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Doug Orth | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer


Top 150 Big Board, Non-PPR: Version 1.0
Preseason Matchup Analysis
8/18/16

PPR | 0.5 PPR | Non-PPR

A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Last year reinforced a valuable yet painful lesson: No matter how much running backs should rule the day in fantasy football, they have - for the most part - been surpassed by wide receivers.

Part of what makes us all human is the fact we show bias. I have played fantasy football for nearly 20 years and running backs have always been central to my draft-day plans. It's a philosophy that has allowed me to win roughly three times as much money as I have invested into this hobby over the years. While running backs are arguably more important than ever due to the scarcity of every-down workhorses nowadays, the league has emphasized passing and most coaches now believe it is better to spread the punishment one runner used to receive among two or three backs. These shifts in philosophy are unlikely to change, no matter how much some of us believe such changes are/were unnecessary and possibly even counterproductive.

Last year was bizarre even by modern standards, but some offseason research has made it painfully clear owners who choose to pin their hopes of winning fantasy titles on running backs are doing so at their own peril. Let's be clear this admission is not an endorsement of going WR-WR-WR-WR in the first four rounds of non-TFC or FFPC drafts, but rather an acknowledgement that elite receivers tend to hold their value pretty well all season long. How often does a receiver that goes undrafted in fantasy and become a WR1? It seems for every Miles Austin or Odell Beckham Jr. (remember, he missed the first four games of his rookie year due to a hamstring injury), there are at least five or 10 running backs that come out of the woodwork to power fantasy teams to championships. Last year alone, James White (fourth), Tim Hightower (sixth), Javorius Allen (eighth) and Bilal Powell (ninth) powered their fantasy teams to the title by finishing inside the top 10 in PPR scoring over the final five weeks of the season. Now look at the receiver positon. Many of us are quite familiar with the names of Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall and Julio Jones. In fact, I can only spot three players - Ted Ginn Jr. (16th), Kamar Aiken (17th) and Tyler Lockett (18th) - inside the top 20 over the final five weeks of the season who went undrafted in most leagues, none of whom who actually "carried" their fantasy teams.

I'm quite confident the system I introduced last year to grade players is one other analysts will try to duplicate in coming years. My biggest mistake last year was my unwillingness to deviate from the belief that a strong running back corps was the easiest way to a fantasy title. That bias meant I barely broke even in 2015. While the position should return to "normal" levels in the coming years as some future studs play their final year of college football this year, receivers are probably going to dominate the early rounds of fantasy drafts for the foreseeable future.

My system, which I have labeled the Success Score Index (SSI), involves meticulously grading and assigning certain weights to several attributes that I feel are critical to fantasy success at that position. Iím not going to pretend as if I have accounted for every possibility; itís an impossible task in a sport that features 11 men on one side of the ball trying to work in perfect harmony and 11 men on the other side trying to interrupt it. Just because it is an impossible task, however, doesn't make it worth doing. Someone is going to win your league this year, so the title might as well go to the person weighing as many relevant factors as possible in his analysis.

Before I get to the boards, I would like to remind readers about two key points:

1) I doubt you will find another draft board like this one and further doubt you will find a similar set of rankings anywhere else. The standard the industry uses to measure accuracy among analysts is overall scoring, but I am more concerned with projected consistency and matchups. Consistency tends to lead to big fantasy numbers at the end of the season and championships while inconsistency and bad matchups at the wrong time usually lead to frustration. Someday, I hope the industry catches on to my way of thinking. Until then, Iíll try to win as many titles as possible and help you do the same.

2 ) I'll include the risk signs you have become familiar with in recent years when I release my final Big Boards in a couple of weeks. For now, owners can take solace in the fact the SSI I use to help me set my values below accounts for the attributes I feel are most important for a fantasy player at his given position. Among the areas I consider at each position are durability and job security, so don't think the absence of or means I didn't account for such risk factors.

Let’s revisit the color-coding system before we start:

Red – A very difficult matchup. For lower-level players, a red matchup means they should not be used in fantasy that week. For a second- or third-tier player, drop your expectations for them at least one grade that week (i.e. from WR2 to WR3). For elite players, expect them to perform one level lower than their usual status (i.e. RB1 performs like a RB2).

