Top 50 Final Fantasy Football 2013 Position Rankings, Plus Secret to Winning It All
Top 50 Final Fantasy Football 2013 Position Rankings, Plus Secret to Winning It All
The time has come. We're getting down to the wire here before the start of the 2013 NFL season which means all of those fantasy football drafts should be taking place real soon if they haven't occurred already. Here at Rant Sports, we have given you plenty of mock draft looks so far, but it's now time to release the final position rankings for this year's fantasy football season.
In this day in age, it is truly a quarterback-driven league. Typically, to win games, you have to have a quarterback worthy of being in the 'elite' conversation, if not well on their way. In fantasy football, some see it the same way. Others, not so much.
This year, it will be interesting to see how many people go after those top-tier quarterbacks right off the bat instead of taking a running back with that first-round pick. Even in the second round it may be a bit too early to draft yourself a quarterback, even if it is Tom Brady or Drew Brees.
Fantasy football is all about strategy and just a little bit of luck. With the correct draft plan, you can be set for the year even if injuries happen to take place on your squad. Draft the right way and you can avoid just about any obstacle that comes your way.
Some questions to consider when drafting this year: When is it okay to draft a defense? How early is too early to reach on a starting tight end? Does my kicker really matter all that much? Should I draft a backup quarterback early rather than late?
Many of those are valid questions, but at the end of our top-50 position rankings I will share with you the real secret of winning your league in 2013. It is a simple draft strategy, that when used in mock drafts all around the web, has given myself a projected winning team over 90 percent of the time.
Enjoy the rankings and keep it close come draft time. Keep that last hint of advice at the end even closer, and I would bet you come out on top in a few months. Without further adieu, your top-50 fantasy football position rankings.
50. Robert Griffin III, QB Washington Redskins
Coming in at number 50 is Washington Redskins sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin III. If it hadn't been for his injury, who knows where he would be in the majority of rankings this year. Nobody knows how he will heal up and what that will equate to on the field, but this ranking is based solely on that skepticism and the hope for his full recovery. If healthy, Griffin III is a top-10 fantasy quarterback without question.
49. Steve Smith, WR Carolina Panthers
At number 49, Steve Smith is a guy who constantly flies under the radar. Year after year he continues to play at a high level and he is by far his quarterback's favorite target -- as he should be. Cam Newton was smart to target Smith plenty early on as a rookie and will continue to do so until Smith calls it a career. With the speed and ability to get out of tackles, Smith will pile on the yardage and find the end zone a few times in 2013.
48. Montee Ball, RB Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos are quite predictable on offense except for one small area: running back. We know how the offense will do under Peyton Manning and all of his weapons at receiver. Rookie running back Montee Ball figures to get most of the load in the back field and even some action in the passing game. If he lives up to expectations, Ball could end up being a steal if he goes this low.
47. Colin Kaepernick, QB San Francisco 49ers
Talk about a fantasy quarterback with nothing but upside. Well, at least that's the majority opinion on Colin Kaepernick. After having only 10 starts in his career, Kaepernick comes into 2013 ready for his first full year as the man. The kid can truly do it all, though. He's incredibly accurate through the air and as mobile as they come. Kaepernick should easily finish in the top-10 of fantasy quarterbacks this season.
46. Mike Wallace, WR Miami Dolphins
At number 46, Mike Wallace may be a bit of a question mark. If his quarterback Ryan Tannehill can continue to develop as many believe he will, Wallace will be an asset on any fantasy squad. If Tannehill struggles, Wallace may not be worthy of such a high ranking. Nonetheless, he is a fantastic talent that should see tons of targets this season and for that reason he has to be in the top 50.
45. Darren Sproles, RB New Orleans Saints
Darren Sproles is a curious fantasy option. While he rarely does anything in the running game, Drew Brees consistently gets him the ball in the passing game and uses the smaller back as one of his primary targets game after game. Sproles will absolutely get you a solid number of points each week, mainly in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
44. Matt Ryan, QB Atlanta Falcons
At number 44, we have a quarterback who could end up leading the top offense in the entire league. Matt Ryan has weapons all over the place, and it's up to him to take advantage of that fact. He should find himself going quite a bit higher this year than in past years after how the Atlanta Falcons' offense looked in 2012, but as you will hear me say a few times, quarterbacks cannot be taken too high or you run the risk of missing out on more points in the long run.
