The following is a direct quote from 2014 National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) grand-prize winner Oliver Gold's debut column on Rotoworld:
Guides and experts are very helpful. I would go so far as to say without them, you are really at a disadvantage. But, treating them as gospel is a sure way to end up in the middle of the pack. If you want to win it all, you have to customize those rankings. Make them your own, based on an informed opinion.
Editor's Note: For customized rankings, projections and more more, get the Rotoworld Draft Guide.
As Oliver alluded to, these rankings should be treated as a sort-of rough draft for rankings you make on your own. Use these as a first copy, customize them to fit your personal preferences and league settings. Use the information you glean throughout training camp and preseason to adjust players up and down the board. If you're an early-quarterback drafter, for instance, move up Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck. If you think Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham should be ranked higher than I have them, make that adjustment in your own cheatsheet. If you indeed personalize your rankings, I'd be willing to wager you'll feel a lot more comfortable with and confident in the fantasy picks you make on draft day.
For far-more intensive player and team-situation writeups and rankings explanations, read my Team Fantasy Preview series at this link.
1. Le'Veon Bell -- Averaged 26.8 PPR points per game from Week 7 on last year.
2. Jamaal Charles -- Top-8 fantasy running back in four of his last five seasons.
3. Eddie Lacy -- Arguably has highest floor of this year's top-shelf fantasy RB1s.
4. Adrian Peterson -- Bell, Charles, Lacy, Peterson all in mix for the 1.01 pick.
5. Rob Gronkowski -- Healthiest offseason in years. Candidate to lead NFL in TDs.
6. Marshawn Lynch -- 29 years old, but showing zero signs of on-field slowdown.
7. Julio Jones -- Will vacuum targets with Roddy aging and very little at tight end.
8. Dez Bryant -- Still only 26. Top-6 fantasy receiver in three consecutive seasons.
9. Antonio Brown -- Has streak of 5+ catches and 50+ yards in 33 straight games.
10. Arian Foster -- Last year's overall RB2 in non-PPR points per game, RB3 in PPR.
11. Demaryius Thomas -- Mammoth TD potential with Julius Thomas gone to JAX.
12. Odell Beckham -- Last year's overall fantasy WR5 despite missing four games.
13. C.J. Anderson -- 3-down back in Peyton O. 10 TDs over last 8 games of 2014.
14. DeMarco Murray -- New bellcow back in the NFL's highest-volume offense.
15. Calvin Johnson -- 98-1,458-12 receiving pace in the second half of last season.
16. Matt Forte -- Rushing efficiency dipping and may lose receptions in new O.
17. Jeremy Hill -- Led NFL in rushing yards & YPC (5.40) over last 9 games of '14.
18. Jordy Nelson -- Had offseason hip surgery. Top-12 WR1 in 3 of his last 4 years.
19. A.J. Green -- Top-13 WR in fantasy PPG last year despite debilitating toe injury.
20. Alshon Jeffery -- Will be a target monster with Brandon Marshall out of CHI.
21. LeSean McCoy -- Potential trap pick in top two rounds for reasons given here.
22. T.Y. Hilton -- Contract year. Has developed Rodgers/Jordy-like bond with Luck.
23. Mike Evans -- Evans finished as the fantasy WR11 in his age-21 rookie season.
24. Randall Cobb -- TD regression likely, but has safe floor as Rodgers' No. 2 option.
25. Justin Forsett -- Lead back in one of NFL's top rushing Os. Catches could spike.
26. Andrew Luck -- Flush with weapons in NFL's highest-volume passing offense.
