Fantasy football: Who to start — and sit — in Week 3

All of a sudden the Cleveland Browns look like they’ve got a few options to start on your fantasy squad. Baker Mayfield entered Thursday night’s game against the N.Y. Jets and led the Browns to their first win since Dec. 24, 2016. With Mayfield inserted into the lineup, Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway get an increase in value. Landry should remain the top target for the rookie QB, but Mayfield also had a nice rapport with fellow rookie Callaway in the preseason. The trio will deserve to be started in the near future. Here’s a look at who else should start, and sit, in Week 3.

START THESE GUYS

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers—Yes, he’s on the road, and yes Antonio Brown threw a fit this week. Big Ben should be fine, however, as he takes on the Buccaneers. They’re in the bottom 10 in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks.

RELATED: Fantasy Football Week 3 Rankings.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buccaneers—Ride the Fitzmagic wave as long as you can. Not only does he get to face the Steelers, second-worst in points allowed to quarterbacks, but his defense isn’t great. Both quarterbacks in this matchup should be productive.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions—The Lions will have to score points in order to keep up with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots. New England is in early-season, beatable mode. Kenny Golladay looks like another solid option for the veteran signal caller.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons—It’s a simple rule, really. If Devonta Freeman is out, start Coleman. He’s coming off a game in which he gained 125 yards on 20 touches. The Saints have been good at limiting running backs, but they faced Peyton Barber in one of their best defensive efforts against a rusher.

Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals—He’ll fill in for Joe Mixon and has the skill set to stay on the field for the most part. The Panthers aren’t good at limiting running backs in terms of yards per carry.

Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins—He’s getting double digit touches per game but he’s only had one good week. Facing Oakland should yield a productive day out of Drake, who is sharing carries with the unsinkable Frank Gore.

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagle—With the return of Carson Wentz, Agholor might have even better results. So far he’s caught eight passes in each of the first two games. Agholor should remain the top target Sunday, especially with Mike Wallace out.

Will Fuller, WR, Texans—The Giants are third-best in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers, but those numbers have come against the Jaguars and Cowboys. Tavon Austin scored on a big play last week against N.Y. Fuller’s speed makes him a danger to defenses if his hamstring is healthy enough to play.

Allen Robinson, WR, Bears—Chicago is moving the receiver all over the field to make sure he’s involved. The Cardinals are decent at limiting wideouts’ fantasy points, but that’s mostly due to their first-week success against Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson. Last week they gave up 159 yards to Brandin Cooks.

George Kittle, TE, 49ers—Last week’s performance will scare you, but he should bounce back against a Chiefs squad that got torched by Pittsburgh’s tight ends.

SIT THESE GUYS

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers—I hate sitting Rivers, but he’s got a very tough matchup this week as he faces the Rams’ league-best defense in limiting quarterbacks in fantasy points.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans—He’s already dealing with an odd injury that is giving him tingling in his throwing hand. Even if he were fully healthy, I would sit him against the Jaguars’ pass defense.

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders—Carr hasn’t been a good fantasy player this season yet, though he had a great completion percentage in Week 2. It would be a big surprise if he managed to be productive against a good Miami defense on the road.

Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers—He’s highly inefficient, gaining just 91 yards on 35 carries through two weeks. He also has just one reception for seven yards. The Steelers are a tough matchup and the game should be a passing affair anyway.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills—Not real sure there’s anyone in Buffalo that could start on your fantasy team at this point. McCoy is dealing with a rib injury that he may not even play through. He faces a tough Vikings defense to boot.

Colts running backs—A tough Eagles defense that allowed just 74 yards rushing to the Falcons and 43 yards to the Bucs won’t let any one Indy rusher have much success.

Seahawks receivers—Doug Baldwin is out and the Cowboys have been good at limiting receivers with the help of a solid pass rush. Nobody for the Panthers gained more than 45 yards receiving while Odell Beckham had just 51 yards last week against Dallas.

Corey Davis, WR, Titans—Mariota isn’t a slam dunk to play and Davis faces a big challenge against the Jaguars.

Redskins receivers—The Packers should have a decent day holding down Washington’s receivers. They were torched by Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen last week, but Richardson and Crowder are definitely a lower-tier group.

Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals—I keep thinking he’ll turn it around now that he’s healthy. He’s had minimal success thus far and the Panthers are middle of the road in defending the position.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football: Who to start — and sit — in Week 2

A.J. Green may have already won the week for you (or dealt you a loss) by catching five passes for 69 yards and three touchdowns Thursday night, but it’s never over until it’s over. So have a look at who I think should have strong games, and who you should avoid, in Week 2.

START THESE GUYS

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers—The Chargers had a good offensive game against the Chiefs last week and that should continue against the Bills. Rivers threw for over 400 yards and three scores in Week 1 and gets to face a defense that allowed three TD passes last week.

RELATED: Fantasy Football Week 2 Rankings.

Alex Smith, QB, Redskins—If you’ve got a nice advantage over your opponent this week, starting Smith could be a nice safe play. He threw two touchdowns last week and should be able to take advantage of the Colts pass defense.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers—He faces the Lions who made Sam Darnold look like a first-ballot Hall of Famer after his first pass. Garoppolo had a rough game in Week 1, but that was against a tough Vikings defense. He’ll be productive enough to start.

James Conner, RB, Steelers—Le’Veon Bell is not walking through that locker room door. And until he does, Conner is an RB1. He gets to face a Chiefs defense that gave up 166 total yards to Melvin Gordon in Week 1. Conner should match that in addition to probably finding the end zone.

Lamar Miller, RB, Texans—He’s had good success against the Titans while playing for the Texans. The amount of touches he’s guaranteed weekly is very valuable for fantasy.

Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins—I still don’t think he’ll be able to sustain his efficiency over the season, but he’s doing his best to prove me wrong. He rushed for 65 yards on just five carries last week against the Cardinals. Thompson was a big part of the winning formula last week so there’s no reason to change.

Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns—Landry is getting targeted downfield now that he’s with the Browns. He wasn’t just a short route receiver in the first week. Now he gets to face the Saints, who gave up 361 yards and four touchdowns to the Buccaneers.

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles—The Buccaneers gave up a league-high 23 receptions to wide receivers last week. Agholor caught eight passes in Week 1, albeit for just 33 yards. That total should rise against the third worst team at limiting fantasy points to wideouts.

Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins—He’s a big-play receiver, but he caught just four passes last week. Luckily, two of those receptions went for touchdowns. I like him as a flex play this week if you are looking for a high-ceiling option.

Jack Doyle, TE, Colts—He was targeted 10 times in Week 1 and the Colts with Andrew Luck still throw way more than they run. Washington held tight ends to just 19  yards in Week 1, but that was against a bad Cardinals passing attack.

