It’s once again that time of year, Toronto sports fans. Fantasy football draft season is upon us. Players everywhere are finalizing their rankings. I’m here to help you get a feel for the first round talent, in 10-team standard leagues, so you can feel confident, and maybe even just a little bit cocky, when your draft is complete.
Here are the top 10 players for next season according to ESPN:
Adrian Peterson: This man is the definition of stud. There is no one in the NFL who can break tackles and turn any given run into a long touchdown like this man. New Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer knows what he has with All-Day, so you can expect him to be one of the surest bets for this year again. So why does his ADP show him at 2.1, instead of 1?
Jul 25, 2014; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) catches a pass in drills at training camp at Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
The answer to that is, obviously, LeSean McCoy. Coming off a season in which he lead the league in rushing yards, McCoy is expected to continue with a heavy workload, despite the Philadelphia Eagle’s addition of Darren Sproles. The biggest difference between Peterson and McCoy is durability. Peterson rarely spends time on the sidelines, where Shady McCoy tends to get a bit dinged up throughout the season. While I’m bullish on McCoy, I don’t think that anyone should pass on Peterson when they have the chance at him.
Coming in at number 3 on my list, is Matt Forte. Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman enters his second season in the league, after one of the more successful runs in CFL history. Trestman has always coached a potent offense, and Forte can do it all. He’s a beast coming out of the backfield, is as slippery as can be, and will get fed the ball in all situations. He could end the year as the fantasy MVP.
Number 4 is Jamaal Charles. Coming off of ACL surgery a year ago, Charles was an absolute monster. The downside for Charles this season is that the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line has taken a hit with the departure of tackle Branden Albert, and the front office failed to improve the team’s weapons on the outside. Teams will be keying on Charles, which will limit his ceiling.
Calvin Johnson is my No. 1 one WR, and comes in at No. 5 overall on my list. Megatron is the most unstoppable force in the league. With the added weapons the Lions have gotten, teams won’t be able to blanket him all day. Johnson plus single coverage make for fantasy gold.
Number 6 on my list is Demaryius Thomas. Being Peyton’s WR1 should make him your WR1. He could easily finish the season at the top of his position.
Numer 7 is Jimmy Graham. Having the Saint’s TE on your team gives you a definitive advantage every week at the position. He’s as uncoverable as Megatron.
Number 8 is Marshawn Lynch. Beast mode has been the focal point of the reigning champion’s offense for the past four seasons. After a brief holdout, Lynch is back at camp and ready to carry the load again. Backup Christine Michael will cut into his carries, but he will still give you RB1 production.
Aug 2, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) prepares to throw as he warms up prior to the start of a scrimmage at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
At number 9, we have Peyton Manning. Like a fine wine, Manning keeps getting better with age. He was responsible for the greatest offensive season in NFL history a year ago, and it should remain the same. I never go with a QB this early, but he will be in the conversation for MVP at season’s end.
Coming in at No. 10 is Aaron Rodgers. Since taking over from Brett Favre in 2008, Rodgers has been one of the most consistent performers in the league. You can’t go wrong with picking him, but again, I don’t like drafting QBs this early.
As you probably already know, running backs are the most valued position in the league, which is why they make up the first four spots in almost every rankings you’ll come across. However, with the shift towards high-octane passing offense, getting yourself a true No.1 receiver this season can be even more important in my opinion. I would lean towards a WR/WR strategy myself in the latter half of the first round.
Questions or comments? I’d love to discuss these ranking with you in the comments section.