43. Danny Amendola, WR New England Patriots
At number 43, this wide receiver will figure to be the clear number one target for Tom Brady in 2013. After losing so many weapons this offseason, Brady has looked to Danny Amendola early on in camp and the preseason as his go-to guy. If Amendola can stay healthy, Brady could send him to the Pro Bowl next February by a land slide.
42. Reggie Wayne, WR Indianapolis Colts
Did anyone else expect the Indianapolis Colts to do what they did last year? I don't think so. Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck continued to develop each and every week and much of his learning curve was aided by veteran wideout Reggie Wayne, who is still one of the best possession receivers in the game. As Luck gets better and better, Wayne's fantasy value will stay up.
41. Darren McFadden, RB Oakland Raiders
I refuse to place Darren McFadden any higher on this list based on potential. Every year it's the same thing. If he can stay healthy, he should be a top-10 fantasy running back without question. But, that hasn't been able to happen in recent memory. McFadden is at number 41 strictly based on the fact that he's worth taking in the third or fourth round, but I would never take him higher than that.
40. Victor Cruz, WR New York Giants
Coming off a summer in which his ego seemed a bit too big for liking, Victor Cruz still enters 2013 as a vertical threat. The big question is, can he continue to excel as merely a slot receiver? Or will defenses adapt? He's no Wes Welker, but Cruz has dominated over the past two seasons. If he can find a way to keep it up, he may end up being a steal in the third or fourth rounds.
39. Marques Colston, WR New Orleans Saints
At number 39, Marques Colston may just be the most consistent fantasy wideout over the past several years. Throughout his career, he has not finished a season with less than seven touchdowns except for one lone year in which he only played 11 games. Colston has one of the best quarterbacks in the game throwing to him and has been extremely solid over the years. For that reason, he could be a top-10 fantasy wideout this year.
38. Reggie Bush, RB Detroit Lions
I have Reggie Bush placed at number 38 because too many are sleeping on him. He may have been the absolute perfect signing for the Detroit Lions this offseason and could really take their offense to the next level. Bush will get tons of action in the passing game as well as plenty of carries. There's potential for Bush to be a top-10 back this year. He definitely possesses the skill to do so, but health and play calling will have the final say.
37. Eddie Lacy, RB Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy will sleep or bust, it's that simple. He has potential to be a great asset on the Green Bay Packers both in the run game and passing game. That's just it, though, it is merely potential. He's a work horse and runs hard, which the Packers love. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will utilize him well, as he does with all his young players and especially now because of the losses of Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. Watch for Lacy to make an immediate impact.
36. Wes Welker, WR Denver Broncos
Was there a more exciting signing during the offseason than Wes Welker going to the Broncos? I don't think so. The type of season that's ahead for Denver is easily the most anticipated season of the decade. Welker has consistently led the league in receptions over the last few seasons, and if you're in a PPR league in 2013, Welker should again finish as a top-10 wideout.
35. DeMarco Murray, RB Dallas Cowboys
This kid has the potential to be a top-10 back, but needs to prove it. Health has been an issue at times for DeMarco Murray. If he can consistently stay in the lineup, Murray will pile on the fantasy points week after week. He possesses all of the great aspects of a running back that coaches love, he just needs to remain in the lineup. At number 35, Murray may be too high in some eyes. I say that he may be too low -- it all depends on health.
34. David Wilson, RB New York Giants
Second year running back David Wilson is now the feature back with the New York Giants. He's fast, cuts hard and once he gets to the second level he can be gone in a heart beat. The one downfall early on was his inability to hang onto the ball. Does he have those issues corrected? We will find out. If he does, he will contribute heavily in both the run game and passing game this year and could wind up being somewhat of a sleeper.
