Complete fantasy football rankings

Complete fantasy football rankings

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

Quarterback

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2. Tom Brady, Patriots
NOTE: Looks primed for a monster year.
3. Drew Brees, Saints
NOTE: How much is Payton's absence worth?
4. Cam Newton, Panthers
5. Matthew Stafford, Lions
6. Eli Manning, Giants
NOTE: You never lose money on him.
7. Matt Ryan, Falcons
NOTE: Letter perfect in the preseason.
8. Michael Vick, Eagles
9. Philip Rivers, Chargers
NOTE: Can he make it work with these wideouts?
10. Peyton Manning, Broncos
NOTE: King of continuity heads to new city.
11. Tony Romo, Cowboys
NOTE: Trouble with his supporting cast.
12. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
13. Andrew Luck, Colts
NOTE: Blew his cover with snappy preseason debut.
14. Robert Griffin III, Redskins
15. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
NOTE: Could be a sleeper offense if key guys stay healthy.
16. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
NOTE: Will get most of the lost stats back.
17. Matt Schaub, Texans
NOTE: Nothing special to see here.
18. Jay Cutler, Bears
19. Carson Palmer, Raiders
NOTE: Good setup, but he'll make some loose throws.
20. Joe Flacco, Ravens
21. Andy Dalton, Bengals
22. Alex Smith, Niners
NOTE: They've added pieces, but do they trust him?
23. Matt Cassel, Chiefs
24. Christian Ponder, Vikings
NOTE: Vastly improved in Season 2.
25. Jake Locker, Titans
26. Sam Bradford, Rams
NOTE: The jury is getting restless.
27. Matt Flynn, Seahawks
28. John Skelton, Cardinals
29. Mark Sanchez, Jets
NOTE: Sabotaged by his own organization.
30. Tim Tebow, Jets
31. Matt Hasselbeck, Titans
32. Brandon Weeden, Broncos
33. Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars
34. Kevin Kolb, Cardinals
35. Matt Moore, Dolphins
36. David Garrard, Dolphins
NOTE: When you have three quarterbacks, you have a problem.
37. Chad Henne, Jaguars
38. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
39. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
40. Shaun Hill, Lions

Running Back

1. Arian Foster, Texans
2. Ray Rice, Ravens
3. LeSean McCoy, Eagles
4. Chris Johnson, Titans
NOTE: Strangely enough, he's a high-floor pick.
5. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
6. Matt Forte, Bears
NOTE: A force between the 20s, but often pulled at goal.
7. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
8. Darren McFadden, Raiders
NOTE: Already missed 19 pro games.
9. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
10. Trent Richardson, Browns
NOTE: How quickly can he get healthy?
11. Fred Jackson, Bills
12. Steven Jackson, Rams
13. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
NOTE: Looks good, but they like Hillis as well.
14. Michael Turner, Falcons
NOTE: On his last legs, but still a goal-line factor.
15. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
NOTE: No one knows the right answer here.
16. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
NOTE: Gets points for toughness, but the surgeries keep adding up.
17. Doug Martin, Buccaneers
NOTE: How soon can he claim job?
18. Ryan Mathews, Chargers
19. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals
NOTE: Vanilla all the way, but in a good spot.
20. Frank Gore, Niners
NOTE: Air is seeping out, and there's depth here.
21. Darren Sproles, Saints
22. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
23. Willis McGahee, Broncos
24. Donald Brown, Colts
NOTE: Has significant growth potential.
25. Reggie Bush, Dolphins
26. Peyton Hillis, Chiefs
NOTE: Reunited with OC from breakout 2010.
27. Shonn Greene, Jets
28. Ben Tate, Texans
NOTE: The most intriguing backup in the league; mad upside.
29. Beanie Wells, Cardinals
NOTE: No one likes him, not even the Cards.
30. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
31. Isaac Redman, Steelers
NOTE: Looked like a nifty sleeper before groin injury.
32. Stevan Ridley, Patriots
NOTE: There's some upside here, but team typically rotates backs.
33. C.J. Spiller, Bills
34. Mark Ingram, Saints
35. Roy Helu, Redskins
NOTE: Nicked up, and Shanahan loves to trick us.
36. Michael Bush, Bears
37. Pierre Thomas, Saints
38. Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons
NOTE: Exciting youngster will cut into Turner's time.
39. Toby Gerhart, Vikings
NOTE: Better than you think.
40. Kevin Smith, Lions
NOTE: By default, could be Detroit's starter.
41. Ryan Williams, Cardinals
42. James Starks, Packers
43. Rashad Jennings, Jaguars
NOTE: Ready to go if MJD isn't placated.
44. Isaiah Pead, Rams
45. Evan Royster, Redskins
46. David Wilson, Giants
47. Shane Vereen, Patriots
48. Alex Green, Packers
49. LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers
NOTE: Has he finally grown up?
50. Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
51. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
NOTE: Doubtful they force him into action right away.
52. Mike Goodson, Raiders
53. Felix Jones, Cowboys
54. Bernard Scott, Bengals
55. Cedric Benson, Packers
NOTE: On his last legs, but has a chance to start.
56. Ronnie Brown, Chargers
NOTE: Nothing special, but Mathews is hurt.
57. Kendall Hunter, Niners
58. Montarrio Hardesty, Browns
59. Bilal Powell, Jets
NOTE: Greene doesn't have infinite leash.
60. Taiwan Jones, Raiders
61. Tim Hightower, Redskins
62. Mikel Leshoure, Lions
NOTE: Out two games from drug suspension.
63. LeRon McClain, Chargers
64. Joe McKnight, Jets
65. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
66. Mike Tolbert, Panthers
67. Daniel Thomas, Dolphins
68. Alfred Morris, Redskins
NOTE: Any Washington back could emerge, that's how it works.
69. Robert Turbin, Seahawks
70. LaMichael James, Niners
71. Brandon Jacobs, Niners
72. Javon Ringer, Titans
73. Jahvid Best, Lions
74. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals
75. D.J. Ware, Giants

