The Top 101 fantasy players for 2016
The 2016 fantasy season is fast approaching. In that vein, we have put together our staff’s top 101 fantasy players for the 2016 season, 1-101. We’ll roll them out all week, so check back each day to see the newest additions to the list.
The rankings are the consensus of 11 members of the PFF Fantasy staff. You’ll see the names below, along with a Stat That Matters for each guy, and a comment from one of the rankers. We hope this gives you a solid rundown of the top names for the 2016 fantasy season.
(More: Our analysts pick the 10 most notable near-misses.)
1. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
(No. 1 WR; highest rank: 1, lowest rank: 3)
Stat that matters: Brown offered the fourth-most receiving yards in a season ever in 2015, and he did that with Landry Jones and Michael Vick as his quarterback for a quarter of the season.
Ranker says: Over the last three seasons, Brown played in all 48 games and only dropped 18 of his 527 catchable targets. Between opportunity and skill, he should be the clear No. 1 in fantasy drafts. – Brandon Marianne Lee
2. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
(No. 2 WR; highest rank: 1, lowest rank: 5)
Stat that matters: Jones’ total of 193 targets in 2015 was the second-highest total for a wide receiver. Ever.
Ranker says: Jones saw a career high and league-leading 193 targets in 2015. Although he remains the X receiver in Kyle Shanahan’s X receiver-friendly offense, the Falcons have improved at WR and TE around him. A potential decrease in targets is not being baked into his ADP. – Dan Schneier
3 (tied). Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
(No. 1 RB; highest rank: 1, lowest rank: 6)
Stat that matters: Bell played only six games in 2015, but if he had played 16 games at the same fantasy-scoring pace, he’d have put up 232 fantasy points, third at the position.
Ranker says: As long as Bell is healthy, he’s a can’t-miss first-round pick, as he has never had an NFL game with fewer than five fantasy points, and that’s in standard leagues. He’s even better in PPR. – Mike Tagliere
(More: Ross Miles on why Bell — or the No. 1 running back of choice — still makes sense as the first overall pick in fantasy drafts.)
3 (tied). Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
(No. 3 WR; highest rank: 2, lowest rank: 6)
Stat that matters: In two seasons, 27 total games, Beckham has 2,755 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Ranker says: Imagine Victor Cruz comes back healthy, Sterling Shepard is as good as advertised, Larry Donnell and/or Will Tye produce. Even if only some of these happen, isn’t there a ceiling on Beckham that doesn’t exist for the other top guys? He’s still great, but the Giants have weapons. – Daniel Kelley
5. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
(No. 2 RB; highest rank: 2, lowest rank: 11)
Stat that matters: From Week 4, when he took over as the starter, to the end of the fantasy season (Week 16), Gurley was the No. 1 fantasy running back, nine points better than Doug Martin and Devonta Freeman.
Ranker says: Despite the investment in Jared Goff, the Rams’ offense will still run through Gurley, a year further removed from his ACL tear. He’ll also be ready for Week 1 this season and a full 16-game slate. – Ross Miles
6. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
(No. 4 WR; highest rank: 4, lowest rank: 14)
Stat that matters: Hopkins had the third most targets in the league in 2015, at 187. And that was with regression; his pace through the first half of the season would have gotten him to 222.
Ranker says: Hopkins had a dominant 2015, riding 187 targets to a No. 4 PPR finish among wide receivers. In addition to being heavily targeted, he benefited from quality targets — he was the second most targeted receiver on deep passes, catching seven of his 11 passes for touchdowns. Although we expect a decline in targets, his position as an elite WR1 is fairly cemented. – Scott Barrett
7. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
(No. 3 RB; highest rank: 3, lowest rank: 13)
Stat that matters: His last two years in college, Elliott ran for 3,699 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Ranker says: Really, what’s the floor for Elliott? Assuming health, behind that line, with that quarterback, he might just be the single safest running back in the game. Yes, even as a rookie. I’m so high on him. – Daniel Kelley
8. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
(No. 1 TE; highest rank: 5, lowest rank: 16)
Stat that matters: Gronkowski has 65 career touchdowns in 80 career games.
Ranker says: Gronkowski has been the best or second-best fantasy tight end every season since 2010, except 2013, when he ranked second in points per game. Tom Brady’s four-game suspension and Martellus Bennett’s red-zone presence make him only slightly less appealing than in recent seasons. – Pat Thorman
9. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
(No. 5 WR; highest rank: 5, lowest rank: 13)
Stat that matters: Bryant was a top-five fantasy receiver in 2012, 2013 and 2014. He didn’t make it in 2015 with both he and his quarterback hurt.
Ranker says: He and Tony Romo barely played together, but Bryant only scored three touchdowns last year, and six interceptions came off of his targets. That’s why his price is slightly depressed. – Brandon Marianne Lee
10. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
(No. 6 WR; highest rank: 4, lowest rank: 17)
Stat that matters: Green finished eighth in fantasy scoring among wide receivers in 2015 despite finishing only 17th in targets.
Ranker says: With the departure of 153 targets from Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu combined with questionable health for Tyler Eifert, I expect Green to see more than his 132 targets from last year. – Joey Cartolano
11. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
(No. 4 RB; highest rank: 6, lowest rank: 20)
Stat that matters: The last five weeks of 2015, once Chris Johnson was hurt, David Johnson led running backs with 95 fantasy points, 17 better than No. 2.
Ranker says: An eight-game stretch wasn’t enough for me to totally buy into David Johnson, as I believe Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson have very tangible roles in 2016. – Sean Kirby
12 (tied). Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
(No. 5 RB; highest rank: 5, lowest rank: 20)
Stat that matters: Miller has been a top-10 running back each of the last two years despite not getting even 260 touches from the Dolphins in either season.
Ranker says: His ceiling is fantasy’s No. 1 player. His if-healthy floor is still an RB1. – Daniel Kelley
12 (tied). Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
(No. 7 WR; highest rank: 9, lowest rank: 19)
Stat that matters: He led all wide receivers in 2015 in deep targets (47) and receptions (19), scoring three times on such passes.
