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Predicting 2020 standings using the NFL Top-100

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AFC Championship - Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The most stressful week of football since the draft is now over. I thought it might be interesting to convert the NFL top-100 into a value system for the sake of comparing teams and predicting the 2020 standings.

This year’s been strange enough, so why not use a dubious popularity contest to make guesses about the outcome of football games?

I’ve used a very oversimplified value system; it’s merely a reverse point system from 1-99. One point separates each player from the next, gaining a point each as they climb closer to to the top 100 - the athletes ranking gives their value. Tyler Lockett at 65th position scores 35 points, and Jamal Adams at 27th scores 73 points. I’ve consulted the guys over at Pro Football Focus; the math checks out.

The hypothesis is that what follows would be the result of the truly elite players being the difference makers; the possession of enough such athletes being enough to turn the tide of a season.

This would also come with the assumption that the remainders of NFL rosters are largely comparable, which comes with two problems. One is that some teams are either tanking or led by Bill O’Brien, and the other is that this, by definition, cannot account for rookies who have a significant impact.

But we can’t do anything about that, so we press on to compare the stronger teams in the NFC with this nearly infallible system.

Seattle Seahawks

  • Russell Wilson: 2
  • Bobby Wagner: 13
  • Jamal Adams: 27
  • Jadeveon Clowney: 41
  • Tyler Lockett: 65
  • DK Metcalf: 81
  • Chris Carson: 96

Subtotal: 316
With Clowney: 375

San Francisco 49ers
7 George Kittle
17 Nick Bosa
28 Richard Sherman
43 Jimmy Garoppolo
Lost 56 DeForest Buckner
70 Fred Warner

Total: 335

Los Angeles Rams
3 Aaron Donald
37 Jalen Ramsey
Lost 51 Todd Gurley
Lost 53 Marcus Peters
89 Cooper Kupp

Total: 171

Arizona Cardinals
8 DeAndre Hopkins
15 Chandler Jones
69 Larry Fitzgerald
90 Kyler Murray

Total: 208

Based on this the NFC West would look as follows:
49ers
Seahawks
Cardinals
Rams

If Jadeveon Clowney re-signs with Seattle it would put their value over San Francisco and move them to first. Which, honestly, feels like a reasonable outcome one could expect. For the sake of this piece, we’re acting as though Clowney will depart because after 118 articles none of us know what in the world he is doing.

I then compiled the values of some of the other NFC contenders, playoff-caliber teams. The first one shows just how sorry the NFC East truly was last year.

Philadelphia Eagles
73 Fletcher Cox
85 Zack Ertz
94 Jason Kelce
98 Brandon Brooks, out for the season

Subtotal: 48

Green Bay Packers
16 Aaron Rodgers
33 Aaron Jones
48 Za’Darius Smith
57 Davante Adams
62 David Bakhtiari
63 Preston Smith

Subtotal: 321

New Orleans Saints
5 Michael Thomas
12 Drew Brees
23 Cameron Jordan
42 Alvin Kamara
67 Demario Davis
76 Marshon Lattimore
82 Ryan Ramczyk

Subtotal: 393!

Minnesota Vikings
21 Dalvin Cook
40 Danielle Hunter
Lost 54 Stefon Diggs
58 Kirk Cousins
64 Harrison Smith
83 Eric Kendricks

Subtotal: 234

Dallas Cowboys
24 Ezekiel Elliot
46 Dak Prescott
49 Amari Cooper
55 Zack Martin
78 Tyron Smith
88 Jaylon Smith

Subtotal: 260

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14 Tom Brady
30 Mike Evans
32 Shaquil Barrett
38 Chris Godwin
100 Lavonte David

Total: 287

For a point of reference, I also did the two best teams in the AFC - Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens.

Kansas City Chiefs
4 Patrick Mahomes
18 Travis Kelce
22 Tyreek Hill
39 Tyrann Mathieu
52 Chris Jones
95 Frank Clark
Total: 370

Baltimore Ravens
1 Lamar Jackson
44 Mark Ingram
53 Marcus Peters
74 Ronnie Staley
75 Earl Thomas
79 Calais Campbell
86 Marlon Humphrey
Total: 288

NFC Playoff Seeding:

  1. Saints
  2. 49ers
  3. Packers
  4. Seahawks w/o Clowney
  5. Bucs
  6. Cowboys
  7. Vikings

Following this principle, the Super Bowl would be the Saints beating the Chiefs by about four points.

However, if Clowney were to return to Seattle, it would bump their NFC seed to second and put them in a reasonable range of New Orleans, who at this point is just embarrassing the rest of the division. Why haven’t they made it to a Super Bowl again?

Anyway, this was a fun little experiment. The welcome surprise would be the arrival of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a playoff team we haven’t seen in a while. This also goes without Rob Gronkowski qualifying for any points, who’s finished in the top-20 in this poll multiple times.

The full list is below for anyone interested as it’s been difficult to find a simple text version without highlights and bios for easy access.

What do you think of how the rankings shape out this way?

