I am going to change things up a little bit this week. Everybody does a waiver wire column and pickup recommendations are readily available on most every site. Here at Fantasy Assembly, we strive to be different. Instead of producing yet another waiver wire column, I am going to take a look at all the fantasy relevant players from 2 positions each week. This week, the focus will be on QBs and RBs and next week I will look at all the pass catchers. Alternating back and forth will allow me to cover every skill position player over a two-week period.
How to Use this Column
Players from each position will be ranked along with a quick comment regarding their most recent news. Rankings will reflect rest of season value, not just the current week. The players’ track record, most recent production and overall health will all be factored in to the ranking.
In theory, players ranked side by side should be relatively equal in value. Owners can use these lists when trying to figure out whether to drop an underperforming player for a hot waiver add or use it as a tool to evaluate a potential trade.
Lastly, this column assumes standard scoring (4 point pass TDs, 1 point for 25 passing yards, 1 point for 10 pass/receiving yards, no PPR). If your league uses another scoring type, you may need to adjust for differences.
1. Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers takes the top spot by a wide margin despite a slow week against the 49ers. Rodgers’ name brand value commands a hefty premium.
2. Tom Brady – Brady is a man on a mission. I like his chances to outscore Rodgers this year and with the bye week in his rearview mirror, Brady owners are feeling pretty good.
3. Andrew Luck – I am not sure what worries me more, the shoulder or the interceptions. Now could be a great time to buy low for owners in need of a QB. Luck may miss the week 5 contest as well.
4. Russell Wilson – Wilson’s name brand is worth more than his fantasy game. He is a great real life QB who is somewhat overrated in fantasy.
5. Matt Ryan – The Falcons are rolling. While Matty Ice is not on the level of the elite options, he is as safe as they come. 256 yards with a TD is not too bad for a slow day.
6. Cam Newton – Newton’s running ability provides a very high floor for fantasy owners. Despite throwing for only 124 yards in week 4, he still provided his owners with a healthy point total thanks to 2 TDs and 50 rushing yards.
7. Carson Palmer – Injury risk prevents him from being ranked higher, but he is a near elite fantasy QB for as long as he can stay on the field.
8. Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben looked like he was going to challenge the top dogs in an up tempo Steelers offense with tons of weapons. Ben retains a high rank despite his injury because he is a weekly difference maker at his position.
9. Peyton Manning – I think Peyton will keep the Broncos rolling, but his days of being an elite fantasy performer are behind him. Unfortunately, owners are likely to see more lines like the one from week 4 (213 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs).
10. Drew Brees – Brees is clearly not 100% and he has nobody to throw it too. Name brand value supports this ranking.
11. Andy Dalton – His weapons are healthy and he is playing an aggressive brand of football. Dalton will outscore plenty of names appearing ahead of him on this list.
12. Eli Manning – Manning and Beckham are each off to slow starts, but 3 TDs Sunday against a ferocious Bills defense have Eli’s arrow pointing up.
13. Philip Rivers – Rivers has struggled at times this season, but 358 yards and 3 TDs in week 4 prove that he can still perform like a QB1 in friendly matchup.
14. Ryan Tannehill – Tannehill has not looked good at all, but when you chuck it over 40 times per game, you are bound to get a few fantasy points. A coaching change could help Tannehill’s efficiency, but could also lead to less volume.
15. Tyrod Taylor – Taylor finished with a decent line Sunday, but he really struggled early. If not for two second half TDs getting called back, he would have still finished among the top QBs for week 4. Taylor is a great option when matchups are favorable.
16. Jay Cutler – Cutler led the Bears to a win in week 4 and he is likely to get his best weapon back for week 5 in a good matchup against the Chiefs. Expect high volume all season long.
17. Sam Bradford – The Eagles have really struggled, but Bradford had a huge game Sunday with 3 TDs and 270 yards. Protection issues are going to cause inconsistency, but the upside is still there.
18. Derek Carr – Carr did not have his best game against the Bears, but the Raiders’ offense as a whole is trending up. Carr to Cooper looks like an awesome combo.
19. Marcus Mariota – Mariota has feasted on some of the worst defenses in the league in his first 3 games. His week 5 matchup against the Bills will be very interesting.