Wide Receiver

1. Calvin Johnson, Lions
NOTE: In a tier of his own.
2. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
NOTE: A shift to Skelton would be appreciated.
3. A.J. Green, Bengals
4. Roddy White, Falcons
5. Julio Jones, Falcons
NOTE: Looks like obvious breakout player.
6. Jordy Nelson, Packers
7. Mike Wallace, Steelers
8. Wes Welker, Patriots
9. Victor Cruz, Giants
10. Hakeem Nicks, Giants
NOTE: Coming back from foot injury.
11. Andre Johnson, Texans
12. Greg Jennings, Packers
NOTE: Go away, concussion problems.
13. Steve Smith, Panthers
14. Miles Austin, Cowboys
15. Marques Colston, Saints
16. Brandon Marshall, Bears
17. Percy Harvin, Vikings
NOTE: Those rushing yards come in handy.
18. Eric Decker, Broncos
19. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
20. Antonio Brown, Steelers
NOTE: Should be in 7-9 touchdown range this year.
21. Stevie Johnson, Bills
22. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
23. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
NOTE: In a contract snit.
24. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots
NOTE: Back with Josh McDaniels, though Pats are crowded.
25. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
26. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
27. DeSean Jackson, Eagles
28. Robert Meachem, Chargers
NOTE: You worry about him changing teams.
29. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
NOTE: Oakland's wideouts are plenty deep.
30. Torrey Smith, Ravens
31. Pierre Garcon, Redskins
32. Denarius Moore, Raiders
33. Reggie Wayne, Colts
NOTE: Lots of bargains on this offense.
34. Lance Moore, Saints
NOTE: Has mind meld working with Brees.
35. Malcom Floyd, Chargers
36. Greg Little, Browns
37. Austin Collie, Colts
38. Kenny Britt, Titans
NOTE: Is he worth the constant headache?
39. Anquan Boldin, Ravens
NOTE: Upside has left the building.
40. Santonio Holmes, Jets
NOTE: When's the last time you really trusted him?
41. Nate Washington, Titans
NOTE: Underrated by everyone, Tennessee included.
42. Michael Crabtree, Niners
43. Titus Young, Lions
NOTE: Upside candidate, though he's trendy.
44. Mike Williams, Buccaneers
45. Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
46. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
NOTE: Most reliable wideout here.
47. Danny Amendola, Rams
48. Sidney Rice, Seahawks
NOTE: Uncertain health encouraged Owens move.
49. Justin Blackmon, Jaguars
50. Jonathan Baldwin, Chiefs
NOTE: Should be much improved in Year 2.
51. James Jones, Packers
NOTE: Never will be a star, but could elevate if others are hurt.
52. Vincent Brown, Chargers
53. Brandon LaFell, Panthers
NOTE: No sure thing but has ability.
54. Kendall Wright, Titans
NOTE: Might be needed right away.
55. Nate Burleson, Lions
56. Randall Cobb, Packers
57. David Nelson, Bills
58. Terrell Owens, Seahawks
NOTE: We're not expecting much.
59. Davone Bess, Dolphins
60. Randy Moss, Niners
NOTE: See Terrell Owens.
61. Leonard Hankerson, Redskins
62. Jerome Simpson, Vikings
63. Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers
64. Steve Smith, Rams
NOTE: He's raised eyebrows in camp.
65. Alshon Jeffery, Bears
66. Josh Morgan, Redskins
67. Santana Moss, Redskins
68. Stephen Hill, Jets
69. Rueben Randle, Giants
70. Mario Manningham, Niners
71. Donald Jones, Bills
NOTE: Still in running for starting spot.
72. Michael Floyd, Cardinals
NOTE: Hasn't picked up pro game very quickly.
73. Devery Henderson, Saints
74. Early Doucet, Cardinals
75. Brian Quick, Rams
76. Mohamed Sanu, Bengals
77. Steve Breaston, Chiefs
78. Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns
79. Jason Avant, Eagles
80. Brandon Stokley, Broncos
81. Josh Gordon, Browns
82. Earl Bennett, Bears
83. Danario Alexander, Rams
84. Kevin Walter, Texans
85. Golden Tate, Seahawks
NOTE: Struggling for a prominent role.
86. Devin Hester, Bears
NOTE: No one is impressed anymore.
87. Andre Caldwell, Broncos
88. Jeremy Kerley, Jets
89. Jacoby Ford, Raiders
90. Mike Thomas, Jaguars
91. Riley Cooper, Eagles
92. Chaz Schilens, Jets
93. Eddie Royal, Chargers
94. Donald Driver, Packers
NOTE: Not much left in the tank.