SIT THESE GUYS

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans—Without Delanie Walker in the mix, I don’t think Mariota plays well against the Texans. Add to that he’s dealing with an elbow injury. The Texans allowed three touchdown passes last week, but that was against Tom Brady.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buccaneers—Fitzpatrick was outstanding in Week 1, but that wasn’t against a Super Bowl caliber defense. That’s what he faces this week against the Eagles. Philly didn’t allow a touchdown pass to Matt Ryan last week and will be tough to score on.

Sam Darnold, QB, Jets—The rookie had a strong debut after making a mistake on his first throw against the Lions. It should be a different story against the Dolphins, who haven’t allowed more than one TD since Tom Brady threw four against them in Nov. of last year.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Lions—The Lions threw passes on over 3/4 of their plays in the first week. That’s not a winning formula for Blount. I would even stay away from rookie Kerryon Johnson as the Lions face the 49ers. San Francisco allowed just 82 yards rushing to running backs last week.

Duke Johnson, RB, Browns—Though Cleveland faces a Saints defense that gave up a lot through the air last week, they allowed just one reception to a running back.

Jordan Wilkins, RB, Colts—The Redskins held David Johnson to 67 yards from scrimmage last week and Wilkins will share time with Nyheim Hines. Marlon Mack, might even play after practicing on a limited basis this week.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Raiders—Targeted just four times in Week 1, Nelson hauled in three passes for 23 yards. I don’t expect him to fare well in Denver either.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs—Keep him on your bench until he starts clicking with Pat Mahomes. Watkins had just three catches for 21 yards in Week 1 when Tyreek Hill was going off.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Bills—Josh Allen will get his first start and you shouldn’t feel comfortable starting any Bill at this point.

Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons—The Panthers allowed just 18 receiving yards to tight ends last week. Hooper isn’t a solid start after catching just three balls for 24 yards in Week 1.

Thursday Night Football Fantasy Preview: Week 2

The Baltimore Ravens travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals to kick off Week 2 of NFL action.

There are some easy calls in this one on the Bengals side. You’ll want to start A.J. Green and Joe Mixon, of course. I’d look for a better option over Andy Dalton this week, though. This will be a nice barometer for seeing if he is a viable fantasy option this season. Dalton had a good week against the Colts to open the season, but Thursday night will be a tougher test.

RELATED: Fantasy Football Week 2 Rankings.

Tyler Eifert has a lot of talent and is healthy, but the Ravens have been historically good at limiting fantasy points for tight ends. You’ll need him to score a touchdown for him to be worth the start.

On the Ravens side, I’d be comfortable starting Alex Collins. Kenneth Dixon took some work from Collins in Week 1, but Dixon is out for the year with a knee injury. That solidifies Collins’ role with the team. Javorius Allen could get more opportunities as a result of the injury as well. He could be a decent flex play at this point.

I don’t like starting both receivers for the Ravens and it depends on what you face in your matchup this week. If you’re favored to win, you may want to go with Michael Crabtree who has a better history of scoring. Also, Crabtree is a good red zone target. If you need big performances this week as an underdog, go with John Brown. He’s a deep threat and could eventually become the clear No. 1 for Joe Flacco by season’s end.

As for Flacco, is he a new man with the rookie Lamar Jackson lingering over his shoulder? I’d like to see more consistency out of Flacco before starting him. I have him ranked No. 16 on my QB rankings for this week.  I’ve got players like Tyrod Taylor, Andrew Luck and Jimmy Garoppolo ranked higher.

Finally, I think both defenses are decent starts Thursday.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

18 for ’18: Fantasy Football predictions for the 2018 season

You can take many routes to fantasy football success. You can conduct dogged research and statistical analysis. You can watch a lot of preseason action, trusting the eye test over all. Or you can go with your gut. Ideally, your preparation is a well-rounded mix, but there’s a lot to be said for that gut feeling. With the NFL season a week away from kicking off, here are 18 gut predictions for the upcoming fantasy football year.

RELATED: Top 250 overall rankings.

1. David Johnson will rush for 1,000 yards and gain 1,000 yards receiving. I led off with this prediction last year, but things didn’t break the right way, so to speak. Johnson was out after the first game as a result of breaking his wrist. He was the consensus first pick in fantasy last year and an argument could be made that he should still be No. 1. It’s not like he had to deal with an injury to one of his wheels. Recovery from a broken wrist isn’t as dicey as coming back from a torn ACL for example. Johnson possibly could have played at the end of last season had the Cardinals been alive in the playoff picture.

2. Matt Breida will make 50 receptions. Jerick McKinnon was lost for the season Saturday before he had a chance to be featured by Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Last season Carlos Hyde, who hadn’t caught more than 27 passes in a single season in his career, was targeted 87 times and hauled in 59 of those. Shanahan’s offensive philosophy is what made Hyde a passing weapon and it’s what will allow Breida to post a career high in receptions.

3. Saquon Barkley will make it three straight rookies to lead the NFL in rushing yards. Two years ago Ezekiel Elliott was a bit of a surprise selection by the Cowboys, but he turned out to be worth the pick. He led the league with 1,631 yards. Last season when Spencer Ware was injured in preseason, rookie Kareem Hunt shot up draft charts and ended up leading the league with 1,327 yards. It’s Barkley’s turn. We haven’t seen much of him this preseason, but what we did see was outstanding. The Giants have turned into a sneaky pick for some to surprise a lot of people. The passing game should be much improved with a healthy Odell Beckham Jr., helping keep the pressure off of Barkley.

4. Royce Freeman will be the second-highest scoring rookie running back. Freeman has been productive in the preseason and signs point to him carrying it over to the regular season. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry and scored in each of the first three presason games. Freeman has to fend off Devontae Booker who has been a disappointment in his career thus far, despite having ample opportunity. Booker has a career average of 3.6 yards per rush attempt. Freeman will have competition from fellow rookies Kerryon Johnson and Rashaad Penny, but I give Freeman the edge.

5. Sammy Watkins won’t catch more than 60 passes. Eight touchdowns last season hid the fact that Watkins caught just 39 passes for 593 yards. He didn’t miss a lot of action either, playing in 15 games. Tyreek Hill will be the leading wide receiver in Kansas City, and I don’t think it will be close. Travis Kelce will be a red zone target, but Watkins may have some success for the Chiefs. He’ll have to, if fantasy owners will enjoy a productive season out of the fifth-year receiver. If Watkins doesn’t find the end zone on a consistent basis, his workload won’t be enough to be a legitimate starter for you.

6. Marshawn Lynch will eclipse 1,000 yards rushing this season. Jon Gruden wants to run the ball. Lynch has looked better this preseason than he did last year. He rushed more than 200 times last season, proving he could still carry a good load. Lynch broke off a 60-yard score during the preseason, but the play was called back due to penalty. He was running away from the safety in the effort. It’s possible he has a bounce-back year and he won’t have to worry about Doug Martin taking away many touches.

7. Latavius Murray will frustrate Dalvin Cook owners by scoring eight rushing touchdowns. Murray is a solid goal-line back and there’s no reason why the Vikings wouldn’t use him in that role. I think their offense could be outstanding this season, with weapons like Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, not to mention reliable tight end Kyle Rudolph. Cook should lead the team in rushing if he’s the running back he was before tearing his ACL last season, but I see Murray turning into a touchdown vulture this year.

