It’s here! Part 5 and the final group of 20 rankings from the Consensus Fantasy Football Top 100 Player Rankings. It’s been a fun and interesting trip to this point, and I want to thank everyone involved.
I actually learned a few things along the way…
– I’m not the only one who doesn’t like Thomas Rawls.
– I’m not the only one who thinks Devonta Freeman disappoints this season.
– I am the only (it seems) who still believes in Steve Smith.
– Don’t ask experts to have a Saturday night deadline even when telling them on Monday (they just wait all week and then disappear over the weekend, making me feel like an annoying mom texting her kid to check in).
– The majority of experts don’t like Doug Baldwin at his ADP (or where they ranked him themselves).
– Don’t expect everyone to reply in the same format when doing a project like this… so also expect some extra work.
– Andy Behrens and I agree a lot, which can only mean he is a smart man.
– No one knows where to actually rank Tom Brady, but everyone is just fine in drafting him and diving into the streaming pool for the first four weeks.
Few Quick Notes:
– Devonta Freeman had the widest gap between highest (No. 8) and lowest (43) ranking for a player with Doug Martin one behind (11 and 45)
– Only three players received at least one No. 1 ranking: Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and… Todd Gurley
– Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott each peaked with a No. 2 ranking
– Freeman and Martin were the only two players to have a ranking lower than the previous set of 20, but Lamar Miller (22), Allen Robinson (24), Elliott (25), Jamal Charles (27), Alshon Jeffery (27), Rob Gronkowski (29), Jordy Nelson (31) and Mike Evans (35) all had a ranking outside the Top 20 (lowest in parenthesis)
– Brown and Jones had the smallest gap between high and low ranks (five spots), but A.J. Green (No. 12) had one of the smallest gaps as well, 13 spots
– From the previous list of 20, everyone except for Matt Forte, Randall Cobb, Aaron Rodgers, Kelvin Benjamin, Jeremy Maclin and Thomas Rawls had at least one Top 20 vote with Amari Cooper highest at No. 11
– Fantasy Football Top 100 list breakdowns:[table “1503” not found /]
Not surprisingly, not one quarterback averaged a Top 20 ranking, but of interest, running backs increased by two since the last list, while receivers fell by one. With nine RBs and 10 WRs, maybe zero-RB is as prevalent as you’d think.
Fantasy Football Top 100
Players 1-20[table “1506” not found /]
Adam Rank: NFL.com @adamrank
A.J. Green, WR, CIN
Wait, I kept waiting for Stephen Gostkowski to appear on this list. I figured he would be No. 1! I kid, I kid. But what’s up with A.J. Green being so low? I’m probably part of the problem because he was likely low on my list, but he’s somebody that I’m starting to really warm up to. Kind of like Taylor Swift. I never really cared for her much for the longest time, but now I would kind of consider myself a fan.
And I’m sure there should be some sort of “shake it off” joke that goes here, but I’m a little spent. I had birthday for my one-year old daughter, Ahsoka. It was quite the production, let me tell you. Why do people get such huge gifts for a child on her first birthday? I don’t think people understood how small our modest Orange County home really is. Fantasy football analyst isn’t the most lucrative career (not that I got into it for the money). But good lord, people. While your generosity is indeed appreciated, I now have to buy a second house just for the gifts. Though not one of them was a Big Wheel. Pity. But again, I do appreciate the gifts. If we have a second child, I might be tempted to tell people we are registered at Wells Fargo. Ah, that’s not cool. I really do appreciate everybody. Forget I said anything. I mean, I could just go ahead and erase this whole paragraph, but I believe in transparency. So there you go. I’m an a-hole, but I’m willing to let you know about it.
BTW, I know a lot of you ask, “Why throw a party for the one-year old? She won’t remember.” That’s true. This part was for her mother and me. We got to see some folks we haven’t seen in over a year. Plus we have plenty of beer for everybody, so don’t judge us.
In any event, I really like Green this year. I’ve done a ton of mocks recently, and when I’m in one of the later spots, I’ve been locked in on a combination of Green/Dez Bryant. I’m always tempted to go with Ezekiel Elliott in that spot, but that kind of leaves you open. I’ve done some mocks where I take Elliott, let’s say in the eight spot, and then Green goes. Well, if Dez is there, I don’t want to double-down with a pair of Cowboys. I just can’t do it. One, I don’t like it as a practice. And two, I don’t want to be that interested in the Cowboys.
