Top 5 Fantasy Football Players at Each Position
If you haven't drafted a team yet, have no fear; 10 days is plenty of time to put together a winning team.
Fantasy football is without a doubt the most popular fantasy game there is. Many people commonly host draft day parties that are as big a deal, sometimes a bigger deal, than an actual draft day party.
Husbands look forward to it, wives dread it, but one thing is certain: Fantasy football is addicting.
You find yourself in a league with nine of your closest friends and something is always on the line, whether that be money, pride or a combination of the two. You want to field the best team possible, and with literally every player in the league on the board, the combinations for a winning team are endless.
Here is a list of the top five players at every standard position in fantasy football. The more of these guys you have on your squad, the more likely you can call yourself league champion come January.
J. Meric/Getty Images
1. Tom Brady
In my eyes, drafting Tom Brady as your QB translates into wins—and a lot of them.
Last season, Brady threw for 3,900 yards, 36 touchdowns and a mere four interceptions. While he may have not won a Super Bowl like Aaron Rodgers (the top-ranked QB by many), Super Bowl wins don't win you fantasy games.
Tom Brady's numbers do.
2. Drew Brees
If you're in a league that rewards quarterbacks for passing yards, Brees is your man. Last season, he threw for 4,620 yards, and there's no reason Brees can't do that again.
The only reason I have him ranked below Brady is because Brees is a risk to turn the ball over, as he threw 22 interceptions in 2010.
Rodgers' numbers were solid in 2010, and he is a great option for your quarterback, but my problem is that websites have him ranked so high overall (usually around No. 7) that if you want Rodgers, you have to take him with your first pick (rather than drafting an elite running back or receiver).
Rodgers will have a solid season, but not enough to where he is worthy of being your first overall pick. Pass on him and pick up Brady or Brees in Round 2.
Some owners might be lucky to have Rivers fall to them in the third round, and he would be a steal if he falls that late to you. Rivers is a reliable QB who could lead the league in passing yards and could throw 30-plus touchdowns.
5. Michael Vick
While Vick won't throw as many touchdowns as the guys above, he's the top dual-threat quarterback in the league. Vick is good for about 20 passing touchdowns and 8-10 rushing touchdowns.
The only risk with him is injury, because as a quarterback on the run, Vick will get hit more than others. It's a high-risk, high-reward situation that could pay off if you think he can take the hits.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Once again, Adrian Peterson is widely considered the top player available in fantasy football.
The reason I like Peterson is that he is about as safe of a pick as there is. You can draft him knowing he will produce for you this season.
Look for AP to run for close to 1,500 yards and reach double-digits in rushing touchdowns.
2. Arian Foster
Arian Foster had a monster year for the Texans in 2010 that nobody saw coming. Foster ran for 1,616 yards and 16 touchdowns.
I would fully support anyone taking him as the first overall pick, but the only thing to watch out for is if last year was just a fluke. Chances are Foster will have another big year, but for at least this season, Peterson remains the safer pick.
Jamaal Charles has some ups and downs. On one hand, he is a threat to run for 1,500-plus yards this season, but the big question will be if he can score more touchdowns.
Charles only had five last year compared to 16 for Arian Foster and 12 for Adrian Peterson. Charles is still an elite option though.
Maurice Jones-Drew is a lot like Jamaal Charles: reliable for rushing yards, questionable for touchdowns.
Like Charles, Jones-Drew only had five touchdowns on the ground last year, leaving many owners upset. Unless you have the first or second pick, Jones-Drew will probably be one of the best running backs you can draft this year.
Last season, Mendenhall ran for 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns. If your league emphasis is on touchdowns over rushing yards, pass on Charles and Jones-Drew, and scoop up Mendenhall.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Andre Johnson is without a doubt the top fantasy receiver. He is a threat to gain more than 1,500 receiving yards, as well as double-digit touchdowns.
Johnson is likely to go in the first round of most drafts, and he is definitely worthy of being your No. 1 pick.
2. Roddy White
Roddy White put up solid numbers last season with 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns.
I'm always a fan of receivers who have elite quarterbacks throwing to them, and that is exactly what White has with Matt Ryan throwing him the ball. Solid numbers with an elite quarterback on a winning team makes White one of the best receivers in fantasy football.
While Johnson doesn't have an elite team or an elite quarterback, he still manages to be one of the top receivers in the league. His numbers from 2010 (1,120 yards and 12 touchdowns) were impressive in his situation.
The silver lining with receivers on losing teams are that they are more likely to have opportunities for big plays since their team often has to rely on the passing game while trailing. Calvin Johnson would be a solid top receiver for any fantasy team.
Jennings is another example of the receiver with the "elite quarterback, elite team" combination.
