Football 2013

Fantasy football player rankings by position

Updated: 2013-08-24T16:34:00Z

By LADD BIRO

Special to The Star

Rankings are based on each player’s projected position by the end of the 2013 season. This is a value ranking, not a recommended draft order. Players may be drafted significantly higher or lower based upon their perceived value to other owners. Stats listed are from 2012. Visit the Fantasy Fools blog for daily fantasy advice.

Quarterbacks

Rank Player Team Bye Yards TDs INTs Fool’s take
1Peyton ManningDen94,6593711With Wes Welker now in the fold, Manning has the best 3-WR corps in the business. And no lingering health issues.
2Drew BreesNO75,1774319He keeps firing TDs through season’s end, whereas Rodgers can afford to slack off.
3Aaron RodgersGB44,295398Still at the top of his game; will be interesting to see how much Greg Jennings’ loss affects him.
4Matt RyanAtl64,7193214With Julio, Roddy and Gonzo back together, Ryan has an electrifying trio to work with.
5Tom BradyNE104,827348Welker, gone. Hernandez, gone. Gronk, possibly headed to PUP. Somehow, Brady will manage. But if he remains an elite fantasy passer, it will be his most impressive achievement to date.
6Robert Griffin IIIWas53,200205It’s all about his health. If he starts Week 1, and stays intact, he’ll be elite. High risk/high return.
7Cam NewtonCar43,8691912A major disappointment through Week 11 last season, he managed to pull it together and finished in the top ranks. Having been burned last year, I may be holding a bit of a grudge.
8Tony RomoDal114,9032819He’s coming off a career year in terms of yardage, but the 19 INTs killed him. With Dez, Miles and Witten available he could significantly out-perform his ADP.
9Andrew LuckInd84,3742318His production trailed off in the second half of the season, which is worrisome. He will also face a tougher schedule. But I still like his chances to take the next step.
10Matthew StaffordDet94,9672017If he could just find another reliable receiver to take the heat off Megatron, Stafford could be one of the best. As it is, he’s hit-or-miss on a weekly basis.
11Matt SchaubHou84,0082212He’s thrown for more than 4,000 yards in 3 of the last 4 seasons, and now he’s armed with talented rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins opposite AJ. No reason he can’t crack the Top 10 ranks again. Love him as my QB2.
12Russell WilsonSea123,1182610He’s a quick learner and proved in the playoffs that he’s more than a one-dimensional “mobile” QB. Still, his running prowess and short stature make him a constant injury concern. That, and the fact that his team is best served by feeding Beast Mode.
13Colin KaepernickSF91,814103His ADP is ridiculously high for last year’s 26th-ranked QB. I respect his upside, but his only 300-yard passing game came in the Super Bowl, and 4 of his 10 regular season passing TDs came in one game. Simply too rich for my blood.
14Eli ManningNYG93,9482615Eli is Eli. He’s had elite seasons, and so-so seasons. A borderline fantasy starter, I’d much rather have him as my backup.
15Ben RoethlisbergerPit53,265268He loses Mike Wallace this year, and it’s not clear that another WR is ready to step into that role. Heath Miller will also be sidelined for some games. Keep Big Ben in a backup role.
16Andy DaltonCin123,6692716Another solid backup that I wouldn’t trust as my weekly starter.
17Joe FlaccoBal83,8172210He showed last postseason that he can be a bona fide fantasy stud. But the loss of Boldin and Pitta will hurt, and he’s never ranked higher than 12th among fantasy QBs in the regular season.
18Ryan TannehillMia63,2941213Could take a step forward this season with Wallace and TE Keller added to his receiving corps. But he could go the other way, too.
19Michael VickPhi122,3621210Even if we assume he’ll keep his starting job, the turnovers have to stop. Chip Kelly’s offensive scheme is great, but Vick has to execute. The loss of Jeremy Maclin won’t help, either.
20Philip RiversSD83,6062615Antonio Gates is aging, Malcom Floyd is hurting and Vincent Brown is raw. Rivers’ glory days seem a distant memory.
21Jay CutlerChi83,0331914He had one outstanding season — 2008 in Denver. Since then, he’s mostly been a fantasy liability.
22Sam BradfordStL113,7022113He’s starting fresh with an overhauled WR corps and no Steven Jackson to handoff to. Scary.
23Carson PalmerAri94,0182214Is this the mid-2000s in Cincinnati? Why no…no it’s not.
24Josh FreemanTB54,0652717I like his WRs; just wish he’d be more consistent. But Freeman is a viable backup with upside.
25Alex SmithKC101,737135Not as bad as most people think, but still not starter-worthy. He has fewer weapons to deploy in KC than he did in San Fran.
26Christian PonderMin52,9351812It’s time to step up, but I just don’t see it happening.
27Jake LockerTen82,1761011If he can just stay healthy, Locker should be…average at best.
28EJ ManuelBuf12Maybe next year, buddy.
29Brandon WeedenCle103,3851417This was supposed to be “next year.”
30Matt FlynnOak76800Weak-armed QB keeps getting passing along to worse teams. That’s not terribly encouraging.