If I was to do that, I could see myself going with Jordy Nelson. Dude is going to be great this year, don’t be concerned about anything. Aaron Rodgers is going to throw 52 touchdown passes, which means Jordy is good for about 18. No problem. That’s why I’d even favor him over Alshon Jeffery, which pains me to say as a guy who was born in Schaumburg, Illinois. Favoring a Packer is akin to putting ketchup on your hotdog. Which of course you never do.
So that’s it. Obviously, I would love to land Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham or Julio Jones in the first round. But if I’m not able to, I’m good with Green, Dez and Jordy. I still like Alshon this year, too. And I don’t mean to besmirch Allen Robinson. I’m just concerned the Jags could be boat-racing teams this year and not be in a position to throw the ball that much. Mike Evans will also ball. It’s the Top 20, so you figure most of these guys are going to be great.
Thank you to Jake for having me in their exercise. Thank all of you for reading and playing along. You guys rule.
Editor’s note (aka, Jake chiming in): I’m not sure Adam and I can be friends anymore after all of his pining for Gostkowski!
Alex Miglio: FootballGuys.com @AlexMiglio
Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
It’s really easy to forget about Jordy Nelson after his lost 2015 season. Aaron Rodgers’ top target had finished second in Fantasy scoring twice in the previous four seasons with another 11th place finish in there as well. He has the best quarterback in the NFL throwing him the ball when he’s healthy, and you never know when injuries are going to strike. Nelson is one of the more undervalued players in drafts and rankings this offseason, even if he is still in the Top 20.
Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL
There is reason to be wary of Devonta Freeman – averaging 3.1 YPC in the second half of the season threw up a huge red flag – but the top Fantasy scorer of 2015 barely cracking the Top 20? True, much of his value is derived in PPR formats thanks to an absurd number of targets. But Freeman is going to get a ton of touches in a pretty good offense, and he has already proven he can produce plenty of Fantasy points. Efficiency is less important when you touch the ball 300-plus times and hog the goal line carries.
Andy Behrens: Yahoo! Sports @andybehrens
Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL
If I’m going to spend a first or second round pick on a player, he’d better be good by NFL standards. Preferably great, but at least good. Certainly credible. I’m not sure Devonta Freeman qualifies. He averaged just 4.0 yards per carry last season, delivered nearly all of his stats during a magical four-week stretch and did next-to-nothing to help his owners in the second half of the season. The tape was almost never kind to Freeman. Of course, we have to value him in full-point PPR formats, because he’s going to collect a bunch of empty, unspectacular receptions. (Freeman is everything that’s wrong with PPR, by the way. The simple act of catching a football at short range should never be equivalent to a gain of 10 yards. What a horrible scoring decision. But that’s a subject for a different rant.) You can have Devonta at this rank. I’ll go ahead and draft talent.
Bob Harris: Football Diehards @footballdiehard
Doug Martin, RB, TB
Is Martin, who re-signed with the Buccaneers getting a five-year deal worth $35 million as an unrestricted free agent, getting the short shrift here? From a Fantasy perspective, Martin remaining where he had the success that made him so valuable as a free agent is a best-case scenario. That’s especially true with the man who pushed the Buccaneers to keep Martin last offseason, then offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, promoted to head coach. Indeed, due in part to Koetter’s insistence that Martin would be perfect for his scheme and due in part to the running back’s own hard work last offseason, he was reinvigorated in 2015. Martin’s 1,402 yards were second only to Adrian Peterson and he averaged a solid 4.9 yards per carry. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Martin’s elusive rating of 65.7 was the highest in the NFL. It was a night and day performance from Martin, who had slumped to a 3.6 yards per carry average in the 2013 and 2014 seasons (both marred by injury and poor blocking) following his breakout rookie campaign. Is the presence of Charles Sims a concern? Not at Martin’s current price.
Chad Parsons: Under the Helmet Dynasty @ChadParsonsNFL
Dez Bryant, WR, DAL
At No.10, Bryant is too high for my tastes. With Tony Romo held together by glue at this point and adding Ezekiel Elliott, signs point to a run-heavy attack for Dallas. Bryant disappears for quarters at a time as well. His volume has been lower than most top receivers throughout his career and the big plays or touchdowns will be more important than ever to justify a Round 1 selection.