20. Matthew Stafford – Stafford simply does not have enough time to throw the ball. Calvin Johnson is no longer an elite playmaker and the line is unable to open up any lanes for the RBs. It could be a long season in Detroit.
21. Tony Romo – Romo is not eligible to return until week 11, so it will be difficult to hold him in leagues with fewer than 6 bench spots. He is a top 10 option upon his return though, so he still has some value in many leagues.
22. Joe Flacco – Flacco is a mid range QB2. He makes a good play in the right matchup, but hopefully you are not relying on him as your primary signal caller.
23. Blake Bortles – Bortles has played well enough to warrant consideration as a streamer play in favorable matchups. He was my designated Roethlisberger replacement this week and he fared very well with 298 and a TD.
24. Alex Smith – Smith is the guy you grab when you run out of ideas. He has had some good games, but be careful using him. He is capable of posting some real duds.
25. Ryan Fitzpatrick – With Marshall and Decker as his primary weapons, Fitzpatrick has shown the ability to post usable fantasy numbers.
26. Jameis Winston – Winston looks terrible at times, but he is likely to put up garbage time points all season long.
27. Colin Kaepernick – Speaking of looking terrible. When did Kaepernick forget how to throw?
28. Mike Vick – Vick is a decent short-term option. Martavis Bryant’s return will hopefully spark the offense and give Vick another big play option.
29. Teddy Bridgewater – Bridgewater does not typically get enough volume to be usable in fantasy. Week 4 was not the typical game flow for the Vikings as the Broncos completely bottled up AP aside from 1 huge run.
30. Kirk Cousins – Cousins will occasionally have a big game like he did in week 4. He is a capable pocket passer, but the Redskins would prefer to run the ball and hide Cousins due to his penchant for throwing picks.
1. Le’Veon Bell – Bell is the ultimate all around back. He can do it all. As the main cog in a high-octane offense, he is primed for a huge season.
2. Jamaal Charles – Charles is the number 2 RB YTD, trailing only Devonta Freeman. He is averaging 114 yards from scrimmage per game and has found the endzone 5 times. As long as he is healthy, he will produce elite numbers.
3. Adrian Peterson – Peterson still has it. He is an explosive, angry runner. He would have posted his second dud in 4 weeks if not for a 48 yards TD scamper on a 4th and 1, but he still ranks as the third best fantasy RB so far.
4. Eddie Lacy – Lacy has only found the endzone once so far. Now that he is past his ankle issues, expect some big stat lines in the near future.
5. Matt Forte – The Bears offense looks like a dumpster fire, but Forte is looking as good as ever with 500 scrimmage yards in 4 games. Now if he could only find the endzone.
6. Arian Foster – Future injuries are always a concern, but he is healthy now and ready to rock. Patient owners are about to be rewarded.
7. Devonta Freeman – This might be a tad aggressive since all of his production has come in 2 weeks. After back to back 3 TD games, he is clearly the lead back in Atlanta.
8. Todd Gurley – Gurley was awfully impressive in his second game. He looks like an elite talent in the making and the focal point of the Rams’ offense.
9. Marshawn Lynch – Apparently the hamstring issue could be a bigger deal than originally thought. With an MRI showing “some findings”, Lynch could be looking at a multi week absence. His lack of production has not exactly made owners happy either.
10. Jeremy Hill – Hill is going to score a lot of TDs, but his lack of touches will cause week to week inconsistency. In the last 3 weeks, he has averaged just 10.33 rush attempts per game. It is hard to be an RB1 with that kind of volume.
11. Karlos Williams – Williams is a top 5 RB play until McCoy returns. When that happens, he has proven that he can still produce on limited touches. If he continues to get the nod on goal line carries, he could end up being the back to own in Buffalo even once Shady returns.
12. Carlos Hyde – Hyde looks awesome, but his talents are being wasted in what might be the league’s worst offense. Game flow will often hold him back.
13. Joseph Randle – Randle struggled on Sunday and almost had a lost fumble instead of a TD, but the call on the field was reversed. He still remains the lead dog in Dallas for now.
