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I used to do both Health-Neutral (assume everyone plays 16 games) and Opportunity-Neutral (assume everyone at a given position gets the same number of carries/targets/pass attempts), but I’m scrapping the former because it’s a bit redundant, i.e., if you’re going to get 150 targets, it’s safe to assume you stayed healthy.
Accordingly, here are my top-20 by-position rankings, assuming every QB got 600 attempts, every back 250 carries and every WR 150 targets:
A few things jump out — at QB, I have Fields. Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts over Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, and that’s mostly because the first two run more than Mahomes and Allen, and Hurts is the best of both worlds, though if you had Allen (or Mahomes) over him, I wouldn’t argue much. In real life Jackson and Fields aren’t going to attempt 600 passes, and both are bigger injury risks than the other top QBs, so given the same number of attempts (and health), give me the extreme scramblers.
It’s also why Anthony Richardson is ranked sixth, and Trey Lance 13th. If either ever kept the full-time job with anywhere close to 600 attempts, they’d be league winners.
Running back is more by the book early, but Tony Pollard (who I’m out on) gets a huge bump — fifth among backs and 11th overall. Pollard is fast and can catch passes, so if he ever maintained a full-time workload in that offense, he’d be a monster. (I’m dubious because I don’t think he’ll hold up as the main guy, and it’s almost better for him if they don’t give him 200 carries.)
Josh Jacobs is another — his 340 carries and injury history give me pause, but if I knew he were getting as good a workload as anyone, I’d be all in on the skills and role.
I’m also out on Breece Hall and maybe Travis Etienne, but guarantee them a workload, and I’d be back in — Hall might be eased in after ACL surgery, and Etienne isn’t a huge workload guy either.
Jahmyr Gibbs would be top-10 for sure with a 250-carry load, but because he’ll never get that, I did a compromise ranking of 20.
Among the receivers, I’d want Chase and Brown over the target hogs, and volume guys like Amon-Ra St. Brown get dropped down.
It might seem odd to see Travis Kelce at 15 on the overall list, but if every TE got 150 attempts, his opportunity advantage would be worth a lot less. In fact, George Kittle would be roughly equal to him, and Mark Andrews not far behind.
I wouldn’t suggest substituting these for real rankings, but it’s worth considering what would happen if particular players got more opportunity than that for which they’re projected. It’s a way of asking the question, “What could go right?”