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Doug Orth | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Top 150 Big Board, TFC High-Stakes League
Preseason Matchup Analysis


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

Last year, I participated in my first two high-stakes leagues through The Fantasy Championship, winning the league title with one team that was leaking so much oil at the end of the year that a desperate used car lot would have pronounced it unfit to trade in as a "clunker".

With no waiver-wire moves allowed after Week 12, I was forced to watch in relative horror as first-round pick Marshawn Lynch failed to return from injury, second- and fourth-round picks Randall Cobb and Aaron Rodgers continued to disappoint, third-round pick Mark Ingram was lost for the season in Week 13 and fifth-round pick Chris Ivory began to fade late. The week after I lost Ingram, Thomas Rawls went down. It's a partial summary, but I think you get the point.

Frankly, I don't know whether I should feel proud I was able to manage through so much adversity on the fantasy gridiron or a bit cursed I had to deal with it in the first place. With that said, my eyes were opened even more regarding the changing tide of fantasy football. It used to be a good idea to build a war chest of running backs in order to survive the attrition that takes place at that position. It made even more sense - or so I thought - to have one in a league in which an owner can play up to four running backs. Well …

Without getting into a long-winded discussion about strategy, what is the easiest way to negate the attrition that takes place at the running position? Avoid investing high-end capital into it as long as you can, but doing so responsibly. In high-stakes competitions like the TFC and FFPC in which owners are required to start one quarterback, two running backs, two receivers, a tight end and two flexes, most owners opt to fill both flex spots with receivers, essentially making the first 4-6 rounds a race to see which owners can fill their flex spots the fastest. If you thought the demand for wideouts was/is crazy in leagues that start three receivers, you're in for a surprise in this format.

Some might think what I am suggesting above Zero-RB approach, but notice I said "responsibly" above. Going WR-WR-WR-WR is a solid plan in this league to establish a decent floor for your team, but if backs like LeSean McCoy, Mark Ingram or Eddie Lacy are available to take at the 3-4 turn (and manage to pile up around 300 touches) and you opt for Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews in order to "keep up" with the rest of the league, chances are you will regret the decision. Drafting will always be about recognizing value first and foremost; an inflexible draft strategy is almost always a bad one. The current environment lends itself to receivers holding a large chunk of that value at the moment, so learn to embrace wideouts if you haven't already. With all the talent at running back likely to come out of college over the next year or two, we could see a bit of a shift in the other direction. (However, we'll revisit that conversation at a later time…)

The last point about value currently being centered around the receiver position leads me into my final point: More owners than ever are going to use wideouts to fill the two flex spots, so I have adjusted for that likelihood with the Big Board below. Because the goal is to win not only your league, but also the huge grand prize at the end ($200,000 in the TFC, $250,000 in the FFPC), the boards will be set up even more with an eye toward the postseason.

The TFC and FFPC use scoring that is very similar to the PPR scoring I used in last week’s Big Boards. The main differences are as follows:

1) The TFC awards four points (instead of six) for passing touchdowns, penalizes one point for interceptions (instead of two) and hands out a point for every 20 yards passing (instead of 25).

2) The FFPC uses the same scoring as I just laid out for the TFC, but awards tight ends 1.5 points for every catch, as opposed to one point per reception for every other position.

I realize that 150 players probably won’t be enough for you this week (both sites use a 20-round draft) and I apologize for that. Fear not, however, as next week’s 200-player Big Boards should be deep enough for the majority of you. (And honestly, shouldn’t most of us be drafting our most important teams next week anyway?)

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.

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.


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. In this specific piece, "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, it gets a bit trickier this week. Because I wanted to remain unbiased here, I took the standard deviation from the 24th-ranked player at the position. All players who did not fit into the first 24 at RB and first 24 at WR were then put into a "flex pool" and the standard deviation was taken from the 24th-ranked player there, which explains why there are numbers in blue this week.

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.

