Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      


Doug Orth | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Top 200 Big Board, PPR: Version 2.0
Preseason Matchup Analysis
Posted: 8/22/17; Updated: 8/31/17
PPR | .5 PPR | Non-PPR
Remember how I said last week my overall Big Boards were not going to change significantly over the remainder of the preseason barring injuries?

Yeah, so last weekend happened. (Yet another reminder as to why it is foolish to sink more than a few dollars into this hobby until after the third full week of the preseason has finished.) Three fairly high-profile fantasy players (Spencer Ware, Julian Edelman and Cameron Meredith) going down in a matter of a few days stirs the pot for a lot of big changes on the NFL teams they play for and a slew of minor changes in the overall rankings.

If you are somehow unfamiliar with my color-coding system, allow me to explain it before we start:

Red – 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 – For lower-level players, he 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 – This one that could go either way. In some cases, I just don’t feel like I have a good feel yet for this matchup. Generally speaking, these matchups are winnable for all levels of players.

Green – 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

Two other items require an explanation:

1) Success Score Index (SSI) - This score is an apples-to-oranges number I reach after meticulously grading and assigning certain weights to several unique attributes to each position that I feel are critical to fantasy success.

2) Please note the different colors to the “Pos” column below; I am taking this step to allow owners to delineate where one tier ends (regardless of position) and where another one begins, essentially using the same concept NFL teams do with a horizontal board during the NFL Draft. The fact each tier is a different color is merely to easily separate tiers; nothing more or nothing less.

