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Marcas Grant's top 100 fantasy players for 2016


The NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2016" series has returned. Tune in each Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network to see the next set of 10 players revealed on the list!

The draft confetti has been cleaned up. Free agency is well in our rearview mirror. While we have this lull before mini-camps and training camp, it seems like the perfect time to figure out the top 100 players heading into the new season. And yes, let me stop you there ... I know it's only May (I can hear some of you warming up your Twitter fingers to grouse). But if you want to be ahead of the curve, you've got to start preparing early. In the meantime, I'm sure plenty of you will have some beef with some of the rankings. I welcome your concerns. Hit me @MarcasG and I can try to soothe some of your fears -- or stoke your anger more. Whichever floats your boat.

1. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
2. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
5. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
6. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
7. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
8. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
9. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
10. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
11. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
12. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
13. Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
14. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
15. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
16. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
17. Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
18. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
19. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
20. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears
21. Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
22. C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos
23. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
24. Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks
25. Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets

When I look at my top 10 and see five different pass-catchers in the group, I'd like to say the times are a-changing. I guess they are somewhat, since it's hard to imagine something like that happening even five seasons ago. Then I see that three of the top four are running backs and you realize that some things aren't likely to ever change. Perhaps the one big difference is that there isn't a consensus No. 1 pick. I went with Gurley because of a combination of talent and youth. Having a rookie quarterback makes it a little dicey, but I'd expect Jeff Fisher and the offense to lean on Gurley until Jared Goff can get his feet under him.

There are a couple of running backs that I'm optimistic about this season. Hopefully Houston gives Lamar Miller the type of workload he deserves -- and that he never got in Miami. I'm also expecting to see the C.J. Anderson that we saw at the end of last season when he finally got healthy. Thomas Rawls' injury has me a little nervous about putting him in my top 25, but if he's ready to go for the start of the year, he'll be a workhorse in Seattle.

26. Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
27. Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints 
28. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
29. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers 
30. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers 
31. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers 
32. Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders 
33. Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets 
34. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos 
35. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots 
36. Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins 
37. Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers 
38. Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles 
39. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers 
40. Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins 
41. Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears 
42. Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals 
43. Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers 
44. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts 
45. Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders 
46. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs 
47. Jordan Reed, TE, Washington 
48. Matt Jones, RB, Washington 
49. DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans 
50. Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets

Welcome to the "remember when" portion of my top 100 list. Remember when Eddie Lacy was a surefire first-round pick? Remember when Demaryius Thomas was an unquestioned WR1? Remember when we thought Jeremy Hill was going to blossom into a solid RB1? Remember when T.Y. Hilton was destined for fantasy stardom? Remember when DeMarco Murray was the best running back in fantasy football? Man, those were the days. In other news, this section also sees our first quarterbacks come off the board. I get the feeling that Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton will be fairly interchangeable in plenty of drafts. For me, the Packers signal-caller is still the gold standard.

51. Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals 
52. Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals 
53. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks 
54. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers 
55. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos 
56. Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots 
57. Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers 
58. John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals 
59. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks 
60. Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions 
61. Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers 
62. Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles 
63. Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns 
64. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals 
65. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers 
66. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts 
67. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars 
68. DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington 
69. Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans 
70. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints 
71. Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals 
72. Coby Fleener, TE, New Orleans Saints 
73. Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars 
74. Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
75. Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

There's a very good chance that the Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year could come from this group. Kelvin Benjamin, Dion Lewis and Andrew Luck were among the front-line fantasy players whose seasons were cut short (or completely erased) by injury. All three should be poised for solid numbers in 2016 if they can stay healthy. Melvin Gordon's numbers might have made it look like he didn't play a full season, but there is reason to believe that the Chargers young running back will show some improvement this season. I'm probably a little higher on his potential than a lot of other people. But no risk, no reward, right?

76. DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins 
77. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
78. Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens 
79. Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders 
80. Ladarius Green, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers 
81. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots 
82. Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts 
83. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals 
84. Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants 
85. Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns 
86. Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers 
87. Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
88. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions 
89. Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns 
90. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings 
91. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings 
92. Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts 
93. Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions 
94. Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars 
95. Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers 
96. Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears 
97. Steve Smith Sr., WR, Baltimore Ravens 
98. Karlos Williams, RB, Buffalo Bills 
99. LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots 
100. Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions

Well hello there, Tom Brady! Were it not for the four-game suspension hanging over his head, he'd definitely be much higher up this list. But this could work in favor of fantasy enthusiasts with a chance to get two quality quarterbacks in or near the double-digit rounds. There are some potential steals in this group with the likes of Gio Bernard and a couple of rookie receivers hanging out from slots 83-90. We're still waiting to see what Kevin White can do with the Bears, but spending a 10th-round pick on him doesn't seem to terrible.

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Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for Follow him on Twitter @MarcasG.