Note: The list is based on a players VALUE heading into the season, and NOT their expected draft positions. Antonio Gates is ranked 13th because that’s where I believe his value lies when you consider how much more productive he is than other TEs, but I am in no way endorsing him as the 13th pick.
RB Ladaianian Tomlinson, SD –
The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.
RB Steven Jackson, STL –
Lit the world on fire last year. Is LTs #1 spot in his sights?
RB Larry Johnson, KC –
Owners have a right to be worried about overwork, but there still isn’t anybody whose proven as much as he has to drop him farther.
RB Willie Parker, PIT –
So much for him not being able to carry the load. Only got better as the season moved along, highlighted by two, 200-yard performances.
RB Frank Gore, SF –
Had nine, 100+ yard performances last year. Also proved to be an adept receiver. The loss of Norv Turner will hurt some, though.
QB Peyton Manning, IND –
The most efficient Fantasy play at QB, bar-none. Adding Anthony Gonzalez to the offense is just a little more icing on the cake.
RB Joseph Addai, IND –
Produced over 1,000 yards and 8 TDs as a rookie. With Dominic Rhodes out of the way, expect Addai to come up huge in Indy’s offense.
RB Brian Westbrook, PHI –
Had an outstanding ’06 campaign, with 1200 yards on the ground and his typically sterling reception totals.
RB Clinton Portis, WAS –
If healthy, he’s got the potential to produce top 5 numbers. Could end up being a huge steal or massive bust: I’m betting on the former.
WR Steve Smith, CAR –
A lot of guys have a case as the #1 WR, but noone should see more passes this year than Smith.
RB Reggie Bush, NO –
Had an outstanding rookie year catching the ball(88/742/2). Now it’s time to usurp McAllister and light it up on the ground as well.
RB Travis Henry, DEN –
Resurrected his career in Tennessee last year. He gives Denver their first legitimate #1 back since Clinton Portis. We all know how he did.
TE Antonio Gates, SD –
Head and shoulders above every other TE in the league.
RB Rudi Johnson, CIN –
Mr. Dependable. He’s scored 12 TDs in each of the last three seasons. Expect more of the same.
RB Shaun Alexander, SEA –
The mighty may be falling, but Alexander still has enough gas left to make one more run. The injuries cannot be ignored.
WR Marvin Harrison, IND –
As long as he’s still breathing, you can peg him for top 5 numbers.
RB Thomas Jones, NYJ –
Perennially underappreciated. Do not be surprised if he puts up RB1 numbers behind New York’s young, but improving Oline.
QB Marc Bulger, STL –
With Jackson, Holt, Isaac Bruce, and the newly acquired Drew Bennett and Randy McMichael to throw to, Bulger could end up being the top point producer at QB this year.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX –
Had an incredible rookie season, scoring 15 times and averaging 5.7 YPC. Do not be afraid to draft him early. He’s legit, and they’re always going to run the ball in Jacksonville.
WR Torry Holt, STL –
Slowed down a bit late in the season, but he’s still as steady as they come at WR.
QB Drew Brees, NO –
He’ll be hard pressed to match last years gargantuan numbers, but he’ll get close.
WR Chad Johnson, CIN –
His final statline looked nice, but Fantasy owners know that CJ was a bit of a letdown last year. His career trends suggest that was an aberration.
QB Carson Palmer, CIN –
Loses some offense with the Chris Henry suspension, but CJ and Housh are plenty enough.
WR Reggie Wayne, IND –
Ready and waiting to emerge as the clear-cut #1. Even as a second-fiddle, he’s producing elite numbers.
WR Terrell Owens, DAL –
Say what you want about the person, TO the player is still as productive as they come. Led the league in TDs again last year.
QB Donovan McNabb, PHI –
He’s perhaps the leagues most potent point producer if healthy. Big if, though.
RB Laurence Maroney, NE –
A lot depends on the condition of his shoulder. Is he ready to shoulder the load for the Patriots?
WR Roy Williams, DET –
Led the NFC in receiving yards last year.
WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI –
After an injury-riddled season, Fitz is out to regain his place at the top of the WR pile.
RB Willis McGahee, BAL –
Color me a skeptic. Baltimore’s offense is no better than Buffalo’s(it may be worse actually), and McGahee’s bark has always been worse than his bite.
TE Todd Heap, BAL –
Has caught at least 70 passes and 6 TDs the past two seasons.
WR TJ Houshmandzadeh, CIN –
Proved to be more than just Chad Johnson’s sidekick last year. He’s a WR1 in his own right.
