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Top 175 Big Board FFPC High-Stakes League: Version 1.0


Preseason Matchup Analysis

By Doug Orth | 8/20/21 |

Football is simple at its very core but a very complex game to evaluate and analyze because 11 men are asked to work in harmony approximately 60 times per game, while 11 other men are being asked to disrupt that harmony. Pro football is not pro basketball in that a team can clear out one side of the court when things break down and the offense can still score. Pro football is not pro baseball in that one player can defeat a pitcher and eight fielders by timing his swing just right. Even as great as Barry Sanders was, he never beat a defense all by himself. In football, every player needs some help to accomplish his goal. That is part of what makes football so great and part of what makes it so highly unpredictable. The violence of the game - even by the tamer standards now - adds another element to the equation that is difficult to quantify.

Regardless, it doesn't mean we should not try. Over the last month, I have evaluated the weekly matchups for 500-plus players. Analyzing matchups alone requires me to make 8,000 "decisions". That is not a humble brag. Each year, my goal is to give those who put their faith in my evaluations the confidence they have the best draft-day tool at their disposal. Even if my grading process is only 70 percent accurate, that is still a significant advantage over any analyst that does not consider it at all. I like to believe that even if readers believe my process is flawed for whatever reason, they can appreciate how much thought has been put into that opinion.

How much thought, you ask?

For example, Allen Robinson lined up on the left side of the formation 409 times, on the right side 298 times and in the slot 245 times last year. Since the majority of defensive coordinators tend to have their cornerbacks stick to one side as opposed to following a particular receiver, Robinson's ability to match up and defeat each of the defensive backs in those spots should be considered. I do that for each player who projects to stand inside the top three of his team's depth chart, and all of that information is factored into my projections. While how often Robinson lines up in a certain spot will inevitably change from last year, it's unlikely the way he is deployed will change all that much in this fourth year under HC Matt Nagy.

Fantasy football is a stock market game, and the job of an analyst is identifying when stocks may be poised to skyrocket or ready to tank. While last year's results help fantasy managers/analysts set the table for the following season, they are merely a starting point. Fantasy rankings and drafting need to be predictive, not reactive. I have taken this approach for more than 10 years. While some of the processes have changed in that time, the main goal has not.

The Success Score Index (SSI) below is powered in large part by my target and carry predictions that have been featured in this space over the last few weeks. As always, the matchup grades are included in the algorithm. SSI allows me to compare apples to oranges across positions. Perhaps just as importantly, I have been able to eliminate most of the guesswork across different scoring systems (PPR, standard, etc.).

For all of those unfamiliar with my Big Boards, allow me to explain the color-coding system before we start:

Red For lower-level players, a red matchup is the most difficult one a player can face. 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 an RB2).

Yellow For lower-level players, he is a borderline start at best. For a second- or third-tier player, the slight edge goes to the defense in what is essentially a toss-up. For the elite players, expect slightly better than average production.

White This one can go either way, but I favor the player over the matchup. Generally speaking, these matchups are winnable for all levels of players.

Green For non-elite players, the stage is set for a player to have a productive day. For the elite player, this matchup could produce special numbers.

Note: Players with a next to their name have some degree of injury/character/holdout concern.

Over the next two weeks, I will release my second and final round of Big Boards. I will rank at least 200 players and present my final rankings for kickers and defense/special teams.

Here is the scoring system that I used to rank the players in the FFPC format:

