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2006 Early NFL Rankings

Mike Doria

NFL Editor for RotoWire. Roots for the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Celtics and the underdog. Plus the McGill Redmen.

Early NFL Rankings
By Mike Doria
RotoWire Editor

It's early and there are plenty of things that need to shake out this offseason, but for those readers still hungry for fantasy football content, we've compiled the early fantasy rankings of several NFL Staffers. We've tried to take all of the variables into account as best we can, but of course, these rankings will need plenty of updating as the offseason goes on. Note that these lists were submitted just before the NFL free agency period started.

Our four-man panel consists of:

Chris Liss - RotoWire Managing Editor
Mike Doria - RotoWire NFL Editor
Herbie Teope - RotoWire NFL Staff Writer
Derek VanRiper - RotoWire Assistant Editor

We've compiled each writer's overall top 24 list, as well as their top 12 at the major skill positions.

Derek VanRiper

Rank Player POS Team Skinny
1 Larry Johnson RB KC No debate if Priest is no longer in the fold; Minimal debate if he is.
2 Shaun Alexander RB SEA 3-Year Avg: 19TD, 1670 Rush Yards. Enough Said.
3 LaDainian Tomlinson RB SD Nagging rib/chest injuries slowed him down in '05 and he's here.
4 Tiki Barber RB NYG Always a reliable yardage guy, but finding end zone more past two seasons.
5 Edgerrin James RB ARI Depending on where he ends up, could fall a few spots from here.
6 Peyton Manning QB IND Inability to win big playoff games doesn't affect fantasy value.
7 Rudi Johnson RB CIN 1,450+ yards and 12 TD in both full seasons as a starter.
8 Steve Smith WR CAR Teams couldn't stop him when they knew he was getting the ball.
9 Clinton Portis RB WAS Eliminated questions about the "Bronco Effect" in '05.
10 Steven Jackson RB STL Even Scott Linehan will run the ball more than Mike Martz; Jackson will benefit.
11 LaMont Jordan RB OAK Art Shell likes to run and Jordan's versality as a receiver helps if Raiders go young at QB.
12 Ronnie Brown RB MIA Questionable status of Ricky Williams leapfrogs Brown just ahead of Cadillac, again.
13 Cadillac Williams RB TB Should enter '06 better prepared to take punishment of NFL workload.
14 Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI They say the third-year is the breakout year for receivers…easily the most upside at WR.
15 Willis McGahee RB BUF Talent for improved production is there, supporting cast is not.
16 Chad Johnson WR CIN With Housh, teams can't overcommit on him; absence of Palmer could hurt value.
17 Kevin Jones RB DET Injuries and horrendous play calling were a ball and chain on his production in '05.
18 Randy Moss WR OAK Battled groin/hip/pelvis injuries for two-plus months in '05; should be healthy in camp.
19 Torry Holt WR STL Think back to Linehan's days with the Vikes; Holt has the ability to dominate much like Moss.
20 Marvin Harrison WR IND Mr. Consistency will likely play opposite Reggie Wayne for the rest of his HOF career.
21 Terrell Owens WR ? Can't afford to miss any more time from off the field issues.
22 Thomas Jones RB CHI Numbers like a top-10 back: 1,335 yards, 9TD, but Chicago didn't draft Benson to sit.
23 Tom Brady QB NE Better value than Manning because of lower cost; historically available later in drafts.
24 Anquan Boldin WR ARI Second half of best receiving duo in the league; won't see double teams like Chambers.

Mike Doria

Rank Player POS Team Skinny
1 Shaun Alexander RB SEA Gets the money and stays in a system behind a line that lets him do his thing…score TDs.
2 LaDainian Tomlinson RB SD Can do it all, just needs to avoid nagging injuries.
3 Larry Johnson RB KC Shoots up to #1 if Holmes calls it quits.
4 Tiki Barber RB NYG Racks up the yards, but loses some short yardage opportunities.
5 Clinton Portis RB WAS Numbers early in career were inflated by Denver system, but he’ll be undervalued by many this year.
6 Cadillac Williams RB TB If he stays healthy, Chucky will be in love.
7 Rudi Johnson RB CIN A safe pick without much downside, but numbers aren’t eye-popping.
8 Lamont Jordan RB OAK Has the job to himself and tools to run with it.
9 Ronnie Brown RB MIA Assuming Ricky Williams is out of the picture, last year’s #2 pick overall will carry the load.
10 Peyton Manning QB IND Safe pick if you insist on drafting a QB early, but the possible loss of James may upset the balance on offence.
11 Willis McGahee RB BUF A return to 2004 form hinges on the Bills’ offense clicking.
12 Edgerrin James RB ARI If the Colts re-sign him, move him up seven spots. In another offense, behind another line, he could disappoint.
13 Steven Jackson RB STL Would be a beast if the Rams could commit to the running game.
14 Steve Smith RB CAR Running back drop-off here makes taking last year’s most productive wideout an option.
15 Torry Holt   WR STL A safer pick than last year’s big three of Moss, TO and Harrison.
16 Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI Nice one-two punch with Boldin, but may be asked to do less if Cards figure out how to run.
17 Kevin Jones RB DET If Lions commit to him, he will erase last year's bust label in a hurry.
18 Corey Dillon RB NE Pats could go RB in April -- if not, they'll ride a healthier Dillon for at least another year.
19 Chad Johnson WR CIN Needs a healthy Carson Palmer to play catch with.
20 Randy Moss WR OAK Could be ready to reclaim elite status, but who is the QB?
21 Willie Parker RB PIT Will drop if the Steelers acquire a big back to replace The Bus.
22 Marvin Harrison WR IND You can count on him for solid production, but Wayne cuts into his value.
23 Deuce McAllister RB NO Contingent on his knee holding up in camp.
24 Reggie Bush RB TBA Not a bad slot to grab the rookie RB in the best situation.
DeAngelo Williams RB TBA
Laurence Maroney RB TBA