8. Rex Burkhead, though a fantasy expert darling all offseason, won’t finish as a top 24 running back. This could be the year. It could be the year the Patriots finally start to fall off. Tom Brady is 41 and father time has to catch up to him eventually. There’s not a clear standout running back on the team. Burkhead has gotten quality touches as a Patriot, but I’m thinking he ends up outside RB2 status. James White is still a pass-catching expert and I don’t see New England giving Burkhead more than 12 carries a game.

9. Dion Lewis will outscore Derrick Henry in the Tennessee backfield. Lewis, a former teammate of Burkhead, has flashed in previous seasons but finally put it all together last year. He rushed for 896 yards and six touchdowns while catching 32 passes for 214 yards and three more scores. Lewis was especially good in the last part of the season, scoring seven times in the final eight games. I think he takes the lead role in Tennessee this year. Henry had a couple of big games last season, but he averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in his final four games.

Running back Dion Lewis #33 of the Tennessee Titans rushes against M.J. Stewart #36 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of a pre-season game at Nissan Stadium on August 18, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

10. Keelan Cole is the wide receiver to own for the Jaguars. With Marqise Lee going down, Cole will lead the Jaguars in receiving this season. He has competition in Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief, but Cole has been trending in the right direction. He ended last season with 42 receptions and 748 yards. I’d guess he scores more than three touchdowns this year. Cole caught 20 passes for 426 yards and two scores in the final four games of last season. I see him continuing to be productive with the run-first offense.

11. Nelson Agholor will be the wide receiver to score the most fantasy points for the Eagles. I was already thinking this was going to happen before news broke that Alshon Jeffery was going to miss at least two games to start the season. Jeffery has missed games in three of the six seasons in which he’s played. He played in 16 games just twice in his five years with Chicago. Jeffery started off right with Philly, playing in all 16 contests and helping the squad win its first Super Bowl last season. It’s important to note, however, that Agholor actually caught five more passes than Jeffery. Agholor also finished with 768 yards and eight touchdowns, just 21 yards and one touchdown shy of Jeffery’s numbers. If healthy, Agholor should be the most productive wide receiver.

12. Peyton Barber will outscore rookie Ronald Jones in the Buccaneers backfield. Jones is struggling in the passing game with Tampa Bay. He hasn’t been productive in that aspect of the game in his entire football life. Peyton Barber is ahead of him on the depth chart and Jones hasn’t looked good in the preseason. Though Barber won’t be too special, he’ll do better than Jones by virtue of staying on the field, getting more touches than the rookie.

13. Trey Burton will be a top-4 tight end. Once Burton got out of Zach Ertz’s shadow in Philadelphia, fantasy owners everywhere took notice. Whenever Burton filled in for Ertz last season, Burton more than pleasantly surprised. In the Eagles’ 43-35 win over the Rams last year, Burton stepped in to catch five passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns. I think that was a sign of things to come as a starter. He’ll be a nice safety blanket for second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky as the apparent go-to guy in Chicago.

14. Kenyan Drake will rush the ball 205 times and top 1,000 yards. Last season Drake had to split carries with Jay Ajayi, understandably. Ajayi is a talented back who is now in Philadelphia. Drake rushed the ball 133 times for 644 yards and scored three times. The Dolphins will have 138 carries (the number Ajayi had last year) to dole out this season. Though Frank Gore is now in Miami, I think Drake gets the majority of those carries, giving him at least 200 rushes. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry so he’ll cross the 1,000-yard mark if he stays healthy.

15. John Brown will outperform Michael Crabtree. Brown has had a pretty outstanding training camp and preseason. He’s already connected on a touchdown with Joe Flacco and is looking like he could be the No. 1 wideout in Baltimore. In 2015 he caught 65 passes for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns. The year before that he scored five times as a rookie. Brown has had a couple of disappointing years related to his health, but he looks great now. Crabtree rejuvenated his career once already, but I don’t know that he’ll be able to do it with the Ravens.

16. Kenny Golladay will double his receptions and touchdowns from last season. Golladay had a decent rookie campaign, catching 28 passes for 477 yards and three touchdowns. Matt Stafford can support two 1,000-yard receivers like he did last season with Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. That could repeat, but Golladay has a shot and digging into some of Jones’ numbers. Also, Eric Ebron and his 86 targets are no longer on the team. Those will be redistributed among the three wideouts.

17. Christian McCaffrey will top 250 touches. The second-year running back had 197 touches last season and gained over 1,000 yards from scrimmage. With Jonathan Stewart now with the Giants, I think McCaffrey takes on a bigger role. He just needs 16 touches per game to get to 250, and his offensive coordinator has talked about getting McCaffrey 25-30 per contest. I don’t think he gets 400 touches, which is what 25 per game would total, but he’ll definitely see more action on the ground this year.

18. Mike Williams will replace Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry as an effective red zone target, catching 6 touchdowns.Williams has already out-muscled a defender for a touchdown in the preseason. Expect to see more of that as the Chargers are in need of a big red zone target after losing Hunter Henry. Gates just rejoined the team but Williams will carve out that role.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football position rankings: Wide receivers

There are just two weekends left before the NFL starts the regular season. Thousands of fantasy football leagues will be drafting soon. Through Saturday I’ll share my rankings for each position. I started with quarterbacks Tuesday, followed by running backs Wednesday. Wide receivers are up next with tight ends and defenses to follow. This year I’ve added tiers to better help you prepare for your draft.

RELATED: Fantasy football rankings: Top 250.

Wide receivers

Tier 1

Not a lot to say here. Antonio Brown is at the top of his game and was just a single touchdown shy of scoring at least 10 for four straight years last season. He’s on a streak of five years in a row of gaining more than 1,200 yards. You should draft a consistent, high-scoring, can’t-miss player in the top five and Brown can be that player. Drafting him is like taking a stud running back.

1. Antonio Brown, PIT

Tier 2

With DeShaun Watson returning from injury, the sky is the limit for DeAndre Hopkins. He’s scored 28 touchdowns over the last three seasons, including 13 last year. Hopkins may not match his touchdown figure from last season, but his career average is 7.2 per season. He had just two his rookie year. Another important factor is Hopkins’ durability. He’s missed just one game in his five years. Another player who needs to stay healthy is Odell Beckham Jr. He played in just four games last season after gaining at least 1,300 yards while scoring at least 10 touchdowns in each of his first three seasons.

2. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
3. Odell Beckham Jr., NYG
4. Julio Jones, ATL

Tier 3

He doesn’t wow you, but Michael Thomas is a consistent contributor with a high minimum expectations. He’s gained at least 1,100 yards in each of his first two seasons. Despite the Saints taking on a run-centered offense last season, Thomas was still a big part of the game plan. He was targeted at least eight times in 14 of 16 games last year and at least five times in every single game. This group also has Keenan Allen and Davante Adams, of the Chargers and Packers. The Chargers offense has found something and Allen is a big part of their success. Adams is the No. 1 receiver for Aaron Rodgers.

