Welcome to the 2018 Fantasy Football Season everyone! Especially my fellow Razzballers, shot-callers, brawlers who be dippin’ in Benz with the spoilers. Something-something-benjamins, by P.Diddy. Puff-Dids. Puffy-Dude. Whatever. Yeah, an old school reference, but I spend all day thinking about Drake thinking about Drake, so I wanted a change of pace. So there you have it. Ahem, rankings… it’s time. I mean, it could have been any time, since it’s a flat circle (alright, alright, alright), but this is the time for my rankings. And what makes my rankings so special? Well, my mom always said I was special, so there’s that. And right after the jump I’ll go over my gravitas in that regard, only because the root word of gravitas is “gravy” which we can all agree with is amazing. But before we get started, I wanted to emphasize that this amazing piece of content won’t necessarily contain specific bits of analysis on my rankings. (Feel free to ask any question in the comments section though!) Don’t worry, we’ll be spending the preseason going over that, my loves, my hates, my infatuations but they restraining order probably because I love them too much… all of them. We’ll go over how my rankings stack up against the triumvirate of Disney-owned (or soon to be owned) sport sites like ESPN, Yahoo, and CBS. We’ll even go over my tiers (I’m a sensitive soul), all before the first official snap of the NFL. What I want to accomplish with this post is to not to just release my 2018 rankings, but also to get the ball rolling on what Fantasy Football is all about. (So DEEP.) If you’re one of the above mentioned “Razzballers” or a Fantasy Football veteran (thank you for your service), you’ll probably recognize a lot of what’s to follow. But for those of you who are new visitors, the uninitiated, the initiated, and… actually I think I’m describing the League of Shadows, but whatever, think of this as a welcome guide, even moreso a “beginners guide” to the greatest (at creating ulcers) fantasy sport known throughout the human-explored galaxy. (I mean, we just don’t know what the trending fantasy sport is in Alpha Centuri, do we?)

The TL;DR is: Rankings, Beginners-Focused Content, Ur Mum. Here we go!

Want to get the absolute most out of our site? While we’re proud to offer my rankings free of charge and without any subscription requirements (one of the only few remaining sites with consistent success year after year to still do so) think about taking advantage of our Razzball Membership which includes 2018 Preseason Projections, Weekly Projections, Rudy’s Player Ranker and all the DFS help you could ever need and much much more. Find out what that more is here

What exactly are you going to cover with this post? Rankings, and then a short beginner’s guide to Fantasy Football.

What are you ranking? Everything! You get a ranking, you get a ranking, everybody gets a ranking! You’ll find my Standard, Half-PPR, PPR, and IDP rankings below. (My Dynasty and Rookie rankings will be released as a separate post.)

What are my rankings bona fidas? Well, there’s finishing in the FantasyPros Top-10 Draft Accuracy (7th Place) in 2017, Top-25 Weekly Accuracy (23rd Place) in 2017, Top-5 Draft Accuracy (3rd place) in 2016, Top-10 Weekly Accuracy (10th Place) in 2016, Top-25 Weekly Accuracy in 2015 (21st Place) and on average we’ve finished in the Top-10 Draft Accuracy (9th Overall) and the Top-20 Weekly Accuracy (18th Overall) for the past three years. Sean Koerner, Jake Ceily, and myself are the only Fantasy Football analysts (I prefer not to use the title “experts” because it doesn’t have the word “anal” in it) to finish Top-10 in Draft Accuracy the past two years. I’d like to think we’re pretty good at this stuff…

What does the word bona fidas mean? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, bo·na fi·des \ ˌbō-nə-ˈfī-ˌdēz , ÷ˈbō-nə-ˌfīdz \ means 1 : good faith : sincerity, 2 : the fact of being genuine —often plural in construction, 3 : evidence of one’s good faith or genuineness —often plural in construction, 4 : evidence of one’s qualifications or achievements —often plural in construction. On a separate note, I think it would make a great name for a cat.