1. For this first set of Big Boards, I have chosen to stop at 150 players. In the final set of Big Boards next week, I will rank 200 players and present my final rankings for kickers and defense/special teams.

2. Over the next few days, 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). 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 TFC leagues, which require one quarterback, two running backs, two receivers, a tight end and two flexes to start each week.

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

 The Fantasy Championship 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 WR1 Antonio Brown PIT 28 116.67 23.0
2 WR2 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 23 99.88 25.6
3 WR3 Julio Jones ATL 27 115.79 27.1
4 RB1 David Johnson ARI 24 129.05 19.3
5 WR4 A.J. Green CIN 28 81.32 21.5
6 WR5 Dez Bryant DAL 27 77.78 22.3
7 RB2 Ezekiel Elliott DAL 21 125.87 21.8
8 WR6 Allen Robinson JAC 23 69.83 16.8
9 RB3 Lamar Miller HOU 25 127.28 21.1
10 RB4 Todd Gurley LA 22 124.45 20.4
11 WR7 Brandon Marshall NYJ 32 62.76 20.0
12 RB5 Adrian Peterson MIN 31 122.51 16.0
13 WR8 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 24 64.52 17.8
14 WR9 Keenan Allen SD 24 54.80 18.4
15 RB6 Le'Veon Bell PIT 24 118.44 13.5
16 TE1 Rob Gronkowski NE 27 112.25 15.4
17 WR10 Mike Evans TB 23 61.87 16.8
18 RB7 Jamaal Charles KC 29 91.04 19.6
19 WR11 T.Y. Hilton IND 26 49.85 17.8
20 WR12 Amari Cooper OAK 22 45.96 18.8
21 WR13 Randall Cobb GB 26 44.19 17.0
22 WR14 Brandin Cooks NO 22 15.91 15.0
23 WR15 Jordy Nelson GB 31 14.14 14.3
24 RB8 Devonta Freeman ATL 24 43.84 16.8
25 RB9 Mark Ingram NO 26 81.67 16.4
26 RB10 LeSean McCoy BUF 28 82.38 13.5
27 WR16 Demaryius Thomas DEN 28 53.03 16.4
28 WR17 Jarvis Landry MIA 23 38.89 18.8
29 RB11 Doug Martin TB 27 82.91 14.3
30 WR18 Sammy Watkins BUF 23 71.59 13.8
31 RB12 Eddie Lacy GB 26 62.58 14.7
32 WR19 Alshon Jeffery CHI 26 1.77 16.8
33 WR20 Julian Edelman NE 30 10.61 16.6
34 WR21 Jeremy Maclin KC 28 67.18 14.9
35 WR22 Donte Moncrief IND 23 36.24 18.0
36 RB13 Carlos Hyde SF 24 65.41 17.4
37 WR23 Eric Decker NYJ 29 16.97 17.4
38 WR24 Doug Baldwin SEA 27 0.00 18.4
39 TE2 Jordan Reed WAS 26 87.50 15.1
40 RB14 Danny Woodhead SD 31 37.48 17.0
41 QB1 Cam Newton CAR 27 73.36 25.7