Ranker says: Robinson had more catches (19) and yards (672) on deep passes than anyone in football last year, and he should only get better in Year Three. – Mike Castiglione
14. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
(No. 6 RB; highest rank: 7, lowest rank: 31)
Stat that matters: Last year, Freeman had 1,062 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns. Through Week 8.
Ranker says: Freeman took the most snaps of any running back and saw the third-most targets. Even if he can maintain his productivity on a rate basis, Freeman will regress by virtue of fewer opportunities in 2016. – Sean Kirby
15. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
(No. 7 RB; highest rank: 7, lowest rank: 21)
Stat that matters: Peterson still has big-play ability, with 17 runs of 15-plus yards in 2015, second in the league.
Ranker says: I’m a little surprised to see last year’s leading rusher so low. Yes, he’s 31, but I’ll believe he’ll break down when I see it. – Michael Moore
16. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
(No. 8 WR; highest rank: 12, lowest rank: 28)
Stat that matters: Green Bay receivers in total had 362 fantasy points in 2015, with Nelson hurt. In 2014, with Nelson healthy, the position had 501.
Ranker says: Don’t sleep on Aaron Rodgers’ best friend. He missed 2015, but posted career-best numbers for catches (98) and yards (1,519) and 13 TDs in 2014, and is expected back at 100 percent this season. – Ross Miles
17. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears
(No. 9 WR; highest rank: 13, lowest rank: 27)
Stat that matters: Extrapolate his per-game targets over 16 games played, and Jeffery would have had 163 in 2015, fourth in the league. All he needs is health.
Ranker says: On a per-snap basis, Jeffery was one of the most dominant receivers in 2015. He finished as our seventh-best WR, with the fourth-most points per opportunity. A soft tissue injury limited him to the 82nd-most snaps at his position. He’s your classic injury-driven boom or bust. – Dan Schneier
18. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(No. 10 WR; highest rank: 11, lowest rank: 33)
Stat that matters: Only four receivers saw a higher percentage of their teams’ targets in 2015 than Evans.
Ranker says: Evans had too many drops, but drops are an overrated statistic when it comes to fantasy football evaluations. Aside from a TD rate due for positive regression, Evans will benefit from Jameis Winston’s year-two jump and more aggressive play-calling from Dirk Koetter. – Dan Schneier
19 (tied). Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
(No. 11 WR; highest rank: 14, lowest rank: 30)
Stat that matters: Allen was fourth in PPR fantasy scoring when a lacerated kidney ended his season in Week 8.
Ranker says: Allen is a guy who needs massive targets in order to live up to his current ADP. When seeing fewer than 10 targets, Allen averages just 10.8 PPR points per game, compared to the 26.0 points when he sees 10 or more targets. – Mike Tagliere
19 (tied). Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
(No. 8 RB; highest rank: 16, lowest rank: 33)
Stat that matters: The Chiefs’ No. 1 running back in each game totaled 222 fantasy points by season’s end, which would have been the league’s third-best total. That was spread over Charles, Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware and Knile Davis, but if Charles can stay healthy, there’s certainly the mechanism for success.
Ranker says: As Scott Barrett wrote recently, attempting to predict which running backs will be bell cows in 2016, the RB1 on an Andy Reid offense is an incredibly productive role for fantasy. It also doesn’t hurt that this particular Andy Reid RB1 ranks first all time in career yards per carry (5.5) among running backs. The fact that Charles is coming off of his second ACL injury is a concern, but given coaching history and Charles’ career fantasy productivity, the upside is worth the risk. – Scott Barrett
21. Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
(No. 12 WR; highest rank: 13, lowest rank: 32)
Stat that matters: Even with a league-high 18 drops in 2015, Cooper had 1,082 receiving yards — good for 17th at the position — as a 21-year-old.
Ranker says: With four weeks as a WR1, Cooper showed upside, but inconsistency in his rookie year. I expect marked Year Two improvement, with the development of quarterback Derek Carr acting as a catalyst. – Sean Kirby
22. Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
(No. 13 WR; highest rank: 18, lowest rank: 30)
Stat that matters: Watkins had 606 yards on targets 20-plus yards downfield in 2015, second among wide receivers to Allen Robinson.
Ranker says: Watkins finished with the most touchdowns (8) and second-most yards (606) on deep passes in 2015. He also finished with the 34th-most targets at the WR position. In the Bills’ run-first offense, he is best-suited for standard scoring leagues. – Dan Schneier
23. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
(No. 9 RB; highest rank: 17, lowest rank: 34)
Stat that matters: Ingram had 50 receptions in 2015, which was good for eighth at the position despite playing only 12 games.
Ranker says: Ranking second in our elusiveness rating and totaling 1,264 yards last season, but only recording six touchdowns, there is more to come from Ingram in 2016. – Ross Miles
24. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(No. 10 RB; highest rank: 16, lowest rank: 39)
Stat that matters: Martin went for 15 or more yards on 42.1 percent of his carries in 2015, behind only Todd Gurley among running backs.
Ranker says: Martin put up a league-high 65.7 elusive rating and league-high 3.15 yards after contact per attempt in 2015. On the flip side, he had only 33 receptions, so he’s a PPR concern. – Brandon Marianne Lee
25. Brandon Marhsall, WR, New York Jets
(No. 14 WR; highest rank: 16, lowest rank: 40)
Stat that matters: His injury-marred 2014 was the aberration; he’s been a top-five fantasy receiver three of the last four years and top 13 seven of the last nine.
Ranker says: He’ll make the absolute best of whatever his quarterback situation is, but the best-case scenario is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had to have just had his career year. – Daniel Kelley
26. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
(No. 11 RB; highest rank: 15, lowest rank: 41)
Stat that matters: Lacy put up career lows in carries, yards, scores, receptions and targets in 2015.
