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The 192 players who should be drafted in fantasy football

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Is Cook primed for big season? (0:53)

Despite coming off a torn ACL, Mike Clay expects Dalvin Cook to be a workhorse in fantasy with massive upside. (0:53)

During the offseason, 2,880 human beings (32 teams x 90 players) can be rostered by an NFL team. Once Week 1 rolls around, that number is cut down to 1,696 (32 x 53). The ESPN Fantasy player database includes more than 2,300 players.

You can't be expected to know all of those players, which is why "The 192" is here to make your life easier. Why 192? Fantasy leagues come in all shapes in sizes, but many have settled into the vicinity of 12 teams and 16 players. 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, although 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 mid-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. At the end of the piece, I'll also include players to consider for those of you in deeper leagues.

Although some player analysis is included throughout the piece, strategy is the primary topic of discussion. For more thorough player analysis, check out our player profiles, which were drawn up by yours truly.

At the end of the day, this should serve as a simple guide to help you maximize the value of your starting lineup while making the best possible decision each round.

1. Le'Veon Bell, PIT, RB
2. Todd Gurley II, LAR, RB
3. David Johnson, ARI, RB

The big three at running back this year, you're sitting pretty if you land one of these every-down workhorses.

4. Antonio Brown, PIT, WR

Once the three elite, every-down backs are gone, Brown should be the next man off the board. He'll attempt to pace wide receivers in fantasy points for the fifth consecutive season.

5. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL, RB
6. Saquon Barkley, NYG, RB
7. Alvin Kamara, NO, RB

Elliott's low target ceiling keeps him out of the top group, but he's a strong bet to lead the NFL in rushing. Barkley is a rookie -- and thus a bit risky -- but it shouldn't be long until he's handling a workload similar to the big three. Kamara joins this tier after Mark Ingram's four-game suspension.

8. Julio Jones, ATL, WR
9. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU, WR
10. Odell Beckham Jr., NYG, WR
11. Kareem Hunt, KC, RB
12. Dalvin Cook, MIN, RB
13. Keenan Allen, LAC, WR
14. Leonard Fournette, JAC, RB
15. Melvin Gordon, LAC, RB
16. Michael Thomas, NO, WR
17. A.J. Green, CIN, WR
18. Christian McCaffrey, CAR, RB
19. Devonta Freeman, ATL, RB
20. Davante Adams, GB, WR
21. Rob Gronkowski, NE, TE

Yeah, the second round is deep. If you're able to pick your draft spot, I'd take a top-three selection, land one of the elite backs and then likely have your choice of one of these players in the second (and possibly third) round. There's a fairly clear top 13 at running back this season (12 if you devalue LeSean McCoy slightly for his off-field concerns, as I did here), so while I'd never say force a position, I'd suggest trying to grab one of them in the first two rounds.

There's a debate as to where Gronkowski should go each and every year. He was outstanding again in 2018, and if you ask me, he is the clear top tight end in fantasy. Grab him at the second/third-round turn.

22. Mike Evans, TB, WR
23. LeSean McCoy, BUF, RB
24. Travis Kelce, KC, TE
25. Jerick McKinnon, SF, RB
26. Joe Mixon, CIN, RB

Evans' value takes a slight hit with Jameis Winston suspended for three games to start the season. Kelce has paced the tight ends in fantasy points each of the past two seasons. Running back gets pretty muddy once you're past the aforementioned top 13. McKinnon and Mixon have serious efficiency question marks, but also clear paths to a massive workload.

27. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI, WR
28. T.Y. Hilton, IND, WR
29. Adam Thielen, MIN, WR
30. Stefon Diggs, MIN, WR
31. Jordan Howard, CHI, RB
32. Zach Ertz, PHI, TE
33. Tyreek Hill, KC, WR
34. Demaryius Thomas, DEN, WR
35. Allen Robinson, CHI, WR
36. Doug Baldwin, SEA, WR
37. Golden Tate, DET, WR
38. Josh Gordon, CLE, WR
39. Alshon Jeffery, PHI, WR
40. Amari Cooper, OAK, WR

It's back to the wide receiver well as we work through the third round and into the fourth. These are solid, high-floor, fringe top-15 options. Ertz and Howard are good alternatives if you're already solid at wideout. Howard is a terrific rusher, but may not give you much as a receiver. He has more value in non-PPR formats.

