NFL Preseason Week 1 Rankings


My first big board of 2018 has arrived.

I’ve written about early/mid RB sleeperslate-round RB sleepers and wide receiver sleepers as well, with plenty more angles to come. Today, we put it all together for a top-100 list of players for a half-PPR league.

Here are a couple rules I live by:

  • If you’re deciding between RB and WR early, go RB.
    • The WR class is as deep as I can remember. The RB class on the other hand, is incredibly top heavy. The middle rounds are filled with uncertainty, split backfields, injury concerns and goal-line vultures. I’m looking to go RB-RB as often as I can, then stockpiling upside WRs and that’s reflected early on my board.
  • Love the ‘boring’ players.
    • Jordan Howard and A.J. Green in early rounds. Lamar Miller and Chris Hogan in middle rounds. Marshawn Lynch and Jordy Nelson as values late.
    • They’re not flashy. None of your friends will go ‘great pick, Zach!’ (especially if your name isn’t Zach,) but these are the guys that fall in drafts not because of poor production, but because they don’t have the pizaz of Josh Gordon / Rashaad Penny.
  • Wait on Quarterback.
    • These are luxury picks. As elite as Rodgers, Brady and Brees are, the difference between QB2 (Tom Brady) and QB13 (Case Keenum) last season in my league was 56 points. On average, the second quarterback is being drafted in the fourth round. The 13th is being taken in the 10th.
    • Get your high upside RBs and WRs, then be the last person in your league to take a QB. You won’t regret it.
  • Use this as a guide! Compare this big board with current ADPs to find values.
    • I like Lamar Miller more than most, 32nd overall on my big board compared to his ADP of 51. However, that doesn’t mean I’d necessarily draft him 32nd overall.
    • If you’re picking at the end of the third round, take another player in that range, a la Tyreek Hill, who’s ADP (34) lines up more with our big board. Then, at the beginning of the fourth round, Miller and his ADP of 51 should still be around for you to draft and your roster is that much deeper.
    • Selecting the right players is important. Getting the players you want is equally important. But, maximizing the return of each pick is where you gain a competitive advantage over your league.
  • Most importantly, have fun!
    • If your favorite player is Juju Smith-Schuster, don’t hesitate to reach for him. This isn’t me giving you my blessing to take him first overall, but this is your team not mine. Build a team you want to root for!

And with that, here’s my big board after Week 1 of the preseason.

NASHVILLE, TN – DECEMBER 24: Running Back Todd Gurley II #30 of the Los Angeles Rams scores against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

