An Early Look at the Top 100 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings

Chet GreshamFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2012

An Early Look at the Top 100 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings

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    The top 100 fantasy football players are just 100 clicks away. Don't be afraid, behind each click will be a new player that you can disagree with. I know, because I'm already starting to disagree with them!

    They are as close to how I would draft today as they can be. There are, of course, still many questions that need to be answered in training camp, but there are always questions that need to be answered, and often they won't be until after you draft.

    Ranking players is a great way to start contextualizing what you know about each team going into this season.

    What effect will Brandon Lloyd have on the other Patriot receivers?

    How will Michael Bush impact Matt Forte's overall numbers?

    On his first pass as a Bronco, will Peyton Manning's head get to Eric Decker's hands before the ball does?

    These rankings are based on standard scoring leagues. If they were based on a points-per-reception league, Darren Sproles and Wes Welker would be much higher than they are here.

100. Greg Little, WR, Cleveland Browns

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    Colt McCoy's weak arm had a lot to do with Greg Little's poor performance last season. Little also was suspended his senior year of college and most likely was not prepared for a full NFL season.

    This year he'll have a stronger-armed, more accurate quarterback in Brandon Weeden, as it looks more and more likely that Weeden will be named first-team starter.

    Even in a poor year, Little led all wide receivers with missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus.

    With a season under his belt and improved quarterback play, he has a good chance to make an impact.

99. Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee Titans

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    In the last three games of 2011, Jared Cook led all tight ends with 21 receptions and 335 yards receiving. That, of course, is too small a sample size, but it is nice to see that the coaches wanted to see what he could do before going into this season.

    I am counting on Jake Locker quarterbacking the Tennessee Titans for most of the season, and Cook needs his cannon arm to get him the ball up the seam. He's riskier than other tight ends, but his upside is the sky.

98. Anquan Boldin, WR, Baltimore Ravens

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    Anquan Boldin has slowed down somewhat, but has never been the prototypical No. 1 receiver. He should see more time in the slot with Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones on the outside in three-receiver sets.

    His consistency, hands and ability to get open over the middle will keep Joe Flacco targeting him. If these rankings were points per reception, he would most likely be bumped up some.

97. Michael Bush, RB, Chicago Bears

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    Michael Bush is a hard player to evaluate for this season. Assuming that Matt Forte doesn't hold out during the regular season, Bush will be the backup/goal-line back.

    In the last three years, Matt Forte has had 33 attempts within the 5-yard line and only scored three touchdowns. Michael Bush has had 36 and scored 15 touchdowns.

    So it's settled; Bush will be the goal-line back and his value will be based on the elusive touchdown.

    I believe the Bears will move the ball fairly well this season with Jay Cutler, Forte and Brandon Marshall, which will give Bush a decent amount of opportunities.

96. Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Mike Williams had an abysmal 2011 after a great rookie campaign. His sophomore slump was real and spectacular.

    It seems like he let off the gas in his second year. He wasn’t in shape, his work ethic was questioned, and he just plain didn’t play well.

    So why do I like him? Well, because last season there was nobody to take the heat off him. This year he has Vincent Jackson.

    Jackson is not going to all of a sudden become a 100-catch guy. He’ll continue to stretch the field while Williams can concentrate on underneath routes and end-zone targets.

95. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons

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    Amazingly, Tony Gonzalez just keeps on keeping on.

    Usually men of a certain age in the NFL just collapse and can't ever get back up, but Gonzo keeps on trucking.

    Last season he finished as the fourth-best fantasy tight end, and this season we should see the Falcons offense open up even more with the passing game.

    He did trail off a bit in the second half with only two touchdowns, but as long as he's playing, he'll be worth owning.

94. Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears

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    The Bears haven't had a No. 1 receiver in a long time. Now they have Brandon Marshall.

    Is he a bit unbalanced? Sure.

    Will he play football for the Bears in 2012? Sure.

    Jay Cutler is a good quarterback. Marshall will help Cutler tremendously.

93. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Through Week 9 of last season, Ben Roethlisberger was averaging 292 passing yards a game. He was hurt much of the second half of the season and his numbers dropped.

    With an improved line, a seasoned Antonio Brown, a top receiver in Mike Wallace (hopefully), and no dominant running back, Roethlisberger has a chance to put up some really solid fantasy numbers.

92. James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers

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    What to do with Green Bay Packers running backs?

    Well, first off, there really is only one running back in Green Bay worth owning right now. James Starks is the starter.

