Fantasy football rankings report

by Cory J. Bonini on August 27, 2010 @ 18:26:00 PDT's fantasy football rankings are fluid from week to week - and even on a daily basis if news dictates such. To keep you in the loop, our Rankings Report series will track the changes in a snapshot approach, which will be released each Friday throughout the draft season.

Players on the rise

Steven Jackson, running back, St. Louis Rams

St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson
Even more touches for S-Jax

Reason: The loss of wideout Donnie Avery (knee) for the year led us to upping Jackson's projected receiving totals a tad. He's a midrange No. 1 running back but carries injury risk following offseason back surgery.

Ryan Mathews, running back, San Diego Chargers

Reason: We were already high on Mathews, but watching him this preseason has convinced us he is legit among top fantasy backs. Mathews is a low-end No. 1 or ideal No. 2 virtual back. 

Tim Hightower, running back, Arizona Cardinals

Reason: We're still not sold on Hightower as the starter - it's partially a ploy to keep Beanie Wells on his toes, as we see it. Nevertheless, Hightower was upped in our rankings. He's a fourth PPR back with No. 2 upside some weeks.

Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo and Greg Lewis, wide receivers, Minnesota Vikings

Reason: With wide receiver Sidney Rice (hip) expected to miss at least six games, Harvin, despite his ongoing battle with migraine headaches, was increased in our rankings. He may wind up being quarterback Brett Favre's go-to guy. Harvin is a No. 3 fantasy back due to the risk of his migraines popping up, but he should perform like a quality No. 2. 

Reason: Berrian is healthy, unlike most of last year, and he could be Favre's deep threat in 2010. Temper your expectations since there are a lot of weapons in this offense, and Rice still has a chance to return for at least half the season. Berrian is better drafted in non-PPR leagues but serves as a fourth receiver with significant upside in all formats. 

Reason: The Miami Dolphins traded Camarillo, who would have been their fourth receiver, to the Vikings, where he'll probably float between the third and fourth option each week until Rice returns. Camarillo is a speculative pick in point-per-reception leagues and is worth a late-round gamble in deep leagues.

Reason: Lewis knows the offense well enough but has struggled to catch on. He isn't draftable in any normal format but could develop into an early-season waiver wire pickup. 

Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee, wide receivers, San Diego Chargers

Reason: Floyd was bumped up in our rankings upon the news of Vincent Jackson having to serve a team-imposed three-game suspension, additional to his league-mandated three-gamer, depending on when he (if) reports. Floyd is a No. 3 fantasy receiver, but his production will level off if V-Jax ends up wearing a Chargers uni this year.

Reason: Much like Floyd, Naanee's numbers were improved based on the Jackson news. Naanee is a No. 5 fantasy receiver for most leagues but can be a weak No. 4 if you have three strong choices ahead of him at the position.

Jabar Gaffney, wide receiver, Denver Broncos

Reason: Rookie wideout Demaryius Thomas (foot) re-injured his surgically repaired foot and doesn't have a clear prognosis at this time. Gaffney knows the system dating back to his time in New England. We increased his projected receptions, but be aware of inconsistency with Denver's wide receiver-by-committee approach. 

Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson and Mardy Gilyard, wide receiver, St. Louis Rams

Reason: The season-ending knee injury to wide receiver Donnie Avery makes Robinson the No. 1 target among wideouts in St. Louis. He's extremely athletic and physically gifted, but Robinson's health problems have stunted his growth in the pros. He's a nifty flier pick in the early stages of the late rounds. 

Reason: Gibson was acquired by the Rams from the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2009 season. He caught 34 balls in just nine games. None of the Rams receivers should be held in high regard with a rookie quarterback slinging the ball around. Gibson is a late flier pick in deep leagues.

Reason: Gilyard was given a few more receptions, but he doesn't figure to see enough work to warrant any draft consideration in single-year leagues. 

