PPR Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 100 for 2013
With the NFL draft wrapped up, it’s time for football fans to look forward to the start of the season. With the NFL draft wrapped up, it’s time for fantasy football fans to look forward to their own drafts before the season. In order to be ready for those drafts, casual fans need to understand what has gone on in the off-season and look for the rankings that will guide them to success.
Here is my first top 100 list for the PPR Fantasy Football Season of 2013.
- Stephen Jackson, RB.
Jackson barely registered as a top fantasy running-back last year because he only scored four touchdowns all season long. That doesn’t mean he didn’t still play well on the field, but it did show how tough he had to be to earn what statistics came his way.For the first time in his career, Jackson will be an afterthought for defenses preparing to face him. Jackson will face more six and seven man fronts this year than he has seen in his career and should take advantage of that much better than Michael Turner did last year. Turner could barely move for the Falcons and he still had 10 touchdowns.The Falcons are obviously committed to running a balanced offense, Jackson will be the benefactor of that.
- Adrian Peterson, RB.
Of course, this seems like an insane decision, but stick with me.Peterson was clearly the top fantasy running-back last year as he had a historic campaign. However, expecting him to repeat his performances of last season is too much for me, while his situation hasn’t dramatically improved.In order to reach the historic heights he did last season, he averaged 3.93 yards after contact and broke 71 total tackles. Both of those numbers led the league by some distance according to ProFootballFocus. With every defense setting up to stop him again this year, Peterson will need to come very close to his form of last season to be the top running-back once again.
- Doug Martin, RB.
Injury appears to be the only thing that can stop Doug Martin from being a top five fantasy player this year. His rookie display was outstanding as he proved that he can get the most out of every run, break-off big gains, score touchdowns and score touchdowns. Throw all that in with his 49 receptions and Martin has set very high-standards for himself for the remainder of his career.Most significantly, Martin should also get his two impact offensive linemen back as Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks are expected to be healthy. Nicks and Joseph spent most of last season on IR and both are Pro Bowl caliber players.The drafting of Mike Glennon indicates that the Buccaneers are in no way considering putting the offense on Josh Freeman’s shoulders also.
- CJ Spiller, RB.
Doug Marrone’s last experience in the NFL may have been with the New Orleans Saints, on an offense that spread the ball around as much as any other, but that doesn’t mean he won’t know who to rely on in Buffalo.Fred Jackson has another year on his tires and the loss of Andy Levitre should be counteracted with the development of Cordy Glenn and the addition of EJ Manuel. Having a mobile quarterback in the backfield can be huge for running-backs of Spiller’s style. The defense will be stretched to account for Manuel on rollouts, while will open cutback lanes for Spiller.Spiller will be 26 this season and broke out last year, his prime is about to set in.
- Arian Foster, RB.
It may be boring, but Arian Foster is only 27 and has continually proven that he will be an elite fantasy player. There’s no reason to question him right now.
- Marshawn Lynch, RB.
The drafting of multiple running-backs by John Schneider may turn some people off drafting Marshawn Lynch,but not me. Lynch is too good to be replaced just yet and he only just turned 27. The Seahawks may be preparing for his departure at a later point with their new additions and a more dynamic offense as a whole, but he should still carry a huge workload this year.
- Reggie Bush, RB.
Bush has finally landed in a spot that will work to every aspect of his fantasy potential. In New Orleans, he was a bit part player who didn’t get enough touches to be relevant, while in Miami his full repertoire of receiving abilities weren’t on show every week. The Lions will need to run more this off-season to help their pass protection, but the talk this off-season indicates that Bush will also be a major piece of the passing game.
- Jamaal Charles, RB.
As much as Andy Reid loves to ignore his superstar running-backs, Jamaal Charles is the type of back who could benefit from being used less in a more wide-open offensive scheme. Charles should get more touches in space that will make up for fewer carries, if indeed that is the case.Even in a year when Reid “under-used” LeSean McCoy, he still had 254 touches in just 12 games. Charles should be fine.
- Calvin Johnson, WR.
I can’t make any argument against Calvin. He has proven himself to the point that it’s very difficult to pass on him for any running-back with question marks.
- Frank Gore, RB.