42 QB2 Aaron Rodgers GB 32 76.54 27.4
43 RB15 C.J. Anderson DEN 25 22.45 15.4
44 RB16 Latavius Murray OAK 26 61.52 14.4
45 WR25 Golden Tate DET 28 7.95 15.0
46 RB17 Thomas Rawls SEA 23 3.54 15.3
47 RB18 Duke Johnson CLE 22 20.33 14.8
48 RB19 Matt Forte NYJ 30 26.87 12.5
49 TE3 Greg Olsen CAR 31 44.19 13.5
50 TE4 Delanie Walker TEN 32 45.43 14.1
51 WR26 Marvin Jones DET 26 75.13 14.1
52 WR27 John Brown ARI 26 69.83 16.9
53 QB3 Russell Wilson SEA 23 71.06 26.0
54 RB20 Giovani Bernard CIN 24 0.00 9.5
55 WR28 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 33 70.71 14.0
56 WR29 Sterling Shepard NYG 23 2.65 15.0
57 QB4 Andrew Luck IND 26 70.53 26.8
58 TE5 Coby Fleener NO 27 13.26 14.3
59 TE6 Travis Kelce KC 26 11.31 12.9
60 RB21 Jeremy Hill CIN 23 38.01 12.8
61 RB22 Frank Gore IND 33 8.84 10.9
62 QB5 Drew Brees NO 37 60.81 25.2
63 WR30 Tyler Lockett SEA 23 36.24 13.9
64 WR31 Michael Floyd ARI 26 41.54 14.6
65 WR32 Michael Crabtree OAK 28 67.18 15.9
66 WR33 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 29 66.47 15.3
67 WR34 DeVante Parker MIA 23 55.68 16.0
68 RB23 DeMarco Murray TEN 28 9.72 12.3
69 WR35 Kevin White CHI 24 65.41 16.9
70 WR36 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 25 58.34 12.3
71 WR37 DeSean Jackson WAS 29 7.07 11.6
72 WR38 Jordan Matthews PHI 24 33.59 11.7
73 RB24 Charles Sims TB 25 38.71 11.1
74 RB25 Jeremy Langford CHI 24 31.29 10.5
75 QB6 Eli Manning NYG 35 47.20 23.1
76 QB7 Philip Rivers SD 34 47.55 23.1
77 RB26 Chris Ivory JAC 28 2.65 11.5
78 RB27 Rashad Jennings NYG 31 18.21 13.3
79 RB28 Ryan Mathews PHI 28 5.30 12.3
80 RB29 Jonathan Stewart CAR 29 3.01 9.6
81 WR39 Corey Coleman CLE 22 27.40 11.5
82 TE7 Julius Thomas JAC 28 16.79 16.1
83 TE8 Gary Barnidge CLE 30 4.24 10.9
84 WR40 Allen Hurns JAC 24 42.43 13.1
85 TE9 Tyler Eifert CIN 25 23.86 9.5
86 TE10 Zach Ertz PHI 25 22.10 12.3
87 RB30 Melvin Gordon SD 23 4.42 13.3
88 RB31 Matt Jones WAS 23 2.30 14.8
89 RB32 James White NE 24 10.61 16.5
90 RB33 DeAngelo Williams PIT 33 8.84 19.1
91 QB8 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 34 70.53 24.1
92 QB9 Carson Palmer ARI 36 66.82 24.5
93 QB10 Tom Brady NE 39 57.98 0.0
94 WR41 Stefon Diggs MIN 22 23.86 15.6
95 WR42 Josh Gordon CLE 25 0.00 0.0
