ASL's Michael Nease looks into his crystal ball and unveils his top 20 scorers for 2018 at each fantasy football-relevant position. 

When one has been writing about fantasy football for almost 20 years, you gain a little recognition. Sometimes you get invited to compete against other writers from other publications in fantasy leagues and contests. Over the years, I have had the honor and privilege to play in various experts leagues over that time. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to win the championship in the FF Webmasters Experts League. I have made it into the playoffs in various experts’leagues with great regularity over the years.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by my friend Ian Allen at Fantasy Index Magazine to be in a featured contest there. I am competing against 19 people in an experts poll to forecast the top-20 scorers this season at all of the key positions on a non-IDP fantasy football team.

I enjoy this event immensely. I have competed in the open-competition version for at least the last 10 years or so. In fact, during the five-year period from 2010 to 2014, I ranked among the top 10 overall competitors. In 2014, I won the whole contest over about 200 other competitors. Since then, I have slacked off quite a bit as my recent selections have been cursed by injuries.

The keys to doing well are simple; they center around knowing the rules. It is pretty much normal scoring except for some key points. Not bothering to know the scoring rules is a fatal mistake that many people make in this contest. Research laziness kills many people's chances of doing well in a contest like that.

  • No PPR component. By taking points per reception out of the equation, WRs, TEs and pass-catching RBs have to be adjusted somewhat. This is a point that most people overlook entirely.
  • Place kickers with a big leg are neutralized somewhat as all field goals are worth only three points.
  • Team defenses don't score much (six points per TD, two points per turnover, one point per sack). The top 20 are going to score between about 80-110 points.

I feel pretty good about my picks for this year. I examined last year’s scoring results extensively and then used my gut to rank the players. I never use anyone else’s rankings. Everyone brags when something happens the way they said it would, but you never hear comments such as, "Whoops, I missed on that one." I will put my brain’s algorithm talent against any computerized one at any time.

I have been playing since 1985 and I have made thousands of fantasy football decisions. Yes, I am wrong a lot, but I am right more than I am wrong. Injuries figure significantly into these projections. Thus, there is certainly a luck factor.

Right off the bat, you will tell me I forgot quarterbacks such as Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger and Marcus Mariota. Nope, they were intentionally left off. I have little faith in any of them playing enough to hit the top 20.

With 3 1/2 months to go before the season begins, this is all a shot in the dark. Chances are that there will be some surprise players who will be big scorers in 2018, and a few of these guys will be out for the season before the first real games kick off in September. I am not looking forward to a perfect score. All I have to do is be better with my projections than 19 other people. My gut tells me I will have a pretty good shot at winding up pretty high in the expert rankings. Can I win it all? I see no reason why not. We just have to wait until January 2019 to find out.

Projected Top 20 Quarterbacks

  1. Russell Wilson, SEA
  2. Carson Wentz, PHI
  3. Aaron Rodgers, GB
  4. Kirk Cousins, MIN
  5. Deshaun Watson, HOU
  6. Tom Brady, NE
  7. Cam Newton, CAR
  8. Jared Goff, LAR
  9. Matthew Stafford, DET
  10. Blake Bortles, JAC
  11. Drew Brees, NO
  12. Philip Rivers, LAC
  13. Eli Manning, NYG
  14. Derek Carr, OAK
  15. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF
  16. Jameis Winston, TB
  17. Mitchell Trubisky, CHI
  18. Dak Prescott, DAL
  19. Patrick Mahomes, KC
  20. Matt Ryan, ATL