Doug Martin, RB, TB
Of the veteran running back crop, Martin is my biggest “buyer beware” for 2016. Charles Sims is the clear preferred option in the passing game. Martin is coming off a career year in terms of health and efficiency on the ground. Without much receiving upside and now talk of Charles Sims getting more work on the ground, Martin has limited upside even if things work out perfectly like 2015 due to likely yards-per-carry regression. Plus Tampa Bay has a bevy of red zone options in the pass game – and a mobile quarterback in Jameis Winston – all limiting Martin’s touchdown ceiling.
Chris Meaney: FNTSY Sports Network @chrismeaney
Lamar Miller, RB, HOU
Miller averaged 12 carries per game last season and hit the 20-carry mark in only one of his 16 games with Miami. On top of that, he averaged only three catches and 15 touches per game over that span. Miller has finished as a Top 15 RB in PPR formats over the last two years despite finishing outside the Top 20 in opportunities per game. I expect Miller to flirt with 16-20 carries per game in his first season with Houston, and he should be heavily involved in the passing game as well. It’s not a stretch to think Miller could lead the league in touches this season giving him Top 5 upside at his position. Don’t forget nobody ran more plays per game than the Texans did last year, which only helps Miller get the 20 carries per game that he wants.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
The gap between Rob Gronkowski and the next-best tight end is not as large as it used to be, therefore, there really is no reason to spend a first round pick on Gronk. Who knows how he’ll perform in his first four games of the season without Tom Brady, and the addition of Martellus Bennett will no doubt cut into some of his production. Draft a wide receiver in the first round and move on. There is a ton of value at the tight end position later on in drafts.
David Gonos: DavidGonos.com @davidgonos
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL
I know I’m in the minority on Ezekiel Elliott, but the day I draft a rookie in the first round of a non-keeper Fantasy league is the year I win Miss America. Everything is lined up for this “can’t miss” prospect – a great offensive line, a healthy passing game, an injured incumbent ahead of him – but let’s not forget that he’s still a rookie. We haven’t seen a rookie drafted in the first round in ADP since – never? Dating back to just 2000, the three highest rookies drafted (those first-year players everyone believed in the most) included: Trent Richardson (3.05 ADP, 2012), Ryan Mathews (2.07 ADP, 2010) and Ron Dayne (3.02 ADP, 2000). Have we learned nothing about the top rookies in ADP?
Dennis Esser: CoachEsser.com @coachesser
Lamar Miller, RB, HOU
My least favorite pick in the top 20 is Miller. Right now, our consensus has him at 13 overall, and it makes me cringe a bit.
It’s rare that a team can support a Top 20 RB and WR, but the ones who can are prolific offenses or teams that can count on most of the opportunities going to the lead RB and WR1. Right now, we have the Steelers, Cowboys, Falcons, Buccaneers and Texans all having top lead RBs and WR1s. Of those teams, the Texans have the most vulnerability as they have an unproven QB in Brock Osweiler in his full year as a starter. While Miller is a fine back, expecting him to step into the Houston Texans and put up Arian Foster-type numbers is a bit of a reach, especially if Osweiler is inefficient. I wish we were getting Miller in the late second to early third round with the question marks surrounding the Houston Texans offense this year, but that’s not the case right now so it looks like I will be fading him until his draft stock drops.
Fantasy Footballers: TheFantasyFootballers.com @TheFFBallers
Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
Nelson is going to provide Fantasy players with a value in the second round this year. We completely understand there is some hesitance related to an older WR coming off an ACL tear. But, we have seen a string of players return very successfully from the injury in recent history. Two years ago, Nelson finished with a line of 98/1,519/13. He has two Top 2 finishes for Fantasy WRs. He is still the No. 1 option for Aaron Rodgers. His success hinges on his injury recovery, but given the length of time for recovery, he should be running 100 percent by training camp.
If anyone on this list can surpass expectations, it’s Mike Evans. People felt burnt by him because of an outlier year of low touchdowns. Evans saw 147 targets, which put him Top 10 for WRs. But among those WRs that finished in the Top 30 for targets, Evans had the lowest TD total. He is a receiver on the rise with a QB on the rise. For those that buy into the thinking, Evans is entering his “breakout” third year. All the arrows are pointing up for Mike Evans, and you’re going to be able to draft him in most leagues at the back of the second round.