Part of me is very worried about LaMichael James, who is a big sleeper in my opinion, but Gore’s touchdown potential is huge and he showed no real signs of slowing down last year. As much as I worry about James’ development, I can’t bet against Gore because at worst he should remain a big touchdown contributor regardless.
- AJ Green, WR.
As much as I dislike his quarterback, AJ Green is quickly becoming a dominant receiver and has proven himself as a consistent performer from week to week. Green is still developing, so his expected improvement is what gets him to this point on my board.
- LeSean McCoy, RB.
I’m worried about McCoy’s stock for multiple reasons. If Bryce Brown gets better at holding onto the football this off-season, he should have a big role in whatever offense Chip Kelly runs. Then, my second worry is about whether Kelly’s offense translates well to the NFL or if it will show off McCoy’s talents often enough for him to put up the numbers needed to go this high.
- Ray Rice, RB.
Regular season Ray Rice has always been a generous monster, but post-season Ray Rice reached a new low last year at the worst time. The worst time because rookie Bernard Pierce showed enough potential to be take away a significant amount of his touches.
- Chris Johnson, RB.
Shonn Greene isn’t taking too many of Johnson’s carries, even if he nabs a handful of touchdowns. Adding Chance Warmack, Andy Levitre and Justin Hunter tells me that the Titans are committed to building their offense around Johnson and making him a factor as a runner and receiver.
- Maurice Jones-Drew, RB.
Health is the only part of Maurice Jones-Drew that worries me. Denard Robinson may take some of his carries away, but not enough to alter his overall production, while Luke Joeckel upgrades the offensive line ahead of him. The quarterback play can’t get any worse in Jacksonville, so Jones-Drew’s situation can’t really get much worse either.
- Trent Richardson, RB.
Richardson dealt with injuries last year that limited his impact on the league. Because the Browns weren’t able to find their new quarterback this off-season, they should look to focus much of their approach on the shoulders of Richardson. Norv Turner may have ignored Ryan Mathews in recent years, but as an offensive coordinator I suspect he will treat Trent Richardson more like Ladanian Tomlinson in terms of his usage. Richardson is a very underrated receiver.
- Matt Forte, RB.
Forte is a difficult diagnosis this off-season. Marc Trestman is building an offense around his quarterback, but the offensive line infront of Forte has improved. With Marteullus Bennett’s arrival, the Bears have found a tight end who will be a better blocker for Forte, but also a new receiver to take away some of the targets that used to go his way. Forte should lose some of his fantasy impact as a receiver, but make up for it with better rushing numbers.
- Peyton Manning, QB.
He’s already Peyton Manning, giving him another rookie running-back who specializes in pass protection and receiving, Montee Ball, and a Wes Welker who specializes in being Wes Welker just makes it unfair on everyone else.
- Alfred Morris, RB.
If Robert Griffin III misses a game or two to start the season his stock will take a hit, but only a small one, while it is always difficult to repeat such success as a rookie. Add in rookie addition Chris Thompson, and Morris takes a slight fall but nothing major in my rankings.
- Giovani Bernard, RB.
This rookie has a chance to be special. The Bengals had the best run-blocking offensive line in the NFL last year, but had no running-back who could highlight it. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a very underwhelming talent who still managed to put up decent production because Jay Gruden is committed to running the football. Throw in Tyler Eifert to aid the blocking and be a matchup problem for defenses, and Bernard is a risky addition with a potentially huge reward for fantasy owners.
- LeVeon Bell, RB.
Back-to-back rookies for similar reasons. I’m not as high on Bell’s situation, but the Steelers took him in the second round with the idea of making him their Jerome Bettis. Jonathan Dwyer is already on the trade block and Isaac Redman is the only threat to take away carries. Redman will poach a few touchdowns in all likelihood, but Bell should still be a work-horse who’s quantity overshadows his individual quality.
- Rob Gronkowski, TE.
Not until they remove both legs and arms will I stop drafting Rob Gronkowski. He is so far ahead of the other tight ends that it is comical.
- Brandon Marshall, WR.
As much as Marc Trestman works with Jay Cutler, the reality is that he will always look towards Brandon Marshall more than anyone else. Marshall and Cutler have a proven connection that has allowed Marshall to be a dominant PPR receiver. That shouldn’t change despite any new additions to the offense.
- Chris Ivory, RB.