Tight End

1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2. Jimmy Graham, Saints
NOTE: Interchangeable with Gronk, do what you like.
3. Antonio Gates, Chargers
NOTE: Moving well in early camp.
4. Jermichael Finley, Packers
NOTE: Mad skills, but drops too many passes.
5. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
6. Vernon Davis, Niners
NOTE: Finally has feel of Harbaugh's offense.
7. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
8. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
9. Jason Witten, Cowboys
NOTE: Spleen injury is worrisome.
10. Fred Davis, Redskins
NOTE: Super receiver, but has he grown up?
11. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals
12. Jacob Tamme, Broncos
NOTE: Knows Manning, but will he play at goal?
13. Brent Celek, Eagles
14. Jared Cook, Titans
NOTE: Trendy sleeper, but let him come to you.
15. Greg Olsen, Panthers
16. Dustin Keller, Jets
17. Owen Daniels, Texans
18. Coby Fleener, Colts
NOTE: Played with Luck at Stanford.
19. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
NOTE: A tight end not bogged down by the dirty work, which is good.
20. Heath Miller, Steelers
21. Dennis Pitta, Ravens
22. Martellus Bennett, Giants
NOTE: A sleeper, just ask him.
23. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
24. Dwayne Allen, Colts
25. Anthony Fasano, Dolphins
26. Evan Moore, Browns
NOTE: So underrated, he's actually overrated.
27. Lance Kendricks, Rams
28. Scott Chandler, Bills
29. Tony Moeaki, Chiefs
30. Kellen Davis, Bears
31. Tony Scheffler, Lions
32. Ed Dickson, Ravens
33. John Carlson, Vikings
34. Dallas Clark, Buccaneers
NOTE: The bus left for good a while ago.

Kicker

1. David Akers, Niners
NOTE: Deserves this slot, but don't chase 2011 stats.
2. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
3. Mason Crosby, Packers
4. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders
NOTE: Long-distance leg, but still a wild card.
5. Alex Henery, Eagles
6. Matt Bryant, Falcons
NOTE: Could be a fun offense to bankroll.
7. Dan Bailey, Cowboys
8. Rob Bironas, Titans
9. Robbie Gould, Bears
10. Randy Bullock, Texans
NOTE: Great situation, but make sure he wins job.
11. Matt Prater, Broncos
12. Jason Hanson, Lions
NOTE: When does the age start to show?
13. Garrett Hartley, Saints
14. Neil Rackers, Redskins
15. Billy Cundiff, Ravens
NOTE: Had a good season before playoff mishap.
16. Nate Kaeding, Chargers
17. Mike Nugent, Bengals
18. Lawrence Tynes, Giants
19. Shaun Suisham, Steelers
NOTE: Good luck kicking in Heinz Field.
20. Steven Hauschka, Seahawks
21. Ryan Succop, Chiefs
22. Jay Feely, Cardinals
23. Rian Lindell, Bills
NOTE: WInd tunnel doesn't help him.
24. Phil Dawson, Browns
25. Connor Barth, Buccaneers
26. Dan Carpenter, Dolphins
27. Josh Scobee, Jaguars
28. Josh Brown, Jets
NOTE: This offense looks absolutely toxic.
29. Adam Vinatieri, Colts
30. Greg Zuerlein, Rams
31. Justin Medlock, Panthers
32. Blair Walsh, Vikings
33. John Kasay, Saints
34. Olindo Mare, Panthers
35. Nick Folk, Jets
36. Nick Novak, Chargers
37. Shayne Graham, Texans

