Fantasy football never sleeps, but things have at least been a bit chill since the draft. Accordingly, I spent May and June previewing all 32 teams (you can read them here!) to get a better idea of what every roster is working with ahead of August when we’ll really start learning a bit more about these squads.

All that writing naturally led to plenty of opportunities to adjust the 'ole fantasy ranks, which brings us to today's goal: Breaking down my biggest rankings takeaways after publishing 65,000-plus words previewing every squad in the NFL.

As always: It's a great day to be great.

1. Ya'll must have forgotten Kyler Murray is a baller

Five awesome things about Murray's fantasy football prognosis:

  • The 2019 NFL Draft's No. 1 overall pick is one of four QBs in NFL history to average 20-plus fantasy points per game in his career.
  • He led a top-10 offense in EPA per play, yards per play and TD drive percentage upon returning from injury last season – and looked good doing it.
  • Now healthy, Murray received one of the offseason's biggest prizes in the form of (wait for it) generational WR Marvin Harrison Jr., who is projected to put up top-12 numbers in his first season as a pro.
  • Dual-threat QBs tend to be a bit of a cheat code in fantasy land.
  • Oh yeah, there's also weekly shootout potential on a team with the league's reigning 31st-ranked scoring defense 

And you're telling me there are 80 players who drafters would apparently rather have at the moment? Couldn't be me: Murray is my QB6 and 64th-ranked player off the board – both highs among the Fantasy Life rankings staff.

2. THE late-round QBs worth throwing darts at

Nobody wants to exit a draft with these guys as your QB1; we're talking about second QB options in redraft and best ball leagues… and middle-round selections in two-QB/SuperFlex formats.

That said: The following three QBs with an ADP outside the top 150 picks in early fantasy drafts are my preferred late-round targets, thanks to the hope that they can — worst case — provide the occasional boom week, and best case win your whole f*cking league:

  • Deshaun Watson (QB21, pick 162 ADP): Yes, Watson has  horrendous advanced passing metrics over his 12 starts the past two seasons. Also yes, bad December weather as well as rotator cuff and shoulder injuries at least partially explain the brutal performances. Still, Watson is one of just four QBs in NFL history to average at least 20 fantasy points per game over his career. He also managed to post three top-10 finishes in five full games last year – and now his ADP is almost cut in half relative to 2023 (QB9, pick 82).
  • Geno Smith (QB23, pick 170): Geno has the NFL's highest completion percentage over expected (+4.2%) among 48 qualified QBs over the past two seasons. It's not guaranteed this (still) questionable offensive line will make life any easier in 2023, but perhaps that will be outweighed by a loaded WR room benefiting from new vertical-minded offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb. Friendly reminder: Smith is just one year removed from working as fantasy's QB9 on a per-game basis — ahead of guys like Dak PrescottTua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert, among others.
  • Will Levis (QB24, 178): Levis' playing style still made the lows a pretty fun time during his up-and-down rookie campaign. Scrambles are more likely to end in a John Elway-esque leap than a slide. Good news: Fantasy football usually only subtracts one point for interceptions, and virtually every move the Titans have made this offseason points to them being a pass-first attack, giving the 33rd overall pick in 2023 every chance to prove he can be their long-time answer under center. 

3. An affordable workhorse RB in a great offense — is that something you might be interested in?

While Joe Mixon's original trade to Houston didn't seem like that big of a deal, considering he was only exchanged for a seventh-round pick, the ensuing contract extension certainly raised some eyebrows. Overall, Mixon's three-year, $27 million contract extension includes $13 million guaranteed – more than Josh Jacobs ($12.5 million), Tony Pollard ($10.49 million) and Derrick Henry ($9 million).

Early Fantasy Life Projections have Mixon finishing as a top-eight RB in both full- and half-PPR scoring. This is obviously thanks in large part to the projected volume at hand: Only Christian McCaffrey (324 combined carries and targets), Breece Hall (322), Bijan Robinson (305), Jonathan Taylor (305) and Saquon Barkley (297) are currently projected to see more total work than Mixon (283).

Mixon doesn't profile as the typical “Dead Zone RB” because: 1.) He's going in Round 6 (RB14, pick 62 Underdog ADP) instead of Round 3, and 2.) Concerns about him just being an inefficient volume play are mitigated in part by the likelihood that he flirts with plenty of fantasy-friendly scoring opportunities inside this ascending offense. I'm a fan of going after the trio of James CookRachaad White or Mixon in this range when already equipped with at least three WRs and perhaps an elite QB and/or TE.