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

 PPR Big Board - Top 200
Rank Pos Player Tm Age SSI 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
1 RB1 David Johnson ARI 25 1097.5
2 WR1 Antonio Brown PIT 29 1094.4
3 RB2 Le'Veon Bell PIT 25 1088.8
4 WR2 Julio Jones ATL 28 1078.1
5 WR3 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 24 1077.5
6 RB3 Devonta Freeman ATL 25 1076.0
7 WR4 Jordy Nelson GB 32 1061.0
8 WR5 Mike Evans TB 24 1045.6
9 RB4 Melvin Gordon LAC 24 1041.3
10 RB5 DeMarco Murray TEN 29 1040.3
11 WR6 Michael Thomas NO 23 1039.6
12 WR7 A.J. Green CIN 29 1035.6
13 RB6 Jay Ajayi MIA 24 1033.0
14 RB7 LeSean McCoy BUF 29 1027.3
15 RB8 Todd Gurley LAR 23 1023.8
16 WR8 Doug Baldwin SEA 28 1018.3
17 RB9 Jordan Howard CHI 22 1017.0
18 WR9 Brandin Cooks NE 23 1001.0
19 RB10 Kareem Hunt KC 22 995.8
20 TE1 Rob Gronkowski NE 28 981.3
21 WR10 Dez Bryant DAL 28 973.9
22 RB11 Dalvin Cook MIN 22 973.8
23 RB12 Isaiah Crowell CLE 24 972.8
24 QB1 Tom Brady NE 40 968.5
25 QB2 Aaron Rodgers GB 33 968.5
26 RB13 Christian McCaffrey CAR 21 966.5
27 WR11 Michael Crabtree OAK 29 966.3
28 RB14 Ezekiel Elliott DAL 22 965.8
29 WR12 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 34 965.8
30 WR13 Amari Cooper OAK 23 965.6
31 WR14 Keenan Allen LAC 25 965.5
32 RB15 Lamar Miller HOU 26 965.0
33 RB16 Leonard Fournette JAC 22 964.8
34 WR15 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 25 961.5
35 WR16 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 26 956.9
36 WR17 Demaryius Thomas DEN 29 951.3
37 RB17 Ty Montgomery GB 24 949.3
38 WR18 Martavis Bryant PIT 25 946.3
39 WR19 T.Y. Hilton IND 27 940.0
40 RB18 Carlos Hyde SF 25 936.8
41 WR20 Allen Robinson JAC 24 936.3
42 WR21 Tyreek Hill KC 23 935.0
43 RB19 Mark Ingram NO 27 931.5
44 RB20 Joe Mixon CIN 21 928.8
45 WR22 Davante Adams GB 24 928.8
46 TE2 Jimmy Graham SEA 30 925.0
47 WR23 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 30 922.5
48 TE3 Travis Kelce KC 27 922.5
49 WR24 Stefon Diggs MIN 23 921.8
50 RB21 Danny Woodhead BAL 32 921.8
51 RB22 Doug Martin TB 28 921.5
52 RB23 Ameer Abdullah DET 24 921.5
53 RB24 Marshawn Lynch OAK 31 919.0
54 WR25 DeVante Parker MIA 24 918.8
55 QB3 Drew Brees NO 38 918.5
56 WR26 Jeremy Maclin BAL 29 917.5
57 WR27 Terrelle Pryor WAS 28 916.9
58 WR28 Pierre Garcon SF 31 915.4
59 WR29 Golden Tate DET 29 915.0
60 RB25 Rob Kelley WAS 24 911.5
61 WR30 Jamison Crowder WAS 24 908.9
62 QB4 Russell Wilson SEA 28 907.5
63 RB26 Tevin Coleman ATL 24 906.0
64 RB27 Adrian Peterson NO 32 904.5
65 TE4 Greg Olsen CAR 32 900.0
66 TE5 Jordan Reed WAS 27 899.2
67 RB28 Bilal Powell NYJ 28 899.0
68 WR31 Willie Snead NO 24 897.5
69 WR32 Brandon Marshall NYG 33 896.6
70 RB29 Mike Gillislee NE 26 893.0
71 QB5 Matt Ryan ATL 32 890.5
72 RB30 Jonathan Stewart CAR 30 890.3
73 TE6 Kyle Rudolph MIN 27 888.8
74 WR33 Sammy Watkins LAR 24 886.3
75 RB31 Duke Johnson CLE 23 882.3
76 TE7 Martellus Bennett GB 30 881.3
77 WR34 Alshon Jeffery PHI 27 880.4
78 TE8 Tyler Eifert CIN 26 880.4
79 RB32 Frank Gore IND 34 880.3
80 WR35 Jarvis Landry MIA 24 880.0
81 RB33 Theo Riddick DET 26 873.8
82 QB6 Cam Newton CAR 28 870.5
83 TE9 Hunter Henry LAC 22 867.5
84 RB34 Darren McFadden DAL 30 866.5
85 RB35 Derrick Henry TEN 23 864.8
86 WR36 Adam Thielen MIN 27 863.8
87 WR37 John Brown ARI 27 861.8
88 QB7 Philip Rivers LAC 35 858.5
89 QB8 Jameis Winston TB 23 856.5
90 WR38 DeSean Jackson TB 30 856.5
91 WR39 Donte Moncrief IND 24 855.0
92 QB9 Dak Prescott DAL 24 854.5
93 WR40 Tyrell Williams LAC 25 848.5
94 RB36 C.J. Anderson DEN 26 848.3
95 WR41 Corey Coleman CLE 23 847.3
96 WR42 Randall Cobb GB 27 847.0
97 RB37 Terrance West BAL 26 846.8
98 QB10 Kirk Cousins WAS 29 844.5
