Reliability and trust are great things. They are the foundation upon which to build a winning team. Sure it's fun to watch Tyreek Hill go off for a monster day, but I would rather have a reliable floor every week than have to pray for one of my guys to have a career day.
Let's take a look at the Top 12 players at each position in the fantasy football nerd's draft rankings and then let's look at how each of those guys finished the previous two seasons. The goal here is to see whether or not a Top 12-ranked player has consistently finished in the Top 12 the last two seasons. If so, then we can enjoy some confidence in drafting them at their current rank. Obviously some players like Clyde Edwards-Helaire won't be as relevant because they weren't in the NFL the past two years, so take the data with a grain of salt.
Top 12 Quarterbacks - Rankings vs Top 12 Finishes
With the exception of Brees and Stafford, all of the Top 12 Quarterbacks finished last season as QB1's. Looking at the previous two seasons, you can feel very confident clicking the draft button on Pat Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan, and Tom Brady. There really isn't a lot of volatility among the QB position. Our sample size for Kyler Murray is obviously small, and watching Matt Stafford crack the Top 12 and fail to finish in the Top 12 for the past two years doesn't instill any confidence in me that he'll finish at 12 or better.
Top 12 Running Backs - Rankings vs Top 12 Finishes
If you are able to draft one of the top four running backs, it's almost a lock that they'll finish as an RB1 for you. The rest of the Top 12 carry some risk and volatility. They could certainly finish in the Top 12, but it would be more comforting if they had a track record that we could look back on. Cook hasn't been the healthiest player, and Derrick Henry didn't really see his stride until last year when he was given a whopping 303 carries. The Bengals offense was a mess last year and even Joe Mixon wasn't able to save it. Drake, Sanders, and Ekeler all started to show promise last season and will hopefully build upon that in 2020. Nick Chubb is interesting because he wasn't the most efficient or consistent player last year, and once Kareem Hunt was in the mix, his fantasy value dropped. With Hunt firmly in the mix this year, it may be very difficult for Chubb to finish in the Top 12.
Top 12 Wide Receivers - Rankings vs Top 12 Finishes
Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, and DeAndre Hopkins are as reliable as you can get at the WR position. Thomas is planning on breaking his own record, the Packers haven't added any other talent to compete with Adams, Jones is the focal point of the Falcons' offense, and even a change in scenery won't be enough to prevent Hopkins from finishing in the Top 12. All the rest have solid potential to finish in the Top 12, and their situations are better than the RB question marks that we looked at before.
Top 12 Tight Ends - Rankings vs Top 12 Finishes
The top three tight ends are a lock as long as they remain healthy. Kelce, Kittle, and Ertz are fantasy gold. What's really interesting among the tight ends though is the last two. Austin Hooper and Jared Cook can be had later in your draft, and both managed to finish in the Top 12 the past two seasons. It's not always easy finding reliability that late in the draft. I would be happy to wait on TE and pick up either one to be my starter.