Carlos HydeBrad Penner/USA TODAY SportsCarlos Hyde received five carries or fewer in half of his 14 games as a rookie.

One of the craziest set of days of offseason football trades and signings passed recently, and it certainly resulted in massive changes to my updated rankings. That’s right, I know it’s merely March and nobody’s participating in a fantasy football draft yet -- or are you? –- but we’re nothing but thorough here at ESPN Fantasy, so we’ve got rankings pretty much all the time. Call it a pigskin version of March Madness, if you will. Here are players that gained spots in my rankings as a result of offseason wildness and others who didn’t fare as well, even though in some cases, their accountants might disagree.

2014 recap/2015 preview: Tight ends 

January, 29, 2015
Jan 29

Rob GronkowskiJared Wickerham/Getty ImagesRob Gronkowski scored 12 touchdowns in 2014, giving him 55 in 65 career games.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski played in 15 games this past season, missing out on appearing in all 16 only because his team – thanks, obviously to some degree, to his spectacular talent -- was too good. But still, give Gronk major props, as if he needs more of them. Many didn’t think he’d come close to playing in every regular-season game. He sure didn’t in 2012 and 2013, and generally as players get older they don’t become more durable, not in professional football. Gronk had a lot to prove and he sure did so, scoring 178 standard fantasy points, enough to tie him with Kellen Winslow in 1980 for fifth-best ever at tight end. Gronk was great, not 2011 all-time monster record great, but great enough, and as seems the case every season, he’s the story of the tight end position.

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2014 recap/2015 preview: Wide receivers 

January, 22, 2015
Jan 22

Odell Beckham Jr.Al Bello/Getty ImagesOdell Beckham Jr. scored the second-most fantasy points in history by a rookie WR ... in 12 games.
Rookies aren’t supposed to make a significant impact in fantasy football, which is why the 2014 season was so historic. Sure, Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants was unbelievable, and there’s more info on him ahead, but he wasn’t alone. Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kelvin Benjamin of the Carolina Panthers also amassed outstanding freshman campaigns, along with Sammy Watkins of the Buffalo Bills, Jordan Matthews of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins and others. Veterans were productive as well, but let’s hear it for the first-year wide receivers, for we had never seen a class even remotely as productive as this.

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2014 recap/2015 preview: Running backs 

January, 15, 2015
Jan 15

CJ AndersonEzra Shaw/Getty ImagesDespite just 17 carries through Week 9, C.J. Anderson was able to finish 11th in standard fantasy points among running backs for the 2014 season.
There was one fairly obvious first overall pick in fantasy football drafts for the 2014 season, and unfortunately that guy, a pretty famous running back, was able to perform in only one game, and not because of injury. This news might imply that the season was doomed for those who had the first pick or for the running back position in general, but there were plenty of positives as well, surprises that weren’t the least bit relevant way back when we were initially drafting. Gone are the days when a fantasy owner must logically and universally use his/her first selection on a running back, but they shouldn’t be ignored, either. As we did with quarterbacks a week ago and will with wide receivers in a week, let’s recap what occurred at this critical position while also looking ahead, longing for every first-round pick to work out.

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Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew LuckMark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports; Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports; Jim Brown/USA TODAY SportsRussell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck were all among the top three QB scorers in 2014.
The 2014 fantasy football season was far from a record-breaking one for quarterbacks, certainly not the like the year before. Nobody came close to tossing 55 touchdown passes. Nobody reached 5,000 passing yards. While the position remains deep (at least in comparison to running backs!) and full of high-level statistical performers, in the end the quarterback spot was actually a bit disappointing thanks to an ordinary December. Still, even ordinary performers, which they are not, are worth discussing and because it’s January, it’s the time of year we break down the top fantasy positions in this space, looking back and ahead while discussing the good, the bad and the Jay Cutler.

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Player rankings for playoff fantasy games 

December, 30, 2014
Tom Brady, Peyton Manning & Andrew LuckGetty ImagesHow should you value Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck for your playoff team?
The fantasy football regular season ended in exciting fashion, and now it’s time for the playoffs. They should be even better, and what better way to enjoy them than with your own postseason pool? ESPN offers the free Gridiron Playoff Challenge, with scoring and roster construction similar to ESPN standard formats, but perhaps you and your buddies/co-workers/whoever have something else planned. Get in the game, and hopefully the rankings below will aid in securing a quality roster.

