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Fantasy Forecast: Preseason Rankings

Welcome Bengals faithful to another exciting NFL season, and more importantly, the start of the fantasy football season. I'm back this season to handle all those pesky questions about who you should draft, who you should trade and who you should start from week-to-week.

In this inaugural article we will be taking a look at fantasy draft rankings to help you through the troubled waters of drafting with your mind and not your heart. Lucky for you I leave emotion at the door and give you the unbiased rankings so you can draft a league title team and not a collection of your favorite players on the Internet. Without further delay, let's get to the rankings.


1. Drew Brees – 5,000 more yards is too much to hope for, but he is still #1.

2. Tom Brady – Coming off a major injury, but he wasn't flashy before.

3. Peyton Manning – Not what he once was, but he is still very good.

4. Aaron Rodgers – Questions of a fluke are there, but more freedom equals me believing.

5. Tony Romo – Roy Williams + Jason Witten + Patrick Crayton = top five ranking.

6. Donovan McNabb – He has his best weapons ever, but durability is always a question. Vick is no threat.

7. Philip Rivers – Vincent Jackson should avoid a suspension, but San Diego is a run-first offense. Rivers just doesn't get enough passing attempts to justify a higher ranking.

8. Matt Schaub – I could see Schaub ending as a top 3-5 QB, but injury concerns bump him down.

9. Kurt Warner – Look, the guy is 38 and coming off another surgery. His WRs will make him overvalued, but he is still top 10 worthy.

10. Jay Cutler – Cutler is still one of the league's best QBs, but his value plummeted when he was traded to Matt Forte's team.

11. Matt Ryan – An amazing rookie season will overvalue him, don't jump too high to get him. Second year jumps can be big, so don't sleep too long either.

12. Carson Palmer – He was injured last year and that will turn a lot of owners off. But, Ochocinco has something to prove and Coles will help.

13. Matt Cassel – The Chiefs are a pass-first team, which puts Cassel on the low-end QB1 bubble. Larry Johnson isn't what he used to be and Dwayne Bowe is still Dwayne Bowe.

14. David Garrard – Torry Holt will help, but his attempts will drop his overall stats. Garrard is a fine QB2.

15. Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben has been on a rollercoaster his whole career, and 2008 was actually an improvement over 2007. I expect another painful fantasy season. 

16. Kyle Orton – Three interceptions in his first start shows why Chicago traded him. I am SO anti-Orton it is scary.

17. Eli Manning – Can you name a Giants receiver? Don't worry, I'll wait. A run-first offense makes Manning a mid-range QB2.

18. Trent Edwards – T.O. isn't what he thinks he is, but he will help Edwards' value greatly. Lower end QB2 at best.

19. Joe Flacco – Flacco showed promise, but his receiving corps is dismal at best.

20. Jason Campbell – Contract years have a way of inspiring players, but Washington seems to want to pull Campbell out in favor of… well… anyone.

21. Matt Hasselbeck – If there was ever an injury risk, Hasselbeck is the one. Houshmandzadeh isn't a WR1, and Seattle will soon find this out.

22. Sage Rosenfels/Tarvaris Jackson – Neither QB is very good to begin with, add to that how good Adrian Peterson is and you have bottom feeding QB2s.

23. Jake Delhomme – 34 years old and no good WR outside of Steve Smith, Delhomme is a weak QB2 option.

24. Shaun Hill – I won't be shocked if Hill ends up as a fantasy surprise. The major problem is San Francisco's conservative offensive scheme.

Running Back

1. Adrian Peterson – A.P. is the unquestionable No. 1 overall pick.

2. Maurice Jones-Drew – I am betting on MJD to be the fantasy MVP this season. He is in line for a huge fantasy jump.

3. Matt Forte – Cutler doesn't change his value, Forte is still a fantasy beast.

4. Chris Johnson – Does anyone else think Johnson could be the next Marshall Faulk/Priest Holmes? I could see 1,300+ rushing yards and 350+ receiving yards this season.