33. Andre Johnson, WR Houston Texans
Critics say that this guy has lost a step. I, for one, have a hard time seeing where they're coming from. He may not be as fast as he once was, but Andre Johnson can still run routes better than anybody and will haul in just about any pass thrown his way. He has a knack for the football and Matt Schaub knows it. Until he decides to call it quits, Johnson will always be a top-10 fantasy wideout as far as I'm concerned. He's been consistent for far too long to think otherwise.
32. Cam Newton, QB Carolina Panthers
Potential, potential and more potential. Not many remember Cam Newton being a top-10 fantasy player for the remaining six games of last season because of how bad the Carolina Panthers' season was overall. But, he was fantastic. Newton just has to become more unpredictable in what he does. He has a tendency to stare down his targets and winds up paying the price. Newton remains a threat in both the passing and running game, though, and is by far one of the top quarterback options in 2013.
31. Larry Fitzgerald, WR Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald is once again fantasy football relevant in a big way, and boy are Arizona Cardinals fans happy about that. No more dealing with the likes of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. With a passer like Carson Palmer, Fitzgerald should see plenty more balls thrown his way and will have the opportunity to launch himself back into the top-5 of fantasy wideouts this year where he belongs. Palmer isn't necessarily a top-tier quarterback, but he will get the ball to Fitzgerald nonetheless.
30. Jimmy Graham, TE New Orleans Saints
It's sometimes tough to take a tight end with a second or third round pick, but Jimmy Graham has proven he is worthy of that status. Would I necessarily make such a move? Absolutely not, but you'll find out more about that certain secret later on. Graham continues to be the number one tight end in fantasy rankings this year and rightfully so. He is essentially a wide receiver in a tight end's body and a matchup nightmare. When healthy, he's as consistent as they come. Thus, he is at number 30 and the top tight end on the board.
29. Roddy White, WR Atlanta Falcons
This is probably the lowest Roddy White has been ranked the last couple of years, but it is for good reason. With the addition of Steven Jackson, the Falcons should be able to run the ball more consistently. Not only that, but Julio Jones is emerging as the true number one guy in the passing game as White passes the torch to the younger, more athletic and exciting receiver. White is still going to produce big-time numbers, though, which is why he comes in at number 29.
28. Demaryius Thomas, WR Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning has made Demaryius Thomas one of the most coveted fantasy football wideouts in a matter of a year. Thomas has the big body and athleticism to be one of the best in the game, and Manning just might get him there. He is definitely the favorite target in Denver, therefore Thomas comes in at number 28 and should again be a top-10 wide receiver in 2013.
27. Randall Cobb, WR Green Bay Packers
This guy may be one of the biggest sleepers in all of fantasy football in 2013. With injuries constantly impacting a guy like Jordy Nelson and Jennings and Driver gone, Randall Cobb is poised for a breakout season. Cobb not only could lead the Packers in touchdowns this season, but if Aaron Rodgers wants to make it happen, he could lead the entire NFL. Cobb is that good. He's one of the fastest and most agile receivers in the game and Rodgers can be the one to get him into that elite fantasy category.
26. Vincent Jackson, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In a contract year, quarterback Josh Freeman will be looking for Vincent Jackson even more than he did in 2012. Fantasy owners will be glad to see that. Jackson was a top-10 wide receiver last year in fantasy and I don't see any reason why he couldn't do it again this season. After his first year with Freeman, he has developed a solid chemistry with his quarterback and this year should be even better.
25. Tom Brady, QB New England Patriots
Despite the lack of weapons, Tom Brady remains a top fantasy football quarterback. After all, he's always been the one to make his receivers; not the other way around. I cannot stress enough, again, that a quarterback should not be taken too high even if it is a guy like Brady. In total points, Brady is projected right up there with the best of them. But, is it worth sacrificing a starting running back to grab him?
24. Peyton Manning, QB Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning could end up leading an absolute historical offense this season. With the most talent surrounding him than he's had in recent memory, Manning has to be in quarterback heaven. He's one of the best of all time, it's tough to argue with that. For that reason and all of the options he has this year, Manning will be a force to be reckoned with in the fantasy world this year.