Herbie Teope

Rank Player POS Team Skinny
1 LaDainian Tomlinson RB SD Disregard horrible finish to 2005. He’s still the man. .
2 Shaun Alexander RB SEA Consistency, consistency.
3 Larry Johnson RB KC Many will rank him No. 1, but Johnson may have offensive line issues with Will Shields and Willie Roaf contemplating retirement.
4 Edgerrin James RB ARI 50/50 chance he’ll be back in Indianapolis. Good enough for me.
5 Tiki Barber RB NYG Give the man some respect.
6 Clinton Portis RB WAS Al Saunders is the new offensive coordinator. ‘Nuff said.
7 Peyton Manning QB IND Not saying I’d take a quarterback before a running back, but he’s a close call.
8 Rudi Johnson RB CIN Nothing spectacular here, but he gets it done.
9 LaMont Jordan RB OAK Al Davis has been talking about the running game. Think new head coach Art Shell was listening?
10 Cadillac Williams RB TB Health is a concern, but he may have the backfield all to himself with Michael Pittman and Mike Alstott potentially gone.
11 Donovan McNabb QB PHI Look for a rebound.
12 Willis McGahee RB BUF Ditto.
13 Ronnie Brown RB MIA He should be gold with the problems surrounding Ricky Williams.
14 Steven Jackson RB STL Will the Rams please commit to the run? If so, take him here.
15 Torry Holt WR STL Some will say Steve Smith, but give me Holt, who is consistent as can be.
16 Steve Smith WR CAR Get him after Holt.
17 Julius Jones RB DAL There’s that Marion Barber thing to worry about.
18 Brian Westbrook RB PHI A machine for the reception leagues when healthy.
19 Chad Johnson WR CIN Simply a stud.
20 Deuce McAllister RB NO Despite returning from an ACL injury, don’t forget about him.
21 Randy Moss WR OAK Art Shell better figure out a way to get Moss the ball.
22 DeShaun Foster RB CAR Should be the man in Carolina, but needs to stay healthy.
23 Marvin Harrison WR IND Still getting it done.
24 Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI A rising star.

Chris Liss

Rank Player POS Team Skinny
1 Larry Johnson RB KC Started nine games, had 1351 yards rushing, 27 catches for 276 yards and 17 total TDs.
2 Shaun Alexander RB SEA Probably won't be in Seattle, so this is subject to change. (Ed. Note -- Alexander since re-upped with the Seahawks)
3 LaDainian Tomlinson RB SD Mileage is adding up, and Tomlinson has worn down late the last two years.
4 Tiki Barber RB NYG Playing like Marshall Faulk in his prime minus the short TDs. Age is an issue.
5 Edgerrin James RB ARI Worth less if he leaves Indy.
6 Rudi Johnson RB CIN Value takes a hit if Carson Palmer isn't okay.
7 Cadillac Williams RB TB Offense should improve as Simms gets more experience.
8 Peyton Manning QB IND Safe play with upside.
9 Clinton Portis RB WAS Came on down the stretch, still explosive if he gets the blocking.
10 Steve Smith WR CAR Most consistent receiver in the league - has great speed and toughness.
11 Torry Holt WR STL As steady as they come, but Bulger needs to stay healthy.
12 Antonio Gates TE SD A monster from the TE position.
13 Ronnie Brown RB MIA Assuming Ricky's in trouble and/or traded.
14 LaMont Jordan RB OAK Has all the physical tools and the opportunity again.
15 Anquan Boldin WR ARI Has always been big when healthy; averaged 100 yards per game.
16 Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI Big red zone target on pass-happy team.
17 Chad Johnson WR CHI Carson Palmer's health affects his status in a big way
18 Steven Jackson RB STL Has the size and the speed, just needs to be used properly.
19 Marvin Harrison WR IND Getting old, but still good for 1100 and 10 TDs.
20 Willis McGahee RB BUF Looked like a plodder last year; should still be the guy, though.
21 Reggie Bush RB TBA Should be the guy right off the bat.
22 Willie Parker RB PIT With The Bus gone, Parker could see more carries from in close.
23 Domanick Davis RB HOU Durability and awful team are issues.
24 Donovan McNabb QB PHI Was a monster before he got hurt.
Top 12 by Position

