Fantasy Football: Position rankings

Fantasy Football: Position rankings

These rankings are based on a combined yardagescoring system (4 points for a passing touchdown, 6 points for a rushingreceiving touchdown, one point for every 25 passing yards, one point for every 10 rushingreceiving yards) and will be updated weekly until the season begins. In-season, we will offer weekly rankings based on the matchups at hand.

Last Updated: 831

Quarterback
1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2. Tom Brady, Patriots
NOTE: The toy chest is stocked, again.
3. Drew Brees, Saints
4. Cam Newton, Panthers
5. Matthew Stafford, Lions
6. Matt Ryan, Falcons
7. Eli Manning, Giants
NOTE: Absolutely, he's elite now.
8. Michael Vick, Eagles
NOTE: Pay for around 12 games.
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
10. Peyton Manning, Broncos
NOTE: Don't expect miracles right away.
11. Tony Romo, Cowboys
NOTE: Offensive line is a major problem.
12. Philip Rivers, Chargers
13. Andrew Luck, Colts
NOTE: Ready to play from Day 1.
14. Robert Griffin III, Redskins
15. Jay Cutler, Bears
16. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
NOTE: Buzzy player won game with terrific camp.
17. Joe Flacco, Ravens
NOTE: He'll be needed to do more this year.
18. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
19. Matt Schaub, Texans
20. Jake Locker, Titans
21. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
NOTE: Came to camp in dynamite shape.
22. Alex Smith, Niners
23. Christian Ponder, Vikings
24. Carson Palmer, Raiders
NOTE: Hasn't picked up new offense quickly.
25. Andy Dalton, Bengals
26. Matt Cassel, Chiefs
27. Sam Bradford, Rams
28. Brandon Weeden, Browns
29. Mark Sanchez, Jets
NOTE: They're doing all they can to sabotage him.
30. John Skelton, Cardinals
31. Tim Tebow, Jets
NOTE: Have to figure he starts a few games.
32. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
33. Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars
34. Kevin Kolb, Cardinals
35. Matt Flynn, Seahawks
36. Nick Foles, Eagles
NOTE: Could be another Andy Reid miracle.

Running Back
1. Arian Foster, Texans
2. Ray Rice, Ravens
3. LeSean McCoy, Eagles
4. Chris Johnson, Titans
NOTE: All of a sudden, he's a floor pick.
5. Darren McFadden, Raiders
NOTE: Monster upside if he can stay healthy.
6. Matt Forte, Bears
NOTE: Limited TD upside but a yardage dream.
7. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
8. Steven Jackson, Rams
9. Fred Jackson, Bills
NOTE: He's the clear No. 1 back here.
10. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
11. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
12. Trent Richardson, Browns
NOTE: If he's healthy, everything will work out.
13. Doug Martin, Buccaneers
14. Michael Turner, Falcons
15. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
16. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
NOTE: Biggest question mark of 2012; no one knows.
17. Ryan Mathews, Chargers
18. Darren Sproles, Saints
19. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
20. Frank Gore, Niners
NOTE: Slowing down and team knows it.
21. Willis McGahee, Broncos
22. Peyton Hillis, Chiefs
23. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals
NOTE: No wiggle here, but reliable.
24. Reggie Bush, Dolphins
25. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
26. Donald Brown, Colts
27. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
28. Shonn Greene, Jets
29. Cedric Benson, Packers
30. Ben Tate, Texans
NOTE: Ridiculous upside if Foster gets hurt.
31. Rashad Jennings, Jaguars
32. Stevan Ridley, Patriots
33. David Wilson, Giants
34. Isaac Redman, Steelers
NOTE: Dinged up and facing competition.
35. Ryan Williams, Cardinals
36. Beanie Wells, Cardinals
37. Mark Ingram, Saints
38. Alfred Morris, Redskins
NOTE: Nifty camp, but can you trust Shanahan?
39. Pierre Thomas, Saints
40. Toby Gerhart, Vikings
NOTE: Better than you think, and AP is dinged.
41. C.J. Spiller, Bills
42. Kendall Hunter, Niners
NOTE: Team raved about him all summer.
43. Roy Helu, Redskins
44. Michael Bush, Bears
NOTE: Good chance at 7-8 touchdowns.
45. Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons
46. Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
NOTE: Made a splash at Pittsburgh's camp.
47. Mikel Leshoure, Lions
48. Kevin Smith, Lions
49. Evan Royster, Redskins
50. Shane Vereen, Patriots
51. Felix Jones, Cowboys
NOTE: No longer seen as a special talent.
52. Ronnie Brown, Chargers
NOTE: Not much left, but Mathews is hurt.
53. Bernard Scott, Bengals
54. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
55. Daniel Thomas, Dolphins
56. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
57. Robert Turbin, Seahawks
58. Vick Ballard, Colts
NOTE: Power back made a quick impact.
59. LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers
60. Isaiah Pead, Rams
61. Brandon Jacobs, Niners
62. LaMichael James, Niners
63. Mike Goodson, Raiders
NOTE: The DMC handcuff isn't clear yet.
64. Alex Green, Packers
65. Montario Hardesty, Browns
66. Bilal Powell, Jets
67. Bernard Pierce, Ravens
68. Taiwan Jones, Raiders
69. James Starks, Packers
70. Chris Rainey, Steelers

