Fantasy football Top 200
Chad Ochocinco, Percy Harvin should thrive playing with relialbe quarterbacks
Colts' decision to pay Joseph Addai like a starter bodes well for his health, usage
QB situation, DeAngelo Williams' presence will hurt Jonathan Stewart's productivity
If the busiest week in NFL offseason history didn't get your blood pumping for football, you don't have a pulse. Fantasy footballers are always the easily excitable type, but they have to be giddy now they have a frame of reference to with which to work.
With so many quarterback situations now decided, the preseason rankings are starting to make sense and the real scouting before draft day can begin.
Donovan McNabb makes the Vikings a sleeper again. Kevin Kolb makes the Cardinals capable. Matt Hasselbeck likely still won't get drafted in a standard league, but he makes Chris Johnson a better No. 1 overall candidate. Tarvaris Jackson gets a starting job in Seattle -- ho hum -- while Carson Palmer's forced retirement makes him, and the Bengals, worthless.
And Kyle Orton remaining in Denver and getting first-team snaps over Tim Tebow has fantasy owners biting their cheek.
Everything in football -- and fantasy -- comes down to the quarterback, and the only real remaining shoe to drop at that position is that of Orton's situation, whether it will be blocking Tebow's path to fantasy relevance or making something out of Brandon Marshall and company in Miami.
Before giving you this writer's Top 200, an ordering of the players that should be drafted in a standard 12-team league, let's break down the top players sent up and down by the busy weekend of transactions.
1. WR Chad Ochocinco, NE
He found easily the best situation possible. You want to improve your stock as a wideout? Join forces with the best passer.
Many hated this writer's ranking of Tom Brady over Aaron Rodgers as the No. 1 QB. Brady was the best in fantasy a year ago with a young and unimpressive receiving corps. Now he gets a legit star to add to a deep set of options, especially with sophomore tight end Aaron Hernandez off the PUP list.
Ochocino was going to be OchoStinko in Cincinnati. The only bad thing about this more is he will no longer be a sleeper candidate. The hype will just be too great.
2. WR Percy Harvin, MIN
It isn't just the addition of McNabb in Minnesota. It is also the loss of Sidney Rice, and Harvin's belief that he will have his migraines in check. Harvin is a solid quick-route runner, and McNabb has made a career of West Coast offense passing. Harvin is set for a career year.
3. QB Kevin Kolb, ARI
Kolb has potential, clearly, and he gets an elite wideout in Larry Fitzgerald to work with. The Cardinals also added a tight end. Kolb becomes a candidate to be drafted as a fantasy starter, although we rank him just out of that range until we see how the Cards' situation unfolds in the preseason.
4. D/ST Eagles
Two words can change the way a defense plays: cover corner, and Nnamdi Asomugha's name is synonymous with the term. The Eagles also added another great corner in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie via the Kolb deal. Asante Samuel still has football left in him, too, if he sticks around. Overall, the Eagles go from good to great for fantasy owners.
5. RB Felix Jones, DAL; RB Joseph Addai, IND
The previous four players saw their stocks rise thanks to a change of teams. These two backs didn't go anywhere and each have a great chance to be a sleeper. It is their team's confidence in them as a primary back that excites us here. The Colts paid Addai like a starter and as if they are confident in his health. That's good enough for us. And Jones will no longer be in Marion Barber's shadow, even if he has Demarco Murray now in his.
Honorable mentions: WR Steve Breaston, KC; QB Donovan McNabb, MIN; WR Roy Williams, CHI; QB Jay Cutler, CHI; and QB Vince Young, PHI; RB Knowshon Moreno, DEN; QB Andy Dalton, CIN; QB Matt Hasselbeck, TEN; QB Tarvaris Jackson, SEA; and RB Marion Barber, CHI.
1. RB Jonathan Stewart
The Panthers are still going to be a bad football team, regardless who starts at quarterback (rookie Cam Newton, addition Derek Anderson or sinking sophomore Jimmy Claussen). The re-signing of DeAngelo Williams to starter's money makes it likely there won't be enough opportunities for Stewart to be the elite fantasy back he could be. The Panthers are going to be running a lot, but game situations are going to take them out of the running game too much to have two decent fantasy backs.
2. QB Tim Tebow, DEN
Another player not going anywhere. Tebow is still the Broncos' future under center, but he will have to bide his time taking backup snaps until the Orton situation resolves itself. Orton has a starter's contract,and the Broncos are holding out hope for a better offer from the Dolphins -- or another team, perhaps. It will be tough to draft Tebow before the latter rounds unless the job is his.
3. WR Sidney Rice
Rice is one of the few players to move who chose a spot that is going to negatively impact his production. He could have been a sleeper with the Vikings. It is more likely he is going to be mediocre with the Seahawks and their collection of uninspiring QBs. Was Hasselbeck really that bad? They are going to find out they didn't know what they had until he's gone. Rice just won't be the 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown threat here.
4. QB Carson Palmer, CIN
Oh, those Bengals. They have so much going for them they can just tell their franchise player to retire. No need to seek compensation for him. They are hard-headed and dumb. Palmer could have been a fantasy star in a place like Miami. But if he decides to "unretire" and play for the Bengals, that is a mess that will hardly make him viable.
5. WR Plaxico Burress, NYJ
This isn't about Burress missing out on playing with potential top-10 fantasy passers Ben Roethlisberger or Eli Manning. It is about being the second option in a passing game with Mark Sanchez that just isn't that great. Burress is also going to be highly hyped going back to the biggest of maarkets, and the bet here is the juice just won't be worth the squeeze -- as it was with Braylon Edwards.
Honorable mentions: RB Ronnie Brown, MIA; D/ST Raiders; WR Randy Moss, FA; WR Terrell Owens, CIN; TE Greg Olsen, STL; QB Kyle Orton, DEN; QB Jake Locker, TEN; and QB Charlie Whitehurst, SEA.
We reserve the right to dramatically alter this before the end of training camps, but you should feel confident the first 100 or so to be pretty close to how a standard draft will go. You have to move the wide receivers up, if your league gives points per reception (PPR) -- or D/STs up if there are big points for yards or points against.
It is suggested here a 12-team league that drafts 16 rounds should render the following breakdown by position: 22 QBs, 67 RBs (in case for injury), 62 WRs, 18 TEs, 13 K and 18 D/STs.
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. You can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice on Twitter @EricMackFantasy. Hit him up.
ORDER NOW: Sports Illustrated's Fantasy Football 2011 issue tells you where all the free agents landed and what their fantasy impact will be, along with the critical draft strategy and stats analysis you need to win your league. Available in mid-August.
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