Ranker says: Another year, another chance to get burned by Lacy. He should be so successful in Green Bay. He finished top-five in PFF overall RB grades 2013 and 2014. – Daniel Kelley
27. Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
(No. 15 WR; highest rank: 19, lowest rank: 42)
Stat that matters: Weeks 1-7, 2015: No. 33 fantasy wide receiver. Weeks 8-17: No. 8.
Ranker says: Cooks was fine as a rookie, but I suspect targets will be distributed more evenly, and quarterback Drew Brees could decline at least mildly in his age-37 season. – Sean Kirby
28. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
(No. 16 WR; highest rank: 19, lowest rank: 43)
Stat that matters: Thomas was third in the NFL in 2015 with 12 drops.
Ranker says: Odds are against him ever again reaching the heights he had early in his partnership with Peyton Manning, if only because no one could. But even with shadow-of-himself Manning and the underwhelming Brock Osweiler passing the ball in 2015, Thomas finished 13th among wide receivers in fantasy scoring. He’ll perform no matter who is at quarterback. – Daniel Kelley
29. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
(No. 17 WR; highest rank: 23, lowest rank: 45)
Stat that matters: Hilton played 16 games in 2015. He had 100-plus yards five times, and 50 or fewer eight.
Ranker says: Reportedly looking stellar in OTAs, Hilton should return to WR1 status and outperform several receivers ranked in front of him with quarterback Andrew Luck healthy. – Joey Cartolano
30. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
(No. 12 RB; highest rank: 24, lowest rank: 45)
Stat that matters: McCoy was up and down with injuries early in 2015, but from Week 6 to Week 15, he was the No. 5 fantasy running back.
Ranker says: A hamstring injury early and then a knee injury late in the season limited McCoy to the third-lowest rushing total of his seven-year career. The Bills plan to limit his preseason workload, and a healthy McCoy should reclaim his spot among the top-10 fantasy RBs. – Mike Castiglione
31. Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
(No. 13 RB; highest rank: 21, lowest rank: 46)
Stat that matters: Among running backs who are still active, Hyde forced missed tackles the most often in the NFL in 2015, 27.8 percent of the time.
Ranker says: Since entering the league in 2014, only Marshawn Lynch (retired) has a better elusive rating than Carlos Hyde. He has forced 57 missed tackles on just 198 career carries. – Dan Schneier
32. Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
(No. 18 WR; highest rank: 24, lowest rank: 44)
Stat that matters: In 2014 (with Jordy Nelson healthy), Cobb was the No. 6 fantasy wide receiver. In 2015 (with Nelson injured), he was No. 30.
Ranker says: Cobb is only one year removed from a top-six fantasy wideout season, which followed a season in which he was the WR8 on a point-per-game basis. Green Bay’s offense is again fully healthy, yet Cobb is currently the 19th wide receiver off the board. – Pat Thorman
33. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
(No. 19 WR; highest rank: 24, lowest rank: 50)
Stat that matters: Edelman missed seven games to injury in 2015, but on a per-game basis, he was the No. 7 fantasy wide receiver in both standard and PPR.
Ranker says: Edelman totaled 60 percent of his production when lined up in the slot in 2015. He was lined up in the slot on about 50 percent of his snaps, but that could change in 2016 with tight end Martellus Bennett’s arrival. Edelman’s capped upside is not reflected in his ADP. – Dan Schneier
34. C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos
(No. 14 RB; highest rank: 27, lowest rank: 54)
Stat that matters: When Peyton Manning wasn’t on the field in 2015, Anderson was 10th in fantasy scoring among running backs.
Ranker says: From Week 8 onward last year, Anderson quietly led all RBs with his 6.4 yards per carry, so take a second look at last year’s most over-drafted RB. He burned people and now offers value. – Ross Miles
35. Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
(No. 2 TE; highest rank: 21, lowest rank: 59)
Stat that matters: Reed was the No. 1 fantasy tight end over the last nine weeks of 2015, and No. 1 for the whole season in fantasy points per opportunity.
Ranker says: Reed had an impressive 10 games to close out 2015, catching 10 touchdowns on 111 targets. The convenience of a great schedule combined with health seemed to be the perfect storm for a guy who had caught just three touchdowns on his previous 125 targets. – Mike Tagliere
36. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
(No. 1 QB; highest rank: 16, lowest rank: 70)
Stat that matters: Newton was 16th in the NFL in passing yards in 2015, but tied for second in passing touchdowns (and ran for 10 as well).
Ranker says: Newton’s historic late-season run, including a ridiculous 21-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, will be hard to match. Even if he is again fantasy’s QB1, the position boasts too much depth to burn an early-round pick on a passer. – Pat Thorman
37 (tied). Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
(No. 2 QB; highest rank: 17, lowest rank: 76)
Stat that matters: Rodgers had only 6.7 yards per pass attempt in 2015, lowest in the NFL among full-time starters.
Ranker says: Aaron Rodgers in 2014: 38 TDs, 5 INTs, 32 dropped passes, sacked 28 times. 2015: 31 TDs, 8 INTs, 38 drops & 46 sacks. Jordy Nelson’s back. – Brandon Marianne Lee
37 (tied). Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
(No. 20 WR; highest rank: 30, lowest rank: 63)
Stat that matters: Going from Philadelphia to Kansas City last year, Maclin saw 19 fewer targets than in 2014 but caught two more passes.
Ranker says: Already a player with a limited ceiling, Maclin’s skill-set and injury history might not lend themselves to aging gracefully. – Sean Kirby
39. Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers
(No. 3 TE; highest rank: 16, lowest rank: 52)
Stat that matters: In 2015, he was third at the position in targets, fourth in receptions, second in yards, sixth in scores, fourth in fantasy points. Best in nothing, highly ranked in all of it.
Ranker says: Ted Ginn Jr. still around, Kelvin Benjamin back, Devin Funchess a year seasoned. Wasn’t 2015 the absolute fantasy ceiling for Olsen? – Daniel Kelley
40. Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
(No. 21 WR; highest rank: 30, lowest rank: 59)
Stat that matters: Golden Tate was the only top-50 fantasy wide receiver with a lower average depth of target than Landry’s 7.4 yards, but Landry averaged 5.2 yards after the catch.
