Jacob Adler's Early Fantasy Football Top 100 Rankings

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Who deserves to be the #1 overall pick? Also, should Peyton Manning, Jimmy Graham, and Calvin Johnson warrant first round picks?

Regression to the mean happens all the time in fantasy football, on all levels. A WR5 explodes in week 1 only to post no receptions in week 2. That stud RB1 who gets tackled on the 1 scores the next time around. Most of the running backs taken in the first round bust one year, and the next year they _____.

That’s the question on everyone’s minds; is it worth taking a running back in the first round of a standard league? Peyton Manning, Jimmy Graham, and Calvin Johnson are likely to go in the first round because they are "safer" bets, but I’m taking a running back in the first round no matter what.

In microeconomics, opportunity cost is the forfeited value of the next-best alternative to something. If one drafts an RB1, one can still find an elite QB1, TE1, or WE1. If you draft Manning, Graham, or Johnson, you’re missing out on the top running back talent. If you can get Eddie Lacy in the first round and Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, or Julio Jones in the third round, you can almost replicate Johnson’s production at receiver without the dropoff at running back.

As for Manning and Graham, both are coming off historic seasons which they are unlikely to repeat. If one drafts them in the first round, one is paying top dollar to hope that a player performs at his absolute ceiling. Jamaal Charles doesn’t need to finish as the top back, as he did last year, to earn his draft position. If he stays healthy and finishes as an RB1, he’s worth it. If Peyton Manning doesn’t outscore every other quarterback by a significant margin, he isn’t going to earn back his draft position.

It’s still too early to firmly make decisions on some players, so I made this easier on both of us, and set the ranks by tiers. This is more of a grouping than a ranking exercise, but it is helpful to get a feel for where players should go. After the list, check out some more thoughts.

1

LeSean McCoy (PHI)

RB

#1 RB

RBTIER 1

2

Jamaal Charles (KC)

RB

#2 RB

RBTIER 1

3

Matt Forte (CHI)

RB

#3 RB

RBTIER 2

4

Adrian Peterson (MIN)

RB

#4 RB

RBTIER 2

5

Marshawn Lynch (SEA)

RB

#5 RB

RBTIER 2

6

Eddie Lacy (GB)

RB

#6 RB

RBTIER 2

7

DeMarco Murray (DAL)

RB

#7 RB

RBTIER 2

8

Montee Ball (DEN)

RB

#8 RB

RBTIER 2

9

Le'Veon Bell (PIT)

RB

#9 RB

RBTIER 2

10

Arian Foster (HOU)

RB

#10 RB

RBTIER 2

11

Doug Martin (TB)

RB

#11 RB

RBTIER 2

12

Demaryius Thomas (DEN)

WR

#1 WR

WRTIER 1

13

Calvin Johnson (DET)

WR

#2 WR

WRTIER 1

14

Aaron Rodgers (GB)

QB

#1 QB

QBTIER 1

15

Drew Brees (NO)

QB

#2 QB

QBTIER 1

16

Peyton Manning (DEN)

QB

#3 QB

QBTIER 1

17

Giovani Bernard (CIN)

RB

#12 RB

RBTIER3

18

Zac Stacy (STL)

RB

#13 RB

RBTIER3

19

Brandon Marshall (CHI)

WR

#3 WR

WRTIER 2

20

Antonio Brown (PIT)

WR

#4 WR

WRTIER 2

21

Dez Bryant (DAL)

WR

#5 WR

WRTIER 2

22

Andre Ellington (ARI)

RB

#14 RB

RBTIER3

23

Alfred Morris (WSH)

RB

#15 RB

RBTIER3

24

Reggie Bush (DET)

RB

#16 RB

RBTIER3

25

Ryan Mathews (SD)

RB

#17 RB

RBTIER3

26

Jimmy Graham (NO)

TE

#1 TE

TETIER 1

27

Julio Jones (ATL)

WR

#6 WR

WRTIER 3

28

A.J. Green (CIN)

WR

#7 WR

WRTIER 3

29

Alshon Jeffery (CHI)

WR

#8 WR

WRTIER 3

30

Andre Johnson (HOU)

WR

#9 WR

WRTIER 3

31

Jordy Nelson (GB)

WR

#10 WR

WRTIER 3

32

Toby Gerhart (JAC)

RB

#18 RB

RBTIER 4

33

Rashad Jennings (NYG)

RB

#19 RB

RBTIER 4

34

Trent Richardson (IND)

RB

#20 RB

RBTIER 4

35

Chris Johnson (TEN)

RB

#21 RB

RBTIER 4

36

Wes Welker (DEN)

WR

#11 WR

WRTIER 4

37

Roddy White (ATL)

WR

#12 WR

WRTIER 4

38

Keenan Allen (SD)

WR

#13 WR

WRTIER 4

39

Vincent Jackson (TB)

WR

#14 WR

WRTIER 4

40

Michael Crabtree (SF)

WR

#15 WR

WRTIER 4

41

Randall Cobb (GB)

WR

#16 WR

WRTIER 4

42

C.J. Spiller (BUF)

RB

#22 RB

RBTIER 5

43

Frank Gore (SF)

RB

#23 RB

RBTIER 5

44

Stevan Ridley (NE)

RB

#24 RB

RBTIER 5

45

Fred Jackson (BUF)

RB

#25 RB

RBTIER 5

46

Ben Tate (CLE)

RB

#26 RB

RBTIER 5

47

Victor Cruz (NYG)

