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

Preseason Matchup Analysis

By Doug Orth | 8/23/20 |

Football is simple at its very core but a very complex game to evaluate and analyze because 11 men are being 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 in this day and age - adds another element to the equation that is difficult to quantify.

Regardless, it doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Over the last month, I have evaluated the weekly matchups for 500-plus players. Analyzing matchups alone requires me to make 7,500 "decisions". This is not meant to be 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. I like to think that even if readers believe my logic is flawed for whatever reason, they can count on the fact that much thought has been put into that opinion.

How much thought, you ask?

For example, Michael Gallup lined up on the left side of the formation 456 times, on the right side 292 times and in the slot 96 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, Gallup's ability to match up and defeat each of the defensive backs in those spots should/needs to 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 Gallup lines up in a certain spot will inevitably be different from last year, it's unlikely his role as Dallas' "X" receiver will change under second-year OC Kellen Moore.

Fantasy football is a stock market game, and our job as analysts is identifying when stocks may be poised for an increase or ready to tank. While last year's results help fantasy owners/analysts set the table for the following season, they are merely a starting point. Fantasy rankings and drafting need to be predictive, not reactive. This is the approach I have taken 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 two weeks. As always, the matchups 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. 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 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 the 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
Rank Pos Player Tm SSI 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
1 RB Christian McCaffrey CAR 12.9
2 RB Saquon Barkley NYG 10.5
3 RB Alvin Kamara NO 9.0
4 RB Ezekiel Elliott DAL 8.1
5 RB Dalvin Cook MIN 7.2
6 TE Travis Kelce KC 7.1
7 TE George Kittle SF 6.8
8 WR Davante Adams GB 6.7
9 WR Michael Thomas NO 6.6
10 RB Miles Sanders PHI 6.1
11 RB Joe Mixon CIN 5.2
12 QB Patrick Mahomes KC 5.2
13 RB Kenyan Drake ARI 5.2
14 RB Derrick Henry TEN 5.0
15 WR Julio Jones ATL 4.7
16 RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC 4.7
17 QB Lamar Jackson BAL 4.7
18 RB Josh Jacobs LV 4.6
19 RB Austin Ekeler LAC 4.2
20 WR Chris Godwin TB 4.0
21 TE Zach Ertz PHI 3.9
22 WR Tyreek Hill KC 3.7
23 TE Mark Andrews BAL 3.7
24 WR DeAndre Hopkins ARI 3.3
25 TE Darren Waller LV 3.3
26 RB Aaron Jones GB 3.3
27 QB Dak Prescott DAL 3.1
28 WR Odell Beckham Jr. CLE 2.8
29 RB Nick Chubb CLE 2.7
30 RB James Conner PIT 2.6
31 WR Adam Thielen MIN 2.5
32 WR Calvin Ridley ATL 2.4
33 QB Kyler Murray ARI 2.4
34 WR Mike Evans TB 2.4
35 WR D.J. Moore CAR 2.3
36 WR Allen Robinson CHI 2.3
37 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT 2.3
38 QB Deshaun Watson HOU 2.3
39 QB Carson Wentz PHI 2.3
40 QB Russell Wilson SEA 2.2
41 TE Hayden Hurst ATL 2.2
42 WR Tyler Lockett SEA 2.2
43 WR Robert Woods LAR 2.1
44 RB Chris Carson SEA 2.1
45 RB Le'Veon Bell NYJ 2.1
46 RB Jonathan Taylor IND 2.0
47 RB Todd Gurley ATL 1.9
48 WR A.J. Brown TEN 1.9
49 RB Leonard Fournette JAC 1.9
50 WR Kenny Golladay DET 1.7
51 WR DeVante Parker MIA 1.6
52 TE Evan Engram NYG 1.6