    Ryan Grant is gone, Brandon Saine is not an NFL starter, and Alex Green is recovering from a torn MCL.

    Starks has flashed ability. He is good receiver and competent at pass protection. He has the skills to be a three-down back, and that's something we like as fake football players.

    He's no lock by any means, but he has the opportunity.

91. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins

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    We just don't know how quickly Robert Griffin III will catch on, but we do know that he is a special talent.

    His ability to run automatically makes him draftable in fantasy leagues (see Tim Tebow).

    If he can do anything at all in the passing game with Fred Davis, Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss, he could be a steal.

90. Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets

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    The Jets are a mess, but Santonio Holmes does know how to get into the end zone. When he wants to be, he can be a great receiver.

    If he can stay motivated, he will be a great value later in the draft. He is too talented to not take some risk on.

89. Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans

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    Ben Tate would be a starter on most NFL teams, but unfortunately, he has Arian Foster on his team.

    Even with Foster, the Texans will use Tate in their run-heavy offense. It isn't out of the question that they could have two 1,000-yard rushers this season.

88. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

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    I love Mark Ingram's ability, just not his penchant for getting injured.

    I also am not fond of Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles when wanting to jump on board the Ingram train.

    But I am not ready to give up on him yet.

    Much will depend on how he looks coming off of surgery, but for now, I'm going to give him a second chance based on superior ability.

87. Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots

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    Stevan Ridley would be much higher on this list if it wasn't for Shane Vereen. Both will most likely split time as the lead back for the Patriots this season.

    I'm giving a slight edge to Ridley because he has more time in real games and showed he could play well.

    I see him winning the lead role with all things equal.

86. Robert Meachem, WR, San Diego Chargers

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    If Philip Rivers is throwing you the ball on a consistent basis, there is a good chance you will be worth something in fantasy.

    I have Malcom Floyd a little bit ahead of Meachem, but Floyd is a health risk.

    If Meachem can stay healthy, which seems to be impossible for Charger receivers, then he could easily take advantage in the Chargers offense.

85. Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders

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    Denarius Moore flashed greatness one week only to fall flat the next.

    Moore has the ability to be an elite receiver, and Carson Palmer can still get the ball to him deep.

    He will most likely be hit-and-miss once again this season in Dennis Allen's run-first offense, but his hits will be home runs.

84. Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

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    Torrey Smith put together a nice rookie campaign with 50 receptions for 841 yards and seven touchdowns.

    He'll look to expand on that in his second season as the Ravens' deep threat. No matter what you say about Joe Flacco, the guy can throw the deep ball.

83. Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Detroit Lions

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    Brandon Pettigrew is here based on volume. He was second only to Jimmy Graham in targets last season.

    Matthew Stafford is only going to get better after finally having an offseason where he's not rehabbing his shoulder. Pettigrew should have even more than 126 targets.

82. Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions

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    Yes, Jahvid Best. I know, I know. One hit and he's out for the year. Football's a risky game. Thankfully you aren't the one getting hit!

    In the first six games, he averaged 113 total yards a game on an average of 4.6 yards a carry and 10.6 yards a reception.

    He has tremendous talent and is still young.

    I can see why someone might just forgo drafting him at all due to the his injury history and the return of Mikel Leshoure, but he has proven that he can play in this high-powered passing offense at an elite level.

    I'm going to give him another shot.

81. Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts

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    Donald Brown is not an elite talent, not even close. But he is the Colts' starting running back.

    Andrew Luck will make that offense better.

    If you can think back to the dark days of 2011 and remember who the starting quarterbacks were for the Colts, well, don't. It's scary.

    If Brown can take that job and run with it over Delone Carter, who averaged 3.9 yards per carry last year, then his ceiling is much higher than it was last year on a team that couldn't move the ball to save their jobs.

80. Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins

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    The Wasgington Redskins offense is a bit of a mystery at this point, but Robert Griffin III makes that mystery worth solving.

    Pierre Garcon has ability and RG III has a cannon. If they can get on the same page, watch out.

79. Malcom Floyd, WR, San Diego Chargers

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    Malcom Floyd is 6'5'', and when he is on the field, Philip Rivers enjoys throwing him the ball.

    In his last eight games of the season (Weeks 5 through 17), he averaged 12 fantasy points a game, which put him fifth in average points per game for receivers.

    If he can stay healthy, he can be a top receiver.

78. Willis McGahee, RB, Denver Broncos

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    Willis McGahee had a productive season with Tim Tebow at the helm and the Broncos running the ball 60 percent of the time.