Defense

1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Green Bay Packers
3. New York Giants
4. Philadelphia Eagles
5. Chicago Bears
6. Seattle Seahawks
NOTE: Especially nasty at home.
7. Buffalo Bills
8. Detroit Lions
9. Dallas Cowboys
NOTE: Follow the sacks.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
11. New England Patriots
12. New York Jets
13. Houston Texans
14. Baltimore Ravens
NOTE: A sure bet to be overdrafted - avoid.
15. Denver Broncos
16. Kansas City Chiefs
NOTE: A tough out at Arrowhead.
17. Atlanta Falcons
18. Cincinnati Bengals
19. Arizona Cardinals
NOTE: A few playmakers offer runback juice.
20. San Diego Chargers
21. Minnesota Vikings
NOTE: Even with Jared Allen, not much here.
22. Tennessee Titans
23. Washington Redskins
24. Carolina Panthers
25. Cleveland Browns
NOTE: A better group than many realize.
26. New Orleans Saints
27. Oakland Raiders
28. Miami Dolphins
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
30. St. Louis Rams
31. Indianapolis Colts
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
NOTE: Offense will sell them down the river.

Kris Bryant’s MVP performance leads Cubs to comeback win at Dodger Stadium

Kris Bryant’s MVP performance leads Cubs to comeback win at Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES – The “MVP! MVP! MVP!” chants started at Dodger Stadium late Friday night, Cubs fans celebrating Kris Bryant’s two-run homer in the 10th inning and cheering on this entertaining comeback win.

Until Clayton Kershaw returns to full strength, stares down hitters from 60 feet, six inches and unleashes his entire arsenal, it’s impossible to know how the Cubs would stack up against Los Angeles in October. But it’s still safe to say this would be an epic playoff matchup between two big-market, star-studded franchises, with two iconic ballparks becoming the backdrop, celebrity row after celebrity row.

As a quiet homebody who happens to have his own billboards and marketing deals – but doesn’t do bulletin-board quotes or brag about his game – Bryant is not exactly a Hollywood personality. But this is also a goal-oriented individual who doesn’t shy away from the pressure and the expectations and absolutely wants to be the best at his craft.

The Cubs won this round with Bryant, who launched his 34th and 35th home runs in a 6-4 victory, an MVP-worthy season becoming the sequel to his Rookie of the Year campaign.

“It’s humbling,” Bryant said. “You grow up hearing that kind of stuff on TV. To experience it in real life is pretty cool.”

It became hard to hear Bryant inside the visiting clubhouse, because teammates chanted “MVP!” and sung along with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre as “Nuthin But a G Thang” played on the sound system. But for most of the night, it looked like it would be a silent room postgame as the resilient Dodgers took 3-1 and 4-2 leads.

Until the eighth inning, when Bryant launched a home run off Joe Blanton that landed in the center-field seats blocked off for the batter’s eye. And then the ninth inning showed why manager Joe Maddon will want Gold Glove outfielder Jason Heyward in a playoff lineup.

In the middle of a frustrating offensive season where he’s felt the weight of a $184 million contract, Heyward led off by ripping a double into the right-field corner off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. Heyward hustled to third base when new Dodgers catcher Carlos Ruiz couldn’t handle strike three against Jorge Soler. Heyward ran home to score the game-tying run when a Jansen wild pitch sailed toward the backstop.

That set the stage for Bryant, who brought up the fielding error he made in the fifth inning during his postgame interview on Channel 7 after hitting the game-winning homer off lefty Adam Liberatore. All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo may set the tone in the clubhouse, but Bryant already brings tunnel vision and a high degree of professionalism to an 82-45 team, even at the age of 24. 

“He just doesn’t quit,” Heyward said. “He wants to be in every spot. He goes up there and has his at-bat – and that’s it.

“You can talk about why he’s been hitting the ball well, this and that, but he has a good approach. It’s that simple. Other than that, he works his tail off every day to try and go out there and help us win.

