Fantasy football power rankings
Playing fantasy football is daunting. There are 32 teams, and even if you look at just fantasy-relevant offensive players, you’re considering some 250 players at any given moment. Add in defenses, kickers and the contributions an offensive line makes to a player’s fantasy success, not to mention keeping an eye on up-and-coming college players for dynasty/keeper purposes, and sometimes it’s just nice to have some of the field culled for you.
Over the last week of July and first week of August, that’s more or less what our Tyler Loechner is doing for fantasy players. He’s ranked the teams 1-32 based on their expected offensive fantasy contribution this season and is counting them down, with a look at each offense and where a fantasy player needs to focus and/or what roster or position groups can largely be ignored. Check back regularly for updates, with a new graph and a new group of four teams coming under the microscope.
This isn’t all the preparation you need for the coming season. But it’s a heck of a starting point, and it will help narrow focus, which is certainly a help.
First, the chart: (click to enlarge)
And on to the countdown:
It’s not that there aren’t players on these rosters who can help in fantasy this season. One of the top running backs across the game, Todd Gurley, appears in the bottom four, as do potentially appealing options like Torrey Smith, Duke Johnson and a smattering of late-round Ravens. It’s just that by and large, there are whole swaths of these offenses that fantasy players can ignore altogether.
Suddenly, previously studlike offenses like the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles find themselves in the bottom quarter of the NFL’s fantasy offenses. The Tennessee Titans, who are more potential than proven, and the Minnesota Vikings, who aren’t very helpful behind Adrian Peterson, also make up this group of four.
Last year’s No. 2 fantasy quarterback, No. 3 running back and No. 4 receiver all pop up in this group of four teams. Unfortunately, the offenses around those guys are a mix of incomplete and/or primed for regression, relegating them to the bottom third of the team power rankings.
This section of the countdown really considers team depth. The Chiefs and Bills, for example, both have fantasy stalwarts at the tops of their respective depth charts, but the talent pool dries up pretty quickly.
Though these four teams are in the same group in the power rankings, they are far apart in situations. The Texans have a new quarterback and running back, while the Colts are just looking to get back on track after a rough year. The Lions are getting over the retirement of a superstar, and the Redskins hope to build on the success of 2015.
We’re veering into the upper echelon of team fantasy production now, with a couple strong bounceback candidates (San Diego and Green Bay), a sneaky perennial producer (Cincinnati) and a Jets team that looks that much stronger now that it has its veteran quarterback back in the fold.
This group of four contains last year’s top overall fantasy player, the top pick in PFF’s dynasty rankings, the odds-on favorite for Rookie of the Year, and the best tight end we might have ever seen.
And we’ve reached the end, with four of the league’s most fantasy-friendly offenses. That includes teams with full rolodexes of fantasy contributors, like New Orleans and Arizona, and a team that just have massive talent at the top, like Atlanta. And then of course there’s Pittsburgh, which covers both sides of that equation.