    With Peyton Manning on board, McGahee won't see the ball quite as much and defenders won't be on their heels thinking that Tebow might be the one running the ball.

    Rookie Ronnie Hillman may cut into his numbers as well.

    I'm keeping a close watch on training camp. If McGahee is the guy, then it's hard not to like him in the middle rounds, but I'd handcuff Hillman to him.

77. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers

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    The Panthers' running back committee is four deep now with Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams.

    Williams is still an elite talent, but he needs the big run to get into the end zone.

    He is also no longer the third-down back, so his receptions aren't there.

    The only reason he is even this high is because he has home-run-hitting ability.

76. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

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    He's Peyton Manning, that's all you really need to know.

    He is a perfectionist and one of the greatest of all time. His ability is not based solely on making perfect 60-yard passes.

    He'll find a way and I don't doubt that he'll be able to put up decent fantasy numbers.

    I'm not going to bet on him throwing for 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns, but 4,000 and 25 to 30 touchdowns isn't the end of the world.

75. C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills

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    After Fred Jackson went down, C.J. Spiller stepped up big with 105 yards a game, four receptions a game and five total touchdowns.

    Of course, Fred Jackson will be back and he muddies up this whole situation.

    Jackson will have to prove that he is completely back to retake the starting job, but it looks like he's already been cleared to practice and won't miss any offseason activities.

    Spiller's ability to line up in the slot and move around the field should keep him relevant after showing so much in the last six games of the season.

74. Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos

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    Eric Decker had no trouble finding the end zone last season with eight touchdowns on only 44 receptions. That ratio won't hold, but with Peyton Manning throwing to him, the receptions should rise dramatically.

    Decker is a tall receiver with good hands who can find openings in the middle of the field. His upside is great in PPR leagues this year.

73. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts

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    Reggie Wayne has lost a step, but he's still the main guy in Indianapolis with a good rookie quarterback coming to town. Even with absolutely horrid quarterbacks last season, he managed 75 receptions and 960 yards.

    Andrew Luck will need Wayne's consistent presence to help him adjust to the NFL. There is little chance the Colts won't be trailing in most of their games, so Luck will be chucking the ball a lot.

72. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

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    Matt Ryan showed a marked improvement in his stats in the second half of last season, and all signs point to the Atlanta Falcons opening up the offense for him more.

    With Julio Jones poised for a breakout season, there is no reason Ryan shouldn't improve on his eighth-best fantasy QB ranking from last year.

71. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers

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    Jonathan Stewart gets the nod ahead of DeAngelo Williams based on his use in the passing game last season.

    Stewart is a tremendous talent being held back by a horrible situation in Carolina. I'm banking on his talent shining when he gets a chance.

70. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

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    The Law Firm is only this high based on his situation.

    I do not believe in his abilities, but that is not always the deciding factor when it comes to fake football.

    BenJarvus Green-Ellis will only need to get into the end zone with some regularity to be worthwhile as a fantasy starter.

69. Fred Davis, TE, Washington Redskins

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    Fred Davis is probably the best receiver on the Redskins, and he's their tight end.

    The upside of the RG III-to-Davis combo could be huge, and you have to pick the unproven players before they prove themselves.

    I believe this is the start of a beautiful relationship.

68. Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers

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    Jermichael Finley killed me last season. He was either dropping passes or dropping passes, take your pick. But he's too talented not to rectify the situation.

    In fantasy, we often overreact to a poor season. I have faith that his ability wins out. Oh, and he does have Aaron Rodgers throwing to him.

67. Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys

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    Jason Witten had another workmanlike season in 2011, but couldn't seem to get into the end zone like the year before.

    Many of those touchdowns went to Laurent Robinson, who is gone, and I'm looking for a good fantasy year from Tony Romo.

    I'm willing to give him seven to nine touchdowns. You're welcome, Jason Witten.

66. DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Action Jackson was an unmitigated disaster last season.

    He was alligator-arming passes, was benched for a game, seemed to take off plays, and just was about as worthless as it gets.

    So where do you go from there? There's really nowhere else to go but up.

    He's still one of the fastest, most dynamic players in the league, and if Jeremy Maclin and Michael Vick can stay healthy, that offense will be awesome.

65. Isaac Redman, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    This ranking is contingent on Rashard Mendenhall's health, but I believe that even if Mendenhall comes back, Redman can win the job early in the season.

    Mendenhall is in the last year of his rookie contract and they won't push him to come back.

64. Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots

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    Last season, Aaron Hernandez was the third-best fantasy tight end.