What’s my ranking process? I’ve actually written about this in the past, and instead of working hard for new and enlightening content, I have chosen the more efficient (lazy, ahem) method and dropping in a link to that post here. Honestly, my process hasn’t changed much at all (the ole “don’t fix what ain’t broke” proverb comes to mind) and so my “A Day in the Life of a Fantasy Football Ranker” story still remains relevant to this day. (The TL;DR is: I’m ghetto as fudge. Well, I mean the other “f” word, but I’m hungry.)

How should I use your rankings? The same way your mother does. Which actually makes no sense. (Unless your mother is in the running to always finish top-3 in your Fantasy Football league. And if that’s the case, say hello to her for me.)

 

Welcome to Fantasy Football: A Beginner’s Guide, Brought to You by the Letter Jay

What this picture presupposes is, maybe it should be?

Welcome to what could be called the “second volley” of our 2018 Fantasy Football Season (the rankings above being the first), if, you know, you like catapults and sh*t. And yes, I know, I post something like this every season, but that’s only because the game of Fantasy Football is growing faster than your mom’s waist line. (BURN.) The new player influx makes this post relevant every year, and our future strategy content will benefit all and help prepare you for Draft day, and will likely also be filled with an assortment of snacks ranging from TWIX® candy bars and FUNYUNS®, basically what I like to call “breakfast”. And don’t tell me why they’re written all in caps, that’s their official “name”, so I can only assume that we are meant to shout it out every time, which, now that I think of it, seems totally natural.

Q: “What are you hungry for?”

A: “TWIX® MOTHER F*CKER!”

See what I mean? Regardless, this second salvo of content (everything sounds better when it fits a catapult theme and is weaponized) found in this post, like I mentioned above, is focused for those of you who have no idea what Fantasy Football is or what it does. And listen, don’t be afraid of being the “noob”, that’s not a derogatory title for me. It can be derogatory, but for those who do use it as a negative descriptor, just remember, they were noobs once too. We all have to start somewhere… Which is probably your mom’s basement. And if that’s the case, you’ve completed half the journey, some would say.

So, you want to play Fantasy Football? Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!

One thing to remember, if you’ve played Fantasy Baseball, or if this is your first foray into fantasy gaming, Fantasy Football, on the surface, is not an intricate game to play. One can remain a casual NFL fan and still just be as informed as the die-hards, like these fine ambassadors of the human race:

raiders-fans

10-out-of-10 pooping face on the right. Bravo.

Yeah, you’re right, the casual fan is probably more informed than these guys… but the truth is, there are just a lot less moving parts compared to it’s peers (sans custom leagues). Just know that when you are contemplating the deciding factors of whether or not you should play, the time-investment can be whatever you’d like it to be. Whether that’s an hour everyday or an hour for the entire week, you’ll be able to field a competitive roster for the entirety of the season. All you have to do to get started is follow these helpful bullet points I’ve prepared for you. (See, I’m telling you, weaponize everything bro. EVERYTHING. Even eggplant.)

