Let’s get the belligerence out of the way right now. This is a response to a previous article where I gave you 20 reasons to not follow the ADP top 20.
Should you blindly follow every word said about every player in these lists? Absolutely not. But every sentiment is worth noting. Even players in the top 20 have pros and cons like those high-risk sleepers you covet.
They are more likely to make the pros stand up, that’s why they are in the top 20. And that’s what this list is all about. Let’s gush about the best-of-the-best in fantasy football this preseason.
The ADP Top 20*
*The ADP from July 11 is being used so the list coincides exactly with the earlier top 20. Current ADP from July 26 is included and the one player change is noted at the bottom.
1. Chris Johnson (ADP: 1.11, current: 1.15) — Did you see him in 2009? What more is there to say. You could argue that he’s the most talented running back to carry the ball since Barry Sanders. And know that a passing attack led by Vince Young isn’t going to steal too many touches from him.
2. Adrian Peterson (ADP: 1.98, current: 1.95) — If Chris Johnson is 1A, Adrian Peterson should be 1B. He’s got elite explosiveness and will be asked to carry the ball a lot. Brett Favre’s decision shouldn’t weigh heavily on Peterson owners. As his statistics in 2008 and 2009 show, he is dominant regardless of the signal caller.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew (ADP: 3.13, current: 3.14) — What happens when defenses start double-covering budding superstar Mike Sims-Walker? Less defenders to fill the gaps and cover MJD in the flats. Can you say monster season?
4. Ray Rice (ADP: 3.99, current: 3.94) — If all you focus on is what Rice might lose to Boldin in the passing game, you’re missing the point. Boldin’s success opens up the flats and the running lanes for Rice, who should accumulate more yards and more TDs despite fewer touches.
5. Frank Gore (ADP: 5.10, current: 5.26) — As the San Francisco offense takes off, Gore will be in the captain’s chair. Gore doesn’t need a lot of touches to rack up big fantasy points, he just needs healthy touches. Sharing with Glen Coffee and Anthony Dixon could mean more meaningful carries for Gore late in games and late in your fantasy playoffs.
6. Michael Turner (ADP: 6.11, current: 6.16) — Yeah, he wasn’t as fantastic in 2009 and got hurt, but his body of work while healthy was just as dominant as the 2008 Michael Turner. He played in only eight full games but rushed for 871 and 10 TDs. A full offseason of rest and recuperation could mean big things for Turner and his quarterback, Matt Ryan.
7. Andre Johnson (ADP: 6.94, current: 6.98) — With the emergence of Jacoby Jones and the return of Owen Daniels, teams won’t be able to devise defense to stop AJ every play. Even if they do, it’ll just mean we’ll have to settle for a third-straight 1,500-yard season.
8. Steven Jackson (ADP: 8.30, current: 8.36) — With a rookie quarterback likely ready to take the helm in St. Louis, the team’s offensive focus will remain on Steven Jackson, who averaged 103 yards a carry in his first 10 games in 2009. Despite the Rams inability to do anything else offensively, and their defense’s inability to stop anyone, Jackson still finished with more than 1,400 yards rushing. An encore with a couple more TDs could make him a top 5 player.
9. Aaron Rodgers (ADP: 9.44, current: 9.32) — Rodgers was sacked 50 times last season, tied for the most in the NFL. The Packers responded by drafting two OTs in April’s draft. Other than that upgrade, nothing has changed in Green Bay. Yes, Rodgers can be even better in 2010.
10. Rashard Mendenhall (ADP: 10.23, current: 10.49) — He wasn’t even a factor until Week 4, but Mendenhall still rushed for more than 1,100 yards and seven TDs. I was even told recently that Mendenhall could take third-down duties, and after his 25 catches and 261 yards with one score in 2009, who could argue.
11. Larry Fitzgerald (ADP: 11.50, current: 11.70) — Fitzgerald is one of the most talented receivers in the game. If I was out there tripping over my hobbit feet and lobbing ducks, Fitzgerald would still get 85-1,200-6. If Matt Leinart breaks out, Fitzgerald will reclaim his crown as the top WR in the land.
12. Drew Brees (ADP: 12.34, current: 12.08) — Brees has thrown for more than 4,400 yards in four consecutive seasons and has thrown at least 26 TDs in five of the last six. I know what I said about Rodgers a couple paragraphs ago, but there is no better or more consistent QB in fantasy than Drew Brees.
13. DeAngelo Williams (ADP: 13.16, current: 13.34) — Rushed for 1,117 yards and seven TDs despite missing the final two games of the season. Let’s say he plays second fiddle to Jonathan Stewart this season, as unlikely as it is. Stewart rushed for 1,133 yards and 11 TDs as the No. 2 running back in Carolina in 2010.
14. Shonn Greene (ADP: 14.10, current: 14.44) — Behind that Jets offensive line all season, Greene might never give LaDainian Tomlinson a chance at his second chance in New York.
15. Randy Moss (ADP: 14.50, current: 14.44) — Last season, “old” Randy Moss scored the second most touchdowns, the second most yards and the second most receptions in any season since leaving Minnesota six years ago. How is that slowing down?
16. Ryan Mathews (ADP: 16.42, current: 16.55) — Did you see what LaDainian Tomlinson did for years as the superstar back for the Chargers? Refresher: Six consecutive seasons with 15 or more combined TDs, double-digit TDs in every season and the single-season TD record; a run of more than 1,400 yards in five of six seasons. Who’s going steal touches from Mathews? Darren Sproles?
17. Reggie Wayne (ADP: 17.66, current: 17.44) — In 2009, the “soon-to-be-replaced-by-Gonzalez-Collie-Garcon” Wayne had the second-most receptions of his career, the third-highest yardage total and tied for his second-highest TD total. Let’s not scream “decline!” at the top of our lungs until, y’know, there is even a sign of decline.
18. Cedric Benson (ADP: 17.95, current: 18.67) — Read in a couple places that we shouldn’t be surprised when his most recent spat with the law gets tossed out. In 2009, he had more than 1,300 total yards, six 100-yard games and six TDs. Oh, that’s right he also only started 12 games and only played in 13.
19. Calvin Johnson (ADP: 18.91, current: 18.84) — Take a deep breath Megatron fans. He missed two full games because of injury, had a rookie signal caller under center and still finished with 984 yards and five TDs. Don’t be surprised when Tony Scheffler and Jahvid Best soften defenses a little for Johnson.
20. Ryan Grant (ADP: 20.53, current 21.00) — Grant scored 10 or more fantasy points (non-PPR) in 12 of 16 games last season. He finished with a career high 1,253 yards rushing, a career-high 197 yards receiving and a career-high 11 TDs. It’s only his third season and he’ll be 27 for most of this season. It’s easy math, but I’ll say it anyway, Grant should set career highs again in 2010.
21. Miles Austin (Current ADP: 20.82) — Austin surpassed Grant in recent drafts, and it’s not difficult to see why. As great as Austin was last season, don’t forget that he didn’t break out until Week 5. Let’s say the Cowboys used him better in the first four weeks and he averaged a pessimistic 70 yards per game and an extra TD every other game, that would have given him 13 TDs and 1,600 yards. For reference, Andre Johnson — considered to be the top fantasy WR in 2010 — had just 1,569 yards and 9 scores in 2009.
So, where do you stand on the ADP top 20? Let us know in the comments.