August 28, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Atlanta Falcons

In addition to viewing our 2015 Fantasy Football Projections by position, we have posted our preseason projections per team.

Below you find our 2015 fantasy football projections for the Atlanta Falcons:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Matt Ryan425630485130.215.425930.1309.34
Ryan has more than 4,500 passing yards in three consecutive seasons with the third-most (13,928) over that span. In addition, he has 26-plus touchdowns in five consecutive seasons and the sixth-most (143) during that span. The good news is that Ryan has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in four of the past five years, which makes him a solid mid-QB1 option to target. That said, he has yet to finish as a top-six fantasy quarterback in his career.

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Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Tevin Coleman1928546.1181130.3135.1
The biggest home run threat in college football last year, Coleman rushed for 2,036 yards on 270 carries with four 200-yard games and eight 60-yard runs, most in both categories. Clearly, that won't be repeated at the NFL level, but it illustrates his big-play ability as he joins one of the league's better offenses. With a committee approach between Coleman and second-year back Devonta Freeman expected to start the season, Coleman is likely to see his usage expand as the season develops.
Devonta Freeman1606564.6402921128.4
During the draft process last year, Freeman drew some comparisons to Frank Gore. Meanwhile, new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said that he "loved" Freeman when evaluating him last year. Averaging just 3.8 yards per carry as a rookie, Freeman had eight or fewer carries in all but one game, but he also finished with 30 receptions. Freeman played on just 21.5 percent of Atlanta's offensive snaps last season and at a minimum, he should see a huge bump in snaps, touches and production in 2015 as he figures to begin the season atop the depth chart.
Antone Smith502951.61196154.7
Michael Ford12480.10005.4

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Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Julio Jones10615799.9260217.9
Jones finished with 104 catches for 1,593 yards, both of which shattered his previous career highs, and six touchdowns in 2014. After scoring 0.62 TD/G on 74.4 YPG in his first two seasons, Jones has averaged just 0.40 TD/G despite a jump to 1087.7 YPG over the past two seasons. With plus size and speed, Jones should bounce back in terms of red-zone production and could put together a 100/1,500/10 season in 2015 with good health.
Roddy White819196.6000131.5
Coming off a disappointing season, White still averaged a respectable 5.71 catches and 65.79 yards per game with seven touchdowns. Had he not missed two games, he was on a 16-game pace of 91/1,053/8. With White having "minor" elbow surgery this month, turning 34 in November and Julio Jones now the clear-cut No. 1 wideout on the team, however, White would do well to reach the 1,000-yard mark in 2015.
Leonard Hankerson47597400083.7
Devin Hester283561.2420044.8
Justin Hardy222181.100028.4

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Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Jacob Tamme363242.145
Tony Moeaki262861.537.6
Levine Toilolo10711.516.1

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2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Houston Texans

In addition to viewing our 2015 Fantasy Football Projections by position, we have posted our preseason projections per team.

Below you find our 2015 fantasy football projections for the Houston Texans:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Brian Hoyer271451329718.513.127410.1197.48
Hoyer has won the starting gig over Ryan Mallett, but his grip on that spot is far from lock-tight. And no team ran the ball more than the Texans, who ranked last in the NFL in passing-play percentage (48.07 percent) last year. There is little reason to expect a significant change in philosophy regardless of which quarterback is under center in 2015.
Ryan Mallett31563892.1231022.06
Tom Savage36400.10.10001.9

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Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Arian Foster2048986.5262131.8160.9
Not only did the Texans lead the NFL in rushing attempts (551), Foster is one of the league's few true workhorse backs, when healthy. Although Foster missed three games in 2014, he averaged 95.8 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry, both of which were four-year highs, and scored double-digit touchdowns (13). Not only did Foster finish as a top-five fantasy running back last season, he also finished as a top-12 fantasy running back in 10 of 13 weeks last season. There is growing optimism that Foster will only miss a few games as opposed to half the season following his recent groin surgery.
Alfred Blue1785872.7221581.197.3
Blue averaged just 3.1 YPC as a rookie last season and he backs up one of the league's few workhorses in Arian Foster, but he finished as a top-40 fantasy running back in 2014. Ranked 24th in carries (169) last season, Blue will open the season as the team's starting running back while Foster recovers and rehabs the groin surgery he had in early August.
Jonathan Grimes803040.75370.138.9
Chris Polk481801213025.3
Kenny Hilliard18720.4319011.5

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Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
DeAndre Hopkins8112396.7000164.1
Emerging as the team's most productive wide receiver last season, Hopkins took a huge step forward in his second season with a 76/1,210/6 stat line and the team released Andre Johnson in the offseason. If there's any concern when it comes to Hopkins taking another step forward in his third season, it's the team's less-than-inspiring quarterback play, but he's a borderline WR1/WR2 option in fantasy leagues heading into 2015.
Nate Washington416192.900079.3
Cecil Shorts525773.100076.3
Shorts has seen his production decline in each of the past three seasons: 55/979/4 (2012), 66/777/3 (2013) and 53/557/1 (2014). Signing with the Texans this offseason, Shorts could finish second among the team's receivers in receptions and targets behind Hopkins, but he's unlikely to be useful in 12-team leagues.
Jaelen Strong314152.800058.3
Keshawn Martin3350.10004.1

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Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Garrett Graham252751.335.3
Ryan Griffin6660.49
C.J. Fiedorowicz8600.48.4

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 8

We're now two-thirds of the way complete through our new 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

Four of our contributors started a 12-round mock draft on Saturday and we have completed the first eight rounds.

Here are Round 8 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

8.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers

With the season-ending ACL injury to Kelvin Benjamin, no player benefits more from a fantasy perspective than Funchess. That said, it's highly unlikely that Funchess follows in Benjamin's steps and exceeds 1,000 yards as a rookie, but he moves into the WR3 mix due to his expanded role.

8.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Bishop Sankey, RB, Tennessee Titans

Not only was Sankey the first running back selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, but he seemed (at least on paper) to have the clearest path to a sizable workload. While it's too early to call a player entering his second season a "bust," it's more than fair to say that his rookie campaign was a disappointment. Averaging only 3.7 YPC, Sankey finished with 170 total touches and only 702 yards from scrimmage. While I expect improved numbers from him in 2015, it wouldn't surprise me if rookie David Cobb is a more productive fantasy back in 2015.

8.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Averaging just 3.8 yards per carry as a rookie, Freeman had eight or fewer carries in all but one game, but he also finished with 30 receptions. Playing on just 21.5 percent of Atlanta's offensive snaps last season, Freeman will see a huge bump in snaps, touches and production in 2015 as he and Tevin Coleman form a committee backfield.

8.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Even though the 49ers have the second-fewest passing yards over the past two seasons combined, Boldin has back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Niners. In addition, both of his yardage totals (1,179 and 1,062, respectively) were higher than any of his previous six seasons. Boldin is unlikely to blow up for 150 yards and two touchdowns in any given week, but he provides this team with consistent production -- 50-plus receiving yards in 12 of 16 games last season.

8.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Mike Wallace, WR, Minnesota Vikings

The Dolphins certainly had some buyer's remorse after signing Wallace to a big free-agent contract two offseasons ago and traded him to the Vikings this offseason. Wallace has three consecutive mediocre seasons of less than 1,000 yards and has averaged just 13.1, 12.7 and 12.9 Y/R over the past three seasons, respectively. Perhaps the change of scenery and Norv Turner's vertical-passing attack will help Wallace live up to his potential and exceed his draft spot. With three other receivers on his roster already, Dan won't have to rely on Wallace each week so it's worth a roll of the dice here.

8.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Over his past three seasons, Romo's pass attempts have dropped from 648 (2012) to 535 (2013) to 435 (2014). Despite the drop in volume, Romo threw 34 touchdowns, the most for him since 2007, with only nine interceptions, a four-year low. In addition, Romo led the league in Y/A (8.5), completion percentage (69.9), touchdown percentage (7.8) and passer rating (113.2) last year.

Assuming the team stays committed to the run game without DeMarco Murray, who signed a free-agent deal with the Eagles, Romo's upside could be somewhat limited as I project 20-plus QBs to throw more pass attempts this year. Even with his career year in efficiency, Romo still finished just outside the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks last season.

8.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

With the NFL upholding Brady's four-game suspension, it's still unclear how many games Brady will miss as both sides are set to meet again in court on August 31st. Brady had a slow start last season, but only Peyton Manning (31) threw more touchdowns than Brady (29) from Week 5 through the end of the season. With good health once again for Rob Gronkowski, Brady could post top-five production on a per-game basis. How many games will Sean get from Brady?

8.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): David Cobb, RB, Tennessee Titans

As noted earlier in this round, Sankey was a disappointment for the Titans last year. Coach Ken Whisenhunt described Cobb as a potential three-down back and I'd personally prefer Cobb over Sankey.