99 WR43 Mike Wallace BAL 31 844.0
100 QB11 Marcus Mariota TEN 23 843.5
101 WR44 Chris Hogan NE 28 840.0
102 WR45 Kevin White CHI 25 840.0
103 RB38 Darren Sproles PHI 34 830.5
104 QB12 Matthew Stafford DET 29 829.5
105 QB13 Andrew Luck IND 27 827.5
106 QB14 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 35 826.5
107 QB15 Andy Dalton CIN 29 826.5
108 WR46 Kenny Britt CLE 28 826.0
109 WR47 Marvin Jones DET 27 823.1
110 WR48 Rishard Matthews TEN 27 822.5
111 WR49 Cole Beasley DAL 28 819.4
112 QB16 Derek Carr OAK 26 819.0
113 RB39 LeGarrette Blount PHI 30 817.0
114 TE10 Zach Ertz PHI 26 816.3
115 WR50 Ted Ginn Jr. NO 32 814.8
116 RB40 Jamaal Williams GB 22 812.8
117 RB41 Matt Forte NYJ 31 811.0
118 RB42 DeAndre Washington OAK 24 810.3
119 WR51 Robby Anderson NYJ 24 808.4
120 RB43 Jalen Richard OAK 23 808.3
121 RB44 Rex Burkhead NE 27 808.0
122 WR52 Eric Decker TEN 30 806.3
123 RB45 James White NE 25 805.3
124 RB46 Chris Thompson WAS 26 805.0
125 QB17 Carson Palmer ARI 37 803.0
126 QB18 Eli Manning NYG 36 802.5
127 RB47 Jonathan Williams BUF 23 798.5
128 WR53 Zay Jones BUF 22 793.5
129 QB19 Carson Wentz PHI 24 792.0
130 WR54 Sterling Shepard NYG 24 791.3
131 RB48 Jeremy Hill CIN 24 790.8
132 TE11 Austin Hooper ATL 22 785.0
133 TE12 Delanie Walker TEN 33 782.5
134 RB49 Charles Sims TB 26 781.3
135 WR55 Corey Davis TEN 22 778.8
136 QB20 Tyrod Taylor BUF 28 775.5
137 WR56 Cooper Kupp LAR 24 773.8
138 RB50 James Conner PIT 22 773.5
139 RB51 D'Onta Foreman HOU 21 772.5
140 RB52 C.J. Prosise SEA 23 772.3
141 WR57 Travis Benjamin LAC 27 770.6
142 RB53 Thomas Rawls SEA 24 770.5
143 TE13 Julius Thomas MIA 29 770.0
144 RB54 Devontae Booker DEN 25 767.8
145 RB55 Alvin Kamara NO 31 767.5
146 WR58 Jordan Matthews BUF 25 767.5
147 RB56 Latavius Murray MIN 27 767.0
148 TE14 Jack Doyle IND 27 765.0
149 RB57 Samaje Perine WAS 21 764.5
150 WR59 Kenny Golladay DET 23 764.4
151 RB58 Kyle Juszczyk SF 26 763.5
152 RB59 Tarik Cohen CHI 22 762.5
153 TE15 Eric Ebron DET 24 761.3
154 WR60 Devin Funchess CAR 23 760.0
155 RB60 Jamaal Charles DEN 30 758.0
156 RB61 Shane Vereen NYG 28 757.3
157 RB62 Jacquizz Rodgers TB 27 757.3
158 RB63 Christopher Carson SEA 22 756.3
159 QB21 Sam Bradford MIN 29 755.5
160 RB64 Marlon Mack IND 21 753.5
161 RB65 Eddie Lacy SEA 27 752.0
162 RB66 Giovani Bernard CIN 25 751.3
163 QB22 Jay Cutler MIA 34 751.0
164 WR61 Kenny Stills MIA 25 750.6
165 TE16 Cameron Brate TB 26 745.0
166 RB67 T.J. Yeldon JAC 23 743.5
167 RB68 Robert Turbin IND 27 743.0
168 RB69 Dion Lewis NE 26 740.3
169 RB70 Donnel Pumphrey PHI 22 740.0
170 RB71 Paul Perkins NYG 22 739.5
171 TE17 Evan Engram NYG 22 737.5
172 WR62 Brandon LaFell CIN 30 733.8
173 WR63 Breshad Perriman BAL 23 733.1
174 WR64 Mohamed Sanu ATL 27 730.6
175 WR65 Curtis Samuel CAR 21 727.5
176 WR66 Marqise Lee JAC 25 725.0
177 TE18 Jason Witten DAL 35 725.0
178 RB72 Wayne Gallman NYG 22 724.3
179 RB73 De'Angelo Henderson DEN 24 724.0
180 RB74 Wendell Smallwood PHI 23 719.8
181 WR67 Marquise Goodwin SF 26 718.8
182 WR68 Kendall Wright CHI 27 717.5
183 RB75 Jerick McKinnon MIN 25 715.0
184 RB76 Tim Hightower SF 31 713.5
185 WR69 Josh Doctson WAS 24 713.1
186 QB23 Jared Goff LAR 22 712.5
187 TE19 Zach Miller CHI 32 710.4
188 WR70 Torrey Smith PHI 28 708.8
189 WR71 Nelson Agholor PHI 24 707.5
190 RB77 Matt Breida SF 22 707.3
191 TE20 Coby Fleener NO 28 703.8
192 TE21 Austin Seferian-Jenkins NYJ 24 701.3
193 WR72 Paul Richardson SEA 25 701.3
194 WR73 J.J. Nelson ARI 25 700.0
195 RB78 Branden Oliver LAC 26 699.0
196 QB24 Alex Smith KC 33 695.0
197 TE22 Antonio Gates LAC 37 695.0
198 QB25 Joe Flacco BAL 32 692.5
199 RB79 Zach Zenner DET 25 692.3
200 RB80 Charcandrick West KC 26 687.8