Ranker says: Not only did Landry total just four touchdowns in 2015, but he now has to compete with a healthy DeVante Parker and rookie Leonte Carroo for snaps and looks. – Michael Moore
41. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
(No. 22 WR; highest rank: 26, lowest rank: 72)
Stat that matters: As a rookie in 2014, Benjamin had 1,008 yards on 142 targets. His 7.1 yards per target was the lowest of the 21 1,000-yard receivers that year.
Ranker says: Benjamin and teammate Devin Funchess both have one year of NFL experience. Funchess has averaged 7.6 yards/target compared to Benjamin’s 7.1, but is not even top 101. Pass on Benjamin and wait on Funchess. – Joey Cartolano
(More: Pat Thorman on why Benjamin and four other receivers are overranked here and overdrafted in early fantasy leagues.)
42. Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks
(No. 15 RB; highest rank: 25, lowest rank: 72)
Stat that matters: In the four weeks he was the Seattle starter, Rawls was the No. 1 fantasy running back.
Ranker says: Rawls still has no timetable for his return and Seattle loaded up on running back in the draft. Would avoid at this price. – Joey Cartolano
43. Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets
(No. 16 RB; highest rank: 36, lowest rank: 57)
Stat that matters: Last year, only 13.7 percent of his rushing yards came on plays of 15-plus yards, the lowest mark of his career. Before 2014, the percentage had never been below 21.3.
Ranker says: The 30-year-old Forte might start out fast, but beware of a decline as the season progresses. His elusive rating and breakaway percentage continued multi-season declines in 2015, and the Jets have comparable alternatives in their backfield. – Pat Thorman
44 (tied). Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders
(No. 17 RB; highest rank: 33, lowest rank: 70)
Stat that matters: Murray was sixth in the league in rushing yards, third in carries. His average of 4.0 yards per carry was only 47th among qualified running backs.
Ranker says: While Murray was inefficient last year, ranking 39th in yards per carry and 64th in fantasy points per touch, he may see more opportunity than his 307 touches in 2016. The improved Raiders will not again trail on two-thirds of fourth-quarter snaps, and Murray stands to benefit. – Pat Thorman
44 (tied). Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
(No. 23 WR; highest rank: 36, lowest rank: 75)
Stat that matters: His average of 6.0 yards after the catch was higher than his 5.8-yard average depth of target.
Ranker says: Has been nearly doubly efficient in terms of aDOT, yards per reception, and touchdown rate when now-retired Calvin Johnson played less than 80 percent of snaps the last two years. – Joey Cartolano
46. Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots
(No. 18 RB; highest rank: 33, lowest rank: 67)
Stat that matters: Lewis forced 43 missed tackles in 2015 on only 85 touches.
Ranker says: Lewis charted the best elusive rating of any running back with at least 50 touches in PFF history in 2015. Don’t let the Belichick RB bias distract you from targeting an elite talent in an elite offense. – Dan Schneier
47. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
(No. 3 QB; highest rank: 20, lowest rank: 78)
Stat that matters: Luck played only seven games in 2015, but finished in the top 10 among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring four times.
Ranker says: Despite not being one of the most efficient passers in 2014 (he ranked eighth by PFF pass-grade and seventh by NFL QB Rating), Luck was an elite passer for fantasy purposes, finishing as the overall QB1. Battling injury in 2015, he was even less efficient (ranking dead last by PFF pass grade), he was still effective for fantasy purposes, ranking sixth in fantasy points per game. We like his chances of being an elite fantasy QB again in 2016. – Scott Barrett
48. Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals
(No. 24 WR; highest rank: 35, lowest rank: 70)
Stat that matters: Floyd wasn’t healthy to start the season, but topped 100 yards four times in the season’s last seven games.
Ranker says: Despite dislocating three fingers in training camp last summer, Floyd still posted a very productive season. He was slow to start, but finished things off well — No. 16 on a PPG basis over the final 12 weeks of the season. In a contract year, we’re expecting big things from the 26-year-old receiver. – Scott Barrett
49. Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets
(No. 25 WR; highest rank: 34, lowest rank: 64)
Stat that matters: Decker averaged only 2.8 yards after the catch last year, but scored in 12 of the 15 games he played.
Ranker says: The uber-consistent Decker finished as fantasy’s 10th-highest-scoring wideout last year with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. In 2014, he was the WR10 during the 11 weeks when he was healthy enough to run 25-plus routes, with Geno Smith at quarterback. – Pat Thorman
50. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
(No. 26 WR; highest rank: 31, lowest rank: 91)
Stat that matters: Baldwin was targeted only 99 times in 2015 en route to finishing No. 7 in fantasy scoring among wide receivers. He’s one of only two receivers to make the top 10 on fewer than 100 targets.
Ranker says: Baldwin will not repeat his nuclear 14.1-percent touchdown rate, but he is the No. 1 target in an offense that’s skewed pass-heavier in each of quarterback Russell Wilson’s four seasons. Baldwin took off after tight end Jimmy Graham limped off, and Graham is highly questionable to be a factor. – Pat Thorman
51. Russell Wilson, WR, Seattle Seahawks
(No. 4 QB; highest rank: 32, lowest rank: 71)
Stat that matters: The Seahawks’ bye came in Week 9 last year. Weeks 1-8, Wilson had 16.9 fantasy points per game. Weeks 10-17, 27.4.
Ranker says: Wilson has finished as a top-10 quarterback in each of his four seasons, and top-three in each of the last two. – Mike Tagliere
52. Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
(No. 19 RB; highest rank: 40, lowest rank: 79)
Stat that matters: Health is always an issue, but Mathews has led running backs in fantasy points per snap twice in the last three seasons (2015, 2013).
Ranker says: Mathews is coming off his most efficient season, is running behind an improved offensive line, and has a run-first head coach. His injury history as the lead back and the Eagles’ offensive game flow are valid concerns, but he’s still a good value at his ADP. – Dan Schneier
53. Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
(No. 4 TE; highest rank: 31, lowest rank: 70)
Stat that matters: Eifert’s 13 touchdowns in 2015 came on only 66 targets. He’s always a threat, but that rate is high.