Yellow – Keep expectations fairly low in this matchup. For lower-level players, a yellow matchup is a borderline start at best. For a second- or third-tier player, they can probably overcome the matchup if things fall right. For the elite players, expect slightly better than average production.

White – Basically, this matchup is one that could go either way. In some cases, I just don’t feel like I have a good feel yet for this defense. Generally speaking, these matchups are winnable matchups for all levels of players.

Green – It doesn’t get much better than this. For non-elite players, the stage is basically set for said player to exploit the matchup. For the elite player, this matchup should produce special numbers.

Key:

OVR – Overall Rank

FPts/ G – Fantasy points/game (over first four weeks)

SSI – Although you will not see it featured in the Big Boards this week or next, SSI is the sum of several position-specific attributes that I feel are important to fantasy production, weighted and scored. A perfect score is 1000, but it may help to move the decimal point one spot to the left and think of each score as a percentage. It may also help to think of the final score as the likelihood that player will produce at the level I have projected him if his current environment stays roughly the same as it is now.

Value - After a year away, standard deviation has returned to the Big Boards. "Value" is essentially using the VORP (Value over Replacement Player) concept for a two-RB, three-WR league, which essentially allows me to compare apples and oranges. At QB and TE, the value reflects the standard deviation from the 12th-ranked player at the position – the last starting-caliber player at the position. At RB and WR, the value reflects the standard deviation from the 30th-ranked and 42nd-ranked player, respectively, to better account for the vast number of leagues that feature flex spots. Whereas I used point averages as my basis for value in past seasons, I am using SSI for it now.

Just so you know what you are getting yourself into, here are some of the attributes I weighed and scored at each position:

Quarterback – Talent, aggressiveness of the offensive scheme, durability, offensive line play and difficulty of schedule.

Running back – Talent, job security, durability, percentage of team's backfield touches and red-zone importance.

Wide receiver – Talent, targets/game, scheme fit and the quality of quarterback play.

Tight end – Talent, importance to the team in the red zone, targets/game, scheme fit and the quality of quarterback play.

Notes:
1. For this first set of Big Boards, I have chosen to stop at 150 players. Next week, I will release my first Big Boards for 0.5 PPR leagues as well as The Fantasy Championship and FFPC Big Boards. In the final set of Big Boards in a little under two weeks, I will rank 200 players and present my final rankings for kickers and defense/special teams.

2. Over the next two weeks, I will be “quality controlling” my projections (basically double-checking my numbers, such as not having one defense projected to intercept 15 passes through four games while another has just one), so my next set of Big Boards (in two weeks) could look different – particularly at the bottom – than they currently do. As with all things that are worth doing, this process takes time and needs to be constantly revised as more information about depth charts and injuries becomes available. Thanks in advance for your patience.

3. As noted earlier, this Big Board is designed for owners drafting in leagues who need to start one quarterback, two running backs, three receivers, a tight end and a flex.

Here is the scoring system that I used to rank the players in the non-PPR format:

