Fantasy Football 2014: Mobile Cheat Sheet for Top Preseason Positional Rankings

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIAugust 1, 2014

Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

After an offseason that felt like an eternity, the NFL is back in action, as the Hall of Fame game is set to kick off the preseason on Sunday. For fantasy enthusiasts, this time of year also marks a frenzy of last-minute preparations for ensuing drafts.

Although, no matter how well prepared many of us may be entering our fantasy drafts, it's never a bad idea to keep some helpful cheat sheets on hand. After all, having the necessary tools to make calculated decisions when you're on the clock can be the difference in winning your draft.

As the preseason marches on, fantasy rankings may change slightly—injuries, breakout performances and sudden depth-chart alterations happen each year—however, until September creeps closer, here's a look at the top 10 players at each position for fantasy football leagues using standard scoring.

 

Quarterbacks

Julio Cortez/Associated Press
2014 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings
Pos.PlayerTeam
1Peyton ManningDenver Broncos
2Drew BreesNew Orleans Saints
3Aaron RodgersGreen Bay Packers
4Matthew StaffordDetroit Lions
5Matt RyanAtlanta Falcons
6Andrew LuckIndianapolis Colts
7Tom BradyNew England Patriots
8Robert Griffin IIIWashington Redskins
9Cam NewtonCarolina Panthers
10Russell WilsonSeattle Seahawks
Sean O'Donnell's Rankings

After setting new single-season records with 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards last season, Peyton Manning is easily the top quarterback heading into the new season. However, there's plenty of room for argument after the future Hall of Famer.

Drew Brees has been an absolute machine in yardage, tossing over 5,000 yards in each of his last three seasons. Despite losing Darren Sproles over the offseason, the acquisition of the speedy Brandin Cooks will help this high-octane offense keep up its torrid pace.

In fact, Cooks has already been lighting it up at training camp, via Eye on Football:

Rounding out the top three is Aaron Rodgers. The Packers quarterback was on pace for a monster season in 2013, throwing for 2,536 yards and 17 touchdowns in just nine games. If he can go a full 16 games this season, he'll find himself near the top of fantasy quarterback rankings.

 

Running Backs

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
2014 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings
Pos.PlayerTeam
1Adrian PetersonMinnesota Vikings
2LeSean McCoyPhiladelphia Eagles
3Jamaal CharlesKansas City Chiefs
4Matt ForteChicago Bears
5Eddie LacyGreen Bay Packers
6Marshawn LynchSeattle Seahawks
7Arian FosterHouston Texans
8DeMarco MurrayDallas Cowboys
9Montee BallDenver Broncos
10Giovani BernardCincinnati Bengals
Sean O'Donnell's Rankings

It's difficult to rank any running back higher than Adrian Peterson. While he may not have duplicated his improbable 2,097-yard performance from 2012 last season, he's still an extremely consistent option, putting up double-digit touchdowns in each of his seven NFL seasons.

LeSean McCoy broke out in a big way last season in Chip Kelly's offense. An elusive rusher and fine receiver out of the backfield, he accounted for a total of 2,146 yards from scrimmage last season. Not only is he easily the No. 2-ranked back this season, but he's close to challenging Peterson for the top spot.

Even the gaming world has noticed McCoy's rushing prowess, via EA Sports Madden NFL:

After McCoy, the argument regarding the No. 3 running back between Jamaal Charles and Matt Forte could begin. Each are certainly worthy of the spot; however, despite Forte's breakout performance in Marc Trestman's system last season, Charles gets the nod here.

The most legitimate weapon on the Kansas City Chiefs offense, Charles will continue to get a bevy of touches this season—both as a rusher and pass-catcher. After scoring a total of 19 touchdowns in 15 games last season, it's hard to bet against this elite running back.

 

Wide Receivers

Rick Osentoski/Associated Press
2014 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings
Pos.PlayerTeam
1Calvin JohnsonDetroit Lions
2Demaryius ThomasDenver Broncos
3Dez BryantDallas Cowboys
4A.J. GreenCincinnati Bengals
5Brandon MarshallChicago Bears
6Julio JonesAtlanta Falcons
7Antonio BrownPittsburgh Steelers
8Jordy NelsonGreen Bay Packers
9Alshon JefferyChicago Bears
10Vincent JacksonTampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean O'Donnell's Rankings

Megatron. Really, what more needs to be said? Calvin Johnson is simply a ridiculous specimen of an NFL wide receiver. Year after year, Johnson continues to light it up despite a high level of attention from opposing defenses. This year, he has a legitimate sidekick in Golden Tate to take some of that attention away.

While there are plenty of targets in Denver for Manning, there's no shortage of opportunities. In a highly talented offense last season, Demaryius Thomas caught 92 receptions for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns—very similar numbers to his 2012 totals. His consistency gets him the No. 2 spot here.

Dez Bryant continues to mold himself into one of the league's elite receivers. He's virtually uncoverable, and that's been apparent over his last two seasons, as he's put up at least 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns in each.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com was at Cowboys camp and has some very high praise for Bryant:

Brandt also had a message for fantasy owners:

Draft Bryant with confidence as the No. 3-ranked receiver.

 

Tight Ends

Bill Feig/Associated Press
2014 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings
Pos.PlayerTeam
1Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans Saints
2Julius ThomasDenver Broncos
3Vernon DavisSan Francisco 49ers
4Rob GronkowskiNew England Patriots
5Jordan CameronCleveland Browns
6Greg OlsenCarolina Panthers
7Jason WittenDallas Cowboys
8Dennis PittaBaltimore Ravens
9Kyle RudolphMinnesota Vikings
10Jordan ReedWashington Redskins
Sean O'Donnell's Rankings

Jimmy Graham is an absolute monster. He's the one tight end who actually puts up top-tier wide receiver numbers, compiling 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns one season ago. He may be paid like a wide receiver now, but he's still a tight end for fantasy purposes—and a darn good one.

Julius Thomas broke out in a big way with Manning at the helm last season. His 65 receptions for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns were no fluke, and with another year of chemistry with the quarterback under his belt, expect those numbers to rise again this season.

Cecil Lammey of ESPN Denver tweeted his impression of Thomas this year while at Broncos camp:

Adam Levitan of Rotoworld expects a massive year from the tight end:

Rounding out the top three is San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.

Davis benefits in a couple of ways from his team's current roster. He's really the only legitimate downfield threat on the offense, with San Francisco's receivers falling in the possession category; however, both Anquan Boldin and a now-healthy Michael Crabtree garner enough attention from defenses to open things up for Davis—a matchup nightmare.

The tight end came away with 850 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, and those numbers should be expected to duplicate in 2014.