Jordan Reed -- Big breakout candidate, albeit with major medical red flags.
53. Shane Vereen -- Higher ceiling in PPR. In standard, Vereen is an RB2/flex.
54. Rueben Randle -- I expect Randle to emerge as Giants top outside receiver.
55. Frank Gore -- 31 now. Likely to be early-season asset who gradually fades.
56. Jeremy Maclin -- Will be Eagles' primary replacement for DeSean Jackson.
57. DeSean Jackson -- Annual reception average was 55 before Chip Kelly (82).
58. Mike Wallace -- Hope is ex-PHI assistant Bill Lazor uses Wallace like D-Jax.
59. Stevan Ridley -- Can reenter RB2 mix by simply not fumbling. Blount gone.
60. Wes Welker -- I worry the Broncos may think Welker is very close to done.
61. Dennis Pitta -- Should get lots of volume in Gary Kubiak's TE-friendly offense.
62. Matt Ryan -- Expect big bounce-back year along with Julio and Roddy White.
63. Tony Romo -- Plus weapons + Linehan + bad defense = box score success.
64. Jay Cutler -- Elite supporting cast. Entering year two of Trestman's system.
65. Cam Newton -- Still locked-in QB1, but weak weapons and line are concerns.
66. Andrew Luck -- Shaky coaching and support make Luck mid- to low-end QB1.
67. Nick Foles -- Is otherworldly '13 efficiency sustainable? Lost DeSean Jackson.
68. Trent Richardson -- Worth a sixth-round stab. His opportunity is hard to ignore.
69. Michael Floyd -- Ascending third-year receiver with some '14 blowup potential.
70. Jeremy Hill -- Double-digit TD potential. Will rise if BenJarvus Green-Ellis is cut.
71. Rashad Jennings -- Three-down tools; Should open season as Giants starter.
72. Chris Johnson -- Will be lead part of RBBC with Chris Ivory for run-heavy Jets.
73. Robert Griffin III -- QB11 too conservative? Could take off with pass-first Gruden.
74. Golden Tate -- Should be solid WR3 with WR2 ceiling in pass-happy Detroit.
75. Terrance Williams -- James Jones-ish talent. Should settle in as startable WR3.
76. Steven Jackson -- Littered with breakdown red flags, but worth mid-round stab.
77. Tom Brady -- Pats becoming power-run team. Gronk's health a big issue here.
78. Jason Witten -- He's fading in passing game, but Dallas is going to air it out.
79. DeAndre Hopkins -- Expectation is '14 step forward before blowup year in '15.
80. Russell Wilson -- Passable QB1 with upside limited by Seattle run-heavy attack.
81. Bernard Pierce -- Miserable '13, but likely gets first crack at Ravens lead RB job.
82. Cordarrelle Patterson -- Boom or bust. His '13 touches had to be manufactured.
83. Lamar Miller -- Best running talent on Dolphins team that will run far more often.
84. Kendall Wright -- Volume-dependent slot weapon. Better PPR than standard pick.
85. Terrance West -- I think West will be Browns feature RB sooner rather than later.
86. Sammy Watkins -- Run-first offense & poor QB are concerns for hyped rookie.
87. Dwayne Bowe -- Shaky WR3 bet in Kansas City's running back-centric offense.
88. Eric Decker -- Enormous QB downgrade, but may still push for 7-9 touchdowns.
89. T.Y. Hilton -- Targets will nosedive with Nicks in Indy, and Wayne and Allen back.
90. Aaron Dobson -- Enticing breakout possibility in muddy Patriots receiver corps.
91. Zach Ertz -- Prime year-two breakout candidate with legit top-five TE1 potential.
92. Kyle Rudolph -- Should emerge as rookie Teddy Bridgewater's go-to safety valve.
93. Greg Olsen -- Panthers painfully thin at wideout. Reliable TE1 with capped ceiling.
94. Brandin Cooks -- 70-catch candidate will help replace both Sproles & Lance Moore.
95. Ben Roethlisberger -- QB11, QB10 in per-game scoring in two years of OC Haley.
96. Philip Rivers -- Chargers increasingly run-based mindset is biggest concern here.
97. Ben Tate -- Has job security & durability questions.
98. Kelvin Benjamin -- Ideal opportunity as Cam's WR1.
99. Reggie Wayne -- Coming off late-October ACL tear.
100. Heath Miller -- Should rebound as a low-end TE1.
101. Ray Rice -- RBBC, health, performance, off-field woes. Let someone else draft.
102. Christine Michael -- Legitimately elite running ability. Marshawn Lynch in way.
103. Marvin Jones -- Expect increased role as Hue Jax weeds out Mohamed Sanu.
104. Julian Edelman -- Overdraft candidate. Pats won't want him at 105 catches again.
105. Pierre Thomas -- Likely to cede work to Khiry Robinson. Pedestrian RB3/flex.
106. Darren Sproles -- Could flirt with flex value in PPR. Less attractive in standard.
107. Mike Evans -- Consistency, volume are '14 concerns. Eventual elite TD scorer.
