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Fantasy Football 2017 draft rankings: David Johnson leads UPI's top 150

By
Alex Butler
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (R) is expected to see a bigger workload this season according to coach Bruce Arians. File photo by Art Foxall/UPI
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (R) is expected to see a bigger workload this season according to coach Bruce Arians. File photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Do you draft before, during or after the preseason? Either way, UPI has you covered with our 2017 fantasy football rankings.

Last season was the year of the wide receiver. Many drafts were filled with first round pass catchers, who both sizzled and sank. But 2017 could be the return of the running back and old school strategies.

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Arizona Cardinals star David Johnson, Dallas Cowboys rusher Ezekiel Elliott and Pittsburgh Steelers weapon Le'Veon Bell will be at the top of everyone's draft board.

But who should you consider with your first pick?

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For that, you should target a player who is both safe and explosive. This should be a guy you can count on to be on the field as much as possible and be a focal point of his respective offense.

This season, Johnson is our No. 1 fantasy football player for 2017.

Since breaking out in 2015, the third-year All-Pro has been nothing short of spectacular. Johnson, 25, torched NFL defenses for a league-high 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns last season.

You might be thinking: can he do better? Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is here to comfort your worried soul.

This offseason Arians said he wants to get Johnson the football even more than the 373 touches he had last season. In fact, Arians was very specific when he talked about Johnson in an interview with ESPN, saying he wants to get the tail back at least 30 touches per game.

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Based on last season's numbers and production, Johnson would be in for an additional 6.6 touches per game. That means if Johnson saw the additional touches, we could see an additional 50 yards per game, putting him up to 182 yards per contest. Last season Johnson averaged a score every 18.6 touches. If you used that ratio to compensate for 480 touches next season, his touchdown total would increase to 25 scores.

Johnson's hypothetical 2,912 yards from scrimmage would also break Chris Johnson's NFL record (2.509) from 2009. Johnson, who re-signed this offseason to backup the young stud, would be in a unique position to mentor the man eyeing that record.

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But don't forget about pass catchers altogether. After Johnson and Bell are off of the board, consider the Steelers' Antonio Brown, Atlanta Falcons stud Julio Jones and New York Giants superstar Odell Beckham Jr.

What the experts think:

CBS Sports fantasy football analysts Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard and Heath Cummings all have Johnson and Bell in their top two, with Elliot slipping to No. 7 for Cummings.

ESPN's Top 200 PPR rankings have Bell ranked No. 1, Johnson ranked No. 2 and Elliott ranked No. 4.

Johnson, Bell and Elliott also top Yahoo's Top 200 rankings.

Scroll down for the rest of the UPI 150 rankings. Stats via Pro Football Reference.

(Bye) - Denotes bye week IS% - Denotes percentage of career player played 12 games or less in a season (injury/suspension) $ - Denotes games vs. worst 5 defenses in fantasy points allowed vs. position in 2016 X -Denotes games vs. top 5 defenses in points allowed vs. position in 2016

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Rank/Name/Position/Team/Bye/IS/$/X

2017 UPI 150

1. David Johnson | RB/Arizona Cardinals (8)/0% IS - $$/XXX

2. Le'Veon Bell | RB/Pittsburgh Steelers (9)/50% IS - $$/XX

3. Julio Jones | WR/Atlanta Falcons (5)/16% IS - $/X

4. Antonio Brown | WR/Pittsburgh Steelers (9)/14% IS - $$/XXXX

5. Odell Beckham Jr. | WR/New York Giants (8)/33% IS - $$$$/X

6. Ezekiel Elliott | RB/Dallas Cowboys (6)/0% IS - $$$/XXX

7. A.J. Green | WR/Cincinnati Bengals (6)/16% IS - $$$/XXX

8. Jay Ajayi | RB/Miami Dolphins (11)/50% IS - $$/XXXXXX

9. Jordy Nelson | WR/Green Bay Packers (8)/12% IS - XXXX

10. LeSean McCoy | RB/Buffalo Bills (6)/25% IS - $$/XX

11. Melvin Gordon | RB/San Diego Chargers (9)/0% IS - $$$/XXX

12. Mike Evans | WR/Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11)/0% IS- $/X

13. Devonta Freeman | RB/Atlanta Falcons (5)/0% IS - $$$/XX

14. Michael Thomas | WR/New Orleans Saints (5)/0% IS - $$/X

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15. Dez Bryant | WR/Dallas Cowboys (6)/28% IS - $$$$$/X