Wide Receiver
1. Calvin Johnson, Lions
NOTE: In a tier of his own.
2. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
NOTE: He's done it with spotty QBs before.
3. A.J. Green, Bengals
4. Roddy White, Falcons
5. Julio Jones, Falcons
NOTE: Breakout expected, but he's trendy.
6. Jordy Nelson, Packers
NOTE: Bet on 10-plus touchdowns again.
7. Greg Jennings, Packers
8. Victor Cruz, Giants
9. Hakeem Nicks, Giants
10. Wes Welker, Patriots
11. Brandon Marshall, Bears
12. Andre Johnson, Texans
NOTE: Elite talent but major injury risk.
13. Steve Smith, Panthers
14. Percy Harvin, Vikings
15. Antonio Brown, Steelers
NOTE: Last year's TD count a stone fluke.
16. Eric Decker, Broncos
17. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots
18. Mike Wallace, Steelers
19. Marques Colston, Saints
NOTE: Never flashy, but very steady.
20. Steve Johnson, Bills
21. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
22. Miles Austin, Cowboys
23. Torrey Smith, Ravens
NOTE: Expect a major Year 2 spike.
24. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
25. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
26. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
27. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
NOTE: Still struggles as a route runner.
28. Reggie Wayne, Colts
NOTE: The addition of Luck will revitalize him.
29. Pierre Garcon, Redskins
30. DeSean Jackson, Eagles
NOTE: Can't be trusted over the middle.
31. Lance Moore, Saints
32. Justin Blackmon, Jaguars
NOTE: Gabbert has improved, so Blackmon is a go Year 1.
33. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
34. Titus Young, Lions
NOTE: Should be their No. 2 wideout.
35. Kenny Britt, Titans
36. Robert Meachem, Chargers
NOTE: Ordinary skill set, don't reach for him.
37. Denarius Moore, Raiders
38. Greg Little, Browns
NOTE: Looks like only downfield show in town.
39. Anquan Boldin, Ravens
40. Santonio Holmes, Jets
41. Michael Crabtree, Niners
NOTE: This is as good as he'll get, most likely.
42. Malcom Floyd, Chargers
43. Sidney Rice, Seahawks
44. Nate Washington, Titans
45. Mike Williams, Buccaneers
46. Kendall Wright, Titans
NOTE: Can play all over the formation.
47. Brandon LaFell, Panthers
NOTE: Secondary stats call for a breakout.
48. Austin Collie, Colts
49. Jon Baldwin, Chiefs
50. Alshon Jeffery, Bears
51. Randy Moss, Niners
NOTE: Not much left in the tank.
52. Santana Moss, Redskins
53. Davone Bess, Dolphins
NOTE: PPR-useful, but that's it.
54. Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
55. Danny Amendola, Rams
56. Randall Cobb, Packers
57. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
58. James Jones, Packers
59. Stephen Hill, Jets
NOTE: He'll need to play right away.
60. Mario Manningham, Niners
61. Steve Smith, Rams
62. Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers
NOTE: They'll go three-wide often.
63. David Nelson, Bills
64. Reuben Randle, Giants
65. Jerome Simpson, Vikings
NOTE: Suspended to start the year.
66. Devery Henderson, Saints
67. Leonard Hankerson, Redskins
68. Brian Quick, Rams
69. Rod Streater, Raiders
NOTE: Strong camp, PPR sleeper.
70. Michael Floyd, Cardinals
NOTE: Hasn't looked good in camp.
71. Braylon Edwards, Seahawks
72. Nate Burleson, Lions
73. Vincent Brown, Chargers
NOTE: Busted ankle, out half the year.