5. Michael Thomas, NO
6. Keenan Allen, LAC
7. Davante Adams, GB

Tier 4

The biggest problem with A.J. Green has nothing to do with A.J. Green. It’s his quarterback and the protection his quarterback receives. Despite a bad season for the Bengals last year, Green still gained over 1,000 yards and scored eight touchdowns. He’s farther down the list than usual, but he actually may end up being a value as the eighth receiver off the board. Also in this tier is a pair of Vikings receivers. I think Adam Thielen is the better of the two, but Stefon Diggs also has the potential to be a top-5 receiver. His biggest issue is he hasn’t played an entire season in his three-year career.

8. A.J. Green, CIN
9. Adam Thielen, MIN
10. T.Y. Hilton, IND
11. Stefon Diggs, MIN
12. Mike Evans, TB

Tier 5

Larry Fitzgerald will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he’s not quite done yet. He’s been great ever since moving to the slot receiver spot. Sam Bradford is the new quarterback for the Cardinals and he’s very accurate on short routes, a strength of Fitzgerald. Someone you shouldn’t forget about in this group is Amari Cooper. He’s had his issues, but the talent is undeniable. Michael Crabtree is gone, but Jordy Nelson is in town now. Cooper should be the No. 1 and I think he bounces back from a 680-yard 2017 season. He’s better than that and he should show it.

13. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
14. Amari Cooper, OAK
15. Doug Baldwin, SEA
16. Tyreek Hill, KC

Tier 6

I’ve bought in when it comes to JuJu Smith-Schuster. He can make the big play and should assert himself as the second wideout option for the Steelers. Smith-Schuster was targeted at least six times in each of the last seven games last year. In his final three games he had long receptions of 69, 49 and 46 yards. Smith-Schuster’s long reception of the season was a 97-yard score. The Lions receivers are also in this group. Marvin Jones is the big-play receiver while Golden Tate is the possession guy. Matthew Stafford should have a good year throwing to both.

17. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT
18. Marvin Jones, DET
19. Golden Tate, DET
20. Demaryius Thomas, DEN

Tier 7

Jarvis Landry has a new home and he should be effective enough to provide value as a WR2. Tyrod Taylor is definitely an upgrade from the quarterbacks Landry had last season in Miami. He caught 112 passes last season but failed to eclipse 1,000 yards. He scored nine times, however, making him a solid receiver for fantasy squads. His new teammate Josh Gordon is also in this tier. It’s a bit risky having him here, but I’ve got faith he’ll start the season. Corey Davis could have a breakout year for the Titans in their new offense.

21. Jarvis Landry, CLE
22. Brandin Cooks, LAR
23. Allen Robinson, CHI
24. Corey Davis, TEN
25. Josh Gordon, CLE

Tier 8

If it looks like Alshon Jeffery will miss time, I’m dropping him out of this tier. It may be safer to take him as a third receiver. Someone I have more confidence in is Marquise Goodwin. He had his most productive weeks last season when Jimmy Garoppolo took over the starting quarterback job. Goodwin isn’t just going deep, utilizing his world class speed. He makes catches in all areas of the field.

26. Alshon Jeffery, PHI
27. Marquise Goodwin, SF
28. Robby Anderson, NYJ
29. Cooper Kupp, LAR
30. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN
31. Chris Hogan, NE

Tier 9

Sammy Watkins leads this tier, but we’re at the point in which the guy on the bottom of the tier could end up being the best of the bunch. Watkins will have to get comfortable with Pat Mahomes. Another receiver who will have to adjust to a new quarterback is Allen Hurns. Dak Prescott needs a good running game and the threat of play action in order to be successful. If the Cowboys look like they did in 2016, Hurns could be a great value as the team’s No. 1 receiver drafted late.

32. Sammy Watkins, KC
33. Pierre Garcon, SF
34. Allen Hurns, DAL
35. Sterling Shepard, NYG
36. Robert Woods, LAR
37. Michael Crabtree, BAL

Tier 10

I really like Kenny Stills where he’s getting drafted. He’s put up solid numbers in two straight years with Jarvis Landry leading the way. Landry’s now in Cleveland and DeVante Parker doesn’t inspire confidence. I think Stills ends up being the top wideout in Miami this season. One other guy to watch is Nelson Agholor, especially if Jeffery doesn’t start the season due to injury.

38. Kenny Stills, MIA
39. Randall Cobb, GB
40. Jamison Crowder, WAS
41. Nelson Agholor, PHI
42. Kelvin Benjamin, BUF
43. Devin Funchess, CAR
44. Will Fuller, HOU
45. DeVante Parker, MIA

Tier 11

If you can get a projected No. 1 receiver in the 13th round of your draft, it would be smart to draft him. People were down on Blake Bortles last season, and rightly so, but he had a strong finish. Marqise Lee is the veteran wide receiver for the Jaguars and you could do worse this late in the draft. I also like John Brown and Mike Williams in this group. Brown could surprise and become the best target in Baltimore if he outperforms Michael Crabtree. Williams can be a red zone target with his size in an effort to replace Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry.

46. Mike Williams, LAC
47. Marqise Lee, JAC
48. D.J. Moore, CAR
49. Jordy Nelson, OAK
50. Kenny Golladay, DET
51. DeSean Jackson, TB
52. Rishard Matthews, TEN
53. Julian Edelman, NE
54. John Brown, BAL

Tier 12

With the Chargers offense expected to pick up where they left off, Tyrell Williams could prove to be a decent flex option. He’s a deep threat that could help you out when the Chargers face a soft defensive backfield. You could also find some production out of Calvin Ridley, the Falcons rookie that had a nice game in the second week of preseason. With Julio Jones taking most of the attention, Ridley and Mohamed Sanu could benefit.

55. Tyrell Williams, LAC
56. Paul Richardson, WAS
57. Josh Doctson, WAS
58. Calvin Ridley, ATL
59. Dede Westbrook, JAC
60. Mohamed Sanu, ATL
61. Chris Godwin, TB
62. Tyler Lockett, SEA
63. Cameron Meredith, NO
64. Ted Ginn, NO
65. Quincy Enunwa, NYJ
66. Donte Moncrief, JAC

Tier 13

This tier has a lot of talent that just needs some things fall in the right way. Martavis Bryant is likely the third option on the Raiders, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he put up a big game every now and then. Same goes for Taywan Taylor, who scored on a quick pass and a long run in the second week of preseason. Christian Kirk looks like he could compete for the No. 2 spot in Arizona behind Larry Fitzgerald.

67. Martavis Bryant, OAK
68. John Ross, CIN
69. Taywan Taylor, TEN
70. Jermaine Kearse, NYJ
71. Cole Beasley, DAL
72. Geronimo Allison, GB
73. Ryan Grant, IND
74. Terrance Williams, DAL
75. Danny Amendola, MIA
76. Albert Wilson, MIA
77. Christian Kirk, ARI
78. Mike Wallace, PHI
79. Michael Gallup, DAL
80. Dante Pettis, SF

Tier 14

I’d love to take a flier on James Washington. The rookie has a real shot to contribute early.