8.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams

Brendan selected Todd Gurley (4.09) earlier than I would have, but I think it's smart to pair Gurley with Mason. Mason didn't get his first carry until Week 6 last year, but he averaged 18.11 touches per game from Week 9 on. While Gurley should emerge as the lead back for the Rams at some point this season, Mason will occupy that role initially as the team eases Gurley in. From Weeks 9 to 17, Mason had the 14th-most fantasy points among running backs.

8.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Brandon LaFell, WR, New England Patriots

According to some reports, LaFell (foot) could potentially land on the reserve/PUP list, which would cost him the first six games of the season. In his first year with the Patriots, LaFell had his best NFL season, by far, as he set career highs in receptions (74), yards (953) and touchdowns (seven). As solid as LaFell's overall numbers were, there was plenty of weekly inconsistency as he had four weekly top-12 finishes but he finished outside the top-36 eight times.

8.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Coming off a disappointing season, White still averaged a respectable 5.71 catches and 65.79 yards per game with seven touchdowns. Had he not missed two games, he was on a 16-game pace of 91/1,053/8. With White undergoing "minor" elbow surgery this month, turning 34 in November and Julio Jones now the clear-cut No. 1 wideout on the team, I have White projected for only 946 yards and six touchdowns. But that's good enough to place him among the top-35 fantasy wide receivers.

8.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

No quarterback underachieved expectations more last season than Stafford, who finished as the QB15 in 2014. Even with the free-agent signing and breakout season from Golden Tate (99/1,331/4), Stafford threw for only 4,247 yards, a four-year low, and 22 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. With better health from Calvin Johnson, who missed a few games and was a decoy in others, Stafford should post better numbers in 2015.

> Continue to Round 9 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back Round 10 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Dallas Cowboys

In addition to viewing our 2015 Fantasy Football Projections by position, we have posted our preseason projections per team.

Below you find our 2015 fantasy football projections for the Dallas Cowboys:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Tony Romo352512422433.810.224790.1302.46
Over his past three seasons, Romo's pass attempts have dropped from 648 (2012) to 535 (2013) to 435 (2014). Despite the drop in volume, Romo threw 34 touchdowns, the most for him since 2007, with only nine interceptions, a four-year low. In addition, Romo led the league in Y/A (8.5), completion percentage (69.9), touchdown percentage (7.8) and passer rating (113.2) last year. Assuming the team stays committed to the run game without DeMarco Murray, who signed a free-agent deal with the Eagles, Romo's upside could be somewhat limited as I project 20-plus QBs to throw more pass attempts this year. Even with his career year in efficiency, Romo still finished just outside the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks last season.
Brandon Weeden812900.50.72405.3

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Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Joseph Randle22410087.4241590.4163.5
While he had only 51 carries in 2014, 11 (21.6 percent) of those 51 carries resulted in runs of more than 10 yards and he averaged 6.73 yards per carry on the season. More than anything, that production is a result of running behind one of the best offensive lines in football, which should be even better this year. His YPC average will certainly decline with a bump in volume, but Randle is expected to get the largest share of the workload within the team's committee backfield.
Darren McFadden1566554.4281990.4114.2
Since entering the league as a top-four pick, McFadden has largely disappointed fantasy owners due to durability issues or lack of production. Back in 2010 and 2011, he gave owners a glimpse of what could be with an average of 121.6 YFS per game and 5.27 YPC over 20 games played. For the first six seasons of his career, however, he missed at least three games every season and averaged only 11.17 games per year before finally playing a full 16-game season in 2014. In addition, McFadden has averaged just 3.34 YPC over the past three seasons combined. Having just turned 28, McFadden has some upside if he can stay healthy and get a significant share of the committee's workload.
Lance Dunbar652670.8302260.758.3
With DeMarco Murray totalling close to 500 touches including the postseason, the team's other backs had a limited role. With Murray gone, Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden figure to handle the largest share of the workload, but ESPN's Todd Archer writes that the Cowboys "plan to get Dunbar more involved in 2015" -- and this time, "the Cowboys actually mean it." With Randle and McFadden having a higher draft-day cost, Dunbar is a cheaper/additional way to get some exposure to the Cowboys backfield.

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Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Dez Bryant91137413.5000218.4
Targeted only 136 times, a three-year low, Bryant finished with 88 receptions for 1,320 yards and a career-high and league-leading 16 touchdowns. Dez now has at least 88 catches, 1,233 yards and 12 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. And aside from Marshawn Lynch, Bryant is the only other player with at least 50 total touchdowns over the past four seasons.
Terrance Williams437226.9130113.9
With the Cowboys leaning heavily on their ground game last year, Williams saw a drop in targets (74 to 64), receptions (44 to 37) and yards (736 to 621). On a positive note, Williams had eight touchdowns with another three coming in the team's two playoff games. Going into his third season, Williams will likely remain a TD-dependent option for depth as he finished with two or fewer receptions in 12 of 16 games last year.
Cole Beasley414432.900061.7
Devin Street101200.600015.6
A.J. Jenkins8840.600012

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Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Jason Witten677495.1105.5
Other than his rookie season, Witten's 64 receptions and 703 yards last year set or tied career lows. Witten lacks upside at this point in his career, but he's a solid option that should come close to last year's top-10 performance once again.
Gavin Escobar182383.243

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 7

Last weekend, we began a new 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft with four of our contributors including yours truly.

We are posting the rounds as they are complete and another round is in the books.

Here are Round 7 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

7.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The good news is that Jackson eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth consecutive season and sixth time in the past seven years -- the exception was his holdout-shortened 2010 season. The bad news is V-Jax had just two touchdowns, the lowest of his career since his three-catch rookie season (2005). Jackson should score more touchdowns in 2015 although the 6-foot-5 receiver has never scored double-digit touchdowns.

7.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

The Texans led the NFL with 551 rush attempts last season and Foster is one of the league's few true workhorse backs, when healthy. Although Foster missed three games in 2014, he averaged 95.8 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry, both of which were four-year highs, and scored double-digit touchdowns (13). Not only did Foster finish as a top-five fantasy running back last season, he also finished as a top-12 fantasy running back in 10 of 13 weeks last season.

Unfortunately, Foster recently had groin surgery, which means he'll miss some time to begin the season. That said, there is growing optimism that Foster will only miss a few games as opposed to half the season. Once Foster returns, he'll immediately become a starter for this team along with Le'Veon Bell (1.02).

7.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Charles Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Possessing an impressive combination of size (6-2, 225) and athleticism (sub-4.4 forty), Johnson was reunited with Norv Turner in Minnesota after being released by the receiver-deficient Browns last offseason. In the final six games of the season, Johnson was on the field for all but 19 of the team's offensive snaps. And over his final seven games, Johnson posted 25 receptions for 415 yards and two touchdowns. With a full offseason and the continued development of second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Johnson should pick up where he left off last season.

7.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Small but ultra quick, Brown had a solid rookie season especially given the team's injuries at quarterback and finished with 48 receptions for 696 yards and five touchdowns. Improved year-over-year production should be expected, but his personal outlook is less bullish than it would have been without Larry Fitzgerald back in Arizona.

7.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Speaking of Fitzgerald, he had 63 receptions for 784 yards and a career-low two touchdowns last season and his 784 yards were only four more than the career low he had as a rookie. Given the injuries to the team's quarterbacks, the decline certainly wasn't solely the fault of Fitzgerald, who also missed two games.

In the 22 games that Carson Palmer and Fitzgerald have played together over the past two seasons, Fitzgerald has averaged 5.18 receptions, 65.32 yards and 0.55 touchdowns per game. That's a 16-game pace of 83/1,045/9 so perhaps Fitz ends the drought of 1,000-yard seasons if both he and Palmer stay healthy.

7.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Mathews has struggled with durability as he has played a full 16-game season only once in his five-year career. That said, he has been productive when on the field with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons under his belt a career 4.40 YPC average. While he enters 2015 second on the depth chart behind last year's rushing champion, DeMarco Murray has his own durability concerns as he is coming off a massive 497-touch season counting the playoffs. And if Murray misses time, Mathews becomes an RB1-type fantasy back in those games.

7.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Smith's first season as a Raven went better than expectations as he posted a 79/1,065/6 full-season stat line. With all four of his 100-yard games occurring in the first six games of the season, Smith was much less effective over the final 10 games. That said, he did have at least five catches in each of the final four games for a total of 25 catches during the final month of the season. Now 36 years old, it's unlikely that Smith posts another 1,000-yard season in what will be his final NFL season, but he has made a career out of disproving his doubters.

7.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

Ryan has more than 4,500 passing yards in three consecutive seasons with the third-most (13,928) over that span. In addition, he has 26-plus touchdowns in five consecutive seasons and the sixth-most (143) during that span. The good news is that Ryan has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in four of the past five years, but he has yet to finish as a top-six fantasy quarterback in his career.

7.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Based on his 2014 average draft position (ADP), Roethlisberger was one of the biggest draft values last season. Only four quarterbacks scored more fantasy points and he threw for a career-high 4,952 yards, which tied Drew Brees last season for the league lead, and 32 touchdowns, which tied a previous career high. It wouldn't surprise me if Big Ben posted another top-five finish in 2015 so I like getting him as the QB7 in this mock.

