Fantasy History: 1992 Fantasy Football Rankings

Jan 01

Fantasy History: 1992 Fantasy Football Rankings

I’ve been playing Fantasy Football for over 20 years now, and I still have magazines dating back to the early ’90s. Here are the 1992 Fantasy Football Rankings from the 1992 Fantasy Football Index Magazine that I got at a local grocery store back then.

I thought I’d start printing these old rankings and cheatsheets over the next few weeks, just as a way to preserve this old Fantasy history. I’m a big fan of looking back before we look forward, and while we might not glean too much from the player rankings themselves, we can definitely learn a lot about the industry and the game itself.

There are a few things you need to remember, though, as you look through these rankings.

Remember that back then, basic touchdown leagues were the norm. In other words, you didn’t get points if your running back rushed for 140 yards and no touchdowns. That’s a big fat zero in the scoring column for your Fantasy team. Doesn’t seem right, does it!?! Yeah, well, that’s why it was changed once online commissioner leagues made running the stats easier.

The city of Los Angeles had two teams in 1992, as opposed to the cities of Arizona, Baltimore, Carolina, Jacksonville and Nashville, which had none. The Raiders and Rams co-existed in L.A. for several years before moving on to Oakland and St. Louis.

1992 Fantasy Football Rankings

Remember that these are the preseason rankings – not the end-of-the-season rankings.

Top 20 Overall Rankings For 1992

(This is the extent of their overall rankings. Good luck if you’re in a draft that lasts longer than two rounds!)

1. Barry Sanders, RB, Detroit Lions
2. Jerry Rice, WR, San Francisco 49ers
3. Emmitt Smith, RB, Dallas Cowboys
4. Thurman Thomas, RB, Buffalo Bills
5. Mark Rypien, QB, Washington Redskins
6. Jim Kelly, QB, Buffalo Bills
7. Chris Miller, QB, Atlanta Falcons
8. Warren Moon, QB, Houston Oilers
9. Dan Marino, QB, Miami Dolphins
10. Joe Montana, QB, San Francisco 49ers
11. Randall Cunningham, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
12. Andre Reed, WR, Buffalo Bills
13. Andre Rison, WR, Atlanta Falcons
14. Rodney Hampton, RB, N.Y. Giants
15. Gary Clark, WR, Washington Redskins
16. Mark Clayton, WR, Miami Dolphins
17. John Taylor, WR, San Francisco 49ers
18. Neal Anderson, RB, Chicago Bears
19. Michael Irvin, WR, Dallas Cowboys
20. Lorenzo White, RB, Houston Oilers

The Stud-RB Theory was still years away from being figured out, so you’ll notice some quirky things in the cheatsheet. Plus, remember that since it was a basic, touchdown-only league, running backs weren’t quite as valuable as good quarterbacks. Or so the thinking was at the time. In reality, you can’t tell me the sixth quarterback (Montana) was a better pick than whoever the fourth running back (Hampton) would have been.

Jerry Rice was a first-round pick for longer than any other player in NFL history. Take that in. The only person to come close might have been LaDainian Tomlinson.