Be aware these rankings are for PPR leagues which award six points for all touchdowns and start one quarterback, two running backs, two receivers and one tight end along with a flex.

Why did I feel the need to issue that reminder? Because traditional fantasy logic suggests quarterbacks have no business being ranked No. 26 overall (Aaron Rodgers), much less No. 20 (Tom Brady). And it's OK by me if you don't want to buy into what I am about to sell, but hear me out anyway: after the elite running backs and receivers are gone, there will still a substantial number of "complementary pieces" at both positions that most owners should be able to start every week lasting until roughly the sixth or seventh round. Can you say with any certainty players like Davante Adams, Jamison Crowder, Brandon Marshall, Mark Ingram, Duke Johnson or Bilal Powell won't give you similar fantasy production to that of Allen Robinson, Martavis Bryant, Lamar Miller and/or Joe Mixon? Conversely, how many quarterbacks in the league are capable of accounting for 40 or more total touchdowns this year? Maybe three, if you believe Drew Brees can be as effective without Brandin Cooks.

Both New England and Green Bay used the offseason to address their most pressing concerns on offense - New England landed a premier deep threat who can do it all in Cooks and Green Bay added a top-10 tight end in Martellus Bennett. At least this year, there is very much an upper strata of quarterbacks … and then the rest of the pack. I have a firm belief the Packers will try to run a balanced offense this year, which is about the only reason why I don't have Rodgers as my top quarterback. Of course there is an argument that can be made taking a quarterback in the third round put you behind the rest of the league because it sets you back in terms of landing a quality RB2/WR2. In case you haven't noticed from my example in the previous paragraph, the third round of most drafts doesn't look all that much different than the fifth or sixth this year. When you look at it like that, separating yourself from the pack by getting an extra five to six points per game from the quarterback position doesn't seem like such a bad idea. If Brady and Rodgers play all 16 games this season, I feel quite confident they - perhaps along with Brees - will give you a fair amount of separation from the rest of the quarterback group.

Most of the fantasy world believes Lamar Miller is an overhyped, unexciting RB2 who is biding his time until D'Onta Foreman takes his job. I believe Miller is one of the better backs in the league whose strengths are not being featured in Houston. We've all heard what he isn't or can't do: among other things, he wears down after 20 carries, he doesn't generate yards after contact and he's not built to last. In Miami, he didn't miss a game in his last three straight seasons and was routinely an important part of the passing game - twice topping 50 targets despite never really becoming a featured back. He routinely made a living on big plays on perimeter and/or off-tackle runs.

In his first year in Houston, Miller was asked to run 89 times up the middle behind a replacement center who ended up holding his own (Greg Mancz) and two guards who graded out among the worst run blockers at their position in the league (Xavier Su'a-Filo and Jeff Allen). (As an aside, during Arian Foster's last two "significant" seasons with the Texans in 2013 and 2014, he was rarely used to run up the middle.) Miller's 623 offensive snaps were his fewest since 2013. His 39 targets were also his fewest since the same season. I recognize the last two of those stats are low primarily because he missed two full games, but don't you think it's possible a proven outside runner who was asked to run it up the gut and played roughly half the season through shoulder and/or ankle injuries was poised to break down and/or disappoint a bit statistically? Perhaps it might explain his low yards after contact as well. After all, not all yards after contact averages are created equal.