7.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns

On a positive note, the coaching staff wants to lean on the rushing attack and the Browns have one of the better run-blocking offensive lines, when healthy. On a less positive note, the coaching staff's allocation of carries was unpredictable on a weekly basis. Adding Duke Johnson to the mix only creates more uncertainty in projecting how things will shake out in Cleveland's backfield, but I still expect Crowell to lead the backfield in touches and (fantasy) production.

7.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Shane Vereen, RB, New York Giants

Vereen is one of the league's better receiving backs and he set career highs last year with 52 catches for 447 yards. Especially with both Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams likely to get more carries, Vereen is a better fantasy running back in PPR formats, but he should be in the flex mix on a weekly basis in standard-scoring formats as well.

7.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

The biggest home run threat in college football last year, Coleman rushed for 2,036 yards on 270 carries with four 200-yard games and eight 60-yard runs, most in both categories. Clearly, that won't be repeated at the NFL level, but it illustrates his big-play ability as he joins one of the league's better offenses. With a committee approach between Coleman and second-year back Devonta Freeman expected to start the season, Coleman is likely to see his usage expand as the season develops.

> Continue to Round 8 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back Round 6 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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2015 Fantasy Football Projections: St. Louis Rams

In addition to viewing our 2015 Fantasy Football Projections by position, we have posted our preseason projections per team.

Below you find our 2015 fantasy football projections for the St. Louis Rams:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Nick Foles332532388424.212.8321120.6254.16
Two seasons ago, Foles had a breakout season (27:2 TD-to-INT ratio and 9.1 Y/A in 13 games) and Chip Kelly said he would be the team's quarterback for the "next 1,000 years." After a disappointing half-season prior to breaking his collarbone, the 1,000 years are up and Kelly traded him to the Rams. Meanwhile, the transition to the Rams is a downgrade on a number of fronts -- leakier offensive line, lesser talent at skill positions (compared to 2013/2014 Eagles) and much tougher pass defenses in the NFC West compared to NFC East.

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Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Todd Gurley2008906.4312640.9159.2
Arguably the best running back prospect since Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Gurley ended the drought of first-round running backs and possesses all of the physical tools to be a dominant RB1-type back for years to come. With his combination of size and speed, Gurley has the ability to run over and/or outrun opposing tacklers. Recovering from his torn ACL, Gurley will likely sit out of the preseason and eased into what will eventually be a featured-back role.
Tre Mason1506533.3211710.7106.4
One year after Zac Stacy got a huge workload down the stretch, Mason, the team's third-round pick in 2014, emerged as the team's lead back over the second half of last season. Mason didn't get his first carry until Week 6, but he averaged 18.11 touches per game from Week 9 on. Unfortunately for Mason and his fantasy owners, the team used the 10th-overall pick on stud running back Todd Gurley. While Gurley is rehabbing from a torn ACL, it should once again be a rookie running back emerging as the lead dog in the second half in St. Louis.
Benny Cunningham461891.3201700.446.1
Malcolm Brown12490.10005.5

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Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Brian Quick629186.5000130.8
Tearing his rotator cuff in Week 8 last season, Quick played just seven games, but he started the season strong. In the first four games of the year, Quick had a total of 21 receptions for 322 yards and three touchdowns and finished as a top-25 fantasy wide receiver in all four games. Although he had just four catches for 53 yards in his other three games, Quick was on his way to a breakout season. Depending on his ability to stay healthy, that breakout season could come for the former Appalachian State receiver in 2015.
Kenny Britt466264.100087.2
Britt scored the 51st-most fantasy points among wide receivers last season and he gets a quarterback upgrade with Nick Foles in 2015. That said, he averaged 6.71 fantasy points per game after the injury to Brian Quick compared to 4.52/G prior to the injury. While the upside isn't high, Britt has the potential to finish as a top 50-60 fantasy wide receiver in 2015.
Tavon Austin352992.3282021.572.9
Through two seasons, Austin has just 1,035 yards from scrimmage -- 660 receiving and 375 rushing -- and nine touchdowns. In fact, he was only targeted 44 times in 15 games last season.
Stedman Bailey304171.818053.3
Chris Givens101530.614019.3

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Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Jared Cook506153.481.9
Despite Sam Bradford playing just seven games over the past two seasons, Cook has exceeded 50 receptions and 600 yards and finished as a top-15 fantasy tight end in both of his seasons with the Rams. There has been some boom or bust to his game in the past, but he was one of just nine tight ends to have at least three receptions in 12 games last season.
Lance Kendricks272513.546.1

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 6

Over the weekend, four of our contributors including yours truly began a "slow" 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft and we are posting each round as we complete them.

We are now at the midway point of our 12-round mock draft as Round 6 is complete.

Here are Round 6 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

6.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers

Posting career highs of 84 catches for 1,008 yards last season, Olsen now has at least 69 receptions and 816 yards while finishing as a top-seven fantasy tight end in each of the past three seasons. Over that three-year span, Jimmy Graham (3,086) is the only tight end with more yards than Olsen (2,667) and only Graham (256) and Jason Witten (247) have more receptions than Olsen (226). He's never scored more than eight touchdowns in a season, but he has at least five scores for seven consecutive seasons. In addition, Olsen is extremely durable having played all 16 games in seven consecutive seasons.

With the season-ending ACL injury to Kelvin Benjamin, Olsen clearly enters the season as the team's top pass-catcher should rank near the league lead in targets among tight ends.

6.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

After three consecutive 5,000-yard seasons, Brees fell just shy of that mark in 2014 but still tied with Ben Roethlisberger for the league lead with 4,952 passing yards and threw 33 touchdowns. For the first time since signing with the Saints in 2006, Brees finished outside the top-five fantasy quarterbacks (sixth) in 2014. And while he has thrown at least 650 pass attempts in five consecutive seasons and he led the league in pass attempts per game (41.2) last season, a transition to a more run-based offense appears set to begin with their offseason moves. My fourth-ranked fantasy quarterback heading into 2015, Brees is the fifth quarterback off the board in this mock.

6.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets

A lot went wrong for Marshall and the Bears offense last season as he missed multiple games, was limited in others, Jay Cutler struggled and was benched, etc. Marshall posted his lowest totals for both receptions (61) and yards (721) since his rookie season, but he was traded to the Jets in the offseason and gets a fresh start. A return to his 2012 or 2013 numbers appear unlikely, but I expect a bounce-back to the 1,000-yard range.

6.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Better suited for his return to a change-of-pace role, Bernard can still be productive as the flex for this squad. As an example, Jeremy Hill carried the ball 22-plus times for 100-plus yards in the team's final three regular-season games. In those same games, Bernard finished as the weekly RB11, RB17 and RB13, respectively, in standard-scoring formats. As beat writer Paul Dehner Jr. noted earlier this offseason, "... once settling into a complementary role the final three weeks, [Bernard] returned to the explosive, multi-dimensional player the Bengals team envisioned."

6.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills

The fourth overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, Watkins finished his rookie campaign with 65 receptions for 982 yards and six touchdowns. While Watkins had four 100-yard games including a career-high 157 yards against his new head coach's former team, he also had nine games with 35 receiving yards or less. In a run-first offense with a less-than-ideal quarterback situation, there will still be plenty of weekly inconsistency from Watkins even though his overall numbers should improve on a year-over-year basis.

6.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

After sitting out all of 2013 with a torn ACL, Maclin returned to the Eagles on a one-year deal and posted a career-best season (85/1,318/10) in Chip Kelly's offense. He then parlayed that success into a five-year deal to reunite with his former coach. Few players, if any, have seen their fantasy stock drop more in free agency than Maclin as he transitions to an offense with a quarterback incapable and/or unwilling to challenge opposing defenses down the field. That said, he's a solid WR3 behind Dan's first two receivers -- Brandin Cooks and Amari Cooper.

6.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins

Among rookies, only his ex-LSU teammate Odell Beckham (91) had more receptions than Landry (84) last season. Over the final nine games of the season, Landry had a minimum of five receptions every game and racked up a total of 59 catches over that span. In addition, he had at least nine targets in six of his final eight games. Landry should improve upon his 84/758/5 rookie numbers, but he's a much better option in point-per-reception (PPR) formats.

6.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions

Scoring the 14th-most fantasy points among running backs in 2014, Bell finished with 223 carries for 860 yards, both of which were career highs, as well as 34 receptions for 322 yards and eight total touchdowns. That said, it was the second consecutive season that Bell has averaged under 4.0 YPC.

While I expect Bell to lead the team's backfield in touches in 2015, second-round rookie Ameer Abdullah weakens Bell's grip on the featured-back role and it wouldn't surprise me if Abdullah emerged as the lead back at some point during the season. With Bell coming off a pair of offseason surgeries, he's still not practicing although he is expected to be ready for the opener.

