Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Vikings are winless, but have perfect setup for managers

With the NFL heading into the last week of September, it's time to revisit the Fantasy Football Power Rankings. Which teams offer the most juice? Which rosters are we staying away from? That's today's assignment, as we compile Power Rankings Version 4.0 — 3.0, 2.0, 1.0.

This list will be revisited and revised quarterly during the season.

32. New York Jets (14 last month)

Talk about a "not your fault" all-star, that's Garrett Wilson. He's obviously an elite talent, but nothing can truly survive Zach Wilson needing to play. The Jets need to lean into Coughlin's Law at quarterback: "Anything else is always something better." The backfield is starting to have that Zeke/Pollard tint from last year, but I still expect Breece Hall to spread his wings soon.

31. New England Patriots (31)

Bill O’Brien still represents a step forward at offensive coordinator, but maybe this is an offense that can’t be completely fixed. The Patriots rarely make a splash play in the passing game, and it’s so difficult to survive in the NFL when all of your scoring drives need 13-15 plays. It’s fantasy convenient that the backfield is reduced to two players, but Ezekiel Elliott is getting more work than expected.

30. Arizona Cardinals (30)

Arizona looked like a full-on tank team before the year, but they've been surprisingly competitive. Joshua Dobbs has been remarkably poised despite the absurd challenge he was dropped into, and that offers buoyancy for both James Conner and Marquise Brown. That sunshine to the side, this team still has just two no-doubt fantasy starters.

29. Carolina Panthers (32)

The Panthers can't sleep at night, petrified that they drafted the wrong quarterback at No. 1. I still think Bryce Young has a solid future in the league — and it's comical to render definitive grades on any player this quickly — but there's no escaping that C.J. Stroud has looked amazing in Houston. Betting on 33-year-old receivers is a losing fantasy angle, but maybe Adam Thielen can be a rare exception to the rule.

28. Chicago Bears (15)

On a day where the Broncos allowed 70 points, the Bears still looked like the NFL’s most dysfunctional franchise last weekend. That’s saying something. DJ Moore is another “It’s not your fault” all-stars, a special talent constantly held back by his offenses and his quarterbacks. If the Bears aren’t going to proactively scheme runs for Justin Fields, the Bears QB isn’t trustable for fantasy.

27. New York Giants (22)

It’s painful to look at that wide receiver room, but it’s an opportunity for Darren Waller, who’s going to be the obvious first read on so many passing downs. I wonder if Brian Daboll is ready to take over the play sheet again.

26. Washington Commanders (26)

Brian Robinson Jr. has come through as a semi-breakout guy, but Sam Howell's lack of pocket awareness threatens to shipwreck the entire passing game.

25. Tennessee Titans (27)

The schedule hasn't done Tennessee any favors; the Saints defense gets after it, and Cleveland's defense looks too good to be true. That said, this is an offense helmed by some aging skill talent and a leaky offensive line. Maybe it was better to be a year early on fading Derrick Henry, not a year late.

24. Denver Broncos (24)

This could be the last dance for Russell Wilson, not that he's the reason the Broncos allowed 70 points at Miami. The low snap counts for Marvin Mims have been frustrating, given his high rate of splash plays, but perhaps the Broncos are showcasing Courtland Sutton or Jerry Jeudy for an in-season trade.

23. Houston Texans (29)

C.J. Stroud has been a revelation, showing fantastic pocket awareness (despite a makeshift offensive line) and throwing his receivers open. The Texans don’t throw much to backs and tight ends, which means this offense can support three different receivers for fantasy use. An offense on the rise.

22. Indianapolis Colts (28)

Eventually Jonathan Taylor needs to get back on the field if he wants to get credit for the contract year — the last thing he wants is this to be a wasted season and return to square one next spring. But it’s possible the relationship between Taylor and Colts management is beyond repair. The Colts are off to a 2-1 start and Zack Moss looks good, so the team has the early leverage. I slightly faded Michael Pittman in the summer and that’s been a mistake; between new coach Shane Steichen and two quality quarterbacks, this infrastructure can support Pittman.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26)

I realize Baker Mayfield lost his way in the blowout loss to the Eagles, but I give Philadelphia a fair amount of credit for making that happen. Bottom line, all summer I was skeptical that Mayfield could prop up Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for solid fantasy seasons. Today, I’m cautiously optimistic.

20. New Orleans Saints (21)

Derek Carr played poorly in 2022 — even though it didn’t stop Davante Adams — so I don’t think this passing game is necessarily sunk if Jameis Winston needs to play. Alvin Kamara returns after his three-game suspension, and it’s an interesting inflection point — do we expect the declining players we saw the last two years, or are we hearted by the glowing summer reports we heard in training camp?

19. Green Bay Packers (23)

Jordan Love’s play should be applauded, given that he’s missed Christian Watson all season and Aaron Jones for two games. A.J. Dillon had two chances to shine with Jones out and did nothing with the opportunity; if he doesn’t get a whiff of touchdown deodorant, he’s a fantasy brick. Detroit’s Sam LaPorta has justifiably jumped to the head of the tight end chatter, but Luke Musgrave has been a find for the Pack. You can scout both of them on Thursday night.

