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Doug Orth | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer


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

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. Later this week, I will set up the first non-PPR Big Board. 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 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 PPR format:

 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 28 172.4 23.0
2 WR Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 23 155.6 25.6
3 WR Julio Jones ATL 27 171.5 27.1
4 WR Dez Bryant DAL 27 133.5 22.3
5 RB David Johnson ARI 24 147.6 19.3
6 WR A.J. Green CIN 28 137.0 21.5
7 RB Ezekiel Elliott DAL 21 146.6 20.8
8 RB Lamar Miller HOU 25 145.8 21.1
9 RB Todd Gurley LA 22 143.0 20.4
10 WR Allen Robinson JAC 23 122.9 15.0
11 WR Brandon Marshall NYJ 32 125.5 20.0
12 RB Adrian Peterson MIN 31 141.1 16.0
13 WR DeAndre Hopkins HOU 24 120.2 17.8
14 RB Le'Veon Bell PIT 24 140.5 0.0
15 TE Rob Gronkowski NE 27 112.3 15.4
16 WR Keenan Allen SD 24 107.8 18.4
17 WR Mike Evans TB 23 107.0 16.8
18 RB Jamaal Charles KC 29 109.6 19.6
19 WR Demaryius Thomas DEN 28 106.1 16.4
20 WR Amari Cooper OAK 22 101.7 18.8
21 WR T.Y. Hilton IND 26 99.2 17.8
22 RB Doug Martin TB 27 101.5 14.3
23 RB LeSean McCoy BUF 28 100.9 13.5
24 RB Mark Ingram NO 26 100.2 16.4
25 WR Randall Cobb GB 26 99.9 17.0
26 WR Jarvis Landry MIA 23 94.6 18.8
27 WR Brandin Cooks NO 22 71.6 15.0
28 WR Jordy Nelson GB 31 69.8 14.3
29 RB Eddie Lacy GB 26 81.1 14.7
30 RB Devonta Freeman ATL 24 62.4 16.8
31 WR Donte Moncrief IND 23 91.9 18.0
32 TE Jordan Reed WAS 26 87.5 15.1
33 RB Latavius Murray OAK 26 80.1 14.4
34 WR Sammy Watkins BUF 23 67.2 13.8
35 RB Carlos Hyde SF 24 73.4 17.4
36 QB Aaron Rodgers GB 32 76.5 28.8
37 QB Cam Newton CAR 27 73.4 26.2
38 WR Eric Decker NYJ 29 72.7 17.4
39 WR Alshon Jeffery CHI 26 57.5 16.8
40 WR Julian Edelman NE 30 66.3 16.6
41 WR Golden Tate DET 28 61.0 15.0
42 WR Jeremy Maclin KC 28 43.3 14.9
43 RB Danny Woodhead SD 31 56.0 17.0
44 TE Greg Olsen CAR 31 44.2 13.5
45 RB C.J. Anderson DEN 25 41.0 15.4
46 WR Doug Baldwin SEA 27 55.7 18.4
47 QB Russell Wilson SEA 23 71.1 26.8
48 QB Andrew Luck IND 26 70.5 27.9
49 RB Thomas Rawls SEA 23 22.1 15.3
50 RB Jeremy Hill CIN 23 56.6 12.8
51 RB Dion Lewis NE 25 45.1 16.5
52 RB Matt Forte NYJ 30 45.4 12.5
53 TE Delanie Walker TEN 32 45.4 14.1
54 WR Sterling Shepard NYG 23 58.3 15.0
55 RB Duke Johnson CLE 22 38.9 14.8
56 RB Giovani Bernard CIN 24 25.6 9.5
57 WR John Brown ARI 26 46.0 16.9
58 QB Drew Brees NO 37 60.8 26.3
59 WR Larry Fitzgerald ARI 33 46.9 14.0
60 QB Carson Palmer ARI 36 70.4 26.1
61 QB Ben Roethlisberger PIT 34 70.5 24.5
62 TE Travis Kelce KC 26 11.3 12.9
63 WR Michael Crabtree OAK 28 43.3 15.9
64 WR Emmanuel Sanders DEN 29 41.7 15.3
65 TE Coby Fleener NO 27 13.3 14.3
66 WR Tyler Lockett SEA 23 35.4 13.9
67 WR Kelvin Benjamin CAR 25 34.5 12.3
68 WR DeVante Parker MIA 23 31.8 16.0
69 WR Kevin White CHI 24 41.5 16.9