  • Right now, this very instant… This is your information gathering stage. While the methods used are generally driven by you, as a first-time player, that may be the one thing holding you back: Where do I begin?. The question can be a huge mountain to climb. (What you’re doing near a huge mountain is anyone’s guess though.) There really is no wrong way to do this, but I will say the first action that I take is to check out how the preseason rankings are looking. Razzball, of course, produces rankings that are one of the industries best. But to get a true idea of how players are trending for the upcoming season, you’ll want to find a general consensus to lean on. And FantasyPros does a great job doing all the legwork for you. Their ECR™ (Expert Consensus Ranking) provides you a way to see what all the experts are thinking. Or only what some of them are thinking, depending on how you want to set up your viewing options. Getting a general idea of who will make up the first-half of your draft is the first step of our mountain climb. Which at this point, could use more Sherpa.
  • Next up, you probably want to start bringing social media into this shindig. While I (@jaywrong) won’t tweet out breaking NFL news, mostly because I find bad jokes, political soap box statements, and pictures of food I cooked more valuable to my followers (they call me: philanthropist), there are accounts that will keep you caught up with the latest news that could be the difference every Sunday. Rotoworld Football is a good example. And if you’d rather not become a Twitterer? Tweeter? Tweeties? Whatever you call it… if you don’t want to be one those, just find your own news sources that can help you keep tabs from this point on, and add it to your internet bookmarks.
  • Know your league format (number of teams, type of draft, scoring, etc.). This may seem like a job for Captain Obvious, but it has to be stated. The most common size for leagues can range anywhere from 8 to 16 teams. With an 8-team league considered “shallow” and a 16-team league considered “deep”, 12 is usually the general landing spot for the majority of leagues, and is what Razzball will mostly tailor to (the same size as our Razzball Commenter Leagues, which you can join tomorrow!). One term you’ll likely run into is “PPR”. PPR stands for Points Per Reception (not be confused with Pee-Pee ride, which sounds like a really not fun ride, unless you’re Donald Trump), and was probably created by a person who hated seeing the first five rounds of a draft be nothing but running backs. So probably a receiver. As is stated in the definition, in leagues that feature a PPR mechanism (either 0.5 or 1 full point), you’ll see more value be attributed to receivers, tight ends, and pass-catching running backs. And just like in Fantasy Baseball, there are keeper and dynasty formats, which implement a way for teams to keep a specific amount of your roster going into the next season. There are also IDP (Individual Defensive Player) leagues. The majority of leagues use the team’s defense as a whole, unlike the offensive side where you have individual players. IDP simply balances both sides of the ball out and allows you to draft individual defensive players. As for drafts, most leagues use a Standard or “Snake” format, where shortly before the draft, a randomized order will be determined as the teams will draft 1-10 for the first round, then 10-1 for the next round, rinse and repeat. Less common are Auction Drafts, where any player can be drafted by any owner based on a budget (usually anywhere from $200-$260), until all of the roster spots are filled. Essentially, just know what you’re getting yourself into.
  • This will sound self-serving, because it is, but here at Razzball, we’ll offer many ways to get you prepared for the draft and the season as well. But one thing we don’t have is a mock draft system. If I were you, which seems impossible because of my amazing hair, but let’s just pretend for this example, I would try to do a few mocks before draft day. If your league is with ESPN, mock over there. If it’s with Yahoo, be sure to mock there. Why? Most players will draft based on the rankings provided by those sites. A mock draft at ESPN will go completely different than a Yahoo’s mock. On top of that, you’ll get comfortable with the draft room, it’s functions, and start seeing trends. Sure, there will be other drafters who might muck it up, if so, just leave and get into another one. Your goal here is just to get comfortable with the environment while keeping an eye on where players are going based on whatever rankings you have chosen to use.
  • As alluded to previously, you could probably put little effort into your pre-draft routine and still be okay. While I wouldn’t recommend it, you have to remember that it’s a game. Whatever you put into to it, that’s what you’ll get out. Which makes it sound like a “Tooth Fairy” type of scenario. That being said, you don’t really want to be the one person who shows up to the draft and either holds up every draft pick, or selects an injured player, or drafts a defense in the second round. Try to come in as prepared as you can and don’t stress out. All the research you’ve done, all time you’ve spent has all culminated into this event. Have fun with it. Always keep in mind that you’re roster building. Watch how the board is developing; is everyone drafting wide receivers this round? Maybe you should too? Or maybe you should grab another position while everyone’s focusing elsewhere. Stick to your plan. What’s that? You don’t have a plan? That’s okay, stick with us, as we’ll be providing different draft strategies for different formats throughout the preseason!

Remember, if you feel lost, confused, or sad, alcohol usually helps. But so do we! Razzball is one of the few sites out there that takes interaction with our readership very seriously. And we’re proud of that. You guys got questions, we got answers. We won’t always be right, we won’t always be wrong, but we’ll always try to help. So if you’re a beginner, we’re here for you!

