Fantasy Football Rankings: Super Bowl XLVI

Kevin HansonAnalyst IIIJanuary 28, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:  Tom Brady (R) #12 of the New England Patriots talks with commentator Jim Nantz (L) after defeating the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 20-23.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

If you're in a fantasy league for the playoffs, hopefully you picked plenty of Patriots and/or Giants players as many playoff leagues limit postseason transactions.

Some leagues, such as ESPN's Gridiron Challenge, does not allow for roster changes after the Championship games.

In any event, here are our rankings for Super Bowl XLVI:


1. Tom Brady, Patriots: Brady had a poor performance last week, but the Giants are not the Ravens. Provided New England limits the G-Men's pass rush, New York's defensive strength, Brady should bounce back with a big performance against a shaky Giants secondary.

1a. Eli Manning, Giants: For me, there is only a marginal difference between these two QBs. If your league uses a salary cap to select players, I would prefer the cheaper option (likely Manning). After throwing for more than 300 yards vs. the Niners and posting an 11:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in the past four games, Manning is definitely playing at an "elite" level.

Running Backs:

1. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants: Of the remaining running backs, Bradshaw has the most potential to have a big game. The Patriots pass defense leaves much to be desired, but they have allowed only two 100-yard rushers this season: Roy Helu (126 yards) and Reggie Bush (113 yards).

2. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots: The Law Firm won't get you a ton of yardage in most weeks. That said, he's going to get the goal-line work (when Brady is not keeping it himself). With his ability to protect the football, I wouldn't be surprised if Green-Ellis gets a similar workload as last week (15 carries).

3. Brandon Jacobs, Giants: His postseason workload (and production) is heading in the wrong direction: 14 carries for 92 yards, nine carries for 22 yards (and a TD) and five carries for 13 yards. Meanwhile, Bradshaw had a postseason-high 20 carries last week.

4. Danny Woodhead, Patriots: If Woodhead has a bigger game than expected, it would likely mean that he has a bunch of receptions out of the backfield. That said, he has one reception for seven yards in the postseason.

Wide Receivers:

1. Hakeem Nicks, Giants: In their regular-season matchup against the Patriots, Nicks was inactive. While he only had five receptions for 55 yards last week, Nicks has 18 receptions for 335 yards and four touchdowns this postseason.

2. Wes Welker, Patriots: Welker has three straight games with six receptions and 51-55 yards. Welker had one of his best performances (nine receptions for 136 yards) of the season in his first matchup against the Giants.

3. Victor Cruz, Giants: Cruz had his best game of the playoffs last week with 10 receptions for 142 yards although he has yet to score a touchdown this postseason. Cruz had six receptions for 91 yards in his regular-season matchup against the Patriots.

4. Mario Manningham, Giants: Manningham has scored a touchdown in all three of the Giants playoff games this year. In his first matchup against the Patriots, he had three receptions for 33 yards and a score.

5. Deion Branch, Patriots: Branch has been hit or miss in his two postseason games and in the regular season. In his 17 games (counting playoffs) this season, Branch has nine or more fantasy points in eight games. He has seven games with three fantasy points or less.

Tight Ends:

1. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots: In his past six games, Hernandez is averaging more than 100 yards from scrimmage per game. He has 36 receptions for 508 yards and three touchdowns plus 12 carries for 113 yards during that span.

2. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots: If it weren't for his high-ankle sprain, Gronkowski would be ranked No. 1 here. Although he is expected to play, I wonder how much the injury will slow him down and Hernandez is one of top five fantasy tight ends in the league.

3. Jake Ballard, Giants: In the regular season, Ballard had one of his best games of the season against the Patriots. He finished the game with four receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.

4. Travis Beckum, Giants: Beckum has more receptions in the playoffs (seven) than he had in the regular season (five). That said, he has only 45 yards and no touchdowns.

Our initial 2012 fantasy football rankings will be available by Monday, January 30th. Of course, they will be subject to frequent change up to the start of the 2012 season, but our plan will be to update them again about a week or so after the start of NFL free agency (March 13th), after the NFL Draft (late April) and frequently starting in July.

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Super Bowl XLVI: Our predictions - Poll - Past Results - MVPs - Super Bowl Squares