14. Latavius Murray – After a huge breakout in week 3, Murray was a huge disappointment against the lowly Bears. He dropped a pass that turned into a pick and later fumbled before being benched. He should retain the lead role moving forward.
15. LeSean McCoy – McCoy could be out until week 9 with his hamstring issue. Karlos Williams could have a bigger piece of the pie than McCoy owners would like by that time.
16. DeMarco Murray – Murray wants more touches, but if you take away his 30 yard run against the Redskins on Sunday, he has just 17 yards on his other 28 carries. Yuck.
17. Chris Ivory – Ivory made the Dolphins look terrible on Sunday. Injuries are always an issue for Ivory, but he is a high end RB2 when healthy.
18. Mark Ingram – Ingram has looked terrific so far. If Spiller continues to emerge, however, Ingram’s role could be dependent on game flow. That is not a good thing on a bad team like the Saints.
19. Ameer Abdullah – Abdullah looks good, but the Lions offensive line is terrible. Abdullah should continue to work as the lead back in Detroit given Bell’s awful play.
20. Legarrette Blount – Blount did all of his damage in one game, but it was an impressive outing. He is a matchup dependent player with week winning ability when he gets the touches.
21. Frank Gore – The Colts line looks miserable. Gore looks like an RB2 matchup play at this point. He may have a hard time if Luck misses any more games.
22. Justin Forsett – Forsett is not being utilized like his owners hoped in the passing game or in the redzone. 150 yards on 27 carries against a good run defense in week 4 is promising.
23. T.J. Yeldon – Yeldon had his best game as a pro against the Colts with 105 rushing yards on 22 carries. He is locked in as an every down for the Jags even though he has yet to find the endzone.
24. Lamar Miller – Miller has not been terrible, he has not been given a chance. Hopefully the coaching change will breathe life into the running game. Now is the ideal time to buy low.
25. Chris Johnson – Johnson is the lead back in Arizona, but he has a lot of talent on the depth chart behind him. His uncertain future limits his current value.
26. Giovani Bernard – Bernard has outplayed Jeremy Hill thus far and is essentially splitting time. Hill is ranked higher due to his goal line role.
27. Danny Woodhead – Woodhead has averaged 86.75 scrimmage yards and scored 2 TDs in 4 games, He has thoroughly outplayed Gordon so far.
28. Doug Martin – Martin came back from the dead with a big game in week 4. He recorded 25 touches in a game where the Bucs were playing from behind the whole way. If this usage continues, his value will rise.
29. Dion Lewis – Lewis has been sensational so far. Keep in mind that the Pats have played against 3 strong run defenses. Lewis will have slow weeks against the weaker run defenses as the Pats go with the power running game.
30. Jonathan Stewart – Stewart is the lead back on a good football team, but he has struggled on a per carry basis and he has not been getting many redzone opportunities.
31. Ronnie Hillman – Right now it looks like an even timeshare in Denver. The more productive of the two backs will win out. Right now, that is Hillman.
32. Melvin Gordon – Gordon has really disappointed fantasy owners so far. The split with Woodhead has been nearly 50-50, but Woodhead has been more productive of the two. Better days are ahead for Gordon, but his ceiling is limited by his role.
33. Duke Johnson – Johnson and Crowell appear to be in a timeshare, but Johnson is the more explosive player. Johnson is also less dependent on positive game flow due to his receiving skills. He had 9 receptions for 85 yards and a TD in week 4.
34. Darren Sproles – Sproles has had a substantial role early on as Murray and Mathews have struggled. He makes a decent flex play, especially in PPR leagues.
35. C.J. Anderson – Anderson is well on his way to losing his job. 117 scoreless yards on 43 carries will not get it done. Hillman is averaging 4.9 YPC compared to Anderson’s 2.7.
36. Alfred Morris – Morris’ value has taken a serious hit this season. He will still get first crack to produce each week, but he is now in the midst of a 3 way timeshare in Washington.
37. Isaiah Crowell – Crowell played very well in week 4. He is dependent on a positive game flow which the Browns may not often find. He will continue to be an inconsistent fantasy option.
38. Matt Jones – Jones has more upside than Morris, but he will also post more duds since Morris gets the first chance. Jones has been the preferred goal line back since week 1, so keep an eye on that usage.
