Well my friends here we go venturing into a new season of fantasy football. However, before we get started, let me say this…. Fantasy sports games in general are always using formulas and laws of averages to determine how to construct a team which is fine. If you want to win big then you have to take a few risks and swing for the fences. That doesn’t mean take this approach with your entire draft, but there should be some calculated risks by the mid-rounds. There are many fundamnetal players and conservative types that love to take the “safe” consistent guy that stays reasonably durable (how fun is that), but the thrill comes from getting a red-hot guy who dominates the season ala Josh Gordon. So let me be the one of many to say “Welcome to the 2014 season of Fantasy Football” …. Now let’s get this thing started with Power Rankings of the Top 10 players I have for each position.
Sidenote…. Due to the abundance of information floating around everywhere these days there is no such thing as a “sleeper” so I refer to guys you should target a little early as a “reach.” I will name 2 or 3 guys you should reach for a little early in your drafts to ensure he lands on your team. These “reach” players will be calculated based on a 12 team standard scoring league.
1) Peyton Manning – It is far fetched to believe he will duplicate the numbers from last year but throwing for 5k and 40tds is certainly within his reach.
2) Drew Brees – He has thrown for 5k the last 3 years so why stop now? An argument can be made that his offense has even more explosion this year than last with the addition of Brandin Cooks. Kenny Stills will be expected to take step forward in his 2nd year to go along with a healthy Marques Colston. (We already know about Jimmy)
3) Aaron Rodgers – The emergence of Eddie Lacy will make A-Rod even more lethal because now he has a respectable rushing attack. As an elite passer with wheels he should have a huge bounce back season.
4) Andrew Luck – Hopefully Luck’s offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton opens up the passing game because that offense is ready to flourish with all the weapons at Luck’s disposal. They tend to struggle running the ball which means more Andrew is needed. Which is a good thing when you have someone as gifted as he can be. Wayne+TY+Nicks+D.Allen+Fleener = THROW
5) Nick Foles – Having the #1 rushing game in football certainly makes the passing game so much easier. Nick’s intereptions will go up but so will his touchdowns with another year in Chip Kelly’s system under his belt. This guy seems to be undervalued which might be a good thing for people looking to draft him.
6) Matt Stafford – Stafford has throw more passes than any quarterback the last 3 years (yes that includes Drew Brees) and the majority of them go to Megatron. Now that the offensive coordinator they acquired falls off the Saints passing tree i don’t see him slowing down much in that aspect. Also, a few new weapons in Golden Tate and Eric Ebron surely helps.
7) Matt Ryan – This guy threw 26 td’s without Julio and a banged up Roddy. He also had over 4500 yards passing. Now he has both guys back fully healthy so you do the math.
8) Robert Griffith – RG3 is fuly healthy and has Jay Gruden as his offensive coordinator this season. For those who don’t know this is the man responsible for Andy Dalton finishing as a top 5 fantasy quarterback last season. RG3 is the more talented of the 2 plus he got a new toy in speed demon DeSean Jackson this offseason….Uh Oh
9) Cam Newton – Cam has been a top 5 fantasy qb every year he has been in the NFL and it could happen again this season. However he has a whole new receiving core which relies on a rookie as the #1 target. I think he stays in the top 10 but he will need to have patience with this group.
10) Tom Brady – Brady had a down year last season but I believe his receiving core will take a big step forward based on there previous experiences and Gronk being back in the fold. Brady had a receiver get tackled at the 1 yard line 8 times last year and they lead the league in drops. I highly doubt that repeats itself.
- Jay Cutler – He has been sharp all preseason and looks prime for breakout.
- Colin Kaepernick – Im sure this preseason has plummeted his draft stock which means he will be a nice value guy on draft day.
1) LeSean McCoy – Shady plays in the most effective run game orchestrated by Chip Kelly and lead the league in rushing last season. This trend will continue as he is also highly involved in the passing game.
2) Jamaal Charles – It is amazing to see how effective Charles is on a weekly basis with such a limited supporting cast. Andy Reid has always knew how to get running backs going and Jamaal Charles is as elite as anyone. He lead the league in touchdowns with 19 and lead his own team in receiving. He will get the ball early and often.
3) Adrian Peterson – Norv Turner will see to it that AP has one of his best years yet. He will be involved in the passing game which will alleviate some of the pounding he takes weekly. The 2 seasons AP caught over 40 balls he played all 16 games which is a huge plus.