1992 Quarterback Rankings

1. Mark Rypien, Washington Redskins
2. Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills
3. Chris Miller, Atlanta Falcons
4. Warren Moon, Houston Oilers
5. Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins
6. Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers
7. Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles
8. Dave Krieg, Kansas City Chiefs
9. Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys
10. Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers
11. Jeff George, Indianapolis Colts
12. Bernie Kosar, Cleveland Browns
13. Jim Everett, L.A. Rams
14. John Elway, Denver Broncos
15. Jim Harbaugh, Chicago Bears
16. Boomer Esiason, Cincinnati Bengals
17. Bobby Hebert, New Orleans Saints
18. Rodney Peete, Detroit Lions
19. Rich Gannon, Minnesota Vikings
20. John Friesz, San Diego Chargers
21. Matt Millen, New England Patriots
22. Vinny Testaverde, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
23. Neil O’Donnell, Pittsburgh Steelers
24. Jay Schroeder, L.A. Raiders
25. Jeff Hostetler, N.Y. Giants
26. Don Majkowski, Green Bay Packers
27. Steve Bono, San Francisco 49ers
28. Browning Nagle, N.Y. Jets
29. Timm Rosenbach, Phoenix Cardinals
30. Bubby Brister, Pittsburgh Steelers
31. Erik Kramer, Detroit Lions
32. Dan McGwire, Seattle Seahawks
33. Frank Reich, Buffalo Bills
34. Cody Carlson, Houston Oilers
35. Mike Tomczak, Pittsburgh Steelers
36. Steve Walsh, New Orleans Saints
37. Steve Beuerlein, Dallas Cowboys
38. Phil Simms, N.Y. Giants
39. Mark Vlasic, Kansas City Chiefs
40. Ken O’Brien, N.Y. Jets
41. Todd Marinovich, L.A. Raiders
42. Kelly Stouffer, Seattle Seahawks
43. Cary Conklin, Washington Redskins
44. Jim McMahon, Philadelphia Eagles
45. Chris Chandler, Phoenix Cardinals
46. Sean Salisbury, Minnesota Vikings
47. Tommy Hodson, New England Patriots
48. Jeff Rutledge, Washington Redskins
49. Steve DeBerg, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
50. Jeff Kemp, Philadelphia Eagles
51. Billy Joe Tolliver, Atlanta Falcons
52. David Klingler, Cincinnati Bengals
53. Jeff Trudeau, Indianapolis Colts
54. Andre Ware, Detroit Lions
55. Todd Philcox, Cleveland Browns
56. Steve Pelluer, Denver Broncos
57. Mike Pagel, L.A. Rams
58. Peter Tom Willis, Chicago Bears
59. Scott Mitchell, Miami Dolphins
60. Jeff Graham, San Diego Chargers

Ahem. Why are there 60 quarterbacks ranked and only 20 players overall? Love seeing some of these names on here, like

Fantasy Index - 1992 Fantasy Football Rankings

Jim Kelly makes the cover of the 1992 Fantasy Index Magazine. FantasyIndex.com

The 49ers were so good, they had three quarterbacks ranked in the top 30 overall. Whoever threw to Rice-Taylor-Jones was going to be a Fantasy stud.

Dan McGwire and Todd Marinovich were both expected to be beasts. Dan was the younger brother to HR king Mark McGwire, and Marinovich was nicknamed, “Robo-QB” because he was groomed to be an NFL QB from early childhood.

They both stunk.

Notice that Brett Favre wasn’t even listed in the quarterback rankings? The NFL all-time passing touchdown leader!?! This was his second season in the NFL, too! The Falcons traded him to Green Bay during the offseason before the ’92 season.