70 WR Michael Floyd ARI 26 17.7 14.6
71 WR Jordan Matthews PHI 24 9.7 11.7
72 RB Frank Gore IND 33 27.4 10.9
73 RB DeMarco Murray TEN 28 15.9 12.3
74 RB Melvin Gordon SD 23 1.8 13.3
75 RB Jonathan Stewart CAR 29 9.2 9.6
76 RB DeAngelo Williams PIT 33 15.0 21.8
77 QB Eli Manning NYG 35 47.2 23.2
78 RB Ryan Mathews PHI 28 0.9 12.3
79 RB Matt Jones WAS 23 13.8 14.8
80 RB Rashad Jennings NYG 31 12.0 13.3
81 WR Marvin Jones DET 26 28.3 14.1
82 RB Charles Sims TB 25 18.4 11.1
83 RB Jeremy Langford CHI 24 25.1 10.5
84 TE Zach Ertz PHI 25 22.1 12.3
85 WR Torrey Smith SF 27 21.2 13.8
86 WR Allen Hurns JAC 24 18.6 13.1
87 TE Tyler Eifert CIN 25 23.9 9.5
88 QB Philip Rivers SD 34 44.0 23.5
89 QB Tom Brady NE 39 58.0 0.0
90 WR Corey Coleman CLE 22 3.5 11.5
91 RB Theo Riddick DET 25 26.9 9.6
92 TE Julius Thomas JAC 28 16.8 16.1
93 TE Gary Barnidge CLE 30 4.2 10.9
94 RB Chris Ivory JAC 28 3.5 11.5
95 RB Ameer Abdullah DET 23 0.9 9.6
96 WR Stefon Diggs MIN 22 0.0 15.6
97 RB Tevin Coleman ATL 23 23.9 10.5
98 WR DeSean Jackson WAS 29 16.8 11.6
99 WR Josh Gordon CLE 25 23.9 0.0
100 RB Derrick Henry TEN 22 29.7 7.9
101 RB Justin Forsett BAL 30 61.5 10.9
102 WR Bruce Ellington SF 25 0.9 11.5
103 WR Tavon Austin LA 25 6.2 10.1
104 WR Willie Snead NO 23 49.5 9.1
105 QB Blake Bortles JAC 24 26.0 22.1
106 TE Martellus Bennett NE 29 4.2 11.5
107 TE Eric Ebron DET 23 0.0 12.4
108 RB Isaiah Crowell CLE 23 0.0 10.6
109 RB T.J. Yeldon JAC 22 45.6 10.0
110 QB Matthew Stafford DET 28 0.0 23.5
111 TE Antonio Gates SD 36 5.3 15.4
112 RB Arian Foster MIA 30 24.8 11.8
113 WR Kamar Aiken BAL 27 12.4 11.1
114 WR Michael Thomas NO 21 12.4 10.0
115 RB Bilal Powell NYJ 27 65.8 7.8
116 RB Darren Sproles PHI 33 85.7 9.8
117 RB LeGarrette Blount NE 29 52.2 6.4
118 QB Kirk Cousins WAS 28 3.4 22.5
119 QB Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ 33 8.3 19.6
120 QB Ryan Tannehill MIA 28 8.3 22.2
121 WR Phillip Dorsett IND 23 31.8 13.8
122 RB Spencer Ware KC 24 40.3 4.9
123 WR Travis Benjamin SD 26 22.1 13.4
124 TE Jason Witten DAL 34 33.8 9.9
125 TE Jimmy Graham SEA 29 63.6 8.4
126 WR Markus Wheaton PIT 25 17.7 9.6
127 TE Dwayne Allen IND 26 68.1 8.4
128 QB Derek Carr OAK 25 20.0 22.8
129 QB Tyrod Taylor BUF 27 22.1 19.1
130 RB Shaun Draughn SF 28 111.7 6.3
131 WR Vincent Jackson TB 33 8.0 12.5
132 RB Terrance West BAL 25 46.9 10.8
133 QB Jameis Winston TB 22 18.2 19.6
134 WR Mike Wallace BAL 30 42.4 11.8
135 WR Sammie Coates PIT 23 12.4 13.4
136 RB Christine Michael SEA 25 116.3 2.9
137 RB Jay Ajayi MIA 23 115.8 4.1
138 WR Rishard Matthews TEN 26 59.2 10.3
139 QB Marcus Mariota TEN 22 41.7 20.1
140 WR Devin Funchess CAR 22 52.2 9.3
141 QB Andy Dalton CIN 28 8.5 16.6
142 RB Chris Johnson ARI 30 108.5 5.4
143 RB Devontae Booker DEN 24 42.4 8.8
144 QB Matt Ryan ATL 31 37.5 21.6
145 TE Clive Walford OAK 24 30.9 11.6
146 WR Mohamed Sanu ATL 27 95.5 7.0
147 RB Jordan Howard CHI 23 61.2 5.6
148 WR Tyler Boyd CIN 21 71.6 5.6
149 WR Brandon LaFell CIN 29 73.4 7.1
150 TE Vance McDonald SF 26 84.0 6.4