16. Rob Gronkowski | TE/New England Patriots (9)/42% IS - $$$/X

17. Jordan Howard | RB/Chicago Bears (9)/0% IS - $$$

18. Amari Cooper | WR/Oakland Raiders (10)/0% IS - $$/XX

19. DeMarco Murray | RB/Tennessee Titans (8)/16% IS - $$/X

20. T.Y. Hilton | WR/Indianapolis Colts (11)/0% IS - $$$$/XXXXX

21. Sammy Watkins | WR/Buffalo Bills (6)/33% IS - XX

22. Brandin Cooks | WR/New England Patriots (9)/33% IS - XXX

23. Lamar Miller | RB/Houston Texans (7)/0% IS - $$/XXXX

24. Todd Gurley | RB/Los Angeles Rams (8)/0% IS - $$$$/XXXXX

25. Demaryius Thomas | WR/Denver Broncos (5)/28% IS - $/X

26. DeAndre Hopkins | WR/Houston Texans (7)/0% IS - $$$$/XX

27. Leonard Fournette | RB/Jacksonville Jaguars (8)/0% IS - $$/XXX

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28. Doug Baldwin | WR/Seattle Seahawks (6)/0% IS - $$$$$$/X

29. Jordan Reed | TE/Washington Redskins (5)/75% IS - $$/XXXX

30. Marshawn Lynch | RB/Oakland Raiders (10)/11% IS - $$/XXXX

31. Terrelle Pryor Sr. | WR/Washington Redskins (5)/80% IS - $$$$/XX

32. Keenan Allen | WR/Los Angeles Chargers (9)/50% IS - $$/XX

33. Michael Crabtree | WR/Oakland Raiders (10)/25% IS - $$/XX

34. Allen Robinson | WR/Jacksonville Jaguars (8)/33% IS - $$$$/XXXX

35. Alshon Jeffery | WR/Philadelphia Eagles (10)/60% IS - $$/X

36. Julian Edelman | WR/New England Patriots (9)/37% IS - XXX

37. Golden Tate | WR/Detroit Lions (7)/14% IS - $/XXXX

38. Isaiah Crowell | RB/Cleveland Browns (9)/0% IS - $/X

39. Jarvis Landry | WR/Miami Dolphins (11)/0% IS - $/X

40. Aaron Rodgers | QB/Green Bay Packers (8)/11% IS - $$$$/XX

41. Christian McCaffrey | RB/Carolina Panthers (11)/0% IS - $$$$/X

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42. Tom Brady | QB/New England Patriots (9)/12% IS $$$/XXX

43. Bilal Powell | RB/New York Jets (11)/33% IS - $$$$/XX

44. Larry Fitzgerald | WR/Arizona Cardinals (8)/0% IS - $$$$$$/X

45. Travis Kelce | TE/Kansas City Chiefs (10)/25% IS - $$/XX

46. Davante Adams | WR/Green Bay Packers (8)/0% IS - XXXX

47. Joe Mixon | RB/Cincinnati Bengals (6)/0% IS - $$$

48. Carlos Hyde | RB/San Francisco 49ers (11)/33% IS - $/XXXXX

49. Ty Montgomery | RB/Green Bay Packers (8)/50% IS - $$/X

50. Frank Gore | RB/Indianapolis Colts (11)/8% IS - $$$/XXX

51. Emmanuel Sanders | WR/Denver Broncos (5)/14% IS - $/X

52. Danny Woodhead | RB/Baltimore Ravens (10)/37% IS - $$/X

53. Drew Brees | QB/New Orleans Saints (5)/6% IS - $$$$

54. Mark Ingram | RB/New Orleans Saints (5)/50% IS - $$/X

55. Greg Olsen | TE/Carolina Panthers (11)/0% IS - $/X

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56. Jamison Crowder | WR/Washington Redskins (5)/0% IS - $$$$/XX