4. Did James Conner sleep with Mrs. ADP?

Don't let Conner's lack of speed in Madden fool you: The man is not boring.

Top-4 in yards over expected per carry (+1.02), yards after contact per carry (3.9), missed tackles forced per carry and explosive run rate: Conner was truly one of the better pure rushers of the football last year, and yet it's like (once again) none of you even care.

Conner preseason ADP and finish in PPR points per game with the Cardinals:

  • 2021: RB35 ADP, RB8 finish
  • 2022: RB15 ADP, RB9 finish
  • 2023: RB25 ADP, RB13 finish 
  • 2023 ADP: RB27

It'd make sense if third-round rookie Trey Benson sees a decent-sized role, but does this sound like a coach ready to unseat the team's perennial workhorse RB?

My RB17, none of the other Fantasy Life rankers have him higher than 22nd. I am NOT saying they are cowards… but I could see where someone else might be coming from if they decided to use that specific verbiage.

5. At the risk of looking like an idiot: I'm out on Zamir White

The artist known as "Zeus" posted the following production In four games without Josh Jacobs:

  • Week 15: 17-69-1 rushing, 3-16-0 receiving, 70% snaps, PPR RB12
  • Week 16: 22-145-0 rushing, 0-0-0 receiving, 76% snaps, RB17
  • Week 17: 20-71-0 rushing, 5-35-0 receiving, 57% snaps, RB16
  • Week 18: 25-112-0 rushing, 1-9-0 receiving, 73% snaps, RB21

The receiving production and snap rates reflect the reality that Ameer Abdullah or someone else will likely maintain involvement in pass-first situations, but hey: 20-plus touches per game should continue to go a long way in fantasy land, right? RIGHT?!

Well, Raiders general manager Tom Telesco has been vocal about the team's desire to lean on multiple RBs. It's certainly possible Alexander Mattison shares some early-down work (hopefully not goal line), while Abdullah and/or Dylan Laube should see the majority of snaps in pass-first situations. Not exactly the most exhilarating situation to seek out inside of a backfield that ranked just 16th in expected PPR points per game last season.

Of course, White's RB23/pick 88 ADP doesn't exactly make him the world's most-expensive RB, but there are serious pass-game and scoring question marks here. Similarly-priced backs like Rhamondre StevensonJaylen WarrenD'Andre Swift and Zack Moss all check at least one of those boxes; I'm currently the only Fantasy Life ranker with White (my RB30) ranked outside the position's top-25 options.

6. At the risk of looking like an idiot: I'm in on Ezekiel Elliott

While Zeke didn’t seem COMPLETELY washed last season (Fun fact: Elliott posted a faster top speed than Tony Pollard!), the former No. 4 overall pick has certainly been on a downward trend as of late. Don’t expect a workhorse role for the soon-to-be 29-year-old, but Elliott does profile as the most likely goal-line option inside 2023's No. 1 ranked scoring offense. There’s potential for TD-dependent RB3 usage here, particularly if the Cowboys refrain from making any relevant trades at the position between now and Week 1.

Only the Lions (70), Colts (59) and Eagles (57) have given their RBs more carries inside the five-yard line than the Cowboys (55) over the past three seasons. Reminder: Zeke averaged just 3.8 yards per carry during his last season in Dallas while contributing essentially nothing to the passing game… and still finished as the RB22 in PPR points per game on the back of 12 TDs – nine of which came from inside the five-yard line.

And guess what? Zeke was even worse last year, but did you know:

Nobody is (or at least should be) arguing that Zeke is still even a "good" NFL RB, but he is a volume-based RB3 option who is only as cheap as he is because the fantasy community seems to hold his inefficiency more against him than other fellow elderly veterans at the position. Don't go crazy – but a double-digit round ADP (RB38, pick 125.6) is more than reasonable for a (bad) starter expected to breeze past the 200-touch mark

7. Don't hate the player, hate the ADP

My name is Ian and I still believe in Antonio Gibson.

Rhamondre Stevenson is still the team's No. 1 RB, but that doesn't mean Gibson shouldn't be considered the favorite to assume the majority of Ezekiel Elliott's vacated 235 touches. New offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt regularly featured multiple RBs during his last four years in Cleveland; something like a 60/40 split in favor of 'Mondre would make a lot of sense.

