Not all fantasy football cheat sheets are created equal. With so many experts and so many sites, it can be overwhelming to figure out the best source for overall player rankings from one year to the next. The constantly updated consensus rankings at Fantasy Pros are a helpful composite, but chances are you will be drafting and playing a lot of fantasy football leagues on either Yahoo or ESPN. Although Yahoo defaults to half-point PPR and ESPN goes with standard, there are some intriguing differences between both sites’ main rankings, so if you play on both, you mind be able to find different sleepers and need to utilize different draft strategies.
There is one guarantee — neither Yahoo nor ESPN will be 100-percent accurate across positions, just like Sporting News, CBS Sports, Pro Football Focus, etc. Here’s a look at the most polarizing players leading to the biggest deviations in 2020 so you can plan accordingly:
2020 Yahoo fantasy football rankings vs. ESPN fantasy football rankings
Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings (Yahoo ranking: 9 -— ESPN ranking: 4)
ESPN is correctly leaning toward Cook’s higher-scoring ceiling as a runner and receiver not worried about the contract or injury, while Yahoo is playing it a little safer.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders (Yahoo ranking: 17 — ESPN ranking: 11)
Jacobs is expected to see a larger role in the passing game, which helps in both half- and full-point PPR, so his ranking should be closer to ESPN’s. If he stays healthy, he should have a big second-year season as a workhorse with Jalen Richard as more of a calculated change of pace.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs (Yahoo ranking — 23 ESPN ranking: 35)
In general, ESPN sides with the savvy QB-waiting drafters while Yahoo caters to those who like to consider the position in the second round.
DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2020 cheat sheet
Melvin Gordon, RB, Broncos (Yahoo ranking: 29 — ESPN ranking: 46)
Gordon has growing concerns about more of a timeshare situation with Phillip Lindsay, so ESPN is trending in the right direction.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington (Yahoo ranking: 35 — ESPN ranking 51)
ESPN is obviously concerned about the volume and efficiency for McLaurin with Dwayne Haskins both in Year 2 in a new offense. Yahoo is aggressive here, however. His value is somewhere in the middle.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, (Yahoo ranking: 37 — ESPN ranking: 29)
ESPN likes a big bounceback with Ben Roethlisberger, while Yahoo is a little more cautious with him as a WR2. Yahoo has the better idea.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons (Yahoo ranking: 44 — ESPN ranking: 33)
Ridley proves ESPN’s love of upside, thinking of him more as a high-end WR2. They’ve got this right vs. Yahoo.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars (Yahoo ranking: 51 — ESPN ranking 39)
Yahoo is accounting for Fournette’s diminished receiving role. ESPN is hoping for better ground production and positive TD regression. It’s a wash.
Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos (Yahoo ranking: 53 — ESPN ranking 30)
Sutton feels like a boom-or-bust pick with Drew Lock, so really you can say that both have it right here.
Robert Woods, WR, Rams (Yahoo ranking: 55 — ESPN ranking: 37)
ESPN is right. Woods continues to be undervalued in drafts in relation to his teammate Cooper Kupp.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks (Yahoo ranking: 60 — ESPN ranking: 76)
Is Wilson worth a fifth-round pick or a seventh-round pick? Let’s call it the sixth for a upper-half QB1.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts (Yahoo ranking: 63 — ESPN ranking: 50)
ESPN is trying to turn back the clock to a younger and healthier Hilton with Andrew Luck. Yahoo is playing it better, but he still could be lower.
Jordan Howard, RB, Dolphins (Yahoo ranking: 67 — ESPN ranking: 86)
It’s surprising Howard is much lower in ESPN standard. Regardless, with Matt Breida better suited for the Dolphins’ offense, Howard is too high in either case.
JK Dobbins, RB, Ravens (Yahoo ranking: 69 — ESPN ranking: 89)
Dobbins is getting a lot more rankings love as it is clear he might have a big rookie role early. Get him this low while you can on either site.
Jared Cook, TE, Saints (Yahoo ranking: 71 — ESPN ranking: 111)
Yahoo is thinking more 2019 with this ranking. ESPN is much closer to the pin as Cook’s role is set to diminish.
Josh Allen, QB, Bills (Yahoo ranking: 76 — ESPN ranking: 119)
This is a big disparity even with ESPN dropping all QBs down. They still have it right as Allen might be the biggest mid-tier QB1 bust.
David Montgomery, RB, Bears (Yahoo ranking: 79 — ESPN ranking: 57)
Watch for his ranking to change after the groin injury scare in the middle of training camp. Dropping a little down only improves his value, so side with ESPN here.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns (Yahoo ranking: 81 — ESPN ranking: 54)
Beyond the hip surgery recovery, Landry won’t be the big busy target he once was in Miami or Cleveland. Yahoo wins here, but he could be lower.
Darren Waller, TE, Raiders (Yahoo ranking: 93 — ESPN ranking: 69)
This time Yahoo has corrected better vs. Cook, while ESPN is looking back more on 2019.
Evan Engram, TE, Giants (Yahoo ranking: 106 — ESPN ranking: 82)
Love ESPN realizing he is a boom player when healthy. Given everyone’s an injury risk, that’s a right call to put Engram among the steal TE1s.
Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals (Yahoo ranking: 109 — ESPN ranking: 84)
ESPN is too high and Yahoo might be too generous, as well. This really feels like DeAndre Hopkins and targets being spread out over several players.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos (Yahoo ranking: 114 — ESPN ranking: 85)
Based on the Gordon ranking, it would make sense for ESPN to have Lindsay high. Yahoo might correct soon.
Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals (Yahoo ranking: 117 — ESPN ranking: 219)
Wow, ESPN really buried Burrow. Yahoo has it more accurate as he’s a high-upside QB2 despite his rookie status because he’s very talented and will be throwing a lot to a diverse group of weapons.
Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers (Yahoo ranking: 127 — ESPN ranking: 68)
Samuel looks like he might be able to go in Week 1 with the foot injury. Regardless, ESPN has this much better because he has WR1 upside.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs (Yahoo ranking: 131 — ESPN ranking: 106)
Hardman has some considerable hype to emerge behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Yahoo is a little conservative; ESPN is too aggressive. Split the difference with his upside in mind.
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions (Yahoo ranking: 137 — ESPN ranking: 72)
Both sites have D’Andre Swift pretty high at No. 49. Yahoo is right to think Johnson will soon be more of a backup than a committee back.
Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings (Yahoo ranking: 145 — ESPN ranking: 123)
Jefferson will be starting and on the field consistently, but this is a limited passing offense that doesn’t use a lot of 11 personnel to help him in the slot. That said he has enough upside to go anywhere in Round 11 or 12.
Preston Williams, WR, Dolphins (Yahoo ranking: 156 — ESPN ranking: 96)
Williams, in eight games as an undrafted rookie, was on pace for 120 targets, 64 catches, 856 yards and six TDs. Now he’s the clear No. 2 outside in an offense that threw 65.9 percent of the time last season and should keep spreading it out in Chan Gailey’s passing game. All that said, Williams is a hot sleeper on Yahoo while ESPN might have him a little overranked.
Henry Ruggs III, WR Raiders (Yahoo ranking: 159 — ESPN ranking: 100)
There’s mystery over the Raiders’ offensive sets, from how much they really will use multiple tight ends to who will be on the field in 11 personnel. Between Tyrell Williams and Bryan Edwards and then Hunter Renfrow and Nelson Agholor, there are other questions. But Ruggs seems to be the only sure answer. ESPN might be a little high, but they still have the easy edge here.