57. Stefon Diggs | WR/Minnesota Vikings (9)/0% IS - $$$/XX

58. Martavis Bryant | WR/Pittsburgh Steelers (9)/100% IS - $$/XXXX

59. Pierre Garcon | WR/San Francisco 49ers (11)/11% IS - $$$$/X

60. Eddie Lacy | RB/Seattle Seahawks (6)/25% IS - $$$/XXXXX

61. Dalvin Cook | RB/Minnesota Vikings (9)/0% IS - $$$

62. Ameer Abdullah | RB/Detroit Lions (7)/50% IS - $$/XX

63. Tyreek Hill | WR/Kansas City Chiefs (10)/0% IS - $/XXXX

64. Matt Ryan | QB/Atlanta Falcons (5)/0% IS - $$/X

65. Willie Snead | WR/New Orleans Saints (5)/0% IS - $$/X

66. Spencer Ware | RB/Kansas City Chiefs (10)/33% IS - $$/XXX

67. Mike Gillislee | RB/New England Patriots (9)/0% IS - $$$/X

68. LeGarrette Blount | RB/Philadelphia Eagles (10)/14% IS - $$$/XXXXX

69. Brandon Marshall | WR/New York Giants (8)/0% IS - $$$$/X

70. DeSean Jackson | WR/Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11)/22% IS - $/X

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71. Theo Riddick | RB/Detroit Lions (7)/25% IS $$/XX

72. Eric Decker | WR/Tennessee Titans (8)/14% IS - $$/XXXX

73. C.J. Anderson | RB/Denver Broncos (5)/50% IS - $$/XXX

74. Andrew Luck | QB/Indianapolis Colts (11)/20% IS - $$$/XXXX

75. Kelvin Benjamin | WR/Carolina Panthers (11)/0% IS - $$$/X

76. Donte Moncrief |WR/Indianapolis Colts (11)/33% IS - $$$$/XXXXX

77. Delanie Walker | TE/Tennessee Titans (8)/9% IS - $$$/XXXXX

78. Paul Perkins | RB/New York Giants (8)/50% IS - $$$/XXX

79. Adrian Peterson | RB/New Orleans Saints (5)/0% IS - $$/X

80. Tevin Coleman | RB/Atlanta Falcons (5)/50% IS - $$$/XX

81. Tyrell Williams | WR/Los Angeles Chargers (9)/50% IS - $$/XX

82. Jordan Matthews | WR/Philadelphia Eagles (10)/0% IS - $$/X

83. Mike Wallace | WR/Baltimore Ravens (10)/0% IS - $$/XXXXXX

84. Kyle Rudolph | TE/Minnesota Vikings (9)/33% IS - $$$/X

85. Tyler Eifert | TE/Cincinnati Bengals (6)/50% IS - $$/X

86. Jeremy Maclin | WR/Baltimore Ravens (10)/14% IS - $$/XXXXXX

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87. Cam Newton | QB/Carolina Panthers (11)/0% IS - $$$

88. John Brown | WR/Arizona Cardinals (8)/0% IS - $$$$$$/X

89. Kenny Britt | WR/Cleveland Browns (9)/25% IS - $$/XXXXXX

90. Matt Forte | RB/New York Jets (11)/11% IS - $$$$/XX

91. James White | RB/New England Patriots (9)/33% IS - $$$

92. Russell Wilson | QB/Seattle Seahawks (6)/0% IS - $$/XX

93. Corey Coleman | WR/Cleveland Browns (9)/100% IS - $$/XXXXXX

94. Adam Thielen | WR/Minnesota Vikings (9)/0% IS - $$$/XX

95. Jimmy Graham | TE/Seattle Seahawks (6)/14% IS $/XXXXX

96. Cameron Meredith | WR/Chicago Bears (9)/50% IS - $$$$/XXXX

97. Rishard Matthews | WR/Tennessee Titans (8)/40% IS - $$/XXXX

98. Corey Davis | WR/Tennessee Titans (8)/0% IS - $$/XXXX

99. Zach Ertz | TE/Philadelphia Eagles (10)/0% IS - $$$/XXX

100. DeVante Parker |WR/Miami Dolphins (11)/0% IS - $/X

101. Kareem Hunt | RB/Kansas City Chiefs (10)/0% IS - $$/XXX

102. C.J. Prosise | RB/Seattle Seahawks (6)/100% IS - $$$/XXXXX

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103. Duke Johnson Jr. | RB/Cleveland Browns (9)/0% IS - $/X