One of the reasons I was high on Miller last year was because I saw how HC Bill O'Brien used Arian Foster as a receiver the previous two seasons. The lack of screens and/or swing passes - especially considering how much of a small-ball offense Houston had last year - was also hard for me to comprehend. All of this is to say that Miller will be a fine RB2 if he continues being used in a similar fashion that he was in 2016, which is how he is being ranked above. Just know there is potential for a lot more if O'Brien is willing to give more of the inside work to Foreman and more of the perimeter work to Miller.

There has been a fair amount of research done to conclude running backs - if not all skill-position players in general - from winning NFL teams have a much better chance at finishing inside the top 12 at their position in fantasy scoring than those who play on losing NFL teams. Obviously I'm not saying productive fantasy players cannot come from likely losing teams, but when we are talking about the top of our drafts, we want to check off as many boxes as possible. With that in mind, I can no longer keep Leonard Fournette in the mid-to-late second round. I can also no longer consider Allen Robinson an early third-rounder given the Jags' undesirable quarterback situation either. Fournette's projected heavy workload, talent and supporting cast (i.e. his receivers) would typically be enough to make him a top-20 fantasy pick, but isn't his situation appearing to a bit reminiscent of Todd Gurley's from last year? Both are supreme talents in an offense that will struggle to score because their play-calling/quarterback play will do virtually nothing to lighten the box.

Fournette and his owners at least have the benefit of knowing if one Jaguar quarterback unexpectedly starts playing well, the gloom-and-doom should disappear because Jacksonville has enough good or great receivers to make it work. The problem? Blake Bortles has regressed and Chad Henne has never proven he can sustain what limited success he's had in the league. The workload will make Fournette relevant in fantasy regardless of his situation, but in an offense with little hope for averaging more than 17 points per game and the fact he's already dealing with injury, he's a much better selection as a RB2 in the third round than he is in the middle of the second. As for Robinson, he still finished as the WR26 last year in PPR leagues despite awful quarterback play, and while a repeat of that fantasy finish would not be ideal, it is much more palatable from a player at the 3-4 turn than it is the 2-3 turn.

One of the biggest risers on my board over the last week or so is Terrelle Pryor. He (and the Washington offense, to be honest) obviously did not do much in the most recent preseason game to justify to jump, so what gives? Do me a favor and watch his only catch of the Green Bay exhibition game near the end of the first quarter and then watch this video breakdown. He is nearly impossible to stop on in-breaking routes and his size (6-4, 228) makes him a nightmare on high-point throws near the end zone. Washington ranked only above Houston and the New York Jets last season in red zone efficiency. Coaches and coordinators have yet to actually draw up a 2017 game plan yet, but it isn't hard to understand what Pryor's purpose should be in Washington this year after watching the aforementioned clip. My lack of faith in HC Jay Gruden and Pryor's brutal second-half schedule are the only two realistic roadblocks I see keeping Pryor not settling as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 this season. Yes, I still expect Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder to be the focal points of the passing game, but even a full 16-game schedule from both figures to account for only 250 of a likely 600 targets. And as we all know, Reed cannot be counted upon for 16 games. Pryor's floor should be in the neighborhood of 70 catches and eight touchdowns.

No one admits to liking Jay Cutler, yet fantasy owners probably disliked him a little less following the Dolphins' most recent preseason game when he called DeVante Parker "a faster Alshon (Jeffery)." (Thanks, Jay.) That comment alone probably spiked his ADP a full round, but it serves to make a point some of us already knew. Miami is ready to put its passing game in the hands of Parker and see if he can fulfill the promise he has teased us with for the first two injury plagued seasons of his NFL career. I don't want Cutler to say anything else about Parker (I didn't need him to say what he said to begin with) or see Parker explode in this week's dress rehearsal; I was already convince he is ready to shine now. While Jarvis Landry's presence figures to put a bit of a cap on his statistical and target ceiling, Parker should be a steal for owners if he is available in the sixth round and/or can be used as a WR3/flex option this season.