NFL Network’s Top 100

1 Lamar Jackson Quarterback Baltimore Ravens

2 Russell Wilson Quarterback Seattle Seahawks

3 Aaron Donald Defensive Tackle Los Angeles Rams

4 Patrick Mahomes Quarterback Kansas City Chiefs

5 Michael Thomas Wide Receiver New Orleans Saints

6 Christian McCaffrey Running Back Carolina Panthers

7 George Kittle Tight End San Francisco 49ers

8 DeAndre Hopkins Wide Receiver Arizona Cardinals

9 Stephon Gilmore Cornerback New England Patriots

10 Derrick Henry Running back Tennessee Titans

11 Julio Jones Wide receiver Atlanta Falcons

12 Drew Brees Quarterback New Orleans Saints

13 Bobby Wagner Linebacker Seattle Seahawks

14 Tom Brady Quarterback New England Patriots Tampa Bay Buccaneers

15 Chandler Jones Outside linebacker Arizona Cardinals

16 Aaron Rodgers Quarterback Green Bay Packers

17 Nick Bosa Defensive end San Francisco 49ers

18 Travis Kelce Tight end Kansas City Chiefs

19 Khalil Mack Outside linebacker Chicago Bears

20 Deshaun Watson Quarterback Houston Texans

21 Dalvin Cook Running back Minnesota Vikings

22 Tyreek Hill Wide receiver Kansas City Chiefs

23 Cameron Jordan Defensive end New Orleans Saints

24 Ezekiel Elliott Running back Dallas Cowboys

25 T. J. Watt Outside linebacker Pittsburgh Steelers

26 Von Miller Outside linebacker Denver Broncos

27 Jamal Adams Safety New York Jets Seattle Seahawks

28 Richard Sherman Cornerback San Francisco 49ers

29 Quenton Nelson Guard Indianapolis Colts

30 Mike Evans Wide receiver Tampa Bay Buccaneers

31 Saquon Barkley Running back New York Giants

32 Shaquil Barrett Outside linebacker Tampa Bay Buccaneers

33 Aaron Jones Running back Green Bay Packers

34 Joey Bosa Defensive end Los Angeles Chargers

35 Minkah Fitzpatrick Safety Miami Dolphins Pittsburgh Steelers

36 Nick Chubb Running back Cleveland Browns

37 Jalen Ramsey Cornerback Jacksonville Jaguars Los Angeles Rams

38 Chris Godwin Wide receiver Tampa Bay Buccaneers

39 Tyrann Mathieu Safety Kansas City Chiefs

40 Danielle Hunter Defensive end Minnesota Vikings

41 Jadeveon Clowney Defensive end Seattle Seahawks Free Agent

42 Alvin Kamara Running back New Orleans Saints

43 Jimmy Garoppolo Quarterback San Francisco 49ers

44 Mark Ingram Running back Baltimore Ravens

45 J. J. Watt Defensive end Houston Texans

46 Dak Prescott Quarterback Dallas Cowboys

47 Tre’Davious White Cornerback Buffalo Bills

48 Za’Darius Smith Outside linebacker Green Bay Packers

49 Amari Cooper Wide receiver Dallas Cowboys

50 Darius Leonard Linebacker Indianapolis Colts

51 Todd Gurley Running Back Los Angeles Rams Atlanta Falcons

52 Chris Jones Defensive tackle Kansas City Chiefs

53 Marcus Peters Cornerback Los Angeles Rams / Baltimore Ravens

54 Stefon Diggs Wide Receiver Minnesota Vikings Buffalo Bills

55 Zack Martin Guard Dallas Cowboys

56 DeForest Buckner Defensive tackle San Francisco 49ers Indianapolis Colts

57 Davante Adams Wide receiver Green Bay Packers

58 Kirk Cousins Quarterback Minnesota Vikings

59 Odell Beckham Jr. Wide receiver Cleveland Browns

60 Logan Ryan Cornerback Tennessee Titans Free Agent

61 Jarvis Landry Wide receiver Cleveland Browns

62 David Bakhtiari Offensive tackle Green Bay Packers

63 Preston Smith Outside linebacker Green Bay Packers

64 Harrison Smith Safety Minnesota Vikings

65 Tyler Lockett Wide receiver Seattle Seahawks

66 Laremy Tunsil Offensive tackle Houston Texans

67 Demario Davis Linebacker New Orleans Saints

68 Ryan Tannehill Quarterback Tennessee Titans

69 Larry Fitzgerald Wide receiver Arizona Cardinals

70 Fred Warner Linebacker San Francisco 49ers

71 Jurrell Casey Defensive tackle Tennessee Titans Denver Broncos

72 Josh Jacobs Running back Oakland / Las Vegas Raiders

73 Fletcher Cox Defensive tackle Philadelphia Eagles

74 Ronnie Stanley Offensive tackle Baltimore Ravens

75 Earl Thomas Free safety Baltimore Ravens

76 Marshon Lattimore Cornerback New Orleans Saints

77 Keenan Allen Wide receiver Los Angeles Chargers

78 Tyron Smith Offensive tackle Dallas Cowboys

79 Calais Campbell Defensive end Jacksonville Jaguars Baltimore Ravens

80 Myles Garrett Defensive end Cleveland Browns

81 DK Metcalf Wide receiver Seattle Seahawks

82 Ryan Ramczyk Offensive tackle New Orleans Saints

83 Eric Kendricks Linebacker Minnesota Vikings

84 Cameron Heyward Defensive tackle Pittsburgh Steelers

85 Zach Ertz Tight end Philadelphia Eagles

86 Marlon Humphrey Cornerback Baltimore Ravens

87 Josh Allen Quarterback Buffalo Bills

88 Jaylon Smith Linebacker Dallas Cowboys

89 Cooper Kupp Wide receiver Los Angeles Rams

90 Kyler Murray Quarterback Arizona Cardinals

91 Grady Jarrett Defensive tackle Atlanta Falcons

92 Darius Slay Cornerback Detroit Lions Philadelphia Eagles

93 Allen Robinson Wide receiver Chicago Bears

94 Jason Kelce Center Philadelphia Eagles

95 Frank Clark Defensive end Kansas City Chiefs

96 Chris Carson Running back Seattle Seahawks

97 Budda Baker Safety Arizona Cardinals

98 Brandon Brooks Guard Philadelphia Eagles

99 Darren Waller Tight end Oakland / Las Vegas Raiders

100 Lavonte David Linebacker Tampa Bay Buccaneers