September 01, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 12

We have now completed the 12-round, 12-team 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft that we began on August 22nd.

Although the season is less than 10 days away, we have begun a new PPR mock draft and we will post those results as rounds are completed, so stay tuned.

For now, here are Round 12 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

12.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers

Winning the Comeback Player of the Year award in 2013, Rivers followed up his bounce-back season with 4,286 yards and 31 touchdowns but he also threw 18 interceptions. Dealing with a back injury, Rivers threw seven of those interceptions in the final three games of the season. Rivers should be a relatively safe bet for 4,000-plus yards and around 30 touchdowns once again in 2015. If Sam Bradford (11.12) stays healthy, Sean will have two potential top-12 fantasy quarterbacks to play based on matchups.

12.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Dorsett appears to be ahead of Donte Moncrief for the team's No. 3 receiver role and the first-round rookie from The U. has speed to spare. That said, there will likely be plenty of inconsistency from Dorsett on a weekly basis unless there is an injury to T.Y. Hilton or Andre Johnson.

12.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants

Randle set career highs in his age-23 season with 71 catches for 938 yards as both Odell Beckham (four games) and Victor Cruz (10 games) missed a total of 14 games last year. It's unlikely that Randle will exceed last year's production without an injury to Cruz or OBJ, though.

12.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins

Jones has looked great this preseason -- 20 carries for 139 yards (7.0 YPC) -- and the third-rounder out of Florida should earn the third-down role behind Alfred Morris with the potential to steal some early-down touches from Alf as well.

12.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Percy Harvin, WR, Buffalo Bills

Wearing out his welcome in Minnesota and Seattle, it's a positive that he followed Rex to Buffalo after a brief stint together over the second half of last season. That said, Harvin is the third option, at best, in the low-powered Buffalo offense.

12.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts

Fleener finished with 774 yards and eight touchdowns, both of which were career highs, on 51 receptions last season. Unsurprisingly, Fleener's best games last season came in games that Dwayne Allen was out. In the four games that Allen missed or left early due to injury, Fleener had 355 yards and four touchdowns. In the other 12 games, he had just 419 yards and four touchdowns.

12.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings

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 four preseason games, Bridgewater has been extremely efficient, completing 82.9 percent of his pass attempts (29 of 35) for 295 yards although he has thrown just one touchdown.

12.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers

The backup to one of the league's best running backs, Starks (Sean's RB6) 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.

12.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Ty Montgomery, WR, Green Bay Packers

The season-ending knee injury to Jordy Nelson has moved Davante Adams into the team's starting lineup opposite Randall Cobb and opens the door for someone to emerge as the No. 3 receiver. I'd prefer Jeff Janis due to his upside, but the rookie out of Stanford started ahead of Janis in three-wide sets on Saturday.

12.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Andre Williams, RB, New York Giants

As a rookie, Williams led the team in carries (217), rushing yards (721) and rushing touchdowns (seven), but he averaged just 3.3 YPC and exceeded 3.5 YPC in only three games. Over the final four games of the season, the 230-pound back had 83 carries for 328 yards (3.95 YPC) and two touchdowns. Williams may only be the third-most productive fantasy back behind Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen, but he could be first in line for goal-line carries. Plus, Jennings' shaky durability could lead to a few big games for Williams.

12.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): Roy Helu, RB, Oakland Raiders

In four seasons, Helu has been relatively productive on a per-touch basis (4.4 YPC, 8.9 Y/R). At a minimum, Helu will get a lot of work as the team's third-down back, but there is upside with unproven Latavius Murray as the featured back.

12.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots

Even though Amendola played a full 16-game season last year, he finished with only 200 yards and one touchdown. He was more involved down the stretch -- 23 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns over the final five games counting the playoffs -- and it's possible that Brandon LaFell (foot) ends up on the reserve/PUP list.

> Go back Round 11 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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2015 Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Weekly Movement: Sept. 1st Update

Every Monday this offseason (although Tuesday this week), 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. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles: -17.0 (108.8 on 8/24 to 91.8 on 9/1)
  2. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: -9.0 (97.4 to 88.4)
  3. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: -7.8 (161.0 to 153.2)

Running Backs:

  1. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos: -37.2 (152.7 to 115.5)
  2. Arian Foster, Houston Texans: -17.6 (63.8 to 46.2)
  3. Matt Jones, Washington Redskins: -16.0 (104.1 to 89.7)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers: -41.2 (76.4 to 35.2)
  2. Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers: -38.9 (125.7 to 86.8)
  3. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers: -18.2 (110.8 to 92.6)

Tight Ends:

  1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals: -9.5 (117.4 to 107.9)
  2. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts: -4.5 (144.9 to 140.4)
  3. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: -4.3 (130.8 to 126.5)

Biggest weekly fallers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: +9.5 (103.9 on 8/24 to 113.4 on 9/1)
  2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: +6.1 (53.0 to 59.1)
  3. Eli Manning, New York Giants: +5.0 (94.4 to 99.6)

Running Backs:

  1. David Cobb, Tennessee Titans: +16.3 (89.1 to 105.4)
  2. Jonas Gray, New England Patriots: +14.1 (116.1 to 130.2)
  3. Reggie Bush, San Francisco 49ers: +12.2 (123.5 to 135.7)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Breshad Perriman, Baltimore Ravens: +24.6 (112.0 to 136.6)
  2. Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots: +20.8 (100.1 to 120.9)
  3. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins: +19.6 (111.7 to 131.3)

Tight Ends:

  1. Josh Hill, New Orleans Saints: +12.7 (143.3 to 156.0)
  2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: +10.0 (122.5 to 132.5)
  3. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars: +6.7 (81.1 to 87.8)

[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

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August 31, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 11th 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. 11 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:

1.11 - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos: In three seasons playing with Peyton Manning, Thomas has exceeded 90 catches and 1,400 yards with double-digit touchdowns each season. Repeating last year's career numbers (111/1,619/11) may not happen, but Thomas should post a fourth consecutive 90/1,400/10 line.

2.02 - Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears: Forte set the running back single-season record with 102 receptions last season. With the coaching change(s), Forte won't come close to 100 catches this year, but 60-plus catches seems reasonable. Forte has 1,400-plus yards from scrimmage in all seven of his NFL seasons.

