September 02, 2014

Broncos WR Wes Welker suspended four games for amphetamines

The good news is that we don't have to worry about whether Broncos slot receiver Wes Welker (concussion) would be cleared in time for Sunday night's game or not although all signs pointed to him being cleared in time.

The bad news is that he's going to miss the first four games of the season including Sunday's opener against the Colts.

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Welker has been suspended for the first four games of the season for his use of amphetamines.

Welker set a career high with 10 touchdowns last year, but he set seven-year lows of 73 catches for 778 yards. Not only did Welker miss three games with two concussions near the end of the season, but he suffered a third concussion in 10 months in the team's third preseason game.

With Welker out, Emmanuel Sanders gets a huge boost and Cody Latimer and Andre Caldwell will see the field in three-receiver sets.

Caldwell will likely get more reps early, but Latimer is much more talented and should eventually move ahead of Caldwell on the depth chart.



September 01, 2014

Week 1 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Beazley

Earlier today, John Trifone kicked off our 2014 NFL weekly picks against the spread (ATS).

Now, it's my turn.

Here are my Week 1 ATS picks:

Tennessee Titans +4 over Kansas City Chiefs (2 units)

I think the Titans are going to fly under the radar and surprise some people this season. [Editor's note: Sean is a die-hard Titans fan.] Jake Locker has looked good this preseason and second-year wideout Justin Hunter is poised for a breakout season. Their other big-time WR Kendall Wright might be the most underrated WR in the league. He always seems to get open. Looking back at it, I wonder how much of RG3's success was because of Wright ...

The Chiefs will be without their top WR Dwayne Bowe on Sunday so they will have to rely on other weapons. If you are looking for a sleeper for Sunday in DFS, take Travis Kelce. I think the Chiefs will utilize the big TE, and historically the Titans are pretty bad defending opposing TEs.

I think the Chiefs are a bit overrated going into this season and could struggle in this one. I think this game comes down to a field goal: KC, 23-20.

New York Jets -5.5 over Oakland Raiders (4 units)

I love the Jets at home this week. I am really low on the Raiders this season. I think they are a team who is destined to be picking in the top 5 of the draft this season. On the flip side, I really like some of the veteran additions the Jets made on their offense. I don't think Chris Johnson is done yet, and adding the solid vet Eric Decker at WR is going to be great for young Geno Smith.

I think this game is won on defense though. The Jets front-seven is as fierce as any in the league, and I think they will pressure the QB all day. The Jets are one of my favorite DFS plays as well this week. I think they have a stat line like six sacks, four turnovers and a TD. Jets roll at home, 27-10.

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Chicago Bears -7 over Buffalo Bills (2 units)

The days of the fierce Bears defense is over. The Bears now rely on their offense and they have one of the most talented group of skilled players in the league with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte. I think this Bears offense is going to be very hard to stop this season, and they face a semi-mediocre Buffalo defense. I think Cutler & Co. roll at home. Chicago, 31-17.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys —Over 51.5 (3 units)
Dallas Cowboys +5 over San Francisco 49ers (2 units)

The Cowboys are going to put up some big offensive numbers this season. I think Tony Romo is poised for his biggest season yet, and I expect Dez Bryant to challenge Calvin Johnson as the league's top WR. They are going to get plenty of chances this year because their defense is pretty bad.

The 49ers are healthy on offense, and I expect Colin Kaepernick to air it out more this year, and their defense will feel the loss of Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman to start the year. I think both QBs have three-TD games, and I think this game will be around 40 points by halftime. I like Dallas to pull the Week 1 upset behind a mega 12/200/2 game by Dez. Dallas 38, San Francisco 34.

Note: NFL lines are from sportsbook.ag

-> All of our 2014 NFL Weekly Picks Against the Spread will be tracked here.

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Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (Sept. 1st): 12 teams, No. 8 pick, PPR

Back on May 27th, we began our 2014 fantasy football mock draft per day series using our site's mock draft simulator (powered by FantasyPros).

As we continue through the offseason, I will continue to complete a mock draft every day as I vary the scoring format, league size, draft slot, etc. and today's mock is a 12-team league using point-per-reception (PPR) scoring and I have the No. 8 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.08 - Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
2.05 - Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos
3.08 - Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
4.05 - Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants
5.08 - Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
6.05 - Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
7.08 - Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
8.05 - Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
9.08 - Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts
10.05 - Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
11.08 - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
12.05 - Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets
13.08 - San Francisco 49ers D/ST
14.08 - Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
15.05 - Blair Walsh, K, Minnesota Vikings

Some notes about my team (view full mock here):

  • QBs: In a standard one-quarterback league, it's unusual that I end up with Manning on any of my rosters. That said, Peyton is my top-ranked fantasy QB and there is a significant drop from the top three to the next tier even though the next tier is rather deep. Winning his record fifth MVP, Manning broke a multitude of records including the single-season marks for passing yards and TDs. Even if it's a not another record-setting campaign, he should lead all QBs in fantasy points and I still have a pair of stud RBs already on my roster.

  • RBs: Lacy and Ball give me two RB1's. Lacy was one of five running backs with 1,000-plus rushing yards and 10-plus rushing TDs last year. With the team looking to play at a faster pace, it's a strong possibility that the improves upon his 35 receptions as a rookie. Ball enters the season as the featured back that saw Knowshon Moreno finish as a top-five back last year. Thomas led all RBs in catches last season and Darren Sproles is now in Philadelphia. Ivory is a not much of a receiver, but I will likely use a receiver in my flex spot when PT is on bye.

  • WRs: At least compared to QB/RB, WR is a weak spot with Cruz and Colston as my starters. The Giants offense has struggled to get things going, but ultimately the change in offensive scheme should lead to an increase in receptions for Cruz even if they struggle a little out of the gate. Colston says that his foot issues are behind him and he finished last season strong. After my starters, I have several WR3's that could potentially be my WR2 in a given week.

  • TEs: There are some obvious durability concerns with Reed, but there is no denying his talent. With a 45/499/3 line last season, he was on pace for 80 catches and 887 yards as a rookie. To put that into perspective, there have been only two rookie TEs that reached 887 yards in NFL history. Provided he stays healthy, Reed has top-five upside. I probably should have added a quality backup at some point.

Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free. And/or go pro and use the FantasyPros Draft Assistant in your live drafts.

Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

Tomorrow's mock draft will be a 10-team 2-QB league using standard scoring and I have the No. 4 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.



Fantasy Football ADP (Sept. 1st Update): Biggest Weekly Risers/Fallers

Every Monday this offseason, we have posted 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 the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters). 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 study, we will use 14-team ADP data from Fantasy Football Calculator. While most may play in 12-team leagues, using ADP data from 14-team leagues provides data on more players.

Below are the three biggest risers over the past week (ADPs on 8/25 to 9/1 in parenthesis) by position:

Quarterbacks

  1. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings: -15.5 (187.9 on 8/25 to 172.4 on 9/1)
  2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: -7.8 (115.0 to 107.2)
  3. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: -7.2 (85.2 to 78.0)

Running Backs

  1. Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins: -14.0 (107.4 to 93.4)
  2. Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans: -13.9 (150.3 to 136.4)
  3. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints: -10.2 (115.5 to 105.3)

Wide Receivers

  1. Cody Latimer, Denver Broncos: -15.3 (188.3 to 173.0)
  2. Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens: -12.8 (139.4 to 126.6)
  3. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos: -12.2 (64.7 to 52.5)

Tight Ends

  1. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers: -10.8 (159.5 to 148.7)
  2. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: -9.0 (152.3 to 143.3)
  3. (tie) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs and Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: -6.1 (168.5 to 162.4 and 85.1 to 79.0, respectively)

Note: Minus signs mean the ADP is become better (i.e., earlier) in drafts.

Below are the three biggest fallers over the past week (ADPs on 8/25 to 9/1 in parenthesis) by position:

Quarterbacks

  1. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns: +31.0 (129.0 on 8/25 to 160.0 on 9/1)
  2. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: +19.8 (76.0 to 95.8)
  3. Eli Manning, New York Giants: +6.4 (153.2 to 159.6)

Running Backs

  1. Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams: +20.9 (139.9 to 160.8)
  2. Terrance West, Cleveland Browns: +12.2 (91.0 to 103.2)
  3. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots: +9.7 (69.9 to 79.6)

Wide Receivers

  1. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams: +23.0 (111.3 to 134.3)
  2. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos: +20.1 (43.7 to 63.8)
  3. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals: +18.9 (148.8 to 167.7)

Tight Ends

  1. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers: +10.5 (118.0 to 128.5)
  2. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions: +7.0 (136.2 to 143.2)
  3. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins: +3.3 (77.0 to 80.3)

Note: Plus signs mean the ADP is become worse (i.e., later) in drafts.