1992 Running Back Rankings

1. Barry Sanders, Detroit
2. Emmitt Smith, Dallas
3. Thurman Thomas, Buffalo
4. Rodney Hampton, N.Y. Giants
5. Neal Anderson, Chicago
6. Lorenzo White, Houston
7. Marion Butts, San Diego
8. Ricky Ervins, Washington
9. Reggie Cobb, Tampa Bay
10. Brad Baxter, N.Y. Jets
11. Barry Word, Kansas City
12. Leonard Russell, New England
13. Terry Allen, Minnesota
14. Vaughn Dunbar, New Orleans
15. Tommy Vardell, Cleveland
16. Gerald Riggs, Washington
17. Christan Okoye, Kansas City
18. Harold Green, Cincinnati
19. Greg Bell, L.A. Raiders
20. Vince Workman, Green Bay
21. Rod Bernstine, San Diego
22. Tony Smith, Atlanta Falcons
23. Herschel Walker, Minnesota Vikings
24. Mark Higgs, Miami Dolphins
25. Leroy Hoard, Cleveland Browns
26. Brad Muster, Chicago Bears
27. Siran Stacy, Philadelphia Eagles
28. Eric Dickerson, L.A. Raiders
29. Ernest Byner, Washington Redskins
30. Johnny Johnson, Phoenix Cardinals
31. Blair Thomas, N.Y. Jets
32. Albert Bentley, Indianapolis Colts
33. Greg Lewis, Denver Broncos
34. Harvey Williams, Kansas City Chiefs
35. Barry Foster, Pittsburgh Steelers
36. Cleveland Gary, L.A. Rams
37. Bobby Humphrey, Denver Broncos
38. Tom Rathman, San Francisco 49ers
39. Kevin Mack, Cleveland Browns
40. Marcus Allen, L.A. Raiders
41. Kenneth Davis, Buffalo Bills
42. John L. Williams, Seattle Seahawks
43. Robert Delpino, L.A. Rams
44. Merril Hoge, Pittsburgh Steelers
45. Gaston Green, Denver Broncos
46. Darren Lewis, Chicago Bears
47. Sammie Smith, Miami Dolphins
48. Amp Lee, San Francisco 49ers
49. Rueben Mayes, Seattle Seahawks
50. Darrell Thompson, Green Bay Packers
51. Reggie Brooks, Philadelphia Eagles
52. Rodney Culver, Indianapolis Colts
53. Anthony Thompson, Phoenix Cardinals
54. Gary Anderson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
55. Dave Meggett, N.Y. Giants
56. Steve Broussard, Atlanta Falcons
57. Allen Pinkett, New Orleans Saints
58. Gary Brown, Houston Oilers
59. Derrick Fenner, Cincinnati Bengals
60. Lewis Tillman, N.Y. Giants

Sanders-Smith-Thomas was an argument for the ages, up there with A-Rod-Nomar-Jeter in the late ’90s.

Plenty of good stories among this group, including Terry Allen, who was great with Minnesota before tearing his ACL, then playing great for Washington – and tearing his ACL again.

Gary Brown and Barry Foster were studs in this season – and then barely heard from after that.

The Chiefs were exasperating to deal with in Fantasy because they had the “Nigerian Nightmare” Christian Okoye, Barry Word and Harvey Williams.

Seeing Herschel Walker at No. 23 is painful. This guy was so talented, but over the hill at this point, and on the wrong team.

Note: Tony Smith, ranked 22nd here, was the player the Falcons drafted with the first-round pick they got from the Packers for Favre. How in the world did the Falcons make it to the Super Bowl in 1998, after horrible decisions like that one?

1992 Wide Receiver Rankings

1. Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers
2. Andre Reed, Buffalo Bills
3. Andre Rison, Atlanta Falcons
4. Gary Clark, Washington Redskins
5. Mark Clayton, Miami Dolphins
6. John Taylor, San Francisco 49ers
7. Michael Irvin, Dallas Cowboys
8. Haywood Jeffires, Houston Oilers
9. Michael Haynes, Atlanta Falcons
10. Fred Barnett, Philadelphia Eagles
11. James Lofton, Buffalo Bills
12. Ernest Givins, Houston Oilers
13. Sterling Sharpe, Green Bay Packers
14. Anthony Miller, San Diego Chargers
15. Calvin Williams, Philadelphia Eagles
16. Tim Brown, L.A. Raiders
17. Art Monk, Washington Redskins
18. Floyd Turner, New Orleans Saints
19. Rob Moore, N.Y. Jets
20. Tim Barnett, Kansas City Chiefs
21. Willie Green, Detroit Lions
22. Henry Ellard, L.A. Rams
23. Anthony Carter, Minnesota Vikings
24. Wendell Davis, Chicago Bears
25. Eddie Brown, Cincinnati Bengals
26. Don Beebe, Buffalo Bills
27. Jessie Hester, Indianapolis Colts
28. Cris Carter, Minnesota Vikings
29. Herman Moore, Detroit Lions
30. Desmond Howard, Washington Redskins
31. Lawrence Dawsey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
32. Irving Fryar, New England Patriots
33. Webster Slaughter, Cleveland Browns
34. Brian Blades, Seattle Seahawks
35. Curtis Duncan, Houston Oilers
36. Ernie Jones, Phoenix Cardinals
37. Mike Pritchard, Atlanta Falcons
38. Mark Ingram, N.Y. Giants
39. Brett Perriman, Detroit Lions
40. Mark Duper, Miami Dolphins
41. Bill Brooks, Indianapolis Colts
42. Flipper Anderson, L.A. Rams
43. Vance Johnson, Denver Broncos
44. Ricky Proehl, Phoenix Cardinals
45. Al Toon, N.Y. Jets
46. Eric Martin, New Orleans Saints
47. Stephone Paige, Kansas City Chiiefs
48. Alvin Harper, Dallas Cowboys
49. Mario Bailey, Houston Oilers
50. Ricky Sanders, Washington Redskins
51. Gary Clark, Miami Dolphins
52. Carl Pickens, Cincinnati Bengals
53. Stephen Baker, N.Y. Giants
54. Reggie Langhorne, Indianapolis Colts
55. Mark Carrier, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
56. Patrick Rowe, Cleveland Browns
57. Mike Sherrard, San Francisco 49ers
58. Mervyn Fernandez, L.A. Raiders
59. Tim McGee, Cincinnati Bengals
60. Hart Lee Dykes, New England Patriots