WR

#17 WR

WRTIER 5

48

DeSean Jackson (WSH)

WR

#18 WR

WRTIER 5

49

Pierre Garcon (WSH)

WR

#19 WR

WRTIER 5

50

Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)

WR

#20 WR

WRTIER 5

51

Michael Floyd (ARI)

WR

#21 WR

WRTIER 5

52

Eric Decker (NYJ)

WR

#22 WR

WRTIER 5

53

Cam Newton (CAR)

QB

#4 QB

QBTIER 2

54

Andrew Luck (IND)

QB

#5 QB

QBTIER 2

55

Matt Ryan (ATL)

QB

#6 QB

QBTIER 2

56

Pierre Thomas (NO)

RB

#27 RB

RBTIER 6

57

Joique Bell (DET)

RB

#28 RB

RBTIER 6

58

DeAngelo Williams (CAR)

RB

#29 RB

RBTIER 6

59

Ray Rice (BAL)

RB

#30 RB

RBTIER 6

60

Steven Jackson (ATL)

RB

#31 RB

RBTIER 6

61

Shane Vereen (NE)

RB

#32 RB

RBTIER 6

62

Tom Brady (NE)

QB

#7 QB

QBTIER 2

63

Nick Foles (PHI)

QB

#8 QB

QBTIER 2

64

Matthew Stafford (DET)

QB

#9 QB

QBTIER 2

65

Philip Rivers (SD)

QB

#10 QB

QBTIER 2

66

Percy Harvin (SEA)

WR

#23 WR

WRTIER 6

67

Marques Colston (NO)

WR

#24 WR

WRTIER 6

68

Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)

WR

#25 WR

WRTIER 6

69

Riley Cooper (PHI)

WR

#26 WR

WRTIER 6

70

Jeremy Maclin (PHI)

WR

#27 WR

WRTIER 6

71

Kendall Wright (TEN)

WR

#28 WR

WRTIER 6

72

Torrey Smith (BAL)

WR

#29 WR

WRTIER 6

73

Julian Edelman (NE)

WR

#30 WR

WRTIER 6

74

Maurice Jones-Drew (OAK)

RB

#33 RB

RBTIER 7

75

Darren McFadden (OAK)

RB

#34 RB

RBTIER 7

76

Knowshon Moreno (MIA)

RB

#35 RB

RBTIER 7

77

Bishop Sankey (TEN)

RB

#36 RB

RBTIER 7

78

Danny Woodhead (SD)

RB

#37 RB

RBTIER 7

79

Cordarrelle Patterson (MIN)

WR

#31 WR

WRTIER 7

80

T.Y. Hilton (IND)

WR

#32 WR

WRTIER 7

81

Anquan Boldin (SF)

WR

#33 WR

WRTIER 7

82

Reggie Wayne (IND)

WR

#34 WR

WRTIER 7

83

Dwayne Bowe (KC)

WR

#35 WR

WRTIER 7

84

Julius Thomas (DEN)

TE

#2 TE

TETIER 2

85

Rob Gronkowski (NE)

TE

#3 TE

TETIER 2

86

Jordan Cameron (CLE)

TE

#4 TE

TETIER 2

87

Vernon Davis (SF)

TE

#5 TE

TETIER 2

88

Jason Witten (DAL)

TE

#6 TE

TETIER 2

89

Greg Jennings (MIN)

WR

#36 WR

WRTIER 8

90

Terrance Williams (DAL)

WR

#37 WR

WRTIER 8

91

Brian Hartline (MIA)

WR

#38 WR

WRTIER 8

92

Doug Baldwin (SEA)

WR

#39 WR

WRTIER 8

93

Golden Tate (DET)

WR

#40 WR

WRTIER 8

94

Jerricho Cotchery (CAR)

WR

#41 WR

WRTIER 8

95

Shonn Greene (TEN)

RB

#38 RB

RBTIER 8

96

Lamar Miller (MIA)

RB

#39 RB

RBTIER 8

97

Chris Ivory (NYJ)

RB

#40 RB

RBTIER 8

98

Darren Sproles (PHI)

RB

#41 RB

RBTIER 8

99

Jay Cutler (CHI)

QB

#11 QB

QBTIER2

100

Robert Griffin III (WSH)

QB

#12 QB

QBTIER2

1. 12 quarterbacks is too many to have in a top 100. I take my passers late in drafts, and the position is the deepest it’s been in the time I have played fantasy.

2. There are a lot of running backs with question marks in the mid rounds, i.e. Rice, Jackson, Richardson that could fall and present value.

3. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart should get plenty of carries this year and make for consistent weekly plays.

4. At first, I thought Joique Bell should be ranked alongside Reggie Bush, but I think it’s still Bush’s job to lose.

5. I have no clue what to expect from Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden in Oakland, but I think both of them still have something left in the tank.

6. Jeremy Maclin is going well before Riley Cooper in many drafts, but I think Cooper actually posts the better fantasy season this year.

7. Obviously, the second tier of tight ends won’t last that late in most leagues, but streaming often works better than reaching in the mid-rounds.

8. Greg Jennings looks over the hill and probably is, but he has chemistry with Matt Cassel and can probably slot in as a low-end flex. Cordarrelle Patterson seems completely overrated to me.

9. I probably put T.Y. Hilton too low. He figures to be the main target for Andrew Luck, even if he doesn’t offer much consistency.

10. Doug Baldwin made my top 100, and he’s going undrafted in ESPN leagues. He’s the most efficient Seattle receiver and stands to benefit from Golden Tate’s departure.

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