- More: Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Data for all drafted players

Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

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Rob Gronkowski says he will play Sunday vs. Dolphins

With the New England Patriots, it's not too often that we get early clarity about the status of players dealing with injuries so it's nice to get an early update on tight end Rob Gronkowski's (ACL) availability for Week 1.

Even though it appeared likely Gronk would be ready for the opener against the Dolphins, he has confirmed today that he's "ready to go" and will play on Sunday.

In any game in which he's active, he's an obvious must-start even if the Patriots limit his snaps in order to ease him back in.

With more surgeries over the past two years than I can count on one hand, Gronkowski still carries some durability risk for fantasy owners. Because of that, I have Gronk ranked second to Jimmy Graham in my fantasy football tight end rankings.

That said, I expect him to score more fantasy points per outing than any other tight end.

Playing only seven games last season, Gronk averaged a position-high 84.6 yards per game and 15.2 yards per reception, both of which were career highs. More importantly, Gronk has scored a total of 43 touchdowns — 42 receiving and one "rushing" — over 50 career games.



Week 1 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Trifone

We are only days away from the kickoff to the 2014 NFL (regular) season and that's actually the game I like the best this week in terms of picks against the spread (ATS).

[Editor's note: Our contributors will pick 2-5 games per week this season and include a number of units (from 1-5) along with their picks. And we will choose from teams ATS as well as game score over/unders.]

Here are all of my Week 1 picks:

Green Bay Packers + 6 over Seattle Seahawks (4 units)

The Seahawks are the defending Super Bowl Champs, but they have a tough opening game against Green Bay this Thursday. Before Aaron Rodgers got hurt, the Pack were one of the best teams in the league. The emergence of Eddie Lacy has given them a legitimate running game to go with their already formidable quarterback and wide receivers. It wouldn't shock me to see Green Bay win this one outright, but either way, I expect a pretty close game. Seattle has the largest home-field advantage in the league, but I'll still take the Packers getting the six.

Jacksonville Jaguars +10.5 over Philadelphia Eagles (3 units)

Going into the season, it's really hard to lay a double-digit point total. The preseason doesn't mean a whole lot, and it's hard to know exactly how good teams are until we've at least seen a few games that count. The Jags started off last year 0-8, but were able to finish the last half of the season going 4-4. The Eagles have a tough offense to keep up with, but I don't expect Nick Foles to have the same 27:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio he had last year. The Eagles should win this one, but I'll take Jacksonville with the 10.5 points.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1 over Carolina Panthers (3 units)

The Panthers were among the best defensive units in the league last year. Their offense has been revamped, though, and I expect it to take them some time to figure things out. The Bucs have Doug Martin back and a new quarterback in Josh McCown that was terrific last year. I like Tampa to have a bounce-back year, and like them to beat Carolina at home.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers — Under 39.5 (3 units)

In addition to liking Tampa to win and cover, I also believe this will be a defensive struggle with points coming at a premium. I see this as a 20-13 kind of game, so I think 39.5 is too high. I'll take the under here.

[Note: NFL lines are from sportsbook.ag]

-> All of our 2014 NFL Weekly Picks Against the Spread will be tracked here.

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August 31, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft - 2-QB League: Round 12

Another round, the final round, of our 2-QB fantasy football mock draft is in the books.

Here are Round 12 results:

12.01 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders

Perhaps one of these years, McFadden will stay healthy and be productive for an entire season. That said, McFadden has yet to play a full 16-game season and it's been worse over the past three years (29 total games) than it was in his first three seasons (38 games). Largely in part to overall durability, I'd prefer Maurice Jones-Drew over Run DMC, but McFadden's ceiling is higher if everything finally comes together. And he's worth a flier in Round 12 as the 44th RB off the board.

12.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

A relative disappointment as a former first-round pick, Ingram has missed 11 games in his first three seasons combined and has averaged just 535 yards from scrimmage per season. After averaging only 3.9 yards per carry in each of his first two seasons, however, Ingram gained 4.9 YPC on 78 attempts last season. In addition, he has run the ball really well this preseason. Even though the Saints spread their touches out through three backs, he's worth a flier in Round 12.

12.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets

Ivory carried the ball 182 times for 833 yards and three touchdowns last season. Even though Ivory averaged a career-low — but still solid — 4.58 yards per carry last season, he has averaged 4.88 YPC over his four-year career. That said, he's not much of a receiver (his two receptions last year tied his career high), the team has added CJ2K via free agency and he has often dealt with hamstring injuries.

12.04 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

The addition of Donald Brown, who signed a three-year free-agent deal, reduces some of Woodhead's value, but he is one of the league's better receiving backs. Better in PPR formats, Woodhead had 76 receptions last season and totaled 1,035 yards from scrimmage with eight total touchdowns.

12.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers

With Jonathan Stewart missing the majority of the year, Williams rushed 201 times for 843 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first time that Williams reached 200 carries since the 2009 season and he's unlikely to repeat that feat provided Jonathan Stewart stays healthy in 2014. That said, the Panthers should continue to be a run-first team and I'd expect the 31-year-old RB to lead the team in carries once again.

Unfortunately, both Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert should both get more rushing scores than Williams or Stewart.

12.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Bowe set five-year lows in receptions (57) and yards (673) and a career low in yards per reception (11.8) last season. Over his past eight games counting their playoff loss, however, Bowe had 39 receptions for 521 yards and four touchdowns, which equates to a 16-game pace of 78/1,042/8.

For those with a glass-half-full view, Bowe has shed some weight and hopefully that will help him play faster in 2014, but his upside will always be capped by Alex Smith. In addition, Bowe has been suspended for the Week 1 opener for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

12.07 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Even though he's one of the league's toughest running backs, Bradshaw has struggled with durability throughout his career. And although he may not play a full 16-game slate, it's certainly possible that Bradshaw gets a prominent role in some of the games in which he is healthy considering how poorly Trent Richardson ran the ball last season (and this preseason).

The Colts will give T-Rich every opportunity to succeed, but it wouldn't be a shock for anyone if he eventually gets demoted in favor of Bradshaw like last year when he was benched in favor of Brown.

12.08 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Hakeem Nicks, WR,

We have seen WR1-type production from Nicks back in 2010 and 2011, but he's been a big disappointment over the past two seasons. While Nicks should be motivated for his next contract, if for nothing else, but it's difficult to trust Nicks, who is behind both T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne on the depth chart.

12.09 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams

It was a disappointing season for Austin and his fantasy owners. Austin finished with 40/418/4 (receiving) and 9/151/1 (rushing) while adding a return touchdown in 13 games. Earlier this offseason, Jeff Fisher indicated that Austin should be more involved, but he had only five catches for 40 yards this preseason.

12.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Kenny Britt, WR, St. Louis Rams

Although it seems like he should be much older, Britt is just 25 years old. Both injuries and the off-the-field issues have kept him from realizing his potential up to this point in his career, but he's reunited with coach Fisher, who has given him a second chance.

Britt has been working with the first team offense and while there's certainly plenty of boom-or-bust potential with him, but there is no denying his physical tools and upside. By all accounts, Britt appears to finally have his head on straight and I expect him to be the most-productive Rams wide receiver this year.

12.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings

Bridgewater is the QB34 in this mock. Even though Brian Hoyer is still on the board, Brendan's two starters — RG3 (Week 10) and Ben Roethlisberger (Week 12) — have their byes late in the year. There is a good chance that Hoyer will no longer be starting in Week 10. On the other hand, Bridgewater could be starting by that point. Unfortunately for Brendan, Bridgewater has his bye in Week 10, but he could serve as a bye-week replacement for Big Ben. That said, RG3 has missed games in both of his seasons and Big Ben played a full 16 games for the first time in five years.

12.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots

While Amendola had a few big games including the season opener (10/104 vs. BUF), the biggest concern with Amendola is his durability and he missed several games last season as well. Even when he was on the field, he was less productive than I had expected he'd be. In fact, he had only three games with more than five receptions last year.

> Go back to Round 11 of 2-QB Fantasy Mock Draft
> Or view our 2-QB Fantasy Football Mock Draft from the start

2014 Fantasy Football rankings:

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Alex Smith, Chiefs agree to four-year extension

The Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Alex Smith have agreed to a four-year extension worth $68 million that includes $45 million in guaranteed money, per Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star.

As he was entering the final year of his contract, that means he is now under contract through the 2018 season.

In his first season in Kansas City with Andy Reid, Smith threw for 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns, both of which were career highs, with only seven interceptions. In addition, he rushed for a career-high 431 yards and a touchdown.