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Four Downs: Rookie WRs shine in 2014 

December, 28, 2014
BeckhamRobert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsOdell Beckham Jr. had at least six catches and 90 yards in each game after the Giants' Week 8 bye.

First down: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. ended his amazing rookie campaign in Sunday's Week 17 with yet another outstanding performance, catching 12 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles, worth 24 points in ESPN standard leagues. Then again, we've come to expect this from Beckham, the obvious choice for fantasy full-season MVP honors. Consider that Beckham made his delayed season debut in Week 5, and from that point on he was not only fantasy's No. 1 wide receiver, but the lone running backs to outscore him were Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers and DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys. Congrats to Beckham, undrafted in most ESPN leagues but most critical in the end, and also the most popular wide receiver on fantasy-championship-round rosters.

The overriding story of the 2014 fantasy football season is a bit larger than simply Beckham's heroics, as he led an historic crew of first-year wide receivers becoming more than relevant in our game, but indispensable pieces that carried us to meaningful December matchups. Week 1 rookie wide receiver stars included Kelvin Benjamin of the Carolina Panthers, Brandin Cooks of the New Orleans Saints and Allen Hurns of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In Week 2, Sammy Watkins of the Buffalo Bills broke out; in Week 3 it was Jordan Matthews of the Philadelphia Eagles and John Brown of the Arizona Cardinals, and soon after Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Martavis Bryant of the Steelers and Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins were fantasy mainstays as well.

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Week 17 flex rankings 

December, 24, 2014

CJ AndersonAP Photo/Charlie RiedelC.J. Anderson has at least 19 standard fantasy points in five of his past seven games.
Welcome to Week 17 and the final edition of this season’s flex rankings. It’s been an awesome ride! Don’t worry, we’ll have playoff rankings next week -- for the actual NFL playoffs in January -- but for now, for those still competing for a fantasy championship, we salute you and we combine the best of the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends into one nifty package, delivered by Santa Claus himself. Please keep up with the news this weekend and Sunday morning for updates on which players might not play as much as expected.

And as always, best of luck to all in Week 17 and beyond, and Happy Holidays!

1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: What more can we say? Terrific season, and he’s likely to end up as the highest-scoring nonquarterback in standard leagues, and surely in PPR formats.

2. Arian Foster, RB, Texans: It’s almost unfair to the Jaguars, in a lost season, having to face this guy who routinely runs all over them.

3. C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos: Nice ranking for him, but the numbers are there. And the Raiders get run on, of course.

4. Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Doesn’t matter who the QB is. This guy is special.

5. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants: Speaking of special, wow!!! He’s fantasy’s MVP.

6. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks: Skittles for everyone! Seattle needs to win, and Lynch needs to put on a show, as always.

7. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos

8. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

9. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: The Lions can certainly be thrown on, and we should expect Aaron Rodgers to find his favorite target early and often.

10. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers

11. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: I don’t think enough people realize what Brown has achieved; he’ll end up with the second-most receptions of anyone in any season. And he’s consistent. Should finish as fantasy’s top WR, too.

12. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions

13. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons

14. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: Yes, he has been a disappointment relative to draft status. But he’s facing a defense he tends to do well against.

15. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins

16. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers: Still hasn’t scored since Week 10, but the yards are there. And the game matters.

17. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: Maybe the Saints are better off in the standings without a 1,000-yard running back? No, that doesn’t make any sense. Ingram needs 93 yards for the honor. I say he gets it.

18. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears: Should be targeted double-digit times by Jay Cutler, and most of them will be good passes. Don’t panic here.

19. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals: Fantasy’s top rookie running back has really helped down the stretch. This isn’t really a time-share, people.

20. Joique Bell, RB, Lions

21. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys: Only concern is if he sits after halftime, as with quarterback Tony Romo. But the team could still, in theory, get a bye.

22. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

23. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos

[+] EnlargeJonathan Stewart
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesJonathan Stewart has at least 20 carries in three straight games after doing so just five times in his first 86 career games.
24. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: Playing his best football in years and has another tasty matchup. Hard to believe we’re now relying on Stewart.

25. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins: Hard to believe Miller might end up a top-10 running back. Remember Knowshon Moreno? Of course you do!

26. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers

27. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers: So much for rookies getting fatigued as the long season goes on.

28. Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens: He looks hurt, or fatigued, and that’s why this ranking isn’t quite proportionate with season achievements.

29. Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins: A magician and top-20 fantasy wide receiver.

30. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins: DeSean, remind us how happy you were to beat your former team on Saturday. I don’t think you made it clear enough. There’s still motivation for Week 17, too.

31. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills

32. Matt Asiata, RB, Vikings: Nice performance in Week 17 last season, if that matters to you. Not a time-share here, by the way. Ben Tate is no longer on the team.

33. Roddy White, WR, Falcons

34. Andre Williams, RB, Giants: Doesn’t appear special, but with volume and bad defenses on the other side, he can look that way statistically.

35. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles: Just hasn’t been the same with Mark Sanchez at QB. Not that we’re surprised.

36. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: Didn’t look done in Week 16. Tougher matchup here, though.

37. Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons

38. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans

39. Tre Mason, RB, Rams: Kind of disappointing rookie season considering he pushed aside Zac Stacy so early on.

40. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints: Not the Jimmy Graham we drafted, but still the best at the position this week. Says something about the position, too.

41. Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens

42. Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills

43. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals

44. Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders: Looks like a top-20 running back for next year. This matchup is a tad worrisome, though.

45. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: I just don’t know why the Cowboys would risk this. They shouldn’t.

46. Josh Gordon, WR, Browns: See, all would have been just fine if Brian Sipe was the quarterback.

47. Marques Colston, WR, Saints

48. Kenny Stills, WR, Saints: A tad disappointed in his lack of consistency. He really should be a top-20 wide receiver every week, with his opportunities.

49. Daniel Herron, RB, Colts

[+] EnlargeT.Y. Hilton
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesT.Y. Hilton could return to action this week, but with the Colts' playoff seed already locked in there are no guarantees on how many snaps he'll see.
50. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: Doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Colts to play him, either.

51. Branden Oliver, RB, Chargers: If Ryan Mathews is active for Sunday, then obviously you don’t want Oliver active in fantasy.

52. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: The top seed is clinched! But couldn’t you see Gronk play just one drive and score on it?

53. Brandon LaFell, WR, Patriots

54. Golden Tate, WR, Lions

55. Charles Johnson, WR, Vikings: Sleeper pickup still out there in many leagues.

56. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns: Not real impressive the past month.

57. Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers

58. Chris Ivory, RB, Jets

59. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers: Should play next year and the year after that, too. He’s not aging like normal players. Remember when everyone loved Ladarius Green?

60. Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers: Sleeper pick for this week, if his erratic quarterback complies.

61. Steve Smith, WR, Ravens

62. Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots

63. Jonas Gray, RB, Patriots: Could get 25 touches. Or zero. You never know with the Pats. Wouldn’t surprise me if James White got 25 touches, either.

64. Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: OK, so maybe Josh McCown is not the QB Jackson needed.

65. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

66. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Cardinals: When they run the ball, sure looks like he’s the guy now, though it’s not worth so much.

67. Eddie Royal, WR, Chargers: Another somewhat forgotten sleeper pick this week. You know Philip Rivers is going to be throwing.

68. Marquess Wilson, WR, Bears: As will Jay Cutler.

69. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals: As will Andy Dalton. Sanu just hasn’t done much since Green returned.

70. Chris Johnson, RB, Jets: And you thought he’d be a top-10 running back again, just because he did it last year. Silly!

71. Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles

72. Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins: Still makes catches, for those in PPR formats, but he doesn’t go anywhere.

73. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers: Still think he’s good?

[+] EnlargeJoseph Randle
Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY SportsHow the Cowboys approach Sunday's game will go a long way toward knowing what to expect from Joseph Randle.
74. Joseph Randle, RB, Cowboys: I don’t see a scenario, even if Murray sits, where Randle isn’t sharing touches with the next fellow.

75. Lance Dunbar, RB, Cowboys

76. Eric Decker, WR, Jets

77. Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars: Denard Robinson is the better keeper, as if you didn’t know that already.

78. Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers: Considerable vertical threat just needs more consistency.

79. Greg Jennings, WR, Vikings

80. Terrance Williams, WR, Cowboys

81. Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans: Have to think the Titans don’t view him as a definite starter for next year. He had chances.

82. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks

83. Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins

84. Trent Richardson, RB, Colts

85. Shonn Greene, RB, Titans

86. Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears

87. Kenny Britt, WR, Rams

88. Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers

89. Donald Brown, RB, Chargers

90. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants: Last game without Victor Cruz. Or is it? Still, Randle was kind of disappointing this season.

91. Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts: If Andrew Luck plays, this vertical threat could really matter.

92. Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Ravens: Admit it, you have no clue who this is. But Forsett is hurt and this guy could see chances.

93. Kendall Wright, WR, Titans

94. James Jones, WR, Raiders

95. Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs

96. Harry Douglas, WR, Falcons

97. Kerwynn Williams, RB, Cardinals

98. Delanie Walker, TE, Titans

99. Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons

100. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals

Others: Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints; Coby Fleener, TE, Colts; Reggie Bush, RB, Lions; Robert Woods, WR, Bills; Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers; Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars; Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles; Dontrelle Inman, WR, Chargers; Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots; Alfred Blue, RB, Texans; Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs; Leon Washington, RB, Titans; C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills

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Backfield breakdown entering Week 17 

December, 23, 2014
We’ve spent considerable time this awesome fantasy football season discussing the historic rookie wide receiver class -- which includes my pick for overall fantasy MVP in New York Giants star Odell Beckham Jr. -- that we often overlook what has generally been an ordinary crew of first-year running backs, save for Jeremy Hill of the Cincinnati Bengals and, at times, Tre Mason of the St. Louis Rams, Isaiah Crowell of the Cleveland Browns and Andre Williams of the Giants. As we get to the final week of 2014 and update our RB depth chart one final time, several rookies could still make an impact to help fantasy owners

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Four Downs: Andrew Luck disappoints 

December, 21, 2014
LuckTom Pennington/Getty ImagesAfter scoring 14-plus points in his first 14 games this season, Andrew Luck had a goose egg Sunday.
For all those who decide their fantasy championships in one weekend of Week 16 games, thereby avoiding the occasionally frustrating final week (when several stars see their playing time compromised), we give you the sad story of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. This fantastic player entered Sunday as fantasy's No. 1 overall scorer with 322 points, an exemplary 23 point-per-game average and a tasty road game pending with the Dallas Cowboys, a team not exactly known for defensive exploits and with a sub-.500 record in home games this season. So what happened in Week 16, the biggest game of the year for most fantasy owners? Well, Luck and those relying on him weren't so lucky (pardon the pun). By the time Luck was pulled, with his team waxed 35-0, he had scored nary a fantasy point. Just like you and me.

Let's just say fantasy owners weren't pleased, even if the move made perfect sense. Zero points? Heck, even Johnny Manziel managed to score a fantasy point this weekend, and he didn't even play half the game.

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Week 16 flex rankings 

December, 18, 2014

Eddie LacyBenny Sieu/USA TODAY SportsEddie Lacy has picked the right time to play some of his best ball.
Well, the fantasy football season is nearly over, but don't say that to those still playing for something. It's all about what's ahead, and hopefully the players you choose for your flex position can contribute positively. Several of the players on the most championship-round rosters in ESPN leagues have been among the most productive players of late, and you'll find those names near the top of the rankings. Then again, some of the recent strugglers, such as a certain Chicago Bears running back and Denver Broncos wide receiver, also remain in high regard. Regardless, here are the latest flex rankings, combining the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends into one group.

And as always, best of luck to all in Week 16 and beyond, and happy holidays!

1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: He's only three points behind the top spot for non-quarterbacks in standard scoring this season, and Bell didn't have surgery for a broken hand this week.

2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers: Remember back in September when so many wanted to flat-out cut the guy? Double digits in fantasy scoring 10 of 11 contests since then.

3. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Had an eight-game streak of scoring in double digits broken in a tasty matchup against Oakland last week, but don't sit him now. This is another fine matchup.

4. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: I actually think he will play and won't be hampered much from the injury, but please make sure Sunday afternoon the team has him active.

5. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: Skewered the Bears the last time, and really ought to do so again. Not much is in the way.

6. Arian Foster, RB, Texans: Not the easiest matchup and it would help to have an actual NFL quarterback handing off to him, but still an elite option.

7. Joique Bell, RB, Lions: Surprise! And really, he's having a terrific season. The reason for his bump here is, well, it's the Bears.

8. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos: His quarterback isn't doing so much lately, but Thomas had 18 fantasy points last week.

9. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: Probably the most reliable, consistent player in all of fantasy football, quarterbacks included. That counts for a lot.

10. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks

11. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: Man, imagine if he just catches that 94-yarder, so much would have been different! Maybe this week!

12. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys

13. Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Yes, he didn't have much success the last game versus Detroit, but I'm treating him as an elite player, because he is. Is more than capable of making a big play or two regardless of the team's quarterback play.

14. C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos

15. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

16. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: He's likely going to rush for 1,000 yards this season. Admit it, that would have shocked you back in August!

17. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: Contingent on him playing, of course, but his team really does need him. And he's really, really good.

[+] EnlargeBeckham
Al Bello/Getty ImagesOdell Beckham Jr. has carried many fantasy teams to the championship game.
18. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants: He's good, too. Matchups don't matter. Don't overthink it. No wide receiver is on more ESPN finalists than this fellow.

19. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: The disappointment continues, now we can't be sure he gets the goal-line looks.

20. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles

21. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers: Five-game drought since last touchdown, but nice matchup.

22. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins

23. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: The Cowboys can be thrown on. This team has become reliant on Hilton, too.

24. Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens

25. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers: Also doesn't matter which cornerback covers him. Or, as we saw Sunday, which quarterback throws to him.

26. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: Kittens!

27. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins

28. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers: Rookie could end up leading the league in touchdowns.

29. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals: Rookie is ninth among all running backs in standard scoring. Wow!

30. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots

31. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos: If the statistical trend continues, he'll score only four points this week. I don't think the trend continues.

32. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills

33. Tre Mason, RB, Rams

34. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins: He might not admit it, but you know he wants to score a touchdown against his former team and keep them from playing in January. Actually, he will admit it.

35. Brandon LaFell, WR, Patriots

36. Roddy White, WR, Falcons: Don't worry about Julio Jones in White's case. He'll be OK regardless.

37. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears: As long as some of the footballs Jay … um, I mean, Jimmy Clausen launches are in his general direction, he can produce enough numbers.

38. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: This is his best three-game run of stats since 2010. It'd be surprising if the return of DeAngelo Williams messes that up. Stewart, on the other hand, can mess it up.

39. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans

40. Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins: Coming off his best game of the season, though the Vikings do nice work against the pass.

41. Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons

42. Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills

43. Josh Gordon, WR, Browns: We can all blame the team's excellent quarterback play, but some of this is clearly on Gordon, too.

44. Daniel Herron, RB, Colts

45. Golden Tate, WR, Lions: It's the Bears, so Tate and Megatron can each thrive.

[+] EnlargeJimmy Graham
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsJimmy Graham's numbers have declined at the wrong time for fantasy owners.
46. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints: We keep ranking him well, but he's not putting up the numbers. He's a good tight end, but at flex, you can do better.

47. Steve Smith, WR, Ravens

48. Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders: I like him, but on this team, with that O-line, it's tough for him to reach his potential.

49. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers: I'd call this a good rank for him. Imagine that back in August.

50. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

51. Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers

52. Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers: Gronk is the only tight end with more fantasy points this season. This guy is good.

53. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals: He and Andre Ellington will end up overdrafted in 2015. Sorry, but that's the likely scenario based on how their teams will use them.

54. Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens

55. Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers: So Jay Cutler, the No. 9 fantasy QB, loses his job, but Colin Kaepernick, the No. 18 QB, gets to keep flailing away. This week he gets Boldin back on track, though. Kind of.

56. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers: He's probably too injured to really help anyone at this point, even if he's suited up.

57. Marques Colston, WR, Saints

58. Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars: He's starting again, though it might be a bit tough to tell statistically.

59. Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles

60. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots: Bill Belichick giveth, and taketh away.

61. Andre Williams, RB, Giants: Should be in line for volume touches, but it's not a pleasant matchup.

62. Charles Johnson, WR, Vikings

63. Harry Douglas, WR, Falcons: This rank assumes Julio Jones plays. If he does not, move Harry up 25 spots or so.

64. Chris Ivory, RB, Jets

65. Kerwynn Williams, RB, Cardinals

66. Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers

67. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns: Looked a lot more special a month ago.

68. Terrance West, RB, Browns: Has never really looked special.

69. Kenny Stills, WR, Saints: He should be doing more. I want to rank him better.

[+] EnlargeMalcom Floyd
Jake Roth/USA TODAY SportsMalcom Floyd becomes the Chargers' No. 1 receiver this week with Keenan Allen out.
70. Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers: No more Keenan Allen, but it's dangerous to rely on Floyd.

71. Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers: This is assuming Frank Gore doesn't play, but hedging because Hyde could sit with injury, too. If he does, I'd put Alfonso Smith here.

72. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers

73. Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos: Not the second half of the season people expected.

74. Matt Asiata, RB, Vikings: Here comes the three-touchdown game!

75. Eric Decker, WR, Jets: Comes off his fifth double-digit fantasy effort. Hey, nobody thought he'd be great.

76. Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins

77. Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints

78. Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs: Honestly, who cares what this team's wide receivers are doing? The team could make the playoffs. That seems to matter more. And Kelce is good.

79. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: Should be just fine with 70-year-old Jim Hart at QB. (Look him up.)

80. Shonn Greene, RB, Titans: It's his job again. Nice work by the Titans this season!

81. Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins

82. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks

83. Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots

84. Trent Richardson, RB, Colts

85. Kendall Wright, WR, Titans

86. Nate Washington, WR, Titans: Sneaky pickup for this week.

87. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys

88. Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs: We keep talking about Hyde and Christine Michael as dynasty stashes, but imagine if Davis had a line on a starting job. Wow.

89. Stedman Bailey, WR, Rams

90. Joseph Randle, RB, Cowboys: Murray should play. If he doesn't, I'd rank Randle near where Doug Martin is.

91. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts: A little too hurt to put up numbers, but it's tough to rely on Donte Moncrief.

92. Reggie Bush, RB, Lions

93. James Jones, WR, Raiders

94. Eddie Royal, WR, Chargers

95. Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles

96. James Starks, RB, Packers

97. Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars

98. Marquess Wilson, WR, Bears

99. Lance Dunbar, RB, Cowboys

100. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Cardinals

Others: Jonas Gray, RB, Patriots; Davante Adams, WR, Packers; Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs; Delanie Walker, TE, Titans; Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears; Robert Woods, WR, Bills; C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills; Branden Oliver, RB, Chargers; Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers; Chris Johnson, RB, Jets; Bernard Pierce, RB, Ravens; Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers

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Ranks reax: Lions-Bears has potential 

December, 17, 2014

Matthew Stafford, Calvin JohnsonLeon Halip/Getty ImagesMatthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson combined for 47 fantasy points against the Bears in Week 13.

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson was a first-round pick in many ESPN average live drafts, and first at his position. Matthew Stafford was the fifth quarterback chosen, a fourth-rounder overall. Running back Reggie Bush went before Stafford, with Joique Bell a few rounds later, which obviously was ill-advised. The Detroit Lions were supposed to carry fantasy owners this season, but as in many things in life, some plans get derailed. Stafford is the No. 15 QB. Johnson is barely top-20 among wide receivers. Perhaps the most valuable Lion has been the team’s defense/special teams, third overall after being undrafted. Regardless, it’s Week 16 now, hopefully you’re still playing for something and it’s time for Stafford, Megatron and yes, the outstanding Lions defense to help you out, because it’s Chicago Bears week again!

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Backfield breakdown entering Week 16 

December, 16, 2014
The most prolific non-quarterback in fantasy football this season could be leaving us at the worst possible time. Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, No. 8 overall in fantasy points, broke a bone in his left hand in Sunday’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles and underwent surgery Monday. The team remains hopeful Murray, with nearly 1,700 rushing yards -- 400 more than anyone else's total -- can handle his normal workload in Sunday’s critical matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, but fantasy owners need to plan ahead.

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Four Downs: A Tale of Three Rookies 

December, 14, 2014
Beckham/Hill/ManzielGetty ImagesOn a day that began with Johnny Manziel grabbing all the headlines, it was fellow rookies Odell Beckham Jr. and Jeremy Hill who made the biggest impressions.

The race for top rookie honors in fantasy football this season could come down to Sunday’s brightest statistical stars, as New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill dominated to the point they entered the Sunday night Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys tilt not only topping the list of fantasy performers among first-year players, but leading everyone. And no, Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is definitely not in the conversation for top rookie honors, though we’ll get to his starting debut later.