81. Anthony Miller, CHI
82. Chad Williams, ARI
83. Brandon Marshall, SEA
84. Terrelle Pryor, NYJ
85. Keelan Cole, JAC
86. James Washington, PIT

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football position rankings: Running backs

There are just two weekends left before the NFL starts the regular season. Thousands of fantasy football leagues will be drafting soon. Through Saturday I’ll share my rankings for each position. I started with quarterbacks Tuesday and running backs are next. Wide receivers, tight ends and defenses will follow. This year I’ve added tiers to better help you prepare for your draft.

RELATED: Fantasy football rankings: Top 250.

Running backs

Tier 1

It doesn’t matter much to me if you swap the two ball carriers in this tier, they’ll both score big this season. I just think Bell is the bigger workhorse. He rushed the ball 321 times last year. That’s 34 more attempts than LeSean McCoy who had the second most carries. Some RB1s don’t even get as many touches in a season as Bell had rushes last year. He had more than 400 touches, when you add in his 85 receptions, last season and there’s no reason for that to change.

1. Le’Veon Bell, PIT
2. Todd Gurley, LAR

Tier 2 

If David Johnson finishes the season as the top fantasy-scoring running back I wouldn’t be surprised. He was very close to a 1,000-1,000 season in 2016 and he’s fully recovered from injury. The Cardinals won’t be that good this year so they’ll lean on their best asset. Sam Bradford doesn’t scare anyone, but he’s accurate on short passes and a lot of them could go Johnson’s way. The same could be said for Ezekiel Elliott, who should play all 16 games this year if healthy. In just ten games last season Elliott still had 242 rushing attempts. With a suspect passing game, he may get more targets on short routes to help Dak Prescott out.

3. David Johnson, ARI
4. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL

Tier 3

I nearly had Melvin Gordon in the second tier with Johnson and Elliott based on his workhorse status. He touched the ball nearly 350 times in 2017. Instead I have him topping this group. There are a lot of options here, and I don’t see a lot of drop-off from Gordon to Devonta Freeman and RB12. You’ll notice Alvin Kamara behind Gordon. The Saint was topping rankings earlier in the summer, but I don’t think that’s realistic. He was hyper efficient last season because New Orleans used him perfectly in tandem with Mark Ingram. Also in this group is rookie Saquon Barkley, who could become the third straight rookie to lead the league in rushing if things fall his way.

5. Melvin Gordon, LAC
6. Alvin Kamara, NO
7. Leonard Fournette, JAC
8. Saquon Barkley, NYG
9. Christian McCaffrey, CAR
10. Kareem Hunt, KC
11. Dalvin Cook, MIN
12. Devonta Freeman, ATL

Tier 4

This tier is where things get a little bit complicated. McCoy is coming off of a second straight season of over 1,000 yards rushing while making at least 50 receptions. He’s currently nursing a groin, but it should be noted that he hasn’t been much of an injury risk over the years. He’s missed five games in the last five years. Not bad. Also in this tier is Alex Collins, who could very well end up being the best of the group. He’s expected to be the feature rusher for Baltimore and he nearly topped 1,000 yards rushing on just 212 carries at 4.6 yards per rush last season. Joe Mixon, Jerick McKinnon and Jordan Howard all have similar situations in which they’ll be featured rushers.

13. LeSean McCoy, BUF
14. Joe Mixon, CIN
15. Jerick McKinnon, SF
16. Jordan Howard, CHI
17. Alex Collins, BAL

Tier 5

I think Dion Lewis will be a great value and I see him as finishing with more fantasy points than teammate Derrick Henry. Lewis is getting drafted in the fifth round while Henry is getting taken in the third. I think it’s a bit risky to spend that kind of draft capital on Henry, who merely flashed a few times last season. Henry didn’t average more than 3.1 yards per rush in each of his final four games last year. I’d even rather take a shot on rookie Royce Freeman, who should lead the backfield in Denver. Another solid option in this group is Kenyan Drake, who has a lot of talent that should finally be showcased in Miami.

18. Dion Lewis, TEN
19. Royce Freeman, DEN
20. Jay Ajayi, PHI
21. Kenyan Drake, MIA
22. Lamar Miller, HOU
23. Marshawn Lynch, OAK
24. Rex Burkhead, NE
25. Derrick Henry, TEN

Tier 6

Chris Carson is flying up my best-value list of players. He’s getting drafted in the seventh round, due to expectations that Rashaad Penny will take over the Seahawks’ backfield. That may not be true, however. Carson has played well this preseason and Penny is dealing with a broken finger which will affect his practice time leading up to the season opener. Add to that Penny’s struggles with pass protection and Carson could be the main man for Seattle. Another player I’m high on in this tier is Kerryon Johnson. The rookie can be a big factor in the passing game and has already showed flashes in the preseason.

26. Chris Carson, SEA
27. Tevin Coleman, ATL
28. Mark Ingram, NO
29. Sony Michel, NE
30. Isaiah Crowell, NYJ
31. Kerryon Johnson, DET
32. Robert Kelley, WAS

Tier 7

Here’s where we start to get a mixed bag of rushers who you’ll have to make a call on as it gets closer to your draft. An interesting option in this tier is Carlos Hyde, who should get the most touches in the Cleveland backfield. While Duke Johnson could still be a pass-catching factor, Hyde also has a good pair of hands. It should also be noted that Jarvis Landry, an expert in the short passing game could negate some of the usefulness of Johnson.

33. Rashaad Penny, SEA
34. Tarik Cohen, CHI
35. Carlos Hyde, CLE
36. Duke Johnson, CLE
37. Bilal Powell, NYJ
38. Ty Montgomery, GB
39. Marlon Mack, IND
40. Jamaal Williams, GB
41. Peyton Barber, TB
42. Ronald Jones II, TB

Tier 8

Leading off this eighth tier is one of the most efficient weapons from last season. Chris Thompson only rushed for 294 yards but at 4.6 yards per carry. His value is in his receiving ability. He caught 39 passes for 510 yards and four touchdowns in ten games. That’s 51 yards receiving per game from the running back position, more than Alshon Jeffery, Chris Hogan and Amari Cooper last year. Another value pick in this group could be Latavius Murray. Dalvin Cook played in four games last season, and though he was outstanding, that’s a very small sample size. Murray could still have a major role in the backfield, including possibly the goal-line back.

43. Chris Thompson, WAS
44. Latavius Murray, MIN
45. LeGarrette Blount, DET
46. Corey Clement, PHI
47. James White, NE
48. Frank Gore, MIA
49. C.J. Anderson, CAR
50. Devontae Booker, DEN
51. Giovani Bernard, CIN
52. Spencer Ware, KC
53. Matt Breida, SF

Tier 9

You can hedge your bets with some of these rushers, or look for flex options. I like Jordan Wilkins, but he recently fumbled on the goal line in his second preseason game. That said, he has the look of a feature back and the Colts are in need of someone who can fill Frank Gore’s shoes. Nyheim Hines is good on pass-catching downs, but I like the idea of taking a flier on Wilkins instead.