Jamey Eisenberg: CBS Sports @JameyEisenberg
Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
I like the way the top of this list looks, and it’s good to see the consensus ranking reflect that Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham and Julio Jones should be the Top 3 overall picks. But I’m surprised Jordy Nelson isn’t ranked higher, and I definitely like him ahead of Allen Robinson and Alshon Jeffery. His knee is expected to be fine following last year’s torn ACL, and in 2014, he was the No. 3 Fantasy receiver behind Brown and Demaryius Thomas with 98 catches, 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns. There’s no reason to think he can’t replicate those stats or better them with a highly motivated Aaron Rodgers. I’ll gladly take Nelson if he falls to No. 17 overall, and I hope everyone in my leagues drafts Robinson and Jeffery ahead of him.
Jarrett Behar: Dynasty 1 Podcast @EyeoftheGator
Le’Veon Bell, RB, PIT
I had Bell ranked first overall, but he’s probably the riskiest top pick that there’s been in recent years. After tearing his MCL and PCL in early November, he is still not fully healed. While he’s expected to make a full recovery and be ready for Week 1, if I’m drafting now, I’d feel a little consternation about putting Bell on my team. After DeAngelo Williams was the standard RB4 last year, I could understand being a little concerned about his workload too, especially early on. But Williams is 33, and Bell is a special talent on a high volume offense that lost one of its biggest playmakers in Martavis Bryant to suspension and one of its most reliable players, Heath Miller, to retirement. Taking Bell early is worth the leap of faith to capitalize on that upside.
Jeff Ratcliffe: Pro Football Focus @JeffRatcliffe
Todd Gurley, RB, LA
Gurley is an electric talent, but I have my concerns this season. With a rookie quarterback under center and an offense completely devoid of a passing game, opposing defenses are going to key in on Gurley. That’s not to say that he won’t have big games, but the seasons is likely to be a bit of a roller coaster ride for Fantasy owners with highs and lows. For me No. 5 over feels too high for Gurley.
Jody Smith: GridironExperts.com @JodySmithNFL
Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
Brown’s greatness cannot be understated. He’s been the No. 1 Fantasy wideout in consecutive seasons and a Top 3 option in three straight. Brown has led the NFL in receptions in back-to-back years and has five straight 100-plus target seasons under his belt. He’s the most dominant receiver in football, and a safe bet to lead the league in those categories again this year, as Pittsburgh will undoubtedly continue to focus on him – especially with Martavis Bryant suspended. Brown deserves No. 1 overall consideration in every Fantasy league, in any format.
Odell Beckham, WR, NYG
The first two seasons for Beckham have been remarkable, as he now holds the NFL record for receiving yards in a player’s first two seasons. And he set that record in only 27 games played. With Ben McAdoo moving over from offensive coordinator to head coach, Beckham and the Giants should continue to be a pass-first offense, and OBJ should remain one of the best options in all of Fantasy football.
Nuk set career-high numbers across the board last season and is just 24-years-old. Though he’s still a Top 5 PPR wideout, the Texans heavily invested in surrounding Hopkins with a much more competent supporting cast, including Lamar Miller, Will Fuller and Braxton Miller. It’s quite possible that Hopkins’ numbers could dip a bit, but he still remains firmly in the top-half of the first round conversation.
Mike Evans, WR, TB
After being plagued by drops in 2015, Evans has worked extensively with Jameis Winston on building better chemistry. Aside from the NFC-high 15 drops, Evans was solid in his second season, catching 74 passes for 1,206 yards, but tumbled down to only three touchdowns. All that film and on-field work with Winston should lead to a rebound in the scoring department for Evans. He looks like a good bet for 1200-plus yards and eight touchdowns – solid WR1 numbers and that makes him as solid bargain in the second round of Fantasy drafts.
Joe Bond: FantasySixPack.net @FantasySixPack
Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
I’m surprised to see Freeman ranked this low. I know he loses a lot value in standard leagues, due to the amount work I he gets in the passing game, but you can’t forget that he finished as the No. 1 standard league running back in 2015.
Am I going to say he is the No. 1 running back? No, of course not. I realize he had two monster weeks and slowed down later in 2015. Mix that with tons of injuries to more talented backs and there is no chance he is No. 1.
However, yards are yards, no matter if you accumulate them rushing or receiving. His 2,100-plus yards from last season tell me Matt Ryan trusts him and he will still be a Top 5 RB in 2016.