The ex-Commanders talent never quite lived up to "DC CMC" comps (people don't forget, Kyle Allen), but he has demonstrated the ability to thrive in the passing game over the last few seasons. Gibson didn't rack up over 1,000 total yards with double-digit TDs in back-to-back seasons to start his career by accident, and New England has $11.25 million reasons to 1.) Keep him involved as a change-of-pace complement, and 2.) FEED him should Stevenson be forced to miss any time.

Obviously, buying back into Gibson as anything close to an early-round pick would be preposterous – but we don't have to! The RB53, pick 165.8 ADP at hand has the 26-year-old talent going after the top-74 WRs, top-21 QBs and top-18 TEs on average; don't be afraid to throw a late-round dart at a guy one injury away from being on the cover of every waiver wire article in the industry.

8. My name is Ian and I think the Puka hype is a bit out of control

Last season Nacua and Cooper Kupp played 12 full games together. They posted the following usage and production:

  • Nacua: 100 targets, 66 receptions, 1,055 yards, 4 TD
  • Kupp: 99 targets, 63 receptions, 753 yards, 5 TD

The superior counting numbers from Puka reflect the reality that the NFL's all-time leader in rookie year receiving yards (1,486) was pretty, pretty, pretty good. Then again, we only need to go back one(!) season to find the last time Kupp worked as fantasy's overall WR1 in PPR points per game. Suffering multiple sprained ankles and a pulled hammy since November 2022 is hardly ideal for projecting the 31-year-old veteran to start partying like it's 2021 again, but simply assuming that Kupp is now this offense's clear-cut No. 2 WR when healthy also doesn't make much sense.

If anything, this group has the look of some of McVay's early Rams squads that regularly leaned on both Kupp and Robert Woods as their 1.A/1.B pass-game options. Things were split VERY evenly between Kupp (134, 124 targets) and Woods (139, 129) during the 2019 and 2020 seasons before Kupp separated himself as THE guy in 2021.

I have a hard time taking Puka ahead of more clear-cut No. 1 WRs like A.J. BrownGarrett WilsonMarvin Harrison Jr. and Drake London in Round 1, although it's tough to slide the reigning WR6 in PPR points per game too far down the ol' fantasy ranks. Our consensus ranks have Puka as the WR6, WR6, WR8 … and WR10 from your boy. I'm a hater because I think Nacua is fantasy football’s 10th-best WR instead of the sixth. That's the world we live in.

9. Malik Nabers WR1 szn

I penned a more complete pre-draft scouting report on Nabers already, but here's the gist: The man is FAST and routinely put the ever-living fear of God into opposing defensive backs during his time at LSU. Nobody had more receptions of 20-plus yards (34) than Nabers in 2023; he really did deserve to be in a 1.A/1.B tier alongside Marvin Harrison Jr., even if Maserati wound up going higher last April.

Sadly, the presence of Daniel Jones under center will likely cap the deep ball highlights here – but *best Lee Corso impression* not so fast my friend. Nabers' best path to success could be in the form of rookie year Jaylen Waddle, who worked as the undisputed No. 1 pass-game option in a limited Dolphins offense that rarely attempted to stretch the field. This isn't to suggest that Nabers (or Waddle, obviously) are incapable of winning deep, but Jones does join recently retired Matt Ryan as the only two QBs with an average target depth under seven yards over the past two seasons.

Head coach Brian Daboll was in charge of the same Bills offense that force-fed Stefon Diggs (166, 164 targets) during the 2020 and 2021 seasons, even if he was  dealing with a better QB under center (to put it lightly). Fantasy Life projections have Nabers tabbed for 131 targets in 2024 – the 14th-highest mark of any player at the position.

Nabers is my WR16 ahead of D.J. MooreD.K. Metcalf and Deebo Samuel, who are all in fact ballers and great at the game of football, but also operate in far more crowded offenses that likely won't be as willing to force-feed 150-plus opportunities their star WR's way.

10. Father Time is undefeated

Some might call me a Raiders hater for highlighting both Zamir White and now Davante Adams as fades. And that is totally not fair: I do NOT hate the Raiders, but I do think they boast the NFL's single-worst QB room.

Among 32 QBs with 300-plus dropbacks in 2023:

  • EPA per dropback: Minshew (+0.022, 22nd), O’Connell (-0.038, 25th)
  • Completion percentage over expected: Minshew (-3.3%, 31st), O’Connell (-3.9%, 32nd)
  • PFF pass grade: Minshew (60.6, 27th), O’Connell (64.6, 25th)
  • Passer rating: Minshew (84.6, 23rd), O’Connell (83.9, 25th)
  • Yards per attempt: Minshew (6.7, 23rd), O’connell (6.5, 25th)

Peep that second stat from the top: Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell were arguably the two least accurate QBs in all of football last season.

