The Santonio Holmes and Brandon Marshall trades shook things up. Here’s my second look at the early WR rankings.

1. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
AJ is just a beast. As long as Schaub stays healthy, Johnson should put up monster numbers.

2. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Last year Fitz and AJ were like 1 & 1A. This year, with Kurt Warner’s retirement, there is a definite gap. I can see Fitz below #2 even.

3. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
Physical WR like T.O. without the headaches.

4. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
The youngsters  could cut into Wayne’s production, but Manning isn’t afraid to play favorites.

5.  DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
So he has a new QB. I am not worried. Jackson is lightning quick. He can score any time he touches the ball.

6. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford should be better in 2010, making Megatron a safe bet to improve on 2009′s disappointing numbers.

7.  Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings
Even if Favre returns, which I assume, Rice has a lot of competition for the ball. Plus, I expect more running from the Vikings in 2010.

8.  Randy Moss, New England Patriots
The Patriots will have to find ways to draw attention away from Moss. His ability to find the end zone keeps him a top ten WR.

9.  Brandon Marshall, Miami Dolphins
Marshall lands with Miami and a QB with a big arm. They do favor the run, but his talent keeps him in the top ten.

10.  Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
White doesn’t get the praise some of his WR counterparts get, but he’s a highly productive WR.

11.  Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints 
He also has a lot of competition for the ball. Fortunately Brees still favors Colston.

12.  Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
Jennings is another guy with competition for the ball. He remains a nice WR1 though.

13.  Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens
Boldin becomes his team’s primary receiver for the first time in years. Look for Flacco to get the ball to him plenty.

14. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
Carolina’s Steve Smith makes an excellent WR2. He can actually put up WR1 numbers now that Delhomme is gone.

15.  Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers
I’d have V-Jax higher, but a likely suspension (DUI) is going to take away some of his production.

16. Chad Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals
Antonio Bryant’s arrival should actually help free up the WR formerly known as Ochocinco.

17.  Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers
Santonio’s departure should give Ward a bump in value.

18.  Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
Considering what he missed last year, Crabtree had a strong showing. Look for vast improvement in 2010.

19.  Steve Smith, New York Giants
He goes back to being the other Steve Smith this year, but remains a quality WR2.

20.  Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars
He played well at times last year. With more consistency he’ll become a solid WR2.

21. Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers
Age is nothing but a number for Driver.

22. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings
If he can get the migraines in check, he could move up thanks to his versatility.

23.  Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints
Meachem made strides in 2009. Look for more improvement now that he’s figured things out.

24.  Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
The youth movement is underway in Philly. Maclin has the ability to be a nice WR3 if Kolb holds his own.

25.  Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh Steelers
He has plenty of ability, but lacks in judgement. He was suspended for the first four games of the year. Going to a more run-oriented system and a inferior QB has Holmes in danger of falling out of the top 25.

The McNabb trade shakes up the rankings a bit.

1. Aaron Rodgers – Does damage with both his arm and his feet, which gives him a leg up on his competition.

2. Drew Brees – Year after year he puts up gaudy numbers.

3. Peyton Manning – You’d think he’d slow down at some point, but that hasn’t been the case.

4. Philip Rivers – Now that LT is gone, there’s no question they are a pass-first team.

5. Tom Brady – Another year removed from the knee injury.

6. Tony Romo – He’s averaged 29 TDs over the past three years.

7. Matt Schaub – Injury concerns keep him from being any higher. When he is healthy, look out.

8. Brett Favre – The grandpa still has game…if he chooses to come back.

9. Matt Ryan – Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez give him a nice 1-2 punch.


10. Kevin Kolb – I know he’s unproven, but he’s accurate and has good, young weapons.


11. Donovan McNabb – He doesn’t have the weapons in Washington, but he always seems to find a way to make it work.

12. Joe Flacco – With Anquan Boldin added to his arsenal, Flacco should be a legitimate QB1.

13. Ben Roethlisberger – If he can avoid jail time (and a suspension) he’ll likely move up. That risk keeps him out of the top 12.

