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Fantasy Football Top 100: 21-40 – Hating Thomas Rawls, Sammy Watkins

RotoExperts Staff June 20, 2016 12:05AM EST
As we near the end of the Fantasy Football Top 100, the experts are agreeing much more. The average ranking variance for each player is down to 36 spots. Not only that, but the experts all wanted to complain about two players!

If you missed Part 1 (81-100), 2 (61-80) or 3 (41-60) of the Consensus Fantasy Football Top 100 Rankings, click over to catch up!

Few Quick Notes:

Thomas Rawls had the biggest gap from a high of 21 to being unranked

– Rawls was the only player in the list to have an unranked vote… Carlos Hyde was the next lowest with a 70th ranking (somewhere, Brad Evans is raging)

Amari Cooper had the highest overall vote with an 11th place ranking

– Back to Rawls, doesn’t seem the consensus is all too happy with the most negative comments (I had to ask people to talk about other players, and Sammy Watkins was the unfortunate recipient of the leftover hate)

– From the previous 41-60 list, every player had at least one vote in this range except Eric Decker (high 41)

– Rawls beat out Jordan Reed by 0.012 for 40th overall, and Reed’s lowest rank was 72nd

– Fantasy Football Top 100 list breakdowns:

Top 81-1003584
Top 61-802783
Top 41-603872
Top 21-4027110
Top 1-2009101

Fantasy Football Top 100

Players 21-40

21Mark IngramNORB
22Brandon MarshallNYJWR
23Eddie LacyGBRB
24Keenan AllenSDWR
25Amari CooperOAKWR
26Brandin CooksNOWR
27LeSean McCoyBUFRB
28Demaryius ThomasDENWR
29T.Y. HiltonINDWR
30Sammy WatkinsBUFWR
31Carlos HydeSFRB
32Cam NewtonCARQB
33Matt ForteNYJRB
34Randall CobbGBWR
35Aaron RodgersGBQB
36C.J. AndersonDENRB
37Julian EdelmanNEWR
38Kelvin BenjaminCARWR
39Jeremy MaclinKCWR
40Thomas RawlsSEARB

Adam Rank: NFL.com @adamrank

Eddie Lacy, RB, GB

I’m sure all of us were bummed out about the passing for Ron Lester, better known as Billy Bob from “Varsity Blues,” perhaps my favorite movie as a youngster. I had a chance to meet with Ron when we did an oral history on the movie, and I was taken back. First off, he was sweet as hell. Very outgoing. But dude had lost a bunch of weight. I mean a ton of weight. Literally. Well, almost literally, but you get the point. During a moment of down time, he told me that he pretty much ruined his career by losing so much weight. He should have stayed the bigger, funny fat guy.

Now it has me concerned about Eddie Lacy, who I’m worried is going to keep working out so much, he’s going to end up as lean as Zac Efron or something. He’s going to need to keep a little bit of that girth.

Although, there is the fear that he’s going to end up like one of your friends who loses a ton of weight, changes their Facebook profile photo of the new skinny version, and then you see them heavier than ever at the next group outing. There is a lot of time for Eddie to either get too skinny, or get bigger than Karlos Williams.

I like the idea of stealing Lacy in the third round, in theory. But there is no way I can make a judgment until we see him in late July.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND

I’m really happy people keep doubting the Colts. Why not? The Colts had one bad year, so Andrew Luck must be the biggest bust of all-time. I mean, we can’t watch the NBA Finals without those superstars rotating between the GOAT and worst player ever in the matter of one game.

But my feeling is the Colts will be back. And even if they aren’t back, the team still likes to throw the ball on seemingly every down. I might not take T.Y. over Sammy Watkins (who I like a lot), but he’s a much better bet than Randall Cobb or even Demaryius Thomas.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR

I feel like this a very hipster pick. Like when a bunch of your beer-snob friends get together and talk up all of those great microbrews like Elysian or some other local great. I still like Sculpin. So it’s no surprise that so many of these great Fantasy minds here gathered together would take a fancy to Benjamin.

Alex Miglio: FootballGuys.com @AlexMiglio

Mark Ingram, RB, NO

I’m just going to leave this right here:

Injury history aside, the Saints look to bring back the three-headed running back monster of yesteryear with Ingram, Tim Hightower and C.J. Spiller. I’m not sure Ingram gets enough touches to warrant such a high ranking.

Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN

Can we entrust Demaryius Thomas to anchor receiving corps around the Fantasy realm? He either has rookie Paxton Lynch or Mark F. Sanchez throwing him the ball this season. The offense seems primed to run the ball more, too. What happens when Thomas’ targets dip below 150?

Andy Behrens: Yahoo! Sports @andybehrens

Thomas Rawls, RB, SEA

If we’re drafting today, I’m not sure how you can reasonably slot Thomas Rawls in your Top 60. He was a terrific story last year, no question, but his season ended with a brutal injury from which he hasn’t yet recovered. At this stage, I have zero optimism that Rawls will be ready for camp or opening week. Seattle drafted C.J. Prosise in Round 3 and Alex Collins in Round 5, a pair of talented runners likely to earn snaps. If you’re expecting a full featured workload from Rawls, think again.

Bob Harris: Football Diehards @footballdiehard

Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF

Oh, damn. That surgery to repair Watkins’ broken foot in May is a big worry. I mean, he might not be ready for training camp. He might get off to a slow start. He might struggle through the first month of the season. And if he does, it would be exactly like last year, when offseason hip surgery was the issue. Remember, Watkins missed three of Buffalo’s first seven games, and at the bye week had just 11 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns. But you’d be hard pressed to find a receiver better than Watkins over the final nine weeks of the season, as he caught 49 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns. He had over 100 yards receiving in five of those final nine games, and he went over 80 yards in the final six games of the season. According to Pro Football Focus, Watkins had the second-most yards from deep passes (20-plus air yards) in the entire league at 606 yards. Bottom line? With other owners likely to be backing off out of concern for the foot, I’m looking at him as a value here.

Chad Parsons: Under the Helmet Dynasty @ChadParsonsNFL

Amari Cooper, WR, OAK

I like Amari Cooper as undervalued. The Raiders added nothing in the passing game this offseason. Derek Carr enters Year 3 after a promising career start. Cooper is a technician who logged a historic rookie season, even for a Top 10 drafted wide receiver. For Year 2, Cooper’s upside is as high as any wide receiver in the NFL.

Chris Meaney: FNTSY Sports Network @chrismeaney

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR

Benjamin had quite the rookie season, and I think many are forgetting that. He reeled in 73 catches for 1,008 yards, scored nine touchdowns and finished as WR15 in 2014. He also had two touchdowns in a playoff game in Seattle. His 146 targets were the sixth most that year, and that number would have been the 11th most last year. Let’s also not forget Benjamin is 6’5″, 245 lbs and plays inside a weak defensive division. Cam Newton threw 35 touchdowns on 296 completions in 2015 with really only Greg Olsen. Benjamin is getting drafted as a fringe WR2, but he has the upside to be a WR1.

Matt Forte, RB, NYJ

Forte is one year removed from a season where he had over 1,000 rushing yards, 102 receptions, 800 plus receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns. Good for the third most Fantasy points among backs in 2014. He’s unlikely to catch 100 balls this season, but there’s no reason to think he won’t get to half that mark with the Jets, especially if Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback again. Fitzpatrick threw the ball the 11th most last season (562 ATT), finished Top 10 in touchdowns and Fantasy points. Finishing with 1,000 rushing yards and 50 catches is very doable for Forte, and only Devonta Freeman hit that mark last season.​

The experts are not a fan of Thomas Rawls' ranking. Photo credit: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire

The experts are not fans of Thomas Rawls’ ranking. Photo credit: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire

David Gonos: DavidGonos.com @davidgonos

Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF

I’m still leery of Sammy Watkins as a third-rounder. He blew past nearly everyone in the final six weeks of the season, outscoring all but two WRs (Doug Baldwin, Brandon Marshall) in non-PPR leagues. But this is still oft-injured receiver that’s just now healing from foot surgery. Furthermore (I’ve always wanted to say “Furthermore!”), Watkins averaged just 2.8 yards after the catch last season. Betting on the Clemson receiver in his third year would have been much easier if he didn’t blow up late last season. Now everyone wants him as a third-rounder, when the risk/reward is more palatable in Rounds 4 or 5.

Dennis Esser: CoachEsser.com @coachesser

Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN

My favorite player to draft in the 21-40 range is Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos. Right now he is ranked 28th by our consensus of experts and in early offseason Fantasy football drafts he is falling below the Top 30. How quickly people forget the unique talent that Thomas is. It was only two short years ago people were drafting Thomas in the first round and winning leagues with him. He can take any play to the house with his extraordinary size, agility and speed combination. Last year Thomas struggled with poor quarterback play and with his own case of the drops and inefficiency. He still had a whopping 177 targets! He still topped 100 receptions and 1,300 yards. I am drafting Thomas on his talent regardless of who is going to be under center in Denver. Thomas will be the focal point of the passing attack and he will be the best option they have in the red zone. If you give me Thomas in the third round, you’ve given me a head start towards a championship, in my opinion.

Fantasy Footballers: TheFantasyFootballers.com @TheFFBallers

Mark Ingram, RB, NO

Ingram finally showed the world why the Saints drafted him in the first round. He was fantastic for Fantasy in 2015. While the world expected Ingram to be the early-down back and C.J. Spiller to be the passing-down back, we all awoke to a shock in Week 1 when Ingram was a full-fledged feature running back. From Weeks 1-13, he was the overall RB3 in PPR formats. He finished the year as an RB1 despite missing the final four games. The fact that Ingram was such a solid pass catcher, 390 yards after the catch, made it difficult for defenses to stack the box. That lead to tremendous rushing success, rushing over 10 yards on 23 of his 166 carries (13.9 percent). All signs point to Ingram returning to his featured role in the offense, making him a steal in drafts.

Jamey Eisenberg: CBS Sports @JameyEisenberg

Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF

The most glaring name on this list is Sammy Watkins at No. 30. That’s too high now given the uncertainty of his health following offseason foot surgery. Hopefully, he’s 100 percent come Week 1, but we’ve seen other players with recent foot surgery (Dez Bryant and Julian Edelman) require a second procedure. If Watkins is 100 percent then this is a great spot for him, but based on the unknown factor of his status he should probably go at least one round later in most leagues.

Jarrett Behar: Dynasty 1 Podcast @EyeoftheGator

Julian Edelman, WR, NE

Edelman at 37 is way too high in my opinion for a player whose highest standard finish is the WR19 in 2013, when he wasn’t coming off two surgeries on his foot. That was good enough for 42nd overall among RBs, WRs and TEs in 2013. He then played 14 games in 2014 and finished as the WR27 (51st among RB/WR/TE) and then only managed nine games last year. With 37 being an average, that means a good deal of rankers had him quite a bit higher. Now 30, coming off those two surgeries, being three years removed from his best season ever and looking at four games without Tom Brady (assuming Edelman is ready Week 1), I just don’t see the rationale for him eclipsing that this year.

Jeff Ratcliffe: ProFootballFocus @JeffRatcliffe

Keenan Allen, WR, SD

People need to be careful with Allen this year. Yes, he’s heavily targeted. But those targets came at an average depth of just 8.0 yards last season. With most of his work in the short and intermediate areas of the field, Allen profiles much better as a PPR asset than he does for standard formats.

Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF

The injury is certainly concerning, but when healthy, Watkins is one of the most electric playmakers in the league. He ranked fourth in average depth of target (18.3), seeing 34 targets over 20 yards down field. He also led the league in touchdowns on deep receptions with eight, and only Allen Robinson had more deep ball yards than Watkins (606).

Jody Smith: GridironExperts.com @JodySmithNFL

Brandon Marshall, WR, NYJ

It’s unusual to see a guy who finished as the No. 3 wideout the previous year be available into the third round, but Marshall’s value hinges on the Jets re-signing QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. As good as Marshall has been, the prospect of catching passes from Geno Smith or Christian Hackenberg doesn’t instill much confidence for early drafters. As long as the Jets have a competent signal-caller (read: Fitzmagic), Marshall is an excellent value. Lamentably, it doesn’t look like the Jets are going to head into training camp with that competent thrower in tow. Because of that, Marshall is a bit of a gamble before the third round.

Carlos Hyde, RB, SF

I’m not as sold on Hyde as the consensus, and it has nothing to do with Hyde’s intriguing potential. It has more to do with having no confidence in Chip Kelly as a head coach or play-caller. Kelly seems more inclined to make players fit his system, rather than changing his offense to suit the talent around him. That worries me for Hyde, as I think he’ll easily be the biggest offensive threat in San Francisco, and thus attract the most defensive attention. If Kelly’s offenses in Philly were considered a disappointment, I shudder to think what he’ll draw up with Torrey Smith, Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton behind an offensive line that Football Outsiders ranked as next to last in football in pass-pro and dead last in run blocking.

Cam Newton, QB, CAR

Before last year, Cam was about as easy to project as any player in Fantasy was: 20 touchdown tosses, 600 rushing yards and eight rushing scores. After his coming out party, Newton is now the most-coveted quarterback in Fantasy; but he’s not someone I’ll own much of. It’s not that I dislike Newton, it’s just that QB is so deep that there’s just no value in selecting one – even a premiere talent like Cam – before the sixth round at the earliest. You can load up on position depth early and not touch QB until after Round 10 and still come away with Top 10 players at the position, like Philip Rivers or Eli Manning. It also feels like expectations for Cam will simply be too high this season, as he’s more likely to regress back to his normal career numbers than maintain his crazy-good 2015 stats.

Randall Cobb, WR, GB

With Jordy Nelson back, Cobb should see an increase in red zone looks and decrease in primary coverage he’ll face from opposing corner backs. The last time Nelson and Cobb played a full season together, Cobb finished as the WR8. He’s an excellent bounce-back candidate and a high-ceiling WR2.

Thomas Rawls, RB, SEA

Rawls’ stock is starting to slide, as there is growing concern about his full availability for the start of the 2016 season. He’s not expect to play much, if at all in the preseason, so nabbing him with a third or fourth round pick is a bit of a gamble. Still, Rawls was excellent in relief of Marshawn Lynch last season, and until there is more definitive word on his injury recovery, I love the upside he offers as an RB1 or RB2 in Round 4.

Joe Bond: FantasySixPack.net @FantasySixPack

Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF

A wide receiver who has a major foot injury, where have we seen this go wrong before? Hmm… Oh! Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Marvin Jones. Yeah, I could go on.

Point is there is a large amount of risk with Watkins at this point. I have him ranked at least a full round lower than this, and I really did contemplate putting him even lower. The only reason he stayed as high as he did, is due to the fact that if he is healthy, then the production he can give you is potentially even higher than 30th overall. Draft at your own risk!

John Evans: Xs & Ys Podcast @JohnF_Evans

Keenan Allen, WR, SD

I had Keenan Allen at 16, so 24 would be great value for him even in a standard league. He strikes me as a safe, high-volume WR1. Nothing about Allen’s lacerated kidney struck me as Alshon Jeffery-level worrisome (i.e., I don’t consider Allen prone to random, nagging ailments), so I prefer him to the somewhat risky RBs (Lamar Miller, Eddie Lacy, Mark Ingram and Jamaal Charles). I put Allen in his own tier after the other Allen (Robinson) and before Amari Cooper, Brandin Cooks and Brandon Marshall. The Chargers have little in the way of a running game (or defense, for that matter) so I expect Philip Rivers to air it out, as always. Antonio Gates will get his red-zone love and Danny Woodhead is the little engine that could, but Keenan Allen is the very definition of a target hog.

John Halpin: FOX Sports @jhalpin37

Eddie Lacy, RB, GB

Here’s what we know about Eddie Lacy: He was a huge disappointment in 2015 as a consensus first-round Fantasy pick, rushing for just 758 yards and three scores. His workload decreased as the season progressed, and Packer coaches said he was out of shape (an issue that has dogged him since college). He had a couple of good playoff games, rushing 24 times for 152 yards and a touchdown. In February, he got photographed looking slimmer with P90X creator Tony Horton and OMG EVERYTHING IS GREAT AGAIN WE HAVE TO DRAFT EDDIE LACY. Never has a DVD workout program gotten Fantasy owners and analysts so excited.

Last week, Lacy “did not appear to be as slim in person as the photos appeared once he got to off-season workouts, and coach Mike McCarthy admitted he still had some work to do,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In the same article, the Pack’s RB coach wished out loud that Lacy would head back to Horton for more P90X workouts. Does this sound like someone you should trust with a second-round pick? Lacy might be very good, but he might spend the summer eating too many pizzas, and end up in McCarthy’s doghouse again. Way too risky.

John LaPresto: SoCalledFantasyExperts.com @TheJohnLaPresto

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR

It’s not that I don’t like Benjamin, I’d gladly draft him, I just don’t see the need to take him this early. The Panthers were only 27th in the NFL in pass attempts last season yet ranked third in passing TDs, an efficiency ratio that seems incredibly difficult to repeat. (I did my best to not incorporate the most overused Fantasy Football buzzword of 2016, regression but … regression) While that may seem to be of little significance to some, it’s worth noting that Benjamin’s rookie season was essentially the complete opposite of efficient, as he posted the fifth worst catch percentage by WRs with 145 or more targets since 2000, hauling in just 50.3 percent. Oh, and he’s coming off an ACL tear, and the team added Ted Ginn and Devin Funchess since he last played a snap.

Liz Loza: Yahoo! Sports @LizLoza_FF

Mark Ingram, RB, NO

I love Mark Ingram just outside of the Top 20 overall. The Saints transformed this bruiser into a pass-catching weapon last year, as he hauled in 50 balls for 405 receiving yards. For perspective, that’s the fourth most catches for the fifth most receiving yards of any RB over the first 13 weeks. On the ground, Ingram was similarly spectacular, averaging 4.6 YPC and 2.9 YAC. Yes, he was shelved for the last four games of the season due to a shoulder injury, but when he was healthy, he dominated, averaging nearly 13 Fantasy points per contest. I’d gladly take him at the end of second, or the beginning of the third in 12-team exercises.

Matt Schauf: DraftSharks.com @SchaufDS

C.J. Anderson, RB, DEN

Anderson started the final seven games of 2014 and led all Fantasy RBs across formats. From Week 8 on last year – after Denver’s bye – he led the league with 6.4 yards per carry. The Broncos showed with their checkbook this offseason that they consider him the lead guy, and HC Gary Kubiak has an attractive history with workhorse backs. A full-season Anderson breakout is coming at some point, and I want to be there for it. Perhaps the Denver offense will lower his ceiling a bit this year, but the late-Round 3 price tag builds that in.

Michael Beller: SInow @MBeller

Thomas Rawls, RB, SEA

There are a lot of players in this range who I’ll be happy to have. There are fewer, but still plenty, which I will be targeting. One player who doesn’t fall into either of those pools is Thomas Rawls.

I understand how well Rawls played last season. He was as close to a Marshawn Lynch facsimile, at least on the field, as possible. If you were a Lynch owner who scooped him off the wire, he likely saved your season. If you weren’t a Lynch owner and won his services, whoever did have Lynch in your league probably cursed your name all season. He averaged 17.98 points per game in standard-scoring leagues in the six games in which he had at least 16 carries. For the sake of comparison, last year’s No. 1 running back, Devonta Freeman, put up 16.52 points per game.

Everything seems in place for Rawls to build on his surprising rookie season. Lynch is off being one of the most entertaining retirees in America. The Seahawks figure to once again be among the best teams in the league, winning with a formula that sets up a running back for greatness. And yet, unless he comes at an extreme discount, Rawls won’t be on any of my teams.

We like to talk about taking high-yield risks in the Fantasy game, but it’s really about risk management. Early on in drafts – and the first 40 picks qualify as early on – you need to mitigate your risks. Make no mistake, no matter how good the situation appears for Rawls, he is a major risk at his ADP. How many early-round backs with paper-thin track records do we need to see go bust before we entirely write off that breed of player? For certain members of the Fantasy community, it seems we need a few more to reach the breaking point. Don’t sleep on C.J. Prosise, who’s already the best receiving back in Seattle, either.

Taking Rawls off your draft board immediately eliminates one risk. The chances of him turning a profit at that ADP are incredibly slim, and certainly far lower than the odds he goes bust.

Nick Raducanu: ProjectRoto.com @ProjectRoto

Eddie Lacy, RB, GB

While Lacy may very well ever up being valuable for Fantasy owners this season, I just can’t pull the trigger at 23. I know he’s still just 25, and I know he supposedly lost weight and camp speak camp speak camp speak, but that’s been the story for two years and that hasn’t exactly led us to great places. Lacy’s rushing attempts, rushing yards and touchdowns have all gone down for three straight seasons, and it doesn’t help things that the Packers re-signed James Starks.

I can totally understand why Lacy is ranked at a consensus 23, but I just can’t take the plunge of him that early. Looking at the test of the list past 23, there are 6-8 other lower-ranked players on the list that I’d feel good taking over Lacy.

Sigmund Bloom: Fooballguys.com @SigmundBloom

Carlos Hyde, RB, SF

Of all of the tricky risk/reward propositions at running back in the Round 3/4 range, the most attractive is Hyde. He is still on the upslope of his career and showed the ability to take over a game last year before a stress fracture prematurely ended his season. While the 49ers ability to stay competitive on Sundays lowered his weekly floor in 2015, the addition of Chip Kelly and a high volume offense should offset that in 2016. Add in the promise of Hyde having more work in the passing game and there’s a potential Top 5 reward to balance out the risk of being the lead back for the worst team in the league.

Steve Gardner: USA Today Sports @SteveAGardner

Keenan Allen, WR, SD

You can’t just double the stats Allen put up in half a season before a freak injury cut everything short … but what he did in those first eight games was borderline spectacular. He was on pace for a whopping 178 targets, which would have been the fourth most in the NFL. Allen finished with 67 catches for 725 yards in those eight games, numbers that earned him a nice contract extension in the offseason. He’s completely recovered from the lacerated kidney and he has excellent chemistry with quarterback Philip Rivers. Look for the 24-year-old to pick up right where he left off.

Carlos Hyde, RB, SF

New coach Chip Kelly should bring volume to the offensive attack, but the Niners need the personnel to make it work. Hyde is coming off surgery in January for a foot injury that ended his 2015 season after only seven games. Can he be the focal point? Can he be an effective receiver out of the backfield? Can quarterback Colin Kaepernick run the show? There are too many questions, especially with the way things ended so badly for Kelly last year in Philadelphia. I didn’t have Hyde in my Top 40.

Cam Newton, QB, CAR and Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB

These two are probably going to be the first two quarterbacks off the board in most drafts. We rank them highly, but in reality, it’s hard to justify taking them with a third-round pick in leagues that start only one QB. There are still so many impact running backs and wide receivers available.

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