108. Fred Jackson -- 33 1/2 when season starts. Bryce Brown threatens his carries.
109. Chris Ivory -- Will stay involved, but CJ?K signing dealt Ivory a big fantasy blow.
110. Colin Kaepernick -- Loaded arsenal with Stevie Johnson in SF, Crabtree healthy.
111. Danny Amendola -- From 2013 early-round bust to 2014 late-round value pick?
112. Khiry Robinson -- Saints top pure ball carrier. Could move up this list in camp.
113. Anquan Boldin -- Entering age-34 season. More mouths to feed in San Fran.
114. James Jones -- Favorite for receptions, yards, TDs in Raiders receiver corps.
115. Emmanuel Sanders -- Cody Latimer casts doubt on Sanders' breakout chances.
116. Maurice Jones-Drew -- I expect MJD to emerge as lead runner over McFadden.
117. Cecil Shorts -- Garbage-time king on improving team, especially at his position.
118. Martellus Bennett -- Fringe TE1 who can keep owners competitive at tight end.
119. Charles Clay -- See Martellus with less upside. 2013 was likely Clay's ceiling.
120. Hakeem Nicks -- Question marks, but chance to revive career with Andrew Luck.
121. Justin Hunter -- Could have some WR1 weeks even if inconsistency inevitable.
122. Brian Hartline -- Consistent inability to score touchdowns. Aim higher at WR3.
123. Ladarius Green -- Freakazoid talent. Needs Chargers to commit to feeding him.
124. Jordan Matthews -- Will play Colstonian slot-mismatch role in juggernaut offense.
125. Carlos Hyde -- Unlikely to be 2014 factor before midseason or late in the year.
126. Jonathan Stewart -- I'd rather take a late-round stab on Stewart than DeAngelo.
127. Delanie Walker -- 2013 stats inflated by Tennessee's on-the-fly spread offense.
128. Jermichael Finley -- Health the obvious issue. Will move up or off list altogether.
129. James Starks -- Becomes every-week fantasy starter if Eddie Lacy goes down.
130. Danny Woodhead -- More of a PPR pick. Could lose touches to Donald Brown.
131. Knowshon Moreno -- Will be exposed as ordinary outside of Broncos offense.
132. DeAngelo Williams -- Favorite to start, but no chance to be a difference maker.
133. Lance Dunbar -- Could play the Joique role to Murray's Reggie under Linehan.
134. Johnny Manziel -- Upside QB2 definitely has chance to make year-one noise.
135. Alex Smith -- Can flirt with QB1 numbers, but best utilized as matchup play.
136. Bryce Brown -- Could offer RB2 stats if C.J. Spiller or Fred Jackson went down.
137. Andy Dalton -- New OC Hue Jackson plans to turn Dalton into game manager.
138. Tyler Eifert -- In an ideal world, he'd emerge as the No. 2 to A.J. Green's No. 1.
139. Ahmad Bradshaw -- Colts No. 2 RB option behind 2013 bust Trent Richardson.
140. Darren McFadden -- Competing with Jones-Drew for Raiders lead back work.
141. Knile Davis -- Quietly one of fantasy's top handcuff or late lottery-ticket picks.
142. Mark Ingram -- Part of three-way RBBC with Pierre Thomas, Khiry Robinson.
143. Chris Polk -- Would be Chip Kelly's main carrier if LeSean McCoy went down.
144. C.J. Anderson -- Closed last season ahead of Ronnie Hillman on depth chart.
145. Roy Helu -- Arguably better fit for Jay Gruden's pass-first style than Alfred Morris.
146. Greg Jennings -- Slot/Z receiver's game is good match for Bridgewater's arm.
147. Dwayne Allen -- More real-life than fantasy talent. May be useful TE1 streamer.
148. Antonio Gates -- Fading 34-year-old *should* take backseat to Ladarius Green.
149. Riley Cooper -- Block-first WR lacks consistent weekly role in Eagles passing O.
150. Devonta Freeman -- Possible heir apparent to Steven Jackson, who's turning 31.
Andre Williams, Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, Eli Manning, Ryan Tannehill, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, Josh McCown, Jake Locker, Carson Palmer; Kendall Hunter, Dexter McCluster, Shonn Greene, Robert Turbin, James White, Andre Brown, David Wilson, Benny Cunningham, Charles Sims, LeGarrette Blount, Ronnie Hillman, Jacquizz Rodgers, BenJarvus Green-Ellis; Odell Beckham, Mike Williams, Harry Douglas, Kenny Stills, Jerricho Cotchery, Stevie Johnson, Doug Baldwin, Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, Kenny Britt, Marquess Wilson, Robert Woods, Andrew Hawkins, Jeremy Kerley, Markus Wheaton, Jarrett Boykin, Cole Beasley, Denarius Moore, Davante Adams, Jarvis Landry, Marqise Lee, Tavon Austin; Jared Cook, Garrett Graham, Coby Fleener, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Levine Toilolo, Gavin Escobar, Travis Kelce, Mychal Rivera, Brandon Bostick.