Most of us are familiar with the rationale that roughly half of the players in the first round bust every year. While the term "bust" means different things to different people, a bust to me is a player who you drafted to start but can't start due to the loss of his job or woeful production. In most cases, I'd rather use the word "disappointment". Either way, I'm going to spend the bulk of my time in this week's piece focusing on some of the players that have somewhat significant gaps between where I rank them and their current ADP. Most of my analysis will be more of the quick-hitting variety in the coming weeks, although I plan on mixing in some more thought-provoking comments as well.

If each of them stay healthy, I don't question my first four picks. Julio Jones and Dez Bryant both have dealt with foot injuries recently, which is why they slot in behind Antonio Brown and OBJ. Otherwise, all four of them should be exactly what owners want in a fantasy first-rounder: players who will deliver consistent numbers, have favorable schedules, enjoy a few elite performances throughout the year and score at least 10 touchdowns.

David Johnson probably scares me more than any other player in the top 12, but no running back is a safe pick anymore, as we discovered last season. Johnson's upside is obvious and played out before our eyes late last season; there's a reason he's projected to be the top fantasy back in the league (I'm far from the only one who believes it is possible). Last week, HC Bruce Arians finally dispelled the notion of a committee or the hot-hand approach he hinted was possible earlier in the summer. The most frightening part of Johnson isn't the threat of a committee, but his schedule. Then again, I can find fault in any of the other first-round backs such as Elliott (unproven, rookie wall), Miller (can he withstand 250-plus carries and 300-plus touches), Gurley (lack of involvement in passing game, dreadful supporting cast), Peterson (age, Jerick McKinnon threatening to steal more looks in the passing game) and Bell (four-game suspension, recent injury history). As far as I'm concerned, everything I just said about the other elite running backs makes Johnson the least of a lot of potential evils.

Barring injury, Hopkins isn't going to "bust". However, one only has to look at what happened to his consistency once the Texans started rolling in the second half of last season. If Bell wasn't opening the season on suspension, Rob Gronkowski didn't have four games without Tom Brady and Keenan Allen could stay healthy for a full season, Hopkins would probably be slotted behind all three. As it is, I think he's a mid-tier WR1 who will perform at a level just off the pace of the seven receivers listed before him.