Ivory is landing in a great spot for a heavy workload. If he and Willie Colon can stay healthy for the full-season, he could prove to be the most valuable player in fantasy this year. Ivory has the potential to come away with as many touchdowns, receptions and yards as any other feature back in the league. His health is his only real concern.
- Aaron Rodgers, QB.
Eddie Lacy isn’t hurting Aaron Rodgers’ value.
- Drew Brees, QB.
Losing your starting left tackle definitely hurts your fantasy value, but having your brilliant offensive head coach back helps to off-set that loss. Still, Brees shouldn’t be under as much pressure to carry the offense next year as an improved defense could allow them to refocus on the running-game. He’s still a top quarterback of course.
- Aaron Hernandez, TE.
With Wes Welker lost to the Denver Broncos, Hernandez could see a surge in his usage. Danny Amendola is an injury-risk, that can’t be denied because of his track record, but even if he stays healthy for 16 games, Hernandez is still a highly-talented weapon who has the potential to have a huge season.
- Julio Jones, WR.
Much like AJ Green, Julio Jones has continually developed since entering the league. Before the Buccaneers brought in Darrelle Revis and the Saints upgraded their defense as a whole, Jones was higher on this list. He still remains in the top 30, but there are a few players who have jumped ahead of him.
- Vincent Jackson, WR.
Jackson is suffering from the same illness as Jones, but to a greater degree. Not much greater, but still he falls slightly below Jones in the pecking order because of lesser quarterback play.
- Cam Newton, QB.
Losing Rob Chudzinski shouldn’t hurt Newton. His overall ability will allow him to continually find his way into the endzone and to the top of fantasy scoring lists.
- David Wilson, RB.
As much as Andre Brown believes he will be a major performer in 2013, the Giants drafted Wilson for a reason and he showed off some of his potential late last year. Wilson is very dynamic and can break off big gains on a consistent basis to get into the endzone.
- DeMarco Murray, RB.
This is Murray’s last chance in a sense. He has missed 15 games in his two seasons so far and Joseph Randle is arriving this year to threaten his workload if his production slackens off.
- Jimmy Graham, TE.
Injuries curtailed his production last year, here’s hoping for a rebound.
- Stevan Ridley, RB.
Does anyone really think LeGarrette Blount is going to last through training camp with the Patriots? I know I don’t. Ridley should have similar numbers this year to what he had last season. Even with Shane Vereen slotting into the Danny Woodhead role.
- Russell Wilson, QB.
Wilson has a better situation than Andrew Luck this year and he has proven that he can carry his offense more consistently than Colin Kaepernick. He is the least likely quarterback from last year’s draft to suffer a slump in production.
- Percy Harvin, WR.
If healthy and engaged, Harvin could be a lot higher on this list come this time next year.
- Marques Colston, WR.
Colston just continues to produce from season-to-season. He is one of the safest picks in fantasy every single season.
- Andre Johnson, WR.
The addition of DeAndre Hopkins gives the Texans a legitimate threat who can draw coverage away from Johnson. His touchdown numbers will always be low with Arian Foster on the field, but he makes up for it in other ways.
- Wes Welker, WR.
Swapping Tom Brady for Peyton Manning can’t hurt.
- Andrew Luck, QB.
Luck’s improved offensive line could dramatically impact his output this year. Having time in the pocket to push the ball down the field can only help the aggressive signal-caller.
- Matt Ryan, QB.
Ryan will still be carrying the Falcons’ offense in crunch time, but Steven Jackson’s presence is going to force Dirk Koetter’s hand to run the ball more during the regular season.
- Colin Kaepernick, QB.
Kaepernick is a riskier fantasy prospect than one would think. He showed some inconsistency during the regular season and the Super Bowl last year, while his overall longevity is non-existent. His upside is overwhelming however. Much like Cam Newton, his dual threat ability could propel him into a top five finish amongst quarterbacks this year.
- Tom Brady, QB.
Brady is Brady and he should continue to be Brady, even though the defenses in his division appear to be improving.
- Eddie Lacy, RB.
Lacy is this high on the list simply because of his touchdown potential.
- Darren Sproles, RB.
If the Saints need to compensate for their left tackle this season, Sproles’ workload could actually grow. Which is incredible to think. Using him on screen passes and quick passes into the flat will slow the pass rush and slowly build towards fantasy gold.
- Jason Witten, TE.
