There are some crazy player rankings in fantasy football. Your own might even be outlandish. You might look at mine and throw up in your mouth a little bit. That’s the beauty of fantasy rankings, though. Everyone has a different angle on how certain players should be valued, and they even look at the value of specific positions differently.
Some fantasy owners need an ace quarterback in the first round. Others won’t touch a quarterback until after round 10.
However, we all have a fairly aligned collective starting point, where we can safely agree on the projected value of certain players. Or at least I’m assuming that. For me, when I do mock drafts or actual live drafts for leagues I’m in, I find rankings to be very interesting depending on the league site I’m operating in. Regardless of the site, whether it be Yahoo, NFL.com, ESPN or somewhere else, their site rankings from their own experts (or however they actually come up with the rankings) can appear negligent or flat out lazy.
I’m here to point out, from my own personal bias, which players aren’t being valued appropriately when you look at site rankings. This isn’t a knock on these sites, necessarily, but a good prep for any fantasy owner about to draft on these sites. Instead of just drafting the first 5-10 guys you see ranked by the default site rankings, I challenge you to scroll down and dig a little bit deeper.
And if you don’t want to do it yourself, at least check out my own findings. We’ll start with Yahoo’s fantasy football rankings in this column:
Andrew Luck (8th)
Luck was fantasy football’s 4th best passer a year ago, and that was despite his offense being predictable and trying too hard to run the ball with an ineffective Trent Richardson. The Colts have publicly stated they’ll put the offense back in Luck’s hands, which suggests he could post his best numbers to date. That gives him a shot at top-5 production once again, meaning drafting him as the 8th best passer is borderline insanity.
Doug Martin (18th)
Martin’s main knock is that he needs volume to be productive, while he got hurt last year and has a seemingly dog shit offensive line. All of that might be true, but he was a rookie stud just two years ago and is an incredibly explosive and versatile weapon. He may see less carries, but with Charles Sims hurt, he should still see quite a few receptions. He might not be a top-10 lock right now, but he sure is a top-15 guy. Getting him at an 18th RB value is a major steal.
Frank Gore (24th)
Gore is probably the 20th best RB and maybe slightly better. He’s much less valuable in PPR leagues, but ranking him as the 24th best is a slight insult. Add in the lack of depth in the Niners’ backfield now, too, and he’s looking like a rock solid RB2 for 2014.
Stevan Ridley (28th)
Ridley fumbled again in the preseason, so there’s always the chance Bill Belichick burns him at the stake. James White hasn’t looked awesome, though, so odds are Ridley still sees early and goal-line work and is replaced by Vereen here and there and in clear passing situations. He’s probably better than the 28th spot among running backs.
Ben Tate (30th)
Tate is right around where Ridley should be – 20-25 range. So he’s getting a rough deal here as the 30th best back. He’s more talented than that and he’s the Browns’ main back at least to start the year. He has a shaky injury history, but if he stays healthy he’ll at least return solid RB2 value.
Ray Rice (32nd)
Rice is going to serve a two-game suspension to kick off 2014 but he’s being graded and drafted like he’s not even playing this year or lost all of his talent. At the absolute worst he’s a slower Rice that will still catch a good amount of passes and run a decent amount. I don’t really believe in Bernard Pierce, though, so my guess is Rice comes back with a vengeance in 2014 and is the lead ball carrier in Baltimore’s offense. That’s probably going to make him a vastly underrated RB2, if not better. I’m trying to nab him as my RB5 in every draft.
Andre Johnson (17th)
AJ has an arguable quarterback downgrade and he doesn’t want to stay in Houston, but he’s still Andre Johnson. He still finished last year as a top-10 option and he dealt with Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates and Case Keenum. I’m pretty sure he’ll get by with whatever scrubs the Texans have launching ducks this year. Especially as a guy you can find outside of the top-15 in these ranks.
Kenny Britt (67th)
Britt isn’t even a guy you necessarily have to draft, but he’s projected to start for the Rams. His key has been staying healthy. If he can stay on the field and is back to his 2012 form, he could be a major steal in deep leagues.
Jordan Reed (10th)
Reed has a history of concussions and missed half of his rookie season due to one last year. But he was on pace for 90 receptions and has been awesome all summer. He’s a risk, but not at this projected ranking. If you can get him as your top TE in rounds 7-10, you’re getting a steal. Just be sure to grab a solid backup in case he does burn you with a bumpin’ head.
The moral of the story? A lot of people in Yahoo! leagues will go right off the default rankings that Yahoo presents. You should probably use your own (or attach the Draft Wizard) so you don’t get caught in the same traps. Or if you do just roll the dice with Yahoo’s regular draft rankings, at least use the findings in this article as a base to help remind you when/where you may want to grab certain players. Happy drafting!