96 RB34 Arian Foster MIA 30 30.94 11.8
97 QB11 Blake Bortles JAC 24 25.99 22.5
98 RB35 Derrick Henry TEN 22 35.89 7.9
99 RB36 Tevin Coleman ATL 23 30.05 10.5
100 RB37 Justin Forsett BAL 30 67.71 10.9
101 RB38 Ameer Abdullah DET 23 4.95 9.6
102 WR43 Travis Benjamin SD 26 1.77 13.4
103 TE11 Martellus Bennett NE 29 4.24 11.5
104 RB39 T.J. Yeldon JAC 22 51.80 10.0
105 RB40 Isaiah Crowell CLE 23 6.19 10.6
106 TE12 Antonio Gates SD 36 5.30 15.4
107 WR44 Tavon Austin LA 25 7.07 10.1
108 WR45 Willie Snead NO 23 25.63 9.1
109 QB12 Kirk Cousins WAS 28 3.36 21.8
110 WR46 Bruce Ellington SF 25 22.98 11.5
111 WR47 Mike Wallace BAL 30 18.56 11.8
112 WR48 Rishard Matthews TEN 26 35.36 10.3
113 RB41 Theo Riddick DET 25 46.49 9.6
114 RB42 Bilal Powell NYJ 27 71.95 7.8
115 RB43 Christine Michael SEA 25 122.51 2.9
116 TE13 Dwayne Allen IND 26 68.06 8.4
117 QB13 Tyrod Taylor BUF 27 22.10 19.8
118 WR49 Torrey Smith SF 27 45.08 13.8
119 WR50 Kamar Aiken BAL 27 11.49 11.1
120 WR51 Vincent Jackson TB 33 15.91 12.5
121 WR52 Michael Thomas NO 21 11.49 10.0
122 WR53 Markus Wheaton PIT 25 6.19 9.6
123 RB44 LeGarrette Blount NE 29 58.34 6.4
124 RB45 Chris Johnson ARI 30 114.73 5.4
125 RB46 Spencer Ware KC 24 46.49 4.9
126 TE14 Jason Witten DAL 34 33.76 9.9
127 QB14 Matthew Stafford DET 28 0.00 22.8
128 QB15 Derek Carr OAK 25 19.98 22.2
129 RB47 Darren Sproles PHI 33 91.92 9.8
130 RB48 DeAndre Washington OAK 23 92.63 8.0
131 WR54 Davante Adams GB 23 32.70 8.3
132 TE15 Clive Walford OAK 24 30.94 11.6
133 TE16 Eric Ebron DET 23 0.00 12.4
134 TE17 Jimmy Graham SEA 29 63.64 8.4
135 RB49 Devontae Booker DEN 24 48.61 8.8
136 RB50 Jay Ajayi MIA 23 121.98 4.1
137 WR55 Mohamed Sanu ATL 27 71.59 7.0
138 WR56 Tajae Sharpe TEN 21 106.07 3.3
139 WR57 Tyler Boyd CIN 21 47.73 5.6
140 QB16 Ryan Tannehill MIA 28 8.31 22.6
141 QB17 Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ 33 8.31 19.9
142 RB51 Shane Vereen NYG 27 123.74 9.1
143 WR58 Devin Funchess CAR 22 28.28 9.3
144 QB18 Marcus Mariota TEN 22 41.72 20.8
145 QB19 Jameis Winston TB 22 18.21 21.2
146 QB20 Matt Ryan ATL 31 37.48 21.4
147 TE18 Charles Clay BUF 27 63.64 10.0
148 RB52 Shaun Draughn SF 28 117.91 6.3
149 WR59 Ted Ginn Jr. CAR 30 81.32 7.9
150 WR60 Phillip Dorsett IND 23 7.95 13.8

The bulk of the content this week will focus on players who owners should target and avoid (mostly with an eye on favorable playoff schedules):

Potential TFC-Winning Picks

I can't make much of a case for owners to go against Antonio Brown in any format this season, but it should be noted Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones have mouthwatering matchups during the TFC's four-week playoff structure, beginning in Week 13. Brown has proven he can perform at an elite level against any opponent and stay healthy, which is why he'll remain ahead of OBJ and Jones. While I wouldn't advise going contrarian with the first pick, I cannot fault owners for doing so when the goal is to win $250,000 (as opposed to a regular league prize).

The path of least resistance at running back for owners who select receivers in the first two rounds may be to double up on Tampa Bay running backs. Perhaps no player is projected to have a better slate in December than Doug Martin, who ends the fantasy season with San Diego-New Orleans-Dallas-New Orleans. A lot can change between now and December, but remind me again: What exactly those teams have done to improve themselves on defense - specifically to stop running backs - this offseason? All of those games have shootout potential as well, which is why Charles Sims is also a big deal. And should Martin not make it through the season, well, I guess we know what that would mean for Sims. If you miss out on Martin, LeSean McCoy is also a third-round selection (in most drafts anyway) who could easily help his fantasy teams finish in the money.

Speaking of Bills, the Doug Martin of wideouts this season could be Sammy Watkins, at least speaking of receivers outside of the top 10 or so. Oakland (Week 13) will be a challenge, injuries have been an issue and the No. 4 overall pick in 2014 needs his number to get called more often in the red zone, but if Buffalo can open things up even just a little bit toward the end of the season, Watkins has the schedule (Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Miami) to help owners cash in.

I think most of us would acknowledge Danny Woodhead's RB3 finish was a bit of a fluke in what was a terrible year for running backs. What is not a fluke is in his two full seasons as a Charger, the Chadron State product has been a top-12 PPR fantasy back because he is a legitimate threat for 70-plus catches and the team's most trusted option in the red zone. Maybe the latter role changes hands at some point this season if Melvin Gordon lights it up, but his passing-down work isn't going away since he is one of the league's best backs when it comes to pass-blocking too. Not only are his five straight green matchups in Weeks 4-8 a nice bonus, but favorable matchups against Oakland and Cleveland over the final two weeks of the fantasy season make him very TFC-friendly as well. His TFC ADP is 5.8 at the moment; I'd argue that is at least one round too low.

Occasionally, I am guilty of an oversight or two when I release the first Big Boards, since time almost always seems to be in short supply in August. Marvin Jones was an example of that last week, as I had him ranked 81st on the PPR Big Board. Never fear, it has been corrected. A strong case can be made that Jones is better equipped to be a full-time outside receiver than Golden Tate, who will lose a significant number of snaps in the slot following the Lions' addition of Anquan Boldin. Tate figures to draw the opponent's top corner in "shadow situations" and his owners have to be thrilled about matchups against the Saints, Bears and Cowboys in three of the final four fantasy matchups of the season.

Owners typically don't need an excuse to draft Drew Brees or Eli Manning, but the NFL did everyone associated with the pair a huge favor by giving them perhaps the juiciest playoff matchups of any quarterback. Manning's slate is ridiculously favorable over the final five games of the fantasy season, as Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Detroit and Philadelphia don't have the personnel to match up with OBJ, much less his new partner-in-crime Sterling Shepard. As for Brees, I'm willing to listen to an argument regarding the "ease" of the Saints' final four fantasy contests because it could be a trap. The Lions could have a formidable defense if they are able to cobble together some effective play in the secondary behind CB Darius Slay, although such a hope appears to be a longshot at best. The Cardinals could (and should) be a top defense, so the ease of which I speak centers on what I expect to be a young and mistake-prone Tampa Bay secondary in Weeks 14 and 16. It should be noted, however, the Bucs did a serviceable job against Brees last season with lesser personnel.

Jameis Winston may not see much time in fantasy lineups during the fantasy regular season, but I dare anyone to find a three-week stretch during the fantasy playoffs that lines up better than New Orleans-Dallas-New Orleans. If Mike Evans has the year most think he can have, Vincent Jackson can stay healthy and Austin Seferian-Jenkins can deliver on his promise, then expecting Winston to produce against two of the worst defenses from a season ago isn't asking much.

Eric Ebron isn't exactly rocketing up Big Boards at the moment given the seriousness of the ankle injury he suffered earlier this month. Assuming he is ready to go by Week 1 and can stay on the field, perhaps no other tight end - especially one who will usually be drafted as a TE2 - boasts a more favorable slate of games, especially during the fantasy postseason.

Unfavorable TFC Picks

Allen Robinson has a brutal path to success this year, which is about the only reason I don't have him higher than I do on any of my Big Boards. He obviously has enough working in his favor to be a productive WR1 anyway, and I think he'll be good enough to help owners win their fair share of league titles. I'm just not sure he's a player owners in this competition want to hitch their wagon to in their pursuit for $200,000.

Selecting Le'Veon Bell in the first round became a bit more palatable over the weekend when his suspension was shortened to three games, but the soundness of drafting him high can still very much be questioned. Like Antonio Brown, he is pretty much matchup-proof and will probably lead most fantasy teams that can win at least one of its first three games into the playoffs, but will he be the difference-maker he needs to be for his owners in December? It is entirely possible Bell posts 20-point performances against the Giants, Bills, Bengals and Ravens (the Steelers' opponents from Week 13-16), but that's a tough slate for any owner hoping to compete for the grand prize.

