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Fantasy Football Rankings 2012: Top 50 Standard

It's always risky to grab a rookie early, but there's certainly enough to like about Trent Richardson to grab him early in your standard competitive draft.
It's always risky to grab a rookie early, but there's certainly enough to like about Trent Richardson to grab him early in your standard competitive draft.

You don't have to be Charles Darwin to know that adaption is something that will happen over time. While it might take thousands of years for finches to change their beaks, it only takes a couple days for a fantasy owner to change its stripes with regards to draft strategy. This concludes the biology section of this article.

The more and more I've been mock drafting, and it's a lot, the more and more I see how important it is to grab some running backs early. If you're drafting with people that really know what they're doing, the RB well is pretty dry by the time the fifth round is completed. Meanwhile, there have been times where I've drafted a receiver at pick 100 and I would feel comfortable starting most weeks (assuming no major changes from now until September). For example, ESPN has Reggie Wayne as their 115th best player and Greg Little has also been rising up draft boards with all the buzz at Cleveland's OTA.

You'll notice that nine of my top-11 are running backs. Those nine are much safer than any of the backs from RB10 and up. Therefore, the elite, non-Calvin/Rodgers WRs and QBs follow those aforementioned nine backs. That next pair of Forte and Peterson has the potential to jump up into the top-12 with just a shred of positive news coming out of training camp. Peterson has his torn ACL and Forte has his contract concerns as well as Michael Bush set to take away the goal-line work.

Another trend in this top-50 is that 20 of the final 36 are receivers. Receiver is ridiculously deep and if you can somehow grab two of those nine backs with your first two picks, you're going to be setting yourself up nicely to fill up your roster.

As for the signal callers, outside of the top-50 will be the likes of Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan. That group easily has top-3 upside at their position. It wouldn't be a bad idea to fill up your RBs and WRs then grab two QBs with your picks in the sixth-to-eighth rounds.

We'll have plenty of other draft strategy in the coming months with mock drafts and all that good stuff. Hopefully this just whets your appetite.

The following is a list of my top-50 cheat sheet for 12-to-14 team competitive leagues. If you find that you're cleaning up the waiver wire every season for running back, then you might want to bump up the quarterbacks and tight ends.

You can check out my position rankings at the bottom of this article and you can always ask me on Twitter to shed some light on why I have a player in a particular spot.

Rank Player
1 Arian Foster (RB1)
2 LeSean McCoy (RB2)
3 Ray Rice (RB3)
4 Ryan Mathews (RB4)
5 Calvin Johnson (WR1)
6 Aaron Rodgers (QB1)
7 Chris Johnson (RB5)
8 Darren McFadden (RB6)
9 Jamaal Charles (RB7)
10 Maurice Jones-Drew (RB8)
11 Trent Richardson (RB9)
12 Tom Brady (QB2)
13 Cam Newton (QB3)
14 Andre Johnson (WR2)
15 Larry Fitzgerald (WR3)
16 Mike Wallace (WR4)
17 Drew Brees (QB4)
18 Rob Gronkowski (TE1)
19 Jimmy Graham (TE2)
20 Matt Forte (RB10)
21 Adrian Peterson (RB11)
22 A.J. Green (WR5)
23 Hakeem Nicks (WR6)
24 Marshawn Lynch (RB12)
25 Roddy White (WR7)
26 Brandon Marshall (WR8)
27 DeMarco Murray (RB13)
28 Steve Smith (WR9)
29 Matthew Stafford (QB5)
30 Julio Jones (WR10)
31 Michael Vick (QB6)
32 Wes Welker (WR11)
33 Greg Jennings (WR12)
34 Doug Martin (RB14)
35 Victor Cruz (WR13)
36 Percy Harvin (WR14)
37 Jeremy Maclin (WR15)
38 Jordy Nelson (WR16)
39 Reggie Bush (RB15)
40 Dez Bryant (WR17)
41 Roy Helu (RB16)
42 Miles Austin (WR18)
43 Marques Colston (WR19)
44 Steven Jackson (RB17)
45 Michael Turner (RB18)
46 Frank Gore (RB19)
47 Kenny Britt (WR20)
48 Fred Jackson (RB20)
49 Ahmad Bradshaw (RB21)
50 Stevie Johnson (WR21)

Recent news that has impacted the rankings over the past month:

The Akron Beacon-Journal called Trent Richardson "a lock" to be their workhorse. Even though he has a tough schedule, Brandon Weeden and Brad Childress should be able to help Cleveland improve on their ranking of 29 in total yardage and 30th ranking in points per game. Joe Thomas anchors their O-line and they should be able to hold their own in the trenches. T-Rich moved up from RB12 to RB9.

David Wilson has been impressive so far at OTAs for the Giants. This news certainly casts some doubt on the prospects of Ahmad Bradshaw becoming a reliable must-start back. Bradshaw dropped from RB18 to RB21 with this news.

Hakeem Nicks is out 6-to-12 weeks with a broken foot. While this doesn't exactly kill his value since he should be ready for the season, it's not going to help. Nicks has been a little injury prone and the news knocked him down from my WR3 to WR6. Furthermore, Reuben Randle has reportedly looked pretty good in OTAs. Needless to say, I still like Nicks quite a bit.

Tim Hightower is expected to be ready for training camp following his torn ACL from last season. This could take some snaps away from Roy Helu based on Hightower's effectiveness on passing downs. It's certainly not a crippling blow with Helu's exceptional play last season. Reggie Bush and Doug Martin leapfrogged him in the RB rankings.

Thanks for reading! Check out my positional ranks and the Top 75 PPR below:

Quarterback Rankings

Running Back Rankings Part I

Running Back Part II

Wide Receiver Rankings Part I

Wide Receiver Rankings Part II

Tight End Rankings

Top 75 PPR Rankings