 FFPC Big Board - Top 175
Rk Pos Player Tm Age SSI 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
1 RB Christian McCaffrey CAR 25 12.2
2 TE Travis Kelce KC 31 8.1
3 TE Darren Waller LV 28 6.8
4 RB Ezekiel Elliott DAL 26 6.8
5 RB Derrick Henry TEN 27 5.9
6 RB Nick Chubb CLE 25 5.9
7 WR Davante Adams GB 28 5.8
8 RB Aaron Jones GB 26 5.8
9 RB Austin Ekeler LAC 26 5.8
10 RB Dalvin Cook MIN 26 5.7
11 RB Alvin Kamara NO 26 5.5
12 TE George Kittle SF 27 5.2
13 WR Tyreek Hill KC 27 5.0
14 RB Antonio Gibson WAS 23 4.6
15 RB Jonathan Taylor IND 22 4.5
16 RB Najee Harris PIT 23 4.5
17 WR Calvin Ridley ATL 26 4.3
18 RB Saquon Barkley NYG 24 4.2
19 RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC 22 4.0
20 WR DeAndre Hopkins ARI 29 4.0
21 RB Joe Mixon CIN 25 3.5
22 WR Stefon Diggs BUF 27 3.2
23 WR DK Metcalf SEA 23 2.2
24 RB Chris Carson SEA 26 1.9
25 RB David Montgomery CHI 24 1.7
26 WR A.J. Brown TEN 24 1.6
27 WR Allen Robinson CHI 27 1.6
28 RB J.K. Dobbins BAL 22 1.5
29 QB Patrick Mahomes KC 25 1.2
30 WR Justin Jefferson MIN 22 1.2
31 WR Terry McLaurin WAS 25 1.0
32 WR Keenan Allen LAC 29 0.9
33 QB Josh Allen BUF 25 0.8
34 WR CeeDee Lamb DAL 22 0.8
35 QB Kyler Murray ARI 24 0.7
36 WR Robert Woods LAR 29 0.6
37 WR Mike Evans TB 27 0.4
38 RB D'Andre Swift DET 22 0.3
39 TE T.J. Hockenson DET 24 0.2
40 WR Amari Cooper DAL 27 0.1
41 TE Mark Andrews BAL 25 0.1
42 WR Cooper Kupp LAR 28 0.0
43 QB Lamar Jackson BAL 24 -0.1
44 TE Kyle Pitts ATL 20 -0.2
45 RB Travis Etienne JAC 22 -0.3
46 WR Chris Godwin TB 25 -0.3
47 WR Julio Jones TEN 32 -0.4
48 WR Tyler Lockett SEA 28 -0.4
49 RB Myles Gaskin MIA 24 -0.6
50 QB Dak Prescott DAL 28 -0.8
51 WR Tee Higgins CIN 22 -0.9
52 WR Adam Thielen MIN 30 -0.9
53 QB Aaron Rodgers GB 37 -1.1
54 WR Ja'Marr Chase CIN 33 -1.2
55 RB Josh Jacobs LV 23 -1.3
56 RB Darrell Henderson LAR 24 -1.3
57 WR D.J. Moore CAR 24 -1.3
58 QB Ryan Tannehill TEN 33 -1.4
59 RB Chase Edmonds ARI 25 -1.4
60 WR Diontae Johnson PIT 25 -1.4
61 RB Miles Sanders PHI 24 -1.5
62 QB Russell Wilson SEA 32 -1.5
63 WR Chase Claypool PIT 23 -1.6
64 WR Courtland Sutton DEN 25 -1.7
65 TE Noah Fant DEN 23 -1.9
66 TE Robert Tonyan GB 27 -2.0
67 QB Tom Brady TB 44 -2.0
68 RB Mike Davis ATL 28 -2.1
69 RB Kareem Hunt CLE 26 -2.1
70 TE Dallas Goedert PHI 27 -2.2
71 RB Michael Carter NYJ 22 -2.2
72 WR Brandon Aiyuk SF 23 -2.2
73 RB James Robinson JAC 23 -2.3
74 WR Tyler Boyd CIN 26 -2.5
75 TE Jonnu Smith NE 25 -2.5
76 RB Javonte Williams DEN 21 -2.6
77 QB Jalen Hurts PHI 23 -2.6
78 WR Jerry Jeudy DEN 22 -2.6
79 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT 24 -2.6
80 WR Robby Anderson CAR 28 -2.8
81 RB Trey Sermon SF 22 -2.8
82 RB Damien Harris NE 24 -2.8
83 QB Justin Herbert LAC 23 -3.0
84 WR Odell Beckham Jr. CLE 28 -3.2
85 WR D.J. Chark JAC 24 -3.2
86 QB Matthew Stafford LAR 33 -3.3
87 WR Antonio Brown TB 33 -3.3
88 WR Michael Gallup DAL 25 -3.4
89 RB Raheem Mostert SF 29 -3.5
90 WR Darnell Mooney CHI 23 -3.6
91 TE Mike Gesicki MIA 25 -3.7
92 WR Mike Williams LAC 26 -3.7
