Evan Silva

Goal Line Stand

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Silva's Updated Top 150

Friday, August 24, 2012

Third Round

25. Cam Newton (ADP: Mid 2nd round) -- Forget, for a minute, last year's rushing TDs and whether they're "repeatable." Newton is the most physically dominant young player in football, and I think it's only a matter of time (this year or next) before he takes over as the overall fantasy scoring leader and consensus No. 1 pick. Perhaps I'm a year early, but I'll be betting on this player going forward. I like Cam as the No. 1 fantasy quarterback, passing Rodgers, Brady, and Brees.

26. Aaron Rodgers (ADP: 3rd overall) -- Rodgers is the best player in the NFL. I have a third-round fantasy grade on him because he plays a deep position in a passing league where each year numerous passers emerge from the middle- and late-round woodwork to score at "elite" rates. I think Newton, Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Vick, Stafford, and Ryan will provide first-tier 2012 production. I'd much rather grab Vick or Ryan while trying for this year's Stafford or Newton later in the draft than blow my early-round wad on a quarterback. It's basic Supply & Demand.

27. Tom Brady (ADP: 5th overall) -- I was asked recently which quarterback I think offers the highest upside at quarterback, which the highest "floor," and which the best combination of upside and floor. My answer to the latter two queries was Brady. I answered Newton to the first.

28. Drew Brees (ADP: 8th overall) -- Seven straight seasons of top-six quarterback stats lock in Brees as an elite producer even without Robert Meachem and Carl Nicks. The additional loss of Sean Payton is not a concern for Brees' fantasy outlook. OC Pete Carmichael returns, and the 2011 offense averaged 36 more yards and over seven more points per game with Carmichael calling plays. Carmichael did so from Week 7 on, after Payton blew out his knee on the sideline.

29. Michael Vick (ADP: Early 5th round) -- Vick's ADP has been torpedoed by a perfect storm of factors. One legion of owners simply does not believe in Vick. Never did. Another legion bought on Vick last season, and came away disappointed. A third legion has watched this year's preseason games. Vick got nicked up in each of the first two weeks, so he obviously can't stay healthy. Aggressive, forward-looking fantasy owners will pounce on Vick in the third or fourth round. He's a weekly difference maker, and he is the No. 1 value pick quarterback in 2012 drafts.

30. Matthew Stafford (ADP: 12th overall) -- I banged the table for Stafford as a value pick in 2011 drafts, and he rewarded "risk" takers with a top-five quarterback season at the cost of a seventh-round pick. Now a full year removed from injury, Stafford's ADP takes him off my radar. Fantasy drafts are a value game, and I'd rather target Vick or Matt Ryan several rounds later.

31. Brandon Lloyd (ADP: Late 4th round) -- The Patriots' offense will go deep more as Josh McDaniels replaces Bill O'Brien, and Lloyd will benefit from single coverage while defenses key up to stop Gronk, Hernandez, and Welker. Lloyd's ADP has risen with Rotoworld pumping him up, but he's still worth it in the fourth round. He'll be drafted as a WR2 and score like a WR1.

32. Percy Harvin (ADP: Mid 4th round) -- Chris Wesseling recently suggested that the Vikings' 2012 offense could be a sneaky goldmine for fantasy value. My offseason game reviews of Christian Ponder uncovered a better-than-advertised arm, and Harvin was an absolute machine after Ponder took the reins as a rookie, averaging well over 100 yards per game with seven TDs in the final seven weeks. Harvin is being drafted as a WR2, but he's the rare receiver who can score like a WR1 in both PPR and non-PPR formats. Ponder is willing to force feed him the ball.

33. Steve Smith (ADP: Mid 4th round) -- Defenses schemed to take away Smith down last season's stretch, but it didn't end well for opponents. Carolina won four of its final six games -- three by blowout -- while playing playoff teams Detroit and Atlanta tough. Teams will have to figure out different ways to defend this offense, which ranked seventh in the NFL in 2011 and looks like a top-five unit for 2012. Smith returns as the featured player in Rob Chudzinski's vertical scheme.

34. Brandon Marshall (ADP: Early 3rd round) -- Hype was heavy on Marshall after a pair of long catches in Chicago's second preseason game, but there are a few things to remember. His value has always been superior in PPR compared to standard because he struggles in the red zone and doesn't go deep. I think Marshall is being a bit overrated in TD- and yard-heavy leagues.

35. Jordy Nelson (ADP: Late 3rd round) -- As alluded to previously, only Calvin Johnson scored more fantasy points among receivers than Nelson in 2011. While Nelson's efficiency stats were seemingly flukily off the charts, I think he has legitimately developed into a top-ten NFL wide receiver and will continue to outscore teammate Greg Jennings. Rodgers shows impressive trust in Nelson by throwing him the ball in up-for-grabs situations. I think he's every bit worth his ADP.

36. Jeremy Maclin (ADP: Late 5th round) -- In another case of fantasy leaguers relying on last year's stats, Maclin is shaping up as one of the premier value picks at receiver. We're quick to forget he had the look of a future All Pro in 2010, before Maclin's 2011 performance was affected by mysterious offseason illness, leading to significant weight loss. Maclin is Vick's best red-zone target, and clearly a more complete wideout than DeSean Jackson. He has a boatload of upside.

