Training camp will be underway for every NFL team by the end of this week, which means it’s also time to renew your fantasy leagues and get down to drafting. After four or five months away from football, your knowledge base may have atrophied a bit. Or maybe you’re looking to put together a new set of guys to lead you out of the league cellar. Either way, over the next several days, we’ll be bringing you top-10 lists for every position, based on CBSSports.com’ 2018 Projections. (These are based off of the standard point system rankings, not PPR, which you can find here.) Without further ado, let’s get into it. And remember, it’s not that we hate your favorite player, it’s just that he’s not good.
1) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers missed nine games last year due to a broken collarbone, meaning he wasn’t his normally highly productive fantasy football self. However, heading into a new season, the injury isn’t a concern, since he’s had plenty of time to recover. Rodgers also enters this season with another weapon in his arsenal with the Packers bringing in tight end Jimmy Graham to add to Randall Cobb and Davante Adams.
CBSSports.com Projection- 357 Fantasy Points (22.3 FPPG), 3,891 yards with 32 touchdowns
2) Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Yes, he’s 40 years old. Yes, time eventually catches up to everybody. But judging by what we saw last year, it doesn’t seem like that will happen to Brady this season. One concern here is the receiving corps, which lost Danny Amendola (FA Miami) and Julian Edelman (four-game suspension). That leaves Jordan Matthews, Chris Hogan and a largely unknown cast of characters. Then again, that seems to be when Belichick and Brady operate at their best.
CBSSports.com Projection- 356 Fantasy Points (22.2 FPPG) 4,686 yards with 32 touchdowns
3) Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
This one surprised me a little. Watson was a revelation in the seven games (six starts) he made last season prior to tearing his ACL. But, with that small sample size, it’s tough to predict that he’ll be similarly successful this season. Still, he does have plenty of weapons with DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Bruce Ellington outside and with Lamar Miller in the backfield. If he shows the same athleticism and burst after recovering from his knee injury, he will definitely be a problem to handle.
CBSSports.com Projection- 348 Fantasy Points (21.7 FPPG) 3,686 yards with 26 touchdowns & 509 rushing yards with 5 touchdowns
4) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson, like Watson and the next guy on this list, brings value from his ability both in the passing game and escaping the pocket to churn out yards on the ground. The offensive line in Seattle would seem, in theory, to be slightly better this season, as they’ll have a full year of Duane Brown and have added D.J. Fluker and draft pick JaMarco Jones into the mix. They also added Brandon Marshall and Jaron Brown to try and help out the receiving corps, but it remains to be seen if either will be truly productive. As always, though, Wilson will find a way to make magic and put up plenty of points.
CBSSports.com Projections- 337 Fantasy Points (21 FPPG) 3,834 yards with 26 touchdowns & 531 rushing yards with 4 touchdowns
5) Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Cam hasn’t matched his 2015 MVP season numbers the past couple of years, but he’s still been productive, despite limited weapons around him. The Panthers have attempted to address the dearth of weapons in each of the last two offseasons, drafting Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel last year before trading for Torrey Smith and drafting D.J. Moore this season. None of that will matter though if they aren’t more creative with their attack. Norv Turner, who was brought in to replace Mike Shula, will need to do a better job of taking advantage of Cam’s unique abilities.
CBSSports.com Projections- 326 Fantasy Points (20.3 FPPG) 3,405 yards with 24 touchdowns & 580 rushing yards with 4 touchdowns
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6) Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
A breakout sophomore campaign was ended early by an ACL tear, but that hasn’t stopped the expectations of Wentz, and the Super Bowl champs, from being sky-high entering this year. Wentz is once again surrounded by weapons, with TE Zach Ertz, WRs Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor along with the running back tandem of Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement returning. The Eagles added to the arsenal further in the draft with TE Dallas Goedert and picked up veteran deep threat Mike Wallace in free agency. The one concern here is Wentz may not be fully ready to go by Week 1, and may still be shaking off the lingering effects of the ACL tear into the first few weeks of the season.
CBSSports.com Projections- 323 Fantasy Points (20.1 FPPG) 3,866 yards with 30 touchdowns
7) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Good ol’ Mr. Reliable. Brees has been lighting up fantasy scoreboards for the better part of a decade at this point, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue. Breakout star Alvin Kamara returns with Mark Ingram and new addition Shane Vereen in the backfield. While the receiving corps of Michael Thomas and Brandon Coleman will be joined by Ted Ginn Jr. and Cameron Meredith. Brees will likely once again be prolific in Payton’s offense.
CBSSports.com Projections- 321 Fantasy Points (20 FPPG) 4,491 yards with 26 touchdowns
8) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roethlisberger has been an odd case the past few years, generally performing in a sub-par way on the road but lighting it up at home. He’s got plenty of weapons in Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster and running back Le’Veon Bell plus some interesting rookies in receivers James Washington and Quadree Henderson. Big Ben should put up solid numbers, but the home/road trend is something to watch.
CBSSports.com Projections- 317 Fantasy Points (19.8 FPPG) 4,560 yards with 27 touchdowns
9) Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Cousins landed himself a fully guaranteed contract and a new team this offseason to go with no doubt better Super Bowl chances. The Vikings just missed last year, and Cousins will now have arguably the best receiving duo in the game (Adam Thielen & Stefon Diggs), a reliable tight end in Kyle Rudolph, and an explosive running game with Dalvin Cook returning from injury. That group is definitely better than what he had around him in Washington and should lead to a good fantasy season.
CBSSports.com Projections- 314 Fantasy Points (19.6 FPPG) 4,005 yards with 24 touchdowns
10) Alex Smith, Washington Redskins
The man that replaces Cousins in D.C. checks in at number 10 in CBS Sports’ rankings, which is interesting. But, Smith, for all that he’s made fun of for being captain checkdown, ranks in the top 15 among QBs in terms of three-year averages and was fifth among fantasy QBs last season, one spot ahead of Cousins. Washington did add some help for him in the draft by picking up running back Derrius Guice who should improve what’s been an inconsistent run game. Adding wide receiver Paul Richardson should help too, but it will be interesting to watch whether Smith can replicate last year’s numbers without the likes of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to support him.
CBSSports.com Projections- 311 Fantasy Points (19.4 FPPG) 4,253 yards with 24 touchdowns