Before the season, I hoped to provide some advice on which players to draft earlier than others with two editions of an overall top 100 players — one Aug. 1 and another Sept. 1.
I’d like to think I can be accountable for my choices, so with that in mind here’s a look back at how the latter rankings look in hindsight.
Aaron Rodgers (Packers), my preseason No. 2 passer, is first right now. I had Drew Brees (Saints) and Andrew Luck (Colts) in my top five, and both reside there through 14 weeks. Although Tom Brady (Patriots), my No. 7 QB in September, is 17th right now, he’s been elite since returning from his four-game suspension to start the year.
The rest is a mess. Cam Newton (Panthers) and Russell Wilson (Seahawks) were in my top three, and they’re presently 16th and 19th, respectively. Matt Ryan (Falcons), Marcus Mariota (Titans), Dak Prescott (Cowboys) and Matthew Stafford (Lions) weren’t ranked, but they’re top eight producers in 2016.
David Johnson (Cardinals), Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys), Le’Veon Bell (Steelers), LeSean McCoy (Bills) and Devonta Freeman (Falcons) lived up to top 10 preseason billing at the position. But Todd Gurley (Rams) and Adrian Peterson (Vikings) weren’t close to being the top two backs, so that was a big whiff. Eddie Lacy (Packers) also was a bust.
DeMarco Murray (Titans) outdid my expectations. He’s currently third in points at the position, but I ranked him 19th. LaGarrette Blount (Patriots), 27th in preseason, is seventh at present. And nobody saw Jordan Howard (Bears) as the 10th-best RB through 14 weeks, least of all this columnist who did not rank him.
To the surprise of basically nobody, Antonio Brown (Steelers) is the top wideout in fantasy. Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants) and Julio Jones (Falcons) also fulfilled preseason expectations as elite receivers. On the other hand, DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) and Alshon Jeffery (Bears) were total disappointments despite top 10 preseason status.
Mike Evans (Buccaneers) and T.Y. Hilton (Colts) were a bit better than advertised. They ranked 11th and 15th, respectively, in early September but are currently second and fifth among WRs. Davante Adams (Packers), Jamison Crowder (Redskins) and Tyrell Williams (Chargers) emerged as deep sleepers who weren’t ranked before Week 1.
I only ranked nine TEs in the top 100 before the season, and five solidly delivered. Travis Kelce (Chiefs), Greg Olsen (Panthers), Delanie Walker (Titans), Jordan Reed (Redskins) and Coby Fleener (Saints) all are among the top nine TEs right now.
But preseason No. 1 Rob Gronkowski only delivered on preseason hopes when healthy, and that wasn’t often enough. Gary Barnidge (Browns) was my No. 6 TE, but he’s languished for an awful team. Jimmy Graham (Seahawks), not ranked to start, is fourth in points.