Running backs

Rank Player Team Bye Yards TDs Fool’s take
1C.J. SpillerBuf121,2446Now that he has relegated Fred Jackson firmly into a backup, role Spiller has his chance to explode. You’ll think I’m a freaking genius when he finishes the season at the top of the rankings at year’s end.
2Marshawn LynchSea121,59011Beast Mode is a powerhouse that can anchor any fantasy team.
3Arian FosterHou81,42415The best, 2nd best and 4th best RB over the last 3 years is still my go-to guy. However, now that he’s getting injections for back soreness, I’ve bumped him down a couple of notches. But this far out, I’m not overly concerned.
4Adrian PetersonMin52,09712I know you think I’m nuts. But, when you look at the toll taken on all the previous 2,000-yard rushers, I’m actually being very optimistic about the great AD. Here’s the NEXT SEASON’S rushing yardage for each of the 6 RBs that have previously crossed the 2K threshold: OJ Simpson (1,125); Terrell Davis (211), Eric Dickerson (1,234), Barry Sanders (1,491), Jamal Lewis (1,006), Chris Johnson (1,353). The #4 spot would be a great accomplishment.
5Ray RiceBal81,1439Still the Ravens’ workhorse who will be counted upon even more with Boldin and Pitta gone. 61 receptions is pretty impressive. Bernard Pierce doesn’t concern me.
6Chris JohnsonTen81,2436Don’t be surprised if CJ1K has a nice bounceback season. The Titans have invested in their OL, and they know they’ll live or die with their workhorse.
7LeSean McCoyPhi128402I like Shady’s chances to get his mojo back in Chip Kelly’s offense. His value is highest in PPR leagues.
8Doug MartinTB51,45411I don’t want to take anything away from his terrific rookie season, but… 251-yard, 4-TD performances come few and far between. Take that game away, and you wouldn’t consider him a Top 3 draft pick. Preseason head “injury” doesn’t appear to be serious.
9Stevan RidleyNE101,26312Still hard to believe he was a Top 10 RB in 2012. Logic suggests the Pats will lean on him even more this year, with all the trouble in their receiving corps.
10Alfred MorrisWas51,61313Yet another newly minted workhorse that needs to prove his rookie campaign wasn’t an aberration. I wouldn’t bet against him.
11Jamaal CharlesKC101,5095I have not changed his ranking due to his sprained foot because it doesn’t appear it will limit him come regular season. His biggest problem is that he plays in a moribund offense.
12Matt ForteChi81,0945If only he scored more TDs, he’d be an elite RB.
13Le’Veon BellPit5Every year at least 1 rookie soars up the rankings. Bell has Rookie of the Year written all over him. The Steelers love big, workhorse RBs more than anyone. He’s ready for the challenge.
14Maurice Jones-DrewJax94141Returning from a devastating Lisfranc injury. Appears to be well, and he’s still the only viable scorer in Jacksonville.
15Trent RichardsonCle1095011Sorry…I just don’t trust him. Too many knicks and dings, and his offense shoots too many blanks.
16Steven JacksonAtl61,0424He finally gets to play for a contender after taking a beating year after year in St. Louis. Plenty of upside here, but lots of wear and tear on those tires.
17DeMarco MurrayDal116634The Cowboys still have OL woes, and Murray has yet to survive a complete season.
18Frank GoreSF91,2148He spent the early part of his career as an overrated fantasy RB. Now he’s underrated. He provides excellent value at his ADP.
19Reggie BushDet99866There’s a chance he soars in Detroit; but more likely, he continues to wear down over the course of the season. The common perception is that he’s a PPR king, but his receiving #s haven’t been that special in years.