Although they drafted his replacement this season, Witten will remain Romo’s favourite target this year.
- Daryl Richardson, RB.
Richardson is the most proven of the Rams’ current running-backs, but the carries will likely be split too thin between he, Isaiah Pead and Zac Stacy.
- Matthew Stafford, QB.
Stafford won’t have the same level of pass protection next year, but he still has Calvin Johnson to heave passes at.
- Tony Romo, QB.
The Cowboys may have reached at points in the draft, but they definitely upgraded his pass protection. Romo is consistently clutch in fantasy football at the very least.
- Demaryius Thomas, WR.
Thomas should still be Peyton Manning’s primary touchdown threat, but he will lose some value in PPR with Wes Welker on the field. Not as much as Eric Deker however.
- Dennis Pitta, TE.
With Anquan Boldin in San Francisco, Pitta should fill the role departed by Joe Flacco’s former favourite target. Except that Pitta at this point in his career should do much more with those targets than Boldin did last year.
- Vernon Davis, TE.
Here’s hoping Kaepernick wasn’t ignoring him last year because he doesn’t like him.
- Victor Cruz, WR.
Cruz may skip training camp, but outside of Hakeem Nicks, Eli Manning doesn’t really have another reliable target.
- Michael Crabtree, WR.
Boldin’s arrival will hurt Crabtree’s value slightly, but Crabtree should still be Kaepernick’s favourite target out wide.
- Jay Cutler, QB.
One more year of believing in Cutler’s potential, but if Trestman can’t get the best out of him, nobody is likely to.
- EJ Manuel, QB.
Manuel’s dual-threat ability with an offensive guru for a head coach makes him an immediate risk-reward proposition.
- Lamar Miller, RB.
I’m not buying Miller’s ability to be a three down running-back, but I’m selling everything that Daniel Thomas does. Mike Gillislee needs to show me something in pre-season to steal this spot from Miller.
- Vick Ballard, RB.
The Colts appear committed to running the football, Vick Ballard should be carrying the load.
- Ronnie Hillman, RB.
The Broncos’ depth chart is difficult to decipher at running-back. Hillman is the most talented piece and appears to fit the future formations of the offense better than Ball.
- Tony Gonzalez, TE.
One more year. One more top 10 finish in fantasy for tight ends I suspect.
- Pierre Thomas, RB.
Not until Mark Ingram does something on the field on the professional level will I replace Pierre Thomas with him.
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB.
If Bernard struggles, Green-Ellis will likely be the feature back unless Rex Burkhead proves himself quickly.
- Antonio Gates, TE.
Gates is still hanging on, just like Tony above him.
- Rashard Mendenhall, RB.
Mendenhall wasn’t treated fairly in Pittsburgh last year. He was thrown back into the fire once his rehab finished and thrown to the bench abruptly soon after. Mendenhall has a previous relationship with Bruce Arians, a relationship that saw Arians rely heavily on him to carry his offense. Because he is proven, he should hold the advantage over the other backs in Arizona’s backfield right now.
- Montee Ball, RB.
As I previously stated in the Hillman section, the Broncos’ running-back situation is difficult to decipher. Ball is likely to be the short-yardage back at least, spelling the end of Willis McGahee’s role as the feature back in Denver.
- LaMichael James, RB.
James has a ridiculous amount of talent, all he needs to do is fight Frank Gore for carries…unfortunately I still give Gore the advantage in that fight this year. Next year could be the year of LaMichael.
- Dez Bryant, WR.
I just can’t trust Bryant. We never really know what we’re going to get from him from week-to-week, never mind season-to-season.
- Torrey Smith, WR.
Smith enjoyed the playoffs last year, but he should step it up even further as he moves closer and closer to being that all-around receiver.
- Bryce Brown, RB.
Fumbles will be the only thing that keeps him off the field.
- Bernard Pierce, RB.
Pierce brings an explosive dynamic to the Ravens backfield. Even if he only gets six to seven carries a game, one of those carries could easily go for a big-gain.
- Tavon Austin, WR.
In PPR, Austin could prove to be a major fantasy star. His durability and translation to the professional game is all that is unclear.
- Ryan Tannehill, QB.
The offensive line situation still worries me, but Tannehill is very talented and should carry an offense this year that has improved on multiple levels.