WR Javon Walker, DEN –
Big play receiver should be even more productive with a more experienced Jay Cutler at the helm.
WR Anquan Boldin, ARI –
The TDs may not be there, but there are still few better sources for receptions and yards.
WR Donald Driver, GB –
Even after his Pro Bowl season, Driver still flies well below the radar.
WR Lee Evans, BUF –
Developed some consistency late last year to go along with his patented blow-up games.
QB Tom Brady, NE –
Enjoyed an overhaul at receiver this offseason
WR Andre Johnson, HOU –
Led the league in receptions last year, but didn’t produce the yards or TDs owners hoped for. That could change with a fresh face at QB.
RB Cadillac Williams, TB
– With improvements at both QB and along the Oline, Cadillac is a prime candidate to have a bounce back season.
RB Edgerrin James, ARI –
He may not be what he once was, but at least his outlook is a little brighter in Arizona this year.
TE Jeremy Shockey, NYG
– Always a good bet to produce top 5 numbers.
TE Tony Gonzalez, KC –
– Slowing down? Maybe, but only by his lofty standards.
QB Jon Kitna, DET –
With all the weapons he has, plus Mike Martz, it’s impossible to ignore his potential for huge numbers.
WR Marques Colston, NO –
Reigning ROY was a star last year. Always have to be cautious with these young WRs. Just ask Michael Clayton.
WR Plaxico Burress, NYG –
Scored TDs in 10 games last year: A testament to his newly-found consistency.
RB Ronnie Brown, MIA –
Has all the tools, but the situation in Miami is abysmal this year.
TE Alge Crumpler, ATL –
The Vick saga could impact his stock dramatically.
RB Deuce McAllister, NO –
Enjoyed a stellar comeback season last year. May be slowly eased out of the way for Bush, though.
RB DeAngelo Williams, CAR –
A special back who I’m very high on, but you just never know who’s the boss in Carolina.
WR Reggie Brown, PHI –
Emerging as the go-to guy for McNabb.
TE Chris Cooley, WAS –
The switch to Jason Campbell didn’t hurt his numbers much.
WR Laveranues Coles, NYJ –
Steady, capable WR2. Not a lot of upside, but he gets the job done.
TE Kellen Winslow, Jr. –
Caught a ton of passes last year, but didn’t have the yards or TDs you’d hope for. Injuries are taking a toll on him again.
RB Cedric Benson, CHI –
He’s the man in Chicago now. I don’t think he’ll match TJs production any time soon.
TE LJ Smith, PHI –
He’s been a capable low-end TE1 the past two seasons. Expect a bump in his numbers across the board with another year of seasoning.
QB Jay Cutler, DEN –
Impressed in his 5-game stint last year. Denver’s offense is a goldmine for big plays, so expect the second year kid to step it up.
RB Fred Taylor, JAX –
Freddy may still be fragile, but he’s also a yardage machine in a run-heavy offense.
WR Terry Glenn, DAL –
Hard to continue doubting the guy with his numbers the past few years.
WR Joey Galloway, TB –
See: Terry Glenn
RB Marion Barber III, DAL –
Scored an astounding 16 TDs last year, but you can really expect that to happen again? His yardage should spike, though.
TE Vernon Davis, SF –
“Freak” is the only word you can use to describe him. “Bad” is how describe the 49ers passing attack.
WR Santonio Holmes, PIT –
Expect him to upend Hines Ward as the teams #1 wideout this year. A prime buy-low candidate.
QB Tony Romo, DAL –
Placeholding skills notwithstanding, Romo developed quite nicely for Dallas and he should be a decent QB1.
RB Brandon Jacobs, NYG –
Appears to be The Man in New York now, but be careful. He might be a sight to behold, but he still has a ways to go to be a solid every-down back.
WR Jericho Cotchery, NYJ –
Came out of nowhere to post nearly 1000 yards last season.
WR Randy Moss, NE –
There may not be a bigger boom-or-bust pick in Fantasy drafts this year.
TE Randy McMichael, STL –
Could be a sleeper candidate to produce top 5 numbers if he emerges as the second or third option in St. Louis’ high-powered offense.
QB Matt Leinart, ARI –
He’ll get the yards, but the TDs will be sporadic behind that Oline.
RB Ahman Green, HOU –
The former All-Pro should be able to muster one last hurrah behind Houston’s zone blocking scheme.
