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Fantasy Football 2017: David Johnson leads UPI 150 player rankings 2.0

By Alex Butler
1/3
Fantasy Football 2017: David Johnson leads UPI 150 player rankings 2.0
Arizona Cardinals' running back David Johnson (T) tries to get over Oakland Raiders' linebacker Cory James in the first quarter in the first quarter of a game on August 12 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 25 (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 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?

RELATED Le'Veon Bell to end holdout, return to Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 1

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.

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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.

RELATED Fantasy Football: Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon provide preseason sparks

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.

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.

RELATED Fantasy Football 2017: Miami Dolphins' Jay Cutler, DeVante Parker have sleeper value

Johnson's hypothetical 2,912 yards from scrimmage would also break Chris Johnson's NFL record (2.509) from 2009. Chris Johnson, who re-signed this offseason to back up 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 Antonio Brown and Julio Jones also rounding out the top four.

Almost time for @sammywatkins' Rams debut! 👏 #LAvsOAK

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A post shared by Los Angeles Rams (@rams) on

ESPN's Top 200 PPR rankings have Bell ranked No. 1, Johnson ranked No. 2 and Brown ranked No. 3.

Johnson, Bell and Brown 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

33. Sammy Watkins | WR/Los Angeles Rams (8)/33% IS - $$/X

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

80. Jordan Matthews | WR/Buffalo Bills (6)/0% IS - XX

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

128.. Broncos D/ST

129. Chiefs D/ST

130. Texans D/ST

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

132. Seahawks D/ST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

140. Vikings D/ST

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

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

143. Cardinals D/ST

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

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

146. Patriots D/ST

147. Jaguars D/ST

148. Tyler Lockett | WR/Seattle Seahawks (6)/0% IS - $$$$$$/X

149. Steelers D/ST

150. Marqise Lee| | WR/Jacksonville Jaguars (8)/33% IS - $$$$/XXXX

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