Fourth Round

37. Demaryius Thomas (ADP: Mid 5th round) -- Thomas' ADP has fallen noticeably and steadily since camp opened in late July, largely for reasons unknown. Is he not creating enough "buzz" for you? Thomas had three catches for 28 yards in Denver's second preseason game and a nice first-down grab called back by penalty in the opener. Peyton Manning's less-than-stellar August might explain Thomas' slip. I still expect Thomas to emerge as the NFL's premier run-after-catch receiver this season. It's worth noting that Eric Decker ran more vertical routes than Thomas last year. Thomas was the underneath-to-intermediate guy. He's not just a deep threat.

38. Antonio Brown (ADP: Early 5th round) -- The game tape shows Brown to be not quite as dynamic as Mike Wallace, and certainly not of similar ilk in the minds of opposing defensive coordinators. But we are projecting stats here, not debating the on-field impact of double and triple teams. Wallace's return is good news for Brown's fantasy outlook. Wallace will continue to command heavy coverage from opposing secondaries while Brown guts them inside the numbers.

39. Roddy White (ADP: Mid 3rd round) -- The fantasy owners still drafting White in the second and third rounds haven't paid enough attention. While White should continue to see a healthy dose of targets in Atlanta's pass-heavy offense, even Roddy himself admits Julio Jones will be the featured player in Dirk Koetter's attack. Jones is a WR1. White is a middling WR2.

40. Aaron Hernandez (ADP: Mid 5th round) -- When you get past Graham, Gronkowski, and Gates in your draft, I think you've lost the chance to acquire a difference maker at tight end. But Hernandez can keep you competitive with a high volume of touches and plenty of playmaking ability in a high-scoring offense. Jermichael Finley and Vernon Davis are next up. Finley's on-field play can be maddeningly inconsistent, and San Francisco's run-first philosophy holds Davis back.

41. Marques Colston (ADP: Late 4th round) -- Colston missed two games last year and still ranked 11th among fantasy receivers. He was eighth in wideout scoring per game. Those are legitimate WR1 numbers. Though Jimmy Graham has overtaken him as the Saints' top receiver, New Orleans' pass-happy attack allows plenty of volume for two upper-echelon fantasy producers. Be it with PPR or non-PPR settings, I think you're in great shape if you secure Colston as a WR2.

42. Victor Cruz (ADP: Late 3rd round) -- If Cruz has any edge on teammate Nicks, it is superior versatility. Cruz can play X, Z, and slot receiver, running a diverse and full route tree in OC Kevin Gilbride's vertical offense. Nicks primarily sticks to the sideline, securing just about everything thrown his way with body control and massive mitts. I think Nicks will score more like the WR1 this year, but Cruz won't be too far off. He's another terrific WR2 regardless of format.

43. Greg Jennings (ADP: Mid 3rd round) -- A precision route runner who moves around the formation more than you might think, Jennings was a top-ten receiver before succumbing to regular season-ending knee injury after 13 games in 2011. In these rankings, I gave Jordy Nelson the slight edge on Jennings in 2012 projected scoring. But I really think it could go either way.

44. Maurice Jones-Drew (ADP: 14th overall) -- Jones-Drew is still being drafted as if he's going to be just fine. The history of holdout running backs suggests there's little chance of that, and Rashad Jennings' impressive preseason bodes especially poorly for MJD's odds of seeing a workload remotely resembling last year's. There is a ton of risk in drafting Jones-Drew, and I don't think the possible reward is worth it. I wouldn't even consider it before the middle of round four.

45. Darren Sproles (ADP: Mid 3rd round) -- It's still difficult to grasp relying on a standard-league back as an every-week starter when he's not even a lock for 100-plus carries. A very new-wave player, Sproles qualifies because he catches so many passes and is second in line for red-zone work in New Orleans' backfield, essentially rotating there with Mark Ingram. Receptions gain more yards than rushing attempts, anyway, and Sproles has a "floor" of around 6-7 touchdowns.

46. Eric Decker (ADP: Late 5th round)

47. Dwayne Bowe (ADP: Late 5th round)

48. Wes Welker (ADP: Mid 3rd round)

Fifth Round

49. Matt Ryan (ADP: Mid 4th round)

50. Trent Richardson (ADP: Early 3rd round)

51. Ahmad Bradshaw (ADP: Early 4th round)

52. Jermichael Finley (ADP: Early 6th round)

53. Mike Wallace (ADP: Late 4th round) -- I love Wallace's game. I think he is better than Antonio Brown. But after missing Todd Haley's offensive install by holding out of OTAs and the first month of camp, Wallace has just two weeks to learn Haley's system on the fly. My concern is Wallace will open the year as a clear-out receiver, running deep patterns to take coverage while Brown racks up stats underneath. I'm worried Wallace will be very inconsistent. I hope I'm wrong.

54. Vernon Davis (ADP: Mid 6th round)

55. Vincent Jackson (ADP: Mid 6th round)

56. Kevin Smith (ADP: Mid 6th round)

57. Willis McGahee (ADP: Early 5th round)

58. Frank Gore (ADP: Early 4th round) -- I'd rather take Kendall Hunter in the 12th round. Gore's passing-game role has evaporated in Jim Harbaugh's offense (17 catches in '11), and he's slated to lose goal-line work to Brandon Jacobs while Hunter and LaMichael James steal open-field snaps. I think Gore has a shot at RB2 value for the season's first month and a half, but expect his field time to dwindle down the stretch with Hunter eventually taking over as lead back.

59. Stevan Ridley (ADP: Mid 7th round)

60. Stevie Johnson (ADP: Early 6th round)

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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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