INDIANAPOLIS --- These rankings will change as soon as the NFL Draft is complete. There are two running backs (Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon) and three wide receivers (Amari Cooper, Kevin White, and DeVante Parker) that could break into these rankings depending on if they land on the right team.
If Dallas or San Diego takes a running back, for example, that back will instantly have high-RB2 or even low-RB1 potential, given the potential to get a big workload immediately. If Chicago, Minnesota, or New Orleans drafts a wide receiver to replace the departed Brandon Marshall with the 7th pick, fantasy football fanatics will see opportunity there more than a rookie wideout landing in Jacksonville, Oakland, or Cleveland.
Conversely, these rankings could change with current players listed below dropping down the list or off it altogether depending on what happens in the draft, and not necessarily with a rookie taking his place. New running back by committees could or diluted targets for established receivers could emerge.
But here they are, broken up into tiers (italics denotes a new team). My Pre-NFL Draft 2015 Fantasy Football Rankings:
Notes: My stance hasn't changed on Luck being the top QB over Rodgers in fantasy after finishing just six points behind Rodgers in just his third NFL season, despite 16 interceptions and 8 fumbles. There's room for more than 40 touchdowns too with this offense. Russell Wilson already finished ahead of Manning last year in fantasy, and now has TE Jimmy Graham. The big drop from last year comes in the form of Drew Brees at 9th. Many will still rank him as a top-5 fantasy quarterback, despite losing Graham and WR Kenny Stills. I almost didn't even have him in the top-10 but settled at 9th.
Notes: Le'Veon Bell was my #1 before his suspension, but now, it has to factor in slightly. There are only 13 weeks in the fantasy regular season, and Bell won't be there for 3. If Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley get drafted by the right teams, they will vault into the top-20. That's how diluted the fantasy RB pool gets in my opinion after Frank Gore. Everybody outside the top-6 carries risk, which is why they will probably all be drafted in the first round of fantasy drafts. Some may be surprised to see C.J. Anderson that high. You shouldn't be. He's the clear #1 RB in Denver and dominated last year with the Broncos late emphasis on running the ball. His 19.75 points per week from week 9 on were even higher than top RB Le'Veon Bell averaged for the season. I see very low risk in Anderson. Marc Trestman is gone in Chicago and takes over as OC in Baltimore. That is going to hurt Matt Forte, but means I may have still ranked Justin Forsett too low. The starting RB in Baltimore in 2015 is a clear RB1 in fantasy.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Notes: You can't go wrong with any of the top tier WRs, but Antonio Brown stands above them all for his incredible week-to-week consistency in this week-to-week game that we play. After the top-11, it really starts to get murky, making it all the more important in 2015 to get one of those stud WRs. I really struggled filling out the bottom of this list. I gave preference to players with established quarterbacks. More than any year that I can remember, there is NO way I'm going RB-RB in the first two rounds of fantasy drafts. I am getting one of those receivers no matter what, even if it means a first round pick.
Notes: Graham and Thomas changing teams leaves Gronk all alone in a tier of his own. He may be a first round pick in drafts in 2015, but I'm going to try and stay away from doing that. If you draft him there, he has to hit big. Look what happened to people that took Graham in the first round last year. Past results don't guarantee future success in fantasy football. 2nd round for Gronk? That I'll consider. Outside the top 3 tight ends though, it's a week-to-week crap shoot. I put the Colts tight ends 4-5 because of the huge opportunity for touchdowns, which is all you can hope for most weeks if you don't have an elite TE. Fleener slightly ahead of Allen, because at times, Allen is asked to block along the line of scrimmage more often than Fleener.
Kickers and Defense
I may be obsessed with fantasy football, but not even I am going to do kicker and defense rankings in April.