3.11 - Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts: It's unlikely that Johnson bounces back to his 2013 numbers (109 catches for 1,407 yards), but I do expect better numbers in 2015 from Johnson. Although he recently turned 34, Johnson gets a significant quarterback (Andrew Luck) and offensive upgrade with the Colts.

4.02 - Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots: Edelman hasn't played in the preseason, but he should be ready to go for the season opener next week. Soon we should know whether or not Tom Brady will be under center for that game (or any of the first four). If he is, that is obviously better news for Edelman, but he has averaged 6.6 receptions per game for 67.6 yards over the past two seasons.

5.11 - Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce finished with 67 receptions for 862 yards and five touchdowns with the sixth-most fantasy points (PPR) among tight ends last season. With no health restrictions or snap counts, the sky's the limit for Baby Gronk in 2015.

6.02 - T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Sooner or later, Yeldon figures to become Jacksonville's every-down back even if it isn't the case in Week 1.

7.11 - Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Even though Jeremy Hill enters 2015 as the team's lead back, there is value, especially in PPR formats, with Bernard as a change-of-pace back. As an example, Hill carried the ball 22-plus times for 100-plus yards in each of the three final games in 2014, but Bernard finished as a top-12 fantasy RB (PPR) in those same games.

8.02 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: There is growing optimism that Foster will miss only a few games to start the season. Missing three games in 2014, Foster finished as a top-five fantasy running back and he has a ton of upside here.

9.11 - Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: Manning started slowly but finished strong -- five top-five weekly finishes in his last 10 games (only Aaron Rodgers had as many). With healthier receivers and more comfort in the offensive scheme, Manning should build upon last year's success.

10.02 - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers: With Melvin Gordon likely to get the majority of early-down work, Woodhead should handle the bulk of third-down snaps. In his last full season, he finished with 76 catches, 1,034 YFS and eight touchdowns.

11.11 - Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams: Off to a great start last season, Quick missed the second half of the season after tearing his rotator cuff. Provided he can stay healthy for the full season, perhaps this will be his breakout season.

12.02 - Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Failing to build upon his 2013 breakout season, the quarterback situation (injuries) was (were) at least partly to blame. At a lower draft-day cost, Floyd has upside as my WR5.

13.11 - Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Wheaton barely finished as a top-60 fantasy receiver last season, but Ben Roethlisberger has predicted a breakout season for him and the four-game suspension of Martavis Bryant helps his fantasy outlook as well.

14.02 - Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants: Aided by injuries to Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, Randle set career highs of 71 receptions for 938 yards in his age-23 season. More than likely, it will take an injury to Cruz and ODB for Randle to exceed last year's numbers, but he has upside here.

15.11 - Miami Dolphins D/ST

16.02 - Steven Hauschka, K, Seattle Seahawks:

- View full mock draft results here

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August 30, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 4th 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. 4 pick, standard 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:

1.04 - Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers: One week after losing Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL, the Packers were nearly dealt another major injury with Randall Cobb, who escaped with a sprained AC joint. With Aaron Rodgers keeping opposing defenses honest, Lacy has rushed for 1,100-plus yards and scored double-digit touchdowns in each of his first two seasons and is a good bet to do so again this year.

2.09 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Assuming the lead-back role down the stretch, no player rushed for more yards than Hill (929) over the final nine games of the season. Lacy and Hill are my RB2 and RB7, respectively, so I'm thrilled to get both to start this mock.

3.04 - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans: In his age-22 season, Hopkins took a big step forward with 76 catches for 1,210 yards and six touchdowns. Although he's limited by poor quarterback play, Hopkins should build upon last year's success and he finished as fantasy's WR15 in 2014.

4.09 - Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers: Gordon is off to a slow start this preseason (20 carries for 45 yards), but he figures to handle the bulk of the team's early-down carries. I'd be comfortable with him as my RB2 so I obviously like him more as my flex.

5.04 - Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: The most pro-ready receiver in this year's draft class, Cooper became Alabama's first-ever Biletnikoff Award winner. Not only will Cooper enter the season as Oakland's No. 1 receiver, but only three teams threw the ball more often than the Raiders last season.

6.09 - Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears: Bennett posted career highs of 90 receptions, which led all tight ends last season, for 916 yards and six touchdowns. With Brandon Marshall traded and the injury to Kevin White, Bennett has a chance to come close to last year's numbers.

7.04 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: It's unclear how many games Foster will miss following his groin surgery, but there is plenty of optimism that he may only miss a few games. Last year, Foster missed three games yet finished as a top-five fantasy running back on the team that led the NFL in rush attempts (551).

8.09 - Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Although Fitzgerald is 0-for-3 in 1,000-yard seasons over the past three years, he has averaged 5.18/65.32/0.55 in the 22 games that both he and Carson Palmer have appeared. If both stay healthy for 16 games and maintain their same pace, it's a 16-game equivalent of 83/1,045/9.

9.04 - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins: Tannehill set career highs across the board last season and finished with the eighth-most fantasy points among QBs last season. Tannehill has looked sharp this preseason and has upside from his QB12 spot in this mock.

10.09 - Charles Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings: Emerging in the second half of last season (with his third team in two NFL seasons), Johnson has a chance to build upon last year's late-season success with offseason continuity. Even though the Vikings traded for Mike Wallace, I expect Johnson to lead the team's receivers in fantasy points this season.

11.04 - Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Smith started slowly, but he finished strong as he scored 10 touchdowns in the final 11 games of the season. Even though I have Brian Quick ranked higher, I took Smith first given the likelihood (via FantasyPros pick predictor: see below) that I'd have a better chance to get both if I selected them in that order.

12.09 - Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams: Quick started the season strong with four consecutive weekly top-25 finishes, but his season ended prematurely due to a torn rotator cuff. Provided he can stay healthy for a full season, perhaps his breakout comes this year.

13.04 - James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers: Even if Lacy got hurt, the trio of Hill, Foster and MG3 means that Starks may not find his way into my starting lineup in that scenario. That said, what RB available in Round 13 would?

14.09 - Baltimore Ravens D/ST

15.04 - Steven Hauschka, K, Seattle Seahawks

- View full mock draft results here

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 11

We are now heading into the final round of our new 12-round 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft as the first 11 rounds are now complete.

Here are Round 11 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

11.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins

Garcon has now played full 16-game seasons in back-to-back years for the first time in his career. Things weren't all positive for Garcon, however, as his production was nearly cut in half to 68 catches for 752 yards and three touchdowns. (Garcon had 113/1,346/5 in 2013.) That said, the team is expected to make a more concerted effort to get the ball into Garcon's hands in 2015.