27. Aaron Rodgers -- Top-2 fantasy quarterback in six of the last seven seasons.
28. DeAndre Hopkins -- Will see huge target bump in post-Andre Johnson era.
29. Frank Gore -- Receiving & TD chances should soar in high-powered offense.
30. Lamar Miller -- Last year's overall RB9. Dolphins open to increasing his carries.
31. Melvin Gordon -- Will be clear lead RB in good offense with improved O-Line.
32. Mark Ingram -- High TD ceiling with 4.65 YPC average over his last 23 games.
33. C.J. Spiller -- RB1 candidate in PPR. Downgrade to fifth round in non-PPR.
34. Jimmy Graham -- His catches will drop, but double-digit TD potential intact.
35. Jordan Matthews -- Fantasy WR24 as 22yo rookie. Snaps & targets will climb.
36. Brandin Cooks -- Heavy favorite to lead Saints in catches and receiving yards.
37. Jonathan Stewart -- Panthers bellcow with DeAngelo Williams gone to PIT.
38. Alfred Morris -- Has been a top-15 fantasy back in each of his first 3 seasons.
39. Andre Johnson -- Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks free up 184 combined targets.
40. Todd Gurley -- Ray Summerlin talked Gurley's situation in this great column.
41. Brandon Marshall -- QB play is a concern, but Marshall's targets shouldn't be.
42. Emmanuel Sanders -- Expects role to be reduced in more-balanced offense.
43. Kelvin Benjamin -- Dip in targets likely after he ranked sixth in NFL last year.
44. Keenan Allen -- Went from WR17 as rookie to WR48 last year. Still only 23yo.
45. T.J. Yeldon -- Will be 3-down RB, but limited TD upside if Jags are bad again.
46. Carlos Hyde -- Two-down back on potentially bad team with major OL issues.
47. Ameer Abdullah -- Dynamic all-purpose playmaker in a good Lions offense.
48. DeSean Jackson -- Boom-bust weekly WR2. Have to weather his slow games.
49. Allen Robinson -- Bortles is a concern, but "A-Rob" will be heavily targeted.
50. Joseph Randle -- Questionable talent, great situation. In driver's seat to start.
51. Travis Kelce -- Huge talent, but could become overvalued at his climbing ADP.
52. Golden Tate -- Pace stats were 87-1,065-2 in Calvin's healthy games last year.
53. Russell Wilson -- Last year's overall QB3 added born-TD scorer Jimmy Graham.
54. Andre Ellington -- Averaged 3.28 YPC last year while breaking down physically.
55. Jeremy Maclin -- Difference-maker WR1 in Philly becomes low-end WR2 in K.C.
56. Latavius Murray -- Looks the part, but likely to be a two-down RB on bad team.
57. Sammy Watkins -- A lock to frustrate with disastrous QB play in run-first attack.
58. Amari Cooper -- Could be rookie volume monster as Raiders' clear-cut No. 1 WR.
59. Julian Edelman -- Volume- and PPR-dependent WR2/3 who doesn't score TDs.
60. Rashad Jennings -- Great value after 6th round. Will remain Giants lead back.
61. Tevin Coleman -- Big-play runner needs to beat out Devonta Freeman cleanly.
62. LeGarrette Blount -- Underrated RB3/flex pick in non-PPR drafts. Will score TDs.
63. Jarvis Landry -- Went on 105-catch pace over final 9 games of his rookie season.
64. Mike Wallace -- Has been top-30 fantasy wideout in each of his 6 NFL seasons.
65. Vincent Jackson -- Should benefit from positive TD regression. Only had 2 in '14.
66. Martavis Bryant -- Will he start? May only be situational deep threat this year.
67. Peyton Manning -- Overvalued at least year's first-round ADP. Now a bargain.
68. Greg Olsen -- A bit overrated coming off career year. Targets likely to decline.
69. Breshad Perriman -- Offers high-end WR2 upside if he nails down starting job.