Like Hakeem Nicks, Jennings is a threat to have big games. Jennings had five games with more than 100 receiving yards in 2010. He's also good for anywhere from 10-12 touchdowns a year.
Plus, having Aaron Rodgers throwing to him always helps.
5. Hakeem Nicks
What I like about Hakeem Nicks is his potential for big games. Last season, he had four games with more than 100 receiving yards and another two games where he racked up more than 90 receiving yards.
Nicks is also a threat to have multiple touchdowns a game, as well as double-digit touchdowns for the season. If he builds on those numbers, look for Nicks to have a big year in 2011.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Year after year, Antonio Gates is the top tight end in fantasy football, and that will be the case in 2011 as well.
Gates is one of only few tight ends in the league who can rack up more than 1,000 yards and 10 or more touchdowns in a season, and that makes him a solid option as your tight end.
As long as he remains one of Philip Rivers' favorite targets, Gates will be in good shape for fantasy football.
2. Jason Witten
When you're the tight end for your team and you're the go-to guy in the air, you must be doing something right.
Jason Witten has been one of the best tight ends in the league, and like Gates, Witten is a threat to put up big numbers. He might not have the most touchdowns out of the tight ends, but he's one of the most reliable.
3. Dallas Clark
In years' past, I'd rank Dallas Clark right behind Gates, but I'm concerned his numbers will take a dip if Peyton Manning misses too much time.
However, Clark still remains a great option at tight end. He might not score as many touchdowns as Gates, but he'll gain just as many, if not more, yards.
Jermichael Finley is a solid option at tight end because he is a threat to put up big numbers thanks to having one of the league's best quarterbacks.
In 2011, look for Finley to gain close to 1,000 receiving yards while hauling in eight or nine touchdowns.
5. Vernon Davis
Owners should look at Vernon Davis because the 49ers consider him their top receiver until someone else steps up.
Davis might not put up 1,000 yards, but when a team's first option through the air is their tight end, that makes him worth looking at for your tight end.
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
1. Nate Kaeding
When teams score touchdowns like the Chargers do, fantasy owners who have kickers on those high-scoring teams are rewarded with extra points—and a lot of them.
They may be small contributions to your scoring, but Kaeding will assure you get all those little points that just might give you the win one week.
2. Neil Rackers
Rackers is probably one of the higher-scoring kickers in the league because of his accuracy from long range, combined with plenty of extra point opportunities.
Last season, Rackers hit three of four field goals from more than 50 yards, which will really help in fantasy football. He'll also have a lot of extra point opportunities if the Texans' offense is as good as it is on paper this year.
3. Josh Brown
Josh Brown hits field goals—and a lot of them. He had four games last season where he hit three or more field goals during the game.
Brown's coaches also trust him from long range, which can pay off in fantasy. His coaches aren't afraid to let him try and nail the long field goal, and long field goals mean nice bonuses in fantasy football.
4. Rob Bironas
When it comes to kickers, Bironas is a sniper. In the past four years, he hasn't missed more than five field goals in a year.
Owners love accurate kickers, and Bironas is one of the more accurate kickers available for your fantasy squad this year.
Look for Gostkowski to bounce back from his torn quad muscle in 2011.
Up until his injury, Gostkowski was having a solid season in 2010, and he should be one of the better kickers in 2011. If you have matchups that go down to the wire, the fact that Gostkowski will be kicking perhaps the most extra points in the league could give you the slight edge when you need it most.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
The Steelers have constantly had perhaps the best defense in the league year in and year out, and 2011 will be no different. They have elite defensive players, and they love to blitz, which translates to big points when they do get to the quarterback.
Last season, the Packers had six games where they gave up seven points or less.
That alone makes them a solid option for a fantasy defense.
Combine that with elite playmakers, and you have a defense that is guaranteed to help your team this season.
The Jets run the 3-4, which means more linebackers, which means more blitzing, which means more sacks.
New York's defensive line is also solid, which makes running the ball against the Jets nearly impossible at times.
The Jets also gave up 14 points or less seven times last season. These factors make the New York defense a great option for fantasy football.
If the Ravens could produce more sacks, they would be ranked higher. Unfortunately, the Ravens ranked 27th in the league in sacks last year.
But the rest of the defense is so stacked, you really shouldn't worry.
The Ravens' defensive line is a nightmare, and Ed Reed racking up plenty of interceptions add to the fact that the Ravens are still a great option at defense.
Teams don't often put up a lot of points against the Bears' defense. In 2010, Chicago gave up less than 20 points 10 times during the year.
Look for Julius Peppers to play a bigger role, and Brian Urlacher still remains a threat, as players around the league still fear him. The Bears remain a solid top-five option for your defense.