11.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

A big back (6-1, 224) with excellent receiving skills, Johnson had over 200 receiving yards in the game against Iowa last season. By signing Chris Johnson to a one-year deal, the third-round rookie isn't a lock to get the second-most touches among the team's backs this season. That said, it's fair to question Andre Ellington's ability to hold up for a full 16-game season, which gives (I suppose either) Johnson some upside.

11.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Generating plenty of buzz prior to the draft highlighted by a pair of sub-4.3's run at the UCF Pro Day, Perriman is the son of ex-NFL receiver Brent Perriman, who has a 1,400-yard season under his belt with the Lions. Much bigger than his father, Perriman (6-1, 212) has had some issues with drops and needs to improve as a route-runner, but he's a big play waiting to happen (when healthy). Coming off a career-best 50/1,044/9 season, Perriman has averaged more than 20.0 Y/R over the past two seasons and is an excellent fit to replace Torrey Smith as a vertical threat in this offense (again, when healthy).

11.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins

Stills set career highs with 63 receptions for a team-high 931 yards in his second season with the Saints, but he was traded to the Dolphins this offseason. One of the areas in which Ryan Tannehill has struggled is with downfield accuracy, which doesn't necessarily bode well for the speedy Stills.

11.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Owen Daniels, TE, Denver Broncos

Daniels had 48 catches for 527 yards and four touchdowns last season in Baltimore and he has once again followed Coach Kubiak to Denver this offseason. While I don't expect 12 touchdowns from Daniels, which the departed Julius Thomas had done in each of the past two years in Denver, I would expect an improvement across the board from his 48/527/4 line from last season.

11.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Jonas Gray, RB, New England Patriots

It's not often that a running rushes for 201 yards with four touchdowns one week and is a healthy scratch the next. So what to make of Gray's projected workload is anyone's guess. Of course, that's the norm with Bill Belichick and the workloads given to New England's running backs.

11.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Tennessee Titans

Receiving some pre-draft comparisons to Calvin Johnson, DGB isn't nearly as athletic as Megatron, but he has sub-4.5 speed with tremendous size (6-5, 237). Green-Beckham, the No. 1 overall high school recruit in 2012 (via Rivals.com), has the upside and potential to emerge as the best fantasy receiver out of this year's draft class long term, but his immediate impact could be limited after sitting out the 2014 college season.

11.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Carolina Panthers

The biggest appeal with taking Artis-Payne late is the durability of Jonathan Stewart -- or lack thereof. The Daily Show was one of the league's most productive backs down the stretch and he enters 2015 as the team's featured back, but he has missed 20 games over the past three seasons. If Stewart misses time, CAP should lead the team in touches in those games.

11.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

Eifert's 2014 season ended almost as soon as it began with a dislocated elbow injury in Week 1. As a rookie and part of a timeshare with Jermaine Gresham, Eifert posted a solid 39/445/2 line in 2013. Now healthy and with Gresham gone, Eifert will be counted on to be a significant part of their passing attack. Provided he stays healthy, it wouldn't surprise me if the former first-round pick finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end in 2015.

11.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

Missing two games and at less than 100 percent for much of the season, it was a down year for Newton. That said, Newton has now exceeded 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in all four of his NFL seasons. Over those four seasons, he has averaged 3,606 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns per season as well as 643 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Despite the down year, Newton finished seventh in fantasy points per game (17.78) among QBs. And before last season, Newton finished as a top-four fantasy quarterback in his first three NFL seasons. Before the injury to Kelvin Benjamin, I was much higher on Newton, but I still expect him to finish as a top-10 fantasy QB in 2015.

11.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill posted career highs in passing yards (4,045), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (66.4) with a career low in interceptions (12) in his first year playing for new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. In addition, he rushed for a career-high 311 yards, which ranked fifth among all quarterbacks last season. Starting in Week 6, Tannehill finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in six of 11 weeks, but he finished with the eighth-most fantasy points over the full season. The team's group of top pass-catchers was entirely turned over except for Jarvis Landry, but Tannehill is a high-upside QB2 for Brendan behind Drew Brees.

11.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

In five NFL seasons since being drafted first overall by the Rams, Bradford has played a total of 49 games -- and only seven of 32 games in the past two years. If, a big if, Bradford starts 16 games for the Eagles, however, he has the potential to finish as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in 2015. The duo of Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez combined to throw 4,581 yards, 27 touchdowns and 21 interceptions last season and score 258.74 fantasy points, which would have placed them 14th among quarterbacks last year.

> Continue to Round 12 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back Round 10 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 10

Last weekend, we began a "slow" Fantasy Football Mock Draft and we are now down to the final two rounds of our 12-round mock.

Here are Round 10 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

10.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants

With his season cut short after six games due to a torn patellar tendon, Cruz averaged just 56.2 yards per game, a four-year low, with only one touchdown. While he avoided the PUP list to start the season, there is still significant separation between Cruz and and the team's new No. 1 wide receiver, Odell Beckham.

10.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Overall, it was a disappointing season for Smith, who either set or tied career lows with 49 receptions for 767 yards. On a positive note, however, Smith set a career high with 11 touchdowns and he was much more productive from Week 6 to 17. During that span, Smith averaged 3.8/59.1/0.9 per game and scored the 14th-most fantasy points among receivers on a per-game basis. One of the league's more dangerous vertical threats, Smith fills a void for the 49ers, but his weekly production could remain relatively volatile.

10.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

In the first six games of the season, Eli finished outside the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in all but one game. Over the final 10 games of the season, however, Manning posted five weekly top-five performances. No quarterback had more top-five finishes during that span; only Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers had as many.

With better health from his wide receivers and the free-agent addition of Shane Vereen, a talented receiver out of the backfield, plus more comfort and familiarity with Ben McAdoo's offense, Eli has the potential to post career numbers in 2015. In addition, only Tampa and Washington have a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule than Eli does.

10.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Floyd opened (5/119) and closed (8/153/2) the season with a bang, but there weren't many bright spots in between. Floyd had zero, one or two receptions in eight games last season and finished the year with a 47/841/6 line after his breakout second season (66/1,054/5). Given the team's quarterback injuries, however, it's no surprise that we didn't see Floyd take another step forward in 2014. With less buzz entering 2015 drafts, Floyd has some bounce-back appeal at a lower draft-day cost than in 2014.