Tight End
1. Jimmy Graham, Saints
NOTE: Still learning the game, which is frightening.
2. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
3. Jermichael Finley, Packers
4. Vernon Davis, Niners
NOTE: Finally picked up offense late in 2011.
5. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
6. Antonio Gates, Chargers
7. Fred Davis, Redskins
8. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
9. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals
NOTE: By default, their second-best target.
10. Greg Olsen, Panthers
11. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
NOTE: Not an elite talent in the red area.
12. Jason Witten, Cowboys
13. Brent Celek, Eagles
14. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
NOTE: Could be Top 6 at position; sleeper to circle.
15. Jared Cook, Titans
16. Owen Daniels, Texans
17. Dustin Keller, Jets
18. Jacob Tamme, Broncos
NOTE: So underrated, he's overrated.
19. Martellus Bennett, Giants
20. Coby Fleener, Colts
NOTE: Don't expect miracles right away.
21. Kellen Winslow, Seahawks
22. Lance Kendricks, Rams
23. Heath Miller, Steelers
NOTE: What you see is what you get.
23. Joel Dreessen, Broncos
NOTE: Might catch 5-6 cheap touchdowns.
24. Tony Moeaki, Chiefs
24. Kellen Davis, Bears
25. Dallas Clark, Buccaneers
26. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
27. Ed Dickson, Ravens
29. Dwayne Allen, Colts
30. Dennis Pitta, Ravens
31. Anthony Fasano, Dolphins

Kicker
1. David Akers, Niners
NOTE: Unreal season, but don't chase outliers.
2. Mason Crosby, Packers
3. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
4. Matt Bryant, Falcons
5. Jason Hanson, Lions
6. Alex Henery, Eagles
7. Shayne Graham, Texans
NOTE: Gets job with Bullock on IR.
8. Matt Prater, Broncos
9. Robbie Gould, Bears
10. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders
NOTE: Unreal leg, but a wild card.
11. Dan Bailey, Cowboys
12. Rob Bironas, Titans
13. Justin Tucker, Ravens
NOTE: Steps into cushy spot for scoring.
14. Nate Kaeding, Chargers
NOTE: Is he a health risk going forward?
15. Garrett Hartley, Saints
16. Lawrence Tynes, Giants
NOTE: Good offense, but hard to trust.
17. Mike Nugent, Bengals
18. Billy Cundiff, Redskins
19. Steven Hauschka, Seahawks
20. Shaun Suisham, Steelers
NOTE: Solid offense, but terrible place to kick.
21. Rian Lindell, Bills
22. Ryan Succop, Chiefs
23. Dan Carpenter, Dolphins
24. Nick Folk, Jets
25. Justin Medlock, Panthers
NOTE: Steps in for veteran Mare.
26. Adam Vinatieri, Colts
NOTE: No longer has a deep leg.
27. Jay Feely, Cardinals
28. Greg Zuerlein, Rams
NOTE: A mad bomber, but how many chances will he get?
29. Connor Barth, Buccaneers
30. Phil Dawson, Browns
31. Josh Scobee, Jaguars

Defense
1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Green Bay Packers
3. New York Giants
NOTE: When in doubt, follow the pass rushers.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
5. Chicago Bears
6. Seattle Seahawks
NOTE: Especially nasty at home.
7. Buffalo Bills
8. Detroit Lions
9. Dallas Cowboys
NOTE: Follow the sacks.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
11. New England Patriots
12. New York Jets
13. Houston Texans
14. Baltimore Ravens
NOTE: A sure bet to be overdrafted - avoid.
15. Denver Broncos
16. Kansas City Chiefs
NOTE: A tough out at Arrowhead.
17. Atlanta Falcons
18. Cincinnati Bengals
19. Arizona Cardinals
NOTE: A few playmakers offer runback juice.
20. San Diego Chargers
21. Minnesota Vikings
NOTE: Even with Jared Allen, not much here.
22. Tennessee Titans
23. Washington Redskins
24. Carolina Panthers
25. Cleveland Browns
NOTE: A better group than many realize.
26. New Orleans Saints
27. Oakland Raiders
28. Miami Dolphins
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
30. St. Louis Rams
NOTE: Offense will sell them down the river.
31. Indianapolis Colts
32. Jacksonville Jaguars

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Need to Know: Can the Redskins really afford to franchise tag Kirk Cousins in 2018?

Need to Know: Can the Redskins really afford to franchise tag Kirk Cousins in 2018?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 24, 20 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on May 22.

Timeline

It’s been 143 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 109 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 20
—Training camp starts (7/27) 64
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 78

Is the 2018 Cousins tag threat a bluff?

