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Free agency shakes up fantasy player rankings

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Christian McCaffrey cracks the top five of latest consensus rankings.

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is now ranked fourth in the latest consensus player rankings at Fantasy Football Pros thanks to a couple key free agency moves. That puts him just ahead of a certain Saints player that the media loves to love.

Consensus of 31 Experts - Mar 24, 2019

It’s hard to argue with the three players in front of McCaffrey , if you don’t look at last season’s fantasy results. McCaffrey was the second highest scoring running back in the CSR fantasy leagues on Yahoo Sports, trailing only Saquon Barkley. With an improved offensive line I can see McCaffrey having an even better season.

The bigger surprise in the two top tiers is the drop by Odell Beckham Jr. I was thinking he upgraded his offense, not downgraded it by going to Cleveland. To get Beckham at No. 13 would be a steal in my view. His new quarterback Baker Mayfield is also seriously under valued as the No. 16 quarterback.

Running back Le’Veon Bell is also undervalued at No. 12 given the Jets have traditionally been a run first team. We’ll have to see how the new coaching staff uses him but they would be derelict in duty to not give him the ball a lot. I can see Bell’s ranking jumping into the top five once he reports to training camp. My theory on this low ranking is pundit owners like myself are still a little sunburned from his 2018 season hold out. Losing a first round pick like that is tough to swallow. Worse was the week after week of false hopes he would end his hold out. It was agony I tell you! or so I was told, I didn’t draft him.

The biggest absence from the top two tiers is easily wide receiver Antonio Brown. This one I somewhat agree with. I don’t have much confidence in the Raiders even with Jon Gruden leading the team. I’ll be taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to Brown and Tyreek Hill as well for that matter.

There’s lots of value in the third tier, even the tight ends. New comer Greg Kittle is the real deal though I would not draft him higher than the third round. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Aaron Jones and A.J. Green are my picks to outperform their current draft ranking.

I still don’t understand how 13 running backs, 12 wide receivers and three tight ends can be ranked higher than the top quarterback when quarterbacks occupy six of the top ten scorers in 2018, including the top four spots. Yet that is the game I play in every draft. The better fantasy owners don’t over-draft players they think will out perform their draft positions. If you pick early in the first round of a 12-team league, then Patrick Mahomes should be there in the third after you’ve snatched up a top running back and a second tier wide receiver.

For example here’s a solid three round start to a draft:

No. 4 - Christian McCaffrey

No. 20 - JuJu Smith-Schuster

No. 28 - Patrick Mahomes

Don’t like Mahomes at No. 28? Picking this low in the third round there is no way Mahomes would still be on the board at No. 40. Of course you Panthers homers could instead pick Cam Newton here. I would wait to No. 40 to take Newton myself and instead select T.Y. Hilton in the third and then Newton in the fourth. That is a winning core right there.