4) Matt Forte – Forte is the centerpiece to maybe the most prolific offense in football not named “Broncos.” He had around 2,000 yards of total offense and comes back another year integrated into Trestman’s system. His offensive line should be getting more deserved credit as well which helps Forte’s case even more.
5) Eddie Lacy – Lacy was a monster last season essentially without Aaron Rodgers, and being sidelined 2 games with a concussion. His upside is tremendous as he scored 11 td’s last year but comes back to an offense that won’t allow him to see 8-man fronts (because of that Rodgers fella). At 230lbs Lacy is a feared runner who finishes on contact. He is also used at a high rate near the goalline, and they want to get him going in the passing game as well. Big year for this guy.
6) Marshawn Lynch – The Seahawks run the ball almost 60% of the times and “BeastMode” is the beneficiary of that philosophy. Even though I believe tehy will open up the passing game a tad for Russ Wilson, there is still room for one more elite season from Marshawn.
7) Montee Ball – Every running back Peyton Manning plays with has a great season (Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, Knowshon Moreno) and Montee Ball will fall in line as well. He has the appendectomy but he is on schedule to be back. Great opportunity this season for double digit td’s and over 1100yds.
8) DeMarco Murray – Murray has his best season (and healthiest) last year while compiling over 1100yds+ 10tds. The offensive line could very well be top 5 and his ypc are over 5.0 which means he can get yards quickly. The Cowboys know they need a big year from DeMarco and he knows it too.
9) Alfred Morris – The entire offense suffered last season because of RG3′s health and Alfred still gained almost 1300yds. The weapons around Alfred combined with the resurgence of RG3 is pretty scary. Very good running back to draft.
10) Arian Foster – Yes he is coming off of back surgery and yes they have a lackluster stable of quarterbacks but that doesn’t mean Arian Foster can’t play anymore. He has been an elite running back before and i belive he is highly motivated to get back there. He will be a workhorse in a offense that needs his services, and even by sheer volume i believe he has a bounce back year.
- Giovanni Bernard – Hue Jackson knows how to kickstart a running game.
- Andre Ellington – Bruce Arians wants him to be the Cardinals version of Jamaal Charles. Very explosive player who had some great flashes last season but we shall see.
1) Calvin Johnson - MEGATRON….Yea what else needs to be said?
2) Demaryius Thomas – DT is Peyton’s favorite target, and when you are Peyton’s favorite target you play fantastic. He has over 1400yds and 14td’s last season. Expect the same this year.
3) AJ Green – He is uber talanted and pretty much the alpha dog in this Bengals offense. Nobody has found a way to contain AJ (outside of Andy Dalton but thats a whole other story) and I expect him to keep the train rolling this year.
4) Dez Bryant – We all know how immensely talented Dez is but it seems he still has’t reached his full potential. Maybe this is the season with Scott Linehan calling the plays. This is the same guy who is responsible for Calvin Johnosn’s numbers. Dez will be moved around on offense this year which makes it even tougher for opponents.
5) Julio Jones – Julio was leading the league in recieving before he went down with a foot injury last season. He could very well reclaim that spot if he can stay on the field for 16 games.
6) Brandon Marshall – Brandon is always upwards of 100 catches and is Jay Cutler’s go-to guy in an offense that puts up points in bunches. His consistency is outstanding.
7) Jordy Nelson – Jordy Nelson just seems to know how to get open no matter who is playing quarterback. He had over 1300yds without Aaron Rodgers much of last season but now has him fully healthy. Jordy himself has been slightly banged up but he will be spectacular with a full year of health (and Rodgers) health uder his belt. Aaron’s main target and highly used in the redzone.
8) Alshon Jeffery – Alsho had over 1400yds as the #2 receiver on his team…..Whoa
9) Vincent Jackson – V-Jax has been a highly productive receiver with his size and downfield speed. Josh McCown knows how to get the ball to big receivers as he played with Chicago last season. Jackson will be no different.
10) Antonio Brown – 110 receptions and 1500yds for Big Ben’s favorite target. Not sure he duplicates that but his tagets won’t fall off much. It would be great to see him more involved in the redzone but either way Antonio Brown is the epitome of “dynamic.”
- Keenan Allen – Could sneak into 100 catch territory as River’s main guy.
- Roddy White – Could be back to a borderline WR1 type player with his health now intact. A forgotten man in most drafts.