When I was 7 or 8, my parents got me this enormous pad of paper. It didn't occur to me until literally the moment I was writing that first sentence, that it was probably nothing more than a desk blotter. And yet my little kid brain just knew it was giant paper, and I could write, like, eight pages worth of stuff on each piece.
I used it to make lists.
The first one I did was my favorite songs. I could get to more than 100 on the page, but as a young'un, I could only name like 30 songs. After that, I was like "Dad? Is there a song called ‘Killing Time'? I think it's one of my favorites." It was sad, and I can't imagine the completed list last more than a day before becoming garbage.
Anyway, the point is that I, like so many of us, love lists. I once subjected my Facebook friends to a series of statuses chronicling my 50 favorite movies, my 50 favorite TV shows, my 50 favorite acting performances. I calculate the metrics on the apps on my iPhone home screen — frequency of use, user-friendliness, closeness to thumb — to regularly sort and resort my apps for greatest possible functionality. (I'm also a huge nerd. But I did just get an iPhone 5, so now I have a whole new row of app-availability to work on.)
As soon as the Super Bowl ended, I started my 2014 rankings of fantasy players, almost despite myself; I started by mentally sorting Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy, then wondered where I'd put Peyton Manning, then all of a sudden I had worked out a top 10.
I decided to make a top 50. I ended up with a top 200. Anyway, here is a way-too-early top 200 for 2014 fantasy football. I haven't included any incoming rookies — until we see who is on what team and in what situation, it's nigh-on impossible to come up with a reasonable ranking — or defenses or kickers (because, who cares?), but have included situations where I think a player is unlikely to return to his 2013 team.
I'll present them in chunks, with my thoughts on that chunk afterward:
Charles set a career-high in touches in 2013, but just barely, and he actually had fewer 2013 runs than in 2012. Andy Reid knows how to use his top running back. ... I flipped McCoy and Peterson several times, but settled here, if only because teams can't gang up on McCoy as well as Peterson. ... Manning and Brees are actually really close for me, but the Bronco keeps the lead for at least one more year. ... Thomas turns out to be my No. 2 wide receiver, in part because I wouldn't be at all shocked to see Eric Decker move on.
Gordon's upside is obviously as high as anyone's, but he'll have an entirely new situation in Cleveland, and who knows who his quarterback will be? It's scary. ... Rodgers could easily get back to top-QB territory, but he's not the clear choice he used to be. ... Ball skyrockets into the top 10 among running backs and top 20 overall, because I find it hard to imagine Knowshon Moreno is back in Denver. ... Foster's rank is kind of a throw-a-dart spot, as he's back from major surgery but also no longer has Ben Tate to fend off. Twenty-one feels right. ... Fred Jackson's a year older, and eventually he has to wear down. Bodes well for Spiller.
I loved Jeffery on my fantasy roster last year, and he's still a high-end receiver, but 2013 might end up his career year, or at least his first-half-of-career year. ... Could it really be possible that Martin was just overrated? I don't see how, and rank him accordingly, but I'll admit I'm scared. ... Todman inherits the Jacksonville RB job almost by default, but enough touches can make any running back viable. ... Davis and Thomas are near equals, and they're kind of a tight-end tier all to themselves; well below Graham, but more trustworthy than Rob Gronkowski. ... If Brown can put together a full healthy season in New York, he'll be valuable.
Can Bush stay healthy? Who friggin' news. ... It certainly sounds promising for Ellington to be Arizona's solo No. 1 option next year, which makes him intriguing. ... Jones should be back to health, but this is a guy who has been less than we might have hoped so far in his career. Can you trust him to stay healthy? ... I really didn't plan to have Brady and Luck back-to-back, but it's funny that they ended up there. Sort of line graphs crossing paths. ... I don't know where Decker or Johnson will play next year, so these rankings could slide ten places in either direction.
|75||Cecil Shorts III||WR32|
If this were some imaginary no-one-gets-hurt world, Harvin could be a top-five receiver. But man, dude is snakebit. ... Health is the big thing for Crabtree, too; a full offseason of Achilles recovery should have him stronger. ... Romo's still a top-10 quarterback, and I have him ahead of Foles despite Foles' great 2013. He's good; he's not doing that again. ... I'm hitching my wagon for 2014 to Jernigan, who I think will have a big year in New York with Hakeem Nicks likely gone.
Blount was good enough down the stretch that I think he gets a shot next year, in New England or otherwise. ... I'm not sure what to make of Rivers who wasn't actually as good in fantasy as the hype says he was this past season. ... This is a tight-end-heavy section, with guys like Pitta, Daniels, and Fleener all having pros and cons. If you don't get one of the top few tight ends, you can probably feel okay with any in here. ... With Trent Richardson's awfulness, Ahmad Bradshaw's injuries, Donald Brown's lack of a track record, might Ballard get the Indianapolis starting job back?
|101||Robert Griffin III||QB15|
Dalton finishes high among fantasy quarterbacks in 2013, but it was woefully unreliable, with huge games and disasters coming with no rhyme or reason. You can't trust him. ... I don't know where Ridley plays in 2014, but he's got talent; it will depend on the situation. ... I had to knock Rice a whole boatload of spots after the recent news. With no way to know what happened or what impact it will have on him, I choose a conservative approach. ... Fauria very well could be the sole Detroit tight end, and we know he's an end-zone target. ... Jones-Drew will not finish 51st among running backs — if he gets the right gig, he'll be way higher; if not, he'll be way lower. Split the difference. ... I guess Baker did enough to get the Cleveland RB job. Good for him if so.
I assume Grimes comes into the year as Foster's backup in Houston, which could bode well for him. ... Williams got overrated a bit last year, and should regress in 2014. ... This entire end section is the land of undefined roles. Will James and/or Rainey be the Tampa Bay starter/backup? ... Will Hillman work his way back into Denver's good graces? ... Where will Stewart and Gerhart end up?