 Non-PPR Big Board - Top 150
OVR Pos Player Tm Age Value FPts/G 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
1 WR Antonio Brown PIT 28 130.64 16.0
2 WR Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 23 113.84 17.4
3 WR Julio Jones ATL 27 129.75 18.4
4 RB Todd Gurley LA 22 141.77 17.9
5 RB Lamar Miller HOU 25 144.60 17.6
6 RB David Johnson ARI 24 146.37 15.5
7 RB Adrian Peterson MIN 31 139.83 14.8
8 RB Ezekiel Elliott DAL 21 143.19 18.8
9 WR A.J. Green CIN 28 95.28 14.5
10 WR Allen Robinson JAC 23 81.14 10.8
11 WR Dez Bryant DAL 27 91.75 15.5
12 WR Brandon Marshall NYJ 32 76.72 13.5
13 RB Le'Veon Bell PIT 24 139.30 0.0
14 TE Rob Gronkowski NE 27 112.25 10.1
15 WR DeAndre Hopkins HOU 24 78.49 11.3
16 RB Jamaal Charles KC 29 108.36 14.9
17 WR Mike Evans TB 23 65.23 10.3
18 WR Amari Cooper OAK 22 59.93 12.5
19 RB LeSean McCoy BUF 28 99.70 10.5
20 RB Mark Ingram NO 26 98.99 12.6
21 WR Keenan Allen SD 24 66.11 11.4
22 RB Doug Martin TB 27 100.23 12.3
23 WR T.Y. Hilton IND 26 57.45 11.8
24 WR Demaryius Thomas DEN 28 64.35 10.6
25 WR Brandin Cooks NO 22 29.88 10.0
26 RB Carlos Hyde SF 24 72.12 15.1
27 RB Devonta Freeman ATL 24 61.16 12.8
28 RB Eddie Lacy GB 26 79.90 11.7
29 WR Randall Cobb GB 26 58.16 11.3
30 WR Alshon Jeffery CHI 26 15.73 11.0
31 WR Jordy Nelson GB 31 28.11 9.7
32 QB Aaron Rodgers GB 32 76.54 28.8
33 QB Cam Newton CAR 27 73.36 26.2
34 RB Latavius Murray OAK 26 78.84 12.6
35 WR Eric Decker NYJ 29 30.94 11.9
36 WR Donte Moncrief IND 23 50.20 12.5
37 WR Jarvis Landry MIA 23 52.86 12.0
38 TE Jordan Reed WAS 26 87.50 9.6
39 WR Sammy Watkins BUF 23 6.01 8.8
40 WR Jeremy Maclin KC 28 1.59 9.9
41 TE Greg Olsen CAR 31 44.19 8.8
42 QB Russell Wilson SEA 23 71.06 26.8
43 QB Drew Brees NO 37 60.81 26.3
44 RB Thomas Rawls SEA 23 20.86 14.0
45 RB Jeremy Hill CIN 23 55.33 12.0
46 WR Doug Baldwin SEA 27 13.97 12.6
47 WR Golden Tate DET 28 19.27 9.5
48 RB C.J. Anderson DEN 25 39.77 12.6
49 RB Danny Woodhead SD 31 54.80 11.8
50 WR Julian Edelman NE 30 24.57 8.9
51 RB Dion Lewis NE 25 36.77 11.8
52 QB Andrew Luck IND 26 70.53 27.9
53 WR John Brown ARI 26 4.24 12.6
54 RB Giovani Bernard CIN 24 17.32 5.8
55 WR Kevin White CHI 24 0.18 11.4
56 WR DeVante Parker MIA 23 9.90 11.0
57 TE Delanie Walker TEN 32 45.43 8.1
58 WR Michael Floyd ARI 26 24.04 10.4
59 WR Kelvin Benjamin CAR 25 7.25 8.8
60 RB Duke Johnson CLE 22 37.65 8.5
61 RB Matt Forte NYJ 30 44.19 9.3
62 RB Jonathan Stewart CAR 29 7.95 8.9
63 TE Coby Fleener NO 27 13.26 9.3
64 WR Tyler Lockett SEA 23 29.34 9.6
65 RB Frank Gore IND 33 26.16 8.6
66 TE Travis Kelce KC 26 11.31 8.6
67 RB Matt Jones WAS 23 19.62 12.8
68 RB DeMarco Murray TEN 28 14.67 9.8
69 WR Larry Fitzgerald ARI 33 5.13 8.8
70 RB DeAngelo Williams PIT 33 13.79 18.3
71 WR Sterling Shepard NYG 23 16.62 9.5
72 QB Eli Manning NYG 35 47.20 23.2
73 WR DeSean Jackson WAS 29 58.51 8.4
74 WR Emmanuel Sanders DEN 29 0.00 10.0
75 RB Melvin Gordon SD 23 0.53 10.8
76 WR Michael Crabtree OAK 28 1.59 9.9