A surprise top-10 finisher in fantasy points last season, it's unlikely that Smith duplicates that level of production this year, but he is a solid QB2. He's 20th in my 2014 preseason fantasy football quarterback rankings.

With limited options in the receiving corps led by Dwayne Bowe, who is suspended for Week 1, Smith will continue to heavily target Jamaal Charles out of the backfield and Travis Kelce could be poised for a breakout season.



Ben Tate to be a three-down running back?

Especially with Josh Gordon's full-year suspension upheld by the NFL, the Cleveland Browns should rank near the top in the league in rush attempts.

Free-agent addition Ben Tate should handle the majority of the early-down carries and coach Mike Pettine said that he would be comfortable with him playing on third down as well, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.

If Tate can stay healthy, he should have a huge season. That said, Tate has struggled with durability. Primarily as a backup to Arian Foster in Houston, Tate has played only 40 games in four seasons.

Third-round rookie Terrance West has struggled in the preseason, but he was a prolific rusher at Towson and he would benefit the most if/when Tate misses time. That said, undrafted rookie free agent Isaiah Crowell possesses a ton of talent as well. As a former five-star recruit out of high school, it's Crowell's character, not his talent, that led to his dismissal from the Georgia Bulldogs program and his undrafted status.

Tate is my 24th-ranked fantasy running back for the 2014 season.



Patriots trade Ryan Mallett to Texans; Texans release Case Keenum

The New England Patriots attempted to showcase quarterback Ryan Mallett in the preseason opener in hopes of creating some interest in the trade market.

While the poor showing in the preseason did not generate the level of interest that the Patriots had hoped, they have managed to trade Mallett today.

Long rumored as a potential trade partner for Mallett, the Houston Texans have acquired him for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2016, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

In his few years in the league, Mallett has completed only one of four pass attempts for 17 yards and an interception. Of course, he has familiarity with Texans head coach Bill O'Brien, who was the Patriots offensive coordinator when Mallett was drafted.

In turn, the Texans have released quarterback Case Keenum, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

The Texans will go into the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback and Mallett and rookie Tom Savage backing him up.



2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft - 2-QB League: Round 11

Another round of our 2-QB Fantasy Football Mock Draft is complete. In addition, the final round of our mock (Round 12) should be posted later tonight as well.

Here are Round 11 results:

11.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins

One of the biggest surprises last year, Moreno finished as a top-five producer among running backs. Making the transition from Denver to Miami this offseason, it's unlikely that Moreno produces anywhere close to those numbers this year. While I still believe that Lamar Miller will get the biggest share of the backfield's workload, Moreno is a solid value in Round 11.

11.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers

On a roster otherwise devoid of elite talent in the wide receiver corps, there should be plenty of opportunity for Benjamin as a rookie. Far from the fastest or most polished route-runner, Benjamin was blessed with something that cannot be coached — tremendous size (6-foot-5 and 34 7/8-inch arms). Benjamin's size and opportunity could allow him to flourish as a red-zone target in his rookie season.

11.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

CHAMPIONSHIP! Henne was that missing piece my team needed. Ok, that's obviously a (not-so-funny) joke, but Henne is someone that will typically go undrafted in the deepest of leagues. That said, it's worthwhile trying to find someone to cover bye weeks in a 2-QB league and options become limited late in the draft, which gives Henne some value.

Perhaps rookie Blake Bortles becomes the team's starter at some point this season, which I think is fair to assume despite the team's stated intent of redshirting him this year. The good news for me (and this team) is that my two starters — Peyton Manning (Week 4) and Alex Smith (Week 6) — have their byes early in the season; Henne (Week 11) does not. To cover my byes, I just need Henne to remain the starter through Week 6.

[Related: 2014 NFL Team Bye Weeks Chart]

11.04 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

Solid as a rookie (36/469/4), big things could be in store for Ertz in his second season. It's typically difficult for tight ends to make a huge impact as a rookie (as noted earlier), but Ertz has also focused on his blocking to help keep him on the field for more snaps. Meanwhile, Chip Kelly has cited Ertz as one of the biggest potential beneficiaries of DeSean Jackson's departure from the standpoint of being more involved in the offense. This is a huge value and I recently moved Ertz up to No. 6 in my fantasy TE rankings.

11.05 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears

In his first season with the Bears, Bennett finished as the 10th-highest scoring fantasy tight end and set career highs with 65 receptions for 759 yards and tied a previous career high of five touchdowns. Competing with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte for targets, however, Bennett is no more than the team's fourth-best option on offense and 14th in fantasy TE rankings.

11.06 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Shaun Hill, QB, St. Louis Rams

With the ACL injury to Sam Bradford, Hill becomes the team's starter. One of the better backups in the league (before becoming a starter), there is not that big of a drop in expected production from Bradford to Hill. Hill is a useful QB3 in this format and I made sure that his bye (Week 4) worked with this team's starters — Tom Brady (Week 10) and Ryan Tannehill (Week 5).

11.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

Only one rookie receiver had more yards than Hopkins (802) last season: San Diego's Keenan Allen (1,046). I'd like Hopkins more if the team's quarterback situation were better, but Hopkins should continue to build upon his rookie success in Year 2.

11.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

With Justin Blackmon not expected to play for the Jaguars this season, Shorts should lead the team in receiving, but the team should utilize a run-first offense with Chad Henne still under center. In addition, Shorts, who missed five games over the past two seasons, has struggled with durability.

[Related: Dan's RBs/WRs to Target/Avoid/Sleepers.]

11.09 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Terrance West, RB, Cleveland Browns

With Tate's durability the biggest obstacle to a featured role, West could find himself with a prominent opportunity in this offense. Either way, the Browns will employ a run-heavy offense that should allow more than one running back to have fantasy relevance.

11.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders

Matt Schaub? Derek Carr? Who should be Oakland's starting QB? The answer appears fairly obvious. If for some reason the team starts Schaub in Week 1, it shouldn't be long before Carr takes over the reins. That said, I expect Carr to start in Week 1.

11.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

With S-Jax now 31 years old and only four touches away from 3,000 in his career, there's no guarantee that he will hold up for a full 16-game season. If he doesn't, Freeman stands to be the biggest beneficiary.

11.12 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Riley Cooper, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Cooper is coming off a career year (47/835/8) and the team's leading receiver is now in Washington, but I think repeating those numbers could be his upside this year. The Eagles have a healthy Jeremy Maclin, drafted Jordan Matthews in the second round and Zach Ertz could/should take a big step forward in Year 2.

> Continue to Round 12 of 2-QB Fantasy Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 10 of 2-QB Fantasy Mock Draft
> Or go back to Round 1 of 2-QB Fantasy Mock Draft

2014 Fantasy Football rankings:

More fantasy football resources:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle



Yanotchko's Fantasy Football RBs/WRs to Avoid, Target and Sleepers

Although the fantasy football draft season is nearing its conclusion, plenty will have their draft(s) this weekend so our contributors will give some final thoughts on an early-round player to avoid, a mid-round target as well as a late-round sleeper for both running back and wide receiver.

As we split the groups up, we focus on a player we dislike in the first five rounds, a target we like in the middle rounds (6-10) and a sleeper available after Round 10. We are using ADP from Fantasy Football Calculator.

Here are my picks:

Early-round RB to Avoid: Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans

The guy I am avoiding in the first five rounds at running back is Bishop Sankey of the Tennessee Titans, who has an ADP of 5.11. Sankey has slid down the depth charts, as he was behind Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster for carries in the final dress rehearsal game. I am always a guy who shies away from unproven rookies and would much rather have Ray Rice or Ben Tate in similar ADP spots.

Mid-round RB to Target: Terrance West, , Cleveland Browns

In the Round 6-10 range, even though his stock has slid a bit in preseason, I am still targeting Terrance West of the Cleveland Browns, with an ADP of 10.03. The reason I love West, is that Ben Tate almost always gets hurt, and grabbing a potential starting RB in the 10th round is great value. Tate has missed seven games in the past two seasons, and 24 total games in his four-year pro career.

Running Back Sleeper: James White, New England Patriots

As for a Round 11+ sleeper, I have been targeting James White of the New England Patriots this year. White has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and he is sturdy enough to take goal-line carries. The reason I am high on White is that Stevan Ridley could find himself on the bench at any moment with fumbling issues, and also the Pats will look to create mismatches with White and Shane Vereen in two-RB sets.

* DraftKings is running a $2.5 Million King of the Beach contest with $1 million as the top prize.

Early-round WR to Avoid: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

The WR I am avoiding in the first five rounds is Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, who has an ADP of 4.04. I don't think this is the case of father time catching up to Fitzgerald, more like the fact of poor QB play. Fitzgerald has not surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in either of his past two seasons, and I am leery of Michael Floyd and John Brown stealing targets from him this year.