5. Michael Turner – He was overworked last season, making him an injury risk this season. Many people will take him No. 4, but those in PPR leagues will notice his six total receptions last season.

6. Steve Slaton – His size (5-9) makes him a concern, but nearly 1,300 yards as a rookie makes him well worth the risk. 

7. Steven Jackson – Almost every ranking sheet I've seen has S-Jax ranked top 5 for RBs, but why? He barely broke 1,000 yards the last two seasons, now all the sudden he is going to jump to top 5?

8. Marion Barber – Marion "The Barbarian" has yet to break 1,000 yards, and that concerns me. But, he could be exciting in The Big-D.

9. Brandon Jacobs – I am not a fan of Eli Manning or the Giants receiving corps, so Jacobs becomes the safest bet to score for me. But, he can't catch and is an injury concern.

10. LaDainian Tomlinson – I sure hope LT2 proves me wrong, but at 30-years-old revitalization isn't likely. The Chargers run a lot, so that will hold his value as long as he doesn't get injured again.

11. Frank Gore – I wish I could have bumped Jackson lower, but the Niners O-Line makes Gore likely to be another fantasy bust.

12. Brian Westbrook – The Eagles are looking to win a Super Bowl and they know a January healthy Westbrook is more effective than an injured one. His touches could drop.

13. Clinton Portis – Portis is a guy that sneaks under the radar every season, but he is a workhorse. I like him as a top tier RB2.

14. Kevin Smith – A rookie QB means Detroit's offense could actually suffer. That being said, when times get rough they will turn to Smith and the running game.

15. DeAngelo Williams – Jonathan Stewart makes Williams a strong decline candidate. RB2 is his best bet.

16. Pierre Thomas – I know this will throw many people off, so let me explain. This is a typical scoring system ranking, meaning Bush isn't worth as much as Thomas. Thomas will be the real RB in New Orleans and he could be a fantasy sleeper this season. Bush in a PPR league is worth more than a typical league, but he is a BIG injury risk.

17. Ronnie Brown – As an RB2, Brown offers good value. He should be able to reach 8-10 TDs, and that makes him worth playing.

18. Marshawn Lynch – Lynch is suspended for the first three games and if Fred Jackson fills in too well, Lynch's value may drop even further. I'm not a fan of his this season.

19. Derrick Ward – You can most likely get Ward so cheap that his value makes him too good to pass on. Remember, he is the starter in Tampa Bay now.

20. Jonathan Stewart – Stewart will push Williams for carries, and could take over at some point. He is more of a RBBC player, but he could become more, sooner rather than later.

21. Darren McFadden – The Raiders offense was clearly better with McFadden on the field last season, but his health is a concern. A true boom or bust player.

22. Knowshon Moreno – Denver is going to realize what they have at QB early on, making Moreno a sneaky RB2/flex option.

23. Ryan Grant – Grant was a fantasy bust much of last season, and let's not forget the five total TD's last season. He won't see an increased workload with Rodgers at the helm.

24. Chris Wells – Hightower may be the starter, but Wells will hold the full-season value. I like Moreno as the rookie MVP, but Wells has the skills to give him a run for the money.

Wide Receiver

1. Larry Fitzgerald – WRs are typically second round picks at best, but someone will take Fitzgerald in round one. Look at their points; they are late 2nd/3rd round picks really.

2. Andre Johnson - Johnson topped 130 yards in four straight games last year, so if Schaub holds up he should be well worth this ranking.

3. Randy Moss – With Brady behind the helm again Moss will be a top tier WR. However, we aren't sure if Tom Brady will be the same so buyers beware.

4. Calvin Johnson - Johnson still has QB issues to deal with, but the Lions should feed him enough attempts to make him a top 5 fantasy WR.

5. Roddy White – The Falcons finally have a passing QB in Ryan and a running beast in Turner, making White a great WR option.