39. Andre Ellington – Ellington is likely to return in week 5 as a 3rd down back. The Arizona offense is efficient enough that Ellington can still produce decent fantasy totals even if he is only getting 8-10 touches per game.
40. C.J Spiller – Spiller did very little before breaking free for an 80 yard game winning TD on a wheel route in OT. Expect his role to grow moving forward.
41. Antonio Andrews – Andrews is the lead back in Tennessee, for now.
42. Andre Williams – Williams is not better than Jennings, but he looks like the preferred short yardage option.
43. Rashad Jennings – Poor tackling on a 51 yard TD reception led to box score success for Jennings, but he is mired in a 3 way committee and is very difficult to trust.
44. Bilal Powell – Powell sustained a groin injury on Sunday, but has been a roughly 50% player when healthy.
45. James Starks – Starks has averaged 9.33 touches per game in the weeks that Lacy played the entire game.
46. Charles Sims – Sims has averaged 9 touches a game and is the 3rd down back for a team that figures to trail most of the time.
47. Lorenzo Taliaferro – Zo is the Ravens’ goal line back and appears to be next in line if Forsett were to go down.
48. Thomas Rawls – Lynch looked pretty good moving around in pre-game warm ups. I get the feeling that he would be on the field in the Seahawks saw the Lions as a threat.
49. Ryan Matthews – At this point, Mathews’s value is tied to Murray’s health.
50. Tevin Coleman – Coleman was playing very well, but it looks as if he was just Wally Pipped by Freeman.
51. David Johnson – Johnson has already found the endzone 4 times on the young season and boasts immense upside. He also made a few rookie mistakes in week 4, including a costly fumble. He is 3rd on the depth chart and nothing more than a lottery ticket stash with a healthy Ellington.
52. Chris Thompson – Thompson has had back to back big games for the Redskins, but he will not be a consistent producer.
53. Darren McFadden – McFadden got almost as many touches as Randle in week 4. He still remains well behind him on the depth chart.
54. Shane Vereen – Vereen is averaging 8 touches per game. After back to back games without recording a catch, however, he seems to be trending the wrong way.
55. Theo Riddick – Riddick’s upside is intriguing. He is a dynamic pass catcher out of the backfield.
56. Khiry Robinson – Robinson has earned and converted on a couple of goal line carries the last 2 weeks, but he is likely to be third in the pecking order moving forward.
57. DeAngelo Williams – With 3 touches in the last 2 games, Williams is only worth rostering as a Bell handcuff. Of course, he was the RB1 before that.
58. Knile Davis – Davis is nothing more than a handcuff.
59. Roy Helu – Helu got 7 touches in week 4, including a TD reception. All but one of these touches came after Murray was benched.
60. Mike Tolbert – Tolbert is involved in the weekly game plan and gets the occasional goal line carry.
61. Joique Bell – Bell missed last night’s game with an ankle injury and he has been dreadfully ineffective with just 22 yards on 20 carries.
62. Dexter McCluster – McCluster is a pass catching specialist who will get a handful of touches each week.
63. Tre’ Mason – Mason is nothing more than a handcuff at this point. Gurley looks like the real deal.
64. Jerrick McKinnon – A potential lottery ticket if AP were to go down.
65. Reggie Bush – Bush was active this week, but man the 49ers look bad.
66. Alfred Blue – Hopefully Foster can stay healthy. If he can’t, Blue has about a 25% chance of posting a usable fantasy line.
67. David Cobb – If your league has deep rosters, don’t forget about this guy. With all the uncertainty in the Titans’ backfield, Cobb could very well be the back to own down the stretch.
68. Denard Robinson – Robinson is out indefinitely with an MCL sprain, but is a player to watch as the season moves along.
69. Chris Polk – I still think Polk is better than Blue.
70. Jonas Gray – Gray has been a non-factor so far, but keep an eye on his usage following the coaching change. He appears to be ahead of Damien Williams on the depth chart right now.
71. Bishop Sankey – Sankey has lost his job to Antonio Andrews. That is not good.
72. Lance Dunbar – Dunbar is out for the season with a torn ACL.
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