104. Robert Kelley | RB/Washington Redskins (5)/0% IS - $$/XXX

105. Randall Cobb |WR/Green Bay Packers (8)/16% IS - XXXX

106. Derek Carr | QB/Oakland Raiders (10)/0% IS - $$/XXX

107. Terrance West | RB/Baltimore Ravens (10)/33% IS - $$/X

108. Kirk Cousins | QB/Washington Redskins (5)/0% IS - XXX

109. Jonathan Stewart | RB/Carolina Panthers (11)/22% IS - $$$$/X

110. Darren Sproles | RB/Philadelphia Eagles (10)/0% IS - $$$/XXXXX

111. Doug Martin | RB/Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11)/60% IS - $$$/XXX

112. Sterling Shepard | WR/New York Giants (8)/0% IS - $$$$/X

113. Giovani Bernard | RB/Cincinnati Bengals (6)/25% IS - $$$

114. Dak Prescott | QB/Dallas Cowboys (6)/0% IS - $/XXXX

115. Jacquizz Rodgers | RB/Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11)/33% IS - $$$/XXX

116. Samaje Perine | RB/Washington Redskins (5)/0% IS - $$/XXX

117. Ted Ginn Jr. | WR/New Orleans Saints (5)/0% IS - $$/X

118. Martellus Bennett | TE/Green Bay Packers (8)/11% IS - $$$$/X

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119. Carson Palmer | QB/Arizona Cardinals (8)/23% IS - $$/XXX

120. Ben Roethlisberger | QB/Pittsburgh Steelers (9)/23% IS - $$$$/X

121. Derrick Henry | RB/Tennessee Titans (8)/0% IS - $$/X

122. Hunter Henry | TE/Los Angeles Chargers (9)/0% IS - $$$/X

123. Matthew Stafford | QB/Detroit Lions (7)/25% IS - $$/XX

124. Jamaal Charles | RB/Denver Broncos (5)/33% IS - $$/XXX

125. Marvin Jones | WR/Detroit Lions (7)/25% IS - $/XXXX

126. Marcus Mariota | QB/Tennessee Titans (8)/50% IS - $$/XXXX

127. Josh Doctson | WR/Washington Redskins (5)/100% IS - $$$$/XX

128. Zay Jones | WR/Buffalo Bills (6)/0% IS - XX

129. Robert Woods | WR/Los Angeles Rams (8)/0% IS - $$$$/XX

130. Eric Ebron | TE/Detroit Lions (7)/0% IS - $$$/X

131. Broncos D/ST

132. Chiefs D/ST

133. Kevin White | WR/Chicago Bears (9)/100% IS - $$$$/XXXX

134. Texans D/ST

135. Chris Thompson | RB/Washington Redskins (5)/50% IS - $$/XXX

136. Seahawks D/ST

137. Philip Rivers | QB/Los Angeles Chargers (9)/0% IS - $$/XXX

138. John Ross | WR/Cincinnati Bengals (6)/0% IS - $$/XXXXX

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139. Jameis Winston | QB/Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11)/0% IS - $$$$/X

140. Jack Doyle | TE/Indianapolis Colts (11)/0% IS - $$/XXXXX

141. Stephen Gostkowski | K/New England Patriots (9)

142. Latavius Murray | RB/Minnesota Vikings (9)/0% IS - $$$

143. Justin Tucker | K/Baltimore Ravens (10)

144. Vikings D/ST

145. Matt Bryant | K/Atlanta Falcons (5)

146. Adam Vinatieri | K/Indianapolis Colts (11)

147. Cardinals D/ST

148. Kenny Stills | WR/Miami Dolphins (11)/0% IS - $/X

149. Dan Bailey | K/Dallas Cowboys (6)

150. Patriots D/ST

2017 NFL Bye Weeks

Week 5 | Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans, Washington

Week 6 | Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Seattle

Week 7 | Detroit, Houston

Week 8 | Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee

Week 9 | Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New England, Pittsburgh

Week 10 | Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland, Philadelphia

Week 11 | Carolina, Indianapolis, Miami, New York Jets, San Francisco, Tampa Bay

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