10.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Replacing LeSean McCoy with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews means that Sproles goes from second in line for touches to third. That said, Chip Kelly should continue to find ways to get Sproles the ball in space and recently described him as a "Swiss army knife." While he isn't exactly a handcuff for Murray, who Dan selected at 1.08, Sproles' weekly value will rise considerably in the games that Murray (or Mathews) misses.

10.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis Colts

With eight touchdowns on only 29 receptions in 13 games, Allen is one of the league's better red-zone options at the position. In weeks he doesn't score, however, Allen's lack of volume (2.23 catches per game) will lead to mostly boom (scores a touchdown) or bust (doesn't score a touchdown) outcomes.

10.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints

On a per-game basis, Colston's 3.69 receptions, 6.25 targets and 56.38 yards per game were all career lows. One positive for Colston personally, not the offense in general, is that the team traded away both Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills so perhaps his targets and production will see a slight bump in 2015.

10.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos

Hillman had a couple of very productive games last season and he has a shot to earn the RB2 role behind C.J. Anderson. Hillman has run the ball well -- 16 carries for 120 yards (7.5 YPC) -- and has garnered praise from head coach Gary Kubiak this preseason.

10.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sims, who rushed for 3,465 yards in college but also added 203 receptions for 2,108 yards, was less than impressive as a rookie (2.8 YPC). While Doug Martin enters the season atop the depth chart and has looked much better than he has the past two seasons, he has missed 15 games over the past two seasons.

10.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Wheaton barely finished as a top-60 fantasy receiver (either format) last year with his 53/644/2 slash line, but he should improve upon those numbers in year three (perhaps by quite a bit). 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, who will start opposite Antonio Brown. In addition, second-year receiver Martavis Bryant will be suspended for the first four games of the season.

10.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams

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.

10.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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 3). With Le'Veon Bell suspended for the first two 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 14 games.

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Julio Jones, Falcons agree to five-year contract extension

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was about to enter the final year of his rookie contract, but there was no way that the team would have allowed him to hit the free-agent market.

And now Jones won't be able to become a free agent until the 2021 offseason as the two sides agreed to a five-year extension, per SI's Peter King.

In his fourth NFL season, Jones shattered his previous career highs with 104 receptions and 1,593 yards although he scored only six touchdowns.

Jones found more success in the red zone (18 touchdowns on 133 catches) in his first two seasons compared to his past two seasons (eight touchdowns on 145 catches), but he has the size (6-3, 220) and speed to be dominant in the red zone.

Going into the 2015 season, I have Jones projected for a stat line of 106/1,579/10 and he's my third-ranked fantasy wide receiver behind Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and Dallas' Dez Bryant. In PPR formats, I have Jones ranked second behind Brown.

In addition, Jones and the Falcons wide receivers have the second-most favorable fantasy football strength of schedule behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Tight End (TE) Rankings

Here are my fantasy football tight end rankings (standard scoring):

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots: When it comes to fantasy tight ends, he's in a tier all by himself. Named the 2014 AP Comeback Player of the Year after two injury-plagued seasons, Gronkowski posted an 82/1,124/12 stat line over 15 games. Scoring 184.4 fantasy points, Gronk had 30.3 points (or 19.66 percent) more than Antonio Gates, who had the second-most among tight ends. Not only dominant over a full season, but Gronk was consistent as well finishing as a top-five weekly scorer at the position in eight of 15 games and a top-11 scorer in all but two games.

2. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks: 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. Over his past four seasons, however, Graham has averaged 89 catches, 1,099 yards and 12 touchdowns per year. 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).

3. Travis Kelce, 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 (sixth-most in PPR formats) among tight ends last season. With good health, the sky is the limit for Kelce in 2015.

4. Greg Olsen, 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.

5. Martellus Bennett, 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 Brandaon 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. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: Ertz saw a year-over-year jump from 36 catches and 469 yards as a rookie to 58 catches for 702 yards, 11th-most among tight ends last season. With Jeremy Maclin leaving Philadelphia for Kansas City, however, Ertz should become even more involved in the passing game. That said, he was still working with the second-team offense before undergoing a surgery to repair a groin tear.

7. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars: Slowed by injuries, Thomas followed up a breakout 2013 season with only 43 catches for 489 yards, but he once again scored 12 touchdowns. Signing a massive free-agent deal with the Jaguars, Thomas is unlikely to approach that red-zone success again this year. Aside from the Browns (12), no other team threw fewer touchdowns than the Jaguars (15) last season.

8. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: 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.

9. Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins: In 2013, Cameron had a breakout season with 80 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. When healthy, he is clearly a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Unfortunately, Cameron missed six games last season and has a history of concussions. Perhaps no injury is more worrisome from a fantasy outlook given the greater susceptibility and unpredictability of a recurrence. If Cameron plays 16 games in 2015, however, he has top-five upside.

10. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans: Walker set career highs in both receptions (63) and yards (890) and led the team in both categories last season. It may be difficult for Walker to repeat that production with a rookie quarterback, but he could once again finish as a top-10 fantasy tight end.

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver (WR) Rankings

A wide receiver has scored 250-plus fantasy points 12 times in the history of the NFL.

Nearly half of those 250-point seasons belong to one player, Jerry Rice (five). Only four of them have occurred since the turn of the century — Randy Moss (2003 and 2007), Calvin Johnson (2011) and now Antonio Brown (2014).

Amazingly, Brown never finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in any given week throughout the 2014 season. (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. He also has 17 rushing yards and two return touchdowns. More impressive than his overall level of production, however, has been his consistency.

Brown had at least five receptions and 70 yards in all 17 games (counting their playoff loss) last season. Going back to the start of 2013, Brown has at least five catches and 50 yards in 33 consecutive games.

One of the things that you'll often hear in fantasy football is that you can't win your league in the first round, but you can lose it. With Brown's production and consistency, there isn't a safer first-round pick.

Here are my fantasy football wide receiver rankings for 2015:

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: See above.

2. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys: 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.

3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: 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.

4. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos: Despite his slow start, Thomas reached the 100-yard mark in 10 of his final 13 games and finished with a full-season stat line of 111 catches and 1,619 yards, both of which were career highs, and 11 touchdowns. A fourth consecutive year of 90-plus receptions, 1,400-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns seems like a strong possibility with Peyton Manning back for (at least) one more year.

5. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: Including playoff appearances, Megatron has more 200-yard games (six) than any other receiver in league history. And while he still has as much potential as any receiver to take over a given game, he has missed a total of five games in 2013 and 2014. Johnson also appeared in a few games as a decoy, which can be even worse for fantasy owners than missed games. With five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, however, Megatron has averaged a stat line of 90/1,467/11 during that span.

6. Odell Beckham, New York Giants: Closing the season with nine consecutive games of 90-plus yards, Beckham racked up a massive stat line of 81/1,199/9 on 115 targets during that stretch. In fact, only 11 other receivers had more yards in all of 2014 than OBJ had in his final nine games. And as impressive as that sounds, he was even more dominant over his final four games -- 43/606/7 on 63 targets. While ODB is far from being the biggest receiver, his combination of hands, route-running ability, speed and elusiveness makes him nearly impossible to cover especially in today's age of offense-friendly rules.

7. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals: Injuries kept Green from building upon his 2013 numbers (98/1,426/11), but he extended his streak of 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career to four. Only Megatron (6,214), Brown (5,092) and Demaryius (5,034) have more yards during that four-year span than Green (4,874). With good health, Green is a good bet for 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns in 2015.

8. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers: 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.

9. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears: With the Bears trading Brandon Marshall to the Jets and using a top-seven pick on West Virginia's Kevin White, Jeffery now takes over as the team's clear No. 1 wide receiver. Despite year-over-year dips in both receptions (85) and receiving yards (1,133), Jeffery posted a career high in touchdowns (10) and finished with the 11th-most fantasy points among wide receivers last season.

10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Not only was he one of three rookie receivers to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark last year, but Evans was one of five receivers to score at least 12 touchdowns. From Weeks 9 to 11, he gave us a glimpse of what we can expect when things really click as he posted a massive 21/458/5 line over that three-game stretch. Only 21 years old (turns 22 in August), Evans should take a step forward in 2015 despite playing with a rookie quarterback.

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August 29, 2015

Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Running Back (RB) Rankings

Among fantasy football's major positions, running back is arguably the most difficult to predict.

While I generally prefer to draft at least two running backs within my first three picks, plenty of late(r)-round selections will pay huge dividends for fantasy owners. Of course, identifying them is a little more difficult.

That said, four of the top-12 fantasy running backs last season were drafted, on average, outside the top-30 fantasy running backs last year — Lamar Miller (No. 9, ADP: RB31), Jeremy Hill (No. 10, ADP: RB42), C.J. Anderson (No. 11, ADP: RB65) and Justin Forsett (No. 8, ADP: Undrafted).

With that said, here are my fantasy football running back rankings for 2015:

1. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers: 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.

2. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers: 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).

3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: 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.

4. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs: Despite a somewhat disappointing season, Charles finished with the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs in 2014. The 28-year-old back rushed for 1,033 yards, his fifth 1,000-yard season, and added 40 catches for 291 yards while scoring a total of 14 touchdowns. Despite a year-over-year decline in all of those numbers, the biggest concern was his reduction in workload. After 320-plus touches in back-to-back seasons, Charles had just 246 touches -- 15 running backs had more -- in 2014. Perhaps we won't see Charles get in the 320-range ever again, but it would be a surprise to see him as low as 246 again this season.

5. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks: In his four full seasons in Seattle, Lynch has rushed for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in those seasons. During that four-year span, no player has more rushing yards (5,357), rushing touchdowns (48) and or total touchdowns (56). Beast Mode's production hasn't slowed at all, but his physical running style (granted, he seems to dish out more punishment than he receives), heavy workload (league-high 1,479 regular-season and playoff touches over that four-year span) and age (turned 29 in April) is at least somewhat concerning. That said, Lynch seems to be a lock for another 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in one of the league's most run-dominant offenses.

6. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos: From Week 10 to 17 last year, Anderson finished as a top-five fantasy running back in six of eight games. In the other two games, he was still very productive as the RB10 and RB16 for those given weeks. With a healthy backfield and new coaching staff entering 2015, there is perhaps some uncertainty about how the workload will be allocated, but it appears that CJA is set for a featured-back role. In his mailbag column, Troy Renck of the Denver Post projects Anderson to average 18 carries per game as the team's "bellcow" and to "roll for 1,400 yards."

7. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals: Over the final nine games of the season, Hill had 22-plus carries and 100-plus rushing yards five times including the final three games of the regular season. During that nine-game span, Hill had 172 carries for 929 yards and six touchdowns and no running back had more rushing yards than Hill during that stretch. (Lynch was second with 824 yards.) Going into the 2015 season, Hill is clearly the team's lead back with Giovani Bernard back as the change-of-pace option.

8. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears: Not only did Forte lead all running backs in receptions (102) last year, but only three players had more -- Antonio Brown (129), Demaryius Thomas (111) and Julio Jones (104) -- as he broke the single-season record for receptions by a running back. With the coaching change, Forte isn't likely to see anywhere close to triple-digit receptions again, but he could certainly finish in the neighborhood of 60-70 catches. And although Forte averaged less than four yards per carry for the first time since 2009, he has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons and has exceeded 1,400 yards from scrimmage in all seven of his NFL seasons. Only the Raiders (337) and Bucs (353) ran the ball less than the Bears (355) last season and I'd expect the Bears to be more committed to the run in 2015 to limit Jay Cutler's turnovers.

9. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles: Murray has always been productive on a per-game, per-touch basis. Before last season's career year, Murray averaged 4.95 yards per carry in his first three seasons combined. The issue with Murray (before 2014) was durability as he missed multiple games in each of those three seasons. With a total of 497 touches including the playoffs last year, durability remains Murray's biggest concern in 2015 as well. Even though the team added another talented (and injury-prone) running back (Ryan Mathews) in free agency, I'd expect Murray to still get close to 20 touches per game, when healthy. But will he hold up for another full season?

10. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills: Barely finishing as a top-12 fantasy running back last season, McCoy finished third in the league in rushing (1,319 yards) and was one of only two 300-carry backs. Not only did he average nearly a yard per carry less in 2014 than 2013, however, McCoy also saw his receptions (52 in 2013) and touchdowns (11 in 2013) drop roughly in half to 28 and five, respectively. Despite running behind an inferior offensive line (compared to Philadelphia's), McCoy should see a healthy volume of work within Buffalo's ground-and-pound offense, like last year, but will his per-touch effectiveness bounce back in a less-efficient offense?