54. T.J. Yeldon, JAC
55. Nick Chubb, CLE
56. Jordan Wilkins, IND
57. Theo Riddick, DET
58. Nyheim Hines, IND
59. Darren Sproles, PHI
60. Doug Martin, OAK
61. Kenneth Dixon, BAL
62. Aaron Jones, GB
63. Chris Ivory, BUF
64. Jonathan Stewart, NYG
65. C.J. Prosise, SEA
66. D’Onta Foreman, HOU

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

Fantasy football position rankings: Quarterbacks

There are just two weekends left before the NFL starts the regular season. Thousands of fantasy football leagues will be drafting soon. For the next five days I’ll share my rankings for each position. I’ll start with quarterbacks followed by running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and defenses. This year I’ve added tiers to better help you prepare for your draft.

RELATED: Fantasy football rankings: Top 250.

Quarterbacks

Tier 1

The top tier is reserved for one quarterback alone. Aaron Rodgers is as money as it gets when it comes to consistent high fantasy scoring. The quarterback position is unique in most leagues since you can get a good one late in drafts. Since only 12 start, the difference between No.1 isn’t that far off from No. 12. That’s definitely true when compared to running backs and wide receivers. Since you start anywhere from two to three of each, the highest drafted RB or WR is definitely much better than the 36th one taken off the board. Given that, I wouldn’t take Rodgers before the fourth round.

1. Aaron Rodgers, GB

Tier 2 

This second tier has three quarterbacks with one thing in common. Can you guess what it is? All three are talented runners and that’s a big factor in determining fantasy value for quarterbacks. Most leagues, I might guess all, give one point per ten yards rushing to all runners, even quarterbacks. Even though it’s not a primary way for QBs to score fantasy points, rushing ability adds great value. Wilson is one of the best at using his legs, not only to gain yards but to buy time to make a game-breaking completion.

2. Russell Wilson, SEA
3. Cam Newton, CAR
4. Deshaun Watson, HOU

Tier 3

Drew Brees tops this tier, but like with most tiers, the guy at the bottom could end up on the top. This is definitely the case with this group. Ben Roethlisberger has a good amount of weapons to help him do that. He’s also gotten a little better with his home-road splits. Brees is No. 5 because the Saints will be without Mark Ingram for a few games to start the season and New Orleans may go back to a pass-heavy attack. Brees has great weapons in Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Rookie Tre’Quan Smith could even push Ted Ginn for the No. 2 wide receiver spot.

5. Drew Brees, NO
6. Kirk Cousins, MIN
7. Tom Brady, NE
8. Carson Wentz, PHI
9. Matthew Stafford, DET
10. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT

Tier 4

Despite some worrisome play in the preseason, I still have Andrew Luck topping this tier. He still has T.Y. Hilton and he could work out the kinks before the season actually starts. He hasn’t appeared to be limited at all, which is the best sign. It could end up working out in your favor if his average draft position drops a bit. You could get “2016” Luck, who threw for more than 4,000 yards and 31 touchdowns, at a discount price.

11. Andrew Luck, IND
12. Philip Rivers, LAC
13. Matt Ryan, ATL
14. Jared Goff, LAR
15. Dak Prescott, DAL
16. Marcus Mariota, TEN
17. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF

Tier 5

The new Chiefs starter could still be a year or two away from being a reliable QB1, but he’s definitely got the skill set you want in a quarterback. He’s a talented runner and can heave the ball a mile, illustrated by a 69-yard touchdown toss to Tyreek Hill in the second week of preseason. Tuck him away late as a bye week replacement and you could be surprised with a possible QB1.

18. Patrick Mahomes, KC
19. Eli Manning, NYG
20. Alex Smith, WAS
21. Derek Carr, OAK
22. Case Keenum, DEN

Tier 6

I have Taylor this low because I’m still not sure if the Browns will toss out Baker Mayfield to start the year. Mayfield has looked more than competent so I’m waiting until closer to the start of the season before I move Taylor up. If he does ultimately get the nod, you could do a lot worse. He runs well and could end up with targets such as Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Duke Johnson.

23. Tyrod Taylor, CLE
24. Jameis Winston, TB
25. Sam Bradford, ARI
26. Andy Dalton, CIN
27. Lamar Jackson, BAL
28. Blake Bortles, JAC
29. Joe Flacco, BAL
30. Ryan Tannehill, MIA

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.

2018 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 250

NFL training camps are in full swing so we’ll take a glance at my current fantasy football rankings. We’ll look at the top 250 overall which will be updated as teams progress through training camp. Keep an eye out for our divisional previews which roll out daily beginning Thursday.

It’s important to note that these rankings reflect a player’s true value in my opinion, not necessarily their average draft position. These rankings are for half-point PPR leagues, since more leagues are placing value on receptions. These rankings split the difference between standard and full PPR scoring leagues.

Scroll to the bottom for tiered rankings by position.

Name, Position, Team
1. Le’Veon Bell, RB, PIT
2. Todd Gurley, RB, LAR

Todd Gurley could very well end up the top-scoring running back in the league, but I’m giving the edge to Le’Veon Bell at this point in time. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

3. David Johnson, RB, ARI
4. Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
5. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL
6. Alvin Kamara, RB, NO
7. Leonard Fournette, RB, JAC
8. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU
9. Melvin Gordon, RB, LAC
10. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, NYG
11. Julio Jones, WR, ATL
12. Kareem Hunt, RB, KC
13. Michael Thomas, WR, NO
14. Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG

Saquon Barkley put his best foot forward at the NFL scouting combine. His performance coupled with a stellar college career has a lot of fantasy owners with high hopes. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

15. Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN
16. Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL
17. A.J. Green, WR, CIN
18. Keenan Allen, WR, LAC
19. Davante Adams, WR, GB
20. Jerick McKinnon, RB, SF
21. Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
22. Adam Thielen, WR, MIN

The Vikings have a new quarterback in Kirk Cousins and I think Adam Thielen keeps producing well at the wide receiver position. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

23. LeSean McCoy, RB, BUF
24. Travis Kelce, TE, KC
25. Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA
26. Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR
27. Jordan Howard, RB, CHI
28. T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND
29. Alex Collins, RB, BAL
30. Joe Mixon, RB, CIN
31. Mike Evans, WR, TB
32. Zach Ertz, TE, PHI
33. Mark Ingram, RB, NO
34. Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
35. Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
36. Amari Cooper, WR, OAK
37. Alshon Jeffery, WR, PHI
38. Russell Wilson, QB, SEA
39. Dion Lewis, RB, TEN

Dion Lewis is a Titan now, putting a damper on those excited about Derrick Henry. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