41. Marvin Jones Jr., DET, WR
42. Kenyan Drake, MIA, RB
43. Jarvis Landry, CLE, WR
44. Brandin Cooks, LAR, WR
45. Royce Freeman, DEN, RB
46. Derrius Guice, WAS, RB
47. Ronald Jones II, TB, RB
48. Rashaad Penny, SEA, RB
49. Sony Michel, NE, RB
50. Alex Collins, BAL, RB
51. Derrick Henry, TEN, RB
52. Jay Ajayi, PHI, RB

This is a fun tier with loads of youth and upside at running back, but it's also easy to pick holes in each of these players. With Penny, Guice, Michel, Freeman and Jones joining up with Barkley, a hefty 12 percent of our top 50 is comprised of rookie running backs. That may seem too optimistic, but early-round backs haven't had trouble finding their way into hefty workloads in recent years. Collins, Ajayi and Henry are positioned for big workloads as rushers, but may not offer much as receivers. You're obviously throwing a dart at upside here, so I wouldn't fault anyone for fading their second running back slot and instead loading up elsewhere.

Speaking of which, if you do, in fact, want to avoid running backs in this spot, the rest of the top-24 wide receivers are included here. Brandin Cooks is a riser after signing a hefty contract extension with the Rams.

53. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT, WR
54. Robert Woods, LAR, WR
55. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN, WR
56. Michael Crabtree, BAL, WR
57. Corey Davis, TEN, WR

This tier of wide receivers includes a mixture of high-upside and safe options. Woods, Sanders and Crabtree offer a high floor, whereas Smith-Schuster and Davis are second-year, high-ceiling receivers positioned for bigger roles.

58. Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB
59. Tom Brady, NE, QB

The fifth/sixth-round turn is where we find our first quarterbacks. Why the long wait? First, we haven't been short on top-end (or potentially top-end) talent through our first 60 or so players and second, the position is as deep as ever. As you'll see later -- and average draft position shows -- you can address other, more important positions early and often and still come away with a solid-or-better quarterback.

60. Marshawn Lynch, OAK, RB
61. Dion Lewis, TEN, RB
62. Lamar Miller, HOU, RB
63. Mark Ingram, NO, RB
64. Greg Olsen, CAR, TE
65. Delanie Walker, TEN, TE
66. Evan Engram, NYG, TE

Lynch is trying to fend off a seemingly rejuvenated Doug Martin and Lewis will need to share with Henry. Miller may seem low and has upside in Houston's offense, but his shaky efficiency has put his job in doubt. Ingram would be inside the top 40 if not for a four-game suspension to start the season.

The sixth round is a solid spot to address tight end, with Olsen, Walker and Engram each offering a high floor at a reasonable cost.

67. Pierre Garcon, SF, WR
68. Chris Hogan, NE, WR
69. Sammy Watkins, KC, WR
70. Randall Cobb, GB, WR
71. Devin Funchess, CAR, WR
72. Will Fuller V, HOU, WR
73. Duke Johnson Jr., CLE, RB
74. Isaiah Crowell, NYJ, RB
75. Jimmy Graham, GB, TE
76. DeVante Parker, MIA, WR
77. Robby Anderson, NYJ, WR

Finding a competent No. 3 wide receiver won't be hard this year, as the sixth and seventh rounds are loaded with options (and even some nice upside). There are some serviceable running backs here in the form of ex-teammates Johnson and Crowell. Graham figures to be a great source of touchdowns in Green Bay.

78. Cam Newton, CAR, QB
79. Carson Wentz, PHI, QB
80. Russell Wilson, SEA, QB
81. Deshaun Watson, HOU, QB

The seventh round may be too late to land some (if not all) of these quarterbacks in casual leagues, but that's OK. You'll have good options later.