As for Beckham, ridiculously quick, tough and blessed with large hands, he was the latest to toy with the brutal Washington Redskins defense, hauling in 12 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns for an NFL-leading 30 fantasy points. Since debuting in Week 5 -- he missed September with a hamstring injury -- he has outscored every wide receiver for fantasy scoring except the Denver Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas, which is quite an achievement. As great and consistent as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown and Green Bay Packers’ Jordy Nelson are, among others, Beckham has been better since he began playing at the beginning of October, becoming the first receiver since the New Orleans Saints’ Marques Colston in 2006 -- and only the third since 1960 -- to reach 100 standard fantasy points after nine games. Then in his 10th game he scored 30! Let’s call Beckham a clear top-10 wide receiver, safe regardless of matchup, and it’s going to be tough to keep him from next year’s top 10 as well.

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Week 15 flex rankings 

December, 11, 2014

C.J. AndersonRon Chenoy/USA TODAY SportsThe red-hot C.J. Anderson has emerged as a must-start player every week.
For many in ESPN leagues, this is going to be the final week of the fantasy season, as it's the playoff semifinals and, well, someone's going to win each matchup and someone's going to lose. Hopefully you're on the winning side, and these rankings, along with the multitude of information provided by me and my far smarter colleagues at ESPN Fantasy, worked to inform and entertain you along the way. So, here is the latest compilation of the top running backs, wide receivers and tight ends all in one tidy list. Whether you're trailing or leading, pick the best options.

And as always, best of luck to all in Week 15 and beyond!

1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: He's certainly on his way to finishing as fantasy's top non-quarterback. Matchups no longer matter with him.

2. Arian Foster, RB, Texans: Regularly torches the Colts, and this weekend shouldn't be any different. Nice to see him healthy again.

3. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Like Foster, he's achieved great success against this week's foe, the Raiders. Well really, who hasn't?

4. Matt Forte, RB, Bears: He might end up with more than 100 receptions. I'd like to see that, actually.

5. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: Still really, really good, and still really, really healthy. For those who thought it wasn't possible.

6. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles

7. C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos: Tough to be too concerned about a player with 22 or more fantasy points in four of five games.

8. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: There's literally nobody else we can count on for this many receptions and yards every week. Brown is amazing. Only two running backs have outscored him.

9. Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens

10. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: With more than 300 receiving yards the past two weeks, there are clearly no concerns here.

11. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks: Topped 100 rushing yards against the 49ers a few weeks ago, and now he's meeting them at home.

12. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos: Peyton Manning is going to be just fine.

13. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys

14. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers

15. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers: I think he would have played more had Monday's game been closer. Tough matchup this week, though.

16. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants

17. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: Assuming the Bears aren't up 28 in the first half, Ingram should get his touches.

18. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: Well, that was quite the Monday night performance. Could have been better without the hip injury. I think he'll play this week.

19. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears: No more Brandon Marshall, so expect better statistics. And they were already really strong.

20. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts

21. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins: We expected he'd struggle against the Rams. He shouldn't struggle against the Giants.

22. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos

23. Joique Bell, RB, Lions: Stop worrying about the other active Lions running backs! They don't matter!

[+] EnlargeJeremy Maclin
Bill Streicher/USA TODAY SportsJeremy Maclin's touchdown catch was one of the Eagles' few offensive bright spots on Sunday.
24. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles: Perhaps not as valuable with Mark Sanchez at quarterback, but still a legit threat.

25. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers

26. Josh Gordon, WR, Browns: Hey, Johnny Football has a strong arm. He's going to be throwing and running.

27. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: Can't say it matters much to me that he "likes to snuggle," but good for him. Snuggle with the football twice in the end zone, OK?

28. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots: He saw 20 of the team's 23 rushes last week. Forget about Jonas Gray. Blount's the guy.

29. Chris Ivory, RB, Jets: Wonderful matchup this week, even if he shares the carries. If he scares you, because he hasn't topped six fantasy points since Week 8, I understand. But it's the Titans!

30. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: Look, he's struggled statistically when Joe Haden covers him. It's a fact.

31. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers: Did fine in Week 1 with Derek Anderson at quarterback. Will do fine again.

32. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers

33. Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants

34. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans: From 35 fantasy points to 4. Welcome to fantasy football.

35. Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills

36. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints

37. Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons: Double-digits for fantasy in five of six games. Are your starting running backs doing this?

38. Golden Tate, WR, Lions: Has predictably slowed down since Calvin Johnson returned.

39. Daniel Herron, RB, Colts: The boom and bust backfield. Herron is boom.

40. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns

41. Roddy White, WR, Falcons: Would not go into Julio Jones' spot should Jones sit. But White would move up 10 spots or so.

42. Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles: Forget everything that happened to this offense in the Seattle loss. The Eagles can't beat elite teams. Dallas is not elite.

43. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers: Remember, he's done quite well in his career against the Broncos.

44. Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders: At least the Raiders figured out their other running backs aren't any good.

45. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: If he goes another four years before his next 100-yard rushing game, that's a really big problem.

46. Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins

47. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins

48. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots: He has two 20-point games in his past five outings. But the next guy has been more consistent. I say use 'em both.

49. Brandon LaFell, WR, Patriots

50. Kenny Stills, WR, Saints: Drew Brees will be more successful this week. It's the Bears.

51. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills

52. Steve Smith, WR, Ravens

[+] EnlargeJeremy Hill
John Grieshop/Getty ImagesJeremy Hill has emerged as the Bengals' running back worth starting.
53. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals: Yep, I'd prefer Hill in the Bengals' backfield.

54. Tre Mason, RB, Rams

55. Chris Johnson, RB, Jets: Could be his second 100-yard rushing game of the disappointing season. But one shouldn't expect it.

56. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins: No guarantee he plays this week, but his absence clearly affected the offense.

57. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

58. Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals: I'm worried about Andre Ellington for next season, and Bernard is similar. It's why teams are reluctant to give too many touches to players like this.

59. Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins: Was finally heard from in Week 14.

60. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers

61. Terrance West, RB, Browns: Getting plenty of touches and isn't really the backup here. Of course, it's not about the running game this week.

62. Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: Odd season for him. Scored his most points in Week 14, but the two games in which he has touchdowns are his No. 3 and 4 games of the season. Bottom line is he's been disappointing.

63. Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears

64. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: Yeah, enough is enough. And this is the highest-ranked 49er.

65. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals

66. Trent Richardson, RB, Colts: Got sweet revenge in his return to Cleveland by rushing for 30 yards. Yawn.

67. Andre Williams, RB, Giants: Breakout performance or merely a result of facing the Titans? Giants fans probably don't want to know the answer.

68. Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens: Would have been better had he just not suited up for the game at all.

69. Marques Colston, WR, Saints

70. Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers

71. Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts: Reggie Wayne has not been shut down for the season due to his injury, so be careful in overrating Moncrief's chance.

72. Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots

73. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers

74. Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers

[+] EnlargeMarquess Wilson
Matt Marton/USA TODAY SportsCan Marquess Wilson come close to matching Brandon Marshall's production?
75. Marquess Wilson, WR, Bears: Figures to start and thrive with Marshall out, but he's no guarantee.

76. Eric Decker, WR, Jets: Value goes up assuming Percy Harvin sits, but then again, he's still No. 76. Didn't go up too much.

77. Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins

78. Kerwynn Williams, RB, Cardinals: I'm not betting on a repeat performance against the Rams.

79. Delanie Walker, TE, Titans

80. Ben Tate, RB, Vikings: Someone has to run the ball, and the Vikings claim he'll get a chance.

81. Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers

82. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers

83. Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos: His name seems way out of place in this spot, but are you really sure he'll play and see enough targets? Didn't you think that last week?

84. Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars: Nice season for him. From starter to the bench to only relevant again because Denard Robinson is done for the season. Don't invest. Jordan Todman probably gets a chance, too.

85. Charles Johnson, WR, Vikings

86. Nate Washington, WR, Titans

87. Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers

88. Reggie Bush, RB, Lions: It doesn't matter what round you drafted him in. It's not happening.

89. Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans: Yeah, same with him. Still think he's the best rookie running back?

90. Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals

91. Kendall Wright, WR, Titans

92. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks

93. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants

94. Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles: A few months ago, everyone loved him. But he doesn't get rushing attempts or targets anymore.

95. Matt Asiata, RB, Vikings: Three touchdowns or bust. Take the bust side.

96. Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers: Sure, blame it all on Colin Kaepernick if it makes you feel better.

97. Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints

98. James Jones, WR, Raiders

99. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Cardinals

100. Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars

Others: Alfred Blue, RB, Texans; Larry Donnell, TE, Giants; Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs; Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Ravens; Robert Woods, WR, Bills; James Starks, RB, Packers; Knile Davis, RB, Chiefs; Kamar Aiken, WR, Ravens; Anthony Dixon, RB, Bills; Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars; Juwan Thompson, RB, Broncos; Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers; Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets; Kenny Britt, WR, Rams

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