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The Early Lead
Posted at 01:11 PM ET, 08/19/2011

Fantasy Football 2011 rankings: Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster top RB rankings


Should you adjust your ranking of Titans RB Chris Johnson based on his ongoing holdout? (Elaine Thompson - AP)
Getting ready for your Fantasy Football draft? Whether you are in the twelfth season of your keeper league or trying an auction league for the first time, getting your player rankings by position in place can be a hassle. Looking at three sets of rankings from ESPN, NFL.com and Yahoo!, here are some basic guides to building your own rankings.Or you can tune in to our chat on how to dominate your Fantasy Football draft with Rob Shaw.

• Chat with fantasy expert Rob Shaw live at 2 p.m. here.

Quarterback rankings (ESPN/NFL.com/Yahoo! Sports)

1. Aaron Rodgers/Rodgers/Rodgers

2. Michael Vick/Vick/Vick

3. Drew Brees/Brady/Brees

4. Tom Brady/Brees/Philip Rivers

5. Peyton Manning/P. Manning/Brady

• Peyton Manning continues to sit out of training and preseason games for the Colts after having surgery on his neck in the offseason. While some see troubling similarities to 2008 when Manning missed all of preseason to injury, and stumbled in his first several regular season games, it seems he will be fully healthy before the end of preseason.

• Eli Manning made headlines this week when he compared himself to Tom Brady, and even though last year Manning threw a career-best 31 TDs last year and over 4,000 yards his 25 INTs make him a liability.

Josh Freeman was a fantasy hero in 2011, throwing for 3,451 yards, 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions. With an improving offensive line in front of him and second-year stud receiver Mike Williams at his disposal, Freeman should have another strong season. Expect the interception total to come up, but you should also bank on at least a couple touchdowns in the running game for a player who was the second-leading rusher among quarterbacks (364 yards) last season.

Running Back rankings (ESPN/NFL.com/Yahoo! Sports)

1.Adrian Peterson/Peterson/Foster

2. Arian Foster/ Johnson/Peterson

3. Chris Johnson/ Foster/Charles

4. Jamaal Charles/ Charles/Rice

5. Maurice Jones-Drew/ Ray Rice/ Johnson

Chris Johnson continues his holdout from the Tennessee Titans training camp, even as team officials have stated they are willing to make him the highest-paid running back in NFL history.

Matt Forte has some fantasy players concerned this year due to the Chicago Bears’ somewhat inconsistent offensive line and the inclusion of Marion Barber to the squad, which may effect Forte’s carries close to the goal line.

Mark Ingram, Daniel Thomas and Ryan Williams are the consensus top three rookie running backs this season, but keep your expectations in check. The offseason lockout has left all three playing catch up and none of these guys enter the season as the undisputed No. 1 in their respective backfields. Thomas may get the most work in Miami with only Reggie Bush to push him, Ingram could be a quality source of touchdowns, and Ryan Williams could supplant the erratic Beanie Wells in Arizona by Week 8.

Wide Receiver rankings (ESPN/NFL.com/Yahoo! Sports)
You look good in red, white and blue, Chad! (Margaret Bowles - AP)

1. Andre Johnson/Johnson/Johnson

2. Roddy White/ White/ Fitzgerald

3. Greg Jennings/ Johnson/Johnson

4.Hakeem Nicks/ Nicks/White

5.Calvin Johnson/ Larry Fitzgerald/Nicks

Larry Fitzgerald has been a top wide receiver for the past few seasons, yet some have questioned whether he will have the same chemistry with Kevin Kolb, who was signed from the Eagles in the offseason.

Greg Jennings piled up 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns last season during the Packers run to the Super Bowl, but don’t forget, highly-touted tight end Jermichael Finley. When both were in the lineup for the first four weeks of last season, Jennings averaged a mere 40 yards per game.

Chad Ochocinco had a very pedestrian 2010 on a struggling Cincinnati Bengals team (831 yards, four touchdowns), but could experience a Bill Belichick-ian renaissance in New England with Tom Brady throwing him the ball. He’s not the big-play threat Randy Moss was, but for where he’s going in most drafts, he could provide good value with great upside.

By Ian Saleh and  |  01:11 PM ET, 08/19/2011

 
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