82. Kelvin Benjamin, BUF, WR
83. Sterling Shepard, NYG, WR
84. Julian Edelman, NE, WR
85. Tevin Coleman, ATL, RB
86. Tarik Cohen, CHI, RB
87. Chris Thompson, WAS, RB
88. Kerryon Johnson, DET, RB
89. Rex Burkhead, NE, RB
90. Jordan Reed, WAS, TE
91. Andrew Luck, IND, QB
92. Jamison Crowder, WAS, WR
93. Cooper Kupp, LAR, WR
94. Kenny Stills, MIA, WR
95. Josh Doctson, WAS, WR
96. Marlon Mack, IND, RB
97. Jamaal Williams, GB, RB
98. Ty Montgomery, GB, RB
99. Carlos Hyde, CLE, RB
100. Kyle Rudolph, MIN, TE

The eighth round includes high-floor scat backs, lead back dart throws, fringe starters at wide receiver and a couple tight end options. Reed and Luck both have elite ceilings, but injury concerns knock them to the middle rounds. Edelman's four-game suspension is why he's down in the 80s. This is the spot to take the plunge.

101. DeSean Jackson, TB, WR
102. Marqise Lee, JAC, WR
103. Jordy Nelson, OAK, WR
104. Marquise Goodwin, SF, WR
105. Nelson Agholor, PHI, WR
106. Rishard Matthews, TEN, WR
107. Allen Hurns, DAL, WR
108. Paul Richardson, WAS, WR
109. Kenny Golladay, DET, WR
110. Mohamed Sanu, ATL, WR
111. Cameron Meredith, NO, WR
112. DJ Moore, CAR, WR
113. Michael Gallup, DAL, WR
114. Tyler Lockett, SEA, WR
115. John Ross, CIN, WR

This massive tier of wide receivers includes players you can consider for your flex early in the season (like Jackson, Goodwin and Hurns), as well as potential breakout players like Moore, Gallup and Ross.

116. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT, QB
117. Kirk Cousins, MIN, QB
118. Jack Doyle, IND, TE
119. Trey Burton, CHI, TE
120. David Njoku, CLE, TE

Here are two more quarterback options and the remainder of your top 12 tight end options.

121. Giovani Bernard, CIN, RB
122. Theo Riddick, DET, RB
123. James White, NE, RB
124. Nick Chubb, CLE, RB
125. Chris Carson, SEA, RB
126. Matthew Stafford, DET, QB
127. Drew Brees, NO, QB
128. Patrick Mahomes, KC, QB

Bernard, Riddick and White are receiving specialists who can especially help you out in PPR formats. Chubb and Carson are at least in the conversation for Week 1 starting gigs. Stafford, Brees and breakout candidate Mahomes round out your 12 best quarterback options.

129. Calvin Ridley, ATL, WR
130. Dez Bryant, FA, WR
131. Martavis Bryant, OAK, WR
132. Danny Amendola, MIA, WR
133. Philip Rivers, LAC, QB
134. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF, QB
135. Matt Ryan, ATL, QB
136. Alex Smith, WAS, QB
137. Anthony Miller, CHI, WR
138. Zay Jones, BUF, WR
139. James Washington, PIT, WR
140. Donte Moncrief, JAC, WR
141. Mike Williams, LAC, WR

We're getting to the late stages here, so it's time to start thinking high-upside fliers and dart throws. Rookies Ridley, Miller and Washington were all picked in the first two rounds and have a path to a top-three gig in 2018. Jones and Williams are terrific second-year, post-hype targets. Amendola seems to have locked down slot duties in Miami, which puts him in the weekly flex discussion.

We also start to get into backup quarterback options. I don't generally recommend carrying two, but there are a few variables that make it more justifiable in 2018: (A) You shouldn't be picking one too early because of the available talent at other positions; (B) some top-end quarterbacks have injury question marks, including Wentz, Watson and Luck; (C) the position's depth means you should be taking shots on high-ceiling passers knowing you have viable fallback options; and (D) There are many breakout options at the position, including Mahomes, Garoppolo, and Mitchell Trubisky.