  1. Todd Gurley LAR
  2. Le’Veon Bell PIT
  3. David Johnson ARI
  4. Antonio Brown PIT
  5. Odell Beckham Jr. NYG
  6. Julio Jones ATL — Huge TD bounce-back year coming.
  7. Ezekiel Elliott DAL — Recurring off-the-field issues scare me.
  8. Saquon Barkley NYG
  9. Alvin Kamara NO —
  10. Melvin Gordon LAC — Poor YPC and injury history scare me, but nobody threatening his touches. Expect more catches this year as well.
  11. Leonard Fournette JAC — No threats for touches in what should be solid offense. Yes…a Blake Bortles-led offense should be solid, especially when they face the easiest schedule in the league.
  12. Kareem Hunt KC — 72 total broken tackles last year, 10 more than anyone else in the league. Think we see a small regression in his totals (Ware healthy, Watkins in the building) but high-floor, safe pick.
  13. Jordan Howard CHI — Nagy, Trubisky, A-Rob should help Howard produce in much-improved CHI offense.
  14. DeAndre Hopkins HOU
  15. Michael Thomas NO — Possibly my favorite value, No. 1 WR potential.
  16. Christian McCaffrey CAR — Doesn’t need red zone touches to be productive. If he gets them? Look out.
  17. Dalvin Cook MIN — Looking better than ever in camp, but Vikings OL falling apart.
  18. Keenan Allen LAC — Showed what he can do if he stays healthy. Elite WR1
  19. A.J. Green CIN — As consistent as they come. Cincy’s offense should bounce-back this year.
  20. Davante Adams GB — Jordy gone. Cobb banged up. Adams is Rodgers’ clear-cut No. 1. Yes, please.
  21. Devonta Freeman ATL — Under 200 carries last year, but 7+ TDs three straight seasons.
  22. Mike Evans TB — Target machine, safe pick anywhere in this range.
  23. Jerick McKinnon SF — Shanahan paid top-dollar for McKinnon for a reason. 70+ catch upside, monitor red zone production. CMC-lite.
  24. T.Y. Hilton IND — Luck is back. Hilton is WR1 with Luck under center.
  25. Adam Thielen MIN — Boring name. Elite production.
  26. Stefon Diggs MIN — Antonio Brown-esque production. Just has to stay healthy.
  27. Alex Collins BAL — Elite production in his half season as starter. PFF’s highest-graded runner (86.9) last season, just have to hope he gets the carries. Monitor as preseason progresses.
  28. Doug Baldwin SEA — Have to monitor his knee injury. Low-end WR1 if healthy.
  29. Jarvis Landry CLE — Love, love, love Juice. Bless’m.
  30. Golden Tate DET — 90+ catches four straight years. High-floor. Monitor preseason injury.
  31. Travis Kelce KC
  32. Lamar Miller HOU — Watson returns. Backfield is his. Came into camp in improved shape. Prime bounce-back candidate. High, high floor.
  33. Kenyan Drake MIA — Frank Gore getting some hype, but you don’t find talent like this on trees.
  34. Larry Fitzgerald ARI — He’s been QB-proof his entire career. Will be 35 to start the year. Can he continue to defy the odds?
  35. Tyreek Hill KC
  36. Rob Gronkowski NE — Think Pats save him for playoffs.
  37. Brandin Cooks LAR — Rams paid him a fortune. McVay’s creative genius will be sure to make it worth it. Still just 24.
  38. Allen Robinson CHI
  39. Demaryius Thomas DEN — Big upgrade at QB. Upgrade to offseason workout. 140+ targets six straight years.
  40. Amari Cooper OAK — Top-five WR based on talent. Production didn’t back that up last season.
  41. Jay Ajayi PHI — Mixed bag here. Pederson spreads snaps with Coleman/Sproles, but Ajayi was elite with Philly last year. 5.8 YPC with wild 3.6 yards after contact per attempt. High ceiling, low floor.
  42. Marvin Jones DET — ‘Best player in Lions camp’
  43. Mark Ingram NO — Missing four games, yes. But RB1 when he’s playing, in elite offense.
  44. JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT — Broke out 2nd-half of last year, 75+ yds in five of last seven games, 4 TDs. Can he sustain his catch rate + yards per target in an offense where targets are few and far between?
  45. Joe Mixon CIN — All the upside in the world, upgraded offensive line, but you’re paying too much at his current ADP (25!). Gio Bernard still likely getting 100+ touches, we don’t know who’s getting red zone looks. Too much risk.
  46. Dion Lewis TEN — Lewis and Henry will eat at each other’s value, but both should be nice RB2s.
  47. Derrick Henry TEN
  48. Chris Hogan NE — No Edelman (4 games.) No Amendola. No Lewis. Hogan could be WR1 territory early.