Mike Thomas, wide receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins WR Davone Bess
Far from Miami's Bess option

Reason: Thomas has sewn up the No. 2 job in Jacksonville, which led to us giving him a slight boost as a vote of confidence. Fantasy owners in PPR setups can nab him as a fifth receiver. 

Davone Bess, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins

Reason: Following the Dolphins' trade of wideout Greg Camarillo to the Minnesota Vikings, Bess' projected reception totals increased a degree. He will catch the underneath scraps that don't go to Brandon Marshall; Bess is a fifth PPR option for fantasy leaguers. 

Visanthe Shiancoe, tight end, Minnesota Vikings

Reason: Rice's injury led us to increasing Shiancoe's projected receptions and touchdowns a bit. He remains a midrange No. 1 fantasy tight end that you can get for a bargain price. 

Brandon Graham, defensive end, Philadelphia Eagles

Reason: Graham has won a starting job and has displayed his non-stop motor in preseason play. IDP owners shouldn't count on him in 2010 for much more than a few big games. Sack specialists rarely post strong IDP fantasy numbers.

Players on the decline

Brett Favre, quarterback, Minnesota Vikings

Reason: Losing his favorite receiver from the 2009 season probably isn't what Favre had in mind upon agreeing to return to the Vikings. He is used to it, though, as Favre has made a career of helping receivers elevate their play. He's a low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback still, but we lessened his touchdowns and yardage to more comfortable levels. We consider anything better than 3,700 yards and 26 touchdowns to be gravy for the soon-to-be 41-year-old. 

Beanie Wells, running back, Arizona Cardinals

Reason: Wells' projected rushing attempts came down this week to account for Tim Hightower remaining the first-team back. We still feel Wells will have the better overall year; he's a No. 2 fantasy back that you can usually select in the third round. 

Ryan Moats, running back, Minnesota Vikings

Reason: Moats was released by the Vikings and has been removed from our rankings.

Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals

Reason: The Cardinals' quarterback play has been even worse than expected in the preseason, which doesn't bode well for Fitzgerald's prospects in 2010. He is rehabbing a sprained knee ligament and could be slow to start the year. Fitz's talent may win out, but he's safely drafted as a midrange No. 1 instead of the top-three receiver he usually comes off the board as. 

Vincent Jackson, wide receiver, San Diego Chargers

Reason: Jackson faces an additional three-game suspension by the team depending on when he returns. Preseason games can count for the suspension if he miraculously reports to the team soon. We are expecting Jackson to be traded sooner or later, so you should take a chance on him as a fourth receiver if you feel like taking on the risk. Jackson is a slow learner when it comes to picking up an offense, and his suspension would carry over from the Chargers to any potential new team. 

Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver, Denver Broncos

Reason: Thomas' surgically repaired foot suffered another injury this week, and he has already been behind the curve. We're effectively staying away from him during drafts, but he is a No. 6 fantasy receiver if you choose to gamble on him. 

Sidney Rice, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings

Reason: Rice underwent hip surgery at the urging of his doctors and will miss somewhere around eight games if all goes well. He could be lost for only six. Either way, his fantasy value has taken a huge hit. Rice is a No. 5 fantasy gamble if you're brave. Owners in leagues with deep rosters should be the only drafters targeting him.

Chaz Schilens, wide receiver, Oakland Raiders

Reason: Knee surgery will keep Schilens on the mend for the time being. He could be ready in three to four weeks. Fantasy owners once viewed him as a late-round flier; at best, he is worth taking a chance on in leagues with 20-man rosters. 

Donnie Avery, wide receiver, St. Louis Rams

St. Louis Rams WR Donnie Avery
See you next year

Reason: A severe knee injury - ligament damage, according to reports - will cost Avery the entire 2010 season. He can safely be dropped in leagues that have already drafted. 

Darryl Tapp, defensive end, Philadelphia Eagles

Reason: Tapp was vying for a starting job with rookie Brandon Graham. The former Seattle Seahawk came up on the short end of this deal and will be a rotational player for the Eagles. His fantasy value is non-existent at this point. 