Bell is perhaps the most interesting player on the board this summer. His suspension has dropped him from a surefire top-five pick to the beginning or middle part of the second round. I've already noted his shortcomings above, but is there going to be any other running back you want leading your team onto the virtual playground starting in October? The onus of the Steelers' offense is going to fall on Brown and Bell even more than it has in years past, particularly if Ladarius Green is unable to play. The fourth-year back is money in the bank when he's on the field and his injuries are hardly chronic. With that said, don't invest in Bell unless you are serious about securing DeAngelo Williams as well. I found out over the weekend I will be choosing 12th (yet again) in one of my two 12-team high-stakes leagues and I am strongly leaning toward taking Bell with one of my two picks at the turn. As such, I am committed to burning a sixth-round selection on Williams if I do. Think about it this way: Is a second- and a sixth-rounder too much to spend to acquire perhaps the best fantasy back in the land? I don't think so.

I'll be the first to admit I may have Jordy Nelson too low, but 31-year-olds coming off ACL tears are a tough sell for me, especially when they enter the next season with as little practice time as he will have this summer. His connection with Aaron Rodgers is undeniable, but how often do owners like taking a player sight unseen after such a significant injury? That could very well be the case this year, and I'm not willing to invest a second-round pick into such a player.

For some reason, I have seen Devonta Freeman going in the first round of some recent big-money PPR drafts. Unless those same owners are predicting a season-ending injury to Tevin Coleman sometime in the next month, good luck getting bang for your buck on that selection. It seems as though every other week Atlanta is promoting Coleman, but the real comment that should make owners take notice was made by RB coach Bobby Turner in mid-July: "When it comes down to it, the one difference is the flat out long speed of Tevin Coleman.Ē The Falcons have talked all offseason about reducing Freeman's workload, which only adds more weight to Turner's suggestion. If the "one difference" between the starter and his backup is the latter's "long speed", it is only fair to assume that same player may have a decent chance to bypass the starter on the depth chart.

Most seem to agree Carlos Hyde only needs to stay healthy for a full season in order to be considered as good, if not better, than any of the running backs listed ahead of him. The problem is the third-year back has never stayed healthy for an entire season, dating back to his days at Ohio State. Add to that one of the most difficult schedules for a running back and the fact he has never finished with more than 16 catches in a season at Ohio State or San Francisco, and there are plenty of reasons to believe he will disappoint. Look no further than what LeSean McCoy did on the ground under Chip Kelly in 2013 as to what is possible if Hyde is able to withstand 300-plus carries.

Whereas I can see either side on the Hyde debate, I cannot support Alshon Jeffery as a second-round fantasy pick at all. One of the reasons Bears GM Ryan Pace did not sign him to a long-term deal this offseason was his inability to stay healthy, and another was the likelihood Chicago already has the player who will replace him as the team's No. 1 option this year or next in Kevin White. Lest we forget the Bears lost renowned play-caller (and quarterback whisperer) Adam Gase to Miami in the offseason and still has Jay Cutler under center - a combination (when combined with Jeffery's soft-tissue injury history) which should make more nervous. Owners can point to last year's production (when he able to play) all they want; John Fox's teams are among the most conservative in the league year in and year out and rarely feature enough passing-game volume to make two receivers relevant in fantasy (excluding the Peyton Manning years in Denver, of course). There's a better chance Jeffery and White cancel each other out than the former making the latter an afterthought.

A former teammate of Jeffery's, Matt Forte, is the next player I expect to disappoint. The longtime Bear is in an offense perfectly suited for his talents, so what gives? The ninth-year veteran will turn 31 in December, but age is only one of the factors I expect to keep him from matching his third-round ADP. As of this writing, Forte has not participated in team drills in over two weeks due to a balky hamstring he strained before the start of camp. Even if his supporters choose to overlook the fact it is rarely even a good sign for an older back to suffer a soft-tissue injury in the preseason, there is the issue of what his ceiling actually is. Bilal Powell was signed a contract nearly identical to Forte's one day after the former Bear signed his deal, and he is a threat to Forte's touches regardless of what the general public's perception is. Khiry Robinson is considered the frontrunner for goal-line work. If Forte isn't going to be an option for the Jets near the stripe, he needs to be guaranteed a heavy percentage of work between the 20s in order to justify his ADP. He doesn't have it.