Mid-round WR to Target: Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers

The WR I have been targeting in the middle rounds between 6-10 is Kelvin Benjamin of the Carolina Panthers with an ADP of 8.02. The Panthers have a totally rebuilt receiving corps, as they have lost Brandon LaFell, and Steve Smith Sr. The Panthers did not sign any premier targets either in the offseason, just retreads Jason Avant and Jerricho Cottchery. I will take that mid-round flyer on Cam Newton's No. 1 receiving threat, and remember Newton has never finished less than 5th overall in QB fantasy points.

Wide Receiver Sleeper: Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars

My WR sleeper prediction for the year is Cecil Shorts of the Jacksonville Jaguars with and ADP of 11.11. Shorts sadly has not had the ability of durability, but even in an injury-plagued 2013 campaign, he hauled in 66 catchers for 777 yards. Shorts is a target machine, and the Jags are starting to assemble the necessary pieces to compete in the AFC South. I think the risk is worth it for a 12th-round pick on Shorts, who has a 1,000+ yard season in him.

Stay tuned for more picks from our contributors ...

Check out more of our 2014 fantasy football resources:

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (August 31st): 16 teams, No. 3 pick

Back on May 27th, we began our 2014 fantasy football mock draft per day series using our site's mock draft simulator (powered by FantasyPros).

As we continue through the offseason, I will continue to complete a mock draft every day as I vary the scoring format, league size, draft slot, etc. and today's mock is a 16-team league using standard scoring and I have the No. 3 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.03 - Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
2.14 - Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
3.03 - Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
4.14 - Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns
5.03 - Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
6.14 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
7.03 - Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
8.14 - Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills
9.03 - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
10.14 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers
11.03 - Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams
12.14 - Kansas City Chiefs D/ST
13.03 - Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions
14.14 - Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets
15.03 - Shayne Graham, K, Free Agent *

(* Graham has been released by the Saints -- if this were a "real" team, I'd drop him and pick up a kicker from the free-agent pool. This shows how little I pay attention to kickers. HA.)

Some notes about my team (view full mock here):

  • QBs: It's starting to sound like a broken record with Brady as my QB. Here's what I wrote in my last mock of the day: "Once again, it's Brady on my fantasy team. While there is a clear-cut top-three fantasy QBs, it's wide open after those three elite options. For me, I have Brady projected to score the fourth-most fantasy points among QBs. Not only does Brady benefit from the likelihood that Rob Gronkowski will be available in Week 1, but he has had another year to develop chemistry with their new receivers (either rookies or free-agent signings last year) and the most-recent addition of Tim Wright in the role of their move tight end. ..." I actually like Smith as a QB2. He quietly led all QBs in rushing TDs (six, tied with Cam), played better down the stretch and has better weapons heading into 2014.

  • RBs: I should have selected my RB4 sooner, but I really like my top-three RBs. Charles led the position in fantasy points last year and while he won't score 19 TDs again this season, he should come close to 2,000 yards from scrimmage again. It's possible that Gerhart gets as many carries this season as the team's workhorse back as he had over the four past seasons backing up Adrian Peterson. With the Law Firm officially released by the Bengals, it's clear that Hill will be a major part of the team's run-oriented offense. Mason is third on the team's depth chart, but there is a chance his role expands as the season progresses and Riddick is a decent sleeper as my RB5 in Round 13.

  • WRs: White is often on my fantasy rosters and he's my WR10 in my latest fantasy rankings. In five games last December, White was healthy and hit his stride with a stat line of 43/502/2. Only two receivers had more yards than White during that span. Granted, Julio Jones (foot) was out, but I think both could be productive WR1's this year with the retirement of Tony Gonzalez. (Levine Toilolo is certainly not going to account for all of Gonzo's targets/catches.) Perhaps I should have taken my WR2 earlier, but Cooks is an exciting playmaker with some upside here as a key piece of New Orleans' high-powered offense. Watkins is so talented, but there are some obvious concerns — less-than-ideal QB situation, run-oriented offense, cold weather late in season, learning curve for rookie WRs, etc. Hopkins and Boldin are quality WR4/WR5 in 16-team leagues and provide depth.

  • TEs: With Josh Gordon's full-season suspension upheld, Cameron will see a massive amount of targets this year. In his breakout season last year, Cameron had more yards than all tight ends not named Jimmy Graham. Even though the lack of Gordon on the field will lead to increased defensive attention, the spike in targets should help Cameron build upon last year's breakout season.

Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free. And/or go pro and use the FantasyPros Draft Assistant in your live drafts.

Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

Tomorrow's mock draft will be a 12-team league using point-per-reception (PPR) scoring and I have the No. 8 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.



August 30, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Labor Day Weekend Update

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

1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints

Looking back to last year, Graham arguably had the best season of his career even though he fell short of his previous career highs in both receptions and yards. He finished the season with 86 catches for 1,215 yards, but he had a career-best 16 touchdowns. It was only the second time in NFL history that a tight end had at least 16 touchdowns.

Not only did Graham lead all tight ends in all three statistical categories, but he had nearly 300 yards more than the tight end with the second-most yards (Cleveland's Jordan Cameron, 917). In addition, he led all players, regardless of position, in touchdowns; Denver's Demaryius Thomas was second with 14.

Over the past three seasons combined, Graham has a total of 270 receptions for 3,507 yards and 36 touchdowns; that equates to an average stat line of 90/1,169/12. A lock for a monster season at a position with only a few studs, Graham is worthy of consideration at the end of Round 1 of fantasy football drafts.

2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

With more surgeries than I can count on one hand over the past two seasons, the biggest concern for Gronkowski is durability. Far from a sure thing that he's active Week 1 against the Dolphins, signs point to Gronk being ready for the opener.

Missing games to start and end last season, Gronk played averaged a position-leading and career-high 84.6 yards per game in the seven games in which he played. More than anything, Gronkowski is a dominant force in the red zone as he has a total of 43 touchdowns in 50 career games.

[Related: Gronk is one of two TEs on my list of 12 undervalued fantasy football options in 2014.]

3. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos

Among tight ends, there was no bigger fantasy bargain than Denver's Julius Thomas in 2013. Despite ranking ninth at the position in targets (89), only two tight ends had more fantasy points than Thomas last year: Graham and San Francisco's Vernon Davis. Along with Graham and Davis, he was one of three tight ends with double-digit touchdowns and finished with 65 receptions for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns in his 14 regular-season games.

4. Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns

It was a tale of two halves for Cameron. In the first half of the season, Cameron finished with 49 receptions for 596 yards and six touchdowns. While he had a huge Week 14 vs. the Patriots (9/121/1), the second half was a huge disappointment overall: 31/321/1. From Weeks 9 to 16, Week 14 was the only week he had more than four fantasy points.

With Josh Gordon serving a season-long ban, however, it should open up the opportunities for Cameron to produce TE1 numbers on a more consistent basis.

5. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (Reed's 2014 fantasy profile)

The good news is that Reed has been cleared from the concussion symptoms that forced him to miss an extended period of time last season. The bad news is that it took so long for him to gain clearance and he's had a number of concussions dating back to his days with the Florida Gators.

When he was on the field, however, he was highly productive: 45/499/3 in nine games. That's a full-season pace of 80/887/5, which would be especially impressive as a rookie. As I tweeted a while back, only two rookie tight ends — Mike Ditka and Jeremy Shockey — have ever finished with 887-plus receiving yards. If he can stay healthy, Reed has top-five upside at the position.

6. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

Solid as a rookie (36/469/4), big things could be in store for Ertz in his second season. It's typically difficult for tight ends to make a huge impact as a rookie (as noted earlier), but Ertz has also focused on his blocking to help keep him on the field for more snaps. Meanwhile, Chip Kelly has cited Ertz as one of the biggest beneficiaries of DeSean Jackson's departure from the standpoint of being more involved in the offense.

7. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers

Davis finished with 52 receptions for 850 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. It was the second time that he finished with double-digit touchdowns and he tied his previous career high of 16.3 yards per reception. If there is a frustrating part of owning Davis, however, it is that Davis doesn't get the amount of targets on a weekly basis that I'd expect considering how much of an athletic mismatch he is.

With an improved and/or healthier wide receiver corps, it's possible that we see greater inconsistency from Davis on a weekly basis in 2014.

8. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

Witten set seven-year lows in receptions (73) and yards (851) last season, but he finished with eight touchdowns, the second-highest total of his career. Two seasons ago, Witten set a single-season tight end record for receptions (110).

In an offense that should be one of the league's best (unfortunately due in part to a defense that should be one of the league's worst), I see a bounce-back season for Witten in the range of 80-90 receptions and 900-975 yards.

9. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings

While injury cut his season short after Week 9, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was a bit of a disappointment in the first half of the season when he did play. In eight games, Rudolph finished with only 30 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns. In half of his eight games, Rudolph had two fantasy points or less.

Things are looking up for Rudolph as new offensive coordinator Norv Turner's offenses have typically allowed tight ends to prosper like Cameron last year and Antonio Gates (and others) before him. In addition, the days of Christian Ponder starting are over. With 12 touchdowns in his past 24 games, Rudolph has had red-zone success, but we should see an all-around improvement in production from a slimmed-down Rudolph in 2014.

10. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

In the past two seasons, Olsen has 142 receptions for 1,659 yards and 11 touchdowns. While he lacks the upside of some tight ends, he's extemely safe and should be a lock for 70/800/5 or better.

One of four tight ends to lead his team in receiving last season, Olsen should benefit again from the lack of elite options among Panthers wide receivers. All of the team's wide receivers with a reception last season are no longer on the roster. Even though the Panthers signed a few, as Richard Sherman would call them, mediocre receivers in free agency and drafted Kelvin Benjamin in the first round, Olsen could once again lead the team in receiving.

11. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens

The hopes of a breakout season that many had expected were dashed in July when Pitta suffered a hip injury that nearly kept him out for the entire season. Back in 2012, Pitta finished with 61/669/7 and I expect him to set career highs across the board in Gary Kubiak's tight end-friendly offense in 2014.

12. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers

If you're looking for a tight end with tremendous upside and flash, Miller's not your guy. If you're looking for an undervalued option if you wait on the position, then he fits the bill. Another year removed from his knee injury, Miller should be frequently targeted by Ben Roethlisberger and I have him projected for a stat line of 68/751/6.

13. Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins

With the injury to Dustin Keller last season, it opened up an opportunity for Clay, who scored more fantasy points than all but six tight ends with a 69/759/6 line last season. Going into 2014, Clay is a borderline TE1/TE2 and a solid late-round option for those in deeper leagues.

14. Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears

In his first season with the Bears, Bennett finished as the 10th-highest scoring fantasy tight end and set career highs with 65 receptions for 759 yards and tied a previous career high of five touchdowns. Competing with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte for targets, however, Bennett is no more than the team's fourth-best option on offense.

15. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs used the first pick of the third round in 2013 to select Kelce, who missed his entire rookie season. With Alex Smith at quarterback and the team's lack of weapons in the passing game, Kelce has loads of upside in this offense. In fact, we've seen the mismatches he creates this preseason with his long touchdowns.

More TEs: Continue to TEs 16-50

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2014 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Labor Day Weekend Update

Exceeding the expectations from his strongest advocates (like me), Browns receiver Josh Gordon broke out in a huge way in 2013.

Despite a two-game suspension to begin the season, the second-year receiver set a franchise record with a league-leading 1,646 yards, which more than doubled his rookie season total of 805 yards. With an 87/1,646/9 line, Gordon led all wide receivers in fantasy points despite a less-than-ideal situation at quarterback and missing two games.

Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Gordon is going to miss 16 games this season as his full-year ban for violating the league's substance-abuse policy was recently upheld by the league.

Here are my updated fantasy football wide receiver rankings (standard scoring) for 2014:

1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

With tremendous size and athleticism, no receiver can take over a game like Megatron. Counting the only playoff appearance in his career, Johnson has a total of six 200-yard games, the most in NFL history. Over the past three seasons, Johnson has averaged a statistical line of 101/1,712/11.

2. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

In his second season with Peyton Manning, DT's numbers were nearly identical to his first season. After finishing with 94/1,434/10 in 2012, Thomas had 92 catches for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. Thomas should be a lock for 90/1,400/10 (or better) in 2014.

3. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys

Although he saw a year-over-year drop in yardage from 1,382 to 1,233 yards, Bryant set career highs (barely, by one in each case) in receptions (93) and touchdowns (13). Battling a back injury, Bryant still played in all 16 games last season.

One of the most physically-gifted players in the league, Bryant is one of only two wide receivers with at least 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns over the past three years. Another 1,200-yard season (or better) with double-digit touchdowns should be a slam dunk for Bryant in 2014.

4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Through his first three seasons, Green has 260 receptions for 3,833 yards and 29 touchdowns. In a three-year span to start a career, no player has had more receptions than Green and only Randy Moss has more receiving yards (4,163) than he does.

In each of his three seasons, Green's numbers have improved — 65/1,057/7 (2011), 97/1,350/11 (2012) and 98/1,426/11 (2013). As the team transitions from a pass-first offense under Jay Gruden to a run-first scheme led by Hue Jackson, that trend may not continue but Green remains an elite and safe WR1.

5. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Before his foot injury sidelined him for the remainder of last season, Jones had at least six receptions and 76 yards in all of the games in which he appeared. During that five-game stretch, he hauled in 41 catches for 580 yards and two touchdowns. Compared to 2011 (73.8 yards per game) and 2012 (74.9 YPG), Jones had made huge strides, no pun intended, in 2013 (116.0 YPG).

6. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears

Since his reunion with quarterback Jay Cutler, Marshall has a total of 218 receptions for 2,803 yards and 23 touchdowns over the past two seasons combined. In his past five seasons with Cutler going back to his days in Denver, Marshall has a minimum of 100 receptions and 1,120 yards each season.

7. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (Nelson's 2014 fantasy profile)

The loss of Aaron Rodgers for a huge chunk of the season had an adverse affect on Nelson's season, but he still managed to finish as the 11th-highest scoring fantasy receiver in 2013. Nelson had 85 receptions for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns, but he had a line of 49/810/7 in the nine games that Rodgers started and finished. In other words, his yardage and touchdown totals would have almost certainly been higher had Rodgers had never broken his collarbone.

Since his breakout season (2011), Nelson has averaged 73 receptions for 1,208 yards and 11 touchdowns per 16 games. Along with Megatron and Dez, Nelson is one of only three wide receivers with at least 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns over the past three seasons combined.

8. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

Jeffery broke out in a big way in 2013. Along with Gordon, Jeffery was one of only two players to record multiple 200-yard receiving games last year and he also set his franchise's single-game record for most receiving yards.

With career highs across the board, Jeffery finished with 89 receptions for a team-high 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns and added 105 rushing yards. The only receiver with more yards from scrimmage than Jeffery (1,526) was Gordon (1,734).

As one-half of the league's best wide receiver duo, Jeffery is protected by opposing defenses looking to slow down the receiver opposite him (Marshall) as much (or more) as they will focus on Jeffery himself. Even though Marshall is ranked just ahead of Jeffery, both receivers are stud WR1's in terms of fantasy outlook.

9. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

With Mike Wallace signing a free-agent deal with the Dolphins last offseason, Brown had a breakout season as the team's No. 1 receiver even though he previously had an 1,100-yard season a couple of years ago as well.

Brown became the second receiver in franchise history to finish with triple-digit receptions (110) and was only two shy of tying the club record. Only Gordon had more receiving yards than Brown (1,499), who also scored a career-high eight touchdowns.

Perhaps the most amazing part of Brown's huge success in 2013 was his consistency. Brown had a minimum of five receptions and 50 yards in all 16 games last season. No other player has ever done that in all 16 games of a season.

10. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (White's fantasy profile

While the injuries kept White from having one of his typical seasons, he finally hit full stride by season's end. In five games in December, White finished with 43 receptions for 502 yards and two touchdowns. (That's comparable to a pace of 137.6 receptions and 1,606.4 yards.) In the last five games of the season, there were only three receivers with at least 500 yards: Gordon (658), Jeffery (561) and White (502).

Even though Julio Jones has emerged as the team's No. 1 receiver now, White is only 32 years old and should have a couple more outstanding seasons in him assuming good health. Before last year, White had 1,153-plus yards in six consecutive seasons and I think 1,100-1,200 yards is a reasonable expectation in 2014. With Tony Gonzalez retired, there should be enough targets to go around to allow Jones and White to both produce WR1 numbers.

11. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

Not only did Rodgers miss several games due to injury, so did Cobb, who played only six games last season. The dynamic 23-year-old receiver averaged career highs in receiving yards (72.2 per game) and rushing yards (13.0 per game) when he was on the field.

With good health in 2014, Cobb should have a WR1 type of season. Based on last year's averages, Cobb would have finished with 1,363 YFS had he maintained that pace over a full 16-game season. Only eight wideouts had more than 1,363 YFS last year.

12. Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers

Along with Cincinnati's A.J. Green, New Orleans' Marques Colston, Allen became the third rookie receiver to reach the 1,000-yard milestone in the past nine seasons.