Lots of beneficiaries of the run-n-shoot offense in this list, including guys in Buffalo’s Kelly Gun No-Huddle offense.

Cheatsheet, 1992 Fantasy Football RankingsI would like to see Randall Cobb, Steve Smith, Wes Welker and Danny Amendola in a 2014 version of the Run-n-Shoot offense. Which QB would you want: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers – or hell, Andrew Luck?

I’m not sure but this might be the last time you see Sterling Sharpe outside of the top five at this position for the remainder of his career. People don’t know just how amazing this guy was. He was a tough receiver that ran great routes and was very tough to tackle — with Brett Favre at the helm. Sharpe would end up having the best season of his career in 1992, with 108 catches for 1,461 yards and 13 touchdown catches.

1992 Tight End Rankings

1. Eric Green, Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Keith Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
3. Marv Cook, New England Patriots
4. Ethan Horton, L.A. Raiders
5. Jay Novacek, Dallas Cowboys
6. Keith McKellar, Buffalo Bills
7. Johnny Mitchell, N.Y. Jets
8. Derek Brown, N.Y. Giants
9. Brent Jones, San Francisco 49ers
10. Steve Jordan, Minnesota Vikings
11. Ferrell Edmunds, Miami Dolphins
12. Rodney Holman, Cincinnati Bengals
13. Terry Orr, Washington Redskins
14. Ron Hall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15. Jackie Harris, Green Bay Packers
16. Andrew Glover, L.A. Raiders
17. Travis McNeal, Seattle Seahawks
18. James Thornton, Chicago Bears
19. Robert Awalt, Denver Broncos
20. Derrick Walker, San Diego Chargers
21. Ed West, Green Bay Packers
22. Scott Galbraith, Cleveland Browns
23. Damone Johnson, L.A. Rams
24. Jonathan Hayes, Kansas City Chiefs
25. Duane Young, San Diego Chargers
26. Pete Metzelaars, Buffalo Bills
27. Pete Holohan, Cleveland Browns
28. Mike Tice, New Orleans Saints
29. Jimmie Johnson, Detroit Lions
30. Shannon Sharpe, Denver Broncos
31. Mike Dyal, Kansas City Chiefs
32. Adrian Cooper, Pittsburgh Steelers
33. Howard Cross, N.Y. Giants
34. Kerry Cash, Indianapolis Colts
35. Jamie Williams, San Francisco 49ers

Look waaaaaay down to No. 30, Shannon Sharpe. He still wouldn’t come into his own for another season. This future Hall-of-Fame tight end went on to post three 1,000-yard seasons with the Broncos, and he caught 62 career touchdowns.

Eric Green and Johnny Mitchell were both huge disappointments after brief flashes of big talent.