QB Teope VanRiper Liss Doria
1 Peyton Manning Peyton Manning Peyton Manning Peyton Manning
2 Donovan McNabb Tom Brady Donovan McNabb Tom Brady
3 Carson Palmer Carson Palmer Tom Brady Donovan McNabb
4 Marc Bulger Donovan McNabb Carson Palmer Carson Palmer
5 Tom Brady Marc Bulger Daunte Culpepper Marc Bulger
6 Matt Hasselbeck Jake Delhomme Eli Manning Matt Hasselbeck
7 Daunte Culpepper Matt Hasselbeck Matt Hasselbeck Daunte Culpepper
8 Trent Green Trent Green Jake Delhomme Trent Green
9 Eli Manning Brett Favre Marc Bulger Jake Delhomme
10 Michael Vick Eli Manning Jake Plummer Michael Vick
11 Jake Delhomme Ben Roethlisberger Kurt Warner Eli Manning
12 Brett Favre Jake Delhomme Ben Roethlisberger Kurt Warner
RB Teope VanRiper Liss Doria
1 LaDainian Tomlinson Larry Johnson Larry Johnson Shaun Alexander
2 Shaun Alexander Shaun Alexander Shaun Alexander LaDainian Tomlinson
3 Larry Johnson LaDainian Tomlinson LaDainian Tomlinson Larry Johnson
4 Edgerrin James Tiki Barber Tiki Barber Tiki Barber
5 Tiki Barber Edgerrin James Edgerrin James Clinton Portis
6 Clinton Portis Rudi Johnson Rudi Johnson Cadillac Williams
7 Rudi Johnson Clinton Portis Cadillac Williams Rudi Johnson
8 LaMont Jordan LaMont Jordan Clinton Portis LaMont Jordan
9 Cadillac Williams Steven Jackson Ronnie Brown Ronnie Brown
10 Willis McGahee Ronnie Brown LaMont Jordan Willis McGahee
11 Ronnie Brown Carnell Williams Steven Jackson Edgerrin James
12 Steven Jackson Willis McGahee Willis McGahee Steven Jackson
WR Teope VanRiper Liss Doria
1 Torry Holt Steve Smith Steve Smith Steve Smith
2 Steve Smith Larry Fitzgerald Torry Holt Torry Holt
3 Chad Johnson Chad Johnson Anquan Boldin Larry Fitzgerald
4 Randy Moss Randy Moss Larry Fitzgerald Chad Johnson
5 Marvin Harrison Torry Holt Chad Johnson Randy Moss
6 Larry Fitzgerald Marvin Harrison Marvin Harrison Marvin Harrison
7 Anquan Boldin Terrell Owens Randy Moss Anquan Boldin
8 Terrell Owens Anquan Boldin Terrell Owens Terrell Owens
9 Reggie Wayne Chris Chambers Chris Chambers Hines Ward
10 Javon Walker Hines Ward Hines Ward Reggie Wayne
11 Santana Moss Javon Walker Reggie Wayne Chris Chambers
12 Darrell Jackson Santana Moss Javon Walker Santana Moss
TE Teope VanRiper Liss Doria
1 Antonio Gates Antonio Gates Antonio Gates Antonio Gates
2 Jeremy Shockey Jeremy Shockey Jeremy Shockey Jeremy Shockey
3 Todd Heap Tony Gonzalez Tony Gonzalez Tony Gonzalez
4 Tony Gonzalez Todd Heap Todd Heap Todd Heap
5 Alge Crumpler Chris Cooley Alge Crumpler Alge Crumpler
6 Jason Witten Alge Crumpler Heath Miller Heath Miller
7 Chris Cooley Heath Miller Chris Cooley Chris Cooley
8 L.J. Smith Jason Witten Ben Troupe Jason Witten
9 Randy McMichael L.J. Smith Jason Witten Randy McMichael
10 Kellen Winslow Kellen Winslow L.J. Smith L.J. Smith
11 Heath Miller Randy McMichael Randy McMichael Kellen Winslow
12 Jerramy Stevens Dallas Clark Ben Watson Jerramy Stevens

Article first appeared 03/12/2006