Fantasy football has evolved a great deal over the past couple of decades. Thinking back even to the late 90’s, the majority of leagues I was in still utilized a pre-rank system where you set your rankings and then checked to see who you landed in the computer draft. Today there are leagues with massive buy-ins that meet face to face for a day-long NFL style draft.
Scoring is different in every league. The guys who love the game are like pre-teens texting away their messages with the fewest of letters. We deal with IDPs, PPRs, RBBC, and much more. But the basics are still seen in every league. You start a certain number of players that were drafted in some form from the vast number of studs available from across the NFL.
Well I propose a new type of league. I call it the total-team league. The idea is very simple. A 10 team league starts one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker, and a defense, but you only get to start players from the NFL teams that you select. The draft is only 3 rounds long and the two NFL teams that go undrafted are placed on waivers.
Rosters, point settings, and whether you utilize point per receptions, IDPs, return yards, and so much more are still customizable. But you can only utilize the players from the NFL teams you draft.
Selecting near the front of the draft means you get some of the best teams in the league; but getting that last spot means you are getting two of the top 10 or so teams. The strategies are endless.
Now that you understand the format of the league, we need to rank the teams. I am looking for teams that give me studs at every position if possible. Sure it would be nice to have a guy like AP on my team. But do I want to be starting Christian Ponder and Cordarelle Patterson? I’d love to have Tom Brady and Stevan Ridley, but can you even name the top three wide receivers for New England.
These rankings are based on the thought that you would be starting players from JUST one team. Clearly it is impossible to determine what trio you would end up with and likely even getting the bottom three teams would be better than starting all of the players from the top team (as very few teams have two RBs that would be a better pair that starters from two different teams). I am going to rank my bottom five and top 11 (It was going to be 10, but 10/11 was too close to call). You can fight over the middle ground in the draft room. So here we go.
32. New York Jets: I have a fantasy rule to avoid every Jets player in a draft and that holds true here as well. You might end up with a negative score trying to start all Jets players.
31. Oakland: This team is a joke. They will be lucky to win four games an if you draft them you’ll be starting the likes of Matt Flynn, Darren McFadden, Latavius Murray, Ford, Streeter, Moore, and maybe Rivera at tight end. This could be worse than the Jets.
30. Jacksonville: The only highlight on this team is MJD. Try starting him with any of the current group of QBs (let’s pick Henne for kicks), Robinson, Blackom (after week four), Shorts, Shipley, and Lewis as well as a defense than will be destroyed every week. Ouch.
29. Buffalo: They have one of the best players in the entire league and still find themselves in the bottom five. After C.J. Spiller you have the likes of Manuel, Jackson, Johnson, Woods, Smith, and Chandler. The backs are solid and you even have a player in Johnson that will get you 1,000 yards. But the other pieces are so weak that they find themselves in the bottom five.
28. Arizona: Top to bottom this team actually has some talent. But do you really want to start Palmer, Mendenhall, Taylor, Fitzgerald, Floyd, Roberts, and King? I didn’t think so.
11. Tampa Bay: There are enough playmakers on this squad to equate to top 10 success. Freeman, Martin, likely Mike James, Vincent Jackson, Williams, Ogletree, and possibly Crabtree (from Green Bay) would make a nice group.
10. Chicago: I might be a little high on the Bears here, but the Forte-Bush combo at running back really appeals to me. Link that with Cutler, B-marsh, Jeffrey, and a pair of Bennetts (Earl and Martellus) as well as a defense that will still be very good and you have a nice unit.
9. New England: Brady might not have many wide receivers, but what he does have is some legit talent around him. Brady, Ridley, Vreen, Amendola, Edelman, Gronk, and any other wide receiver would make for a lot of points every week.
8. Cincinatti: I am very high on the Bengals team this year and their youth cannot be argued against. A starting line-up of Dalton, BGE, Bernard, Green, Sanu, Hawkins, Gresham, as well as a top six defense would be money.
7. New York Giants: While there is some dissent with the current crew of wide receivers, I assume everything will get sorted out. Manning, Brown, Wilson, Cruz, Nicks, and Myers are very solid. Plug in any wide receiver for your third guy (I like Randle a lot) and this is a very good group.
6. Seattle: The young group of Wilson, Lynch, Michael, Harvin, Tate, Rice, and Miller as well as what I consider to be the best defensive unit in the league would be tough to pass on in the middle of the first.
5. Houston: There are some major questions at wide receiver with the Texans likely starting a rookie across from AJ as well as who knows whom with Walter gone. Still, Schaub, Foster, Tate, Johnson, Hopkins, Daniels, any third wide receiver, and a top five defense makes this team very, very good.
4. New Orleans: The Saints would be a great pick up on draft day. Brees is one of the best QBs in the league and because Sproles is used so much as a wide receiver, the combo or Sproles and Ingram (over Thomas) would be nice at the RB spots. Colston, Moore, and Graham fill three more spots very nicely, although the third wide receiver spot would be hurting a bit.
3. Atlanta: Falcon’s fan can rightfully argue that their squad should be number one and in our new style of drafting, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen. Ryan, Jones, White, Gonzo, and S-Jax are studs. Rodgers makes for a great secon running back. The third wide receiver spot is a little shakier and I am not a huge fan of the Falcons defense.
2. Denver: Manning, Thomas, Decker, and Welker could create the greatest QB and trio of wide receivers the league has ever seen. Montee Ball and likely Hillman will be solid in the run game and their defense is a top five unit. The tight end position is a little iffy, but overall this team is stacked for fantasy purposes.
1. Green Bay: Feel free to swap one and two. Rodgers and his trio of Nelson, Cobb, and Jones are at or slightly below the level of Manning’s crew. And Denver’s defense is also better. But when you look at Finley, Franklin, and Lacy I have to give the top spot to the Packers.
The rest of the NFC East would all be in the running for the next five spots as they have a lot of great players but are just missing a piece or two or have one too many question marks for me. San Francisco would also be in my next five and a surprise team like the Panthers, Dolphins, or Colts could slip in as well.
Let me know what you think of the rankings in the comments section below.