- Ben Tate, RB.
Tate is worth the risk at this point if Foster gets injured. In Houston, he could either do nothing or be a top five back this year.
- Jared Cook, TE.
Cook and Austin will be fighting each other for the football. Austin should have more receptions and yards, but Cook could lead the Rams in touchdowns by some distance.
- Michael Bush, RB.
A touchdown vulture who has proven he can carry the load in the past if asked.
- Jonathan Stewart, RB.
Someone has to at least line up as a running-back in Carolina. Stewart is the most talented of the bunch, so I’ll take a chance on him.
- Hakeem Nicks, WR.
Nicks could be the steal of this draft. If drafters overlook his injury issues from last year for his production, they’ll be making a big mistake.
- Dwayne Bowe, WR.
Although he’s only getting Alex Smith, that’s a major upgrade over Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn for Bowe. Andy Reid’s passion for passing in the red-zone should help too.
- Mikel Leshoure, RB
Someone has to carry the ball when Bush lines up as a wide-receiver.
- Darren McFadden, RB.
He’s still the most unreliable fantasy pick in history, but at least this year he is running in a scheme that helps him. At least, he will if he’s on the field.
- Sidney Rice, WR.
Rice will lose targets because of Harvin’s arrival, but Wilson is an aggressive passer who will push the ball down the field to him. If the defense focuses Harvin, that could bloat Rice’s touchdown numbers also.
- Antonio Brown, WR.
Brown is the number one receiver in Pittsburgh, he just needs to get in the endzone more and stay healthy now.
- Stevie Johnson, WR.
Robert Woods addition should help Johnson more than hurt. EJ Manuel’s should definitely help and even if Kevin Kolb starts, Johnson should still get better service than he got from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
- Jordy Nelson, WR.
You could be forgiven for forgetting Jordy this year after last season, but James Jones’ touchdowns aren’t a guarantee while Nelson’s yardage is if he is healthy.
- Roddy White, WR.
White will be the one to really suffer from Steven Jackson’s addition. He should still have a decent year in the NFC South though.
- Mike Wallace, WR.
Wallace has proven in the past that he is a number one receiver, but in new surroundings and considering his play last year, it’s hard to truly trust him in fantasy this season. How Wallace reacts to being paid is a major point of contention.
- Josh Gordon, WR.
With a better quarterback, Gordon would be much higher on this list. His knack for finding the endzone could be what defines his career.
- Mike Goodson, RB.
If Ivory is injured, Goodson will get a huge amount of carries in the Jets’ run-first offense.
- Ben Roethlisberger, QB.
Roethlisberger doesn’t have Wallace anymore, but his receivers are still more than capable and his offensive line should be improved.
- Ryan Mathews, RB.
Mathews is a complete boom/bust selection. He has done little to win over fantasy owners, but much of that could be blamed on the former regime in San Diego. Danny Woodhead’s presence doesn’t help though.
- Reggie Wayne, WR.
I can’t see Wayne repeating his success of last year outside of Bruce Arians’ scheme, but he should still be a top 100 player.
- Kendall Wright, WR.
Wright falls on this list because Justin Hunter and Kenny Britt will steal touchdowns away from him. He should have the most receptions and yards on the team though.
- Kenny Britt, WR
Britt is a risk for a number of reasons, but his talent is way too high to ignore at this point.
- Isaac Redman, RB.
Redman should remain as the short-yardage back in Pittsburgh. That also translates to goalline back on a team that loves to run the ball in the redzone.
- Mike Williams, WR.
Williams really benefited from Vincent Jackson’s presence last year, he should continue to do so this year.
- Alex Smith, QB.
Andy Reid works wonders with quarterbacks typically, Alex Smith will at the very least see a lot of attempts.
- Lance Moore, WR.
Moore’s only problem is consistency in targets from week to week.
- Andre Brown, RB.
Brown should be just the goalline back if David Wilson proves true to his talent. That could be worth five touchdowns though.
- Tyler Eifert, TE.
Landing in Cincinnati may have been a surprise, but Eifert should immediately fit into a role of possession/redzone tight end for Andy Dalton.
- Santonio Holmes, WR.
Holmes’ talent means he should be higher on this list, but coming off an injury with a brand new quarterback and his character makes me worry.
You can follow Cian Fahey on twitter @Cianaf