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Quarterback (QB) Rankings

It was the first time it happened (or should I say didn't happen?) in a decade.

Three of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation -- Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees -- all finished outside the top-three fantasy quarterbacks in 2014. From 2005 to 2013, at least one of those three quarterbacks had finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback every season.

Could that happen for a second year in a row? Based on my rankings, my answer is yes.

With that said, here are my fantasy football quarterback rankings for 2015:

1. Andrew Luck, 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.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: 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.

3. Russell Wilson, 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. Wilson's volume of pass attempts may not spike in 2015, but the Seahawks pulled off a blockbuster trade for tight end Jimmy Graham, which significantly upgrades the team's weapons in the red zone.

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: After three consecutive 5,000-yard seasons, Brees fell just shy of that mark in 2014 but still tied 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.

5. Ben Roethlisberger, 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. 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.

6. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: With a slow finish to the season, Manning finished the year as the QB4 (312.68 fantasy points) behind Rodgers (354.14), 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 the decline can be attributed to last year's 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.

7. Matt Ryan, 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, 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.

8. Eli Manning, New York Giants: In the first six games of the season, Eli finished outside the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in all but one game. Over the final 10 games of the season, however, Manning posted five weekly top-five performances. With better health from his wide receivers and the free-agent addition of Shane Vereen, a talented receiver out of the backfield, plus more comfort and familiarity with Ben McAdoo's offense, Eli has the potential to post career numbers in 2015. In addition, only Tampa and Washington have a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule than Eli does.

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9. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: Missing two games and at less than 100 percent for much of the season, it was a down year for Newton. That said, Newton has now exceeded 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in all four of his NFL seasons. Over those four seasons, he has averaged 3,606 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns per season as well as 643 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Despite the down year, Newton finished seventh in fantasy points per game (17.78) among QBs. And before last season, Newton finished as a top-four fantasy quarterback in his first three NFL seasons. Before the injury to Kelvin Benjamin, I was much higher on Newton, but I still expect him to finish as a top-10 fantasy QB in 2015.

10. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: Tannehill posted career highs in passing yards (4,045), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (66.4) with a career low in interceptions (12) in his first year playing for new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. In addition, he rushed for a career-high 311 yards, which ranked fifth among all quarterbacks last season. Starting in Week 6, Tannehill finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in six of 11 weeks, but he finished with the eighth-most fantasy points over the full season. The team's group of top pass-catchers was entirely turned over except for Jarvis Landry, but Tannehill has some upside for those that wait on quarterback in 2015.

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 9

We're closing in on the end of our new 12-round 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft that we started last weekend.

Here are Round 9 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

9.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys

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.

9.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

Woodhead missed all but three games last season, but prior to the 2014 season, he had finished as a top-30 fantasy running back in three of his previous four seasons. (Woodhead's the RB42 in this mock.) In his first full season with the Chargers (2013), which also coincided with the only full season for Ryan Mathews, Woodhead had 1,034 yards from scrimmage, 76 receptions and eight total touchdowns. Even though Melvin Gordon should get the bulk of early-down work, Woodhead should get the majority of third-down snaps.

9.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys

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.

9.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

Slowed by injuries, Thomas followed up a breakout 2013 season with only 43 catches for 489 yards, but he once again scored 12 touchdowns. Signing a massive free-agent deal with the Jaguars, Thomas is unlikely to approach that red-zone success for a third straight year. Aside from the Browns (12), no other team threw fewer touchdowns than the Jaguars (15) last season.

9.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans

One year after his 94/1,079/2 breakout season in 2013, Wright's production dropped year over year to 57/715/6 although the issues at quarterback were at least partly to blame. And even though the Titans lost 14 games and nine of them by double digits, Wright saw 10 targets in only one game last season. While it's unlikely that Wright bounces back to his 2013-level production, chemistry between Mariota and Wright have been positive so far so he should improve upon last year's disappointing numbers.

9.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears

Royal posted a 62/778/7 line last year with the Chargers and finished as a top-32 fantasy wide receiver (both scoring formats). Reunited with Jay Cutler via free agency this offseason, Royal's best season was his rookie campaign (91/980/5 with 109 rushing yards) with Cutler as his quarterback. With positive reports all summer and the injury to Kevin White, Royal has plenty of upside.

9.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Reggie Bush, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, Bush missed five games and gained a total of only 550 yards from scrimmage (50.0 per game) while averaging just 3.9 yards per carry and scoring just two touchdowns. Released by the Lions, Bush signed with the 49ers and will at least own a change-of-pace role to unproven second-year back Carlos Hyde.

9.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Jordan Cameron, TE, Miami Dolphins

In 2013, Cameron had a breakout season with 80 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. When healthy, he is clearly a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Unfortunately, Cameron missed six games last season and has a history of concussions. Perhaps no injury is more worrisome from a fantasy outlook given the greater susceptibility and unpredictability of a recurrence. If Cameron plays 16 games in 2015, however, he has top-five upside.

9.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

Ertz saw a year-over-year jump from 36 catches and 469 yards as a rookie to 58 catches for 702 yards, 11th-most among tight ends last season. With Jeremy Maclin leaving Philadelphia for Kansas City, however, Ertz should become even more involved in the passing game. That said, he was still working with the second-team offense before undergoing a surgery to repair a groin tear, both of which dampen his outlook.

9.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns

The all-time rushing leader at The U., Johnson's production is especially impressive considering the school's alumni of talented backs (Frank Gore, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, etc.). While I like Johnson's skill set and his longer-term outlook, there could be some week-to-week variability in Johnson's rookie-season production. With that said, few running backs have generated as much buzz during the offseason and he appears set for a prominent role as a rookie.

9.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets

Unsurprisingly, Decker's first year with the Jets (74/962/5) was worse than his two previous seasons with the Broncos (and Peyton Manning), but he still finished as a top-30 fantasy wide receiver in both standard- and PPR-scoring formats. Both of Decker's 100-yard games came in the final three weeks of the season including a massive 10/221/1 line against the Dolphins in Week 17. Given the team's quarterback situation, Decker's upside is capped, but the addition of Brandon Marshall as a true No. 1 wide receiver should take the attention off of Decker.