142. Devontae Booker, DEN, RB
143. C.J. Anderson, CAR, RB
144. Jordan Wilkins, IND, RB
145. Charles Clay, BUF, TE
146. Tyler Eifert, CIN, TE
147. Latavius Murray, MIN, RB
148. Nyheim Hines, IND, RB
149. Doug Martin, OAK, RB
150. Marcus Mariota, TEN, QB
151. Dak Prescott, DAL, QB
152. Jared Goff, LAR, QB

Tight end gets a bit shaky after the top nine, which is why you shouldn't be afraid to wait a while if you miss out on one of those options. Clay (solid) and Eifert (upside) are fine targets here. This tier also includes a few running back handcuffs and/or Week 1 starter sleepers, as well as a few more quarterback options.

153. Jaguars D/ST

I try to wait until the final two rounds to take my defense and kicker (or avoid taking them at all if league rules allow it), but the Jaguars' D/ST was dominant last season and is just as good on paper again in 2018. Feel free to go a round early if they're still on the board.

154. Matt Breida, SF, RB
155. LeGarrette Blount, DET, RB
156. Kenneth Dixon, BAL, RB
157. Aaron Jones, GB, RB
158. Christian Kirk, ARI, WR
159. Mike Wallace, PHI, WR
160. Terrelle Pryor Sr., NYJ, WR
161. George Kittle, SF, TE
162. Chris Godwin, TB, WR
163. Mitchell Trubisky, CHI, QB
164. Darren Sproles, PHI, RB
165. Corey Clement, PHI, RB
166. John Brown, BAL, WR
167. Albert Wilson, MIA, WR
168. Cameron Brate, TB, TE
169. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, JAC, TE

Aside from kicker and D/ST, this concludes the list of players who should be drafted/rostered in 12-team leagues. If you're picking in this area and feel good about your quarterback and/or tight end situation, the likes of Chris Ivory, D'Onta Foreman, Brandon Marshall and Keelan Cole just missed the cut and could make more sense for your bench.

170. Eagles D/ST
171. Rams D/ST
172. Vikings D/ST
173. Texans D/ST
174. Ravens D/ST
175. Greg Zuerlein, LAR, K
176. Stephen Gostkowski, NE, K
177. Justin Tucker, BAL, K
178. Patriots D/ST
179. Chargers D/ST
180. Broncos D/ST
181. Saints D/ST
182. Titans D/ST
183. Panthers D/ST
184. Matt Bryant, ATL, K
185. Wil Lutz, NO, K
186. Chris Boswell, PIT, K
187. Robbie Gould, SF, K
188. Jake Elliott, PHI, K
189. Matt Prater, DET, K
190. Harrison Butker, KC, K
191. Adam Vinatieri, IND, K
192. Graham Gano, CAR, K

Aforementioned Jaguars D/ST aside, these are your top 12 options at kicker and D/ST. Is it smart to pick these players a round earlier in order to get an edge on the competition? I'm fine with that if it's an elite option, but those are few and far between. You're better off just taking the best available in the final two rounds and streaming them based on matchup.

Just missed the cut:

QB: Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton, Ryan Tannehill, Eli Manning, Jameis Winston

RB: Bilal Powell, D'Onta Foreman, Chris Ivory, Austin Ekeler, Spencer Ware, Chase Edmonds, Frank Gore, Peyton Barber

WR: Ted Ginn Jr., Terrance Williams, Willie Snead, Keelan Cole, Tyrell Williams, Brandon Marshall, Courtland Sutton, Deon Cain, Quincy Enunwa

TE: Benjamin Watson, Vance McDonald, Jared Cook, Eric Ebron, O.J. Howard, Ricky Seals-Jones

K: Dan Bailey, Ryan Succop, Daniel Carlson, Mason Crosby

DST: Redskins, Cardinals, Falcons, Cowboys