John Evans: Xs & Ys Podcast @JohnF_Evans
A.J. Green, WR, CIN
The Bengals lost 152 targets to free agency and Tyler Eifert‘s readiness to play Week 1 is in question. While we can expect a greater commitment to the run on a team with fewer passing game weapons, and no Hue Jackson, Cincinnati faces an array of potentially high-powered offenses this season. Only Seattle surrendered fewer points than the Bengals in 2015, but I don’t think they repeat that performance. There are shootouts on this schedule. Have you guessed where I’m going with this? A.J. Green only needs to see a third of those lost targets to go from target hog – averaging at least eight per game over the last four years – to Antonio Brown territory (11-plus). Green could easily turn 180 targets into Top 5 WR numbers, and that’s why I ranked him fourth, even in standard. Bullish, I know, but to me he’s a safer bet than the backs and doesn’t come with the questions that Dez and Hopkins do. I’m all-in on A.J.
Editor’s note: I expect royalties, John.
John Halpin: FOX Sports @jhalpin37
Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
I said it last year, and even though I was dead wrong, I’ll say it again: There is NO WAY I’m taking Adrian Peterson with a Top 10 pick. He’s 31 years old, and nearing 2,400 carries. He slowed down near the end of last season – averaging just 3.56 yards per carry over the final five games – and the Vikings seem eager to get Jerick McKinnon more involved in the offense. Peterson might still be productive, but it’s unlikely that he’ll run well All Day. If you draft him, disappointment awaits.
John LaPresto: SoCalledFantasyExperts.com @TheJohnLaPresto
Mike Evans, WR, TB
Evans is being drafted after Dez Bryant (still not participating 100 percent in camp), Alshon Jeffrey (missed half the season and is in a contract dispute) and Jordy Nelson (coming off back to back seasons of hip and knee surgeries). Yet, this 22-year-old’s “underwhelming” season in 2015 consisted of 74 receptions and over 1,200 yards. Evans’ main competition for targets is 33 year old Vincent Jackson, a thus far injury prone Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Charles Sims out of the backfield and a plethora of average WRs (although Kenny Bell has the potential to surprise). Reports suggest Evans and second year QB, Jameis Winston, spent a good portion of the offseason working together in an effort to help Evans “bounce back” from his putrid 74 and 1,200 season. If last year is the downside, why is Mike Evans going behind WRs with legitimate question marks that possess the same level of upside?
Liz Loza: Yahoo! Sports @LizLoza_FF
Le’Veon Bell, RB, PIT
Truthfully, this Top 20 isn’t that dissimilar to my own, so I don’t have much to quibble about. The only thing that really sticks it out is Le’Veon Bell falling behind the top three receivers. Yes, there are some question marks surrounding his durability, especially coming off a knee injury that prematurely ended his 2015 campaign. But it’s not like Odell Beckham has hammys of steel. Or like Antonio Brown’s QB can stay off the trainer’s table. Call me old fashioned, but I still like an RB of Bell’s caliber No. 1 overall in a standard scoring league. Since trimming down and improving his vision after 2013, Bell has (when healthy) churned out the second most Fantasy points per week in back-to-back seasons. That sort of elite production puts Bell in a category all his own.
Matt Schauf: DraftSharks.com @SchaufDS
Le’Veon Bell, RB, PIT
People question just about every back near the top of the draft – and for good reason. It’s not a comfort-inducing group this year. But I remain surprised at just how comfy Fantasy nation seems to be with drafting Bell early in Round 1. Sure, he might draw inspiration from the way Adrian Peterson stormed back from a double-ligament tear in 2012. So did the rest of us. That doesn’t make it repeatable – especially for a guy who suffered knee and foot injuries in his previous 2 seasons. The best argument in Bell’s favor is that you can handcuff DeAngelo Williams fairly easily, and that helps. But I think that fact means losing Bell to further injury isn’t the worst-case Fantasy scenario. If the Steelers are wise, they won’t work Bell as hard in 2016, spelling him with Williams more often – at least early in the season. Lower the workload, though, and you mitigate one of the biggest marks in Bell’s favor. Throw the durability risk on top of that, and I’m simply not comfy drafting him in Round 1. That could change if he looks like the same guy in August and appears headed for his usual workload. But I’ll take at least the next five RBs ahead of Bell right now, which means I won’t get the Steeler.