Sabby Piscitelli, strong safety, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Reason: The fourth-year safety lost his starting job in camp to veteran Sean Jones. Piscitelli can be ignored in all drafts. 

Gibril Wilson, free safety, Cincinnati Bengals

Reason: Torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments will cost Wilson the 2010 season. He has been removed from our rankings.

Entering rankings/unchanged newsmaker

Joique Bell, running back, Buffalo Bills

Reason: We love what we've seen from Bell so far in preseason play - 16 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns. With all of the injuries in Buffalo's backfield, Bell could earn regular-season playing time. 

Albert Young, running back, Minnesota Vikings

Reason: The release of running back Ryan Moats essentially secures a roster spot for Young. He could be in the mix for third-down work but has no fantasy value at this time. 

Patrick Turner, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins

Reason: The trade of wideout Greg Camarillo to the Minnesota Vikings makes Turner the de facto No. 4 receiver in Miami. He has no fantasy value for 2010 drafts.

Steve Johnson, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills

Reason: Johnson won the starting job opposite Lee Evans. Unless Buffalo's quarterback play significantly improves, Johnson's chances for fantasy-worthy production are low. He should be left on all waiver wires. 

Jordan Shipley, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals

Reason: The rookie has had a strong offseason and could be in the rotation for looks if Antonio Bryant's knee doesn't respond soon. Shipley has value in full-retention keeper formats for now.

Sammie Stroughter, wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Reason: Stroughter's rookie campaign was respectable, and his 2010 offseason work secured him the No. 2 job. The Buccaneers' offensive constraints will make Stroughter no better than a waiver wire pickup for a spot play.

Johnnie Lee Higgins, wide receiver, Oakland Raiders

Reason: Wide receiver Chaz Schilen's knee injury caused Higgins' inclusion in our rankings. As no better than the slot receiver in Oakland, he holds no immediate value for fantasy purposes. 

Keenan Burton, wide receiver, St. Louis Rams

Reason: Burton is coming off a severe knee injury but is at least on the field. He should see an increase in work with No. 1 receiver Donnie Avery (knee) done for the year. Fantasy owners can look elsewhere for a late-round flier pick, however. 

Brandon Lloyd, wide receiver, Denver Broncos

Reason: The Broncos plan to use Lloyd as a specialist in multiple-receiver sets. Despite having hands of glue, the veteran doesn't warrant fantasy consideration.

Javon Walker, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings

Reason: Walker was signed by the Vikings following Sidney Rice's hip surgery to help bolster the receiving corps. His best season came with Brett Favre tossing the ball his way, but knee surgeries seemingly have robbed Walker of what made him special. He doesn't deserve fantasy consideration on draft day and may not make the final roster. 

Michael Hoomanawanui, tight end, St. Louis Rams

Reason: The rookie tight end is expected to see extra playing time with the loss of wideout Donnie Avery (knee) for the season. Hoomanawanui doesn't have fantasy value in single-year formats, though. 

Aaron Hernandez, tight end, New England Patriots

Reason: The second drafted rookie tight end of the Patriots has enjoyed a good offseason and could sneak a few touchdown receptions in the red zone. He'll be too inconsistent to be drafted by fantasy owners. 

Jared Cook, tight end, Tennessee Titans

Reason: We added Cook with nominal numbers to reward the strong offseason challenge he made for the starting job. Barring an injury to No. 1 tight end Bo Scaife, Cook will not see enough targets to matter for fantasy purposes in 2010. 

Jonathan Goff, linebacker, New York Giants

Reason: The second-year 'backer stands a good chance of winning the starting middle linebacker job and is an intriguing pick as a multi-category contributor. He's a flier pick as a fourth linebacker if he wins the job.

Chris Crocker, free safety, Cincinnati Bengals

Reason: Gibril Wilson (knee) won't return in 2010, and Crocker has entered our rankings. He's a No. 2 IDP defensive back.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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