 

 

  1. Thanks for the great content! I’ll definitely be using your rankings as one of my guides come draft season.

    Quick question for ya – In a 12 tm, 2 keeper league, I plan on keeping McKinnon (7th rd) and Theilen (10th rd)…I have 2 picks in the first 8 picks (5th and 8th picks of the draft)

    The pool of players that I’ll almost certainly will be picking from is:

    RBs: Devonta Freeman, Joe Mixon, Jordan Howard, other rookie Rbs not named Saquon
    WRs: AJ Green, Davante Adams, Mike Evans, Doug Baldwin
    TEs: Gronk & Kelce

    Wanted to see what your thoughts were on best possible package of players for first two picks and who you’d prioritize first with the risk that they may not be there with my 2nd pick.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @[email protected]: Sounds great! And yeah, a lot of those names, theoretically, may not be available as your second. I’d aim for a mix, maybe a stable guy like Baldwin with a mix of Howard or Mixon. Not that I don’t like Freeman, but when it comes to matching, I like those iterations the best.

      • prey879 says:
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        @Jay: Thanks! I am a becoming a big fan of the potential Mixon and Baldwin combo as well.

        I left this part out but I am almost certain that Saquon, Michael Thomas, and Keenan Allen will be taken with the first 3 picks in the draft (just from what I’ve heard) so it’s more like I am drafting 2nd and 5th out of the above pool of players.

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          @prey879: Yeah, I would certainly agree, unless the draft gets derpy. I’ve seen that happen all the time, but I like a mix of those two for sure.

      • prey879 says:
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        @Jay: With some trades that happened today the picture is even more clear.

        I’ll be able to pick a Baldwin or Adams with my first pick then choose between Mixon, Howard, and Gronk for my 2nd pick.

        Based on your rankings, I’m thinking Adams and Mixon is the way to go? or is there a combo you like better to pair with my keepers (Theilen and Mckinnon)

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          @prey879: Yeah, Adams has the highest ceiling, for sure. If you do go Adams and Mixon, it’s also a good mix with your guys.

          I like Theilen a lot this year.

  2. Allan says:
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    Hey Jay got a potential trade in my dynasty ppr league 12 teams. I give up Brady, Baldwin, and Cohen and get back Watson and Davante Adams. Thoughts?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Allan: Hmm, seems a bit lateral. Does this open up a spot for another guy? Who do you think will take Cohen’s place on your roster? That might be the determining factor.

      • Allan says:
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        @Jay: I’ve got the 2nd pick in our rookie draft where I would probably take Guice. My other RBs are Johnson Cook Ingram and Drake. I figured it being a dynasty and all it was time to get value for Brady while he still has it.

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          @Allan: Yeah, completely agree and like how you’re approaching Brady.

  3. SwaggerJackers says:
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    Penny feels too aggressive for me. Especially with reports of Carson being healthy and effective.

    Not getting a chub for Chubb? I think there could be some sneaky upside. Especially when Hyde inevitably gets hurt.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @SwaggerJackers: I might be getting a Chubb for other reasons! And yes, I think as time moves forward, you’ll see less and less outliers (I tend to go safer with rankings then go super all over the place) but I do think that situation is unsettled until we see how they are used in the preseason. Not definite answers then, but any additional info would help.

  4. Barker says:
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    12 team keeper keep 3 – keep player in rd they were drafted player moves up a rd for each year kept free agents kept in rd 12
    Qb and q/w/r/t flex so basically a 2 qb league

    Kamara 15 th rd
    Mariota 7th rd
    Luck 2nd rd
    Evan engram 12th rd
    Josh gordon 12th rd
    Jay ajayi 12th rd
    Devante parker 8th rd
    Smith schuster 12th rd

    I am thinking kamara ajayi mariota
    Mariota might be a 6th rd pick as he was part of a trade and not sure how the rds will be worked out but i dont think that makes much difference

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Barker: Yeah, I like what you have. Just really good value there.

      • Barker says:
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        @Jay: no gordon? other writers said gordon after kamara

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          @Barker: It’s an interesting choice… yeah, I’m okay with it. Still some value, though a true heartbreaking in one way or another. I’d agree though.