6.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Just a couple of seasons ago, Martin racked up 1,926 yards from scrimmage, 49 receptions and 12 touchdowns in 16 games as a rookie when he finished the year as fantasy's RB2. Over the past two seasons (combined), however, Martin has only 1,080 YFS, 25 receptions and three touchdowns in 17 games. Going into 2015, Martin appears to be in line for the largest share of the backfield's workload.

6.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears

Setting career highs across the board in 2014 with 90 receptions, 916 yards and six touchdowns, Bennett finished as a top-five scorer among tight ends and led the position in receptions. With the Bears trading Marshall to the Jets and the injury to top pick Kevin White, Bennett has the potential to come close to those numbers this season.

6.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins

Despite the revolving door at quarterback, Jackson was one of the few bright spots for Washington's offense in 2014. D-Jax finished with 56 catches for 1,169 yards and six touchdowns and he led the NFL in yards per reception (20.9).

Even though he finished as the 16th-highest scoring fantasy wide receiver, the big drawback of owning Jackson is his boom-or-bust nature. Jackson finished as a top-17 fantasy wide receiver in eight of 15 games last year; in all seven of the other games, he finished as the WR53 or worse. Stated differently, Jackson had zero games within the range of WR18 and WR52 in a given week last year.

6.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Alfred Blue, RB, Houston Texans

Blue averaged just 3.1 YPC as a rookie last season and he backs up one of the league's few workhorses in Arian Foster, but he finished as a top-40 fantasy running back in 2014. The Texans were more committed to the run than any other team in the league and Foster, who missed three games last season, is always a candidate to miss a game or two. In fact, Foster will miss at least some games to begin the season following groin surgery.

At this point, however, I'd actually prefer Foster over Blue. There is some optimism that Foster may only miss a few games as opposed to half the season as initially expected.

> Continue to Round 7 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 5

Four of our contributors began a new "slow" 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft over the weekend and another round is complete and posted.

Here are Round 5 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

5.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions

Tate had a career year with 99 catches for 1,331 yards and four touchdowns plus 30 rushing yards. From Weeks 4 to 8, Calvin Johnson missed three games and was a decoy in two other games (19 total yards). During that same five-game span, Tate averaged 119.8 yards per game and scored three of his four touchdowns. If Megatron is healthy for the entire season, Tate is unlikely to repeat last year's career numbers, but he's otherwise a solid low-end WR2 in 2015. In this case, he's a WR3 for Dan's team with T.Y. Hilton and Julian Edelman ahead of him.

5.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Kelce played only 52.3 percent of the team's offensive snaps from Weeks 1 to 10, but that percentage jumped to 86.7 percent from Weeks 11 to 17. Despite his snap-count limits during the first half of the season, Kelce still finished with 67 receptions, 862 yards and five touchdowns and the ninth-most fantasy points among tight ends last season. With good health and no playing time limitations, the sky is the limit for Kelce in 2015.

5.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

A top-three fantasy quarterback in 2014, Wilson rushed for 849 yards and six touchdowns, both of which were career highs, and netted fantasy owners an average of 7.56 fantasy points per game from rushing stats alone. While he won't post gaudy passing statistics in Seattle's run-dominant offense, Wilson is the first quarterback in league history to throw 20-plus touchdowns with 10 or fewer interceptions in each of his first three NFL seasons, per Pro Football Reference. Trading for Jimmy Graham gives Wilson an elite red-zone option for the first time in his young career.

5.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

With a slow finish to the season, Manning finished the year as the QB4 (312.68 fantasy points) behind Aaron Rodgers (354.14), Andrew Luck (350.74) and Wilson (327.6). In the first 11 games of the season, Manning averaged 23.96 fantasy points per game (323.45 YPG, 34 TDs and nine INTs). In the final five games of the season, however, he averaged just 9.83 FPPG (233.8 YPG, five TDs and six INTs) and never scored more than 13.02 fantasy points in any of those games.

Much of last year's decline can be attributed to his thigh injury, but Manning's passing production also tends to slow as the weather turns colder. In a more balanced offense with some issues on the offensive line, it's possible that Manning fails to produce a top-five fantasy season. (He's the QB6 currently in my rankings.)

5.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

After a boost in playing time down the stretch and a strong offseason, all signs pointed to Adams taking a step forward in year two. In addition, no player benefits more by the ACL injury to Jordy Nelson (from a fantasy perspective) than Adams, who finished with 38/446/3 numbers as a rookie.

5.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Inactive for the first six games, Bryant went on a scoring spree in his first four NFL games with a total of six touchdowns during that span. After that point, however, Bryant had just 12 catches for 239 yards and two touchdowns in the final six games of the season. Not only does he currently project as the team's No. 3 receiver, Bryant will miss the first four games of the season due to league suspension.

[Note: Sean made this selection prior to the news of Bryant's pending suspension.]

5.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots

As we've seen from Blount in the postseason, he can go from one yard on three carries (vs. BAL) one week to 30 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns (vs. IND) the next week. Blount's carries in his final six games through the Super Bowl were as follows: 20, eight, 10, three, 30 and 14. While we can't always count on consistent running back workloads from Belichick, Blount figures to be the "guy" in the Patriots' backfield. And Blount has been dominant at the goal line for the Patriots with 15 rushing scores in his past 15 games (including playoffs) with the Pats.

5.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets

Although he averaged a career-low 4.1 YPC, Ivory once again rushed for more than 800 yards and set a career high with six touchdowns. The Jets signed Stevan Ridley in free agency and traded a seventh-round pick for Zac Stacy, but Ivory should lead the team's backfield in both workload and fantasy production. More productive than most probably realized, Ivory finished as a top-20 fantasy running back last season.

5.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

With Antonio Brown and Nelson as my first two picks, the injury to Nelson hurts what I expected to be this mock's best receiving corps. Quietly off to a strong rookie season before a Week 10 foot injury ended his season, Robinson averaged 5.22 receptions and 60.89 yards per game with four-plus catches per game from Weeks 2 to 10. Assuming good health in 2015, Robinson is poised for a breakout season.

5.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): C.J. Spiller, RB, New Orleans Saints

Following his breakout 2012 season, the Bills (new and since ousted) coaching staff failed to utilize Spiller correctly over the past two seasons. That's certainly not a concern in 2015 as Payton & Co. should maximize Spiller's production on a per-touch basis.

Since Payton took over in New Orleans in 2006, the Saints have roughly one-third (six of 19) of the 70-reception seasons by running backs. One concern entering the season, however, is Spiller's recent arthroscopic knee surgery, but he is expected to ready for Week 1.

5.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Landing in Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense bodes well for Agholor's short- and long-term fantasy outlook. While the Eagles lost Jeremy Maclin (6-0, 198, 4.48 forty) in free agency, Agholor (6-0, 198, 4.42 forty) has earned comparisons to the departed receiver. An excellent route runner, Agholor has the ability to play both inside and outside and finished with a 104/1,313/12 stat line last year for USC. With that said, there are several receivers still on the board that I'd take before Agholor (WR25 in this mock).

5.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants

Dealing with multiple injuries, Jennings played in just 11 games in his first season with the Giants. Second-year back Andre Williams will steal some goal-line opportunities and Shane Vereen will steal some of his passing-down work, which limits the weekly upside of the soon-to-be 30-year-old Jennings.

On a positive note, the Giants used the ninth-overall pick on Ereck Flowers, one of the best run-blocking offensive linemen in this year's draft class. Only the Cardinals (3.3) and Chargers (3.4) averaged fewer YPC than the Giants (3.6) last season and at least part of those struggles can be attributed to the line play.

> Continue to Round 6 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 4

Another round of our new 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft is complete. Four of our contributors are conducting a "slow" draft and we are posting updates as the rounds are complete.

With that said, another round is in the books.

Here are Round 4 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

4.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers

With Frank Gore signing a free-agent deal with the Colts, Hyde enters 2015 atop the 49ers depth chart at running back. With Gore ahead of him last year on the depth chart, Hyde had just 83 carries for 333 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. Not only will his workload expand significantly, but I expect his effectiveness on a per-carry basis to increase from last year's 4.0 yards-per-carry average. On a positive note, Hyde has shed some weight and is now in the "mid 220-pound range," which should improve his elusiveness yet still allow him to flourish near the goal line.

4.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos

With previous career highs of 67/740/6, Sanders blew those numbers out of the water in his first season in Denver with 101 receptions for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014. Given a new coaching staff and more balanced philosophy, repeating a 101/1,404/9 line appears unlikely, but Sanders is a solid WR2 behind Dez Bryant (1.10) for Brendan.

4.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

I'm thrilled that Matthews made it to me at 4.03. Playing only 65.0 percent of the team's offensive snaps as a rookie, that ratio will undoubtedly spike in his second season as the team lost Jeremy Maclin via free agency. In his first season in the league, Matthews finished with 67 receptions for 872 yards and eight touchdowns and finished as a top-25 fantasy wide receiver. With Maclin gone, it wouldn't surprisie me if he posted top-10 numbers (like Maclin last year) as the No. 1 receiver in such a high-volume offense.

4.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers

Over the final five games of the season, Stewart, who recently turned 28, rushed for 486 yards on 91 carries (5.34 YPC) and only DeMarco Murray (491) had more rushing yards during that span. Entering 2015 as the team's clear featured back, Stewart will finally get the opportunity to carry the load for a full season. Well, the "full" season part is the only concern with him as Stewart has played only 28 games over the past three seasons. If, a big if, he can stay healthy for a full season, he has legitimate top-10 fantasy upside.

4.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

While his receptions increased from 71 to 77 in 2014, Allen's yardage (1,046 to 783) and touchdowns (eight to four) both dropped and he finished as only the 48th-highest scoring wide receiver last season. Allen turned 23 this spring and should have a bounce-back season in 2015.

4.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

No rookie receiver is more pro-ready than Cooper, the first Biletnikoff winner in Alabama history. Cooper racked up 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns last season and should become Derek Carr's go-to receiver immediately for a team that ranked fourth in the league in pass attempts per game (39.3) in 2014.

4.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas Cowboys

While he had only 51 carries in 2014, 11 (21.6 percent) of those 51 carries resulted in runs of more than 10 yards and he averaged 6.73 yards per carry on the season. More than anything, that production is a result of running behind one of the best offensive lines in football, which should be even better this year. His YPC average will certainly decline with a bump in volume, but Randle is expected to get the largest share of the workload within the team's committee backfield. The upside certainly warrants a selection higher than this and MG3/Randle give Sean two quality backs despite waiting until Rounds 3/4 to draft his first two running backs.

4.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts

After back-to-back 1,400-yard seasons, Johnson finished with 85 receptions for just 936 yards and three touchdowns in 2014. Johnson's 62.4 Y/G and 11.0 Y/R were his lowest since 2005. Now 34 years old, Johnson may never have another 1,400-yard season, but he goes from a team with one of the league's worst quarterback situations to one of the best with Andrew Luck.

4.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams

Arguably the best running back prospect since Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Gurley ended the drought of first-round running backs and possesses all of the physical tools to be a dominant RB1-type back for years to come. With his combination of size and speed, Gurley has the ability to run over and/or outrun opposing tacklers. Recovering from his torn ACL, however, Gurley will be eased in slowly before eventually settling on a featured-back role. That said, there a few running backs still available that I'd prefer over Gurley including the guy that Brendan took next ...

4.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders

Loaded with potential and upside, Murray is a physical freak that runs a sub-4.4 forty at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds. Murray finally got a chance to showcase what he could do down the stretch last season as he gained 478 yards from scrimmage over his final five games on a total of 83 touches (72 carries and 11 receptions). With Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew out and Trent Richardson and Roy Helu in, Murray will be given every opportunity to be the team's lead back in 2015.

4.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Selected with a top-36 pick in this year's draft, Yeldon has excellent size (6-1, 225) and immediately goes to the front of the line in terms of the team's backfield depth chart. General manager David Caldwell said that he sees Yeldon as "a three-down back." Playing in an offense that ranked in the bottom two in both scoring and total offense last year could limit Yeldon's fantasy upside as a rookie, but he could end up leading rookie backs in touches in 2015.

4.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

After his breakout 2013 season (105/1,056/6), Edelman actually averaged slightly more receptions (6.57 in 2014 vs. 6.56 in 2013) and yards (69.43 in 2014 vs. 66.0 in 2013). I'd prefer a few receivers before Edelman, but he is in the low-end WR2/high-end WR3 range for standard-scoring leagues and is the WR20 in this mock.

> Continue to Round 5 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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Martavis Bryant facing four-game ban for multiple failed drug tests

Pittsburgh Steelers second-year receiver Martavis Bryant is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

At full strength, the Steelers have one of the league's best offenses as Ben Roethlisberger tied Drew Brees for the league lead in passing yards last season. The Steelers will now be without three keys members of their offense to open the season.

Along with Bryant, running back Le'Veon Bell is suspended for the first two games of the season and center Markice Pouncey will miss at least the first half of the season with a broken fibula.

Bryant made his debut last season in Week 7 and scored six touchdowns on 14 receptions in his first four games as a pro and finished with 26 catches for 549 yards (21.1 Y/R) and eight touchdowns in 10 games as a rookie.

Before this news, Markus Wheaton was projected to start opposite Antonio Brown. Earlier this offseason, Roethlisberger said he expects a breakout season from Wheaton and recently ESPN's Jeremy Fowler tweeted the same.

Depending on how far this causes Bryant's ADP to tumble from his current fifth-round ADP, he'd be worth a late(r)-round flier given his upside once he returns.

Continue reading "Martavis Bryant facing four-game ban for multiple failed drug tests" »

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 12th Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 12 pick, point-per-reception (PPR) scoring
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.12 - Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants: Closing the season with 90-plus yards in his final nine games, Beckham averaged 9/133/1 on nearly 13 targets per game over that span. Those historic numbers won't be repeated, but ODB enters the season as a top-five fantasy receiver.

2.01 - Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks: No player has more rushing yards (5,357) or touchdowns (56) than Lynch over the past four seasons. In addition, Lynch has at least 36 receptions in each of the past two seasons.

3.12 - Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals: It was a disappointing season for Ellington, who saw his yards-per-carry average plummet to 3.3 in 2014 from 5.5 YPC. There are questions about his ability to hold up for a full season, but Ellington enters the season healthy after a foot injury limited him all year.

4.01 - Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: The Biletnikoff recipient in college football, Cooper enters the NFL as the most pro-ready receiver and he'll be counted on early and often as Oakland's go-to receiver. Last year, the Raiders ranked fourth in the NFL in most pass attempts (39.3 per game).

5.12 - Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Playing roughly half of the team's snaps in the first 10 games, Kelce still posted full-year stats of 67/862/5 to finish as fantasy football's TE6 in PPR formats in 2014. Without any health limitations or snap counts, the sky's the limit for Kelce in 2015.

6.01 - Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: It's unlikely that Wilson repeats his 849 rushing yards with six rushing scores again, but he has 308 runs for 1,877 yards and 11 touchdowns over three seasons. With 72 passing touchdowns over those three seasons, Wilson finally has an elite red-zone option (Jimmy Graham).

7.12 - Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Even though Bernard enters 2015 as the change-of-pace option to featured back Jeremy Hill, there is the potential for both backs to be productive, especially in PPR formats. As an example, Hill rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the final three games of last season while Bernard finished as a top-12 PPR back in each of those games.

8.01 - T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: At some point, the Jaguars will count on Yeldon to be their three-down back and it wouldn't surprise me if he led all rookie running backs in touches. Playing in the low-powered Jags offense may limit his upside, but he's a nice value in Round 8.

9.12 - Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins: Two seasons ago, Garcon led the NFL in receptions (113). Last year, his numbers were nearly cut in half (68/752/3). He should fall somewhere in between in 2015.

10.01 - Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints: Setting per-game career lows in targets, receptions and yards in 2014, Colston has an opportunity to bounce back (some) given the team's offseason moves.

11.12 - Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Floyd failed to build upon his 2013 breakout season, but the team's quarterback situation (injuries) had a limiting effect on the entire passing offense. There is optimism that Floyd will be ready for Week 1.

12.01 - Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys: McFadden, who just turned 28, has averaged 3.4 YPC or less in each of the past three seasons and durability has been a consistent issue for him. That said, he has value here if he can stay healthy as part of a committee backfield that gets to run behind the Cowboys' elite offensive line.

13.12 - Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants: Randle set career highs of 71 receptions and 938 yards in his age-23 season, but it may be difficult to repeat those numbers if the team's other pass catchers stay healthy.

14.01 - Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Williams saw his receptions (37) and yardage (621) decline as the Cowboys threw it much less in 2014 although he caught a career-high eight touchdowns. I expect better overall numbers from him in 2015, but he remains the third option in the passing offense behind Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.

15.12 - New York Jets D/ST

16.01 - Stephen Gostkowski, K, New England Patriots

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August 27, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 3

Four of our contributors recently began a new "slow" 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft and another round is now complete.

Here are Round 3 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

3.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Hilton had a breakout 82/1,345/7 season last year. And that breakout year would have been even better if he weren't limited down the stretch by a hamstring injury. With good health, Hilton could set new career highs in both receptions and yards this season.

3.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Throwing for 4,761 yards and a league-leading 40 touchdowns, both of which were career highs, Luck's 40 TDs last season nearly equalled his total from his first two seasons combined (46 TDs). During the season, Luck had the second-longest streak of 300-yard games (eight) in NFL history. Not only does Luck lead one of the league's most prolific passing offenses, but he gets a boost from his mobility with at least 255 rushing yards each year and a total of 12 rushing scores.

Quarterback is deep and I usually like to wait on the position, but there is a clear-cut top tier with Luck and Aaron Rodgers and I'd be willing to take either in the third round.