    The addition of Brandon Lloyd means there are a lot of great receiving targets in New England, which makes it tough to gauge distribution, but Hernandez is too talented to keep down.

    He's one of the best open-field runners in the game and can even be used as a running back. He should get his receptions and yardage.

63. Brandon Lloyd, WR, New England Patriots

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    Brandon Lloyd was just what the doctor ordered for the New England Patriots.

    They had no true deep/outside threat last season. They had plenty of other threats, but Lloyd adds a dimension that they were lacking, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has become quite familiar with Lloyd's skill set.

    Lloyd won't get the targets he received in Denver and St. Louis, but he sure will get more productive targets with Tom Brady at the helm. 

    Lloyd is one of the best in the game at making tough catches (much like Randy Moss).

    It's hard to predict touchdowns, but Lloyd will most likely become one of Brady's favorites deep and near the end zone.

62. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Antonio Brown was unlucky as far as touchdowns go last season with only two on 69 receptions.

    With a full year starting under his belt, he will be poised to take a step forward and put up more than two touchdowns.

61. Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers

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    Antonio Gates was on my sell list not too far back in the near past, but that doesn't mean he's not going to be able to put up usable fantasy numbers.

    Even when gimping around, he's hard to stop. Philip Rivers targets him in the end zone religiously.

60. Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers

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    The 49ers added Randy Moss and A.J. Jenkins to their receiving corps, but I still think Vernon Davis is their best receiver.

    When it came down to it in the playoffs, Davis was the man.

    In his last five games, including the playoffs, he had 28 receptions, 536 yards and five touchdowns.

    He should build on that performance coming into this season.

59. Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills

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    Stevie Johnson has the stuff to be a top-10 receiver, but has yet to get over the hump.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick may have something to do with that, but I'm buying into his ability and consistency.

    Johnson has had two years in a row now with 1,000-plus yards and seven-plus touchdowns. He needs to up those numbers just a bit more, and I think he can.

58. Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans

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    I want to rank Kenny Britt much higher than this, but I am a little afraid that he is not recovering well from his knee surgeries.

    As we get closer to the season, I could see him rising in the ranks quite a bit.

    We all saw what he was capable of at the beginning of last season when he averaged seven receptions, 135.5 yards and 1.5 touchdowns in the first two games.

57. Roy Helu, RB, Washington Redskins

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    In Weeks 12 through 15, Roy Helu had 20-plus carries a game and averaged 126 total yards, four receptions and half a touchdown.

    Many people are worried about Tim Hightower taking away carries, but Mike Shanahan actually prefers a single starting back.

    Oh, and Hightower wasn't that good before his ACL injury.

    Helu will win the job, and with RG III scaring defenses onto their heels, Helu should have a productive season.

56. Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets

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    Shonn Greene isn't anything special. You probably already knew that, but it's true.

    The good news is that he's still the Jets' No. 1 running back and the Jets actually win games when he gets 20-plus carries.

    They aren't going to win with Mark Sanchez chucking the ball all willy-nilly, and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano knows this.

    Greene will get his carries this season. As the 24th running back off the board so far in mock drafts, he will have value in fantasy.

55. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

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    It isn't a huge stretch to say Tony Romo should have a good 2012 since he finished as the seventh-best fantasy QB last season,

    When you look at how effectively he finished last season, it is hard not to believe he can finish as a top-five quarterback like he did in 2007 and 2009.

    His second-half numbers were elite in efficiency.

    Miles Austin should be back healthy, and Dez Bryant is too good to keep underperforming like he has been.

    Oh, and Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones all can catch the ball well.

54. Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals

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    Beanie Wells proved last season that he could play hurt. He only missed two games and was great around the goal line in scoring 10 touchdowns.

    He did have offseason knee surgery and isn't going to be 100 percent for training camp.

    This may open a door for Ryan Williams if he is fully recovered from his season-ending knee injury. Either way, it is smart to be a little wary of the situation.

53. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers

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    The first half of last season was pretty much a disaster for Philip Rivers, but he turned it on in the second half and finished with respectable numbers.

    He had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 11:14 for the first eight games and then 16:6 for the last eight.

    I see him returning to form for the whole season.

52. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos

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    It is tough to judge Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker from last season.

    Tim Tebow is not the prototypical quarterback, and switching from him to Peyton Manning isn't exactly a smooth transition.

    However, Thomas can flat-out play.

    I see Manning making him his No. 1, which is something you want to be with Peyton under center.

51. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

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    Eli Manning was just 67 yards away from hitting the 5,000 mark last season.

    He was also ranked 13th in completion percentage at 61 percent, so you know he was throwing the ball a lot.

    There's really no reason that his pass attempts will change drastically, so I'm looking for a whole bunch of yards and even more touchdowns.

50. Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    The Tampa Bay offense should be a lot better than last year.

    The addition of Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson, and bounce-back years from Mike Williams and Josh Freeman should open up things all around.

    Jackson won't have Philip Rivers, but he is in a better situation than it looks like at first blush.

49. Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys

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    Miles Austin came back too soon from his hamstring injury last season and just never could seem to get back on track. This gives you a good shot at getting him at value.

48. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers

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    Frank Gore is a huge question mark in 2012 in a very crowded backfield.

    Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Brandon Jacobs and Anthony Dixon all could push him for carries.

    His usage last season was hit and miss, and there's a good chance it will be more miss than hit this season.

47. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Doug Martin is capable of being an every-down back, whereas LeGarrette Blount just isn't.

    The job is already Martin's to lose, and Blount has not done much to endear himself to the coaching staff.

    Rookies are always a little risky, but I'm willing to take the risk on a possible every-down back on an offense that should be much improved.

46. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    The main concern with Michael Vick are injuries.

    When healthy, even last season, he put up good numbers. And we saw what he did the year before.

    He is risky, but his upside is so astronomical that it outweighs the risks.

45. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants

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    Ahmad Bradshaw is slowly falling apart. The question is, will he fall apart before you get your fake football money's worth out of him?

    He is extremely talented and actually quite effective around the goal line, with 15 touchdowns in his last 24 attempts inside the 5-yard line.

    With Brandon Jacobs gone, he could really up his touchdown numbers if he can stay healthy.

44. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

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    I see Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley taking away some of Jordy Nelson's touchdowns this season.

    He caught a whopping five touchdowns in the last two games of the season with Jennings on the sideline.

    Nelson will be the deep threat once again, but temper your touchdown expectations.

43. Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints

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    Marques Colston led the league in catch percentage, and when Drew Brees is throwing the ball 657 times, those two things fit well together.

    His knees are still a little worrisome, but they didn't seem to slow him down last season.

    Additionally, Robert Meachem is out of the picture.

42. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Jeremy Maclin had a cursed 2011.

    A mystery illness coupled with shoulder and hamstring injuries kept him off the field and not fully healthy when on the field.

    He is easily the most complete receiver on the Eagles, and now that he is back to 100 percent, there's no reason this shouldn't be his year.

41. Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams

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    Steven Jackson has the most rushing attempts of any active running back, with 2,137 carries.

    In the last eight games of last season, Jackson averaged 3.9 yards a carry and scored one touchdown.

    He hasn't topped seven rushing touchdowns since 2006.

40. Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins

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    Reggie Bush finished the season with four straight 100-yard games. One of those was actually 200 yards, and those were all yards on the ground, not padded with receiving yards.

    Bush showed all us "experts" that he can run the ball between the tackles and not get hurt.

    But can he do it again? Well, sure he can, but will he? Yeah, I don't know either, but his history says he won't.

39. Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

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    Steve Smith was up to his old tricks last season with Cam Newton chucking him the ball. I don't know how he does it at the ripe old age of 33, but he doesn't look like he's slowing down anytime soon.

38. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

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    Where do you rank All Day?

    He's the best running back in the league over the last five seasons. He is probably one of the best running backs of all time.

    But this is a new season.

    Even though all signs look great for Adrian Peterson's recovery from a completely blown-out knee, he is still a running back who needs that knee to be 100 percent.

    I'm not going to bet against him, but I'm also not going to completely buy into the hype yet again.

37. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

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    If Dez Bryant would just apply himself, he could get good grades, um, I mean be one of the best receivers in the league.

    He has all the tools to be elite, and this is as good a year as any to step up his game.

36. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

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    The Chiefs offense lost their starting running back, quarterback and tight end. They couldn't move the ball with practice squad replacements.

    Dwayne Bowe broke out with a big year in 2010. 2011 was just a bump in the road.

35. Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills

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    C.J. Spiller proved he could be the guy after Fred Jackson broke his leg, but Jackson proved he could be the guy before that.

    Jackson is getting older by the second and once you pass 30 you can actually feel the calcium leaving your bones. But he has proven the world wrong on numerous occasion. It's his job to lose.

34. Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears

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    Brandon Marshall, you wanted Jay Cutler throwing you the ball again, well, here you go!