Allen led the Chargers in receiving across the board with 71 catches for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. Once the calendar turned October, Allen was especially good. In the 14 games played in October through January including the playoffs, Allen had six 100-yard games and scored 10 touchdowns.

With limited snaps in the first couple of games as a rookie combined with working to improve his speed this offseason, Allen could put up bigger numbers in 2014.

13. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans

There have been two primary knocks on Johnson: durability and lack of touchdowns. While he has played in 16 games in back-to-back seasons, he has never caught double-digit touchdowns in his 11-year career.

When he has played 16 games in a season, however, he has been extremely productive. Playing a full 16-game slate in four of the past six seasons, Johnson has a minimum of 101 receptions (2009) and 1,407 yards (2013) in those four campaigns. Only Marvin Harrison (four) has as many 100/1,400 seasons in NFL history as Johnson.

14. Victor Cruz, New York Giants

As disappointing of a season as it was for the Giants, their offense and Cruz, Cruz still managed to finish with 73 receptions for 998 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games. In fact, he averaged more yards per game in 2013 (71.3 YPG) than he did in 2012 (68.3).

Of course, the big difference was touchdowns as Cruz had a total of 19 touchdowns in 2011 and 2012 combined and only four last year. Even worse, he had three of those touchdowns against the Cowboys in Week 1 and only one other touchdown (Week 4) in his final 13 games.

With the transition to the new offensive scheme under Ben McAdoo, Cruz should bounce back and see his receptions total increase. In fact, NJ.com's Jordan Raanan recently wrote that "100 receptions is a possibility" for Cruz.

15. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In his second season with the Bucs, Jackson set a career high with 78 receptions and once again exceeded 1,200 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. While he has more than his fair of inconsistency from week to week, a 70/1,200/7 season (or better) should be a lock for Jackson.

More WRs: Continue to WRs 16-30

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2014 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Labor Day Weekend Update

Here are my updated 2014 fantasy football running back rankings (standard scoring):

1. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

McCoy led the NFL in rushing yards (1,607), yards from scrimmage (2,146) and touches (366) in his first season playing in Chip Kelly's offense. With the addition of Darren Sproles to the team's backfield, McCoy could see a few less targets in the passing game and it's unlikely he duplicates his career-high 314 carries this year. That said, I still have McCoy projected for nearly 350 touches in 2014.

Speaking of my projections, it couldn't be much closer for the top spot than it is between McCoy and Jamaal Charles. Only one-half point separates the two backs in my projections: McCoy (262.8 projected points) vs. Charles (262.3)

2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

Charles led the league in total touchdowns with 19 — 12 rushing and seven receiving scores. As great as that was for his fantasy owners in 2013, it will be unlikely for Charles to repeat. If you remember back to 2011, McCoy scored a league-high 20 touchdowns and then followed that up with just five total touchdowns in 2012.

Playing one less game than McCoy as the Chiefs rested their starters in Week 17, Charles set a career high in yards from scrimmage (1,980) and that ranked second only to McCoy. In addition, no player had as many games with 100-plus YFS than Charles (13) last season.

3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Like with McCoy and Charles, Forte and Peterson are separated in my projections by the narrowest of margins (0.3 fantasy points, to be exact). And to be honest, I'd be thrilled with any of the top-four options at running back.

While he's unlikely to ever duplicate his historic 2012 season, Peterson has put up monster numbers despite battling injuries and facing eight- or nine-men fronts over the past couple of seasons. And while touchdown production tends to fluctuate for (other) running backs, Peterson has rattled off double-digit rushing scores in all seven of his NFL seasons.

If there are some concerns with Peterson, it's the fact that he's now 29 years old and has racked up more than 2,000 career rush attempts. Then again, doubt All Day at your own peril.

4. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears

In his first season with Marc Trestman as coach, Forte set career highs across the board: 1,339 rushing yards, 74 receptions and 594 receiving yards. He tied his previous career high in touchdowns (12).

With a talented duo of outside receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, Forte has protection from consistent eight-men fronts looking to slow down the run. In addition, both of those receivers are big-bodied wideouts that excel as blockers down the field.

5. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers

While the Packers have long been able to beat you through the air, their ground attack has left much to be desired — until this past season, that is. As a rookie, Lacy finished with 1,178 rushing yards, which ranked eighth in the NFL, and 11 touchdowns, only two RBs had more. Only McCoy (1,139) had more rushing yards than Lacy (1,127) from Week 5 on.

No running back had more games with 20-plus carries last year than Lacy. Counting their playoff loss, Lacy had 20-plus carries in 11 of his final 14 games last season. As productive as he was as a workhorse back, Lacy averaged only 4.15 yards per carry last season.

Provided that Aaron Rodgers stays healthy for a full season, however, I expect better numbers from Lacy on a per-carry basis and I wouldn't be surprised if he rushed for double-digit scores once again.

6. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

Murray has long been associated with the injury-prone tag. While he did not play a full 16 games last year, Murray was still very productive and played a career-high 14 games. Eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark (1,124 rushing yards) for the first time in his career, Murray set career highs in receptions (53), receiving yards (350) and touchdowns (10).

During a six-game stretch from Week 10 to 16 (team's bye was in Week 11), Murray scored double-digit fantasy points every week and had three games with at least 20 fantasy points. Only two running backs — McCoy (152.5) and Charles (144.33) — averaged more YFS per game than Murray (123.67) during that span. Only Charles (11) had more touchdowns than Murray (seven) over that stretch as well.

There will always be injury risk for Murray, or any running back for that matter, but he could be in store for a monster season provided he maintains as good (or better) health in 2014.

7. Montee Ball, Denver Broncos (Ball's 2014 fantasy profile)

Seemingly out of nowhere, Knowshon Moreno finshed as a top-five scorer in fantasy points among running backs last year. While Moreno lacks elite talent, playing in a Peyton Manning-led offense leads to huge rewards. Moreno's free-agency departure to Miami creates an enormous opportunity for Ball in the league's most explosive offense.

Ball, the Broncos' second-round pick in 2013, got off to a relatively slow start: 3.26 yards per carry (68 carries for 222 yards) in first 10 games. From Weeks 11 to 16, however, Ball averaged 6.48 YPC (52 carries for 337 yards).

Provided he gets as much work as Moreno received last year, Ball's ceiling is a top-five finish (or better).

8. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

For a third consecutive season, Lynch rushed for more than 1,200 yards with double-digit touchdowns. Over that three-year span, he has 901 carries for 4,051 yards, 87 catches for 724 yards and a total of 39 touchdowns.

Perhaps Lynch breaks down due to his violent, earthquake-inducing running style and heavy usage over the past few years. Considering the team moved some of the money he was due next season into 2014, I feel more confident now that his workload won't dip too much. Many have speculated that Lynch could be a cap casualty next season.

9. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals

As a change-of-pace back, Bernard had a productive rookie season and finished inside the top 20 fantasy running backs for the full season in standard-scoring formats. Averaging just shy of 15 touches per game on the year, his carries increased every month — 8.0 per game (Sept.), 9.8 (Oct.), 12.0 (Nov.) and 13.0 (Dec.). Finishing eighth among all running backs in receptions (56), he was an even better option in point-per-reception (PPR) formats.

Going into 2014, Bernard should be ready for his workload to continue its ascension. Recently the Cincinnati Enquirer projected close to 300 touches and a "good share" of the goal-line carries for Gio.

Even though the team drafted LSU's Jeremy Hill in the second round, the Bengals should be a more run-oriented team in 2014 as they transition to Hue Jackson's run-heavy offense.

10. Arian Foster, Houston Texans

From 2010-2012, Foster rushed for 4,264 yards, added 159 receptions for 1,438 yards and scored a total of 47 touchdowns in 45 games. During that span, no player had more YFS or touchdowns than Foster.

Before an injury ended his 2013 season prematurely, Foster was hitting his stride with 82 touches (68 carries and 14 receptions) for 487 yards from scrimmage (341 rushing and 146 receiving) over his final three full games. While I have been hoping that last year's injury — or more precisely, the reduction in workload — would help keep him healthy and fresh in 2014, Foster reminded us of his durability risk with his recent hamstring issue.

11. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Even though Lovie Smith is a defensive coach, the team went offense heavy in the draft adding two wide receivers, a tight end and two offensive lineman. In addition, they drafted West Virginia running back Charles Sims, a talented receiver out of the backfield, with the fifth pick of the third round. Unfortunately, Sims fractured his ankle and is expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2014 season.

The Muscle Hamster had a disappointing sophomore campaign as a season-ending injury cut his season short after just six games. Even before the injury, however, Martin was not running the ball well as he averaged a yard less per carry (3.6) than he did as a rookie (4.6 YPC).