23. Julio Jones, WR Atlanta Falcons
Like I said before, Julio Jones is establishing himself as Ryan's go-to guy in the passing game and very well could be the league's best wideout in a couple of years. He has it all. He's big, athletic, quick and can jump up and get just about any ball thrown to him. He's virtually unstoppable, and that's why he comes in at number 23.
22. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB Jacksonville Jaguars
Write this down: Maurice Jones-Drew will be a top-10 fantasy running back this year, maybe even a top-5 back. In a contract year, Jones-Drew has every motivation to tear up the league this season. He probably wants out of Jacksonville and would love to go to a team contending for a Super Bowl. Watch for this guy to explode in 2013. He's still flying under the radar, and I don't understand it.
21. Steven Jackson, RB Atlanta Falcons
While many rankings have Steven Jackson in the top-15, I don't see that being true. He'll get the majority of carries in Atlanta, but Jacquizz Rodgers should find some action in there as well. Jackson has been the most consistent running back over the last decade in all of the NFL, but there are far too many weapons on the Falcons to merit Jackson being placed in the top-15.
20. Dez Bryant, WR Dallas Cowboys
Dez Bryant is one of my top-5 breakout players this season. Most believe he has put his character issues behind him and is ready to flat out play football. After an offseason in which Tony Romo found himself a brand new fat contract, he will be out to prove he's deserving of that money in 2013. Bryant should get tons of passes thrown his way and should end up with double-digit touchdowns when it's all said and done. Bryant is another one of those guys who can't be locked down if he's at his best. Let's hope, for the Dallas Cowboys' sake, that he's at his best every week this year.
19. Brandon Marshall, WR Chicago Bears
Brandon Marshall accounted for over 41 percent of the Chicago Bears catches last season. That's not a good thing if you're a Bears fan. If you had him in fantasy football last year, I'm sure you were thrilled. While he should finish with less production in 2013, I don't see it being by much. Jay Cutler will be spreading the ball around a bit more due to Marc Trestman's new offense, but don't be fooled; Marshall is the guy Cutler will look to in every crucial situation and will find the end zone a good 10-plus times yet again.
18. Frank Gore, RB San Francisco 49ers
On a San Francisco 49ers team that is thin at wide receiver and has little to no options in the passing game other than Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis, running back Frank Gore will figure to get a heavy dose of carries in 2013. Gore should also provide Kaepernick with another option in the passing game out of the backfield or lined up in the slot. There's not many more consistent running backs in the league than Gore, and for that reason he comes in at number 18.
17. Drew Brees, QB New Orleans Saints
Be careful looking at quarterbacks this year. Have I said that enough, yet? Good. Well, either way, Drew Brees is a top-20 fantasy option and should finish in the top-10 in overall points in 2013. In a game where running backs are at a premium though, Brees comes in at number 17. Brees is looking to prove that last year was a fluke for his team, and I think he will do just that in the coming weeks.
16. A.J. Green, WR Cincinnati Bengals
Aside from Jones, A.J. Green is another one of those guys that could be the league's best wideout in the next couple of years. He possesses, like Jones, everything you want in a true number one. Not only that, but quarterback Andy Dalton is obviously comfortable going to him even in double coverage. Green will come down with the ball nine times out of ten, it seems. With his knack to get in the end zone, Green comes in at number 16.
15. Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay Packers
Some of you are ready to ridicule my rankings to no end. How on earth can I list Aaron Rodgers at only number 15? Well, I can say it again if you'd like: Running backs are at a premium. Although Rodgers could finish number one in overall points, is he worth taking in the first round over a top-tier running back? You make the call.
14. Chris Johnson, RB Tennessee Titans
Like Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson is in a contract year and flying way under the radar in most mock drafts. He feels as though he is back, even calling out reigning MVP Adrian Peterson saying that "I did it first" when referring to Peterson's 2,000 yard season. Johnson has no shortage of confidence, nor speed. The kid has shown yet again even throughout the preseason that when he gets past the offensive line, he can break a big run in a hurry. Look for Johnson to bust his way into the top-10 in overall points this season if things go according to plan.
