He is Adrian Peterson. They are not.
This is the only piece of information you need if you are holding the No. 1 overall selection in your fantasy football draft. Unlike last season, the Minnesota Vikings' all-world running back enters the NFL campaign without a major injury concern. Not only that but the Minnesota Vikings all-world running back enters the NFL campaign having already shown us that medical science and the best intentions of opposing defenses are not particularly useful guides when it comes to determining his production.
Given Peterson's speed on the gridiron and speed off most draft boards, he is not the type of player that fantasy football general managers need rankings to be told to pick. Things get slightly more interesting when you get to the No. 2 spot on many lists of the top fantasy backs. Tampa Bay's Doug Martin was so impressive as a rookie in 2012 that he has skyrocketed up the RB rankings, edging mainstays like Ray Rice, Arian Foster and Maurice Jones-Drew on some cheat sheets. Martin not ring a bell? Perhaps you know him as "Muscle Hamster." By any name, he won't be available much longer than Peterson in your draft. While you won't need much help if you get the chance to take any of the aforementioned standouts the following rankings could come in handy when it comes time to fill in that RB2 slot or find a dependable ball carrier for your flex spots.
In order to provide a comprehensive appraisal of players that you'll be drafting for your fantasy squad, we've poured over several of the most popular -- and, hopefully, prescient -- rankings available on the Internet* from places like ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS, and SI.com to create a one-stop look at the combined wisdom of many of the foremost fantasy experts. The rankings below were created by determining the average overall ranking assigned each player in the sources consulted. For each player, we've noted his average overall ranking as well as the highest and lowest value he received.
- NFL.com's Preseason Top 200 Player Rankings
- Fantasy Sharks Top 200 (via USA Today)
- Fox Sports Top 200 Rankings
- SI.com Fantasy Football Top 300
- ESPN Top 300 Cheat Sheet
- ESPN Senior Fantasy analyst Matthew Berry's Top 200
- Yahoo! Sports Composite Top 200
- CBS Senior Fantasy Writer Nathan Zegura's Top 200
NOTE: Rankings collected on Aug. 23