Michael Beller: SInow @MBeller
Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
It’s awfully hard to say that Jordy Nelson is undervalued at No. 17 overall. First of all, that’s a pretty high ranking. It’s safe to say that Nelson will be off the board by the end of the second round in all one-QB or non-superflex formats (stop playing one-QB or non-superflex formats). Realistically, he can’t climb much higher.
And yet, I find myself thinking he’s a little underrated by the rest of my ranking brethren. Yes, I’m well aware of the red flags. Nelson is 31 years old and coming off an ACL tear. Neither of those is exactly a checkmark on the right side of the pro/con ledger.
The good news, however, is that those might be the only marks on the wrong side, and the age concern is greatly overstated for a receiver. Just in recent memory we’ve seen Terrell Owens – who’s essentially the exact same size as Nelson – Randy Moss and Marvin Harrison have monster seasons at 31 or older. So long as Nelson’s knee is structurally sound, I’m not too worried about his age.
Nelson was already one of the most underappreciated receivers in the league before his injury. Again, I understand he suffered a terrible knee injury since the last time any of us saw him play, but we all do remember that he had 98 catches for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2014, right? He’s one of the game’s premier deep threats who happens to double as an elite weapon in the red zone. Julio Jones is unanimously viewed as an imposing physical presence at 6’3″ and 220 pounds. Nelson checks in at 6’3″, 217 pounds. Nelson is every bit the presence with speed to burn.
Then there’s the whole matter of the best quarterback in the league throwing him the ball. Aaron Rodgers makes Nelson even better than he’d already be with any other quarterback in the league. The two of them have made an art out of the back-shoulder throw, seemingly the league’s favorite route. In the last 24 games started and finished by Rodgers, Nelson has 147 receptions for 2,329 yards and 20 touchdowns. That translates to 6.12 catches, 97.04 yards and 0.83 touchdowns per game, which is good for 14.68 Fantasy points per game in standard-scoring leagues.
I will be shocked if Allen Robinson outscores Nelson this season. Nelson has the ceiling to break up the great triumvirate at the head of the position and finish in the Top 3, and I’d bet on him being a Top 5 receiver.
Nick Raducanu: ProjectRoto.com @ProjectRoto
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU
I want to look at this one a little differently and ask the question, “Who do you take if you have the sixth pick?” I think we can all agree Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley are the Top 5, but I could make an argument for a few guys at six (and this is where I think I’d say I either want a Top 5 pick or the last pick of the first round). While the Patriots fan in me wants to say Rob Gronkowski, I just think there’s so much tight end value outside the Top 50 that I wouldn’t use a first rounder on Gronk. There’s nothing wrong with picking Gronk, but I’d rather use my early pick on a spot where I’ll start more than one player. While you could make a valid argument for Adrian Peterson, Dez Bryant and David Johnson, I just think Hopkins is probably your safest bet here. He’s produced with quarterbacks who were worse than Brock Osweiler, will see a huge target share as he doesn’t have established competition for targets, and *knock on wood* has played a full slate of games in each of his three NFL seasons. I don’t think Hopkins is the slam-dunk answer at six, but I think he’s probably the right answer (if that makes any sense).
Sigmund Bloom: Fooballguys.com @SigmundBloom
Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
I’ve enjoyed being at the front of the Gronk parade the last few years, but this year is a tougher sell in the first round. Jordan Reed had the same points per game level as Gronk, but he is available multiple rounds later. Reliable options like Antonio Gates and Gary Barnidge are available outside of the Top 6-8 options in most drafts. Attractive sleepers like Dwayne Allen and Martellus Bennett (who could be a drag on Gronk’s touchdown targets) are available outside of the Top 10. With the pack catching up to Gronk, he might not be the slam-dunk first rounder he has been in the past.
Steve Gardner: USA Today Sports @SteveAGardner
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL
I understand all the excitement about a talented back running behind the Cowboys offensive line. But the way rookies adapt to the NFL is so unpredictable that I’m not spending a first-round pick on Elliott, especially with a very capable Darren McFadden sharing the workload.
Lamar Miller, RB, HOU
Miller was horribly underused in Miami, but he was very effective when he did touch the ball. He’s also improved as a receiver, increasing his reception total in each of the past three seasons. In Houston, he should get a generous share of the workload – and the Texans’ run-first approach should be a great fit with his talents… as long as J.J. Watt doesn’t steal too many of his goal-line touches.