Both C.J. Anderson and Thomas Rawls could be great value picks in the fourth round, but I'm not sure either one will be. Maybe I'm just a scorned 2015 Anderson owner, but doesn't it seem like Devontae Booker is shaping up to be this year's Ronnie Hillman? Anderson should have more job security than last year given his new contract too, but his penchant for getting dinged (and not playing particularly well when that is the case) is a bit of a concern. If/when Booker begins to make strides as a pass-blocker, look out. The rookie is more explosive than Anderson and has already drawn substantial praise for his work as a receiver, meaning Anderson's owners could be in for another wild ride.

Christine Michael is no stranger to generating offseason hype; making the transition from puff-piece superstar to regular-season contributor has been a bit more difficult. While we won't know if Year 4 is going to be any different for another few weeks, the early returns suggest Seattle is finally ready to buy what he is selling. HC Pete Carroll told Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta following the Seahawks' preseason opener "when Rawls comes back, it'll be a 'little 1-2 punch that we are really excited about'". Rawls had durability and character questions during his college days and did little to erase doubts about the former when he suffered his season-ending ankle injury as a rookie last year. (Yes, pretty much every back in the league would have been injured on that play.) As explosive as Rawls is, his owners can't afford to see him split early-down work if they want him to live up to his fourth-round ADP, especially since rookie C.J. Prosise was drafted for the purpose of being the primary back on passing downs.

There are two players I can safely say will not end up on my teams this year, barring a completed nosedive in draft stock: Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews. I have Benjamin ranked as a mid-to-late sixth round value, while his ADP is in the late third round. The No. 28 overall pick in the 2014 draft is being selected this summer as if he is a healthy receiver in tip-top shape whose production as a rookie wasn't highly dependent on negative game scripts when in fact none of those things are true. Carolina is more likely to spread the wealth in the passing game than it is to feature one receiver. Benjamin is yet another player coming off a serious injury and has struggled with his conditioning, according to HC Ron Rivera. The hope is he can reach 30-35 snaps by the end of the preseason, which is not exactly the kind of fitness level to begin a season one wants from a WR2.

Matthews was the 17th-ranked receiver last season and needed a huge finish in order to hit that mark. He failed to top 1,000 yards as a lead receiver in a Chip Kelly offense, so why should we expect him to perform at a WR2 level in a more methodical attack? Granted, the gap between his ADP and my rank isn't nearly as wide as it is with Benjamin, but we already know the new coaching staff thinks Matthews' best spot is in the slot. Philadelphia's most dangerous formation is using "12" personnel (one back, two tight ends and two receivers) because it allows the team to use both Zach Ertz and Brent Celek, but such a formation obviously doesn't allow for Matthews to play inside. I just don't see much upside with a player like Matthews, especially when players like Sterling Shepard and Corey Coleman are available three rounds later.

Let's wrap it up by discussing perhaps the most overvalued player in the draft at the moment: Josh Gordon. I barely have him in the top 100, while his ADP sits at 6.02. As a whole, fantasy football owners tend to be indifferent - or flat-out ignorant - in regards to realizing how difficult it is to play in the NFL, especially after a prolonged absence. Gordon's talent is not in question here, but let's face facts. He has played a total of five games over the last two seasons and did not play at all last year. In 2014, he returned from a 10-game suspension and was largely unimpressive. While I hope he remains on track in terms of straightening out his life, he's likely one misstep away from a year-long suspension and will enter this season four games after everyone else. Let's not forget Cleveland figures to field a run-heavy offense or that Robert Griffin III has never shown the ability to make more than one receiver relevant in fantasy for any length of time. The Browns obviously aren't going to ignore Coleman when Gordon returns, and they plan on drawing up a few plays for Terrelle Pryor each game. And there is also Gary Barnidge, who figures to remain a key part of the red-zone offense even if he can't match last year's breakout campaign. Gordon was once a premier talent in the league and might again reach those heights, but I think his current ADP can be attributed partly to Joe Q. Public's lack of appreciation about how much good fortune he'll need to produce before midseason.

Next: Non-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.