70. Martellus Bennett -- Red-zone usage should increase in Denver-style offense.
71. Chris Ivory -- The early-down/goal-line RB in Jets offense that could surprise.
72. Nelson Agholor -- If he earns full-time role, should be a WR3 with WR2 upside.
73. Shane Vereen -- Most desirable in PPR. Will catch passes but won't score TDs.
74. Joique Bell -- Concerning amount of red flags. Beat writers still think he'll start.
75. Doug Martin -- Likely to win Bucs lead back job, but 2-down RB on a bad team.
76. Eric Decker -- Could take off if Brandon Marshall takes a step back at age 31.
77. Ben Roethlisberger -- Top-3 fantasy QB upside. Great weapons, leaky defense.
78. Jordan Cameron -- 9th-round ADP. Maybe the top value pick among tight ends.
79. Giovani Bernard -- Change-of-pace/passing-down RB on run-committed team.
80. Anquan Boldin -- Has finished as the WR15 and WR22 since joining the Niners.
81. Larry Fitzgerald -- Went on an 85-1,288-5 pace in Carson Palmer's six 2014 starts.
82. Steve Smith Sr. -- Favorite to lead BAL in catches. Unproven target competition.
83. Brandon LaFell -- Last year's overall WR21 is being drafted in the WR40s range.
84. Roddy White -- Knee injury, turns 34 in November. May be running out of gas.
85. Drew Brees -- Weapons a major question mark and volume likely to decrease.
86. Charles Johnson -- Upside WR3/4 fantasy pick with a very limited track record.
87. Torrey Smith -- Has been a top-25 fantasy WR in each of his four NFL seasons.
88. Isaiah Crowell -- Slight favorite for first- & second-down work behind elite OL.
89. John Brown -- Breakout candidate with Larry Fitzgerald in his age-32 campaign.
90. Ryan Mathews -- Standalone RB3/flex with RB1 upside if D. Murray goes down.
91. Duke Johnson -- Nursing hamstring injury. Browns compare him to Gio Bernard.
92. Kendall Wright -- Good bet to lead TEN in receiving. Recommended WR4 pick.
93. Eli Manning -- Sneaky bet to finish as a top 5-7 fantasy QB in Year 2 of offense.
94. Michael Floyd -- Low-volume vertical wideout likely will remain inconsistent.
95. Cam Newton -- Will Panthers run him as much after $118 million investment?
96. Tre Mason -- Beat writers expect Mason to open season ahead of Todd Gurley.
97. Pierre Garcon -- Redskins sound more committed to getting Garcon involved.
98. Davante Adams -- WR4/flex pick with WR2 upside if Jordy or Cobb goes down.
99. Ryan Tannehill -- Last year's No. 10 fantasy QB has upgraded supporting cast.
100. Philip Rivers -- My favorite late-round QB target.
101. Tony Romo -- Passing volume very likely to rise.
102. Matt Ryan -- Sub-par weapons beyond Julio.
103. Tom Brady -- Slated for four-game suspension.
104. David Johnson -- He's a bet against Andre Ellington.
105. Zach Ertz -- Only a 50.3 percent player last year.
106. Kevin White -- Reported to Bears camp nursing shin injury and out of shape.
107. Reggie Bush -- If 49ers are bad, Bush could end up out-snapping Carlos Hyde.
108. Bishop Sankey -- Sankey has big opportunity, but I'm skeptical of his game.
109. Devonta Freeman -- Ceiling is a committee back. Very little fantasy appeal.
110. Delanie Walker -- Quietly last year's overall TE8. A good fit with Mariota.
111. Julius Thomas -- TD-dependent fantasy commodity on low-scoring team.
112. Roy Helu -- If Raiders are bad, could end up out-snapping Latavius Murray.
113. Matthew Stafford -- Best viewed as high-end QB2, not every-week QB1.
114. Brian Quick -- Sounds recovered from shoulder injury. Rams top WR talent.
115. Tyler Eifert -- This year's Travis Kelce? Could be No. 2 pass option in Cincy.