Ranker says: I can’t see myself taking Eifert over Travis Kelce given the former’s health concerns. – Joey Cartolano
54. Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins
(No. 20 RB; highest rank: 32, lowest rank: 84)
Stat that matters: Ajayi didn’t get a lot of play as a rookie, with only 49 carries in only nine games. But in his last year in college at Boise Stat, Ajayi scored 32 touchdowns.
Ranker says: For my money, he’s the only full-time-capable back on the Miami roster. Lamar Miller finished top-10 in Miami twice despite not getting a huge carry load. Ajayi can do the same. – Daniel Kelley
55. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
(No. 21 RB; highest rank: 41, lowest rank: 87)
Stat that matters: Among running backs who played more than half the season, Stewart ranked second in carries per game in 2015, averaging 18.6. Adrian Peterson led the way at 20.4.
Ranker says: Fantasy owners are often frustrated by Stewart’s inability to stay healthy, his lack of involvement in the passing game, and the constant presence of touchdown-snaking quarterback Cam Newton. Still, Stewart is a top fantasy RB option. He finished third last season in carries per game and ranked 12th in PPG in standard leagues (min. seven games). – Scott Barrett
56 (tied). Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
(No. 5 TE; highest rank: 36, lowest rank: 75)
Stat that matters: So much of his production is tied to his team; Kelce averaged 7.5 yards after the catch in 2015, but he plays for the team that ran the second-fewest offensive plays per game, and the Chiefs were the sixth-run-heaviest offense.
Ranker says: Kelce’s targets, receptions and yards all rose in his second healthy season, yet he scored two fewer points in standard leagues. With a meaty 21.1-percent of quarterback Alex Smith’s targets, Kelce offers a high floor – especially in PPR formats – but his ceiling is suppressed by the Chiefs’ offense. – Pat Thorman
56 (tied). DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
(No. 27 WR; highest rank: 39, lowest rank: 83)
Stat that matters: Parker closed well in his 2015 rookie season; he was the No. 20 wide receiver from Week 12 to the end of the season.
Ranker says: One of my favorite picks this year, Parker is in line to play the Demaryius Thomas role in Miami for new coach Adam Gase, who had great success with Thomas as Denver’s offensive coordinator. – Michael Moore
58. DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans
(No. 22 RB; highest rank: 44, lowest rank: 83)
Stat that matters: Murray’s rushing total went down by 1,143 yards from 2014 to 2015. Only two running backs even ran for that many yards last year.
Ranker says: Prior to 2015, DeMarco Murray put up back-to-back 1,000+ rushing yard seasons and at least 4.1 YPC his entire career. All about opportunity. – Brandon Marianne Lee
59. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos
(No. 28 WR; highest rank: 47, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Sanders saw the third-most deep targets in the league (37). He caught 10 of them, going for 447 yards and three scores on such passes.
Ranker says: Sanders only caught 58 percent of his targets, dropped six catchable passes and had a fumble. The questionable quarterback play around him is likely to continue no matter who Denver ends up using at the position. – Brandon Marianne Lee
60. Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts
(No. 29 WR; highest rank: 33, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Only Anquan Boldin had fewer fantasy points among receivers with 100-plus targets last year. Getting Andrew Luck back has to help.
Ranker says: In 17 games with Andrew Luck (where he’s seen at least one target), Moncrief has averaged 11.03 PPR points; he’s averaged just 6.3 PPR points in the 13 games with others. – Mike Tagliere
61. Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
(No. 30 WR: highest rank: 42, lowest rank: 89)
Stat that matters: Matthews was the No. 38 fantasy receiver through Week 14 of 2015, then No. 2 in Weeks 15-17.
Ranker says: Matthews will stay in the slot and that’s a good thing, as 93 percent of his targets and catches, 95 percent of his yards, and all of his touchdowns came from there. Yet Chip Kelly’s departure means the 120 targets he saw last year is probably an absolute ceiling. – Pat Thorman
62. John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals
(No. 31 WR; highest rank: 52, lowest rank: 70)
Stat that matters: Of last season’s 1,000-yard receivers, only Sammy Watkins and Allen Hurns had fewer receptions than Brown’s 65, and only Watkins had fewer targets than Brown’s 99.
Ranker says: Brown finished with the 19th-most fantasy points per snap in 2015. If he can stay healthy for all 16 games, he will be a nice value at his current ADP. – Dan Schneier
63. Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
(No. 23 RB; highest rank: 43, lowest rank: 90)
Stat that matters: After a strong rookie season, Hill failed to notch even one 100-yard rushing game in 2015.
Ranker says: At this ranking, Hill is RB23. Even with a relative disaster of 2015, Hill finished tied for 13th at the position in fantasy points. He’s safer than this. – Daniel Kelley
(More: Mike Castiglione on why this is a severe underrank for Hill, and some notes on RB draft strategy in general.)
64. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
(No. 5 QB; highest rank: 37, lowest rank: 90)
Stat that matters: Brees has 30-plus touchdowns in eight straight years and 4,500-plus passing yards in seven of his last eight.
Ranker says: In his “decline,” Drew Brees still led the league with 4,870 passing yards in 2015. He now has 4,000-plus passing yards every season over the last 10 years, and shouldn’t deal with the same shoulder issues as last year. – Brandon Marianne Lee
65. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
(No. 32 WR; highest rank: 46, lowest rank: 82)
Stat that matters: Fitzgerald started hot in 2015; 36 percent of his fantasy points came in the season’s first three games. After Week 3, he was the No. 2 fantasy wide receiver; he was 28th the rest of the way.
Ranker says: Going into his age-33 season, Fitzgerald will take a backseat to Michael Floyd and John Brown in Arizona, who are in the prime of their careers. It’d be a shock if he snuck into the top-25 at his position. – Mike Tagliere
66 (tied). Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
(No. 6 QB; highest rank: 49, lowest rank: 88)
Stat that matters: Roethlisberger missed four games in 2015, averaging 328 passing yards a game. If he had played 16 games at that rate, Roethlisberger would have passed for 5,250 yards last season, which would have been the third-best total in NFL history.
