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A look back at the top 50 fantasy players from 2015

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It's almost time, ladies and gentleman. A sure sign that the fantasy football season is almost upon us is when NFL Fantasy LIVE returns to our television screens. While the show isn't back in a daily capacity quite yet, it makes its triumphant return to NFL Network next week with a five-part series airing at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) each day titled "NFL Fantasy Live: Top 50 Players of 2016."

Using the consensus rankings of our panel of analysts, the show producers formed our top 50 fantasy players for 2016, and will be unveiling them in 10-player increments each day, a la the Top 100 Players show, which just wrapped up. It's an exciting time, as this will be a good first exercise as you all start preparing for fantasy drafts (if you haven't already). What might the list look like? Well, I happen to know how many of each type of player graced the list, and it breaks down as follows: 3 QBs, 20 RBs, 23 WRs, 4 TEs.

To provide a little context and get us geared up for next week, let's take a look at how the top 50 players shook out last year based on NFL.com ADP (average draft position), and also look at how they finished. Below is the full list, which broke down like this: 6 QBs, 20 RBs, 21 WRs, 3 TEs. The first number next to each player is their overall ADP, while the number in parentheses is their positional ADP. Farther to the right I included their total fantasy points and overall finish at their position to provide context. I also provided a little analysis mid-way through and at the end.

1. Le'Veon Bell, Steelers (RB1) | Finish: 87.2 fantasy points, RB46
2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (RB2) | Finish: 230.70 fantasy points, RB2
3. Eddie Lacy, Packers (RB3) | Finish: 120.6 fantasy points, RB25
4. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs (RB4) | Finish: 80.1 fantasy points, RB51
5. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks (RB5) | Finish: 69.7 fantasy points, RB56
6. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (QB1) | Finish: 301.24 fantasy points, QB7
7. Matt Forte, Bears (RB6) | Finish: 170.7 fantasy points, RB9
8. Antonio Brown, Steelers (WR1) | Finish: 246.2 fantasy points, WR1
9. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (TE1) | Finish: 183.6 fantasy points, TE1
10. Jeremy Hill, Bengals (RB7) | Finish: 155.3 fantasy points, RB14
11. C.J. Anderson, Broncos (RB8) | Finish: 116.3 fantasy points, RB30
12. LeSean McCoy, Bills (RB9) | Finish: 147.6 fantasy points, RB17
13. Calvin Johnson, Lions (WR2) | Finish: 173.4 fantasy points, WR9
14. Andrew Luck, Colts (QB2) | Finish: 130.84 fantasy points, QB28
15. Julio Jones, Falcons (WR3)| Finish: 239.1 fantasy points, WR2
16. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants (WR4) | Finish: 223.3 fantasy points, WR5
17. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (WR5) | Finish: 162.4 fantasy points, WR12
18. DeMarco Murray, Eagles (RB10) | Finish: 140.4 fantasy points, RB18
19. Dez Bryant, Cowboys (WR6) | Finish: 58.1 fantasy points, WR77
20. A.J. Green, Bengals (WR7) | Finish: 187.7 fantasy points, WR8
21. Randall Cobb, Packers (WR8) | Finish: 129.9 fantasy points, WR28
22. Alshon Jeffery, Bears (WR9) | Finish: 104.7 fantasy points, WR41
23. Mark Ingram, Saints (RB11) | Finish: 153.4 fantasy points, RB15
24. T.Y. Hilton, Colts (WR10) | Finish: 142.4 fantasy points, WR22
25. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (QB3) | Finish: 336.26 fantasy points, QB3

My word, is this top 25 ugly. Last year was certainly an anomaly, as serious injuries or other ailments (*cough* weight *cough*) befell nine of the top 25 players, while many of the others were briefly nicked up (DeMarco Murray) or injuries to other players crushed their value (Aaron Rodgers, T.Y. Hilton). Trying to project ahead to 2016's list, I would be surprised to see even one quarterback in the top 25, much less three. In addition, I'd guess we see not only more wide receivers highly ranked, but more wide receivers overall in this space.

26. Justin Forsett, Ravens (RB12) | Finish: 91.4 fantasy points, RB43
27. Lamar Miller, Dolphins (RB13) | Finish: 184.9 fantasy points, RB6
28. Jimmy Graham, Seahawks (TE2) | Finish: 72.5 fantasy points, TE17
29. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (WR11) | Finish: 136.8 fantasy points, WR27
30. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos (WR12) | Finish: 148.4 fantasy points, WR18
31. Peyton Manning, Broncos (QB4) | Finish: 91.3 fantasy points, QB34
32. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (WR13) | Finish: 220.1 fantasy points, WR6
33. Alfred Morris, Redskins (RB14) | Finish: 86.6 fantasy points, RB47
34. Brandin Cooks, Saints (WR14) | Finish: 169.6 fantasy points, WR12
35. Frank Gore, Colts (RB15) | Finish: 159.4 fantasy points, RB12
36. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (RB16) | Finish: 146.8 fantasy points, RB16
37. Carlos Hyde, 49ers (RB17) | Finish: 70.30 fantasy points, RB55
38. Drew Brees, Saints (QB5) | Finish: 304.2 fantasy points, QB6
39. Jordan Matthews, Eagles (WR15) | Finish: 145.7 fantasy points, WR20
40. Julian Edelman, Patriots (WR16) | Finish: 111.5 fantasy points, WR37
41. Latavius Murray, Raiders (RB18) | Finish: 163.8 fantasy points, RB10
42. Matt Ryan, Falcons (QB6) | Finish: 233.94 fantasy points, QB19
43. DeSean Jackson, Redskins (WR17) | Finish: 74.8 fantasy points, WR59
44. Amari Cooper, Raiders (WR18) | Finish: 140.7 fantasy points, WR24
45. Greg Olsen, Panthers (TE3) | Finish: 150.4 fantasy points, TE4
46. Andre Ellington, Cardinals (RB19) | Finish: 59.7 fantasy points, RB60
47. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins (WR19) | Finish: 159.4 fantasy points, WR15
48. Melvin Gordon, Chargers (RB20) | Finish: 75.3 fantasy points, RB53
49. Andre Johnson, Colts (WR20) | Finish: 74.3 fantasy points, WR61
50. Sammy Watkins, Bills (WR21) | Finish: 158.8 fantasy points, WR16

The most surprising parts of the back half of the top 50 from last year are the ADPs of Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan (what the what?!). Still, the number of players here who also disappointed because of injuries speaks to how important it is to load up on running backs and wide receivers early in drafts. Quarterbacks are one of the best values in later rounds, and by investing in more skill position players early you're able to mitigate the potential loss if one goes down with an injury.

Well, there you have it. Study up, and get ready for some fantasy football on your television screens next week. Set your DVRs and be sure to check back each day at www.nfl.com/fantasytop50 for our analysis and reaction to the unveiling of each tier of players.

Until next time ...

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar.

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