Projected Top 20 Running Backs

  1. Alvin Kamara, NO
  2. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
  3. David Johnson, ARI
  4. Kareem Hunt, KC
  5. LeVeon Bell, PIT
  6. Todd Gurley, LAR
  7. Leonard Fournette, JAC
  8. Melvin Gordon, LAC
  9. Jordan Howard, CHI
  10. LeSean McCoy, BUF
  11. Joe Mixon, CIN
  12. Saquan Barkley, NYG
  13. Christian McCaffrey, CAR
  14. Dalvin Cook, MIN
  15. Sony Michel, NE
  16. Kenyan Drake, MIA
  17. Devonta Freeman, ATL
  18. Kerryon Johnson, DET
  19. Derrick Henry, TEN
  20. Jerick McKinnon, SF

Projected Top 20 Wide Receivers

  1. Antonio Brown, PIT
  2. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
  3. Odell Beckham, NYG
  4. Keenan Allen, LAC
  5. Davante Adams, GB
  6. Tyreek Hill, KC
  7. Julio Jones, ATL
  8. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pit
  9. Brandin Cooks, LAR
  10. A.J. Green, CIN
  11. Adam Thielen, MIN
  12. Stefon Diggs, MIN
  13. Michael Thomas, NO
  14. Mike Evans, TB
  15. Jarvis Landry, CLE
  16. Allen Robinson, CHI
  17. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
  18. Allen Hurns, DAL
  19. Golden Tate, DET
  20. Doug Baldwin, SEA

Projected Top 20 Tight Ends

  1. Travis Kelce, KC
  2. Zach Ertz, PHI
  3. Rob Gronkowski, NE
  4. Delanie Walker, TEN
  5. Evan Engram, NYG
  6. Jimmy Graham, GB
  7. Greg Olsen, CAR
  8. Kyle Rudolph, MIN
  9. Trey Burton, CHI
  10. Hunter Henry, LAC
  11. Jack Doyle, IND
  12. Jordan Reed, WAS
  13. David Njoku, CLE
  14. Benjamin Watson, NO
  15. Jared Cook, OAK
  16. Ed Dickson, SEA
  17. Jesse James, PIT
  18. George Kittle, SF
  19. O.J. Howard, TB
  20. Vernon Davis, WAS

Projected Top 20 Place Kickers

  1. Greg Zuerlein, LAR
  2. Stephen Gostkowski, NE
  3. Harrison Butker, KC
  4. Robbie Gould, SF
  5. Justin Tucker, BAL
  6. Matt Bryant, ATL
  7. Will Lutz, NO
  8. Ryan Succop, TEN
  9. Chris Boswell, PIT
  10. Dan Bailey, DAL
  11. Graham Gano, CAR
  12. Steven Hauschka, BUF
  13. Mason Crosby, GB
  14. Josh Lambo, JAC
  15. Giorgio Tavecchio, OAK
  16. Cody Parkey, CHI
  17. Matt Prater, DET
  18. Adam Vinatieri, IND
  19. Kai Forbath, MIN
  20. Sebastian Janikowski, SEA

Projected Top 20 Team Defenses

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars
  2. Los Angeles Rams
  3. Baltimore Ravens
  4. Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Carolina Panthers
  6. New Orleans Saints
  7. Chicago Bears
  8. Seattle Seahawks
  9. Los Angeles Chargers
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers
  11. Denver Broncos
  12. Houston Texans
  13. New York Giants
  14. Washington Redskins
  15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  16. Tennessee Titans
  17. Arizona Cardinals
  18. Buffalo Bills
  19. Minnesota Vikings
  20. Oakland Raiders

Now that there are only about two months left until training camps open, buckle up for the journey. My colleagues and I at Advanced Sports logic are intent on helping you become the champion you want to be. Between our top-rated software and our poignant articles, we will be with you for the 2018 season in its entirety. What happens then? That, my friends, is easy. We start over and do it all again in 2019!

Over the years many readers have contacted me personally for fantasy football questions throughout the year. I look forward to helping you in your quest to win championships this year. You can contact me with any questions or comments you may have at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., follow me on Twitter @mikeinsights, or join me as a member of Couch Tomatoes, my fantasy football discussion group on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/330237687362965/.

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Good luck! Have fun!