40. Lamar Miller, RB, HOU
41. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
42. Carson Wentz, QB, PHI
43. Tyreek Hill, WR, KC
44. Allen Robinson, WR, CHI
45. Marvin Jones, WR, DET
46. Derrick Henry, RB, TEN
47. Stefon Diggs, WR, MIN
48. Jay Ajayi, RB, PHI
49. Kenyan Drake, RB, MIA
50. Golden Tate, WR, DET
51. Cam Newton, QB, CAR
52. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, PIT
53. Pierre Garcon, WR, SF
54. Derrius Guice, RB, WAS
55. Deshaun Watson, QB, HOU

Deshaun Watson isn’t likely to be as awesome as he was in the short time he played last season, but most signs point to a good year. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

56. Tevin Coleman, RB, ATL
57. Rashaad Penny, RB, SEA
58. Evan Engram, TE, NYG
59. Josh Gordon, WR, CLE
60. Rex Burkhead, RB, NE
61. Brandin Cooks, WR, LAR
62. Sony Michel, RB, NE
63. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN
64. Greg Olsen, TE, CAR
65. Drew Brees, QB, NO
66. Royce Freeman, RB, DEN
67. Robby Anderson, WR, NYJ
68. Isaiah Crowell, RB, NYJ
69. Ronald Jones II, RB, TB
70. Kirk Cousins, QB, MIN

Kirk Cousins could put up a big year with all the weapons he has in Minnesota. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

71. Jimmy Graham, TE, GB
72. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
73. Cooper Kupp, WR, LAR
74. Jarvis Landry, WR, CLE
75. Ty Montgomery, RB, GB
76. Kerryon Johnson, RB, DET
77. Corey Davis, WR, TEN
78. Tom Brady, QB, NE
79. Duke Johnson, RB, CLE
80. Matthew Stafford, QB, DET
81. Michael Crabtree, WR, BAL
82. Delanie Walker, TE, TEN
83. Andrew Luck, QB, IND
84. Bilal Powell, RB, NYJ
85. Robert Woods, WR, LAR
86. Allen Hurns, WR, DAL
87. Marlon Mack, RB, IND
88. Kyle Rudolph, TE, MIN
89. Sammy Watkins, WR, KC
90. Sterling Shepard, WR, NYG
91. Jamison Crowder, WR, WAS
92. Jamaal Williams, RB, GB
93. C.J. Anderson, RB, CAR

C.J. Anderson will need to take on the goal line roll in Carolina if he’s going to have significant fantasy value. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

94. Randall Cobb, WR, GB
95. Devin Funchess, WR, CAR
96. Chris Carson, RB, SEA
97. Carlos Hyde, RB, CLE
98. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, BUF
99, Chris Hogan, WR, NE
100. Matt Ryan, QB, ATL
101. Chris Thompson, RB, WAS
102. Kenny Stills, WR, MIA
103. Philip Rivers, QB, LAC
104. Jared Goff, QB, LAR

I’m expecting Jared Goff to fall outside of QB1 status this season, but not necessarily because of bad play. Well rounded teams don’t always put up big fantasy numbers. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

105. Nelson Agholor, WR, PHI
106. Jordan Reed, TE, WAS
107. Trey Burton, TE, CHI
108. Marshawn Lynch, RB, OAK
109. Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, ARI
110. Marcus Mariota, QB, TEN
111. Latavius Murray, RB, MIN
112. Tarik Cohen, RB, CHI
113. LeGarrette Blount, RB, DET
114. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, SF
115. George Kittle, TE, SF
116. Dak Prescott, QB, DAL
117. Devante Parker, WR, MIA
118. Will Fuller, WR, HOU
119. James White, RB, NE
120. Doug Martin, RB, OAK
121. Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC
122. Rishard Matthews, WR, TEN
123. Marqise Lee, WR, JAC
124. D.J. Moore, WR, CAR
125. Jared Cook, TE, OAK
126. Benjamin Watson, TE, NO
127. Alex Smith, QB, WAS
128. Spencer Ware, RB, KC
129. Donte Moncrief, WR, JAC
130. Marquise Goodwin, WR, SF
131. Jacksonville Jaguars, DST, JAC
132. Derek Carr, QB, OAK
133. Eli Manning, QB, NYG
134. Minnesota Vikings, DST, MIN
135. Julian Edelman, WR, NE
136. T.J. Yeldon, RB, JAC
137. Theo Riddick, RB, DET
138. Jordy Nelson, WR, OAK
139. Kenneth Dixon, RB, BAL
140. Los Angeles Rams, DST, LAR
141. Eric Ebron, TE, IND
142. Kenny Golladay, WR, DET
143. D’Onta Foreman, RB, HOU
144. Nick Chubb, RB, CLE
145. David Njoku, TE, CLE
146. Philadelphia Eagles, DST, PHI
147. DeSean Jackson, WR, TB
148. Cameron Meredith, WR, NO
149. Frank Gore, RB, MIA
150. Tyrell Williams, WR, LAC
151. Houston Texans, DST, HOU
152. Paul Richardson, WR, WAS
153. Case Keenum, QB, DEN
154. Nyheim Hines, RB, IND
155. Josh Doctson, WR, WAS
156. Denver Broncos, DST, DEN
157. Jermaine Kearse, WR, NYJ
158. Albert Wilson, WR, MIA
159. Lamar Jackson, QB, BAL
160. Giovani Bernard, RB, CIN
161. Charles Clay, TE, BUF
162. Tyler Lockett, WR, SEA
163. Ted Ginn, WR, NO
164. Devontae Booker, RB, DEN
165. Mohamed Sanu, WR, ATL
166. Los Angeles Chargers, DST, LAC
167. Justin Tucker, K, BAL
168. Jack Doyle, TE, IND
169. Darren Sproles, RB, PHI
170. O.J. Howard, TE, TB
171. Stephen Gostkowski, K, NE
172. Aaron Jones, RB, GB
173. Matt Bryant, K, ATL
174. Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
175. New Orleans Saints, DST, NO
176. Jameis Winston, QB, TB
177. Calvin Ridley, WR, ATL
178. Greg Zuerlein, K, LAR
179. Dede Westbrook, WR, JAC
180. Chris Ivory, RB, BUF
181. Blake Bortles, QB, JAC
182. Wil Lutz, K, NO
183. Baltimore Ravens, DST, BAL
184. Seattle Seahawks, DST, SEA
185. Tyler Eifert, TE, CIN
186. Jake Elliott, K, PHI
187. Quincy Enunwa, WR, NYJ
188. New England Patriots, DST, NE
189. Geronimo Allison, WR, GB
190. Peyton Barber, RB, TB
191. Ryan Grant, WR, IND
192. Arizona Cardinals, DST, ARI
193. Wayne Gallman, RB, NYG
194. Austin Hooper, TE, ATL
195. Carolina Panthers, DST, CAR
196. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, JAC
197. Charles Sims, RB, TB
198. Cameron Brate, TE, TB
199. Chris Boswell, K, PIT
200. John Brown, WR, BAL
201. Joe Flacco, QB, BAL
202. Pittsburgh Steelers, DST, PIT
203. New York Giants, DST, NYG
204. Matt Prater, K, DET
205. Luke Willson, TE, DET
206. C.J. Prosise, RB, SEA
207. Bo Scarbrough, RB, DAL
208. Jonathan Stewart, RB, NYG
209. Cole Beasley, WR, DAL
210. Austin Ekeler, RB, LAC
211. Terrance Williams, WR, DAL
212. Stephen Anderson, TE, HOU
213. Sam Bradford, QB, ARI
214. Jordan Matthews, WR, NE
215. Kansas City Chiefs, DST, KC
216. Mason Crosby, K, GB
217. Dante Pettis, WR, SF
218. Dan Bailey, K, DAL
219. Christian Kirk, WR, ARI
220. Harrison Butker, K, KC
221. Atlanta Falcons, DST, ATL
222. Terrelle Pryor, WR, NYJ
223. Chris Godwin, WR, TB
224. Mike Wallace, WR, PHI
225. Mike Davis, RB, SEA
226. Adam Vinatieri, K, IND
227. Mike Williams, WR, LAC
228. Ryan Tannehill, QB, MIA
229. Corey Grant, RB, JAC
230. Chicago Bears, DST, CHI
231. Martavis Bryant, WR, OAK
232. Chester Rogers, WR, IND
233. Zay Jones, WR, BUF
234. Vernon Davis, TE, WAS
235. Antonio Gates, TE, FA
236. Vance McDonald, TE, PIT
237. Cincinnati Bengals, DST, CIN
238. Mitch Trubisky, QB, CHI
239. Anthony Miller, WR, CHI
240. Danny Amendola, WR, MIA
241. Green Bay Packers, DST, GB
242. Brandon Marshall, WR, SEA
243. Tyrod Taylor, QB, CLE
244. Jalen Richard, RB, OAK
245. Kalen Ballage, RB, MIA
246. James Washington, WR, PIT
247. J.J. Nelson, WR, ARI
248. Michael Gallup, WR, DAL
249. Ameer Abdullah, RB, DET
250. Josh Rosen, QB, ARI