14. Eli Manning – I think they’ll run more than last year, but Eli should still have a solid year with his weapons. Amazing the difference a year makes.

15. Alex Smith – Michael Crabtree should only be better. Plus, Vernon Davis is a beast.

16. Carson Palmer – Antonio Bryant and Chad Johnson form a nice duo. He’s be higher if he didn’t have to face Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice.

17. Jay Cutler – They haven’t added him any pieces, but Cutler still has the ability to put up big numbers on occasion.

18. Matt Leinart – This is his last chance to make something for himself. Money will motivate.

19. Vince Young – More of a winner than a fantasy QB. He’ll have his moments.

20. Chad Henne – I had Orton here, but with Brandon Marshall comes a promotion for Henne into the top 20.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

We’ve had some player movement that shook up my initial rankings. Here’s my second look at early 2010 fantasy football Running Back rankings.

1.  Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
They said Peterson would have a hard time staying healthy. He has. They said he couldn’t catch the ball out of the backfield. He more than doubled his reception total last year with 43. They say he fumbles too much. Adrian Peterson is a tireless worker. Look for him to improve his ball security in 2010.

2.  Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
The dude is a complete beast. I think he’ll get less work in 2010, which is why I have him pegged as the #2 fantasy RB. I just imagine that teams will have a better answer for him next year.

3.  Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
If you speak fantasian, you already know that MJD stands for PPR stud. He’s a total yardage, reception, and TD machine. He has the quickness to run by you and the power to run over you. Catch him if you can.

4.  Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
If MJD stands for PPR stud, Michael Turner stands for Man of the End Zone. Even injuries couldn’t keep Burner from reaching double-digits in TDs. If he can remain healthy, he’ll dominate once again.

5.  Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
I just love watching Rice play. He’s so quick that sometimes I throw my TiVo in slow motion so I can watch his wiggle. I can’t fathom how people even tackle him.

6.  Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
If the Niners draft C.J. Spiller I may have to bump him down a notch or two. Either way, I’d love to have him as my RB1.

7.  Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
Jackson could get some help as the Rams appear to be zeroed in on Sam Bradford. He’ll experience some growing pains, but Jackson will help the cause. He’ll be leaned on heavily.

8.  Ryan Grant, Green Bay Packers
Grant slips under the radar because of Aaron Rodgers, but he’s a very capable RB. Back-to-back 1200+ yard seasons and a return to the end zone (11 TDs) have me optimistic for 2010.

9.  Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers
My first change. I moved Mendenhall up a notch. I think the Steelers will improve their offensive line, which should allow them to be less reliant on the pass.

10.  Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals
Benson clearly has made the most of his second chance. He runs with so much determination, I can’t help but pull for him. Antonio Bryant was brought in to help the passing game, which should open things up for Benson.
continue reading »

It’s never too early to look at next year. Here’s a look at early 2010 fantasy football Tight End rankings.


1.  Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts

Clark’s speed, size, and route-running make him a complete mismatch every game.

2.  Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
He keeps putting up monster numbers year in and year out.

3.  Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Finally reached his potential.

4.  Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
He’ll need to get in the end zone more to remain a top TE.

5.  Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles
You knew he was good, but showed his toughness playing through a thumb injury.

6.  Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers
Speed and size that makes him tough to handle.


7.  Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
Not the Gonzo of old, but still pretty darn good.

8.  Owen Daniels, Houston Texans
Assuming he’s recovered from his knee injury, Daniels should have another fine season. He was leading all TE’s in fantasy points before the injury.

9. Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings
He’s a tough cover in the red zone with their assortment of weapons..

10. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
Maybe the most complete Tight End in the league.

11. Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rebounded nicely in Tampa.

12. Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears
Still one of the Bears best options on offense. Look for more in 2010

13. John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks
Another fine season for Carlson.

14. Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders
Assuming the JaMarcus Russell fiasco has ended, Miller is a nice option going forward.

15.  Dustin Keller, New York Jets
Keller really gelled with Sanchez during the playoffs.

Also check out:

Early 2010 Fantasy Football QB Rankings
Early 2010 Fantasy Football RB Rankings

Early 2010 Fantasy Football WR Rankings

Not ready for fantasy football, check out my fantasy baseball rankings.


Images courtesy of Icon SMI

Here’s a breakdown of playoff fantasy rankings for Super Bowl XLIV.

Quarterbacks
1. Peyton Manning
2. Drew Brees

Running Backs
1. Pierre Thomas
2. Joseph Addai
3. Donald Brown
4. Reggie Bush

Wide Receivers
1. Reggie Wayne
2. Marques Colston
3. Austin Collie
4. Pierre Garcon
5. Devery Henderson
6. Robert Meachem

Tight Ends
1. Dallas Clark
2. Jeremy Shockey
3. David Thomas

Kickers
1. Matt Stover
2. Garrett Hartley

Defenses
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. New Orleans Saints

It’s never too early to look at next year. Here’s a look at early 2010 fantasy football Wide Receiver rankings.


Did Kurt Warner’s retirement bump Larry Fitzgerald’s value?

1. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
The answer to the question is yes. I had Fitz at #1 and AJ at #2 prior to Warner’s retirement. Unless Warner pulls a Favre, which I highly doubt,  Johnson has taken over the top spot.

2. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Warner’s retirement hurts, but Fitz is still a beast.

3. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys
He’s got all the attributes you want in a #1 WR, including humility like Fitz and AJ.

4. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
He continues to perform at a high level. Even when it seems like Manning is going away from Wayne, he always seems to go back to him.

5. Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings
I’m operating under the assumption that Brett Favre will return to the Vikings next year.

6. Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos
I’m operating under the assumption that he is on the move in 2010. Even if he’s not, he’s still an elite talent.

7. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Even in a down year for their passing game, he managed 1153 yards and 11 scores.

8. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
He’s nearly as tough as he is elusive.

9. Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers
Big and talented with an elite QB. What’s not to like? Plus, he’s not just a deep threat anymore.

10. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford had some growing pains. Plus, both dealt with injuries. Look for Megatron to be back in 2010.

11. Randy Moss, New England Patriots
He disappears at times, but when he wants to play, there aren’t many better WRs out there.

12. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees spreads the ball around, but Colston is clearly his favorite target.

13. Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh Steelers
Finally surpassed Hines Ward as the #1 WR.


14. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
With competent QB play, look for Smith to bounce back and get his name back.

15. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
The only thing that keeps him from being higher is the number of weapons he has to compete with.

16. Chad Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals
Still a high-end player. Grew up in 2010. Hopefully he doesn’t have a Revis hangover.

17. Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals
His 2010 home will determine his ranking. He’s too much of an injury risk to be higher.

18. Steve Smith, New York Giants
Smith is still rock solid, but steps back a touch as Nicks eats into his production.

19. Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers
He still has some gas in the tank.

20. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
He put a ton of pressure on himself with his antics and quickly proved he’s the real deal.

21. Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars
He’ll have to improve his home-away splits to be a sure #2 WR. I think he will.

22. Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers
He continues to perform despite getting older.


23. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings

Such a versatile game-breaker.

24.  Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints
Meachem finally tapped into his potential this year. Look for more in 2010.

25.  Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles
Played well as a rookie, especially when thrust into the starting role. He’ll be on the rise in 2010.

Also check out:
Early 2010 Fantasy Football QB Rankings
Early 2010 Fantasy Football RB Rankings
Early 2010 Fantasy Football TE Rankings

Not ready for fantasy football, check out my fantasy baseball rankings.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

Sara Holladay, everybody’s favorite Fantasy Football Librarian, studied the preseason rankings of 48 fantasy football sites. The results just came in on the New York Times Fifth Down Blog (click to see article).

