By: Dan Dankert
1) Tom Brady
I really like Tom Brady right now. With the addition of talented wide receiver Brandin Cooks look for the Patriots to have more success than ever airing it out across the field. As Tom Brady is entering his 40’s, I fully anticipate him losing some of the “oomf” on his deep balls but I don’t see that being a massive issue right now. Cooks should help stretch the field and allow more completions on underneath routes. This should be the most potent Patriots offense that we have seen since Randy Moss was wearing the red, white, and blue.
2) Aaron Rodgers
Consistently top tier quarterback, if it weren’t for the Cooks addition Rodgers would likely find himself in the #1 spot.
3) Andrew Luck
Is this the year Luck finally puts it all together? I think it is.
4) Drew Brees
Obligatory ranking because New Orleans throws the ball more than a 10 year old playing Madden.
5) Ben Roethlisberger
Oh, you mean Ben Roethlisberger has arguably the best running back and wide receiver in the league on his team? Yeah, he gets a top 5 spot just for that.
6) Derek Carr
Seeing Derek Carr makes me think if David Carr was ever the problem in Houston or terrible management/coaching ruined his career. Either way I predict a strong year from Derek and his top target Amari Cooper. I have faith in ACDC.
7) Kirk Cousins
Can Kirk Cousins win Washington a super bowl? Absolutely not. Can he lead them to the playoffs? I think yes. If you win 8+ games with a majority of your offense coming from the passing attack, chances are Kirk puts up good numbers.
8) Matt Ryan
This will be the year Matt Ryan remembers that he is only a slightly above average quarterback with amazing talent surrounding him. I think 8th is a bit high but every time I want to move him down I remember he has Julio Jones.
9) Jameis Winston
If you think height matters in basketball listen to this.
6’5”, 6’5”, 6’5”, 6’6”
Those are the heighst of the following people in order: Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Cameron Brate, and O.J. Howard. His 4 top targets are all 6’5” or taller. Opposing teams do not have the personnel to cover these guys in the red zone. Look for this Tampa Bay team to air it out and score points.
10) Dak Prescott
I don’t think Dak is a one of a kind player. But I think he plays on a team where he can get fantasy points.
1) David Johnson
David Johnson gets the nod here over Le’Veon Bell due to the fact that he is the main man at Arizona and won’t have to fight for touches as much as Bell does. It’s still crazy to think that I watched him play when he was in high school.
2) Le’veon Bell
Could very well set records this year, but the safer bet for #1 was David Johnson. That being said, Bell and Johnson are in a league of their own.
3) Ezekiel Elliot
Elliot has an amazing offensive line and he is still developing. He needs to keep a good head on his shoulders and remember that in terms of talent he isn’t special, in fact there are a handful of players in this draft class that could have done as well as he did. Elliot has the tools to succeed, but he will continue to rely on arguably the greatest offensive line in NFL history.
4) LeSean McCoy
To think one of my favorite coaches of all time, Chip Kelly, traded McCoy for Kiko Alonso hurts. McCoy is poised for another big year and I fully expect him to have another top tier season.
5) DeMarco Murray (If you draft him this high you NEED to grab Derrick Henry later)
The Tennessee offensive line is great and so is Murray. The only problem I have is if Murray gets banged up, Henry could snatch a couple starts away from him. For example, if he hurts his ankle, and he should normally be out 3 weeks and at 75%, they could give him another week or two of rest and recuperation to make sure he is 100% before he hits the field again.
6) Melvin Gordon
This is where things get hazy. Gordon played well last year and he should do have another strong season. That being said I would have a hard time picking him as a RB1.
7) Jay Ajayi
Ajayi really came on at the end of last year. It could be a fluke, but his end of the year production warrants a higher drafting position even though it’s a risky pick.
8) Jordan Howard
That Bears team is going to be downright awful again, with a bad team it’s hard to predict how successful a running back can be. He should probably be higher on this list, but the lack of talent around him makes me nervous.
9) Todd Gurley
An unfortunate victim of Jared Goff’s awful first year, Gurley needs the rest of the Rams’ offense to step up if he is going to be successful. I wish he would have been on the Cowboys last year, I would have loved to see him shatter records.