RB Marshawn Lynch, BUF –
Get the edge over fellow rook Adrian Peterson in the short-term thanks to his guaranteed starting job.
TE Jason Witten, DAL –
It doesn’t look like he’ll ever regain his 2004 form, but he’s still an adequate TE1.
RB Adrian Peterson, MIN –
I’m a big believer in AD, and he should emerge as the #1 guy in time for the Fantasy playoffs.
RB Chester Taylor, MIN –
Did well in 2006, but he’ll be hard pressed to keep the job away from Peterson.
QB Philip Rivers, SD –
Had an unusually efficient season in his first year as a starter. He’ll still be a QB1, but expect a few more down games this year.
WR Calvin Johnson, DET –
Has the potential to absolutely dominate the league from the get go, but expectations must be tempered as the transitions for rookie WRs in the NFL is always a tough one.
QB Matt Hasselbeck, SEA –
He loses Darrell Jackson and Alexander is tailing off, but there’s still enough firepower and cupcake games to help Hass regain his form as a QB1.
RB Ladell Betts, WAS –
If Portis goes down, Betts immediately attains starting status on any Fantasy team. He’s darn good.
QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT –
With Holmes shining bright and dependable targets like Hines Ward and Heath Miller, Big Ben should become a more efficient Fantasy option this year.
WR Mark Clayton, BAL –
Well on his way to becoming the game-breaker Baltimore has so desperately lacked at receiver.
QB JP Losman, BUF –
Surprised the heck out of me with his solid season last year, and should continue to develop into a stellar QB.
RB Jerious Norwood, ATL –
Atlanta’s ground game is solid, and I’m betting on new coach Bobby Petrino to give the young guy his shot as a starter.
WR Donte Stalworth, NE –
While Randy Moss made all the headlines in New England, it’s Stallworth who probably gives them their most reliable target.
WR Darrell Jackson, SF –
Word is he’s dealing with the dreaded turf toe. Add that to San Fran’s average passing attack, and he shouldn’t be looked at as anything more than a WR2 this year.
QB Eli Manning, NYG –
It wont be easy with the loss of Tiki Barber, but New York’s offense is still pretty dynamic. It’s up Eli to make it work. He should be farther along than this.
TE Tony Scheffler, DEN –
Want a sleeper pick at TE? You got one. Scheffler is big, athletic kid who developed a great rep with Cutler at the end of last season. Buy low on him and enjoy.
WR Santana Moss, WAS –
He seems to be developing a case of Eric Mouldsitis, where his numbers spike every other year. If that’s the case, he’s entirely too low.
WR Braylon Edwards, CLE –
Charlie Frye? Brady Quinn? Edwards is a victim of his own offenses ineptitude.
RB Warrick Dunn, ATL –
No better than a RB3 at this point, but he still brings the goods in the yardage department.
WR DJ Hackett, SEA –
Another one of those buy low guys whom I think will emerge this season. He’s better equipped than Deion Branch to be a #1 target in their offense.
WR Hines Ward, PIT –
Can still be a pretty good Fantasy play in points per reception leagues.
RB Kevin Jones, DET –
Looks like he may start the year on the PUP list. If he’s ahead of schedule, he could a big steal in your draft. Was a legit RB1 before the injury last year.
QB Matt Schaub, HOU –
The decision to hedge their bets on Schaub will turn out to be really smart or really stupid. Here’s to a middle ground.
QB Brett Favre, GB –
Throws it often enough to still be Fantasy-relevant.
QB Jake Delhomme, CAR –
Having Steve Smith makes him a capable play.
RB Tatum Bell, DET –
If KJ stays out, Bell has the thumbs up as Detroit’s starter. He’s got the speed to be effective in Martz’ offense.
TE Dallas Clark, IND –
Manning always finds a way to toss it to him a few times every game.
WR Bernard Berrian, CHI –
Classic match up player who’ll produce against the bad, and is better off on the bench against the good.
WR Vincent Jackson, SD –
San Diego’s #1 WR by default, but that hasn’t been much solace for Fantasy owners in recent years. He’s got the hype, but take a wait and see approach with him and take him later in the draft.
RB Julius Jones, DAL –
Had an awful second half last year. Who knows what the heck his role is anymore?
RB Jamal Lewis, CLE –
He’ll be smoking more menthols a day than he’ll be scoring TDs this season.
RB Deshaun Foster, CAR –
He’s still got a role in Carolina, and there’s no guarantees that Deangelo will run away with his job. Having him as a RB4 could be a nice perk.