Ranker says: Roethlisberger has averaged more than 300 passing yards per game in each of his last two seasons, but to take any QB in the first five rounds of a 12-team draft this year feels like a reach. – Mike Castiglione
66 (tied). Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts
(No. 24 RB; highest rank: 49; lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Say what you want about the fact that Gore is 33, that he isn’t much in the passing game, that he didn’t score that well on a per-opportunity basis. The fact remains that Gore finished 2015 as fantasy’s No. 11 running back despite all that and despite problems at quarterback.
Ranker says: We continue to like Gore for the same reason he was being so highly drafted in 2015. Gore will benefit from Andrew Luck’s return. In 2015, the Colts saw 14 fewer red-zone drives than they did the season prior with a healthy Luck. Still, Gore managed to rank eighth in red-zone carries. Gore could improve on 2015, when he finished as the No. 11 RB in standard leagues. – Scott Barrett
68. Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans
(No. 6 TE; highest rank: 44, lowest rank: 95)
Stat that matters: He topped 1,000 yards for the first time and led the position in targets. Walker also tied for the lead at tight end with 16 forced missed tackles last year.
Ranker says: Walker was fifth at his position in fantasy points, but only 10th among top-12 tight ends in points-per-target. He almost certainly will not see another 130 targets in an offense with improving passing game weapons and an “exotic smashmouth” mandate. – Pat Thorman
69. Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Cleveland Browns
(No. 25 RB; highest rank: 31, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: If Johnson continues to split work with Isaiah Crowell (Crowell on the ground, Johnson through the air), his upside is limited. But Johnson is the all-time leading rusher at the University of Miami; he can run if given the chance.
Ranker says: New head coach Hue Jackson likes to run the ball. His last four coached teams have finished top seven in rushing attempts. Johnson proved to be a commodity in the pass game last year as well, catching the fourth most passes out of the backfield. – Mike Tagliere
70. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
(No. 26 RB; highest rank: 40, lowest rank: 88)
Stat that matters: Bernard tied for seventh among running backs with 65 targets in 2015. Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu left Cincinnati as free agents, and Tyler Eifert’s health is an early-season question mark.
Ranker says: Bernard was a more efficient player on a per-touch basis than given credit for in 2015, and with a little bit of positive regression in the touchdown category, he makes for an excellent target for zero-RB drafters. – Dan Schneier
71. Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears
(No. 27 RB; highest rank: 52, lowest rank: 93)
Stat that matters: Langford forced only 10 missed tackles on 170 touches in 2015, in addition to leading the position in drops and struggling in pass protection.
Ranker says: Langford’s rookie-year metrics might have left plenty to be desired, but the same could be said for guys like Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman in their rookie seasons. Opportunity is king. – Mike Castiglione
72. Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
(No. 33 WR; highest rank: 59, lowest rank: 101)
Stat that matters: Hurns had 10 touchdowns on 99 targets; the only receivers with 30 or more targets who scored more often were Doug Baldwin (14 touchdowns, 99 targets) and Ted Ginn Jr. (10, 89).
Ranker says: Hurns is set for some touchdown regression, since scoring on 10.1 percent of targets and 15.6 percent of receptions is not sustainable. The Jaguars should be improved and run more often – including in the red zone – and they have a healthy Julius Thomas around as well. – Pat Thorman
73. Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns
(No. 34 WR; highest rank: 48, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Coleman benefited in college from the high-octane Baylor offense, but even taking that into account, he was impressive. He averaged 6.8 yards after the catch on 138 catches over two seasons.
Ranker says: Of receivers in this range, Coleman has the highest potential target volume as his team’s clear WR1. If he’s efficient, which he was in college, he’ll outperform this rank. – Joey Cartolano
74. Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins
(No. 28 RB; highest rank: 54, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Jones is all but guaranteed the lion’s share of carries in Washington this year. And that’s the good news for fantasy owners, as Jones averaged only 3.4 yards per carry in 2015, with only three rushes going for 15-plus yards.
Ranker says: Jones is in line for a big increase in snaps and already boasted an above-average fantasy points per opportunity. He might not be a safe pick, but doesn’t need to be at this valuation. – Sean Kirby
75. DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins
(No. 35 WR; highest rank: 51, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: There might be no wide receiver who takes a bigger hit when going from standard to PPR scoring format. From Week 9 to 16 last year, Jackson was 17th in standard fantasy scoring among wide receivers, but never had more than seven targets in a game.
Ranker says: Jackson was again a top-20 receiver when healthy in 2015, boasting a disproportionately high catch rate for a deep threat. Josh Doctson isn’t an immediate to Jackson’s role. – Sean Kirby
76. Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers
(No. 29 RB; highest rank: 54, lowest rank: 94)
Stat that matters: Woodhead finished tied for 11th in standard fantasy scoring among running backs in 2015 despite only 98 carries. Since 2007, he is the only running back to finish in the top 24 in fantasy scoring with fewer than 100 carries.
Ranker says: Woodhead tied with Theo Riddick with 80 receptions — best among RBs. His ADP makes him the PPR steal of the year for the zero-RB crowd. – Brandon Marianne Lee
77. Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers
(No. 30 RB; highest rank: 66, lowest rank: 98)
Stat that matters: There are reasons for mild optimism despite Gordon’s fantasy-miserable rookie season. He forced the seventh-most missed tackles on a per-touch basis while he played.
Ranker says: Semi-full-time RBs with a worse PFF rush grade than Gordon last year: Chris Johnson and DeMarco Murray. That’s the whole list. Murray is on a new team and Johnson is no longer a starter. Gordon? No changes. – Daniel Kelley
78 (tied). Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears
(No. 36 WR; highest rank: 45, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Injuries wrecked the Bears’ receiving corps in 2015. But before that, the Bears showed they knew how to support two fantasy receivers; Chicago was one of only three teams to have multiple receivers put up 120-plus fantasy points in both 2013 and 2014.