3.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts

With the exception of an 11-game season in 2010, Gore has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in eight of his past nine seasons with at least 1,100 rushing yards in four consecutive seasons. Coach Pagano has said that he still views Gore as an every-down back, which means he should get the opportunity to extend that streak. One of the league's better pass-catching backs earlier in his career, Gore should be much more involved as a receiver with the Colts than he has been over the past four seasons (average of 18 catches per season) in San Francisco.

3.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

Emerging as the team's most productive wide receiver last season, Hopkins took a huge step forward in his second season with a 76/1,210/6 stat line and the team has subsequently released Andre Johnson in the offseason. If there's any concern when it comes to Hopkins taking another step forward in his third season, however, it's the team's less-than-inspiring quarterback play, but he's a strong WR2 option for Brendan behind his WR1 (Randall Cobb).

3.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins

Morris averaged a career-low 4.1 YPC last season, but he rushed 265 times for 1,074, respectable numbers but also career lows, and eight touchdowns. Washington's offensive line struggled last year, but the team used the fifth-overall pick on Brandon Scherff and the addition of Bill Callahan to the coaching staff is certainly a positive for the team's offensive line play and rushing attack overall.

3.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers

With significant injuries to the team's running backs, the Chargers ran the ball only 39.45 percent of the time last season (compared to 46.66 percent, eighth highest, in 2013). Assuming a healthy backfield, I'd expect the Chargers to be closer to 46 percent than 39 percent this season. A top-15 selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, Gordon should get the bulk of the early-down work for the Chargers with Ryan Mathews now in Philadelphia.

3.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints

Before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 11, Cook's 86.3 fantasy points ranked 25th among all wide receivers and his 53 receptions led all rookie receivers. Once again generating plenty of buzz in the offseason, Cooks is poised for a major breakout with the offseason trades of Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills.

3.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

Once again, Ingram missed multiple games and has now missed a total of 14 games over his four-year career. That said, Ingram set career highs -- 226 carries, 964 rushing yards, nine touchdowns and 29 receptions -- in the 13 games he did play in 2014. Re-signing with the Saints, Ingram should lead the team in carries. And given the team's offseason moves, a transition to more of a run-based offense appears to be in the offing.

3.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins coaching staff has seemed reluctant to give Miller as much work as his fantasy owners would have liked, but Miller was highly productive on a per-touch basis (5.09 YPC, 7.24 Y/R) last season. With more than 15 carries in only four games last season, Miller still managed to post his first-ever 1,000-yard season (1,099 rushing yards).

In addition, Miller was very consistent throughout the season as he finished as a top-21 fantasy running back in 12 of 16 weeks. Although they didn't draft Jay Ajayi until the fifth round, his presence could cap Miller's upside in 2015 but I still expect his touches to be fairly close year over year.

3.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints

Slowed by a shoulder injury, Graham had 54 yards or less in six of his final seven games last season and finished with only 889 yards, a four-year low. With his trade to the Seahawks, Graham goes from an offense that averaged 41.2 pass attempts per game, second-most in the NFL last year, to one that averages the fewest (28.4/G).

Over his past four seasons, however, Graham has averaged 89 catches, 1,099 yards and 12 touchdowns per year. I think it's unlikely that reaches the 89/1,099 this season, but I do think he could score double-digit touchdowns as the Seahawks clear best red-zone (receiving) option.

3.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions

There is a lot to like about Abdullah, but this is a little too rich for my blood. Highly productive at Nebraska with back-to-back 1,600-yard campaigns, Abdullah finished first in the vertical jump (42.5 inches), broad jump (10-10), 3-cone drill (6.79) and 20-yard shuttle (3.95) among running backs at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. Provided Joique Bell is ready for Week 1, however, Abdullah will likely begin the season behind Bell on the depth chart, although his role within the offense should expand as the season progresses.

3.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals

The good news is that Ellington averaged more than 20 touches per game last season. The bad news is that Ellington averaged more than 20 touches per game last season. Given Ellington's size (5-9, 199), it wasn't a huge (no pun intended) surprise that Ellington didn't hold up for a full season and missed the final four regular-season games.

With the substantial bump in workload, Ellington underwhelmed as his yards-per-carry average plummeted from 5.5 YPC as a rookie to 3.3 on 201 carries last season. That said, the foot injury he battled all of last season is now healed and the Cardinals improved their offensive line this offseason.

> Continue to Round 4 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

View Previous Rounds:
> Go back Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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Continue reading "2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 3" »

August 26, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 8th Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 7 pick, point-per-reception (PPR) scoring
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.08 - Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks: No player has more rushing yards or touchdowns over the past four seasons than Lynch, who has rushed for at least 1,200 yards and scored double-digit touchdowns each season during that stretch. In addition, Beast Mode has become more productive as a receiver with at least 36 receptions in each of the past two seasons.

2.05 - A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Green missed three games last season, but he extended his streak of 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career to four. With better health in 2015, Green should finish with 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns (or better).

3.08 - Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts: The biggest concern with Gore is his age (32), but he has rushed for 1,100-plus yards in four consecutive seasons with no missed games during that stretch. Transitioning to the high-powered Andrew Luck-led Colts offense is only a positive for Gore.

4.05 - Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers: Over the final five games of the season, only DeMarco Murray rushed for more yards than Stewart. While durability is a concern (20 missed games over past three seasons), there is plenty of upside here if he can play a full (or close to it) season.

5.08 - Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Robinson quietly posted a strong rookie season with four-plus catches in nine consecutive games before his season was cut short with a Week 10 foot injury. Going into his age-22 season, Robinson is poised for a breakout season.

6.05 - Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Not only did Big Ben set a career high in passing yards, but he tied Drew Brees for the NFL lead. Big Ben finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback last season and is the QB5 in my rankings this year as well.

7.08 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: Even though Foster won't be ready for Week 1, there is a chance that he'll be back on the field by the end of September. Either way, he becomes an immediate starter once he's healthy.

8.05 - Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles: Ertz posted a 58/702/3 line in his second season and he should improve upon those numbers in 2015, but two concerns are his groin surgery this month and his spot on the depth chart (second to Brent Celek).

9.08 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have the second-fewest passing yards over the past two seasons, but Boldin still has back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns in his two seasons with the 49ers.

10.05 - Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Smith exceeded 1,000 yards in his first season with the Ravens and although he has announced this will be his final NFL season, he enters 2015 as the team's No. 1 receiver.

11.08 - Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints: Setting per-game career lows in targets, receptions and yards, Colston has some bounce-back appeal given the team's offseason moves.

12.05 - Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins: At a minimum, Jones will get many snaps as the change-of-pace to Alfred Morris, but Jones has looked really good this preseason -- averaging more than six yards per carry.

13.08 - Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals: After a breakout sophomore campaign, Floyd's production declined year over year to 47/841/6, but at least part of that dip was due to the team's injuries at quarterback.

14.05 - Carolina Panthers D/ST

15.08 - Connor Barth, K, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

- View full mock draft results here

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2015 Fantasy Football Resources:

Continue reading "2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 8th Pick" »

August 24, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 3rd Pick, 2-QB League

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 3 pick, standard scoring, 2-QB league
  • Starting lineup: 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.03 - Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers: With Andrew Luck (my QB1) and Le'Veon Bell (my RB1) off the board, the choice came down to Lacy (my RB2) or teammate Aaron Rodgers (my QB2). Through two NFL seasons, Lacy has racked up 3,001 yards from scrimmage and 24 touchdowns.

2.10 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: One of my favorite running backs this season, Hill was dominant in the second half last season. No player had more rushing yards than Hill (929) over the final nine games and he enters the season as the team's clear lead back.

3.03 - Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: With a torn ACL sidelining Newton's top weapon, it certainly delivers a blow to his fantasy outlook. That said, I still have Newton projected as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in large part due to his rushing stats -- minimum of 539 yards and five touchdowns in all four seasons.

4.10 - Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: Poised for a breakout season, Matthews enters his sophomore campaign as the team's top receiver after finishing last season as fantasy football's WR25 in 2014. Even though I have him ranked outside my top 10 receivers, Matthews has the potential to do what Jeremy Maclin last season and finish as a top-10 fantasy receiver.

5.03 - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings: Bridgewater's development throughout his rookie season was impressive. Over the final five games of the season, he completed 72.14 percent of his pass attempts with eight touchdowns and five interceptions and he has looked sharp in the preseason.

6.10 - Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets: It was a lost season for the Bears and Marshall, who was traded this offseason to the Jets. It's not necessarily an ideal landing spot for a bounce back, but I do expect Marshall to finish with roughly 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015.

7.03 - Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions: It's certainly possible that the talented second-round back overtakes Joique Bell at some point during his rookie season for the lead back role. Either way, he's a solid flex option for this team (with upside for much more).

8.10 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: There is continuing optimism that Foster may not miss eight games, which was initially feared. Once he returns, he turns a stacked fantasy backfield into an even more stacked fantasy backfield.

9.03 - Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Even if he enters the season as the team's No. 3 receiver, Bryant has more talent than the incumbent No. 2 (Markus Wheaton) and gives me a high-upside WR3.

