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The 2014 Fantasy Football 100 Version 3.0

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The first full week of preseason football is in the books and Brad Coustan gives you the updated version of the Fantasy Football 100 - 100 guys that will win your fantasy league for you this year! Read on for the 2014 Fantasy Football 100 Version 3.0!

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason is rolling on.  After one full week of games in the books, we now have some idea of usage, talent and a preview of who is going to wail and who is going to fail this NFL season.  The caution of putting too much stock in a week one preseason game is that you are watching very vanilla offensive sets and the rookies that look like breakout candidates are playing against second and third string defenses.  This creates both value and caution for the savvy drafter.  Players stocks will rise and fall according to a single preseason performance.  The Fantasy Football 100 is not a "rankings" mechanism, rather it is my opinion on the 100 guys that will win your fantasy football leagues for you this year.

Before I unveil version 3.0 for 2014 let me review our the ground rules.  There are a lot of different ways to draft.  Most analysis I read tells you to load up on RBs early due to position scarcity.  With so many teams going to the running back by committee (RBBC) approach, if you can find an RB that will touch the ball 300+ times he should perform just based on sheer opportunity.  I have drafted that way in previous years.  BUT -  the NFL has become a pass first league.  Rules to protect QBs and WRs have evolved over the past few years such that being locked into a draft strategy by position is a sure fire disaster.  I am approaching my drafts this year as BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE.  The exception to BPA is the QB position.

You can read why in version 2.0 of the Fantasy Football 100 right here.

Also - and this is a little tweak to my strategy this year.  I am highly focused on TD scorers.  I am putting more emphasis on guys who will get red zone carries and targets - even in PPR leagues - because it stands to reason that if I can score 6 points at a time instead of 1 point at a time that gives me a significant advantage over my opponents.

At the top of my list you will find the studs.  You can't make mistakes in the first three rounds.  You have to pick reliable stud players that year in and year out put up winning fantasy numbers.  In the middle - I draft for depth.  Back up my studs and create depth, especially at the RB position which is always more injury volatile than others.  If your stud RB you took in the first or second round goes down, you want to back him up and have some depth to replace him with.  At the back end, before your last two rounds, draft to win.  I repeat.  The last two rounds are for D/ST and K.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do NOT draft a D/ST or a K until then.  The draft to win strategy is described below but in a nut shell draft some rookies and flyers that can breakout and win you games late in the season.  Remember - fantasy football is a week to week game.  You don't draft players based on the total number of points they score in a single season rather draft players that have the ability to win you weeks.  Cordarrelle Patterson is a great example of that.  I drafted him in the late rounds last year and he sat on my bench for nine or ten weeks before breaking out late in the season and winning me late season games and propelling me to the fantasy Super Bowl.

I based my picks on a 1 point PPR league, where QB TDs are worth 4 points because that is the scoring in my traditional "league of record" and my most favorite league I play in.  I also posted the ADPs from Fantasy Football Calculator and my commentary on the differences between my rankings and the ADPs are below.

Lastly, this is how I would draft.  There are safer methods.  I want to hit home runs.  I draft to win.  My draft theory, which I wrote about here, is to fill my rotation and then take shots later in drafts with big play potential guys.  So you won't see Knowshon Moreno down below.  You won't see Steven Jackson.  You won't see Anquan and you won't see Vernon.  What you will get is the 100 players that I believe will help you win your fantasy leagues in 2014.

There are comments on the rankings at the bottom of the page.