I am pleased to announce that LestersLegends.com finished 8th for accuracy across all positions. The ranking was bolstered by a 6th place ranking in fantasy QBs and a 5th place ranking in fantasy WRs.

If you want to take a look at my early 2010 fantasy rankings, click here.

It’s never too early to look at next year. Here’s a look at early 2010 fantasy football Running Back rankings.

1.  Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
I know Chris Johnson ran wild last year, but in his “down year” he had 18 TDs and 1819 total yards. He made great strides in the passing game last year. All he needs to do is get the fumbling in check. If Favre comes back they can’t stack the box against him. If he doesn’t come back, AP becomes the focal point of the offense again.

2.  Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
After putting up over 2500 total yards, including reaching the 2000 yard mark, I can’t see how Chris Johnson can’t be anything less than two. The track record of players who touch the ball as many times as he did (358 carries, 50 receptions) is what keeps him out of my top slot.

3.  Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
MJD showed that he can handle the full load. He’s a machine.

4.  Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
He was limited by injuries in 2009, but still managed to reach 10 TDs. He showed his toughness by trying to play through the pain. He’s shown enough in two seasons with Atlanta to merit the fourth slot in fantasy drafts. In PPR leagues, he slides down a couple of notches.

5.  Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
What a season for Rice. He’s so electric. He can run and catch, and is a threat to take the ball to the house every time he touches it. If Willis McGahee isn’t brought back, he could rack up even more TDs.

6.  Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Health is a constant concern for Gore, but when he plays, he’s clearly one of the best. He’s also a dual threat and plays in an up-and-coming offense.

7.  Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
Nobody impressed me more than S-Jax last year. He fought through injuries to put up 1738 total yards. Considering the lack of talent around him last year, he has to be commended. He’ll need to increase his TD total (4), which I think will happen as they put more talent around him.

8.  Ryan Grant, Green Bay Packers
Often overlooked because of their passing attack, Grant was a force down the stretch. He should continue to put up big number for the Pack.

9.  Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals
Safe to say this guy is for real. I loved the way he played against he Jets despite little help from the other key talent.

10.  Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers
The passing game will take the pressure off of Mendenhall, and he should build on his somewhat surprising 2009 success.

11.  Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Speaking of surprising success. Charles, who I like to call Chris Johnson Lite, was a machine down the stretch. I don’t think he can keep up that pace, but he should be a solid fantasy contributor. I caution you though. I get a little Steve Slaton vibe from him.

12.  Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Moreno had a solid rookie campaign. I see him taking a step forward in 2010.

13.  DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers
If D-Will or J-Stew leave, they will both move up the chart. As it is, their ceilings are lowered a touch because of the timeshare.

14.  Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
Ditto.

15.  Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
After struggling early, the Bears figured out he needs to be more involved in the passing game. I expect him to bounce back in 2010. He should be a nice value pick.

16.  LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Brian Westbrook’s return is unlikely meaning the keys will be handed over to McCoy. I don’t see him scoring TDs like Westy, but he should still be a yardage machine.

17.  Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys
I believe Felix passed his audition to become the Cowboys’ next feature back. He’ll have to share the load, but should still be quite productive.

18.  Shonn Greene, New York Jets
Replace Marion Barber III with Thomas Jones and you have the same scenario with the Jets as you have with the Cowboys.

19.  Jerome Harrison, Cleveland Browns
He finished with a flurry, but I’m not convinced he can repeat.

20.  Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
Jackson proved he’s Buffalo’s best RB. Lynch will steal, but Jackson is the back you want.

21.  Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals
He’ll have to share with Hightower, but he should be the feature back in 2010.

22.  Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts
I’m not ready to write Addai off yet, and I doubt the Colts are either.