  5. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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    just now about to have to make my first football decision of the year, haven’t caught back up on anything yet, but that’s coming right soon. 12 team 2 QB half PPR dynasty (also short IDP’s). we have a message board slow draft in which we can draft up to 3 people (we can drop as we draft). i need to drop 2 people today though. it’s 2 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 2 flex (RB/WR/TE), 1 K, 1 team D, 4 flex IDP’s (and they don’t score huge here relatively to the offensive players)
    QB (have tons, always never a problem to stash)- rodgers, mahomes, rodfather, foles, lynch, brissett
    RB: kamara (it was sooo nice how cheap i got him last year after i thought i missed out on all the better RB’s at the time), ingram, burkhead (seems to have gained value in offseason), perine/gallman (both lost value big time)
    WR: (seems like these are all kept players): k.allen, theilen, m.lee, d-jax (TB in case there is a new one), jordy, edelman
    TE: ertz
    K: KC kicker
    team D: JAX
    IDPs: r.jones DB, t.smith, ogletree, burfict, trevathan
    with the worst pick in all 3 rounds last year went mahomes/kamara/charles (worthless on last pick)
    so i’m clearly looking to draft RB depth now with the 3rd to worst pick in all rounds. guessing my drop here is an IDP and one of gallman/perine? outside of the many rookie RB that will be draftable blount/sims/ekeler/ware are FA as well.

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: oops, at least one of my drops might have to be a QB here before RB’s.

      • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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        @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: so i’s got 6.5 or so pages to catch up on, when is the IDP stuff coming (i scanned how far back since i read anything, it’s always just after SB, can’t find any IDP stuff)

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: Rough question, I wasn’t too happy with my results last year… granted, I was middle of the pack and it was my first year ranking IDP… but I just feel like I haven’t really retained anything from it. Maybe it’s my process… I’m still thinking about releasing them with more in-depth analysis (you can find IDP rankings above). I will say that Matt plays a ton of IDP, he has a lot of knowledge in that regard.

        • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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          @Jay: it was asking about which 2 of those are the first drops. yeah i didn’t notice the IDP’s above, will use them later once reaclimated. i meant posts relating to them, but maybe you didn’t have them last year either. (fantasy IDP guru might be the best now, i found that one last year). you shouldn’t downgrade your IDP rankings last year, pretty decently done (esp when considering first year of them). best resources are the snap counts (outsiders) that come out weekly and IDP guru also has whole posts about breakouts, job changes (both injury related and otherwise)

          • Jay

            Jay says:
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            @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: Yeah, we’ve been hard-pressed to get some IDP content going, we really miss some of our other guys who used to do it. We’ll continue looking for IDP content regardless.

            • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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              @Jay: for 2 years (pretty sure he was here for 2) you had the dude who was the TOP ranked guy, and he had good/deep informative content too. very similar in depth of content to that IDP guru currently.

  6. Margaret MacDonald says:
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    Maybe I missed something but wondering why there are no QBs included in the overall rankings?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      Yeah, it’s a definite bug that FP is working on. I’ll update this post when it’s working properly. Thanks!

      • Mike says:
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        @Jay: Thanks. Also, I’m in a 10-team 2-quarterback league with standard scoring. Advice?

  7. Dan says:
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    Hey Jay,

    My first year of PPR keeper league – my keepers Ertz 6th round & Kamara 11th.

    I have done really well trading away players for picks and own 9 picks in first 5 rounds. I specifically have two firsts (9th and 10th), a second, two thirds, two fourths and two fifths. What would your strategy be for the first round & overall. I am really troubled on what to do? What are your thoughts?

  8. S>H says:
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    Jay-I am in a 12 team 35 player keeper with PPR super flex league. As of right now I have Cousins, Tanehill and Bradford at QB. RB’s are Kamara and and Hunt. WR are Thomas, Allen,Theilan Robinson, Westbrook and Paul Richardson. I have an offer of Mixon for Robinson. Do I do that deal and draft DJ Moore, or keep Robinson and draft one of Penny,Michel, Guince or Freeman. Or do I draft one of the young QB’s I have the 8th overpick in the first year playeer draft.

  9. Born a Crime says:
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    In a 4 player keeper league (half point )

    I have several options to keep

    Most likely keepers
    Gurley, Kamara, AJ green, Evans

    I also have freeman, Russell Wilson

    Would you trade Evans and Freeman plus a draft pick for Julio ?

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