116. DeVante Parker -- Nursing foot injury. Dolphins top talent at wide receiver.
117. Sam Bradford -- If health cooperates, could be fantasy's top value-pick QB.
118. Jason Witten -- Likely uptick in DAL pass attempts would provide big boost.
119. Dorial Green-Beckham -- Really cheap. Lots of talent & lots of opportunity.
120. Danny Woodhead -- Injured in '14. Was top-13 back in PPR the year before.
121. Darren McFadden -- Expected to be No. 2 back in RBBC with Joseph Randle.
122. Stevie Johnson -- Sleeper to lead SD in catches, especially during Gates' ban.
123. Terrance Williams -- Low-upside WR4/5, but has job security in good offense.
124. Knile Davis -- Arguably FF's premier handcuff, but little/no standalone value.
125. Marvin Jones -- An injury-ruined 2014 removed from 10-TD season in 2013.
126. Marques Colston -- Declining. May lose snaps to Nick Toon/Brandon Coleman.
127. Jay Cutler -- Job security? If Cutler plays competently, he'll crush his ADP.
128. Dwayne Allen -- Still the best red-zone option in high-scoring Indy offense.
129. Rueben Randle -- Coming off career highs in catches & yards. Still only 24.
130. Joe Flacco -- Annually just a QB2. Lots of questions in Ravens WR/TE groups.
131. Kenny Stills -- Low-volume deep threat in crowded Fins pass-catcher corps.
132. Kyle Rudolph -- Will score TDs if he stays healthy. That's a big if, of course.
133. Doug Baldwin -- No. 2 option in Seattle pass game behind Jimmy Graham.
134. Dwayne Bowe -- Tank may be nearing E, but will be Browns No. 1 receiver.
135. Owen Daniels -- Peyton/Kubiak always TE friendly. Should score 6-9 TDs.
136. Eddie Royal -- Sleeper for 75+ catches reunited with Jay Cutler & Adam Gase.
137. Antonio Gates -- TDs bound for regression even before 4-game suspension.
138. Austin Seferian-Jenkins -- I don't think ASJ will break out until V-Jax leaves.
139. Colin Kaepernick -- Always an intriguing QB2 pick, but hasn't gotten better.
140. Heath Miller -- Best viewed as a low-ceiling TE2, but will mix in TE1 weeks.
141. Andy Dalton -- Got his weapons back. Underrated QB2 with low-QB1 upside.
142. Carson Palmer -- Going on 36, coming off second career ACL reconstruction.
143. Teddy Bridgewater -- Job-secure QB2. Not sure he offers QB1 potential yet.
144. Charles Clay -- Decent bet to finish 2nd behind Sammy Watkins in targets.
145. Larry Donnell -- His pace stats were 51-516-3 in the final 12 games last year.
146. Malcom Floyd -- Could have some re-draft value during Gates' suspension.
147. Alex Smith -- Big weapons upgrades in offseason. Underrated best-ball QB2.
148. Jameis Winston -- Sleeper QB2 with plus weapons & NFL's softest schedule.
149. Charles Sims -- The Bucs' likely passing-game complement to Doug Martin.
150. Jerick McKinnon -- Could blow up if Adrian Peterson goes down at age 30.
151. Vernon Davis -- Full bounce back unlikely, but should have useful weeks.
152. Buck Allen -- Favorite for No. 2 back job behind 30yo journeyman Forsett.
153. Kenny Britt -- QB upgrade in St. Louis. Was quietly solid in '14 (48-748-3).
154. Jordan Reed -- He's healthy, for now. A TE1 whenever he takes the field.
155. DeAngelo Williams -- Will start Weeks 1-2 against the Patriots and 49ers.
156. Montee Ball -- Reportedly being pushed by Juwan Thompson for No. 2 job.
157. Devin Funchess -- Big, raw rookie behind Benjamin & Olsen for targets.
158. Percy Harvin -- Likely to be used as gadget guy behind Watkins & Woods.
159. Victor Cruz -- Players almost always struggle after patellar tendon tears.