One of the many reasons I've worked so much over the last few years on my SSI algorithms is to serve as a counterbalance to any kind of recent bias (as in a glowing report or a solid preseason performance) I may encounter. When I have to go into a file and edit multiple values in order to move a player up or down my board, it makes me think twice about what I'm doing (and I like that). Mike Gillislee is an example of one of the reasons why I wanted to develop and use this methodology - to keep me in check. It's too easy to knock 100 yards or two touchdowns off a player's projection in the preseason when he doesn't play or disappoints, but doing so ignores why he was signed by the team in the first place. (And yes, I've accounted for this kind of thing in my SSI score.)

In Gillislee's case, he's in the unpredictable backfield of the Patriots, and his continued absence from practice not only makes him a poor bet to replicate LeGarrette Blount's fantasy success from last season, but it may also make it impossible to secure any kind of regular role in the early going. With that said, he seems the most likely candidate of all the Patriots' runners to cash in on about six to eight touchdowns inside the 1- or 2-yard line this year and run for at least 700-800 yards. Given how deep the backfield is this year as opposed to last season - when Dion Lewis was hurt and James White was the only other realistic option to take a few carries off Blount's plate - New England could easily give 100-ish touches to each of its four backs. It's an unlikely but plausible scenario, especially when you consider how many leads New England should be protecting and how much of a target share the Patriots' backfield has occupied in recent years. Either way, the depth and varied talents of each member in this backfield should be just the warning owners need to make sure Gillislee isn't overdrafted. OC Josh McDaniels didn't have much in the way of options at running back in 2016. This year, he has four backs that have all carried the load for a bit at some point in their careers.

I know why HC Andy Reid had to unleash Kareem Hunt against Cincinnati; I just didn't need to see Reid use him as much as he did last week. Hunt was already higher on my board than probably anyone else's. Given how good he looked against the Bengals, we are getting dangerously close to needing to pay full price on him if he has another good showing this week in Seattle. Like Parker, I'd just as soon see Kansas City put Hunt in the garage and keep him in there until they visit Foxboro to kick off the season. I'll be very disappointed if he's not on nearly half of my high-stakes teams when all is said and done.

Reports have started to surface that Blount may end up getting released by Philadelphia sometime in the next couple of weeks. Obviously, our only exposure to players is preseason action, but the combination of the Eagles inexplicably using him on outside runs this preseason and what appears to be a bit of a weight gain makes his spot on this board very tenuous. Ryan Mathews proved last season just the early-down role and the majority of touches at the goal line was worth something, and that was exactly the role I (and I think the Eagles) believed Blount would fill. I still sincerely doubt Philadelphia would actually cut him, but Wendell Smallwood is the only other back on the roster who could conceivably be asked to handle more than 100 carries and/or serve as the "muscle" on the goal line. At this point, I think it's safe to say the Eagles probably will cycle all four backs through the lineup and be highly unpredictable in terms of week-to-week usage, outside of Darren Sproles serving in his usual quasi-lead/satellite back role.

If there is one position on one team that figures to flummox fantasy analysts and owners alike during draft season, it might the receiver group in Tennessee. Rookie Corey Davis (hamstring) has barely practiced with the team but has easily the most upside and appears locked into a starting job. Rishard Matthews is the darling from last season who has really done nothing to lose a starting job and easily possesses the most chemistry with Marcus Mariota. Eric Decker is a proven red zone threat and underrated in just about every other aspect of his game. About the only thing that seems certain is that Decker will work out of the slot when the Titans go three-wide. The problem is Tennessee wants to run more two-tight sets, which obviously means one of those receivers is going to see his playing time suffer since the Titans figure run the ball about as well and about as much as any team in the league. I've suggested for a few months that I believe Tennessee will end up with a group of about three or four players - including TE Delanie Walker - with between 50-65 catches and 5-7 touchdowns, which is great for the team but leaves owners with a bunch of unpredictability and low-end starters at best.