9.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Knile Davis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

The best handcuff among fantasy running backs, Davis had some big games when given the opportunity as he finished as a top-eight fantasy running back four times last season. With Jamaal Charles leaving Week 2 early (only two carries) and missing Week 3, Davis had a combined 60 touches for 237 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in those two games.

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2015 Fantasy Football Projections: New England Patriots

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 New England Patriots:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Tom Brady345538394433.47.534410.5290.96
The NFL upheld Brady's four-game suspension for his role in the DeflateGate scandal, but the two sides will meet again in court on August 31st although it's unclear by when the finding will be announced. Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Brady may be willing to accept "some form of suspension" for failure to cooperate without admitting guilt. After a slow start last season, only Peyton Manning (31) threw more touchdowns than Brady (29) from Weeks 5 to 17. With good health once again for Rob Gronkowski, Brady could post top-five production on a per-game basis in 2015 although the exact number of games he plays remains the wild card.
Jimmy Garoppolo48785383.12.3728034.42

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Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
LeGarrette Blount1988719.512650.1151.2
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.
James White522241.6261691.859.7
The departure of Shane Vereen in free agency opens the door for a new third-down back in New England. If that's White (and he appears to be the favorite), he's a nice value at his current ADP.
Jonas Gray843703.129056.5
Brandon Bolden351371.8315026
Travaris Cadet8320171140.920
Dion Lewis20881530017.8

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Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Julian Edelman919835.68520.1137.7
2013 seemed to be a perfect storm for Edelman as he was surrounded by other first-year receivers (either rookies or free agents) and Rob Gronkowski missed more than half of the season due to injury. After his breakout 2013 season (105/1,056/6), however, 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). A high-end WR2 in PPR formats, Edelman is in the low-end WR2/high-end WR3 range for standard-scoring leagues as well.
Brandon LaFell547295.52120107.1
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. The possibility of starting the season on reserve/PUP (and missing at least the team's first six games) threatens his ability to repeat last year's career numbers.
Aaron Dobson304113.900064.5
Danny Amendola343432.412048.9
Reggie Wayne242831.900039.7
It's been a highly productive NFL career for Wayne (1,070 receptions for 14,345 yards -- top eight all-time in both categories) and it will be weird seeing him in a Patriots uniform, but Wayne turns 37 years old in November and he averaged a career-low 12.2 Y/R last season with only 51.9 yards per game, his lowest since 2002.

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Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Rob Gronkowski85121612.7197.8
When it comes to fantasy tight ends, he's in a tier all by himself. Named the 2014 AP Comeback Player of the Year after two injury-plagued seasons, Gronkowski posted an 82/1,124/12 stat line over 15 games. Scoring 184.4 fantasy points, Gronk had 30.3 points (or 19.66 percent) more than Antonio Gates, who had the second-most among tight ends. Not only dominant over a full season, but Gronk was consistent as well finishing as a top-five weekly scorer at the position in eight of 15 games and a top-11 scorer in all but two games.
Scott Chandler8911.618.7
Michael Hoomanawanui2240.13

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2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Cleveland Browns

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 Cleveland Browns:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Josh McCown217355246714.212.4281290.8160.78
Even if Johnny Football weren't shut down for the rest of the preseason, McCown was expected to open the year as the team's starter. Perhaps the injury to Manziel will help McCown hold on to that role a bit longer, but it wouldn't be a surprise if Manziel is starting by the end of the season. After a 13:1 TD-to-INT ratio with the Bears in 2013, McCown posted a 11:14 ratio with the Bucs last year and a similar ratio with the Browns would accelerate McCown's return to the bench.
Johnny Manziel9115510705.34.726990.974.6

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Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Isaiah Crowell1958397.411720.1136.1
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 as the guy with the "best practice" during the week got the most carries last year. 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 (although it might be by a narrow margin).
Duke Johnson1185193.8362880.8108.3
The all-time rushing leader at The U., Johnson's production is especially impressive considering the school's alumni of talented backs (Frank Gore, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, etc.). While I like Johnson's skill set and his longer-term outlook, there could be some week-to-week variability in Johnson's rookie-season production. With that said, few running backs have generated as much buzz during the offseason and he appears set for a prominent role as a rookie.
Terrance West1255133.512720.582.5
The frustrating part of owning a Browns running back is the inconsistency in carries. In West's final seven games played last season, here are his rush attempts: 26, 5, 14, 7, 15, 5 and 18. Reducing workload predictability for West is the selection of Miami's Duke Johnson in the third round of this year's draft.

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Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Dwayne Bowe566834.200093.5
Well, at least Bowe can't have fewer touchdown receptions in 2015. Unfortunately though, the eight-year veteran's zero touchdowns were tied with me. After back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011, Bowe has 801, 673 and 754 receiving yards in his past three seasons, respectively. Bowe may be one of a few free-agent wide receivers where Cleveland as a landing spot doesn't necessarily hurt his fantasy stock. Although it doesn't necessarily help it, either. (No team threw fewer touchdowns than the Browns last season, but at least some of them went to wide receivers.)
Brian Hartline40496200061.6
Andrew Hawkins384331.8312055.3
Taylor Gabriel202901.328037.6
Terrelle Pryor121781.18560.130.6
Travis Benjamin81280.700017
Vince Mayle4480.10005.4

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Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Rob Housler334133.260.5
Under-utilized within Arizona's offense, Housler has averaged just 1.9/20.6 per game with only one touchdown in 55 games over four seasons with the Cardinals. With Josh Gordon suspended for the 2015 season, the Browns have one of the least-talented groups of pass catchers, which could lead to the athletic Housler setting new career highs in his first season with the Browns.
E.J. Bibbs151931.528.3
Gary Barnidge121401.221.2
Jim Dray11103116.3

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2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Kansas City Chiefs

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 Kansas City Chiefs:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Alex Smith337528383023.37.4613231277.3
The good news is that Smith has averaged more passing yards per game over each of the past two seasons with the Chiefs than he ever did with the 49ers. The bad news, of course, is that he still has never averaged more than 220.9 YPG. Smith's mobility (685 rushing yards over the past two seasons), lack of turnovers and improved group of pass-catchers are positives, but the "game manager" has relatively limited upside.

