Preseason Player Power Rankings

Each week, I am going to offer power rankings for individual players. I will try to give at least the top 25 overall, but when time allows, I will try to include the top 10 at each position - quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end.

These will not be like the pre-draft rankings I did (QB and RB), since they will be based more on what has already happened then what I think will happen in the upcoming week.

The rankings will take into account the players' total points (TP), how they fared against other players at their position (DIFF %), and how they are expected to fare in their upcoming matchup (MR).

TP will stand for total points. That one is pretty self explanatory. During the season I will take into account their total points for the season, as well as the most recent week.

DIFF%, or differential percentage, will be the percentage of points the player scored above the average of the top 10 players at that position. For example, if the top 10 wide receivers averaged 10 points, and WR X scored 17 points, then his DIFF% would be 70. Players with the highest DIFF% will be the players who out-performed their peers with the greatest success.

It may be best to use Rob Gronkowski for an example of this, because, well, when you look at the numbers, no one player stood out more at his respective position. The averarge point total for the top 10 tight ends last season was 133.4 points, but Gronk shattered that with 233 points. That gives him a ridiculous DIFF% of 74.7, nearly 30 points higher than the next closest player (Ray Rice at 45.7%).

If you expand the sample, and take the average of the top 20 tight ends, then Gronk's DIFF% sky rockets to 115.9%. Pretty crazy. Friend of the blog Greg Boyce pointed out to me last night that even if you took away all of his touchdowns (17), Gronkowski would still have ranked second among tight ends, behind only Jimmy Graham.

MR, or matchup rating, will be based on how highly ESPN ranks a players upcoming opponent against that position. For example, if RB X is playing the Raiders next week, and they give up more points to wide receivers than any other team, then his MR would be 32.

I will look at these three numbers, for the most part, when ranking the players, but will also take other factors into accout, like injuries to other players, contract disputes (see Maurice Jones-Drew), or off-field distractions (see Dez Bryant).

Remember, these are not projections of I think will be the top scorer next week, but rather a look at who the top players are at any given moment.

Because the numbers aren't quite ready to be crunched yet, I used the total points from the 2011 season. Going forward, it will be a combination of total points for the season as well as points scored in the previous week.

Ok, I will stop now, and let you take a look for yourself...


Ray Rice

RB 283
He was the top RB in 2011. No reason to think he won't be near the top again this year.
2 LeSean McCoy
RB 270
27 McCoy enjoyed a breakout season in 2011. Even though I think he takes a small step back this year, he deserves to be No. 2.
3  Aaron Rodgers
QB 385
7 Fantasy football's top scorer last season, Rodgers has all the weapons he needs to have another successful year.
4 Calvin Johnson
WR 254
34.7 23  Megatron is a beast. That is all.
5  Rob Gronkowski
TE 233
 Gronkowski would be higher if he wasn't such a Bro. However, this certainly helps.
6 Drew Brees
QB  380
23.7 15
 With all the turmoil in the Big Easy surrounding the Saints' bounty program, I think Brees' numbers takes a hit. Yes, that's a pun.
7 Tom Brady
QB  352
13  He'll be more than fine this season, just as long as you don't bother Gisele after a loss.
8  Arian Foster
RB 238
5 I'd feel a lot better about Foster if he went all Tonya Harding on Ben Tate. Assuming he can stay healthy, he'll be fine.
9  Jimmy Graham
TE 187
Hey look, it's another power-forward-turned-tight-end. Lucky for him, he has the most accurate quarterback in the league.
10 Cam Newton
QB  352
14.5 29
 The addition of Mike Tolbert could hurt his rushing touchdown numbers, but he should avoid a sophomore slump.
11 Darren McFadden
RB  100
Injury kept him out much of last season, but with Michael Bush gone, Run-DMC is the man in Oakland.
12 Matthew Stafford
QB  333 8.4 10  Megatron is a beast. That is all.
13  Steven Jackson RB  170 -12.5 13  He's a fast starter. Will be interesting to see how long the 29-year-old can hold on to a spot in this list.
14 Larry Fitzgerald
WR  181 -4 6  He'd be a lot higher if he had a quarterback.
15 Chris Johnson
RB  157 -19.2
19  CJ2K had an awful season after his holdout last preseason. With a full camp under his belt, he should bounce back.
16 Michael Turner
RB  203 4.5 24

As the weapons at Matt Ryan's disposal increase, Turner's value decreases.

17  Jordy Nelson WR  210 11.4 18 Rodgers has a lot of talented receivers, including Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley. Not great for Nelson.
18 Matt Forte
RB  157 -19.2 29 Back from injury, Forte gains extra points in PPR leagues.
19 Fred Jackson
RB  162 -16.6 11  He had a breakout season at age 30. Who does that? Guys with short careers...
20  Wes Welker WR  206 9.3 8  The addition of Brandon Lloyd hurts Welker, but he fits that offense so well.
21  Marshawn Lynch
RB  203 4.5 10 Assuming he doesn't OD on Skittles, he should be solid.
22  Steve Smith WR  175 -7.2 15  Age is just a number, right guys?
23  Aaron Hernandez TE  127 -4.8 25  He plays second fiddle to Gronkowski, but still was the No. 3 tight end last season.
24 Roddy White
WR  172 -8.8 4  The emergence of Julio Jones may hurt, but he's still a gamer.

Maurice Jones-Drew

RB  249 28.2
17  I had to put him on here, since we're going off of last season's numbers, but I don't expect much from him in Week 1. However, he has the potential to climb this list faster than anyone.

Click here to take a look at yesterday's Waiver Wire Watch.

Matt Mullin is a sports producer at You can reach him by e-mail at Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin