Fantasy football rankings: The 192 players who should be rostered

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We're closing in on the start of the 2021 NFL regular season and fantasy football, which means it's time for one last run of The 192.

What is The 192?

Fantasy leagues come in all shapes in sizes, but many have settled into the vicinity of 12 teams and 16 roster spots. The 192 is a list of the 192 players who should be drafted (and thus rostered) in a 12-team, 16-round, PPR league with relatively standard scoring and lineup settings. The players are technically listed in the order they should be drafted, though it's important to remember that drafts are fluid and your decisions should be altered based on what's left on the board and your previous selections.

What if you're in an eight-team league? Or a 16-teamer? The 192 can still help you win, but you'll certainly need to make tweaks in the middle-to-late rounds. For example, in a smaller league, you may want to wait even longer at quarterback because the position is so deep. In deeper leagues, running backs and tight ends should be more of a priority, as those positions lack depth and could leave you with a weak spot if you wait until late.

The 192 should serve as a simple guide to help you maximize the value of your starting lineup, while making the best possible decision in each and every round.

For a deeper look, check out Cheat Sheet Central, as well as round-by-round analysis via my Ultimate Draft Board.

1. Christian McCaffrey, CAR, RB1
Analysis: McCaffrey is the consensus 1.1 for a reason. In 2019, he outscored the next-closest RB by 156 fantasy points. Last season, he was limited to three games due to various injuries. His production in those three games: 37, 25 and 29 fantasy points, including exactly two touchdowns in all three. Don't overthink it.

2. Dalvin Cook, MIN, RB2
Analysis: Question marks surrounding other top backs have secured Cook's spot as the second-best pick in drafts.

3. Saquon Barkley, NYG, RB3
4. Alvin Kamara, NO, RB4
5. Derrick Henry, TEN, RB5
6. Travis Kelce, KC, TE1
7. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL, RB6
8. Jonathan Taylor, IND, RB7
9. Austin Ekeler, LAC, RB8
10. Davante Adams, GB, WR1
11. Aaron Jones, GB, RB9
12. Nick Chubb, CLE, RB10
13. Tyreek Hill, KC, WR2
Analysis: After McCaffrey and Cook, things start to get interesting. There are a lot of formidable RB options here, though they come some concerns (health for Barkley, QB change for Kamara, massive recent volume for Henry and Elliott, etc.). The five-time reigning No. 1 fantasy tight end, Kelce, is a borderline top-five overall value and a smart first-round target. Those who want to avoid running back can pivot to receivers Adams and Hill.

14. Antonio Gibson, WAS, RB11
15. Najee Harris, PIT, RB12
16. Stefon Diggs, BUF, WR3
17. DeAndre Hopkins, ARI, WR4
18. Calvin Ridley, ATL, WR5
19. DK Metcalf, SEA, WR6
20. A.J. Brown, TEN, WR7
21. Justin Jefferson, MIN, WR8
Analysis: Gibson and Harris are borderline RB1 options with massive upside and well worth an early second-round pick. The middle portion of Round 2 is a great spot to grab an elite wide receiver.

22. Joe Mixon, CIN, RB13
23. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC, RB14
24. Darren Waller, LV, TE2
25. Terry McLaurin, WAS, WR9
26. Keenan Allen, LAC, WR10
27. Allen Robinson II, CHI, WR11
28. CeeDee Lamb, DAL, WR12
Analysis: Mixon and Edwards-Helaire are strong RB2 plays, and though he's not quite Kelce, Waller holds enough of an edge on the other tight ends to warrant second-round consideration. This tier wraps up our WR1 options, with Lamb seemingly on the verge of a major breakout.

29. George Kittle, SF, TE3
30. James Robinson, JAC, RB15
31. David Montgomery, CHI, RB16
32. D'Andre Swift, DET, RB17
33. Miles Sanders, PHI, RB18
34. Robert Woods, LAR, WR13
35. Mike Evans, TB, WR14
36. Amari Cooper, DAL, WR15
Analysis: Kittle falls a tier behind Waller, but he's also a strong weekly TE1 option. We're closing in on the RB dead zone, but Robinson, Montgomery, Swift and Sanders are all starters with a path to solid RB2 production (if not more). Woods, Evans and Cooper aren't super-exciting, but they figure to produce solid WR2 numbers.

37. Chris Carson, SEA, RB19
38. Adam Thielen, MIN, WR16
39. Chris Godwin, TB, WR17
40. Tyler Lockett, SEA, WR18
41. Diontae Johnson, PIT, WR19
42. Cooper Kupp, LAR, WR20
43. Julio Jones, TEN, WR21
44. DJ Moore, CAR, WR22
45. Brandon Aiyuk, SF, WR23
46. Tee Higgins, CIN, WR24
47. Josh Jacobs, LV, RB20
Analysis: Though I bookended this tier with a pair of running backs, Round 4 is a hotbed for strong WR2 targets. This tier had a near-perfect payoff rate last season and the talent available here in 2021 suggests we're likely in for a repeat. Plan on grabbing a wideout with your fourth pick.

48. Patrick Mahomes, KC, QB1
49. Josh Allen, BUF, QB2
Analysis: Mahomes and Allen are generally selected in the third and fourth round, respectively, but that's a little too rich for me. These are fantasy's top quarterback options, of course, so if either falls to you at the Round 4/5 turn, feel free to pounce.

50. Gus Edwards, BAL, RB21
51. Chase Edmonds, ARI, RB22
52. Javonte Williams, DEN, RB23
53. Kareem Hunt, CLE, RB24
54. Kenny Golladay, NYG, WR25
55. Courtland Sutton, DEN, WR26
56. Odell Beckham Jr., CLE, WR27
57. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT, WR28
58. Mark Andrews, BAL, TE4
59. T.J. Hockenson, DET, TE5
60. Kyle Pitts, ATL, TE6
61. Kyler Murray, ARI, QB3
62. Robby Anderson, CAR, WR29
63. Jerry Jeudy, DEN, WR30
64. Chase Claypool, PIT, WR31
65. Ja'Marr Chase, CIN, WR32
Analysis: If you've made it this far with zero or one running back, you still have an opportunity to grab one with decent upside (albeit also with plenty of risk). Edmonds and Hunt will be especially busy as pass-catchers, whereas Williams may need a month or two before he emerges as a weekly RB2 (or better). This range also includes a lot of wide receiver talent, with a mix of veterans and even a few breakout candidates in Jeudy and Chase. This is also a decent area to grab a tight end, with Andrews, Hockenson and Pitts all solid TE1 targets.

66. Dak Prescott, DAL, QB4
67. Lamar Jackson, BAL, QB5
Analysis: This is my favorite area to attack quarterback, with Prescott and Jackson offering elite upside (they were the top two fantasy QBs in 2019) while not being overly pricey (they'll usually cost you a sixth-round pick).

68. Myles Gaskin, MIA, RB25
69. Mike Davis, ATL, RB26
70. William Fuller V, MIA, WR33
71. Brandin Cooks, HOU, WR34
72. Tyler Boyd, CIN, WR35
73. Laviska Shenault Jr., JAC, WR36
74. Michael Gallup, DAL, WR37
75. Logan Thomas, WAS, TE7
Analysis: Davis isn't the most inspiring pick and has a capped ceiling, so this is really the area of the draft where you want to try to avoid spending on running backs (arguably until the double-digit rounds). Gaskin's value is down a bit, as Miami has seemingly moved to a more of a committee that will heavily involve Malcolm Brown and perhaps Salvon Ahmed. There is some nice wide receiver talent here, including one of my favorite targets in Shenault. Thomas remains one of the best values in fantasy football drafts this offseason.

76. DeVonta Smith, PHI, WR38
77. Deebo Samuel, SF, WR39
78. Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB6
79. Russell Wilson, SEA, QB7
80. Justin Herbert, LAC, QB8
81. Noah Fant, DEN, TE8
Analysis: If not Prescott or Jackson, this is where I attack at quarterback, with Rodgers, Wilson and Herbert the final quarterbacks I feel super-confident with as my weekly starter. Smith, Samuel and Fant are solid mid-draft targets who offer upside.

82. Michael Thomas, NO, WR40
83. DJ Chark Jr., JAC, WR41
84. Marvin Jones Jr., JAC, WR42
85. Corey Davis, NYJ, WR43
86. Marquise Brown, BAL, WR44
87. Darrell Henderson Jr., LAR, RB27
88. Sony Michel, LAR, RB28
89. Jarvis Landry, CLE, WR45
90. Curtis Samuel, WAS, WR46
91. Mike Williams, LAC, WR47
92. Antonio Brown, TB, WR48
93. Damien Harris, NE, RB29
94. Raheem Mostert, SF, RB30
Analysis: Thomas is injured and expected to miss a month or so of the regular season. He has WR1 upside upon his return and is thus worthy of a midround pick. Otherwise, we're sorting through some of the best flex options here. As you can see, running back remains very uninspiring.

95. Jaylen Waddle, MIA, WR49
96. Henry Ruggs III, LV, WR50
97. Leonard Fournette, TB, RB31
98. Kenyan Drake, LV, RB32
99. Zack Moss, BUF, RB33
100. Melvin Gordon III, DEN, RB34
101. AJ Dillon, GB, RB35
102. Michael Carter, NYJ, RB36
103. James Conner, ARI, RB37
104. Phillip Lindsay, HOU, RB38
105. Dallas Goedert, PHI, TE9
106. Robert Tonyan, GB, TE10
107. Jonnu Smith, NE, TE11
108. Mike Gesicki, MIA, TE12
109. Tom Brady, TB, QB9
Analysis: We're crossing into the ninth round here, so it's time to start aiming for upside while also filling in those final voids in your starting lineup if need be. Recent first-round picks Waddle and Ruggs are major breakout candidates you can get late. You can consider going back to the RB well here, as we have a mix of veteran, low-ceiling backs (Fournette, Drake, Gordon, Conner and Lindsay), as well as a few breakout candidates (Moss, Carter and Dillon). This tier includes our remaining starting-caliber tight ends, as well as Brady, who doesn't have a high ceiling, but is a safe QB1 play.

110. Jamaal Williams, DET, RB39
111. Ronald Jones II, TB, RB40
112. Trey Sermon, SF, RB41
113. Jalen Hurts, PHI, QB10
114. Ryan Tannehill, TEN, QB11
115. Matthew Stafford, LAR, QB12
116. Cole Beasley, BUF, WR51
117. Michael Pittman Jr., IND, WR52
118. DeVante Parker, MIA, WR53
119. Jalen Reagor, PHI, WR54
120. Jakobi Meyers, NE, WR55
121. Parris Campbell, IND, WR56
Analysis: This tier rounds out our starting-caliber quarterbacks, with safe plays like Tannehill and Stafford and a risky high-ceiling option in Hurts. These running backs will be backups/situational players to open the season, but will do enough to flirt with flex value. Pittman, Reagor and Campbell are intriguing, high-pedigree wide receivers whom I've found myself picking quite often.

122. Nyheim Hines, IND, RB42
123. Devin Singletary, BUF, RB43
124. David Johnson, HOU, RB44
125. Tyrell Williams, DET, WR57
126. T.Y. Hilton, IND, WR58
127. Mecole Hardman, KC, WR59
128. Darnell Mooney, CHI, WR60
129. Elijah Moore, NYJ, WR61
130. Irv Smith Jr., MIN, TE13
131. Tyler Higbee, LAR, TE14
132. Evan Engram, NYG, TE15
133. Joe Burrow, CIN, QB13
134. Tua Tagovailoa, MIA, QB14
135. Trevor Lawrence, JAC, QB15
Analysis: We're into the 11th round here, and there's not a ton to get excited about. Hardman, Mooney and Moore are breakout candidates at wide receiver and worth a bench spot. The same can be said for Smith and recent first-round QBs Burrow, Tagovailoa and Lawrence.

136. J.D. McKissic, WAS, RB45
137. James White, NE, RB46
138. Malcolm Brown, MIA, RB47
139. Tony Pollard, DAL, RB48
140. Alexander Mattison, MIN, RB49
141. Latavius Murray, NO, RB50
142. Ty'Son Williams, BAL, RB51
143. Austin Hooper, CLE, TE16
144. Hunter Henry, NE, TE17
145. Rob Gronkowski, TB, TE18
146. Baker Mayfield, CLE, QB16
147. Justin Fields, CHI, QB17
148. Trey Lance, SF, QB18
149. Matt Ryan, ATL, QB19
Analysis: McKissic and White have made noise in PPR leagues in the past, so we shouldn't completely ignore them. Pollard and Mattison are elite insurance options well worth stashing. You don't necessarily need a backup QB and TE, but these are some of your best options for each.

150. Nelson Agholor, NE, WR62
151. Russell Gage, ATL, WR63
152. Marquez Callaway, NO, WR64
153. Jamison Crowder, NYJ, WR65
154. Terrace Marshall Jr., CAR, WR66
155. Rondale Moore, ARI, WR67
156. Giovani Bernard, TB, RB52
157. Tevin Coleman, NYJ, RB53
158. Carlos Hyde, JAC, RB54
159. A.J. Green, ARI, WR70
160. Bryan Edwards, LV, WR69
161. Randall Cobb, GB, WR70
162. Sterling Shepard, NYG, WR71
163. Gabriel Davis, BUF, WR72
164. Emmanuel Sanders, BUF, WR73
165. Eric Ebron, PIT, TE19
166. Adam Trautman, NO, TE20
167. Cole Kmet, CHI, TE21
168. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT, QB20
Analysis: Our final tier of skill-position players includes a mix of veteran players we'll draft with the hope that they exceed expectations and emerge as a flex (or better) option, as well as some late-round breakout candidates. The latter is highlighted by Edwards, Callaway, Jones, Davis, Trautman, Kmet and rookies Moore and Marshall. Devontae Booker is another name to consider, as he is Barkley's primary backup in New York.

169. Buccaneers D/ST, TB, DST1
170. Steelers D/ST, PIT, DST2
171. Ravens D/ST, BAL, DST3
172. Washington D/ST, WAS, DST4
173. 49ers D/ST, SF, DST5
174. Bills D/ST, BUF, DST6
175. Broncos D/ST, DEN, DST7
176. Patriots D/ST, NE, DST8
177. Rams D/ST, LAR, DST9
178. Browns D/ST, CLE, DST10
179. Colts D/ST, IND, DST11
180. Vikings D/ST, MIN, DST12
181. Harrison Butker, KC, K1
182. Justin Tucker, BAL, K2
183. Graham Gano, NYG, K3
184. Jason Myers, SEA, K4
185. Brandon McManus, DEN, K5
186. Jason Sanders, MIA, K6
187. Younghoe Koo, ATL, K7
188. Matt Gay, LAR, K8
189. Greg Zuerlein, DAL, K9
190. Tyler Bass, BUF, K10
191. Josh Lambo, JAC, K11
192. Matt Prater, ARI, K12
Analysis: New year, same message: Wait until the final two rounds to select your defense and kicker.