10.10 - Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Unfortunately, Bridgewater and Newton share the same bye week (Week 5). Due to his rushing ability and better offensive weapons, however, Bortles has some upside as my QB3.

11.03 - Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals: Eifert's sophomore season ended only soon after it began, but there has been nothing but positive buzz for him heading into 2015. Provided he stays healthy, Eifert has the potential to finish as a top-12 fantasy tight end this season.

12.10 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Despite the team's weak passing attack, Boldin has finished with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Even though he turns 35 in October, he has value in the 12th round as my WR4.

13.03 - Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins: After leading the NFL in receptions in 2013, Garcon's numbers were nearly cut in half, but the team has talked up his increased involvement for 2015.

14.10 - James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers: Considering how stacked my running back group is, Starks provides some insurance in the event of a Lacy injury.

15.03 - New York Jets D/ST

16.10 - Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta Falcons

- View full mock draft results here

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2015 Fantasy Football Resources:

Continue reading "2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 3rd Pick, 2-QB League" »

2015 Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Weekly Movement: August 24th Update

Every Monday this offseason, we post an update in players that have had the biggest moves — both up and down — in fantasy football average draft position (ADP) from the previous week.

With this information, we can get a better sense of changes in the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters); in essence, it's a version of fantasy stock up/down for players. If a player is moving up the ADP chart, it may lead us to using a higher pick than his current ADP to make sure we secure a targeted player.

Of course, a player's ADP (and movement) is just one (small) piece in determining who to draft and our strategy used to assemble a fantasy roster.

For purposes of our weekly comparison(s), we use ADP data from 12-team mock drafts from Fantasy Football Calculator.

Biggest weekly gainers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: -7.2 (156.6 on 8/17 to 149.4 on 8/24)
  2. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: -6.6 (142.6 to 136.0)
  3. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: -5.7 (159.5 to 153.8)

Running Backs:

  1. Jonas Gray, New England Patriots: -23.2 (139.3 to 116.1)
  2. David Cobb, Tennessee Titans: -15.2 (104.3 to 89.1)
  3. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers: -13.3 (108.1 to 94.8)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers: -49.7 (160.5 to 110.8)
  2. Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears: -30.9 (131.0 to 100.1)
  3. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers: -19.9 (96.3 to 76.4)

Tight Ends:

  1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals: -16.5 (133.9 to 117.4)
  2. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: -8.0 (138.8 to 130.8)
  3. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: -7.4 (104.6 to 97.2)

Biggest weekly fallers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: +31.1 (72.8 on 8/17 to 103.9 on 8/24)
  2. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +8.9 (150.4 to 159.3)
  3. Nick Foles, St. Louis Rams: +3.0 (158.5 to 161.5)

Running Backs:

  1. Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans: +14.4 (89.7 to 104.1)
  2. C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints: +10.6 (50.1 to 60.7)
  3. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals: +6.7 (122.6 to 129.3)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals: +11.5 (113.5 to 125.0)
  2. Percy Harvin, Buffalo Bills: +11.1 (137.7 to 148.8)
  3. Breshad Perriman, Baltimore Ravens: +8.4 (103.6 to 112.0)

Tight Ends:

  1. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: +23.9 (98.6 to 122.5)
  2. Josh Hill, New Orleans Saints: +17.7 (125.6 to 143.3)
  3. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts: +8.3 (136.6 to 144.9)

[Note: Negative numbers mean the player's ADP is improving (i.e., being drafted earlier) and vice versa.]

- Fantasy Football ADP Risers/Fallers: See full grid of player changes in ADP over past week

Our 2015 fantasy football rankings:

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Continue reading "2015 Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Weekly Movement: August 24th Update" »

Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Green Bay Packers

In addition to viewing our 2015 Fantasy Football Projections by position, we have posted our preseason projections per team.

Below you find our 2015 fantasy football projections for the Green Bay Packers:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Aaron Rodgers3705344486367.5482352351.44
The reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, Rodgers was also the top-scoring fantasy quarterback as well. Since becoming Green Bay's starting quarterback seven years ago, Rodgers has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback in six of seven seasons with the lone exception due to injury (broken clavicle, 2013). Over the past four seasons, Rodgers has compiled a 139:25 TD-to-INT ratio with an average of 8.5 yards per attempt, 112.6 passer rating and 67.0 completion percentage.
Scott Tolzien12201460.90.72409.14

More Fantasy Football QB Resources:

Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Eddie Lacy272122410.6413603.6243.6
Starting slowly while facing three elite rush defenses to start the season, only DeMarco Murray and Le'Veon Bell scored more fantasy points than Lacy did from Weeks 4 to 17. Over those final 13 games of the season, he averaged 18.92 touches for 108.85 YFS per game and scored a total of 13 touchdowns. The benefit of playing with Aaron Rodgers means that opposing defenses are less likely to stack the box to (try to) slow down Lacy. After averaging a relatively modest 4.15 yards per carry as a rookie, Lacy averaged 4.63 YPC last season (and 4.89 YPC over final 13 games).
James Starks974172.6191600.676.9
The backup to one of the league's best running backs, Starks isn't going to get a heavy workload barring an injury to Eddie Lacy. As much as the team blows out their opponents, however, there is the potential for him to get some fourth-quarter carries in addition to providing a breather for Lacy.
John Kuhn2070112860.424
John Crockett361580.5643023.1

More Fantasy Football RB Resources:

Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Randall Cobb9312659.15350.1185.2
Recently turning 25, Cobb re-signed with the Packers prior to the official start of NFL free agency. Of course, playing in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense helps to maximize his fantasy value this year and going forward. Cobb finished the season with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, all of which set career highs, but I would be surprised if he scored 12 touchdowns again in 2015. That said, the season-ending ACL injury to Jordy Nelson means that Cobb should finish as a top-eight fantasy receiver in 2015.
Davante Adams729298.3000142.7
After a boost in playing time down the stretch and a strong offseason, all signs pointed to Adams taking a step forward in year two. That said, no player benefits more by Nelson's injury (from a fantasy perspective) than Adams, who finished with 38/446/3 numbers as a rookie.
Jeff Janis457346.5000112.4
With Nelson's injury, it opens the door for a receiver like Janis, or perhaps third-round rookie Ty Montgomery, to emerge as the team's No. 3 receiver. With elite measurables (6-foot-3, 219, 4.4 forty), the small-school product has plenty of upside if he's able to secure the No. 3 role.
Ty Montgomery323751.816048.9

More Fantasy Football WR Resources:

Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Richard Rodgers444845.380.2
Andrew Quarless181961.327.4

More Fantasy Football TE Resources:

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Continue reading "Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Green Bay Packers" »

August 23, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 7th Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 7 pick, standard scoring, individual defensive players (IDP)
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST, Flex (RB, WR or TE) and one IDP
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.07 - Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Over the past two seasons, Brown has 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. More impressive than his overall production is his consistency as Brown now has at least five catches and 50 yards in 33 consecutive games counting a playoff game.

- Poll: Will Brown post 5+ catches and 50+ yards in all 16 games this season?

2.06 - Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions: Megatron has missed five games over the past two seasons and was a decoy in a few others, but he has the ability to take over any game when healthy. While I prefer to at least have my first running back by my second-round pick, Johnson was my top-ranked player available and this format starts three receivers.

3.07 - Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Gore has four consecutive 1,100-yard seasons and has not missed a game during that span. His age (32) is a bit of a concern, but the team views him as a three-down back and signing with the Colts is a huge boost in offense.

4.06 - T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Yeldon figures to become the team's three-down back sooner rather than later and it wouldn't surprise me if led all rookie backs in touches. The only real concern with Yeldon is the team's relative lack of offensive production, which could limit his scoring opportunities.

5.07 - Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills: At this point, the debate was Davante Adams or Watkins, but fortunately I ended up with both. There is no denying Watkins talent, but there is certainly concern about the team's quarterback situation.

6.06 - Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams: All signs point to the Rams taking things slow with Gurley, who is about nine months removed from a torn ACL. At some point, however, he should emerge as the team's lead back and he's one of the most talented backs to enter the league in years.

7.07 - Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers: While the loss of Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL obviously hurts the Packers, no player benefits more than Adams, who should start opposite Randall Cobb in two-wide sets. Being the No. 2 receiver in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense is obviously a good thing.

8.06 - Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: Finishing as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2014, Manning build plenty of momentum as he gained comfort within a new offensive scheme. Not only will he have more comfort in year two, but the team's skill-position players are healthy/better heading into 2015.

9.07 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: Even if Foster misses eight games, which seems to be a worst-case scenario, I'd be more than comfortable taking him here, but there appears to be a decent chance that he misses less. Once he returns, however, he immediately becomes this team's best fantasy running back.

10.06 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Despite ranking 31st in the league in passing yards over the past two years, Boldin has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns.

11.07 - DeAndre Levy, LB, Detroit Lions: Levy is coming off a career season (121 tackles) and played every defensive snap last season for the Lions.