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Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Jamaal Charles25012638.5503903.7238.5
Despite a somewhat disappointing season, Charles finished with the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs in 2014. The 28-year-old back rushed for 1,033 yards, his fifth 1,000-yard season, and added 40 catches for 291 yards while scoring a total of 14 touchdowns. Despite a year-over-year decline in all of those numbers, the biggest concern was his reduction in workload. After 320-plus touches in back-to-back seasons, Charles had just 246 touches -- 15 running backs had more -- in 2014. Perhaps we won't see Charles get in the 320-range ever again, but it would be a surprise to see him as low as 246 again this season.
Knile Davis1184435.3151140.489.9
The best handcuff among fantasy running backs, Davis had some big games when given the opportunity as he finished as a top-eight fantasy running back four times last season. With Jamaal Charles leaving Week 2 early (only two carries) and missing Week 3, Davis had a combined 60 touches for 237 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in those two games. In the other games, Davis averaged just 6.92 touches per game but he had double-digit touches in four of those games as well.
Charcandrick West381711.26450.129.4
Anthony Sherman26011850.411.5

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Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Jeremy Maclin7810226.3000140
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 Andy Reid. While the transition from Kelly's up-tempo offense to one with a quarterback that rarely challenges defenses down the field isn't a positive, the Chiefs have made a concerted effort to get the ball in Maclin's hands during the preseason. In the Week 3 dress rehearsal, Maclin had seven catches for 65 yards and a score.
Albert Wilson364791.500056.9
Chris Conley243502.200048.2
Jason Avant121210.400014.5
De'Anthony Thomas161150.300013.3
Junior Hemingway5470.10005.3
Frankie Hammond33100003.1

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Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Travis Kelce749407.4138.4
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 (sixth-most in PPR formats) among tight ends last season. With good health, the sky is the limit for Kelce in 2015.
James O'Shaughnessy7910.512.1

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2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Tennessee Titans

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 Tennessee Titans:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Marcus Mariota307486359621.413.1884932.5280.64
Described by ESPN's Jon Gruden as a "6-foot-4 Russell Wilson," Mariota possesses all of the physical tools to develop into an elite fantasy quarterback. Naturally, there will be an adjustment period for Mariota, as there is with all rookies, but Mariota's ability to create outside the pocket could lead to several big weeks even as a rookie.
Zach Mettenberger9151070.70.61106.58

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Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Bishop Sankey1747223211470.1105.5
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, Sankey may not be much more than a flex option in year two.
David Cobb1506455.112720102.3
Last year's first running back selected, Bishop Sankey, was a disappointment for the Titans. With that said, it wouldn't be a surprise if Cobb, the team's fifth-round pick this year, led the team's backfield in touches as early as his rookie season. Coach Ken Whisenhunt described Cobb as a potential three-down back.
Dexter McCluster321120221720.933.8
Antonio Andrews381651.15330.127

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Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Kendall Wright678015.53240115.5
One year after his 94/1,079/2 breakout season in 2013, Wright's production dropped year over year to 57/715/6 although the issues at quarterback were at least partly to blame. And even though the Titans lost 14 games and nine of them by double digits, Wright saw 10 targets in only one game last season. While it's unlikely that Wright bounces back to his 2013-level production, chemistry between Mariota and Wright have been positive at training camp.
Justin Hunter34622300080.2
Despite a huge bump in snaps played (82.8 percent in 2014 versus 36.4 percent in 2013), Hunter disappointed those that expected a breakout season from him. Missing the final month due to a lacerated spleen, Hunter finished with only 28 catches for 498 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. Hunter had 37 yards or less in seven of his 12 games and never had more than four receptions in any game last season.
Dorial Green-Beckham283723.700059.4
While he got some comparisons to Calvin Johnson, DGB isn't nearly as athletic as Megatron, but he has sub-4.5 speed with tremendous size (6-5, 237). Green-Beckham, the No. 1 overall high school recruit in 2012 (via Rivals.com), has the upside and potential to emerge as the best fantasy receiver out of this draft class long term, but a fellow rookie at quarterback and sitting out a year doesn't bode well for his ability to make an immediate impact.
Harry Douglas283221.100038.8
Hakeem Nicks21256200037.6
Tre McBride6730.10007.9

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Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Delanie Walker587084.497.2
Walker set career highs in both receptions (63) and yards (890) and led the team in both categories last season. It may be difficult for Walker to repeat that production with a rookie quarterback, but he could once again finish as a top-10 fantasy tight end.
Anthony Fasano141251.219.7

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2015 Fantasy Football Projections: Seattle Seahawks

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 Seattle Seahawks:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Russell Wilson301465371128.69.3975534.2334.04
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. Wilson's volume of pass attempts may not spike in 2015, but the Seahawks pulled off a blockbuster trade for tight end Jimmy Graham, which significantly upgrades the team's weapons in the red zone.

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Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Marshawn Lynch278123712322782.2236.7
In his four full seasons in Seattle, Lynch has rushed for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in those seasons. During that four-year span, no player has more rushing yards (5,357), rushing touchdowns (48) and or total touchdowns (56). Beast Mode's production hasn't slowed at all, but his physical running style (granted, he seems to dish out more punishment than he receives), heavy workload (league-high 1,479 regular-season and playoff touches over that four-year span) and age (turned 29 in April) is at least somewhat concerning. That said, Lynch seems to be a lock for another 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in one of the league's most run-dominant offenses.
Robert Turbin863440.9171450.859.1
Christine Michael462120.6215026.3
Thomas Rawls291310.300014.9

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Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Doug Baldwin587483.514096.2
Baldwin set career highs of 66 receptions and 825 yards last season and his numbers post-Percy Harvin (4.55/58.0/0.27) were much better than they were prior to the trade (3.2/37.4/0.0). Adding Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett to the mix, however, there is little to no upside with Baldwin in Seattle's run-first offense.
Tyler Lockett304092.85350.161.8
Jermaine Kearse273922.315053.5
Chris Matthews182452.500039.5
Paul Richardson161841.500027.4
Ricardo Lockette5780.400010.2
Kevin Norwood5590.30007.7

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Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Jimmy Graham7290710.4153.1
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. Over his past four seasons, however, Graham has averaged 89 catches, 1,099 yards and 12 touchdowns per year. 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).
Luke Willson192511.936.5

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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.

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Most-Accurate 2015 NFL Mock Draft
EDSFootball.com owner Kevin Hanson had the most accurate 2015 NFL Mock Draft among the 113 analysts/experts tracked by The Huddle Report.

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