20Chris IvoryNYJ102172Ivory has impressed in limited action as a Saint, so he has plenty of upside. How far he can go in the Jets offense is the big question.
21Darren McFaddenOak77072I trusted him last year, thinking he would finally put together that breakout season. Won’t get fooled again.
22Darren SprolesNO72441Would only draft him in PPR leagues. Will likely have his workload drawn down in favor of Mark Ingram, who needs to step up.
23David WilsonNYG93584If he seizes and holds onto the starting job, he’ll significantly out-perform this ranking. I think it’s more likely he and Andre Brown divide the load 60/40-ish.
24Rashard MendenhallAri91820Is he the solution to Arizona’s perennial rushing woes? I wouldn’t bank on it.
25Lamar MillerMia62501His next big fantasy performance will be his first. Keep that in mind before you invest too much in him.
26Ahmad BradshawInd81,0156Starts his Indy career with yet another foot injury. Should have little trouble holding off Ballard but has to stay intact.
27Daryl RichardsonStL114750The starting job is his to lose. He very well might, but he’s shown flashes in the past. Rookie Zac Stacy is dealing with a sore leg and appears to be relegated to 3rd string behind Isaiah Pead.
28Ryan MathewsSD87071Such a disappointment, he may be relegated to a RBBC with Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown.
29Montee BallDen9Many thought he would walk in and claim the starting job. Alas, he’s struggling in pass protection (critical when Peyton is your QB), while Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno refuse to go away.
30DeAngelo WilliamsCar47375If only we knew whether he or J-Stew were going to get the lion’s share of the carries. They’ll likely continue to share, ruining both of their values.
31BenJarvus Green-EllisCin121,0946Will probably lose his job to a rookie. Draft at your own risk.
32Eddie LacyGB4The Packers haven’t had a reliable fantasy RB since Ryan Grant in 2009. Lacy could produce, but this is still a pass-first team.
33Mark IngramNO76025It’s time for him to step up. If he ever does, he’ll be a steal. But…we’ve been waiting a long time. May never happen.
34Jonathan StewartCar43361Probably best just to avoid Carolina’s backfield altogether. J-Stew still hasn’t practiced this offseason.
35Andre BrownNYG93858Will likely be RB1b in New York’s RBBC.
36Fred JacksonBuf124373Essential handcuff to CJ Spiller. Jackson is, arguably, the best backup RB in the league.
37Mikel LeshoureDet97989Has he torn anything lately? Just give him a minute. He will…
38Ronnie HillmanDen93301Will be Denver’s change-of-pace back. Could even start.
39Vick BallardInd88142On my Do Not Draft list, because of Bradshaw and, well, I just don’t think he has much.
40Danny WoodheadSD83014Expected to get plenty of reps in San Diego.
41Giovani BernardCin12It may take a while, but he’s destined to be the Bengals’ starter at some point this season.
42Bernard PierceBal85321Ray Rice’s proxy is expected to get more work this year.
43Bryce BrownPhi125644Exploded, then imploded, while Shady was down. A decent handcuff nevertheless.
44Shane VereenNE102513Meh.
45Daniel ThomasMia63254Hasn’t relinquished the starting job to Miller just yet.
46Marcel ReeceOak72710He’s a FB, but he could again get the call when (not if) Run DMC goes down.
47Knowshon MorenoDen95254We thought he was toast last year, and then he returned with a vengeance. It could happen again.
48Jonathan DwyerPit56232Had his chance. Blew it.
49Jacquizz RodgersAtl63621They just won’t let him carry the load, will they?
50Michael BushChi84115Forte’s backup.