On Monday, Redskins president Bruce Allen reiterated that the team is willing to use the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins for the third straight year.

“In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract,” said Allen when asked if the team would use the franchise or transition tag on Cousins in 2018. He has said something similar on previous media interviews this year.

This year Cousins is getting the tag for the second time in his career. That gives him 120 percent of his 2016 salary which comes to just under $24 million. A third franchise tag in 2018, which would either give the Redskins exclusive negotiating rights or a possible choice between matching an offer sheet from another team or getting draft pick compensation, would get Cousins a 144 percent increase over this season, or a whopping $34.5 million.

The franchise tag would give the Redskins the power to unilaterally lock up Cousins for the 2018 season. It is expensive, by design. Could the Redskins afford to wield that power? Or is Allen just bluffing?

A look at the numbers makes it look like Allen is bluffing.

According to Over the Cap, the Redskins have $127 million in salary cap commitments in 2018. Based on recent growth trends the salary cap will be an estimated $178 million. That gives the Redskins $51 million in cap room.

Cousins’ $34.5 million salary for a third tag would hit the 2018 cap all at once as soon as the tag is applied. You don’t have to be a master capologist to do the math and figure out that such a move would leave the Redskins with $16.5 million in salary cap space.

A look at the top-line number doesn’t seem that bad. Eight teams would have less cap space than Washington so others, like the Cowboys, Eagles, and Chiefs, would be worse off.

But the problem with the Redskins’ situation is twofold. First, 21 of their current players are slated to be unrestricted free agents in 2018. Not all of them are key contributors. But they would have to squeeze to bring back the likes of Zach Brown, Terrelle Pryor, Spencer Long, and Bashaud Breeland. If they don’t re-sign them they will have to go to the free agent market for replacements and that will tough to do with so little money to work with.

The other issue is that they don’t have any fat to cut from their cap. They could save from $4.5 million to $8 million by cutting one of the four players with the highest cap numbers. But they aren’t going to be better if they cut loose Josh Norman, Jordan Reed, Trent Williams or Ryan Kerrigan.

Going down the list of top cap hits, they would save no money by letting Brandon Scherff go since his salary is fully guaranteed. Washington would take a net loss of cap space by cutting Morgan Moses and releasing Vernon Davis would save just $1.1 million. In fact, other than the top four mentioned above there are no players the Redskins could release who would save more than $1.6 million in net cap space.

The Redskins could create more cap room by restructuring some of their highest-paid players. But a simple restructure, where salary is converted to signing bonus, spreading the cap impact over the remaining years of the deal, doesn’t save any real money. The cap hit is merely pushed back into future seasons. Bruce Allen has been reluctant to do this and he is right to think that way. Restructures should only be used in a “break glass in case of emergency” situations, not as a regular way of doing business.

In short, tagging Cousins for $34.5 million would force the Redskins to lose quality players or to use cap management tactics that run against their philosophy, or some combination of both. While you can’t rule out the tag on Cousins, there is enough there to make the possibility remote.

Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, can look at these numbers and figure out that Allen is bluffing about a 2018 franchise tag as well as I can. It will be close to a non-factor in negotiations.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Ervin Santana tosses 2-hitter as Twins beat Orioles

Ervin Santana tosses 2-hitter as Twins beat Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Ervin Santana pitched a two-hitter for his 10th career shutout, Brian Dozier homered and the surging Minnesota Twins beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-0 Tuesday night.

After banging out 21 hits in a 14-7 win over Baltimore on Monday, the AL Central-leading Twins relied on exceptional pitching to earn their ninth victory in 13 games.

Santana (7-2) struck out six, walked two and permitted only one runner past first base. The lone hits against the right-hander were a second-inning single by Welington Castillo and a single in the fifth by Jonathan Schoop.

It was Santana's 18th complete game, the second this season. He finished by retiring the last 14 batters.

Minnesota became the first team this season to capture a series at Camden Yards (the Orioles were 7-0-0). Now 16-5 on the road, the Twins on Wednesday will seek to complete their first three-game sweep in Baltimore since 1996.

Dylan Bundy (5-3) pitched well for the Orioles, but Santana was better. Bundy allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking three.

Byron Buxton hit an RBI single in the fifth and Dozier connected in the seventh for a 2-0 lead.

A crowd of 13,294 endured a persistent rain shower that wasn't quite fierce enough to cause umpires to stop play.

The weather suited Santana just fine. He lowered his ERA to 1.80 and improved to 4-0 with a 0.31 ERA on the road.

MORE ORIOLES: 2017 MLB Power Rankings: Where do the Orioles place?