  49. LeSean McCoy BUF — Potential off-the-field concerns. Awful Buffalo offense. 250+ touches eight straight years. I’m staying away unless he falls.
  50. Emmanuel Sanders DEN — Finally has a good QB again. Down year last year due to injuries, his ADP is way too low.
  51. Rex Burkhead NE — The RB to own in New England.
  52. Royce Freeman DEN — Think this is the RB to own in Denver.
  53. Alshon Jeffery PHI — Not buying the hype for a guy that didn’t top 100 yards ONCE last season.
  54. Zach Ertz PHI — Rather wait on TE.
  55. Sammy Watkins KC — Bumping him up for his talent, upside.
  56. Michael Crabtree BAL
  57. Evan Engram NYG
  58. Robert Woods LAR — Cooks replaces Watkins, Woods should still have his role in the slot. Nice WR3. One of PFF’s most consistent players last year.
  59. Ronald Jones II TB — Explosive athlete, but Peyton Barber getting the first-team snaps early on.
  60. Rashaad Penny SEA — Chris Carson hype is scaring me away.
  61. Aaron Rodgers GB — I’m waiting on QB, but if Rodgers falls to open round 6, I’m drafting value.
  62. Josh Gordon CLE — Price too high considering all the questions surrounding his availability.
  63. Jamaal Williams GB — Investing in these two as a pair. Williams was a top-10 RB last year when the backfield was his.
  64. Greg Olsen CAR — 33 years old, but a nice reward if you wait on TE.
  65. Corey Davis TEN
  66. Randall Cobb GB — If healthy this is too low. If injured, this is too high. A nice value if he’s on the field.
  67. Marshawn Lynch OAK — 200+ carries. Looking fresh in preseason. Doug Martin shouldn’t hold him back.
  68. Marquise Goodwin SF — Garcon is back, but I’m looking at Goodwin as the WR1 with Jimmy GQ.
  69. Jimmy Graham GB
  70. Sony Michel NE — Belichick doesn’t invest a first-round pick and not use him. Need to monitor his injuries.
  71. Tevin Coleman ATL
  72. Chris Thompson WAS — Guice injury catapults Thompson’s value … if he’s healthy.
  73. Tom Brady NE — Still waiting on QBs, but if somehow Brady falls to round 7, here for the value.
  74. Russell Wilson SEA
  75. Drew Brees NO
  76. Kerryon Johnson DET — Tons of not great RB options in DET. Johnson impressed early on, 2nd-round pick should get a nice look for the Lions.
  77. Robby Anderson NYJ — Suspension is coming, but Anderson was the fantasy WR14 until McCown’s Week 14 injury. A nice value, late. 
  78. Cooper Kupp LAR
  79. Kelvin Benjamin BUF — WR1, should eat up target share. If his QB can find him.
  80. Will Fuller HOU — Healthy, Watson back, bulked up. Like Fuller a lot this year.
  81. Jamison Crowder WAS
  82. Delanie Walker TEN — Expecting a nice bounce-back year for Delanie (and rest of TEN offense)
  83. Jordan Reed WAS — I’ve been burned too many times to count by Reed, but his upside is still tantalizing.
  84. Pierre Garcon SF
  85. Deshaun Watson HOU — If QBs fall into Round 8, we pounce.
  86. Cam Newton CAR
  87. Andrew Luck IND
  88. Devin Funchess CAR
  89. Kenny Stills MIA — Landry is gone, Stills has continued to improve as a route-runner. Stills could see a ton of volume.
  90. Aaron Jones GB — Currently prefer Williams of the GB backs, but Jones the more explosive upside.
  91. Bilal Powell NYJ — Crowell potentially injured. Thomas Rawls usually gets injured. Powell (4.4 career YPC) could see majority of the touches.
  92. Chris Carson SEA — Getting all the hype and first-team snaps in Seattle this preseason. Not sure I want any part of their rushing attack.
  93. Tyler Lockett SEA — Their passing attack on the other hand…roughly 60 (!!) spot bump for Lockett. No. 2 option in Seattle’s passing offense that will be doing a lot of that this year. Previous career-high of 69 targets last year, could see upwards of 100 this season.
  94. Rishard Matthews TEN — Another 40+ spot bump. Love Matthews, just has to get over some training camp injuries. Great value if/when he sees the field.
  95. Jordy Nelson OAK — Nothing but rave reviews out of Raiders camp. Elite red zone option on a team lacking them.
  96. Duke Johnson CLE
  97. Marlon Mack IND — Monitor his hamstring injury. Like Mack a lot if healthy.
  98. Julian Edelman NE
  99. Cameron Meredith NO / Anthony Miller CHI / Kenny Golladay DET — Batch of young WRs I like this season.
  100. Jacksonville Jaguars — DEF team volatility typically scares me away, but they were historically good last season. Worth the flier if they could repeat.





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