Wide receivers

Rank Player Team Bye Yards TDs Fool’s take
1Dez BryantDal111,38212It’s time to crown a new king among Fantasy WRs. Who’s in a better position than Dez?
2Calvin JohnsonDet91,9645I’d love to have Megatron, but I won’t be spending a 1st round pick on him.
3A.J. GreenCin121,35011He slipped significantly in the season’s second half, but still finished among the Top 5.
4Randall CobbGB49548With Greg Jennings gone and Jordy banged up, Cobb should be A-Rod’s most productive weapon.
5Brandon MarshallChi81,50811He and Cutler tore it up last season. They should keep the good times rolling.
6Julio JonesAtl61,19810What’s not to love about Julio? Well, I guess he has to share.
7Vincent JacksonTB51,3848Quietly finished as the #6 fantasy WR in his first season as a Buc. With a year under his belt with Freeman, V-Jax should remain an elite option.
8Victor CruzNYG91,09210Big play receiver has separated himself from Hakeem. Hopefully his bruised heel won’t turn into something worse.
9Roddy WhiteAtl61,3517Still among the best, most reliable wideouts in the biz.
10Wes WelkerDen91,3546Peyton knows what Welker brings to the party, and he’ll use him just like Brady did. Yes, I’d rather own him than either of his counterparts. A preseason ankle sprain does not appear worrisome at this time.
11Andre JohnsonHou81,5984Not the All-World receiver he once was, but still a salty WR1.
12Larry FitzgeraldAri97984How he must long for the Kurt Warner days. Palmer should help, but not enough.
13Demaryius ThomasDen91,43410He’s Peyton’s long-ball threat, but Welker will cut deeply into his targets.
14Marques ColstonNO71,15410It pays to be Brees’ go-to guy.
15T.Y. HiltonInd88617One of my favorite young wideouts, he and Luck will build on their outstanding rookie seasons together. Yes, he’ll out-perform Reggie Wayne.
16Antonio BrownPit57875With Wallace gone, Brown has Big Ben all to himself.
17Hakeem NicksNYG96923Offseason injuries are hurting his draft stock.
18Mike WallaceMia68368He slipped quite a bit last year, and hasn’t gotten off to a good start with Tannehill.
19Danny AmendolaNE106663Talk about upside. If he can only stay healthy, Brady can make him a superstar.
20Torrey SmithBal88558With Boldin on the left coast, Flacco will be relying on his playmaker more than ever.
21Jordy NelsonGB47457If he’s fully healthy, he can easily out-perform this position.
22DeSean JacksonPhi127002Will be WR1, 2 and 3 in Philly this year. So can he handle the pressure, and the double teams?
23Stevie JohnsonBuf121,0466Will he build a solid rapport with his new QB(s)?
24Dwayne BoweKC108013Should be in for a good bounceback season, with a decent QB under center.
25Eric DeckerDen91,06413Nobody will be hurt more by Welker’s arrival.
26Reggie WayneInd81,3555Getting a bit long in the tooth, could take a backseat to Hilton.
27Cecil ShortsJac99797Surprisingly emerged in 2012. Was it a fluke? At the right price, it’s worth finding out.
28Greg JenningsMin53664Leaves Green Bay and pffttt…there goes his elite status.
29Steve SmithCar41,1744Has found a Fountain of Youth (named Cam Newton), but at 34 years old, the clock is ticking louder.
30Anquan BoldinSF99214Still a reliable possession receiver, must get in sync with Kaepernick quickly, especially with Crabtree gone and Mario Manningham headed to the PUP list.