6. Steve Smith – The lone bright spot in Carolina's passing game is Smith. His main drawback is his size, which allowed him to score inside the 10-yard line just once last season.

7. Reggie Wayne – If the Colts had any sort of O-line, Wayne would jump above Smith instantly. But, they don't, so he didn't. He will still be elite, but Manning will be hurried more making his passes erratic at times.

8. Greg Jennings – Most people are doubters when it comes to Rodgers and Jennings, but Jennings has beaten many projections year after year, so why all the doubt?

9. Marques Colston – Colston is entering his prime years, and had he not been injured last season I would have ranked him a few spots higher.

10. Dwayne Bowe – His value is largely based on how Coach Todd Haley and Bowe mend their relationship. He is still top 10 quality, so don't let him fall too far.

11. Anquan Boldin – Boldin is where we start the borderline WR1/2 players. He is an injury risk, but if you pace out his numbers to 16 games last season he would have finished with 111 catches, 1,300+ yards and 13 TD's.

12. Brandon Marshall – Marshall has the skills to be top 5 talent, but his off the field issues and Kyle Orton throwing the ball drop him out of the top 10.

13. Braylon Edwards – People overvalue Edwards every year, but he is a top tier WR2 with Brady Quinn under center.

14. Chad Ochocinco – I am looking for a rebound season from Ochocinco now that Palmer is healthy. Don't sleep on him.

15. Lee Evans – T.O. will take heat off of Evans, making him a solid WR2.

16. Terrell Owens – T.O. has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove to Jerry Jones, but at 36 years old he isn't going to get any better.

17. Wes Welker – Brady spreads the ball around enough to make Welker worthy of a WR2 pick.

18. Anthony Gonzalez – I like Gonzalez to make Colts fans forget about the loss of Marvin Harrison this season. But, if the O-Line does struggle, all will suffer.

19. Eddie Royal – Royal showed he can be a great fantasy weapon, but if Orton is going to hurt Marshall, Royal certainly isn't going to fare any better.

20. Vincent Jackson – Jackson is San Diego's No. 1 WR, but the Chargers are run heavy and that makes Jackson a lower end WR2.

21. Santonio Holmes – Big Ben's rollercoaster makes Holmes a weak WR2 option. Make sure your WR1 and WR3 are solid week-to-week.

22. Antonio Bryant – Bryant has WR1 talent, but none of the Buccs QBs do. That small fact makes him a WR2/3 fantasy option.

23. Roy Williams – If Williams and Romo can get their timing down, Williams can actually be worthy of a top 15 ranking. But, they had issues last season and that leads to questions this season.

24. DeSean Jackson - I like Jackson as a WR2, but McNabb is always hurt and Michael Vick never made any WR look great.

25. Bernard Berrian – Berrian's problem is his QB is Tarvaris Jackson as of right now. If Brett Favre does come back you can bump Berrian up to 19 or so.

26. Kevin Walter – Schaub is a fine QB option to outperform his projections, and that makes Walter a great sleeper.

27. Jerricho Cotchery – Cotchery has real talent and on a different team he could be a solid WR2. But, the Jets are not that team and as of right now he is a mid-range WR3.

28. Santana Moss – Moss is erratic at best, and erratic players make for week-to-week fill-ins on fantasy rosters.

29. T.J. Houshmandzadeh – The Seahawks paid Housh the money that no other team was willing to pay him. There is a reason the Bengals let him go and everyone else passed on him. He will disappoint because someone will take him as a WR1/2 and remember Hasselbeck when he was good.

30. Hines Ward – The Steelers aren't Ward's team anymore, and his ranking is more in the WR3/Flex option area now.

Tight End

1. Jason Witten – Romo and Witten have a great bond, which makes him Romo's first option and the No. 1 fantasy TE.

2. Antonio Gates – Gates is a fantastic fantasy TE and could be worthy of No. 1 consideration if Tomlinson is healthy all season.