18. Atlanta Falcons (18)

I think Atlanta’s poor showing at Detroit was more about the Lions defense being underrated than the Falcons playing poorly, but it’s starting to look like QB Desmond Ridder has no ceiling. Kyle Pitts and Drake London feel like forced holds to me, as their trade value has obviously plummeted. A healthy Bijan Robinson can’t help but finish in the top five at fantasy’s most important position.

17. Los Angeles Rams (27)

Apparently the two best-kept secrets in the NFL were Kyren Williams and Puka Nacua. Williams didn't come off the field for a single snap Monday at Cincinnati, and he also absorbed seven targets — you can't lose with that fantasy setup. We need to consider Cooper Kupp's return as an open question; it's not when he returns, it's if he returns.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (13)

I don’t want to permanently bury the Steelers passing game yet, because starting off with the Niners and Browns was an unfair draw. The win over Las Vegas wasn’t a pinball game, but it was a positive start. George Pickens still has a shot to be special. Jaylen Warren’s workload keeps going up, a positive development.

15. Las Vegas Raiders (20)

It's been a good month for older receivers, with Davante Adams near the top of that list. He's shown to be quarterback proof, thriving with Derek Carr last year and Jimmy Garoppolo this year — two league-average QBs. Even if the Raiders have to go to the bullpen, Adams will hold his rank on my sheets. Josh Jacobs loses tons of goal-line equity when the Raiders lose, but he gets just enough work in the passing game that he's mostly game-script proof. The Patriots wish they had Jakobi Meyers back, a pro's pro. The Raiders as a team are going nowhere, but the narrow usage keeps them interesting for fantasy.

14. Cleveland Browns (17)

Jerome Ford isn’t a special talent, but he’s good enough to head the Cleveland backfield room. I understand the fantasy interest in Elijah Moore, and it’s nifty to see him catch all nine of his targets Sunday, but they didn’t go for a bunch of yards. Amari Cooper is still the best player in this passing game; there’s a clear 1-2 line of delineation. The Cleveland DST is good enough to consider holding through a bye week, even with the Niners waiting in Week 6.

13. Cincinnati Bengals (4)

Joe Burrow sadly isn’t healthy right now, and that drags everyone down, even if they’re going to saturate Ja’Marr Chase with constant targets.

12. Los Angeles Chargers (9)

Keenan Allen was already a target hog, and the numbers might get absurd with Mike Williams out for the year. Joshua Palmer is the "get on base" pick if you're speculating in this passing game, Quentin Johnston the "home run or bust" pick.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars (10)

Who is Calvin Ridley going to be? He played one amazing half at Indianapolis, and he hasn’t been heard from since. To be fair, the Jaguars have collected a boatload of “almost touchdowns” — passes in the end zone that are off by a foot or less. That’s the sort of thing you iron out during a season. It will be interesting to see how the Jags handle a two-game junket in London this year, starting Week 4.

10. Baltimore Ravens (3)

Zay Flowers is the right answer in the receiver room and Lamar Jackson is playing fine — it was encouraging to see him rush in a couple of touchdowns last week. But this is also a roster with a lot of fantasy-losses, too.

9. Detroit Lions (14)

The “must fade rookie tight end” rules were good to us for a long time, very few regrets. Sam LaPorta laughs and throws those rules in the shredder.

8. Kansas City Chiefs (8)

Everyone knows what to expect from Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, but the backfield and receiver rooms are gridlocked and complicated. I’d put my chip on Isiah Pacheco and Skyy Moore, all else equal, but my enthusiasm must remain muted.

7. Minnesota Vikings (12)

The defense is a mess, the schedule is mostly indoors, Kirk Cousins is still a plus quarterback and the passing game has weapons. Heck, throw in an expected losing record, and this looks like a full-blown fantasy carnival, pinball on a near-weekly basis. The team might be trending down, but the fantasy arrow points up.

6. Buffalo Bills (5)

Not that long ago, this was the amusement park for fantasy. Today, they’re more centralized than we would have imagined. James Cook is a tricky fantasy call, because he’s been electric between the 20s, but he’s fighting with three other players for goal-line equity.

5. Dallas Cowboys (6)

The Arizona loss was a clear ambush game, with cluster injuries on the line and the wrong opponent at the wrong time. Tony Pollard is still going to the moon, and Dak Prescott’s touchdown rate is sure to improve. Jake Ferguson remains an underrated fantasy asset.

4. Seattle Seahawks (7)

The one awful half against the Rams was a false alarm. Geno Smith is still a better-than-average quarterback, and the usage tree remains narrow. Heads up on Tyler Lockett: he leads the NFL in end-zone targets, a predictive stat for future touchdowns.

3. San Francisco 49ers (2)

Brock Purdy got away with a few loose throws early last week, but he’s still a league-average starrer at minimum, with the upside to be better than that. And the Kyle Shanahan pilot chair is one of the cushiest in the league.

2. Miami Dolphins (11)

The NFL’s track team. Mike McDaniel is a wizard, Tua Tagovailoa is processing quickly and throwing accurately, and the team speed here is just unfair. Get your popcorn ready.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (1)

Their backfield might be a fantasy conundrum all season, but Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown are stars, and DeVonta Smith is too good to ever bench. Dallas Goedert remains an afterthought, an efficiency darling who might never get enough volume to translate into a fantasy star.