A month or so ago, Eric Ebron was on the verge of becoming the trendy pick to break into the top group of tight ends. Unfortunately for him, a month ago is about the last time he practiced too. If 2017 ends up being the year for him, it won't be because he made it obvious during training camp that he needed to be the top priority in the red zone for Detroit. There is no way rookie WR Kenny Golladay can or should be asked to replicate Anquan Boldin's 2016 season, but he almost has to be the first in line to try given Ebron's extended absence. There were reports earlier this summer to suggest Theo Riddick will take on more responsibility inside the red zone, while Zach Zenner may end up as the goal-line back. The total lack of predictability inside the 20 this year is another reason to believe Matthew Stafford may have a high-end QB2 ceiling.

As one would expect, once we get outside of the first 150 players, the question marks on each player are as plentiful as the talent in many cases. Of the last 50, my favorites to emerge as potential fantasy starters at some point during the course of the season would be Cooper Kupp, Marlon Mack, Smallwood, Josh Doctson and Dwayne Allen.

In a pre-NFL Draft write-up of Kupp, I said the following: "Lack of raw speed and acceleration will probably be the traits that keep him from becoming a No. 1 receiver in the league, but evaluators will have a hard time finding another receiver in this class who is as crafty as a route-runner and has such good hands. As long as his new team finds a way to make a home for him in the slot and doesn't ask him to carry the passing game, he should be savvy enough to become one of the better No. 2 receivers in the league at some point." Owners got to see a brief glimpse of why I was high on the Eastern Washington product this past weekend, when Oakland did not have an answer for him. One of the many positives from the Rams' acquisition of Sammy Watkins is that it will keep Kupp in the slot. While we cannot pretend Los Angeles is going to be an offensive juggernaut just because it had a good half against the Raiders, enough stars are aligning for Kupp to be a redraft asset, especially in PPR leagues. Watkins is a top-tier talent (if and when healthy) who will demand the most attention, Robert Woods is also a viable threat and Todd Gurley looks the most explosive I've seen him as a pro. The offensive line is still a question mark, so getting the ball out quick will be a high priority. Kupp's ability to uncover quickly may allow him to push 60 catches.

In case you may not have been buying what I was selling in regards to Mack earlier this summer, he quickly showed he is a cut above the second- and third-stringers he was playing with last weekend. By all accounts, Robert Turbin is the current handcuff to Frank Gore and will be the designated goal-line back, but Mack simply offers Indianapolis the kind of big-play ability the Colts cannot get from any of their other backs. Gore has been far too durable to be terribly bullish on the rookie, so he doesn't deserve a top 150 slot. If Gore's body begins to realize how old he is in running back years as the season progresses, however, that could change pretty quickly.

Smallwood probably deserves a spot higher than what he is getting above, but Blount getting released is pure speculation at the moment. If he remains on the team, then what is Smallwood's role? The backup to Blount and his early-down/goal-line role and Darren Sproles in all aspects of the passing game? Or is Donnel Pumphrey the guy for that? My point exactly.

Doctson can't seem to get or stay healthy for any length of time. This year's problem is a hamstring, which comes on the heels of last year's Achilles' issue. He brings a number of the same qualities to the table that Pryor does, so Washington's offense could be difficult to stop in the red zone if it can get some of its preseason problems ironed out and Doctson is ready is roll. At the moment, however, he appears to be behind teacher's pet Ryan Grant on the depth chart.

Given the lack of durability over his career, Allen is best-served to be a part-time player. He has a reputation as a good blocker, but he fell behind Jack Doyle in that regard too by the end of last season. However, he has always had a bit of a nose for the end zone, perhaps making him a fine short-term replacement for Rob Gronkowski should he be forced to miss time again this season. Martellus Bennett's TE10 finish last season probably isn't realistic for Allen because Gronk shouldn't miss half the season again and the Patriots have more weapons. Still, Brady has made many a tight end fantasy-relevant, so a 40-plus catch, six-touchdown season probably cannot be ruled out for Allen in "relief" of Gronkowski.

Next: Non-PPR Big Board | .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.