12.06 - Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans: Walker set career highs of 63 catches and 890 yards in his second season in Tennessee. There may be more weekly inconsistency with a rookie quarterback, but it's also possible that he sees more targets as Mariota's safety valve.

13.07 - Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers: The season-ending ACL injury to Kelvin Benjamin opens the door for Funchess to lead the team's receiving corps in targets in 2015. While I don't expect him to post Benjamin-like numbers from last season, he should outperform his draft slot in this mock.

14.06 - Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants: Randle posted career highs of 71 catches for 938 yards in his age-23 season. Depending on the health of the team's other receivers, it may be difficult for him to exceed those numbers, but he has upside as my WR7.

15.07 - Carolina Panthers D/ST

16.06 - Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions: Especially if I draft a top-four fantasy tight end, I'll draft only one tight end in a 12-team league. Having waited this time, however, Ebron is an ideal (high-upside) TE2. Based on talent and athleticism, it's possible that he breaks out this season, but if he doesn't, I have a solid low-end TE1 in Walker.

17.07 - Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta Falcons

- View full mock draft results here

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2015 Fantasy Football Resources:

Continue reading "2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 7th Pick" »

2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Pittsburgh Steelers

In addition to viewing our 2015 Fantasy Football Projections by position, we have posted our preseason projections per team.

Below you find our 2015 fantasy football projections for the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Ben Roethlisberger408615488931.411.131900.2320.26
Based on his 2014 average draft position (ADP), Roethlisberger was one of the biggest draft values last season. Only four quarterbacks scored more fantasy points and he threw for a career-high 4,952 yards, which tied Drew Brees last season for the league lead, and 32 touchdowns, which tied a previous career high. With continuity on the offensive line and one of the league's best group of pass catchers, it wouldn't surprise me if Big Ben posted another top-five finish in 2015.

More Fantasy Football QB Resources:

Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Le'Veon Bell25811749.8686322.6255
Unfortunately for Bell (and his fantasy owners), he's suspended for the first two games of the season (although that was cut from his initial three-game ban). Once he returns, however, Bell's versatility makes him a true three-down back and his production won't vary much based on game flow. Named 2014 AP First-Team All-Pro Team, Bell racked up 1,361 rushing yards, 83 receptions for 854 yards and 11 total touchdowns in his second season. Bell broke single-season franchise records for yards from scrimmage and receptions by a running back. Over the course of last year, he averaged 17.97 fantasy points per game although his production spiked to 24.7/G with LeGarrette Blount out of the picture down the stretch.
DeAngelo Williams782891.6171280.151.9
Williams has had some really productive NFL seasons -- 1,515 rushing yards and 18 rushing scores in 2008, as an example -- and has averaged 4.78 YPC over his career. Now 32 years old, Williams won't be the featured back for his new team (starting in Week 4). With Le'Veon Bell suspended for the first three games, however, Williams is expected to lead the team's backfield in touches during that span. After that point, however, Williams would do well to average five carries per game over the final 13 games.
Dri Archer227701260013.7
Josh Harris24820.10008.8

More Fantasy Football RB Resources:

Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Antonio Brown119159512.55230236.8
Surprisingly, Brown never finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in any given week in 2014. (In fact, that applies to both standard- and PPR-scoring formats.) Yet no wide receiver had more fantasy points over the course of the season -- in either format -- than Brown. Over the past two seasons, Brown has a combined 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. More impressive than his overall level of production, however, is his consistency. Counting the playoffs, Brown has at least five catches and 50 yards in 33 consecutive games.

Poll: Will Brown reach 5/50 in all 16 games again this year?
Martavis Bryant569247.83150140.7
Inactive for the first six games, Bryant went on a scoring spree in his first four NFL games with a total of six touchdowns during that span. After that point, Bryant had just 12 catches for 239 yards and two touchdowns in the final six games of the season. Recent comments from Big Ben suggest that Markus Wheaton will start opposite Brown in two-WR sets, but Bryant is clearly the more talented option and he has plenty of upside heading into his second season.
Markus Wheaton556233.5312084.5
Per NFL Network's Albert Breer, Wheaton "[probably] had best offseason of the Steelers WRs." And Big Ben has predicted a breakout season for Wheaton. That said, Wheaton barely finished as a top-60 fantasy receiver (either format) last year with his 53/644/2 slash line.
Sammie Coates7920.500012.2
Darrius Heyward-Bey22100002.1

More Fantasy Football WR Resources:

Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Heath Miller596553.385.3
Miller parlayed 91 targets last season into a 66/761/3 stat line, which was good for the 11th-most fantasy points among tight ends in 2014. While he only has four touchdowns in 30 games over the past two seasons, but he's one of 10 tight ends I have projected for 60-plus catches in 2015.
Jesse James131591.122.5

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2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Minnesota Vikings

In addition to viewing our 2015 Fantasy Football Projections by position, we have posted our preseason projections per team.

Below you find our 2015 fantasy football projections for the Minnesota Vikings:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Teddy Bridgewater359535415026.113.4542321.1286.8
Bridgewater improved throughout his rookie season, which is something you always want to see with a young quarterback. All four of his games with a completion percentage of at least 70 percent occurred within the final five games of the season. In addition, Bridgewater posted a 1:5 TD-to-INT ratio in his first four games but improved to a 13:7 TD-to-INT ratio for the remainder of the season. With the attention that Adrian Peterson commands from opposing defenses, it should open up the passing offense for Bridgewater in year two. Through two preseason games, Bridgewater has looked sharp.

More Fantasy Football QB Resources:

Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Adrian Peterson298135612.2382720.9241.4
One of the league's all-time best running backs, Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards back just a couple of seasons ago. Assuming that he plays all 16 games (or close to it), the 30-year-old Peterson should finish as a top-five (or better) back in 2015.
Jerick McKinnon753491.6322080.467.7
When McKinnon was on the field last year, he was productive (4.76 YPC) and he averaged 16.38 touches per game from Weeks 4 to 12 before missing the rest of the year due to injury. McKinnon's volume of work won't approach anything close to 16 touches per game with Adrian Peterson back as the team's workhorse.
Matt Asiata361302.114880.336.2

More Fantasy Football RB Resources:

Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Charles Johnson7210155.7000135.7
Possessing an impressive combination of size (6-2, 225) and athleticism (sub-4.4 forty), Johnson was reunited with Norv Turner in Minnesota after being released by the receiver-deficient Browns last offseason. In the final six games of the season, Johnson was on the field for all but 19 of the team's offensive snaps. And over his final seven games, Johnson posted 25 receptions for 415 yards and two touchdowns. With a full offseason and the continued development of second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Johnson should pick up where he left off last season.
Mike Wallace588767.2180131.6
The Dolphins certainly had some buyer's remorse after signing him to a big free-agent contract two offseasons ago and traded him to the Vikings this offseason. Wallace has three consecutive mediocre seasons of less than 1,000 yards and has averaged just 13.1, 12.7 and 12.9 Y/R over the past three seasons, respectively. Perhaps the change of scenery and Norv Turner's vertical-passing attack will help Wallace live up to his potential and exceed this ranking.
Cordarrelle Patterson293282.3121261.568.2
Jarius Wright364902.2436065.8
Stefon Diggs101310.300014.9

More Fantasy Football WR Resources:

Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Kyle Rudolph495155.483.9
Rudolph has failed to reach double-digit games in each of the past two seasons. While he has the potential to excel in the red zone (nine touchdowns in 2012), Rudolph has just five touchdowns in 17 games over the past two years. While Norv Turner runs a tight end-friendly offense, Rudolph actually posted three-year lows on a per-game basis in receptions (2.67/G) and receiving yards (25.7/G) in his only season with Turner.
MyCole Pruitt212271.431.1

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Jordy Nelson likely out for season with torn ACL

Non-contact injuries are never good and the worst is feared for Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson.

Assuming that Nelson is lost for the season with a torn ACL, it's obviously a huge blow to the Packers offense, but several players stand to benefit with an increased role and targets.

Nelson set career highs last season with 151 targets, 98 receptions and 1,519 yards and was tied for the second-most fantasy points with Denver's Demaryius Thomas behind Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown. That production won't go to one player, but no player benefits more than second-year receiver Davante Adams.

Earlier this offseason, coach Mike McCarthy dubbed Adams as the MVP of the team's OTAs and he has continued to receive praise throughout training camp as well.

No player benefits more than Adams, who had 38 catches on 66 targets for 446 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie. While the Packers use plenty of three-WR sets, Adams will now start opposite Randall Cobb in two-wide formations.

Meanwhile, Jeff Janis and Ty Montgomery have some late-round upside and I'd expect Janis to earn the No. 3 role heading into the season. In addition, Richard Rodgers should see more targets with the injury to Nelson.

While Aaron Rodgers is still a top-two fantasy quarterback heading into 2015, the loss of one of the league's best receivers solidifies Andrew Luck's spot ahead of Rodgers in my fantasy quarterback rankings.

[Note: I will update my Green Bay Packers' Fantasy Football Projections later tonight.]

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