Position Rank Overall Rank Player Team Bye vs. FFC ADPs
RB1 1 LeSean McCoy PHI 7 1
RB2 2 Jamaal Charles KC 6 2
RB3 3 Adrian Peterson MIN 10 4
RB4 4 Matt Forte CHI 9 3
RB5 5 Eddie Lacy GB 9 6
WR1 6 Dez Bryant DAL 11 9
WR2 7 Calvin Johnson DET 9 5
WR3 8 Demaryius Thomas DEN 4 7
WR4 9 Julio Jones ATL 9 14
RB6 10 DeMarco Murray DAL 11 11
TE1 11 Jimmy Graham NO 6 8
WR5 12 Jordy Nelson GB 9 20
RB7 13 Le'Veon Bell PIT 12 18
WR6 14 A.J. Green CIN 4 10
WR7 15 Brandon Marshall CHI 9 12
RB8 16 Montee Ball DEN 4 16
RB9 17 Giovani Bernard CIN 4 17
RB10 18 Zac Stacy STL 4 32
RB11 19 Arian Foster HOU 10 22
WR8 20 Randall Cobb GB 9 25
WR9 21 Alshon Jeffery CHI 9 23
WR10 22 Antonio Brown PIT 12 19
WR11 23 Keenan Allen SD 10 31
WR12 24 Victor Cruz NYG 8 35
WR13 25 Roddy White ATL 9 39
WR14 26 Andre Johnson HOU 10 40
RB12 27 Toby Gerhart JAC 11 44
RB13 28 Marshawn Lynch SEA 4 15
RB14 29 Alfred Morris WAS 10 30
TE2 30 Julius Thomas DEN 4 29
QB1 31 Aaron Rodgers GB 9 24
QB2 32 Drew Brees NO 6 21
QB3 33 Peyton Manning DEN 4 13
WR15 34 Larry Fitzgerald ARZ 4 43
WR16 35 Marques Colston NO 6 72
WR17 36 Rueben Randle NYG 8 98
WR18 37 Vincent Jackson TB 7 36
WR19 38 Pierre Garcon WAS 10 34
TE3 39 Jordan Cameron CLE 4 56
TE4 40 Rob Gronkowski NE 10 26
RB15 41 Andre Ellington ARZ 4 27
RB16 42 Rashad Jennings NYG 8 41
RB17 43 Reggie Bush DET 9 33
RB18 44 Joique Bell DET 9 52
RB19 45 C.J. Spiller BUF 9 37
RB20 46 Bishop Sankey TEN 9 50
RB21 47 Doug Martin TB 7 28
QB4 48 Matthew Stafford DET 9 47
WR20 49 Torrey Smith BAL 11 66
WR21 50 Michael Crabtree SF 8 46
RB22 51 Shane Vereen NE 10 38
RB23 52 Bernard Pierce BAL 11 94
RB24 53 Ray Rice BAL 11 55
RB25 54 Ryan Mathews SD 10 48
WR22 55 Mike Wallace MIA 5 76
WR23 56 Percy Harvin SEA 4 51
QB5 57 Cam Newton CAR 12 92
TE5 58 Jordan Reed WAS 10 77
RB26 59 Stevan Ridley NE 10 82
RB27 60 Frank Gore SF 8 62
WR24 61 DeSean Jackson WAS 10 53
WR25 62 Jeremy Maclin PHI 7 60
RB28 63 Lamar Miller MIA 5 69
WR26 64 Michael Floyd ARZ 4 49
WR27 65 Steve Smith BAL 11 142
WR28 66 Cordarrelle Patterson MIN 10 45
QB6 67 Andrew Luck IND 10 59
RB29 68 Fred Jackson BUF 9 93
RB30 69 Jeremy Hill CIN 4 106
RB31 70 Ben Tate CLE 4 67
WR29 71 Wes Welker DEN 4 42
WR30 72 Golden Tate DET 9 81
RB32 73 Trent Richardson IND 10 57
RB33 74 Maurice Jones-Drew OAK 5 84
QB7 75 Jay Cutler CHI 9 101
QB8 76 Tony Romo DAL 11 99
QB9 77 Matt Ryan ATL 9 80
QB10 78 Russell Wilson SEA 4 125
QB11 79 Robert Griffin III WAS 10 83
RB34 80 Khiry Robinson NO 6 116
QB12 81 Nick Foles PHI 7 79
WR31 82 T.Y. Hilton IND 10 52
RB35 83 Devonta Freeman ATL 9 97
WR32 84 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 10 111
WR33 85 Brandin Cooks NO 6 71
WR34 86 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 12 103
WR35 87 Kenny Britt STL 4 133
RB36 87 Bryce Brown BUF 9 178
RB37 88 Terrance West CLE 4 90
TE6 89 Dennis Pitta BAL 11 88
TE7 90 Kyle Rudolph MIN 10 96
WR36 91 Josh Gordon CLE 4 108
RB38 92 Roy Helu WAS 10 190
WR37 93 Justin Hunter TEN 9 139
QB13 94 Colin Kaepernick SF 8 105
RB39 95 Lache Seastrunk WAS 10 UND
QB14 96 Jake Locker TEN 9 UND
RB40 97 Jonathan Grimes HOU 10 UND
WR38 98 Cody Latimer DEN 4 UND
TE8 99 Ladarius Green SD 10 127
QB15 100 Johnny Manziel CLE 4 154

Most of my rankings inconsistencies with the Fantasy Football Calculator ADPs have been discussed in previous Fantasy 100 columns so I will use this opportunity to discuss the movers, jumpers and droppers from the previous list.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianpolis Colts (FFC ADP 122) - I can't believe this guy is being drafted at all.  He is going to be the third option at best in Indianapolis with a couple of rookies breathing down his neck.  He had questionable hands and work ethic last year in New York which is concerning in that it was a contract year.  I don't see Nicks being a legitimate fantasy producer this year.  I will let someone else overdraft him based on his name recognition.

Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints (FFC ADP 62) - Another case of name recognition.  There is a clear changing of the RB guard in New Orleans.  I am going to shy away from his 6th round ADP and let someone else overpay.  Mark Ingram has been balling since late last season and Khiry Robinson is the best back on the roster.  That leaves Pierre in a 3 man RBBC.  Too rich for this guy.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns (FFC ADP UND) - He has gotten some love from the Browns coaches but did not play one snap in the first preseason game which is concerning.  I will hold out on ranking him until he actually plays.  He might be the best RB on the roster but he has a troubled history and if the Browns are trying to clean up the roster he may not even make the team.  Let's wait and see on Crowell the rest of the preseason.

Andre Williams, RB, New York Giants (FFC ADP 107) - I still like Williams and he fits my drafting TDs strategy as he will get the goal line work but Rashad Jennings has been impressive and Williams has not proven any ability whatsoever in the pass game which limits his time on the field.  He will be a good late round flyer who has the chance to turn into a better version of Brandon Jacobs.

Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans (FFC ADP 65), Justin Hunter WR, Tennessee Titans (My Rank 93 vs. FFC ADP 139) - Its not that I don't like Wright, I just don't like him at ADP 65.  I heard Jake Locker on Sirius XM Radio the other day raving about Justin Hunter and I don't have room in the Fantasy 100 for more than one Titan WR.  Kendall was better with Fitzpatrick last year than he was with Locker so I will go with the QB here and draft Hunter over Wright.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills (FFC ADP 87) - Love the talent, hate the QB.  Sammy Watkins plays with a bottom tier QB who will struggle to get him the ball accurately this year.  He also plays for a run first team.  I will find rookie WRs with better situations and let my opponents draft this enormous talent in a bad spot too early.

Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams (FFC ADP 112), Kenny Britt WR, St. Louis Rams (My Rank 87 vs. FFC ADP 130) - Similar to Kendall Wright, I chose the higher ceiling option in St. Louis in Kenny Britt.  I only have room to love one St. Louis WR and for now, Britt is my man.

Roy Helu, RB, Washington Redskins (My Rank 92 vs. FFC ADP 190), Lache Seastrunk, RB, Washington Redskins (My Rank 95 vs. FFC ADP UND) - Someone is going to get the passing down work in Washington this year and his name is not Alfred Morris.  Helu is the odds on favorite to be Giovani Bernard version 2.0 for Jay Gruden's offense.  He has the edge in pass blocking over Seastrunk but OH MY DID YOU SEE THE SPEED OF LACHE!  I know I am going against my caution of overreacting to preseason games but that speed was impressive.  I will draft him as my 2014 Cordarrelle Patterson.  The guy who sits on my bench all year until he breaks out and wins me weekly match ups late in the season.

Jonathan Grimes, RB, Houston Texans (My Rank 97 vs. FFC ADP UND) - The FFC data was most likely culled before Andre Brown was cut from the Texans roster giving way for Grimes to grab the clear hold on the number two RB spot on the depth chart.  That spot will be valuable when Arian Foster inevitably tweaks his hammy in week three.  Grimes filled in one week late last year and put up an impressive 26 PPR fantasy points.  He could be the starting RB for Bill O'Brien quickly.  If you have Arian, Grimes is your handcuff.  If you don't Grimes is your Ben Tate version 2012, 2013.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers (My Rank 86 vs. FFC ADP 103) - I was high on many other rookie WRs earlier this preseason including Jordan Matthews, Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham, Jr. but Benjamin is the TD scorer and he fits into my draft strategy better than the others.  He is Cam's primary red zone target and has a good chance to score double digit TDs this year.

Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns (My Rank 91 vs. FFC ADP 108) - IF Josh Gordon's suspension is cut in half to eight weeks, that means you can start last year's number one fantasy WR for 5 or 6 weeks and the playoffs in your fantasy leagues.  Remember what we discussed above.  Fantasy football is a week by week proposition.  I need to win weekly games not overall points.  Josh Gordon can win me 5 or 6 games and then the playoffs?  Yes, please!

Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns (My Rank 100 vs. FFC ADP 154) - Yes.  There are better QBs out there to draft in this spot.  Yes.  John Football is probably not mature enough to handle this type of spotlight.  BUT - did you see the Cleveland team while he was out on the field.  Electric.  Frenetic.  It had pace.  Johnny Manziel is a make things happen kind of guy.  He will beat you creatively.  He will beat you with his legs.  He will find a way.  I like guys like that.  Cleveland has already brought in Rex Grossman which means that Brian Hoyer may be one step closer to the door.  I am interested in Manziel at the right price.  This is a major turnaround in opinion for me.

So there it is - Version 3.0 of the Fantasy Football 100.  The 100 guys that will win your fantasy leagues for you this year.  As always, feel free to comment below.  You can find me on Twitter (@iambradstrong) or hit me up with an email at iambradstrong@gmail.com.  Good luck in your drafts and enjoy week two of preseason!