Top Ten Fantasy Football Rankings By Position: From Preseason To Present

Viewing top 10 lists is a great way to visualize just how much the NFL changes in just a few months. We’ve seen some nasty season-ending injuries, and some big time trades this year.

You might be surprised to see the difference between the top 10 players at each position in pre-season compared to now. These lists were created using .5PPR rankings and statistics.

(Note: some numbers may be slightly different, as some leagues may have slightly different scoring systems.)

Quarterback:

1. Aaron Rodgers (GB)

2. Tom Brady (NE)

3. Matt Ryan (ATL)

4. Drew Brees (NO)

5. Russell Wilson (SEA)

6. Marcus Mariota (TEN)

7. Cam Newton (CAR)

8. Andrew Luck (IND)

9. Dak Prescott (DAL)

10. Jameis Winston (TB)

Quick notes: Rodgers and Brady were locks. Those two are always consistent enough to earn the 1-2 spots for fantasy drafts. The only real question marks on this list were Andrew Luck, because he wasn’t healthy to begin the season anyway, and Winston/Mariota. Those two were surprisingly valuable last year but people questioned if they could keep up with that production. Here’s the updated top 10 QB list and their respective fantasy point totals.

1. Russell Wilson (SEA) – 224.64

2. Carson Wentz (PHI) – 206.6

3. Tom Brady (NE) – 205.64

4. Alex Smith (KC) – 194.96

5. Kirk Cousins (WAS) – 183.94

6. Cam Newton (CAR) – 183.88

7. Dak Prescott (DAL) – 180.26

8. Drew Brees (NO) – 171.42

9. Matthew Stafford (DET) – 170.2

10.Jared Goff (LA) – 167

It’s safe to say Russell Wilson is taking the league by storm this year. After this past week, he’s nearly a full week’s worth of points ahead of the No. 2 QB. The sophomore slump is nonexistent for Carson Wentz, who is leading his team to a promising future. Wentz had 16 TD and 14 INT last year. He has crushed those numbers through 11 weeks with 25 TD and only 5 INT. Wentz is here to stay. Tom Brady holding down the 3 spot is no surprise. He’s more than capable of finishing the year as the QB1. It would be a different lineup if Aaron Rodgers didn’t go down with an early injury, but that’s football. Something even more interesting is that rookie QB Deshaun Watson still holds the QB11 spot despite tearing his ACL more than a month ago. Injuries really shape the league throughout the year, and it’s worth noting that 4 of the top 10 projected QBs are no longer in the current top 10. Drafting an elite QB in the early rounds is never a bad idea, but this goes to show that there is some value if you wait on a quarterback.

Running Back:

1. David Johnson (AZ)

2. Le’veon Bell (PIT)

3. Kareem Hunt (KC)

4. LeSean McCoy (BUF)

5. Devonta Freeman (ATL)

6. Jay Ajayi (MIA)

7. Melvin Gordon (LAC)

8. Jordan Howard (CHI)

9. Demarco Murray (TEN)

10. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)

Quick notes: much like QB, the top two RBs were absolute locks. Surprisingly enough, Kareem Hunt vaulted everyone else and took the number 3 spot as soon as Spencer Ware was confirmed to be out for the whole year. The rest of this list looks normal enough as these running backs were poised for heavy workloads. Obviously, Ezekiel Elliott dropped from the unanimous 3 spot to the 10 spot due to his 6 game suspension. Those who drafted him in the second round were reaping the rewards for more than half the season. Here’s the updated top 10 RB list and their respective fantasy point totals.