C.J. Anderson has looked very good this preseason, so while he has some things working in his favor (great defense, conservative offensive philosophy, receivers good enough to keep defenses from loading the box, etc.), I'm not sure he'll be finding his way onto any of my TFC teams over the next two-plus weeks. The offensive line is still very much a work in progress, the schedule is a bear at the beginning and the end and Devontae Booker probably isn’t going away.

This could very well be Tyler Lockett's breakout year; there's a reason I have listed as a sixth-round value. Will he be the main reason why some owner pockets 200K? I doubt it. With Doug Baldwin likely to spend roughly half of his snaps in the slot, Lockett figures to be the one receiver defenses will attempt to shadow (assuming they have the personnel to do so). Most of the Seahawks' opponents have at least one very good corner capable of doing just that. Granted, most owners aren't expecting their sixth-round picks to carry the team per se, but it should go without saying few receivers have a more difficult path to fantasy success this season than Lockett.

I've seen Jordan Matthews go as high as the third round in some drafts. Why? Yes, he is the lead receiver for the Eagles and possesses a fair amount of talent. Beyond that, he has a quarterback with little job security in Sam Bradford, an offense which will not push the pace (reducing volume) and no discernable threat in the passing game to take the defense's attention away from him. After Philadelphia's Week 4 bye, he also won't catch a break from the schedule either. I think I'm doing him a service by listing him as the WR38 in this set of rankings; I just don't think he'll be of much use outside of perhaps five or six games this season. And if Bradford gets hurt (again), things could go from bad to worse.

Chris Ivory has long been one of my favorite backs, so I feel like I'm doing him a disservice this year after advising owners to take him as early as the third round last year. (That seemed to work out well if I remember correctly, however.) Good luck to you if you decide on counting on him for anything important this season. While I believe Jacksonville's offense will be good enough to help him get a few scores over the second half of the season, I frankly cannot remember the last time I applied a solid yellow line to an entire half of a season for a fairly prominent player. For a back that figures to lose most of the passing-down work to T.J. Yeldon, Ivory will have the deck stacked against him in 2016.

Although I don't pay a great amount of attention to ADP, Arian Foster is usually going off the board sometime in the fifth round. Certainly, one should never say never, so let's just leave it as I have no idea how owners expect him to return that kind of value. There is the Achilles' injury and questions that need to be answered along the offensive line, not to mention the fact he will turn 30 this week and hasn't come close to playing a full season since 2012. And then, there is the schedule. How does Seattle, New England and Cincinnati in September sound? How about Baltimore, Arizona, Buffalo and the New York Jets at the end of the fantasy season? Even if he somehow manages to play 14 games this season, Foster is not a winning pick in any league. His own injury history suggests he won't last half the season, his most recent injury suggests he'll have less explosiveness than last year (when he averaged 2.6 YPC) and his list of opponents at the most critical time of the year for fantasy owners makes it virtually impossible to consider anything more than a high-risk RB3.

I have no idea how I am supposed to rank Justin Forsett. If I knew he was going to be the man in the Ravens' backfield for 14-16 games, he'd probably be a sixth-round value for me. However, Terrance West seems like he could be the goal-line back in Baltimore, Buck Allen may steal passing-down work and rookie Kenneth Dixon is arguably the most talented player of the bunch. Furthermore, Forsett will turn 31 this season and certainly doesn't have the history or fit the profile of being a featured back. Speaking of running backs who are difficult to rank, allow me to include Isaiah Crowell. He appears to be in line to start and be Cleveland's answer to Jeremy Hill, but Crowell doesn't have Hill's talent, while Duke Johnson is every bit the equal of Giovani Bernard. Projected game script also doesn't favor Crowell, although the Browns should have a better offensive line than most expect.

Next: FFPC

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.