Even though Martin should easily lead the team's backs in touches, Tampa's coaching staff has made numerous comments about their intention to use a committee in the backfield.

12. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals

Coach Bruce Arians previously exaggerated, obviously, Ellington's potential workload at "25-30 touches per game." That said, the team seems committed to utilizing him as a featured back.

Ellington was outstanding on a per-touch basis last season as he was tied with James Starks for the lead among running backs in yards per carry (5.5) and he averaged 9.51 yards per reception. Provided he holds up well to the increased volume, Ellington could become a bonafide RB1.

13. Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars (Gerhart's 2014 fantasy football profile)

Behind stud running back Adrian Peterson on the depth chart, Gerhart did not many opportunities to carry the ball in his four NFL seasons. That said, Gerhart has been productive when given the opportunity (4.73 yards per carry).

Signed in the offseason by the Jaguars, Gerhart could possibly get more than his 276 career rush attempts in this season alone as the team's workhorse back. In my running back projections, I have Gerhart racking up close to 1,500 yards from scrimmage on nearly 300 touches.

14. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

While he won't add much at all as a receiver and his numbers overall dropped last season, Alf has averaged 1,444 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns over his first two seasons in the NFL.

With the transition to the team's new offensive scheme, there are some concerns that Morris could see a modest decline in touches, but he is a solid RB2 in fantasy drafts. In fact, there is a modest difference — less than three fantasy points — between Morris and my RB12 (Le'Veon Bell) in my fantasy running back projections.

15. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers

After missing eight games combined in his first three seasons, Mathews played a full 16-game season for the first time in his four-year career. He rushed for a career-high 1,255 yards, seventh in the NFL, and scored six touchdowns last season.

Getting off to a relatively slow start, Mathews was one of the league's most dominant runners from Weeks 6 to 17. During that 11-game stretch, Mathews had six 100-yard games. In addition, he was one of only three running backs (LeSean McCoy and Eddie Lacy were the others) to rush for 1,000-plus yards during that span.

Provided he stays healthy for a second season in a row, Mathews will lead the Chargers in rushing and fantasy points, but the Bolts added Donald Brown in free agency to join Mathews and Danny Woodhead.

More RBs: Continue to RBs 16-30

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2014 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Labor Day Weekend Update

For those with fantasy football drafts this Labor Day Weekend, I have made another update to my 2014 preseason fantasy football rankings.

Here are my updated fantasy quarterback rankings for the 2014 season:

1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

It would be hard to discuss the quarterback position without beginning the discussion with Manning. It was a historic season as Manning, a (now) five-time league MVP, broke the single-season records for both passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) previously held by Drew Brees and Tom Brady, respectively, as well as numerous other records.

As dominant as Manning was with his record-setting full-season numbers, he was remarkably consistent and dominant on a weekly basis. Throwing a touchdown in every game last season, Manning had only one game (excluding the playoffs) with less than two touchdowns. In addition, he had more games (nine) with four or more touchdowns than he had with less than four scores (seven).

While many (fantasy) championships were likely won by Manning-QB'd teams last year, I would still prefer to wait to on quarterback in my fantasy league(s), but I would begin to consider him at the end of Round 2 in standard 12-team leagues.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Although he missed a big chunk of last season with a broken clavicle, Rodgers has a combined passer rating of 112.7 over the past three seasons with a 101:20 TD-to-INT ratio during that span. Over the past three years, he has averaged 4,589.6 passing yards per 16 games.

In addition, Rodgers has consistently posted solid rushing stats for a quarterback. Since becoming the starter in 2008, he has rushed for an average of 279 yards and 3.3 touchdowns per every 16 games.

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

For a long time, 5,000 passing yards seemed like a special feat. And it is ... for everyone else. For Brees, however, it's become an expectation. Brees has now thrown for 5,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons. With four 5,000-yard seasons in his career, Brees is tied with all other quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. In addition, Brees has thrown for 128 touchdowns over the past three years.

Even if Brees doesn't reach 5,000 passing yards this season, he's going to come close and he's a lock to be a top-three producer in fantasy points at the position once again.

4. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

It was an up-and-down season for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. To be more accurate, it was a down-and-up-and-then-back-down season for Brady from a fantasy perspective. To be fair, Brady began the season without five of the team's leading receivers from 2012.

Brady's production seemed to match the presence (or absence) of tight end Rob Gronkowski. Beginning with Gronk's third game back, Brady began a six-game stretch with five games of at least 344 passing yards that also included two games with more than 400 yards. In the seven games that Gronkowski was active, Brady averaged 315 passing yards and 1.86 touchdown passes compared to averages of 237.56 yards and 1.33 touchdowns in games he missed.

While it may not be a sure thing, indications are that Gronk will be ready for the season opener.

5. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Even though Luck threw 57 fewer pass attempts and Reggie Wayne (ACL) was lost for more than half of last season, Luck finished fourth among quarterbacks in fantasy points. With good health from Wayne as well as tight end Dwayne Allen and the free-agent addition of Hakeem Nicks, Luck has an improved supporting cast.

Luck's mobility is one of his underrated attributes and he has rushed 125 times for 632 yards and nine touchdowns in his two NFL seasons.

6. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

One of the handful of 5,000-yard passers in NFL history, Stafford seems set up for his best opportunity to duplicate that feat. In addition to elite pass-catching weapons of Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell already being on the roster, the Lions have added Golden Tate via free agency as well as Eric Ebron with the 10th-overall pick in the 2014 draft.

7. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (Cutler's 2014 fantasy profile)

While Cutler did not stay healthy for the full season, the combination of Cutler and Josh McCown threw for a total of 4,450 yards and 32 touchdowns in Marc Trestman's first season in Chicago. Through Week 16, the Cutler/McCown duo scored 289.6 fantasy points, which would have been enough to finish third among QBs last season.

Not only do the Bears have a pair of stud receivers (Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery), but Matt Forte is one of the league's best receivers out of the backfield and he set receiving career highs last season. Cutler has (mostly) looked sharp in the preseason as he enters Year 2 running Trestman's offense with the continuity of all 11 offensive returning from last season.

[Related: Cutler appeared on list of undervalued fantasy options in 2014.]

8. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Except for setting a career high in passing touchdowns (24), Newton set career lows in passing yards (3,379), rushing yards (585) and rushing touchdowns (six) last season. Even so, Newton finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback last season. If Newton does not finish as a top-five fantasy quarterback this season, it will be the first time that he has done so..

Even though the Panthers used their first-round pick on Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers have one of the league's weakest wide receiver corps (once again). That said, you could easily argue that the group is better this year than they were last year. Newton's bread and butter as a fantasy stud, however, is his rushing production. From his career rushing stats alone, Newton has averaged 7.73 fantasy points per game.

Currently recovering from a hairline fracture in his ribs, Newton has insisted that he'll be ready for Week 1.

9. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

A fantasy disappointment in 2013, Kaepernick hit his stride down the stretch with three consecutive games of 20-plus fantasy points to close the season. Recently, he admitted that an early-season foot injury had slowed him down — literally.

One of four quarterbacks to rush for 500-plus yards last season, Kaepernick should have much more success as a passer in 2014. The loss of Michael Crabtree (Achilles) for most of last season hurt Kaepernick, but Crabtree is healthy now and the team has added upgraded their overall depth at the position via trade, free agency and draft.

10. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

Beginning the season as the team's backup, Foles played nearly flawlessly in 2013. While Manning was breaking records and winning a record-fifth MVP for a record-setting offense, it was Foles — not Manning — that led the NFL in passer rating. In fact, his passer rating (119.2) was third-highest in NFL history as he posted a remarkable — and virtually impossible to repeat — 27:2 TD-to-INT ratio.

While nobody will confuse Foles for Michael Vick, he did have success running the ball last season. Among quarterbacks, Foles ranked 10th in rush attempts (56) and 12th in rushing yards (225) while also scoring three touchdowns.

11. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

With better health (thank you, Shanny) and the free-agent addition of DeSean Jackson (thank you, Chip), Griffin III has the potential to bounce back and possesses top-five upside. After all, new coach Jay Gruden coached up Andy Dalton to a top-five finish in 2013. RG3 has one of the league's better young trios of pass-catchers with Pierre Garcon, D-Jax and tight end Jordan Reed. That said, RG3 has struggled so far this preseason in the team's new offense.

12. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (Romo's 2014 fantasy profile)

One season after throwing for 4,903 yards, Romo threw for only 3,828 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. With an atrocious defense that is even worse than last season, Romo and the Cowboys should be involved in plenty of shootouts.