    It almost seems too easy to say "hey, look at the numbers Marshall put up with Cutler in Denver, let's just ink those into the stat sheet."

    And maybe it is too easy, but I'm going to go ahead and do it.

33. Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants

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    Man, there are a lot of good wide receivers out there. This is just another reason to grab running backs early. But I digress.

    Victor Cruz's abilities are real.

    This isn't smoke and mirrors and salsa dancing. Well, it is salsa dancing, but not the smoke and mirrors part.

    Eli Manning is going to throw the ball a lot and Victor Cruz is going to catch that ball a lot.

32. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

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    When I look at A.J. Green, I see a No. 1 wide receiver. There's no doubt about his abilities.

    He has the goods, the stuff, the ups, the swag. All that and a bag of Funyuns.

    I do worry about Andy Dalton being able to make all the throws, but it hardly seems to matter, because he'll jump out of the stadium and make a one-handed grab, blindfolded.

31. Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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    Rowdy Roddy White is the old reliable, especially in PPR leagues, but this may be the changing of the guard in non-PPR this season.

    You know the other guy who may relieve him from his duties, you'll see him in a bit.

    But of course White isn't going anywhere. He's still going to be a consistent force in what I believe will be a pass-heavy Falcons offense.

30. Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints

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    Darren Sproles is a PPR gold mine.

    Even in standard leagues, he finished as the eighth-best fantasy back in the league, and that was with a whopping 87 carries!

    The guy is a freak and an unbelievable perfect fit for the Saints and Drew Brees.

29. Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Mike Wallace slowed down quite a bit in the second half last season after getting off to a fast start. That had a lot to do with Ben Roethlisberger's injuries, and it looks like the Steelers have really bolstered their offensive line this season.

    I think that will help keep Roethlisberger healthy and Mike Wallace in the fantasy-point market.

28. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

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    In the last five games of the season, Julio Jones had five touchdowns and averaged 92 yards a game.

    At this point he is already more explosive than Roddy White and on a team that should throw the ball more.

    His upside is tremendous this season. I wouldn't balk at reaching for him in the second round.

27. Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots

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    Wes Welker is Wes Welker is Wes Welker.

    You know what you are getting, and what you're getting is good. He will jump in the PPR rankings, but he's a stud no matter what format.

26. Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota Vikings

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    I am Lady Gaga over Percy Harvin.

    All signs point to him having a big season. He finished last season strong and he is top five in catch rate and yards after the catch.

    Christian Ponder learned well last season that Harvin was their second-best player next to Adrian Peterson and needs the ball...often.

25. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans

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    If Andre Johnson can stay healthy, he could once again be a top fantasy receiver. That is a pretty big "if" when there is a lot of depth at receiver this season.

    It's hard to pass on him because his upside is so high, but I might go a safer route this year.

24. Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons

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    Michael Turner has had four straight seasons of 10-plus touchdowns.

    Even though he is slowing down and the Falcons should be passing more, I still see Turner getting plenty of goal-line looks.

    He actually may be fresher for those runs inside the 5-yard line.

    In standard leagues, I think he still has a lot of value.

23. Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants

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    Hakeem Nicks' injury is worrisome, but if all goes as planned, and he returns before Week 1, I still believe he can be an elite receiver in the Giants' pass-happy offense.

22. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    If you are worried about Peyton Hillis, remember that Jamaal Charles put together an amazing season as the No. 2 running back in 2010!

    Charles' injury hurt me deep down in the coccyx, but it was early in the season and he should be ready to go on a team that will run the ball quite a lot.

21. Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers

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    Greg Jennings had a nice 2011, but Jordy Nelson stole the show.

    I see the roles reversing this year as teams pay closer attention to Nelson, giving Jennings a little more room to roam.

20. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

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    If I'm going to own an elite quarterback, it's most likely going to be Matthew Stafford.

    He finally gets to prepare for a season without having his shoulder in a sling, and he is going to throw the ball a ton. 

    His numbers in the second half of last season were great, and there really is no reason he shouldn't keep them up.

19. DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys

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    I'm not really high on DeMarco Murray this season, but he's starting to grow on me.

    I do worry about him getting injured, but that usually doesn't stop me from drafting a guy because I'm all about swinging for the fences.

    The problem I have with Murray is I don't think he has elite talent. The good thing is, you don't have to have elite talent to be a great fantasy back.

    If he can stay healthy, there is no reason he can't be a top five running back this season on a high-powered offense.

18. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

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    Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in the league, but he also has Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez on his team.