Of course, this isn’t a newfound phenomenon for Adams. Last season b-e-a-utiful double-moves that created all sorts of separation were constantly met with inaccurate deep balls. Ultimately, Adams (54) led the NFL in total targets that were deemed uncatchable by PFF.

The age cliff is here. It's tough to drop any man with a realistic potential to see 150-plus targets too far down the ranks, but I have Adams lower than the other rankers in terms of both WRs (13th) and overall rank (24th).

11. Separation is a helluva drug

And it's the one thing new Panthers WR Diontae Johnson does better than just about anyone. ESPN Analytics' “Open Score” WR rating has done a good job of quantifying this in recent years:

  • 2023: 78 (No. 11 among all qualified WRs)
  • 2022: 99 (No. 1)
  • 2021: 87 (No. 4)
  • 2020: 92 (No. 3)
  • 2019: 91 (No. 2)

While Johnson isn't necessarily guaranteed to work as the No. 1 target in Carolina ahead of soon-to-be 34-year-old WR Adam Thielen and first-rounder Xavier Legette, initial Fantasy Life Projections do give Johnson a fairly solid edge:

  • Johnson: 124 target projection
  • Thielen: 91
  • Legette: 79
  • Mingo: 48

Johnson is one of just seven WRs projected for triple-digit targets with an ADP outside the position's top-36 options. Hell, he's the only receiver projected for more than 120 targets priced outside of the top 24 WRs at the moment.

The ex-Steeler looks capable of earning WR1-worthy volume at a WR4 price tag; he's an ideal fourth or fifth option at the position on rosters looking to load up on WRs early and often. My No. 60 player overall, I prefer drafting Johnson ahead of pocket passers C.J. Stroud and Joe Burrow as well as potential dead zone RBs Alvin Kamara and Kenneth Walker … unlike my fellow rankers.

12. This Packers WR room is crowded, man

The Packers have a league-low $11.5 million devoted to their WR room ahead of 2024, and yet they boast one of the league's more promising rooms as a whole thanks to their continued ability to nail day two and three picks at the position.

Our best sample to draw from in terms of a projected pecking order is probably Weeks 5-13. This featured the healthiest stretch of the season for Christian Watson, who missed the final five regular season games and was limited in the playoffs due to a hamstring injury.

Packers WRs in Weeks 5-13

  • Doubs: 83% routes, 15% targets, 9.6 PPR points per game
  • Watson: 82% routes, 19% targets, 11.4 PPR points per game
  • Reed: 63% routes, 15% targets, 11.4 PPR points per game
  • Wicks: 34% routes, 10% targets, 6.6 PPR points per game

I'm higher than the rest of the rankers on both Watson (73rd player overall) and Doubs (111th) because of the likelihood they run more routes than any other Packers WR next season. These prices aren't too shabby inside of an offense that averaged more yards and EPA per play than anyone other than 49ers during the second half of 2023.

13. My single favorite LATE-round WR to draft is…

Demarcus motherf*cking Robinson.

While I see the downside scenarios for a soon-to-be 30-year-old veteran without a 500-yard season to his name on his third team in four years: Hear me out.

The former Chief proved he was capable of putting together some solid performances down the stretch of last season:

  • Week 13: 4 receptions-55 yards-1 TD, PPR WR20
  • Week 14: 3-46-1, WR23
  • Week 15: 2-44-1, WR25
  • Week 16: 6-82-1, WR15
  • Week 17: 6-92-0, WR25
  • Wild Card: 3-44-0

D-Rob won on the outside against man coverage with regularity down the stretch and posted a route rate north of 90% in all five of his final meaningful games.

Nobody is expecting Robinson to overtake Puka Nacua or Cooper Kupp in Matthew Stafford's pecking order, but he does profile as the No. 3 WR inside of an offense that has ranked first in total snaps out of 11 personnel in three consecutive seasons. There's legit potential here for something close to top-50 standalone production and truly enticing contingency upside should either Nacua or Kupp miss any game action.

14. Nobody knows what “elite TE” means, but it's provocative

It gets the people GOING.

My personal definition of the "elite TE strategy" is getting an option so Joe Flacco elite that you don't necessarily need to worry about getting a second TE until the final few rounds of a draft.

