And so the den (FINALLY) returns!!! It’s been waaaay too long since I put this together, so long that most of you out there probably don’t remember how this works. So we’ll get right into it and cut out the mindless drivel….by the way, I’m sure there will be an update to this next week with all the guys that were left off the list.
Just to recap the rules, this is a ranking of players strictly for this purpose of dynasty leagues. Taking into account only keeper/dynasty status, and a basic scoring system. We’ll count up from #50 to #1. The way it will work is that you would keep the #49 guy on the list over the #50 guy on the list, but not the #48 guy. You’d keep the #9 guy on the list over the #10 guy on the list, but not the #8 guy, etc. The #1 guy on the list is a player you would keep over any and everyone. A player’s ranking from the last posting (early last spring?) is listed in parenthesis. As is usually the case with these things, it’s subjective and many decisions should be based on your entire roster (among other factors).
If you think I’m way off base, sound off: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Falling off the list from last time:
(2) RB Ricky Williams, Miami – Need I say more?
(27) RB Anthony Thomas, Chicago – He’s blown a golden opportunity this year.
(30) RB Ontario Smith, Minnesota – Didn’t do much last year and looks to be suspended for the first four games of 2004, no thanks.
(32) RB Michael Pittman, Tampa Bay – Not sure why he was ever on the list.
(37) QB Chad Pennington, NY Jets – Slips just outside my top 50 for the time being.
(42) RB Marcel Shipp, Arizona – Temporarily out of the top 50 until he gets healthy.
(45) TE Randy McMichael, Miami – I’m falling out of favor with the top TEs, that and anyone on Miami.
(46) WR Plaxico Burress, Pittsburgh – At one time he was extremely solid, needs to return to that form before he gets back on this list.
(48) TE Todd Heap, Baltimore – See above, TEs are sliding as more around the league become usable.
(49) QB Marc Bulger, St.Louis – Just not sure where to put this guy, could be great, could be nothing. Doesn’t crack the top 50.
(50) WR Peerless Price, Atlanta – I need to see some production before putting him back on the list, could happen if Vick stays healthy.
Yes, I have a dynasty team where Ricky Williams was my only viable back. These things happen, it’s very tough to maintain depth at RB. You just have to keep picking rookie RBs and patiently waiting. And to think, four years ago I traded Shaun Alexander and an old WR for him. At least Ricky led me to two league titles in the last three years. The reigning champ has his work cut out for him this year, but it can be done!!
In any case, a definate shift from the last time I made this list until now. I’m downgrading all TEs, there are just more around the league that are viable. Now I’m not saying guys like Gonzalez and Winslow aren’t valuable, just saying that there seems to be more of a quantity of guys out there that you can start. This can be reflected in re-draft leagues, many owners are willing to wait until the late rounds to grab one. Running backs, particularly those young ones have shot up the list. RBs are king. Perhaps this a reflection of being personally scorned by Ricky. Thanks, man.
50 (unranked) WR Eric Moulds, Buffalo – Abysmal last season, looking to rebound in a big way in 2004. Count on it.
49 (rookie) RB Julius Jones, Dallas – Jones has the best shot of all the rookies to play this year, his future very bright as well.
48 (rookie) RB Steven Jackson, St.Louis – I’m expecting a big season from Faulk, but Jackson could be huge in 2005, definately in 2006.
47 (47) WR Laveranues Coles, Washington – If Washington gets its offense going, could move up the list.
46 (36) RB Travis Henry, Buffalo – Put up the numbers in 2003, but the rookie lurks and the injury bug is seemingly unshakable.
45 (44) WR Steve Smith, Carolina – Just look at his late season and post-season production.
44 (43) WR Andre Johnson, Houston – Strong rookie season last year to build on.
43 (unranked) RB Thomas Jones, Chicago – A classic case why you never release a RB you drafted in the first round of your rookie draft, even if it was 5 years ago. I knew he’d eventually work out (snicker).
42 (31) WR Amani Toomer, NY Giants – Hard to keep a guy like this off this list, but is this where he belongs?
41 (34) TE Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City – Still the top TE, if you’ve got him, hold onto him.
A mish-mash of players here. Some aged veterans (Moulds, Toomer) and some young potential studs (JJones, Jackson) in the mix here. No doubt the last ten of this list are the toughest to come up with. Opinions will likely vary from person to person. The only TE in the top 50 lands among these ten listed. I have a hard time putting Winslow anywhere on this list given what’s happened to Shockey. Let’s see some on the field production and not the trash talking kind first.
40 (38) QB Steve McNair, Tennessee – No Eddie? No problem, could have a huge 2004. And yet the ride must end sometime.
39 (28) RB Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati – Dillon is out of the way, though I’m not convinced of Rudi’s long term staying power.
38 (unranked) RB TJ Duckett, Atlanta – I love the potential of this guy, could emerge to be a viable starter in 2004.
37 (40) RB Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia – Looks like he’ll be the man by default, yet he always seems to fnid a way to get hurt.
36 (unranked) K Jeff Wilkins, St.Louis – Just kidding, wanted to make sure you were reading.
36 (unranked) QB Aaron Brooks, New Orleans – Not sure what happened in 2003, 2004 should find him being productive again.
35 (23) WR Santana Moss, NY Jets – With a healthy Pennington at the controls, he could move up much higher.
34 (35) QB Trent Green, Kansas City – Had a great season, just not as flashy as he needs to be to move up this list.
33 (39) WR Darrell Jackson, Seattle – If he could only hold onto the ball, would be ranked higher.
32 (33) WR Charles Rogers, Detroit – A bit of a gamble here given that we didn’t seem much of him in 2003.
31 (24) RB Tiki Barber, NY Giants – Falling fast, yet surely he can hold off Ron Dayne.