    It will be nearly impossible for him to come close to repeating an 18-touchdown season. No receiver has ever done it before, so don't get too greedy.

    Still, he'll put up great numbers for a tight end.

17. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

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    Matt Forte is so dynamic a player that he doesn't need goal-line carries to be ranked 17th overall. Take that, touchdowns!

    He'll need to find the end zone once in a while and those scattered touchdowns will be key, but he's been adept at breaking long plays in the past.

16. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

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    Cam Newton has the ability to blow up the NFL.

    He will improve as a passer, and even though he most likely won't have as many rushing touchdowns, he still will have enough.

    If there is anyone who can knock Aaron Rodgers off his fantasy hill permanently, it will be Newton.

    I don't believe it will happen this season, but you never know.

15. Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints

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    Wait, Jimmy Graham is a tight end, and he's the first one on this list? Where is The Gronk!? He's here, don't worry, but Jimbo Graham is the safer choice this season.

    Again, the Patriots have too many weapons for Gronkowski to reel in 18 touchdowns again, and Graham is almost assured more targets and receptions.

    If the touchdowns even out, which I believe they will, Graham gets the nod.

14. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

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    All the pieces are in place for Tom Brady to put up another monster season.

    Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez make up one of the most potent passing attacks of all time.

    Oh, and Josh McDaniels of Brady's 50-touchdown fame is back. It could get ugly for opposing defenses.

13. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks

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    Beast Mode finally lived up to his name last season as he cashed in 13 touchdowns.

    That was his contract year and he hadn't had a good season since 2008, so it's OK to be a little skeptical. He's not making people miss and his yards per carry for his career is just 4.0.

    He did prove himself last season. If he still has the fire, there's nothing to keep him from doing the same, but I'm going to be wary.

12. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

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    Larry Fitzgerald is the best wide receiver not named Calvin Johnson.

    I don't even want to imagine what he would be capable of with Matthew Stafford throwing to him.

    Unfortunately, Fitzgerald has John Skelton or Kevin Kolb throwing to him, but he is just too great to hold down.

11. Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns

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    Can you trust a rookie this high on the list? Sure, why not? Trent Richardon's going to be the work horse right out of the gate for the Browns.

    And if you think a bad team can't have a top fantasy running back, just look at Peyton Hillis from a couple years ago.

10. Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders

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    Darren McFadden was on pace for a huge year before he hurt his foot, and that was with Michael Bush still in the mix.

    Yes, he's a huge injury risk, but all running backs are. His foot is healed and Michael Bush is gone.

    He has the upside to be the No. 1 fantasy running back and you just can't say that about many players.

9. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

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    Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are very close, but Rodgers' ability to get rushing touchdowns gives him a big boost in leagues where passing touchdowns are four points and rushing scores are six.

    With Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Darren Sproles in the fold, Brees will throw and throw some more, just like old times.

8. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Maurice Jones-Drew put the Jaguars on his back and carried that team every single week.

    Can he do it again? Probably, but I like my stud running backs to once in a while get some help from their teammates.

    Maybe a 79-yard reception to the 1-yard line and then a nice easy walk into the end zone?

    If he can stay healthy, he'll continue to put up numbers, but he does have a lot of wear and tear on that body.

7. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

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    This was a tough one for me.

    I watched Chris Johnson play tentatively all season, and he only put up good numbers against very poor competition.

    It once again comes down to the fact that he is an every down-back with job security. 

    Plus, he's on a offense that should be headed upward with Jake Locker, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook and Kendall Wright manning the key passing positions.

6. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

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    Aaron Rodgers is as consistent as the tides, and I can understand why you would want him on your team.

    I have him ranked No. 6 overall because of that consistency and because I see no end in sight for his fantasy dominance. 

    Just remember that you only need one quarterback in most leagues, so if you draft Brees, Newton, Brady or Stafford instead, well, you aren't losing a ton of ground.

    If you skip on a position where you need two to three players like running back or receiver, you are quickly losing your chance to find enough quality starters to fill out your roster.

5. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

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    If you don't draft Calvin Johnson because of a "curse," then you might as well not draft Arian Foster, because his poetry isn't quite New Yorker material.

    Megatron is the best wide receiver in the league, with one of the best quarterbacks on a team that throws the ball 40 times a game.

4. Ryan Matthews, RB, San Diego Chargers

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    After the top three running backs, it starts to get a little more troublesome.

    At the No. 4 spot you can go safe with a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or the best receiver in the game in Calvin Johnson, but I prefer to stick with a player and position that is much more scarce and has a lot of upside.

    Ryan Mathews proved to me last season that even with nagging injuries and a goal-line vulture in Mike Tolbert, he can put up good numbers.

    Now with Tolbert gone, he will get all of the goal-line carries and a big chunk of of Tolbert's 54 receptions (Mathews also had 50).

    In fantasy, you need two to three starting running backs.

    As running games get more specialized with committees, it is getting harder and harder to find one that is the every-down back, especially with Mathews' skill set.

    The Chargers didn't add a true backup and are going to give Mathews the keys.

3. LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    There may not be a more elusive back in the league right now than LeSean McCoy. He can stop and go on a dime and finishes well.

    Many were high on him last season, but nobody realistically foresaw him finishing with 20 total touchdowns.

    I do think he will regress in touchdown production in 2012, but he's still one of the very few every-down backs in the league and has tremendous talent.

    He is firmly entrenched in the top three fantasy picks.

2. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

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    Ray Rice was the No. 1 fantasy RB last season and is still young, healthy and versatile enough to be a top-three back.

    Last season he had 12 rushing and three receiving touchdowns after being vultured by Willis McGahee the two years before.

    He once again gets all the goal-line opportunities and another 10-plus touchdown year is in order.

1. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

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    Arian Foster wasn't at full health to start the season and still managed to finish as a top-four fantasy running back while missing three games.

    His average fantasy points per game was tops in the league for running backs at 18.8.

    He easily looked like the best back in the league in the playoffs, putting up huge numbers against Cincinnati and Baltimore.

    There isn't much debate in the fantasy world that he is the consensus No. 1 pick.

Final Top 100 Fantasy Big Board

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    1. Arian Foster
    2. Ray Rice
    3. LeSean McCoy
    4. Ryan Mathews
    5. Calvin Johnson
    6. Aaron Rodgers
    7. Chris Johnson
    8. Maurice Jones-Drew
    9. Drew Brees
    10. Darren McFadden
    11. Trent Richardson
    12. Larry Fitzgerald
    13. Marshawn Lynch
    14. Tom Brady
    15. Jimmy Graham
    16. Cam Newton
    17. Matt Forte
    18. Rob Gronkowski
    19. DeMarco Murray
    20. Matthew Stafford
    21. Greg Jennings
    22. Jamaal Charles
    23. Hakeem Nicks
    24. Michael Turner
    25. Andre Johnson
    26. Percy Harvin
    27. Wes Welker
    28. Julio Jones
    29. Mike Wallace
    30. Darren Sproles
    31. Roddy White
    32. A.J. Green
    33. Victor Cruz
    34. Brandon Marshall
    35. Fred Jackson
    36. Dwayne Bowe
    37. Dez Bryant
    38. Adrian Peterson
    39. Steve Smith
    40. Reggie Bush
    41. Steven Jackson
    42. Jeremy Maclin
    43. Marques Colston
    44. Jordy Nelson
    45. Ahmad Bradshaw
    46. Michael Vick
    47. Doug Martin
    48. Frank Gore
    49. Miles Austin
    50. Vincent Jackson
    51. Eli Manning
    52. Demaryius Thomas
    53. Philip Rivers
    54. Beanie Wells
    55. Tony Romo
    56. Shonn Greene
    57. Roy Helu
    58. Kenny Britt
    59. Steve Johnson
    60. Vernon Davis
    61. Antonio Gates
    62. Antonio Brown
    63. Brandon Lloyd
    64. Aaron Hernandez
    65. Isaac Redman
    66. DeSean Jackson
    67. Jason Witten
    68. Jermichael Finley
    69. Fred Davis
    70. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
    71. Jonathan Stewart
    72. Matt Ryan
    73. Reggie Wayne
    74. Eric Decker
    75. C.J. Spiller
    76. Peyton Manning
    77. DeAngelo Williams
    78. Willis McGahee
    79. Malcom Floyd
    80. Pierre Garcon
    81. Donald Brown
    82. Jahvid Best
    83. Brandon Pettigrew
    84. Torrey Smith
    85. Denarius Moore
    86. Robert Meachem
    87. Stevan Ridley
    88. Mark Ingram
    89. Ben Tate
    90. Santonio Holmes
    91. Robert Griffin III
    92. James Starks
    93. Ben Roethlisberger
    94. Jay Cutler
    95. Tony Gonzalez
    96. Mike Williams
    97. Michael Bush
    98. Anquan Boldin
    99. Jared Cook
    100. Greg Little