1. Todd Gurley (LA) – 197.6

2. Kareem Hunt (KC) – 171.3

3. Le’veon Bell (PIT) – 169.9

4. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) – 159.8

5. Melvin Gordon (LAC) – 159.8

6. Mark Ingram (NO) – 157.9

7. Alvin Kamara (NO) – 155.6

8. LeSean McCoy (BUF) – 143.4

9. Leonard Fournette (JAX) – 140.1

10. Carlos Hyde (SF) – 130.6

Todd Gurley has silenced some haters after a disappointing fantasy output last year. His only real blemish on the year was a 43-yard game against a tough Seattle defense. He remains a matchup proof must-start every week. Kareem Hunt exploded into the league with multiple 100+ yard games and numerous touchdowns to start the year. That’s a big reason why he’s still the RB2 on the year. His utilization has fallen a bit in recent weeks and he’s generally disappointed owners as of late, but he remains a truly talented workhorse back with amazing upside. He’s fun to watch and he’s very capable of remaining in the top 3 for the remainder of the season. Ezekiel Elliott will surely fall, as his rollercoaster of a season has finally come to a halt for 6 weeks. He’s eligible to return for most championship weeks, and it will be interesting to see if teams can make it to week 16 without their stud RB. One of, if not the most amazing part of this current top 10 list is the Ingram-Kamara duo. These two are showing no signs of slowing down and it won’t be surprising to see them rise a few more spots by season’s end. Congratulations to the owners with both of these monsters carrying your team to victory.

Wide Receiver:

1. Antonio Brown (PIT)

2. Julio Jones (ATL)

3. Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)

4. Mike Evans (TB)

5. Jordy Nelson (GB)

6. AJ Green (CIN)

7. Michael Thomas (NO)

8. Amari Cooper (OAK)

9. Brandin Cooks (NE)

10. Demariyus Thomas (DEN)

Quick notes: Nothing really out of the ordinary here. All 10 of these guys were thought of as fantasy studs with massive volume coming their way. There was some debate, however, over the value of Amari Cooper vs. Michael Crabtree as Crabtree developed a big time rapport with QB Derrick Carr the year before. Those who drafted Cooper in the early rounds were certainly hurting for a new WR1 after the first few games. Here’s the updated top 10 WR list and their respective fantasy point totals.

1. Antonio Brown (PIT) – 174.7

2. Deandre Hopkins (HOU) – 172.9

3. Adam Thielan (MIN) – 134.7

4. Tyreek Hill (KC) – 133.4

5. Larry Fitzgerald (AZ) – 132.3

6. AJ Green (CIN) – 131.3

7. Brandin Cooks (NE) – 128.1

8. Jarvis Landry (MIA) – 126.63

9. Davante Adams (GB) – 123

10. Keenan Allen (LAC) – 122.4

No surprise seeing Brown in the WR1 spot, as he belongs there every year. It’s very nice to see Deandre Hopkins’ career back on track even with his starting QB gone for the year. He remains a must-start. Brown and Hopkins are truly in a tier of their own at the moment, as they are more than 35 points ahead of the next best WR. Adam Thielan is a pleasant surprise as the WR3. Top cornerbacks will almost always shadow fellow MIN WR Stefon Diggs because he is the true top wideout on the Vikings, but Diggs and Thielan have developed into a real two-headed monster this year. AJ Green deserves a top 10 spot every year as one of the league’s most talented wideouts. He’s putting up monster numbers even with some sloppy QB play. Davante Adams is a surprise WR9 seeing as his stud QB is out for the year and the Packers, as a team, have been pretty bad ever since.

Tight End:

1. Rob Gronkowski (NE)

2. Travis Kelce (KC)

3. Greg Olsen (CAR)

4. Tyler Eifert (CIN)

5. Jimmy Graham (SEA)

6. Jordan Reed (WAS)

7. Evan Engram (NYG)

8. Kyle Rudolph (MIN)

9. David Njoku (CLE)

10. Hunter Henry (LAC)

Quick notes: Gronk, Kelce and Olsen were locked in for big time volume which earned them their early draft picks. We all know how great Eifert can be when healthy, but at this point no one knows if he’ll ever get back to 100%. The most surprising players on this list were the two rookies who had never seen a snap of an NFL regular season game. Rookie Tight Ends historically underperform, so it wasn’t surprising to see Engram and Njoku go undrafted in some leagues. Here’s the updated top 10 TE list and their respective fantasy point totals.

1. Travis Kelce (KC) – 132

2. Rob Gronkowski (NE) – 111.4

3. Zach Ertz (PHI) – 109.1

4. Jimmy Graham (SEA) – 108.3

5. Evan Engram (NYG) – 95.7

6. Cameron Brate (TB) – 83.6

7. Delanie Walker (TEN) – 82.3

8. Jared Cook (OAK) – 77

9. Jack Doyle (IND) – 77

10. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) – 75.6

Kelce is an absolute stud. He has singlehandedly killed dreams and won championships. In a year where the tight end position has massively disappointed, Kelce is a true beacon of hope. Moving on to No. 2. Even as a Giants fan, I like seeing Gronk healthy. He’s a specimen of a football player and you’re most likely in a good spot if you have him on your team. Zach Ertz didn’t crack the top 10 projected TEs but he’s been paying dividends on one of the most dominant offenses in the league. Evan Engram is defying odds by killing it as a rookie. He went undrafted in some leagues, which makes him an insanely valuable player and keeper for next year. Look for Cameron Brate’s production to fall as long as Winston is sidelined. Don’t panic-drop him yet, but you might want to look for another option until his QB is back in the game.