The RB theme continues here, however, most of the guys here seem to be on their way down. I have my doubts about Rudi’s staying power in the long term, same with Westbrook but for the time begin, they belong here. Jackson and Rogers need to show me something for them to hold onto their rankings here. Barber is a tough one to figure, I still think he’s going to have a good year, but for whatever reason he never has struck me as a guy I would associate with the word ‘stud’. Needs to hold onto the ball and if he loses out to Dayne, then shame on him.
30 (41) WR Anquan Boldin, Arizona – Sensational rookie campaign, needs to be on this list somewhere despite the injury.
29 (unranked) RB Chris Brown, Tennessee – A lesson in finding backup RBs and holding them on your team in case “something happens”.
28 (26) WR Terrell Owens, Philadelphia – The biggest question mark heading into 2004, see also David Boston circa 2003?
27 (unranked) RB Willis McGahee, Buffalo – I’d rank him higher, but I don’t like the “play me or trade me” when he hasn’t, um, played yet.
26 (unranked) RB De’Shawn Foster, Carolina – Did you see what this guy did in the playoffs last year? His arrival is imminent.
25 (29) WR Joe Horn, New Orleans – Came on strong at the end of the season, still studly.
24 (25) QB Tom Brady, New England – Perhaps the home town bias shows in his ranking here but incredibly consistent and durable.
23 (18) RB Stephen Davis, Carolina – Foster is healthy and lurking, and yet Davis can still get the job done.
22 (19) RB Fred Taylor, Jacksonville – I thought I just saw a pig fly past my window, a healthy 16 game slate in 2003, wow.
21 (22) WR Hines Ward, Pittsburgh – Proved he can excel even when the rest of the team does not.
Starting to get into the top echelon of players here. Boldin was a player that I had a real hard time placing on this list, but in the end right or wrong I have chosen to somewhat discount his injury. If he’s not hurt, he may end up in my top 20, but for now he’s here. That’s a guy that if you can get in the mid to late rounds of your re-draft draft, should pay dividends late in the season for the stretch drive. Chris Brown makes a huge jump as he’ll no doubt be the guy in Tennessee. What an opportunity for him. Just goes to show what can happen if you keep your mouth shut and backup a guy for a couple of years…and a lesson to you dynasty leaguers to hold onto as many backup RBs that you can. Speaking of not keeping mouth shut, McGahee lands in this ten, yet hasn’t even played a down in the NFL. He’s probably the player that stands to gain or lose the most on this list. Foster another guy I love for the future. As for Owens, the guy just doesn’t get it done for me. I’ll have to see how things turn out in Philly before moving him up this list. I know, Joe Horn ahead of him, yes I’ve been told I’m crazy, and no I’m not drinking right now.
20 (unranked) RB Corey Dillon, New England – Amazing what a change of scenery will do for a guy’s fantasy fortunes.
19 (20) QB Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia – What can you say about a guy that can run for 100 yards a game at any time?
18 (21) WR Chad Johnson, Cincinnati – Gets better every game. Talks a good game, but can back it up.
17 (17) RB Marshall Faulk, St.Louis – How can you count this guy out? Out to prove the doubters wrong, huge 2004 on tap.
16 (16) QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis – Always performs at a high level. Just a sick end of the season and playoff run.
15 (10) RB Clinton Portis, Washington – I don’t know what it is, I just wish he’d be of better health for the whole season before I move him up.
14 (15) WR Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis – Drops a bit in that the RBs are once again becoming king.
13 (7) WR Torry Holt, St.Louis – See above.
12 (unranked) RB Kevan Barlow, San Francisco – An obvious mistake leaving im off the list last time, should shine in 2004.
11 (12) QB Duante Culpepper, Minnesota – Always a threat by air and by land, so close to being top 10.
Barlow and Dillon make huge splashes on the list, though Barlow should have been in my last top 50 listing. Certainly this is a group of players that you would love to have on your team. Many people are shoving Faulk out the door, I’m telling you, don’t count this guy out this year. I’ve seen him go as low as mid-second round in re-draft leagues…anything lower than 20th overall is insane. Get some sack and take him!
10 (13) RB Edgerrin James, Indianapolis – Would be nice to see a healthy 2004. Don’t forget, he’s in a contract year, which means he could have a huge 2004, but could disappear in 2005.
9 (9) RB Priest Holmes, Kansas City – Scary what he might do in 2004, yet he can’t have more than a couple strong season’s left, if that.
8 (8) QB Michael Vick, Atlanta – How can you not have him ranked here? Another big question for 2004 will be his return to form.
7 (14) RB Domanick Davis, Houston – Came out of no where, and could be the starter for years to come.
6 (6) WR Randy Moss, Minnesota – Reasserted himself as the top WR in 2003. I have he and Holt on a team and will never break up the tandum.
5 (5) RB Jamal Lewis, Baltimore – His impending drug trial keeps him from going higher.
4 (4) RB Ahman Green, Green Bay – Top notch in 2003, things should not change much for him in 2004.
3 (11) RB Shawn Alexander, Seattle – Strong move up for Alexander, when you talk about young RBs that have been consistent in the past couple of years, Alexander is near the top of that list.
2 (3) RB Duece McAllister, New Orleans – McAllister has quietly gone about his business, should the Saints do better, so should the Duece.
1 (1) RB LaDanian Tomlinson, San Diego – Still the tops when you factor in both skill and age. 100 catches in 2003? Oh my.
Creme de la creme. I don’t think many of you would argue with me that LT should be the top pick of any new dynasty league. I don’t think there’s much argument of McAllister and Alexander being right behind him. Dom Davis might be a bit of a reach in this grouping, but is it really? Vick and Moss the only non-RBs, but they certainly deserve their place in the top 10.