“When you have that gift – and you have that work ethic – the bottom line is a lot of good things can happen.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

A resourceful $250 million team won’t fade away, even with Kershaw (back) not pitching for two months, one of 27 players the Dodgers have stashed on the disabled list, tying a major-league record. Los Angeles has cycled through 14 different starting pitchers, relying on depth, a powerful lineup and a strong bullpen to surge into first place and hold onto a one-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.

“How about last year?” Maddon said. “We beat up on the Mets during the season, we go (into the playoffs) and we can’t even touch them. It’s such a different animal. People get hot or people get cold.

“I’m not going to diminish the fact I’m going to be paying attention. But things change. Trends can be so trendy, to quote Yogi. So I don’t get too far ahead, because things can change very quickly.”

Like Bryant going from a promising player with a few holes in his swing who looked worn down at times last season – to an MVP frontrunner with a .303 average, 89 RBI, 107 runs scored, a .982 OPS and the versatility to play third base, defensively shift across the infield and move to the outfield.

Kershaw vs. Bryant would be must-see TV in October.

In the Gym at EFT: Wide receiver skill development

In the Gym at EFT: Wide receiver skill development

In the first edition of EFT Football Academy, TF North graduate Landon Cox, who was a star wide receiver at Northern Illinois and later in the NFL, shares some tips on how to become a better receiver and be more efficient on the field.

Cox is a Performance Specialist and wide receiver coach at EFT. In this segment Cox works on a few different techniques with Warren Township junior wide receiver Micah Jones.

EFT has evolved into the premier elite performance training facility in the Midwest, where every EFT football coach has NFL experience and the dedication to helping each player reach their potential. The EFT Football Academy is designed to assist in the development of grade school, high school, and collegiate football players.

Some of their off-season training experience includes 70+ active NFL athletes, six Super Bowl Champions, six Olympics, and more.

[MORE: High School Lites Football Roundup: Week 1]

In addition, performance includes explosive power development, positional movement pattern development, proper spring and change of direction mechanics, and more. Every EFT workout focuses on improving each athlete's overall abilities like speed development, agility and mobility, acceleration and deceleration, and strength and condition — just to name a few.

Former Bears wide receiver Devin Hester called it "the best workout in the world."

Watch Cox's tips in the video above, and be sure to look out for next week's edition on CSNChicago.com.

How Mike Montgomery fits into big-picture plans for Cubs

How Mike Montgomery fits into big-picture plans for Cubs

LOS ANGELES – In their never-ending search for young pitching, the Cubs discussed a Matt Moore deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, but wouldn’t consider trading Kyle Schwarber. To get Moore at the Aug. 1 deadline, the San Francisco Giants had to surrender the runner-up to Kris Bryant in last season’s National League Rookie of the Year race (Matt Duffy), plus two more prospects.

Moore finished one out short of a no-hitter on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, throwing 133 pitches against a deep Los Angeles lineup, two-plus years after having Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. Whether or not Moore helps shift the balance of power in the National League West, the Cubs should still have enough pitching.

To get through October. As long as John Lackey (shoulder) comes off the disabled list in early September and the rest of the rotation stays healthy. Surviving next season and beyond could be a different story, if Jake Arrieta becomes another team’s 2018 Opening Day starter, if Jon Lester breaks down in the middle of that $155 million megadeal and assuming Lackey finally retires around the 3,000-inning mark.

All that makes Mike Montgomery an interesting lefty swingman if the Cubs are going to maintain The Foundation for Sustained Success.

“I think he is a major-league starter, regardless of what happens tonight,” manager Joe Maddon said before Friday’s wild 6-4 comeback win that took 10 innings at Dodger Stadium. “This guy has the ability to be a solid major-league starter based on his strength level, his delivery, the variety of pitches that he throws. The strike-throwing ability is exceptional. He’s got all those different things going on.

“Just be a little bit patient with (him) and let him get his feet on the ground somewhere, because he’s the kind of guy that can take off if he gets comfortable in his environment.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

If Montgomery didn’t ace this audition, he also didn’t bomb against a first-place team in front of a big crowd (48,609), either, showing the potential the Cubs saw in making last month’s trade with the Seattle Mariners.

Montgomery kept the Cubs in the game before Bryant’s clutch performance, allowing three runs in five innings and minimizing the damage on a night where he didn’t have pinpoint control (four walks, hit batter, wild pitch, 49 strikes across 91 pitches).

The Cubs are in trouble if Montgomery somehow winds up in this year’s playoff rotation, but he checks a lot of boxes for the future as someone with youth (27), size (6-foot-5), first-round/top-prospect pedigree, a high groundball rate and a service-time clock that won’t make him a free agent until after the 2021 season.