Kicker:

1. Matt Bryant (ATL)

2. Sebastian Janikowski (OAK)

3. Stephen Gostkowski (NE)

4. Blair Walsh (SEA)

5. Justin Tucker (BAL)

6. Mason Crosby (GB)

7. Dan Bailey (DAL)

8. Will Lutz (NO)

9. Phil Dawson (AZ)

10. Cairo Santos (KC)

Quick notes: There is nothing much to note here. All these guys seemed to be solid kickers heading into this season. The current top 10 list of kickers is much different. Here’s the updated top 10 Kicker list and their respective fantasy point totals.

1. Greg Zuerlein (LA) – 123

2. Stephen Gostkowski (NE) – 110

3. Matt Prater (DET) – 101

4. Will Lutz (NO) – 97

5. Chris Boswell (PIT) – 92

6. Kai Forbath (MIN) – 92

7. Matt Bryant (ATL) – 91

8. Ryan Succop (TEN) – 91

9. Stephen Hauschka (BUF) – 89

10. Justin Tucker (BAL) – 86

Some fantasy players hate on kickers and even think they should be banished from fantasy all together. Greg Zuerlein owners will beg to differ. In standard scoring, Zuerlein has scored more points than Jordan Howard and just under LeSean McCoy. That’s essentially an extra RB1 in your starting roster. No one really knew if the Rams offense would be good this year but they’ve surprised just about everyone. From Goff, Gurley, Woods and Zuerlein, fantasy owners everywhere are rejoicing for their LA Rams. Janikowski was placed on IR before the season started which was upsetting for people who were planning on drafting a solid kicker on a good offense. It’s worth noting that Harrison Butker, after taking over the Kicker position in KC, is currently ranked 12th and has been steadily on the rise since beginning his season in week 4. Expect Butker to crack the top 10 by the end of the year.

Defense/Special Teams:

1. Denver Broncos

2. Houston Texans

3. Seattle Seahawks

4. New England Patriots

5. Minnesota Vikings

6. Arizona Cardinals

7. Baltimore Ravens

8. Kansas City Chiefs

9. New York Giants

10. Philadelphia Eagles

Quick notes: Barring injuries, these 10 teams seemed to have scary defenses. Again, this list is much different now. Heading into the season playing your guys against the Denver defense was cause for some concern. Now in week 12 it’s not so much of a scary match up. It is worth noting that the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t crack the top 10 as they ranked #11, but we all know where they stand now. Here’s the updated top 10 DST list and their respective fantasy point totals.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – 162

2. Baltimore Ravens – 145

3. Los Angeles Rams – 123

4. Detroit Lions – 122

5. Philadelphia Eagles – 115

6. New Orleans Saints – 111

7. Los Angeles Chargers – 108

8. Pittsburg Steelers – 102

9. Seattle Seahawks – 99

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 90

Gone are the days where drafting the DEN/SEA defense would make your fantasy team scary. Injuries play a big part in this position, as they do in all positions, but even with some key players healthy, it’s hard to predict how a DST will perform for your fantasy team. If you were lucky enough to grab JAX defense off the waivers, you’re most likely sitting pretty right about now. What they’ve managed to do this year is nothing short of ridiculous. Just like having a consistently solid Kicker, a consistent defense like the “Sacksonville” Jaguars is like having another RB1 every week. Their top 4 performances this year have been 22, 28, 28 and 31 points. That, alone, could win you a week and even a championship. Their playoff schedule looks decent, as they take on SEA, HOU and SF in weeks 14, 15 and 16. If you own JAX and can make it through that first round, you could ride the Jaguars defense directly to a championship. To those who draft Denver DST in the 5th round (I know you’re out there), just remember this for next year: 7 of the top 10 projected Defenses are no longer in the current top 10. You can wait to draft a defense, and this is why some people leave their draft day without one.

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