Ranker says: A top-10 pick just a year ago, White will enter his de facto redshirt rookie season with Alshon Jeffery taking most of the attention away from his side of the field. – Michael Moore
78 (tied). T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
(No. 31 RB; highest rank: 61, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Only Melvin Gordon and Alfred Morris had as many rushes as Yeldon last year and scored fewer than his two rushing touchdowns.
Ranker says: Yeldon had a quality rookie season; Chris Ivory’s signing obscures that fact. He ranked 13th – better than Ivory — out of 68 qualifying running backs in both forced missed tackles per touch and PFF rushing grade on a per-attempt basis. He is also the better pass-catching back. – Pat Thorman
80. Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders
(No. 37 WR; highest rank: 48, lowest rank: 96)
Stat that matters: Crabtree’s yards-per-target average of 6.4 was the lowest in the league for receivers with 90-plus targets. With development expected out of Amari Cooper, Crabtree might not be in line to repeat his strong 2015.
Ranker says: With Amari Cooper anointed as a fantasy elite despite his league-leading drop rate last season, Crabtree has taken a backseat in our 2016 drafts. Last season, quarterback Derek Carr appeared to have more faith in Crabtree when it mattered, leaning heavy on the veteran at the goal line, targeting him eight times (as opposed to Cooper’s zero). Even if we project regression for Crabtree this season, he has a long way to fall. – Scott Barrett
81. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
(No. 38 WR; highest rank: 49, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Lockett got better as the season went on in 2015. He had five touchdowns in the season’s last seven games.
Ranker says: Touchdowns aside, per-target or per-reception, Baldwin and Lockett were close last year, and that was with Lockett being a rookie. A year in, he could pop. – Daniel Kelley
82. Coby Fleener, TE, New Orleans Saints
(No. 7 TE; highest rank: 64, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: “New Orleans tight end” is always an appealing fantasy option, and Fleener was fourth at the position with 138 of his yards on deep targets in 2015 while with the Colts.
Ranker says: If Benjamin Watson could draw 85 percent of the Saints’ offensive snaps to finish as a top-10 fantasy TE last season, imagine what Fleener will do with a similar workload. He’s had three straight seasons with 50-plus catches despite splitting time with Dwayne Allen in Indianapolis. – Mike Castiglione
83. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
(No. 31 RB; highest rank: 64, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Abdullah failed to follow through on the hype he established in last year’s preseason. He had four fumbles, finished 46th out of 52 running backs in elusive rating and gained only 20.9 percent of his yards on big plays.
Ranker says: Abdullah struggled in his first season, ranking 57th in forced missed tackles per touch, 51st in PFF rushing grade per attempt among 68 qualifiers, and tearing his labrum in December. Abdullah is now healthy after having it repaired and makes for an intriguing post-hype investment. – Pat Thorman
84. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings
(No. 39 WR; highest rank: 60, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: In college in 2015, Treadwell forced 17 missed tackles, fourth among draftable receivers.
Ranker says: If you can get Treadwell here, sign me up for the 21-year-old first-rounder in an offense that needs a No. 1 target with a quarterback who matches his skillset almost perfectly. The Vikings playing inside the dome again is icing on the cake. – Dan Schneier
85. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
(No. 7 QB; highest rank: 71, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Brady finished third among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring in 2015. He did that despite injuries running through his pass-catchers, and tied for the league lead in number of his passes dropped (44).
Ranker says: Set to be suspended for more than 30 percent of the fantasy regular season, Brady comes with atypical risk this year. Of course, he was on a nuclear pace through six weeks of 2015 – 26.5 points per game – before injury slowed the now-healthy Patriots offense. – Pat Thorman
86. Ladarius Green, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
(No. 8 TE; highest rank: 52, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Green has 120 targets in his four-year career. The man he’s replacing in Pittsburgh, Heath Miller, averaged 87 targets a year in the last four years.
Ranker says: The all-hype prospect never quite broke through in San Diego thanks to Antonio Gates, but he’s now part of arguably the league’s most dangerous offense, which targeted its No. 1 TE on average 83 times a season in the last four years. That volume makes Green a fantasy must-own for me. – Ross Miles
(More: Ross Miles on why Green — and tight ends at large — might be undervalued entering the season.)
87. Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals
(No. 8 QB; highest rank: 52, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Even at 35, Palmer had an incredible year in 2015. He was the top quarterback in yards per attempt (8.7) and average depth of throw (11.3).
Ranker says: Lacking upside, Palmer has scored 26 fantasy points in just two of his games over the last five years. Marcus Mariota did that two times in 12 games last year, while Tyrod Taylor, Derek Carr and Blake Bortles each did it three times alone. – Mike Tagliere
88 (tied). Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Tennessee Titans
(T-No. 40 WR; highest rank: 62, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: The rookie improved as the season went on. Green-Beckham had 100-plus yards twice in the Titans’ last five games.
Ranker says: Talent usually wins out, unless you’re dealing with a fickle coaching staff and a deep depth chart. Green-Beckham has all the No. 1 WR traits you look for, but he has to win over his own coaching staff if he wants to return value at his ADP. – Dan Schneier
88 (tied). Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
(T-No. 40 WR; highest rank: 66, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: In an offense that just lost all-timer Calvin Johnson, Jones is the best candidate to have a deep-ball presence. He caught 70 percent of his targets in 2015 with a 12.8-yard average depth of target.
Ranker says: Golden Tate caught exactly 0 deep balls in 2015. The Lions will have to have a little bit of a deep threat, if only to keep defenses honest. Even if it’s only sometimes, Jones should benefit. – Daniel Kelley
90. Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers
(No. 42 WR; highest rank: 61, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Even in a down year in 2015, Smith ranked fifth among wide receivers in average yards after the catch, at 6.8.