3. Dallas Clark – Clark isn't the sexiest fantasy TE, but he is a big redzone target that Manning loves to look at.

4. Greg Olsen – Cutler should bring out the catching skills that Olsen has and make him a solid top 5 fantasy TE.

5. Tony Gonzalez – Gonzalez is 33 years old now, but the change of venues should give him a renewed desire and keep him in the top 5 for another season or two.

6. Chris Cooley – With just one score all last season, Cooley can only improve in that aspect. I just wouldn't expect his catches to increase much for those in a PPR league.

7. Owen Daniels – The slide downhill on fantasy TEs is swift and there aren't enough good ones for a 12-team league to each have one. Daniels is worth more in PPR leagues than in normal leagues, but he is still a top 10 TE.

8. Kellen Winslow – Winslow is a high risk/high reward candidate because he has never really shown his true value. He could be a low end TE or a top 3-5 fantasy TE, we just don't know.

9. Dustin Keller – Keller has enough speed to make him a valuable fantasy option, but his height (6-2) makes him one of the smallest TEs worth owning.

10. Zach Miller – Miller is one of the only bright spots in Oakland's passing game, so his value is top 10, but just barely.

11. Jeremy Shockey – Shockey is far from what he once was, but Brees has enough yards to make Shockey worth targeting as a low-end TE1.

12. John Carlson – If Carlson had a younger QB who wasn't such an injury risk, he would easily be in the top 6-7.

13. Vernon Davis – I like Davis to surprise people this season as a TE sleeper, if he can keeps his hands to himself during practice. It is coming to a "now or never" point with Davis.

14. Brent Celek – Celek should benefit from coach Andy Reed's strategy of throwing to TE's in the redzone. He is not worth starting yet, but keep an eye on him.

15. Heath Miller – You just can't trust anyone that Big Ben is throwing to, and Miller is no different. After Miller, the TE situation gets pretty ugly.

Defense/Special Teams

1. New York Giants – With the absolute best D-Line in the league, the Giants are likely to finish with the most sacks, which will also lead to nice INT totals.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers had 51 sacks, 20 INTs, 9 recovered fumbles while allowing just 237.2 total yards last season. That makes them easily worthy of a top 2 ranking.

3. Minnesota Vikings – The Cover 2 defense makes the Vikings defense a top 3 fantasy option. Just make sure you look at last season's point totals before deciding where to take a defense. They are almost always taken too early.

4. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens and Ray Lewis are far from the glory days, but they are still in the top 5.

5. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles blitz more than most, which leads to sacks and plenty of fumbles. Consider them a top 5 defense.

6. San Diego Chargers – Merriman is back and healthy and the Bolts added some nice rookies that should help them regain top 6-7 status.

7. New York Jets – Rex Ryan will give the Jets defense a boost in energy and confidence. They are going to slip, which makes them a sleeper pick of sorts.

8. Chicago Bears – Brian Urlacher is still Brian Urlacher, but he is on the decline. Chicago has talent around him, but don't mistake the Bears for what they used to be.

9. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys are still a top 10 defense, but just barely. They are deep, so injuries are not as big a concern.

10. Tennessee Titans – I'm not as sold on the Titans as some are, but defense is like tight end, the slide down is fast if you don't get in on the run.

11. New England Patriots – The Patriots have a solid defense, but this is where it starts getting ugly.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – If you get the Bucs as your starting defense, you waited too long. But, since they are No. 12, you could obviously do worse.

13. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins have probably the toughest schedule in the NFL, making their defense one to avoid if you can.

14. Indianapolis Colts – Tony Dungy meant more to this team than people think. If you waited this long, well, see Tampa Bay.

15 Kansas City Chiefs – Kansas City has some interesting players on defense, but the Chiefs are nothing more than a bye week filler.

Feel free to email me with any draft or trade questions and you could have your question featured in the following week's article if it is chosen. All questions will be answered the same day in most cases, but only one be immortalized in fantasy greatness with their question on for all to see!

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