13. Stevan Ridley, RB New England Patriots
Most people don't mention Stevan Ridley when talking about top fantasy running backs. When you think of the Patriots, you think of Brady. The truth is, Ridley was one of the very best and most consistent fantasy backs in football last year. With the weapons dwindling in New England, Ridley should get a lot of touches if he stays healthy.
12. Matt Forte, RB Chicago Bears
Although Matt Forte has been ranked generally in the late teens, he comes in at number 12 because of how the Bears have used him throughout the preseason so far. If Forte can play a full season under Trestman, he could wind up being tops in the league as far as yards from scrimmage is concerned. Trestman has said he is going to get the ball to Forte in every single way possible, as much as possible. From how he's looked in the preseason, Forte has certainly trimmed down a bit and appears much quicker and ready for that type of role. The yardage and -- yes, I'll go here -- even touchdowns could pile up for Forte in 2013.
11. Calvin Johnson, WR Detroit Lions
The only thing keeping Calvin Johnson out of the top-10 fantasy players for 2013 is the fact that he plays wide receiver. He may be worth the risk, being drafted in the first round. But I would only do that if I had the very last pick in the first so that I could bundle him with a running back I really liked as well. Johnson should be very motivated after only coming up with five touchdowns in 2012. Just missing out on 2,000 yards, Johnson had one of the single greatest football seasons by any player last year. This season, he'll look to do more of the same except get himself into that end zone a few more times.
10. Alfred Morris, RB Washington Redskins
As one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 season, Alfred Morris starts out our top 10. He was by far and away one of the most consistent backs in the game last year, rarely ending up with even a mediocre point total. With the health of his quarterback(s) in question, Morris should get a ton of carries and even a few receptions every single week. He will be the guy to carry the load and will pile up those points yet again from the get-go.
9. LeSean McCoy, RB Philadelphia Eagles
With new head coach Chip Kelly in town, LeSean McCoy is one of the most intriguing prospects in the top-10 this year. McCoy should see plenty of touches whether it's on the ground or through the passing game. As it is with many other guys on the list, health will be one of the biggest factors in McCoy's success. If he can remain healthy, McCoy could easily top 2,000 yards from scrimmage if not bust into the 2,500 yard mark. Kelly loves his fast-paced offense and McCoy is one of the fastest guys in the league. I'd say that's a pretty good combination.
8. Trent Richardson, RB Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are one of those teams that could surprise some folks this year. They have three particular sophomores coming into 2013 with plenty of talent, and none are more important to the squad than running back Trent Richardson. Having everything you like about a feature back, Richardson is going to be the focal point of this offense and will get a solid 20 carries a game. He may even get some looks out of the back field. The important thing with Richardson is that he gets his touches. If he can get into a rhythm, it's tough to stop him.
7. C.J. Spiller, RB Buffalo Bills
This guy has the potential to be the top fantasy football back in 2013. Head coach Doug Marrone was quoted this offseason telling the media their goal is to give the ball to C.J. Spiller "until he throws up." If that's the case, Spiller is in for a big year. Fantasy owners should be excited about his season outlook, and as long as he can stay healthy, the Bills' running back is in for quite the year.
6. Jamaal Charles, RB Kansas City Chiefs
Last season, Jamaal Charles was one of the most frustrating players in fantasy football. There were six games in which he ran for 53 yards or less, giving owners headaches when deciding whether or not to start him. The couple of games where he exploded for over 150 and even 200 yards, owners were thrilled to have him on the roster. I have a feeling with Andy Reid calling the shots now, Charles will get his carries each and every week -- as he should. Watch for Charles to have a more consistent year than 2012.
5. Doug Martin, RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The "Muscle Hampster" is in full effect. Who would have thought before the start of last season that Doug Martin would be a top-5 fantasy player going into this year? I know I did not. Those that had him last year probably picked him up in a later round and if you did so in a keeper league, you're sitting pretty at the moment. Martin will be utilized even more heavily in 2013 now that they know what he can do.