160. Markus Wheaton -- Starter, for now, but was for most of last year, too.
161. Phillip Dorsett -- How many snaps will he play? Better target in best ball.
162. Marcus Mariota -- Can Ken Whisenhunt craft an offense that suits him?
163. Robert Griffin III -- Could be a popular waiver pickup if he starts fast.
164. Donte Moncrief -- See Phillip Dorsett. Looks buried on Colts depth chart.
165. Coby Fleener -- Playing time murky behind Hilton, Andre, Dwayne Allen.
166. Lance Dunbar -- Cheapest piece of the DAL backfield. Vereenian talent.
167. Darren Sproles -- Averaged 5.5 touches per game after Week 2 last year.
168. Michael Crabtree -- Reports upbeat in Oakland. Worth a late-round flyer.
169. Eric Ebron -- Ebron flopped as a rookie, but most first-year tight ends do.
170. Jared Cook -- TE2 & possible bye-week fill-in. Foles is an upgrade at QB.
171. Ladarius Green -- Could return TE1 value during Gates' 4-week absence.
172. Jace Amaro -- 2014 second-round pick led all rookie TEs in fantasy points.
173. Maxx Williams -- Off to slow start, but Ravens need him to be involved.
174. Khiry Robinson -- Could become every-week RB2 if Ingram goes down.
175. Terrance West -- In mix for carries, but is Browns third-best talent at RB.
176. Dan Herron -- Favorite for handcuff duty behind 32-year-old Frank Gore.
177. Jay Ajayi -- Must beat out Damien Williams to be Lamar Miller's handcuff.
178. Nick Toon -- Favorite for Saints No. 3 WR, but Brandon Coleman pushing.
179. David Cobb -- Currently running 3rd behind B. Sankey, Antonio Andrews.
180. Marqise Lee -- Allen Hurns currently ahead of Lee on Jaguars depth chart.
181. Allen Hurns -- Could open season as third option behind A-Rob & Julius.
182. Josh Hill -- Still intriguing talent, but early-camp reports are discouraging.
183. Cecil Shorts -- I think he wins Texans No. 2 WR job opposite Nuk Hopkins.
184. Greg Jennings -- Could play significant role until DeVante Parker returns.
185. Stedman Bailey -- Favorite to be Rams third receiver behind Quick & Britt.
186. Blake Bortles -- Can he take a step forward? Mechanics regressed in 2014.
187. Derek Carr -- Low-end QB2. The players around him are better this season.
188. Nick Foles -- Will fill game-manager role in Rams run-committed offense.
189. Geno Smith -- Huge weapons upgrades. Geno has upside in 2-QB leagues.
190. Cole Beasley -- Increased usage likely after offseason contract extension.
191. Jacob Tamme -- Favorite for Falcons No. 1 tight end job over Tony Moeaki.
192. Albert Wilson -- Opened training camp starting opposite Jeremy Maclin.
193. Mychal Rivera -- Could lose starting job to impressive rookie Clive Walford.
194. Andrew Hawkins -- Role appears likely to diminish after 2014 career year.
195. Niles Paul -- Could become a threat to Jordan Reed, who is made of glass.
196. Richard Rodgers -- The flex tight end in Aaron Rodgers-quarterbacked O.
197. Rob Housler -- Long on athleticism & opportunity. Short on production.
198. Bilal Powell -- Beat writers see Powell as Jets No. 2 RB behind Chris Ivory.
199. Fred Jackson -- Handcuff for LeSean McCoy. No standalone value in 2015.
200. Theo Riddick -- Poor man's Vereen behind Joique Bell & Ameer Abdullah.
Also Considered: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer; Juwan Thompson, Andre Williams, Denard Robinson, Stevan Ridley, James Starks, Matt Jones, Cameron Artis-Payne, Christine Michael; Robert Woods, Brandon Coleman, Brian Hartline, Justin Hunter, Tavon Austin, Rod Streater, Cody Latimer, Danny Amendola, Taylor Gabriel, Jerricho Cotchery; Virgil Green, Scott Chandler, Luke Willson