31Pierre GarconWas56334If he and his QB can stay healthy, they could celebrate a lot of TDs this season.
32Miles AustinDal119436Perhaps his last season in Dallas, he should benefit from all the attention paid to Dez.
33DeAndre HopkinsHou8Talented, game-breaking rookie gets to enjoy single coverage while opponents focus on AJ. Has time to heal from preseason concussion.
34Mike WilliamsTB59969Signed a big offseason contract; needs to play up to it.
35Tavon AustinStL11The Rams didn’t spend the 8th overall draft pick on this multidimensional rookie to groom him for the future. Sam Bradford will look his way early and often.
36Josh GordonCle108055Must serve a 2-game suspension to open the season. After that, he’ll have a chance to prove he’s matured enough to be a professional. Your guess is as good as mine.
37James JonesGB478414Has a great nose for the end zone, but can he catch lightning in a bottle again? Not consistently.
38Kenny BrittTen85894Ultra-talented, yet completely unreliable. Draft at your own risk.
39Sidney RiceSea127487Now that Percy Harvin is out, Rice will have an opening to prosper. But the targets are limited in Seattle.
40Vincent BrownSD8Will be the #2 WR in San Diego at the very worst, due to attrition in the ranks. Has great upside, but hasn’t done anything yet to earn your trust.
41Lance MooreNO71,0416Predicting when he’ll have his good games is a constant challenge.
42Justin BlackmonJac98655A four-game suspension hurts, but he has the talent to make up for it later.
43Brian HartlineMia61,0831The No. 2 WR in Miami will presumably work against single coverage thanks to Mike Wallace. Hartline could surprise.
44Denarius MooreOak77417Too injury-prone and unreliable. Also saddled with a mediocre QB.
45Emmanuel SandersPit56261Will produce as the #2 WR in Pittsburgh.
46Malcom FloydSD88145Possibly the least tantalizing WR1 in the league. A knee injury has him out till at least Week 1.
47Santonio HolmesNYJ102721A foot injury could cost him the beginning of the season. His age and QB situation will cost him his fantasy relevance.
48Brandon LaFellCar46774Still playing second fiddle to Steve Smith.
49Kendall WrightTen86264If Britt implodes again, and/or Locker steps up, Wright could have a solid year. He tweaked his knee in Week 2 of the preseason, but he should be fine come Week 1.
50Chris GivensStL116983Only veteran WR in St. Louis to speak of. Could out-perform their prized rookie in the early going.
51Jacoby JonesBal84061He’s teased before, but more often than not, he disappears.
52Rueben RandleNYG92983The third WR in New York is just an injury away from roster-worthiness.
53Michael FloydAri98145Working opposite Fitz should produce a few decent outings, at least. Michael Floyd
54Ryan BroylesDet93102Could be an outstanding complementary receiver to Megatron.
55Golden TateSea126887He’s shown flashes in the past, and knows how to find the end zone. But can he stay healthy?
56Santana MossWas55738Yeah, I’m as surprised as you that he’s still in the league.
57Alshon JefferyChi83673Will be asked to step it up this season opposite Marshall.
58Cordarrelle PattersonMin5Considered the best WR in the 2013 Draft, but will his talents be squandered in Minnesota?
59Greg LittleCle106474Just hold your nose and take him late. Who knows?
60Robert WoodsBuf12Another talented rookie that just needs a chance, and a QB.