53 QB Tom Brady TB 1.5
54 RB David Johnson HOU 1.5
55 WR Amari Cooper DAL 1.4
56 RB Melvin Gordon DEN 1.3
57 QB Drew Brees NO 1.1
58 WR DK Metcalf SEA 1.1
59 WR Cooper Kupp LAR 0.5
60 TE Tyler Higbee LAR 0.5
61 WR Courtland Sutton DEN 0.5
62 QB Matt Ryan ATL 0.4
63 WR D.J. Chark JAC 0.4
64 QB Matthew Stafford DET 0.4
65 WR Tyler Boyd CIN 0.4
66 WR Terry McLaurin WAS 0.3
67 WR A.J. Green CIN 0.3
68 RB Mark Ingram BAL 0.3
69 RB Ronald Jones TB 0.2
70 TE Hunter Henry LAC 0.2
71 WR Keenan Allen LAC 0.2
72 QB Daniel Jones NYG 0.0
73 RB David Montgomery CHI -0.1
74 WR Jarvis Landry CLE -0.1
75 QB Ben Roethlisberger PIT -0.1
76 QB Josh Allen BUF -0.2
77 RB Kareem Hunt CLE -0.3
78 WR Michael Gallup DAL -0.4
79 WR Marquise Brown BAL -0.5
80 RB Raheem Mostert SF -0.7
81 WR Stefon Diggs BUF -0.7
82 RB D'Andre Swift DET -0.7
83 TE T.J. Hockenson DET -0.8
84 QB Aaron Rodgers GB -0.8
85 QB Cam Newton NE -0.9
86 TE Jared Cook NO -0.9
87 RB J.K. Dobbins BAL -0.9
88 QB Baker Mayfield CLE -1.1
89 TE Chris Herndon NYJ -1.1
90 WR Marvin Jones DET -1.2
91 RB Cam Akers LAR -1.3
92 TE Mike Gesicki MIA -1.3
93 RB Tarik Cohen CHI -1.3
94 QB Ryan Tannehill TEN -1.4
95 WR Brandin Cooks HOU -1.4
96 TE Noah Fant DEN -1.4
97 WR T.Y. Hilton IND -1.5
98 QB Jared Goff LAR -1.6
99 QB Joe Burrow CIN -1.6
100 WR Will Fuller HOU -1.6
101 RB Phillip Lindsay DEN -1.6
102 WR Julian Edelman NE -1.6
103 TE Jonnu Smith TEN -1.6
104 WR Jamison Crowder NYJ -1.7
105 WR Diontae Johnson PIT -1.7
106 WR CeeDee Lamb DAL -1.7
107 RB Zack Moss BUF -1.8
108 WR Anthony Miller CHI -1.8
109 RB James White NE -1.9
110 WR Golden Tate NYG -2.0
111 QB Jimmy Garoppolo SF -2.0
112 RB Devin Singletary BUF -2.0
113 TE Irv Smith MIN -2.0
114 WR Christian Kirk ARI -2.1
115 WR Curtis Samuel CAR -2.1
116 TE Dallas Goedert PHI -2.2
117 WR Emmanuel Sanders NO -2.3
118 TE Rob Gronkowski TB -2.3
119 WR Michael Pittman Jr. IND -2.3
120 RB Matt Breida MIA -2.4
121 QB Derek Carr LV -2.4
122 QB Philip Rivers IND -2.6
123 TE O.J. Howard TB -2.6
124 TE Blake Jarwin DAL -2.6
125 TE Eric Ebron PIT -2.6
126 TE Greg Olsen SEA -2.7
127 QB Kirk Cousins MIN -2.7
128 WR Jalen Reagor PHI -2.8
129 WR Parris Campbell IND -2.8
130 QB Gardner Minshew JAC -2.8
131 WR Jerry Jeudy DEN -2.9
132 QB Teddy Bridgewater CAR -3.0
133 QB Tyrod Taylor LAC -3.0
134 RB Marlon Mack IND -3.1
135 RB Duke Johnson HOU -3.2
136 RB Jordan Howard MIA -3.2
137 RB Boston Scott PHI -3.2
138 TE Austin Hooper CLE -3.3
139 WR Henry Ruggs III LV -3.3
140 WR Deebo Samuel SF -3.4
141 WR Darius Slayton NYG -3.4
142 WR Sterling Shepard NYG -3.5
143 WR John Brown BUF -3.5
144 TE Jace Sternberger GB -3.5
145 WR Justin Jefferson MIN -3.5
146 WR Randall Cobb HOU -3.6
147 TE Ian Thomas CAR -3.7
148 WR Hunter Renfrow LV -3.7
149 TE Gerald Everett LAR -3.7
150 TE Tyler Eifert JAC -3.8
151 QB Drew Lock DEN -3.9
152 QB Sam Darnold NYJ -3.9
153 TE Jack Doyle IND -3.9
154 WR DeSean Jackson PHI -4.0
155 RB Kerryon Johnson DET -4.0
156 RB Latavius Murray NO -4.1
157 WR Larry Fitzgerald ARI -4.1
158 WR Allen Lazard GB -4.2
159 WR Mecole Hardman KC -4.2
160 RB AJ Dillon GB -4.2
161 WR Steven Sims WAS -4.4
162 WR Preston Williams MIA -4.4
163 RB Tevin Coleman SF -4.6
164 WR Robby Anderson CAR -4.6
165 WR Mike Williams LAC -4.7
166 RB Alexander Mattison MIN -4.9
167 RB Adrian Peterson WAS -5.0
168 WR Brandon Aiyuk SF -5.1
169 RB Jerick McKinnon SF -5.2
170 RB Sony Michel NE -5.3
171 RB Bryce Love WAS -5.3
172 WR Bryan Edwards LV -5.3
173 RB Tony Pollard DAL -5.3
174 WR Dede Westbrook JAC -5.5
175 RB Antonio Gibson WAS -5.6


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.