My 2011 rankings: Top 100 and by position 

September, 2, 2011
9/02/11
4:15
PM ET
Editor's Note: Rankings were adjusted at 2:00 p.m. ET on Monday, September 5 to reflect Eric's thoughts on the latest Peyton Manning news, as well as Rashad Jennings going on IR and Chester Taylor joining the Cardinals. None of the commentary below has been altered in any way.

As we head into what is sure to be a fantasy draft-filled Labor Day weekend, it seems about time to post my updated rankings both by position and overall (a top 100). But wait, there's more! This season I'll be updating my 2011 season rankings every Tuesday, beginning with Week 2 -- at least that's the plan -- just as trusted colleague Tristan H. Cockcroft did last season.

I want to re-emphasize: These are not Week 1 rankings below; they're for the entire season. After Week 1, I'll update them and post them again, but they'll still be -- you guessed it -- for the rest of the season, from that point on.



Because I'm a conservative and often loyal fantasy owner, you're not likely to see many abrupt early-season changes to my rankings. Sure, if there appears to be a September breakout such as Michael Vick or Arian Foster from 2010, I'll hop aboard just like everyone else. But just because, hypothetically speaking, Drew Brees throws three interceptions on Thursday -- there's a game that matters in less than a week! -- or LeSean McCoy sputters for 45 total yards in Week 1, it won't make me abandon draft-day and season philosophy and dump them from my respective top-10s at their positions. So stick with the "end-of-season" rankings blog all season, and we'll track the changing values as best as we can, neither overreacting nor pretending stuff isn't impactful.

And remember, each Wednesday, I and colleagues Matthew Berry, Christopher Harris and Cockcroft will provide week-specific rankings to help set your lineups.

Quick click by position, for easy reference:

Top 40 Quarterbacks | Top 60 Running Backs | Top 60 Wide Receivers

Top 30 Tight Ends | Top 32 Defense/Special Teams | Top 100 Overall

Top 40 Quarterbacks



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• These are essentially the rankings and strategy I went with during the offseason and have stuck with all preseason. As I've noted before on various platforms, the chances that I will end up with one of the top-five quarterbacks in any draft are pretty slim. That's just not how I like to build a team. I'm a running back guy this season -- it does change from year to year based on many factors, especially depth -- and I'd like to ensure a good base of running backs and wide receivers before choosing a quarterback. And really, I don't think Matt Schaub, Ben Roethlisberger and even Eli Manning are major downgrades from the top five options at all.

• As for Eli's big brother, Peyton Manning, sure, he might not play Week 1, but I will depend on him for the season (even if he's still picked too early for me to get him). I think fantasy drafters often overrate the possibility of a player missing a week or two in September. Yes, this isn't baseball with 162 games; missing a few weeks of the regular season is a bigger deal has a greater impact. Still, think big-picture here. The Colts are. Don't you want a healthy Peyton for Weeks 2-17? Kerry Collins even inches into my top 40 quarterbacks, and if he's slated to start Week 1 -- it's looking somewhat likely -- he might even crack the top 20. Or not.

• I probably like Eli Manning, Kevin Kolb and Kyle Orton a bit more than my cohorts, but there's nothing wrong with that. They'd also take a quarterback or two in the first round, perhaps at the very top of the draft. That doesn't make anyone right or wrong. If you're playing in a format with two starting quarterbacks, obviously the stakes on selecting signal-callers adjusts some, and players such as the younger Manning, Kolb or Orton would be taken much earlier. Remember how well Orton was performing before being forcefully removed from the role.

• As for the later quarterback selections, I could see Colt McCoy, Alex Smith and, yes, John Beck moving up the rankings quickly. I'm not saying any of them will be safe backup fantasy options any time soon, but all of them are playing and have ability, and I think fantasy owners have certain prejudices and might be shortchanging them a tad.

Top 60 Running Backs



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