1992 Kicker Rankings

1. Chip Lohmiller, Washington Redskins
2. Pete Stoyanovich, Miami Dolphins
3. Nick Lowery, Kansas City Chiefs
4. Steve Christie, Buffalo Bills
5. Morten Andersen, New Orleans Saints
6. Jason Hanson, Detroit Lions
7. Roger Ruzek, Philadelphia Eagles
8. Mike Cofer, San Francisco 49ers
9. Jeff Jaeger, L.A. Raiders
10. Norm Johnson, Atlanta Falcons
11. Jeff Treadwell, Denver Broncos
12. Al Del Greco, Houston Oilers
13. Brad Daluiso, Dallas Cowboys
14. Kevin Butler, Chicago Bears
15. Matt Bahr, N.Y. Giants
16. Gary Anderson, Pittsburgh Steelers
17. Matt Stover, Cleveland Browns
18. John Kasay, Seattle Seahawks
19. Ken Willis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. Chris Jacke, Green Bay Packers
21. Jason Staurovsky, N.Y. Jets
22. Carlos Huerta, San Diego Chargers
23. Roman Anderson, Cleveland Browns
24. Fuad Reveiz, Minnesota Vikings
25. Charlie Baumann, New England Patriots
26. John Carney, San Diego Chargers
27. Tony Zendejas, L.A. Rams
28. Dean Biasucci, Indianapolis Colts
29. Raul Allegre, N.Y. Jets
30. Greg Davis, Phoenix Cardinals
31. Jim Breech, Cincinnati Bengals
32. Pat Leahy, N.Y. Jets
33. Chris Gardocki, Chicago Bears
34. Scott Norwood, Buffalo Bills
35. Mike Lansford, Kansas City Chiefs
36. Joe Wood, Houston Oilers

How weird is it to see names like Carney, Hanson, Kasay and Stover among this group of kickers from 1992? Those guys were around forever!

It’s also sad to see Norwood’s name at No.34. The Bills signed Christie away from the Bucs, after Norwood had a horrible ’91 season – one season after his famous “Wide Right” kick that could have changed Buffalo’s fate forever. He missed 11 field goals in 1991 (on 29 attempts) – and he never kicked an NFL field goal again.

1992 Special Teams Rankings

1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Washington Redskins
4. Houston Oilers
5. Kansas City Chiefs
6. Dallas Cowboys
7. Cleveland Browns
8. Detroit Lions
9. L.A. Raiders
10. New Orleans Saints
11. Seattle Seahawks
12. Buffalo Bills
13. N.Y. Giants
14. Pittsburgh Steelers
15. Denver Broncos
16. Chicago Bears
17. N.Y. Jets
18. Green Bay Packers
19. San Diego Chargers
20. San Francisco 49ers
21. Minnesota Vikings
22. Indianapolis Colts

Notice that it’s rankings just for special teams, and not defense/special teams. I don’t remember how our league scored for this position, but I’m almost positive that we counted interceptions and fumbles returned for touchdowns on defense.

Again, remember that this was in the TD-only days. The Falcons were the top-ranked unit, most likely because of the presence of Prime Time – Deion Sanders.

I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane. Do you have any special memories from back then? What players from these 1992 Fantasy Football rankings jumped out at you? And a big thanks to FantasyIndex.com for printing these magazines back then – and getting me into this hobby! Without them, I likely wouldn’t have found it so early. You can still buy magazines every year from Fantasy Index – or at least you can follow them @FantasyIndex on Twitter!

Remember when you agreed/disagreed with me!?! ... Feel free to leave a comment or share it with friends/enemies!

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3 comments

  1. Thomas Bush /

    This list make me want to go dig out the NES and play TecmoSuperBowl.

    How about that running back trio of Barry Word, Christan Okoye and Harvey Williams.

    And has there been a greater name for a running back than Marion Butts?

    Keep ‘em coming.

  2. excellent article

    it reminded me of nes tecmo super bowl as well. the bills were unstoppable with thurman, kelly, reed, mckellar, lofton, and most importantly, don beebe

    i havent heard many of these names since i was 10. nice trip down memory lane

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