Tight ends

Rank Player Team Bye Yards TDsFool’s take
1Jimmy GrahamNO79829With Gronk on the mend, Jimmy stands alone.
2Jason WittenDal111,0393In PPR leagues, he’s a beast. In normal leagues, he’s just awesome.
3Rob GronkowskiNE1079011If he avoids the PUP list, I’ll put him back in the #2 spot. Even if he misses a game or two, he’ll make up for it when he returns to the field.
4Tony GonzalezAtl69308Father Time has no hold on Gonzo.
5Vernon DavisSF95485Frustratingly inconsistent, Davis has slipped each year since his top-ranked 2009 season.
6Greg OlsenCar48435He’s coming off his best year to date and obviously has a nice rapport with Cam. He’s, in essence, the #2 receiver on his team. No reason to think he won’t keep it up.
7Antonio GatesSD85387Took a major step backwards last season and is having trouble staying healthy. Still better than the average TE.
8Jared CookStL115234He is reportedly tearing it up with Sam Bradford. Cook has always had the natural ability. Perhaps a change of scenery is what he needed. Big upside here.
9Jermichael FinleyGB46672With Greg Jennings gone, Finley has another chance to gain A-Rod’s favor. But he still must compete with that WR corps.
10Jordan CameronCle102261He’s having an excellent preseason and clearly has the confidence of his quarterback. This sleeper candidate has a chance to make you believe in the Browns’ passing game again.
11Martellus BennettChi86265Finally emerged as a Giant. Cutler will likely lean on him like Eli did.
12Owen DanielsHou87166He’s serviceable, but won’t win any games for you by himself.
13Jermaine GreshamCin127375Loaded with talent but now must compete for targets with another first-round draft pick.
14Kyle RudolphMin54939Solid, unspectacular, boring pick that will carry his own weight.
15Brent CelekPhi126841With Maclin out, Celek’s role will be more significant.
16Brandon PettigrewDet95673He’s been an underachiever since he was drafted with such fanfare in 2009.
17Fred DavisWas53250He’s coming off a ruptured Achilles, but he had a nice thing going with RG3 before he went down.
18Scott ChandlerBuf125716He has gotten off to monster starts in the first few games of the last 2 seasons. Then he slides back into mediocrity. So if you draft him, be sure to start him right away.
19Brandon MyersNYG98064Will have more hands to compete with for targets in NY.
20Anthony FasanoKC103325Hard to say whether he’ll be a key part of the Chiefs’ limited passing attack.
21Heath MillerPit58168If he avoids the PUP list to start the season, he’ll shoot up these rankings.
22Dwayne AllenInd85213One of two young TEs competing for Luck’s attention. Has looked a lot better than Coby Fleener (knee) this preseason.
23Ed DicksonBal82250Steps into Pitta’s productive spot.
24Delanie WalkerTen83443Now out of Vernon Davis’ shadow, will he blossom? Needs to shake off knee injury first.
25Jacob TammeDen95552Even with Peyton as your QB, it’s sometimes tough to get balls thrown your way.

Defense/special teams

Rank Team Bye Sacks INT TDs PPG
1Seahawks123618315.3
249ers93814317.1
3Bears84124917.3
4Broncos95216618.1
5Packers44718221
6Texans84415320.7
7Cardinals93822322.3
8Bengals125114320
9Patriots103720520.7
10Steelers53710119.6
11Ravens83713221.5
12Rams115217521.8
13Cowboys11347325
14Giants93321221.5
15Falcons62920218.7
16Vikings54410321.8
17Buccaneers52718324.6
18Browns103817223
19Lions93411027.3
20Dolphins64210019.8
21Washington53221424.3
22Eagles12308027.8
23Chargers83814721.9
24Saints73015428.4
25Jets103011323.4

Kickers

Rank Player Team Bye FGs XPs Pts.
1Matt PraterDen92655133
2Garrett HartleyNO71857111
3Stephen GostkowskiNE102966153
4Matt BryantAtl63344143
5Dan BaileyDal112937124
6Phil DawsonSF92929116
7David AkersDet92944131
8Steven HauschkaSea122446118
9Randy BullockHou8
10Josh BrownNYG911841
11Mason CrosbyGB42150113
12Blair WalshMin53536141
13Justin TuckerBal83042132
14Greg ZuerleinStL11232695
15Alex HeneryPhi122725106
16Adam VinatieriInd82637115
17Mike NugentCin12193592
18Robbie GouldChi8213396
19Sebastian JanikowskiOak73125118
20Lawrence TynesTB53346145
21Nick NovakSD8183387
22Kai ForbathWas5173384
23Shaun SuishamPit52834118
24Graham GanoCar492047
25Rob BironasTen82535110

Ladd Biro was chosen Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for 2010 and 2011. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog, Facebook or Twitter @ladd_biro.

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