Seven players fit this criteria ahead of 2024 drafts (listed in order of current ADP):

Sam LaPorta (TE1, pick 35.7 ADP): Sixth in yards per route run (1.76) and third in passer rating when targeted (111.9) among 24 TEs with at least 50 targets last season: Good things happened when LaPorta was on the field last season, and he accordingly was fed a target on a whopping 23.3% of his routes – the position's third-highest mark behind only Trey McBride and T.J. Hockenson. We're talking about an ascending second-year talent in a great offense who is fully expected to breeze past the 100-target mark here.

Travis Kelce (TE2, pick 39.2): Kelce’s 14.6 PPR points per game last season led all TEs to suit up in at least eight contests. He continues to play with the game’s best QB and projects for more targets than (almost) anyone at the position. Maybe a drastic falloff courtesy of Father Time is coming, but his 7-71-0, 5-75-2, 11-116-1 and 9-93-0 playoff performances sure didn’t look like someone who is suddenly incapable of putting up big-time numbers.

Trey McBride (TE3, pick 47): It'd make sense if the presence of Marvin Harrison Jr. causes McBride's target ceiling to dip a little bit, but his specific usage in this offense bodes well for more PPR-friendly numbers. Consider: McBride (15) joined David Njoku (16) and Evan Engram (21) as the NFL's only TEs with 15-plus receptions on screens last year. Don't be surprised if the reigning TE2 in yards per route run continues to make the most out of his opportunities in 2024 and beyond.

Mark Andrews (TE4, pick 48.9): No TE earned a better "Open score" than Andrews last season, and the longtime stud's average of 4.8 yards after the catch per reception was his highest mark since his rookie season. There's little reason to believe Andrews is poised to suffer a falloff in physical ability ahead of 2024, making it likely that the veteran will rip off his sixth-consecutive top-five finish in terms of PPR points per game.

Dalton Kincaid (TE5, pick 52.5): Yes, Kincaid's targets per game with Dawson Knox healthy (7.4) were a far cry from what he pulled off in five games without (5). There was a dropoff in production when both were healthy together. Also yes, Kincaid ran 41 routes without Diggs on the field (essentially one game) as a rookie and caught nine of 12 targets for 139 yards (per CBS Fantasy's Jacob Gibbs). The (small sample) target share numbers are borderline erotic. It's possible — if not likely — that ESPN's reigning sixth-best overall receiving TE emerges as Josh Allen's new No. 1 pass-catcher.

Kyle Pitts (TE6, pick 60.3): It sure seems like each of Pitts' 2023 downfalls in terms of injury, bad QB performance and legit target competition at TE have all been rectified. We are talking about someone who is still just 23 years old and already has a 1,000-yard campaign under his belt. 6-foot-6, 245-pound beasts with sub-4.5 speed and the upside for triple-digit targets don't exactly fall off trees.

George Kittle (TE7, pick 67.6): Kittle might have the largest best-case ceiling of any TE in the league in terms of who could make 150 targets go the farthest, but totals of 94, 86 and 90 over the past three seasons have prevented him from re-reaching his early-career BOOMS. Still, he's posted top-six numbers production on a per-game basis in six consecutive seasons and looks poised to do so again inside of an offense that might be ready to pass the ball more than we think in 2024.

15. Noah Fant … DOG

Porous QB play in Denver and a lack of true high-end target share in Seattle have prevented Fant from ever making a huge difference in fantasy land. The former 20th overall selection hasn’t been bad from an efficiency standpoint, although he's never managed to really stand out in a Seahawks offense with plenty of additional high-end avenues to go with the football:

Fant among 27 TEs with 100-plus targets in 2022-23

  • PFF receiving grade: 68.0 (No. 18)
  • Passer rating when targeted: 111.1 (No. 5)
  • Yards per target: 8.5 (No. 4)
  • Yards per reception: 11 (No. 10)
  • Yards after the catch per reception: 5 (No. 11)
  • Yards per route run: 1.34 (No. 18)
  • Targets per route run: 15.7% (No. 23)

The yards per target number is especially intriguing: Only George Kittle, Travis Kelce and Dallas Goedert have managed to best Fant over the past two seasons.

Ultimately, the money (two-year, $21 million extension) bodes well for Fant's chances of seeing a larger role than in past years, especially with 2023 contributors Will Dissly (Chargers) and Colby Parkinson (Rams) both out of the picture. 

Fant is my highest-drafted TE of the offseason to this point and it's not particularly close. What could go wrong?