4. Marshawn Lynch, RB Seattle Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch has completely turned his career around. Nobody thought this guy would be sitting at number four on this list a few years back. He has shown that he can be a true every-down back in this league and is notorious for shedding tackles like it's a hobby. Well, actually, it could be considered a hobby. Lynch will get a heavy work load especially with Percy Harvin out for a while and quarterback Russell Wilson still developing his game as a pro. Don't hesitate to take Lynch if he's sitting there at the fourth overall pick.
3. Ray Rice, RB Baltimore Ravens
2013 could be the best season yet for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. With Joe Flacco's options limited in the passing game -- and that's putting it nicely -- Rice should be the main focus when it comes to moving the ball. He's looked strong throughout camp and preseason, as if that's a surprise. Rice should get plenty of carries and looks in the passing game, especially because of his ability to take a small screen pass to the house. Statistically, 2013 should be Rice's biggest season yet.
2. Arian Foster, RB Houston Texans
For those ranting about how Arian Foster is overrated this year, I ask this question: Why? Three straight excellent seasons with over 1,200 yards in each of them and no less than 10 touchdowns -- actually, 16, 10 and 15 respectively -- make Foster a no-brainer as the number two overall fantasy player for 2013. When so many of the better backs in the league have struggled with injuries, Foster has been consistently good and healthy for three years in a row. He keeps his body in the best shape possible all-year round and is the featured offensive weapon for the Houston Texans. Again, I ask, why on earth would you pass on him at number two?
1. Adrian Peterson, RB Minnesota Vikings
Is there any surprise with the top spot belonging to the MVP of last year's season, Adrian Peterson? Absolutely not. Coming back from a torn ACL with a vengeance, Peterson raced his way into the history books as he finished with over 2,000 yards and looked better than ever post-injury. As the motor that runs his Minnesota Vikings' offense, Peterson should again get tons of carries throughout the 2013 season. Minnesota knows that they are nothing without him, offensively and as a whole. Peterson is more motivated than ever as he talked this offseason about wanting to break Emmitt Smith's all-time record within the next few seasons. While it's a lofty goal, I wouldn't put it past the best running back of this generation.
Bonus: Secret to Winning it all in 2013
At last, you've made it to the end. For that, it is time for you to be let in on the no. 1 secret to winning your fantasy football league this year. Ready for it?
Here's the draft strategy that has proven to land a projected winning team in over 90 percent of my mock drafts this season: With your first three picks, regardless of draft position, grab three starting running backs -- period.
Avoid temptations like Manning, Rodgers and Brady. Don't fall for the potential of receivers like Jones, Green and Bryant. Stay away from them at all cost in the first three rounds.
While your opponents are scrambling to find their second and third running backs in rounds four, five, six and seven, you will be able to pick up other top-10 receivers and quarterbacks without having to panic. You'll have your two starting running backs and a flex position -- another starting running back -- filled with three guys you're absolutely confident in.
In most mocks, quarterbacks like Wilson, Kaepernick and Griffin III aren't going until the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. How could you not love a team with three solid running backs and one of those quarterbacks? Go ahead and see for yourself.
Here's an example of a mock I performed with this strategy, and keep in mind, I had the 11th pick in a 12-team league:
Quarterback: Colin Kaepernick
Running back: Alfred Morris
Running back: Matt Forte
Wide receiver: Marques Colston
Wide receiver: Reggie Wayne
Flex: Montee Ball or Stevan Ridley
Tight End: Vernon Davis
Defense: Chicago Bears or Houston Texans
Kicker: Pick one
I performed countless mocks with this strategy and wound up with this team the majority of the time.
Find your mock site of choice and perform a few drafts with this strategy in mind. Make sure the engine you're using ranks the projected outcomes after the mock is over. Your team should be projected to win the league nine times out of ten if you play your cards right and go the first three rounds selecting running backs.
It's tough to beat somebody who has three coveted backs on there team week in and week out, let alone a quarterback with such a high ceiling like one of the previously mentioned. Give this a shot. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
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