Ranker says: The steal of early drafts, Smith finished as a top-23 receiver in each of his first four seasons, only to be thrown to just 56 times in 2015. With Chip Kelly in town, the offense will run close to 70 plays per game. Smith should see 125-plus targets. – Mike Tagliere
91. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
(No. 9 TE; highest rank: 61, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Where Ertz struggled in 2015 was with the end zone; he only scored twice in 2015. Ertz had the fewest touchdowns of any tight end with at least 700 yards in 2015.
Ranker says: Ertz finished fourth among tight ends in our overall grade last season (10.8) and improved as a blocker, finishing fifth in that category (5.5). If he starts cashing in on red-zone opportunities, watch out. – Mike Castiglione
92. Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
(No. 9 QB; highest rank: 54, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: He completed just 58.6 percent of his pass attempts in 2015, second-worst in the league among full-time starters.
Ranker says: Bortles is one of the top fantasy regression candidates this year. He had the same passing grade as Case Keenum last year. We still have him ranked as a top-10 fantasy QB, but he should take a step back from his prolific 2015 season. – Daniel Kelley
93. Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
(No. 10 TE; highest rank: 55, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: From Week 5 on, he was the No. 11 tight end in fantasy, tied for eighth in targets. The days of Thomas as a top-flight fantasy tight end are likely gone, but he still offers fantasy starter potential.
Ranker says: Thomas did not play until Week 5 but averaged 0.42 touchdowns per game, eighth best among 26 tight ends with 50-plus targets. He also saw 6.3 looks per game (10th-most among tight ends). As one of Jacksonville’s three appealing red-zone options, though, his production will be volatile. – Pat Thorman
94. Chris Ivory, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
(No. 32 RB; highest rank: 69, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Ivory will need to convert at the goal line to keep a big chunk of his value in Jacksonville, and he led the league in rush attempts inside the 5-yard line in 2015, scoring five touchdowns.
Ranker says: The concern with Ivory isn’t his talent. Over the last three seasons, Ivory’s 4.34 yards per attempt ranks sixth-best among the 16 running backs with at least 500 carries. The issue with Ivory is that he will now be joining T.J. Yeldon in a crowded backfield on a pass-happy team. Still, the Jaguars must have a role in mind for Ivory. He likely won’t be a league winner without an injury or demotion to Yeldon, but he should get the bulk of the goal-line work. – Scott Barrett
95. Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(No. 33 RB; highest rank: 75, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: As a pass-catching running back, there aren’t many better options; his 2.23 yards per route run was the third-best number for a running back. Despite only 106 carries, Sims finished 16th at the position in PPR fantasy scoring.
Ranker says: Sims likely doesn’t have elite upside as long as Doug Martin remains on the field, but he does maintain value as the receiving back on a team that trailed 61.5 percent of the time last year. Sims was our fifth-most-elusive running back last season, ranked fourth in yards per route run as a receiver, and ranked 10th in yards after contact per attempt. Sims was also our No. 1-graded overall running back last year. The kid has talent, and enough of it to overcome this committee backfield for fantasy purposes. – Scott Barrett
96. Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns
(No. 11 TE; highest rank: 78, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Barnidge was one of seven tight ends to have 10 or more targets 20-plus yards downfield, and he had the highest completion percentage on such passes, at 60 percent.
Ranker says: Barnidge built an excellent rapport with Josh McCown, and he is the most proven pass-game option on the Browns’ roster. His ceiling might not be as high as some of the tight ends ranked after him, but he has a higher floor. – Dan Schneier
97. Steve Smith Sr., WR, Baltimore Ravens
(No. 43 WR; highest rank: 65, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Between his age and a 2015 Achilles injury, Smith’s 2016 is tough to forecast. But before he got hurt in 2015, Smith had the fourth-most fantasy points per opportunity in PPR leagues (0.56). Only Atlanta’s Julio Jones averaged more yards per route run.
Ranker says: The 37-year-old Smith is coming off of a torn Achilles and won’t play anytime soon. Investing here, despite the fact he was the WR11 after eight games when he was injured, is risky. Smith was also the WR11 after eight games in 2014, and the WR40 after that. – Pat Thorman
98. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
(No. 10 QB; highest rank: 71, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: After throwing an interception on 4.9 percent of his pass attempts in 2013, Manning has been intercepted on only 2.3 percent of his attempts the past two seasons combined, putting up 30-plus touchdowns in both years.
Ranker says: Manning hasn’t missed a game since 2004. He has Odell Beckham Jr. as a No. 1 weapon, and developing weapons throughout the offense. And he’s on back-to-back seasons with 30-plus touchdowns. Sky’s the limit. – Brandon Marianne Lee
99. Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens
(No. 34 RB; highest rank: 68, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: After putting up 0.37 fantasy points per opportunity (carries plus pass routes) in 2014, Forsett put up only 0.25 PPO in 2015.
Ranker says: Forsett is another running back at an advanced age whose ADP has significantly fallen from the season prior. Still, the upside is there in a Mark Trestman offense, as outlined here. The backfield is more crowded now after adding Kenneth Dixon in the fourth round of the draft, but the No. 8 PPR RB in 2014 will likely begin the season as the starter. – Scott Barrett
100 (tied). Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns
(T-No. 35 RB; highest rank: 67, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Cleveland is expected to be among the league’s worst teams again in 2016, and Crowell had only 21 targets in 2015, compared to 70 for teammate Duke Johnson.
Ranker says: Over the last two seasons, Jeremy Hill averaged more fantasy points than Giovani Bernard. Their general usage could be recreated in Cleveland, with Hue Jackson moving north in Ohio and inheriting Crowell and Duke Johnson. If Crowell is the next Hill, he’s underrated. – Brandon Marianne Lee
100 (tied). Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions
(T-No. 35 RB; highest rank: 74, lowest rank: NR)
Stat that matters: Riddick led all running backs in yards per route run in 2015 (2.30) and was targeted 94 times.
Ranker says: There isn’t a good rusher on the Detroit roster. The offense went short-pass-heavy down the stretch last year, which plays right into Riddick’s wheelhouse. – Daniel Kelley