93 TE Logan Thomas WAS 30 -3.7
94 WR Kenny Golladay NYG 27 -3.9
95 TE Irv Smith MIN 23 -4.0
96 WR Deebo Samuel SF 25 -4.0
97 TE Evan Engram NYG 26 -4.0
98 WR Michael Thomas NO 28 -4.0
99 WR Marvin Jones JAC 31 -4.1
100 WR Jarvis Landry CLE 28 -4.2
101 WR Curtis Samuel WAS 25 -4.3
102 WR Elijah Moore NYJ 26 -4.3
103 RB Giovani Bernard TB 29 -4.3
104 RB Kenyan Drake LV 27 -4.4
105 QB Joe Burrow CIN 24 -4.4
106 TE Tyler Higbee LAR 28 -4.4
107 RB Melvin Gordon DEN 28 -4.4
108 TE Gerald Everett SEA 27 -4.5
109 QB Trevor Lawrence JAC 21 -4.6
110 WR Laviska Shenault JAC 22 -4.6
111 RB Gus Edwards BAL 26 -4.8
112 RB James Conner ARI 26 -4.8
113 RB Zack Moss BUF 23 -4.8
114 RB Ronald Jones TB 24 -4.9
115 QB Trey Lance SF 21 -5.0
116 QB Justin Fields CHI 22 -5.0
117 RB Jamaal Williams DET 26 -5.1
118 QB Carson Wentz IND 28 -5.1
119 WR DeVonta Smith PHI 22 -5.2
120 RB James White NE 29 -5.2
121 WR Will Fuller MIA 27 -5.3
122 TE Blake Jarwin DAL 27 -5.3
123 RB Devin Singletary BUF 23 -5.3
124 WR Terrace Marshall Jr. CAR 21 -5.3
125 QB Sam Darnold CAR 24 -5.3
126 QB Matt Ryan ATL 36 -5.3
127 WR Cole Beasley BUF 32 -5.4
128 WR Jaylen Waddle MIA 22 -5.5
129 WR Bryan Edwards LV 22 -5.6
130 RB Nyheim Hines IND 24 -5.6
131 WR Brandin Cooks HOU 27 -5.7
132 TE Anthony Firkser TEN 26 -5.7
133 RB AJ Dillon GB 23 -5.8
134 TE Hunter Henry NE 26 -5.8
135 WR Michael Pittman Jr. IND 23 -6.0
136 WR Rondale Moore ARI 21 -6.0
137 WR Russell Gage ATL 25 -6.0
138 QB Tua Tagovailoa MIA 23 -6.0
139 TE Jared Cook LAC 34 -6.0
140 WR Parris Campbell IND 24 -6.1
141 TE Cole Kmet CHI 22 -6.1
142 RB J.D. McKissic WAS 28 -6.1
143 TE Austin Hooper CLE 26 -6.1
144 QB Kirk Cousins MIN 33 -6.3
145 WR Rashod Bateman BAL 21 -6.3
146 WR Corey Davis NYJ 28 -6.4
147 WR DeVante Parker MIA 28 -6.4
148 RB Latavius Murray NO 31 -6.4
149 RB David Johnson HOU 29 -6.5
150 WR T.Y. Hilton IND 31 -6.5
151 TE Eric Ebron PIT 28 -6.6
152 WR Marquez Callaway NO 23 -6.6
153 RB Tarik Cohen CHI 26 -6.6
154 WR Nelson Agholor NE 28 -6.7
155 RB Tony Pollard DAL 24 -6.8
156 RB Darrynton Evans TEN 23 -6.8
157 WR Jakobi Meyers NE 24 -6.8
158 RB Boston Scott PHI 26 -6.8
159 TE Rob Gronkowski TB 32 -6.9
160 RB Leonard Fournette TB 26 -6.9
161 WR Randall Cobb GB 30 -7.0
162 QB Ryan Fitzpatrick WAS 38 -7.1
163 WR A.J. Green ARI 33 -7.3
164 QB Derek Carr LV 30 -7.3
165 WR Henry Ruggs III LV 22 -7.4
166 WR Marquise Brown BAL 24 -7.4
167 QB Baker Mayfield CLE 26 -7.4
168 RB Xavier Jones LAR 23 -7.5
169 WR Sterling Shepard NYG 28 -7.5
170 TE C.J. Uzomah CIN 28 -7.6
171 TE Adam Trautman NO 24 -7.7
172 WR Gabriel Davis BUF 22 -7.7
173 WR Mecole Hardman KC 23 -8.0
174 WR Jalen Reagor PHI 22 -8.2
175 TE Jacob Harris LAR 24 -8.2


Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured in USA TODAY's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He is also a high-stakes player who often appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, such as Sirius XM's "Fantasy Drive." Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.