In addition, Scott Linehan joins the coaching staff and takes over the play-calling responsibilities. Over the past past three seasons, the Linehan offense in Detroit led the NFL in pass attempts by quite a bit. As a Cowboys fan, however, I hope they are more committed to the run this season and think they will to help keep their defense off the field.

13. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Sacked a career-worst 44 times and throwing a career-high 17 interceptions, Ryan still managed to throw for 4,515 yards, the second-highest total of his career, and 26 touchdowns. In addition to poor offensive line play, Ryan was without Julio Jones for the final 11 games and Roddy White was slowed by injuries for much of the season.

Jones was having a breakout season — 116.0 YPG through five games — before a foot injury ended his season. In addition, White closed the season nearly as strong as Jones began it — 43 catches for 502 yards. Only two receivers had more yards in the final five games.

With improved health from his top two receivers, Ryan will have an opportunity to bounce back in 2014 although Tony Gonzalez has retired. (This time for good, I think.)

14. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Despite playing in Seattle's run-first offense, Wilson still finished as the No. 9 scorer among QBs through Week 16 last year. While he won't throw many more than 400 pass attempts (has 800 through two seasons), Wilson has finished in the top 10 in passing TDs in both of his seasons with 26 per year. In addition, he has rushed for 1,028 yards and five touchdowns in his two seasons.

15. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Rivers bounced back so much last season that he also took home the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. With three 400-yard games in the first five weeks, Rivers got off to a great start, but he posted more modest numbers the rest of the way. Among QBs, Rivers was fourth in fantasy points through Week 5, but he was only No. 14 from Weeks 6 to 16.

More QBs: Continue to QBs 16-40

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August 29, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft - 2-QB League: Round 10

In the final stretch of our new 2-QB Fantasy Football Mock Draft, we have completed another round; only two more to go.

Here are Round 10 results:

10.01 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Matt Cassel, QB, Minnesota Vikings

At least to begin the season, Cassel has been named the team's starting quarterback over rookie Teddy Bridgewater. It's possible/likely that Bridgewater replaces him at some point this year and the Vikes have their bye in Week 10. Sean has Tony Romo as his QB1 and E.J. Manuel as his QB2.

While Manuel's bye week is Week 9, Romo's is Week 11. It wouldn't surprise me if Bridgewater becomes the starter in Week 11 (following their bye), which could mean that Cassel is no longer the starter to cover Romo's bye.

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10.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens

The hopes of a breakout season that many had expected were dashed in July when Pitta suffered a hip injury that nearly kept him out for the entire season. Back in 2012, Pitta finished with 61/669/7 and I expect him to set career highs across the board in Gary Kubiak's tight end-friendly offense in 2014.

10.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns

The Browns have decided to go with veteran Brian Hoyer as their starter for Week 1. It appears unlikely that Hoyer will remain the starter for the entire season, however. With an early bye (Week 4), it's possible that we see Johnny Football starting for the Browns in Week 5+. If/when he becomes the starter, his rushing ability could lead to weeks where he even flirts with QB1-level production.

10.04 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts

After playing a full 16-game season from 2002 to 2012, Wayne missed nine games due to a torn ACL last year. Before the injury, Wayne had 38 catches for 503 yards and two touchdowns, which would have put him on pace for 87 catches and 1,150 yards. Even though he turns 36 in November, Wayne has a chance to reach the 1,000-yard milestone once again provided he stays healthy.

10.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

After five years in San Diego and three years in New Orleans, Sproles was traded to the Eagles this offseason. Over the past three seasons, Sproles has averaged 77/660/5 receiving and 63/356/2 rushing. That said, Sproles is now 31 years old and joins an offense with one of the league's best running backs.

For me, this is a bit too early for Sproles — RB50 in my fantasy rankings, RB37 in this mock.

10.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Andre Williams, RB, New York Giants

With David Wilson's career sadly over at just 23 years old, it has opened the door for Williams to become the team's No. 2 running back behind Rashad Jennings in addition to getting most of the goal-line work. While he has looked good this preseason, Williams is not much of a receiver out of the backfield. He led college football with 2,177 rushing yards last year and had zero receptions. In four college seasons, he had 704 carrries and just 10 receptions.

10.07 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills

Entering last season as an after-thought following C.J. Spiller's breakout season, Jackson delivered for fantasy owners that took him late in drafts. Tied with Ryan Mathews, Jackson finished 10th in fantasy points among running backs last season.

Will Jackson get 1,283 YFS and 10 touchdowns again this season? I doubt it. But then again, who expected that type of production from him last year? While a fantasy owner shouldn't expect too much from a 33-year-old running back, Jackson has made a career out of outperforming expectations.

10.08 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Houston Texans

The Amish Rifle enters the season as Houston's starting quarterback. While he's not the long-term answer for the Texans, there's a good chance that he remains the starter for the vast majority of the season. Sean is loading up on QBs with this roster as Fitz is his QB4 behind Drew Brees, Carson Palmer and Geno Smith.

10.09 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Despite his high-draft status (third overall) and his performance in the preseason, Bortles enters the season as the team's backup. The Jags have insisted that Bortles will sit for a year before becoming the starter in 2015, but will the Jags really keep Bortles on the bench all season? I doubt it. Once again, Sean has added a QB4 to one of his rosters, hoping that the lack of depth in 2-QB leagues works to his advantage when it comes to negotiating trades.

10.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans

With explosive athletic ability, the six-foot-four Hunter has added 15 pounds of muscle to his (previously) thin frame this offseason. As a rookie, Hunter had a few big games near the end of the season and averaged nearly 20 yards per catch (19.7 Y/R). With a late-round ADP (albeit one that keeps rising), Hunter appeared on my list of 12 undervalued fantasy football options and he has plenty of breakout appeal going into his sophomore campaign.

10.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers

With injuries in the team's backfield, Hyde has emerged as the clear No. 2 running back behind 31-year-old incumbent Frank Gore. As my top-ranked running back prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft, Hyde rushed for 1,521 yards (7.3 YPC) and 15 touchdowns as a senior at Ohio State last year. In addition, Hyde has impressed throughout the preseason as he rushed 17 times for 96 yards (5.6 YPC).

10.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Often compared to new teammate Vincent Jackson when it comes to NFL comparables, Evans has great size (6-foot-5, 35-inch arms) and excellent athleticism for his size. While it's typically difficult for rookie receivers to make a major impact, Evans should be able to make an immediate impact in the red zone.

> Continue to Round 11 of 2-QB Fantasy Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 9 of 2-QB Fantasy Mock Draft
> Or go back to Round 1 of 2-QB Fantasy Mock Draft

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Bengals cut BenJarvus Green-Ellis

It's not a huge surprise, but the Bengals have released running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

When the Bengals drafted LSU running back Jeremy Hill in the second round, it seemed fairly clear that The Law Firm's days in Cincinnati were numbered.

In two seasons with the Bengals, Green-Ellis rushed for 1,850 yards and 13 touchdowns as his yards-per-carry average dropped from 3.9 in 2012 to 3.4 YPC last season.

With new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson taking over the offense, it's likely that the Bengals utilize an offense decidedly more run-oriented than last year's offense under Jay Gruden.

Both Giovani Bernard and Hill could see 200 or more carries each and there is virtually no chance that Andy Dalton throws 586 pass attempts again this year.



ESPN Boston (now) projects Stevan Ridley to make 53-man roster

Earlier in the week, ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss made headlines by leaving Patriots running back Stevan Ridley off his 53-man roster projection.

Today, Ridley's back on it.

Reiss wrote, "Played a hunch at this spot last week with Ridley and looks like that was off the mark. Haven't seen enough spark from White to move away from Ridley."

Along with Ridley, Reiss projects Shane Vereen, rookie James White and Brandon Bolden as the team's other three running backs.

The Patriots can be full of surprises as we've seen recently with the trade of Logan Mankins to Tampa for tight end Tim Wright, but projecting Ridley to make the final 53-man roster makes the most sense.

For fantasy owners, Ridley has a lot of potential value with his eighth-round ADP if he can keep his fumbling issues in check. That said, another fumble could quickly land him back in Belichick's doghouse.



Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (August 29th): 14 teams, No. 9 pick

Back on May 27th, we began our 2014 fantasy football mock draft per day series using our site's mock draft simulator (powered by FantasyPros).

As we continue through the offseason, I will continue to complete a mock draft every day as I vary the scoring format, league size, draft slot, etc. and today's mock is a 14-team league using standard scoring and I have the No. 9 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.09 - DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
2.06 - Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
3.09 - Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
4.06 - Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals
5.09 - Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins
6.06 - Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
7.09 - Bernard Pierce, RB, Baltimore Ravens
8.06 - Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
9.09 - Lance Dunbar, RB, Dallas Cowboys
10.06 - Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
11.09 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers
12.06 - