Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 20 Players at Every Position

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystDecember 19, 2012

Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 20 Players at Every Position

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    It's Week 16 of the 2012 NFL season, and that means that in the vast majority of fantasy-football leagues, this is it.

    Championship Week!

    This week, two teams enter, but only one will leave, and that team will hoist the trophy as the league champions, earning the right to spend the next several months talking smack to his or her league-mates.

    Since talking a little junk is something that just about everyone enjoys from time to time, let's get you set up to do just that with a look at the top-20 players at every position in point-per-reception (PPR) fantasy-football leagues.

Peyton Manning and the Top 20 Quarterbacks

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    It's pretty safe to say that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning answered the questions about his 2012 comeback in emphatic fashion, as the four-time NFL MVP has topped 4,000 passing yards and ranks among the top-five fantasy options at his position this year.

    The Broncos have to keep winning to hang on to the second seed in the AFC, which means that Denver will come out firing this week in a top-10 fantasy matchup against the Cleveland Browns.

    1. Peyton Manning - DEN vs. CLE

    2. Drew Brees - NO at DAL

    3. Aaron Rodgers - GB vs. TEN

    4. Tom Brady - NE at JAX

    5. Cam Newton - CAR vs. OAK

    6. Matt Ryan - ATL at DET

    7. Tony Romo - DAL vs. NO

    8. Matthew Stafford - DET vs. ATL

    9. Andrew Luck - IND at KC

    10. Ben Roethlisberger - PIT vs. CIN

    11. Eli Manning - NYG at BAL

    12. Robert Griffin III - WAS at PHI

    13. Colin Kaepernick - SF at SEA

    14. Josh Freeman - TB vs. STL

    15. Andy Dalton - CIN at PIT

    16. Joe Flacco - BAL vs. NYG

    17. Russell Wilson - SEA vs. SF

    18. Matt Schaub - HOU vs. MIN

    19. Sam Bradford - STL at TB

    20. Carson Palmer - OAK at CAR

Adrian Peterson and the Top 20 Running Backs

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    Much like Peyton Manning, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson entered the 2012 season amid questions about his health, and much like Manning, Peterson beat those questions senseless with a hammer.

    The sixth-year pro leads the NFL in rushing, is averaging a gaudy 6.3 yards a carry and is within striking distance of both 2,000 rushing yards and the single-season rushing record.

    Screw the matchup. The way Peterson's playing right now, I'd start him against the 1985 Chicago Bears.

    1. Adrian Peterson - MIN at HOU

    2. Arian Foster - HOU vs. MIN

    3. DeMarco Murray - DAL vs. NO

    4. Ray Rice - BAL vs. NYG

    5. Doug Martin - TB vs. STL

    6. C.J. Spiller - BUF at MIA

    7. Matt Forte - CHI at ARI

    8. Jamaal Charles - KC vs. IND

    9. Trent Richardson - CLE at DEN

    10. Chris Johnson - TEN at GB

    11. Alfred Morris - WAS at PHI

    12. Darren McFadden - OAK at CAR

    13. Stevan Ridley - NE at JAX

    14. Steven Jackson - STL at TB

    15. Marshawn Lynch - SEA vs. SF

    16. Frank Gore - SF at SEA

    17. DeAngelo Williams - CAR vs. OAK

    18. Knowshon Moreno - DEN vs. CLE

    19. Darren Sproles - NO at DAL

    20. BenJarvus Green-Ellis - CIN at PIT

Calvin Johnson and the Top 20 Wide Receivers

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    The Detroit Lions have been a massive disappointment in 2012, but the blame for the team's current six-game losing streak can hardly be laid on wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

    The 27-year-old is the first player in NFL history with over 1,600 receiving yards in successive seasons, tied an NFL mark a week ago with his seventh straight 100-yard game, and Johnson is on a pace that would set a new single-season record for receiving yards.

    1. Calvin Johnson - DET vs. ATL

    2. Brandon Marshall - CHI at ARI

    3. A.J. Green - CIN at PIT

    4. Julio Jones - ATL at DET

    5. Reggie Wayne - IND at KC

    6. Andre Johnson - HOU vs. MIN

    7. Victor Cruz - NYG at BAL

    8. Demaryius Thomas - DEN vs. CLE

    9. Wes Welker - NE at JAX

    10. Roddy White - ATL at DET

    11. Vincent Jackson - TB vs. STL

    12. Dez Bryant - DAL vs. NO

    13. Eric Decker - DEN vs. CLE

    14. Cecil Shorts - JAX vs. NE

    15. Randall Cobb - GB vs. TEN

    16. Marques Colston - NO at DAL

    17. Mike Wallace - PIT vs. CIN

    18. Steve Smith - CAR vs. OAK

    19. Brian Hartline - MIA vs. BUF

    20. Danny Amendola - STL at TB

Tony Gonzalez and the Top 20 Tight Ends

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    Before this season, Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez dropped in many fantasy drafts, as many predicted that Gonzo's advanced age would lead to a decline in his productivity.

    Um, oops.

    Not only has the 16th-year veteran's production not declined, but Gonzalez is on pace for the fifth 1,000-yard season of his illustrious career, and this week, Gonzalez draws a favorable Saturday-night matchup with the Detroit Lions.

    1. Tony Gonzalez - ATL at DET

    2. Aaron Hernandez - NE at JAX

    3. Jimmy Graham - NO at DAL

    4. Jason Witten - DAL vs. NO

    5. Owen Daniels - HOU vs. MIN

    6. Heath Miller - PIT vs. CIN

    7. Greg Olsen - CAR vs. OAK

    8. Martellus Bennett - NYG at BAL

    9. Jermaine Gresham - CIN at PIT

    10. Brandon Myers - OAK at CAR

    11. Dennis Pitta - BAL vs. NYG

    12. Antonio Gates - SD at NYJ

    13. Jermichael Finley - GB vs. TEN

    14. Brandon Pettigrew - DET vs. ATL

    15. Kyle Rudolph - MIN at HOU

    16. Marcedes Lewis - JAX vs. NE

    17. Vernon Davis - SF at SEA

    18. Dallas Clark - TB vs. STL

    19. Scott Chandler - BUF at MIA

    20. Brent Celek - PHI vs. WAS

Stephen Gostkowski and the Top 20 Kickers

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    There are a great many things that I will miss as fantasy-football season comes to a close.

    Ranking kickers is not one of them.

    It has to be done, though, and in championship week, Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots, who is fantasy's top-scoring kicker and faces a Jacksonville Jaguars team allowing the most fantasy points to the position, gets the nod as fantasy's top foot.

    1. Stephen Gostkowski - NE at JAX

    2. Matt Bryant - ATL at DET

    3. Matt Prater - DEN vs. CLE

    4. Shayne Graham - HOU vs. MIN

    5. Dan Bailey - DAL vs. NO

    6. Lawrence Tynes - NYG at BAL

    7. Mason Crosby - GB vs. TEN

    8. Garrett Hartley - NO at DAL

    9. Jason Hanson - DET vs. ATL

    10. Justin Tucker - BAL vs. NYG

    11. Connor Barth - TB vs. STL

    12. Josh Brown - CIN at PIT

    13. Kai Forbath - WAS at PHI

    14. Graham Gano - CAR vs. OAK

    15. Shaun Suisham - PIT vs. CIN

    16. Blair Walsh - MIN at HOU

    17. Adam Vinatieri - IND at KC

    18. Greg Zuerlein - STL at TB

    19. Sebastian Janikowski - OAK at CAR

    20. David Akers - SF at SEA

Chicago Bears and the Top 20 Defenses

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    In fantasy football, picking a team defense can be as much about the matchup as anything, but in Week 16, we have a perfect storm of solid defense meets great matchup.

    That solid defense belongs to cornerback Charles Tillman and the Chicago Bears, and fantasy football's top-scoring defense should have a field day against the anemic Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

    Good luck this week, and have a merry Christmas everybody!

    1. Chicago Bears - CHI at ARI

    2. New England Patriots - NE at JAX

    3. Denver Broncos - DEN vs. CLE

    4. Green Bay Packers - GB vs. TEN

    5. Seattle Seahawks - SEA vs. SF

    6. Washington Redskins - WAS at PHI

    7. San Diego Chargers - SD at NYJ

    8. Cincinnati Bengals - CIN at PIT

    9. San Francisco 49ers - SF at SEA

    10. Houston Texans - HOU vs. MIN

    11. Carolina Panthers - CAR vs. OAK

    12. Atlanta Falcons - ATL at DET

    13. Miami Dolphins - MIA vs. BUF

    14. Pittsburgh Steelers - PIT vs. CIN

    15. New York Giants - NYG at BAL

    16. New York Jets - NYJ vs. SD

    17. Dallas Cowboys - DAL vs. NO

    18. Indianapolis Colts - IND at KC

    19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - TB vs. STL

    20. Arizona Cardinals - ARI vs. CHI