The widget below will be updated throughout the preseason.

Fantasy football impact: NFL draft first round

Wow. What a first round of the NFL draft we witnessed on Thursday night.

The festivities started with a bang as the Browns, who have made big splashes in the offseason so far, picked Baker Mayfield as the No. 1 overall selection. The safe pick was Sam Darnold. Josh Rosen was also more likely to go to Cleveland. Saquon Barkley was even a possibility. But word got out early Thursday that Mayfield was a real possibility.

It’s too early to know what, if any, kind of fantasy impact Mayfield has this season. Tyrod Taylor is in Cleveland and should at least start the season as the No. 1 QB. The upside for Mayfield is probably higher than any quarterback in this draft. He would be a good pick for dynasty leagues, but you can’t use any draft capital on a backup in a standard league.

The Cleveland Browns select Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield as the first overall pick in the NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Thursday, April 26, 2018. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)

The Giants didn’t bite on a surprisingly available Darnold. Instead they went with the guy they were expected to take in Barkley. Now he’s a player that will have value in fantasy drafts. He’ll be penciled in as the Giants’ next starting running back with only Jonathan Stewart, Paul Perkins and Wayne Gallman as his biggest competition. The offensive line needs help, but Barkley is an undeniable talent that will be valuable from Day 1.

The other team from New York, the Jets, had to be truly grateful that Darnold landed in their lap at No. 3. Like Mayfield, I don’t see Darnold as an early asset for fantasy. He’s still only 20 years old and Josh McCown will likely start the season. But if you’re drafting for a dynasty league, I have him ahead of Mayfield. He probably doesn’t have the upside that Mayfield has, but he has a much higher floor I believe.

Sam Darnold, a quarterback from USC, with Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected third overall, by the New York Jets, at the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, April 26, 2018. The Cleveland Browns took Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the top pick. (Cooper Neill/The New York Times)

The next skill position to get selected was Josh Allen at No. 7. He went to the Bills and I’ve got to admit I’m not a fan. Allen’s not efficient and I don’t see how a quarterback who can’t throw for at least 57 percent in the Mountain West can succeed in the NFL. But what about his athleticism? Allen rushed for more than 60 yards just twice in 2017.

I’m a big fan of the next quarterback taken, Rosen by the Cardinals. He’s been described as the most NFL-ready quarterback of the group. Rosen goes to a team with a fragile starter in Sam Bradford. Targets like Larry Fitzgerald, J.J. Nelson, Brice Butler and Cobi Hamilton aren’t scary, but they’re enough if Rosen can get on the field. He’s another solid dynasty pick that I actually like more than Darnold and Mayfield.

Josh Rosen of UCLA reacts after being picked #10 overall by the Arizona Cardinals during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Behind Barkley, I think D.J. Moore will have the biggest fantasy impact this season. He was my highest-rated wideout and he goes to a team where he can contribute early. Devin Funchess and Torrey Smith aren’t WR1 material and Moore should get on the field early. The amount of screens he took for huge gains in college makes me think he can do the same for Cam Newton.

Calvin Ridley was the next receiver drafted and he becomes the third piece of what looks to be an impressive trio in Atlanta. He’ll battle Mohamed Sanu for the No. 2 spot behind Julio Jones. I think the location keeps Ridley’s ceiling pretty low. He may end up as a solid flex player this season, depending on if he can overtake Sanu as Matt Ryan’s second-favorite target.

What came after the Ridley pick was a huge and intriguing surprise. The Seahawks took Rashaad Penny, and though it’s a reach in real-life terms, it makes him a totally viable fantasy option. The guy rushed for 2,248 yards and 23 touchdowns in his last season with San Diego State. The Seahawks don’t have a true starter on their roster. Penny caught just 19 passes last season, but he carried it 289 times proving he can be a bell cow. He’s a dynamite return man as well.

A video board displays an image of Rashaad Penny of San Diego State after he was picked #27 overall by the Seattle Seahawks during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Some saw the Patriots taking Lamar Jackson late in the round, to try to find a new-era replacement for Tom Brady. They sidestepped that scenario by taking Sony Michel instead. The better of the two Georgia running backs joins a crowded backfield. The Pats have Jeremy Hill, Rex Burkhead and James White. I wouldn’t draft Michel in standard leagues, but he could be an early-season pick up if he finds a role in New England.

The first round ended as it began, with a Heisman Trophy winner getting selected. The Ravens took Jackson to be their quarterback of the future. Given that, he will be a high pick in dynasty leagues. He might even end up having the best career of all the QBs selected in this first round, but Joe Flacco will be the starter this season.

DFS fantasy football rankings: conference championships

There are just two more games remaining in the NFL playoffs, so that’s just two more opportunities to play fantasy football. Here are my DFS fantasy football rankings for the conference championships. There’s not much difference between these and my NFL Playoff Challenge fantasy rankings with the season so close to an end. But there are a few differences and more options ranked here.

Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email cvasquez@statesman.com. Twitter @AAS_Cat.