It hasn’t been this hard to pick number 1 in fantasy in a while. Usually it’s a given. For years, the fantasy gurus have been telling us, “Always take a running back first”. But this year is different. They hype train around the uber-talented Le’veon Bell is slowing down, as he once again manages to miss games. There’s no denying that, healthy and drug-free, Bell is the best back in the game. While Adrian Peterson has been the model of consistency at the running back position, he is getting old and his tires are likely wearing down. Meanwhile, Bell is young and has proven to be a lethal runner, capable of evading defenders and scoring, while also being able to catch passes out of the backfield.

However, Bell is out for the first four games, and their is no guarantee that he will be healthy for the remainder of the season. Thus, comes the prompt, is Le’veon is out, who goes first off the board in fantasy?

While there are many options who would likely serve a fantasy owner well, my pick for number 1 has got to be Antonio Brown. For those of you who do research, I may not be saying something unfamiliar. However, I am seen many drafts where people draft Todd Gurley, or Adrian Peterson, or even Cam Newton first. And while I am a Panthers fan myself, I see this as most unwise.

Antonio Brown is the do it all receiver. With is starting quarterback missing for 4 games, he still managed to score the most points for any running back or receiver. Note, that was also with drawing more coverage as the excellent no. 2 receiver Martavis Bryant was out for quite a while.

Putting all this on the table, I see Antonio putting up another stellar season, perhaps record-breaking if Big Ben stays healthy.

So Antonio goes no. 1, who’s after?

At number 2, I’m taking Adrian Peterson. Last year he showed us that he still has what it takes, and finished as the second best fantasy running back, only behind Devonta Freeman (who had some very magical games, but was anything but consistent last year). I think he could finish number one running back again this year, barring any health issues.

My number 3 pick is Julio Jones. You’ve really got to feel for him, because the past few seasons Matt Ryan has been average at best. However, Julio has constantly excelled, always finishing in the top-tier of wide receivers. I do not think we have seen his full potential yet, but to put up numbers like has with an average quarterback shows his skill. Julio could be taken at number 2, but I like AP more.

Number 4 has to be David Johnson. He proved as a rookie last year that he has what it takes, and he has the advantage of a good offense. The Cardinals, despite an aging offense, can still throw the ball, so the defense has to defend the pass as well as the rushing attack. Johnson is also a very good pass catcher, making him dual-threat. This, combined with the comparisons to the legendary Marshall Faulk, make him my number 4.

Number 5 is Odell Beckham Jr. He has the skill, and we know he has the hands, to be a top-tier WR. However, he finished last year behind Brandon Marshall and Allen Robinson to be the number 5 WR (numbers 1 and 2 were Antonio and Julio). Eli has been a slightly above average QB, which always helps, and rookie Sterling Shepard has drawn raving reviews. Will Tye is a deep threat, and these should leave OBJ drawing considerably less coverage. That’s why he gets my number 5 spot.

Number 6 is Todd Gurley. While he shined, in fact he was stellar, as a rookie, he was unknown. Many teams had no idea of his potential. He came bursting through the gates his first few games, but his production slowed considerably after defenses knew what he could do. The Rams have no passing attack, and so all defenses will have to do is stop Todd Gurley. Having 11 guys all focused on stopping you makes your job considerably more difficult. He is very talented, and if you can put these worries aside then by all means draft him higher. But he is priority number 1 for defenses, and having a priority after that on the Rams offense is worth laughing at.

The last four picks are as follows:

Number 7 is Allen Robinson, Number 8 is AJ Green, Number 9 is Cam Newton, and Number 10 is Lamar Miller.

You’ll notice that Gronk and Ezekiel Elliot are missing. Elliot is because I frankly do NOT trust rookies until they prove themselves. And Gronk because Tom Brady is out for 4 games. While I’m sure Jimmy Garoppolo is smart enough to throw to the biggest guy on the field, Garoppolo and Brady are not quite the same.

Have different opinions? Let me know