10) Marshawn Lynch
Honestly, in terms of talent Lynch isn’t a top 10 player, but I think he will snag 8-10 touchdowns which will go a long way in terms of fantasy points.
1) Julio Jones
Do you want to talk about pure talent? There isn’t a wide receiver in the league with as much pure talent as Julio Jones. There is one player at the wide receiver position that can compare to Jones and that is Calvin Johnson who is arguably the greatest athlete at any position that this league has ever seen. Julio levels the playing field by having Matt Ryan as his quarterback.
2) Antonio Brown
Antonio turns 29 in July. I don’t want to say he is old, but he is certainly getting up there. I think most people would have Brown ahead of Jones, but I think there are enough minor concerns around him that places Jones just ahead of Brown.
3) Mike Evans
Is there a better red zone threat in the league at wide receiver? I’m not so sure. Evans will pillage defenses in the red zone and rack up touchdowns. He could really use a resurging year from Jackson to help alleviate double teams.
4) Amari Cooper
Cooper and Carr will carry each other to the playoffs this season. Because of this they will both rack up fantasy points.
5) A.J. Green
It’s so hard for me to rate A.J. Green. He has never really lived up to his talent. If he can avoid injury he should be able to compete with those above him for top fantasy spots.
6) Jordy Nelson
Being Aaron Rodger’s most trusted target has its plusses, like yards, touchdowns, and targets. Expect Nelson to have a great season despite the overall lack of athleticism in that offense.
7) Odell Beckham Jr.
I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, I’m not a fan of OBJ and I never will be. If forced to pick I would take anyone on this list over him (if we aren’t taking previously drafted players and bye weeks into consideration). I’m not sure there is a situation where I would draft him unless he fell significantly.
8) Brandin Cooks
Huge fan of Cooks. I think he has the potential to be the top scoring wide receiver of the year. Brady still has it and Cooks is the first elite threat Brady has had at the wide receiver position in years.
9) Dez Bryant
If Tony Romo was the starting quarterback Bryant would find himself much higher on this list.
10) Alshon Jeffery
Carson Wentz is going to have to buy Jeffery something nice as Jeffery takes that offense to the next level.
1) Rob Gronkowski
The question isn’t if you should draft Gronk, its more of a question about where you should draft him. First round? Second round? Third round? Fourth round? I think there are valid arguments for all 4. He is an elite player who will blow away his competition at the position, but taking him early leaves you vulnerable at other, more important positions. I think the best spot to draft him is early 3rd if he is still available. If you really want him you might have to snag him at the end of the 2nd.
2) Travis Kelce
Kelce was the highest scoring tight end last year and still has Alex Smith who connected with Kelce 85 times. I think it’s safe to say Kelce will have another big year at quarterback barring injury.
3) Jordan Reed
A healthy Jordan Reed should find himself near the top of the tight end totem pole.
4) Jimmy Graham
Korean pop music is really good, so is Jimmy Graham.
5) Delanie Walker
One of the best all-around tight ends in the game. He received over 100 targets but only caught 65 of them. I expect him to get more targets and more receptions next year.
1) Stephen Gostkowski
My only concern is that New England will never have to actually kick field goals.
2) Mason Crosby
Green Bay is adept at doing very well offensively and then not scoring a touchdown.
3) Justin Tucker
4) Matt Bryant
Bryant benefits from having an amazing offense to generate him good opportunities.
5) Roberto Aguayo
Aguayo struggled last season to say the least, but he was a great talent coming out of college and I feel like he will have matured. I believe he will fare much better this year.
6) Dan Baily
Similar reasoning for Baily as for Gostkowski and Bryant, it’s always good to be a kicker on offensively talented teams.
7) Chris Boswell
Heinz field is traditionally a very difficult field to kick in, but Boswell will have a good season regardless.
8) Sebastian Janikowski
Janikowski is a boss and that Oakland offense is primed for a big season.
9) Adam Vinatieri
I am not convinced that Indy is going to have a great season, but Vinatieri is a legendary kicker and deserves to find himself on this list.
10) Dustin Hopkins
Kirk Cousins should help him here.
4) New England
10) Cleveland (One final meme)