77 WR Jordan Matthews PHI 24 32.00 7.3
78 RB Ryan Mathews PHI 28 0.35 10.7
79 QB Philip Rivers SD 34 47.55 23.5
80 RB Chris Ivory JAC 28 2.30 10.5
81 WR Marvin Jones DET 26 13.44 9.1
82 QB Ben Roethlisberger PIT 34 70.53 24.5
83 QB Carson Palmer ARI 36 66.82 26.1
84 TE Julius Thomas JAC 28 16.79 10.9
85 QB Tom Brady NE 39 57.98 0.0
86 RB Rashad Jennings NYG 31 13.26 10.8
87 RB Justin Forsett BAL 30 62.76 7.9
88 WR Allen Hurns JAC 24 23.16 8.9
89 RB Ameer Abdullah DET 23 0.00 8.1
90 WR Torrey Smith SF 27 20.51 10.0
91 RB Arian Foster MIA 30 25.99 9.0
92 TE Tyler Eifert CIN 25 23.86 5.5
93 RB Jeremy Langford CHI 24 26.34 8.5
94 QB Blake Bortles JAC 24 25.99 22.5
95 TE Gary Barnidge CLE 30 4.24 6.6
96 TE Zach Ertz PHI 25 22.10 7.3
97 RB Derrick Henry TEN 22 30.94 6.6
98 RB Isaiah Crowell CLE 23 1.24 9.4
99 RB Tevin Coleman ATL 23 25.10 8.5
100 WR Stefon Diggs MIN 22 41.72 10.4
101 WR Corey Coleman CLE 22 38.18 7.8
102 WR Travis Benjamin SD 26 63.82 9.6
103 TE Antonio Gates SD 36 5.30 10.1
104 QB Derek Carr OAK 25 19.98 22.8
105 RB Bilal Powell NYJ 27 67.00 5.3
106 WR Tavon Austin LA 25 58.51 7.1
107 WR Josh Gordon CLE 25 65.58 0.0
108 RB T.J. Yeldon JAC 22 46.85 6.5
109 TE Martellus Bennett NE 29 4.24 7.5
110 QB Kirk Cousins WAS 28 3.36 22.5
111 RB Charles Sims TB 25 33.76 6.6
112 RB LeGarrette Blount NE 29 53.39 6.4
113 WR Mike Wallace BAL 30 82.38 8.8
114 WR Bruce Ellington SF 25 42.60 7.8
115 WR Markus Wheaton PIT 25 59.40 6.1
116 TE Dwayne Allen IND 26 68.06 5.9
117 RB Jay Ajayi MIA 23 117.03 2.9
118 WR Phillip Dorsett IND 23 73.54 9.8
119 RB Spencer Ware KC 24 41.54 4.6
120 QB Matthew Stafford DET 28 0.00 23.5
121 QB Tyrod Taylor BUF 27 22.10 19.1
122 RB Christine Michael SEA 25 117.56 2.9
123 WR Vincent Jackson TB 33 49.67 8.5
124 WR Kamar Aiken BAL 27 54.09 6.6
125 WR Rishard Matthews TEN 26 100.94 6.3
126 WR Michael Thomas NO 21 54.09 7.0
127 TE Clive Walford OAK 24 30.94 7.9
128 TE Jason Witten DAL 34 33.76 5.6
129 RB DeAndre Washington OAK 23 87.68 5.3
130 WR Willie Snead NO 23 91.22 4.6
131 WR Sammie Coates PIT 23 54.09 10.1
132 QB Ryan Tannehill MIA 28 8.31 22.2
133 QB Marcus Mariota TEN 22 41.72 20.1
134 RB Terrance West BAL 25 48.08 9.3
135 RB Theo Riddick DET 25 42.25 5.9
136 WR Tyler Boyd CIN 21 113.31 2.9
137 WR Devin Funchess CAR 22 93.87 6.0
138 WR Davante Adams GB 23 98.29 5.3
139 RB Chris Johnson ARI 30 109.78 5.1
140 RB Devontae Booker DEN 24 43.66 6.8
141 RB Darren Sproles PHI 33 86.97 5.5
142 QB Jameis Winston TB 22 18.21 19.6
143 RB James Starks GB 30 122.33 4.3
144 QB Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ 33 8.31 19.6
145 TE Eric Ebron DET 23 0.00 8.9
146 RB Shaun Draughn SF 28 112.96 4.0
147 QB Andy Dalton CIN 28 8.49 16.6
148 QB Matt Ryan ATL 31 37.48 21.6
149 TE Jimmy Graham SEA 29 63.64 5.1
150 QB Tony Romo DAL 36 69.83 19.8


Next: PPR Big Board | 0.5 PPR Big Board

Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”. Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.