God I love this time of year. For so many reasons, but mainly because it is when I spend an absurd amount of time researching for the upcoming fantasy football season. And that research starts right now. I know it’s early, but I’m already calling my shot with these top-12 overall fantasy football rankings.
These fantasy football rankings apply to both PPR and non-PPR leagues. Why? Because I don’t believe your scoring system should drastically change how you draft. Why top-12? Because 12 teams is pretty standard for leagues these days, so this can be thought of as a first round player ranking. Anyways, let’s jump in.
The Cut And Dry Top 5
1.) Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
2.) Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
3.) Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
4.) Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
5.) Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
This is the same top-5 from last year (minus Zeke) but in a slightly different order. McCaffrey is the clear #1 even after an injury plagued 2020. In 2019, he scored 471.2 PPR fantasy points (29.5 avg.) behind over 2,300 scrimmage yards and 19 touchdowns.
Derrick Henry rushed for over 2,000 yards last season and 17 touchdowns on 23.6 carries/game. Yes, he doesn’t catch the ball, but he should improve his receiving and carries the ball more than anyone by a wide margin.
Saquon missed almost all of 2020 but ranked 1st in PPR scoring in 2018 and 10th in 2019 (played 13 games). He has the best situation of his career in New York and should have a huge rebound year.
Dalvin Cook has struggled with injuries his whole career but he played 14 games in 2020 and scored the 2nd most PPR fantasy points. If it weren’t for the health concerns, he would be #2.
Kamara saved his fantasy season with a six touchdown Christmas day performance in 2020, making him the highest scoring PPR back. Drew Brees retiring creates some uncertainty, but his talent and consistency make him worth drafting at #5.
The Murky Next 3 Picks
6.) Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
7.) Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
8.) Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
Yeah that’s right, there are no wide receivers in the top eight of my fantasy football rankings. Why? A couple of reasons. First, I am a firm believer in the “running backs are the most important position in fantasy” philosophy as you will soon come to see. If the Aaron Rodgers situation didn’t exist, Davante Adams would be my #7. But, it does, and it’s looking like Adams will be catching balls from someone not named Rodgers this season.
Yes, I know Zeke was terrible last season. But when Dak was healthy (weeks 1-5) he averaged 22.3 PPR fantasy points and was the 3rd highest scoring RB. In the three seasons him and Dak have played together in full, Zeke has finished as RB2, RB5, and RB3. 2020 Zeke was a fluke, as 2021 Zeke will soon show us.
From weeks 11-17 last season, Jonathan Taylor averaged 24.3 PPR fantasy points and was RB3 in scoring. In those 6 games, he touched the ball 21.5 times per game on average. He’s a young stud at RB who will likely have a breakout season this year. Yeah Marlon Mack is there, but I just don’t give a damn, and neither should the Colts. Taylor should be the workhorse, and if he’s not, fire Frank Reich.
I’m a huge Nick Chubb fan. Yes, I know he doesn’t catch the ball and Kareem Hunt is there. But the Browns LOVE to run the ball, even more than they loved to lose in 2017. He only played 12 games in 2020 and was still RB11 in fantasy scoring. He was RB7 in terms of average points. He’s a touchdown and yards per carry machine in a run-heavy offense. I’ll have that kind of player for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The End of Round One
9.) Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
10.) Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
11.) Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams
12.) Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
We’ve got receivers! There is a particular TE from Kansas City that is noticeably absent from this list, but my TE philosophy is for another article. As much as I hated Tyreek Hill last year, I can’t deny he is a superstar in fantasy. In 2018 and 2020, he had 12 and 15 touchdowns respectively. He was WR3 and WR2 in those seasons. With Mahomes as your QB, you’re going to have success as a receiver.
Adams was lights out last year. He scored 30 more points than Hill despite playing in only 14 games. Adams scored 18 touchdowns. He caught 115 passes. Since 2016, he has double digit touchdowns in 4/5 seasons. With Rodgers in Green Bay, he is the clear WR1 in fantasy. Because of the uncertainty he falls a bit, but will be extremely valuable no matter where and with who he plays.
Akers is my first rock the boat ranking, as I have him higher than most. He played well at the end of the season and in the playoffs when he was given the workhorse role. McVay does not like the committee RB system, and loves to give his #1 guy a ton of touches (hello 2017/2018 Todd Gurley). If he has that Gurley role and Stafford plays well, he could reasonably be a top-3 RB. He is a classic high ceiling/low floor player, but the ceiling seems more likely.
I gotta stop hating on Aaron Jones. He was RB5 in 2020 and RB2 in 2019. He’s a great pass-catching RB who scores a lot of touchdowns and makes the most of his touches. With Jamaal Williams gone, he should have a larger role than usual (especially if Rodgers is gone). A.J. Dillon may vulture some touches, but Jones has earned the workhorse role.
Note: Fantasy points stats from fantasypros.com