23.  Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants
It’s hard to forget a player of his size, but that’s what his 2009 season was…forgettable. Look for him to bounce back.

24.  Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins
I’m an admitted Ronnie Brown fan. If he can stay healthy, he’s a beast. That if keeps him at the bottom of this list rather than near the top.

25.  Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Health was an issue with Thomas, as was consistency. He has a ton of talent, and in that offense is worthy of a top 25 ranking.


Also check out:
Early 2010 Fantasy Football QB Rankings
Early 2010 Fantasy Football WR Rankings
Early 2010 Fantasy Football TE Rankings

Not ready for fantasy football, check out my fantasy baseball rankings.

Here’s a breakdown of playoff  fantasy rankings for the Conference Finals. You can also check out my Conference Finals Picks.

Quarterbacks
1. Drew Brees
2. Brett Favre
3. Peyton Manning
4. Mark Sanchez

Running Backs
1. Adrian Peterson
2. Shonn Greene
3. Joseph Addai
4. Thomas Jones
5. Reggie Bush
6. Pierre Thomas
7. Donald Brown
8. Chester Taylor

Wide Receivers
1.  Sidney Rice
2. Marques Colston
3. Reggie Wayne
4. Austin Collie
5. Devery Henderson
6. Robert Meachem
7. Percy Harvin
8. Pierre Garcon

Tight Ends
1. Dallas Clark
2. Visanthe Shiancoe
3. Dustin Keller
4. Jeremy Shockey

Kickers
1. Garrett Hartley
2. Ryan Longwell
3. Matt Stover
4. Jay Feely

Defenses
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Minnesota Vikings
3. New York Jets
4. New Orleans Saints

I know we haven’t declared a Super Bowl winner, but it’s never too early to look at next year. Here’s a look at early 2010 fantasy football QB rankings.


Image Courtesy of Icon SMI

1.  Aaron Rodgers – His rushing totals put him on top.

2.  Drew Brees – Brees is playing at such a high level.

3.  Peyton Manning – Only the Colts’ success can slow him down.

4.  Philip Rivers – Truly his team. So many big weapons.

5.  Tom Brady – This is the year he supposed to be fully recovered from the knee injury. Scary. Wes Welker’s status has him down at five.

6.  Tony Romo – Love him or hate him, he puts up numbers.

7.  Matt Schaub – If Owen Daniels is healthy, look out.

8.  Brett Favre – If he returns, he should have another fine season with his assortment of weapons.

9.  Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh has become a passing team and Big Ben has plenty of weapons.

10.  Donovan McNabb – If he’s back in Philly with his young skill position players, McNabb should be a top ten QB.

11.  Eli Manning – The Giants’ young playmakers made great strides in 2009 and should be even better next year.

12.  Jay Cutler – I expect the Bears will get more weapons for Cutler.

13.  Matt Ryan – A bounceback year is in order.

14.  Alex Smith – Smith took the job and ran with it. He should have the job the whole offseason and have Michael Crabtree along with him.

15.  Carson Palmer – Gone are the days of Palmer being a fantasy starter. He’s a great backup though.

16.  Joe Flacco – All he needs is some more weapons in the passing game.

17.  Matt Leinart – Now that Warner has retired, Leinart gets his shot. He has great weapons with or without Anquan Boldin. He should be a solid #2 QB.

18.  Vince Young – His rushing ability as well as his improved passing game make him a nice fantasy backup.

19.  Matt Hasselbeck – We’ll see if Pete Carroll can get Hasselbeck fantasy relevant again. Of course, he’ll have to stay healthy.

20.  Kyle Orton – If they don’t bring Brandon Marshall back, he won’t be on this list.

Also check out:
Early 2010 Fantasy Football RB Rankings
Early 2010 Fantasy Football WR Rankings
Early 2010 Fantasy Football TE Rankings

Not ready for fantasy football, check out my fantasy baseball rankings.


Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties