NFL & Atlanta Falcons

The basics of ranking players: A Preseason Priority

     Monday night's showdown between the Cowboys and Oakland showcased the worst part of sloppy preseason play. A final score of 3-0, a myriad of special teams errors, poor offensive execution and the worst job overall done by the replacement referees. Make no mistake, any fan will tell you that preseason is for the birds. And yet if you are a serious fantasy player with anything at stake beyond pride you MUST watch these games. You can see glimpses of who offenses want to feature, what rookies are struggling beyond just being young, injuries, targets for receivers and so much more. It's a cruel evil endowment, but it's one a quality manager must undertake. Early to mid-August, this is what I call rank mode.

     For a junkie like myself I rank throughout the year so luckily for you I'm writing this blog. Most reasonable leagues draft the week before the season starts. I'm giddy to have this blog but I'm running out of time and the best service I can provide you or at least enlighten you to is detailed player rankings. As I was wrapping up a long overdue grocery store visit this weekend I happened across the magazine section. Buyer beware on these publications, most are put out early June and even the newer ones have atrociously mislead rankings. You are much better finder resources online (this blog being a great example) The only magazine worth your money that I saw at my local Publix was Rotoworld. 

     If you're even going to take the time to rank your players you might as well rank more than 20 or 30. If you only know or are familiar with 20 players, then you shouldn't be wasting your time playing fantasy or even watching football. Why be casual with a sport that deserves so much more devotion? I will go to the lengths to provide you the rankings on the top 150 players, since the fantasy standard is a 10 team 15 round draft. Here's how I would break down how many players you should rank at each position.

QBs:  18

RBS:  38

WRs: 52

TEs:  17

DEF:  15

K:     10

     It's important for you to rank based on 3 determinate factors. The first factor will be the easiest: your own personal gut. If you've ever played fantasy before, chances are you've followed more games than just your homer favorite. Go with what you've seen, read and who you like based on your own two peepers. The second factor will be what the preset ranks are in the league your drafting. This is important to know because a good half of teams won't even rank their players they'll just show up and use preset rankings.  Because of this you already have an advantage. For instance right now, Yahoo ranks Kevin Smith (the starting RB in Detroit) in the 200s and meanwhile has Roy Helu (an Achilles suffering questionmark) in the top 70. It's important not to reach either for any player even if they are your favorite and knowing how your preset rankings are will tell you what a reach is. And finally, the third factor you need to know what average draft position is. The best resource on the web to learn this is this amazing site called That site will tell you updated information over an enormous sample size of hundreds of drafts conducted by living breathing fans each day. It then will tell you where people are picking certain players in leagues as short as 8 teams or as broad as 14. A combination of the three will let you get the best value for your players.

     Even if you despise certain players (perhaps they've burned you in fantasy days gone by) and have no hopes of drafting them, you still must rank them. Why? Because its the only accurate way to know if the runningback you want is the 10th overall best or the 18th.  You also need to know when certain waves happen. For instance in normal years gone by there was a funny trend where around Round five or six, everyone would start picking their tight end.  (This year would be the exception with Gronk and Graham)  Defenses go after round 10, kickers are the last pick, etc etc. Be prepared drafters. The last thing you want is the be syh as you stare at your team of bums that you'll be married to until Week Two when you drop them all.

     It's my goal to give you my own top secret personal player rankings all before September 1st. My friend and confidant has already critiqued me for having blogposts that are cumbersomely long. So, in order to not have your brain melt I will break the player rankings up into 20 player intervals with thoughts based on each.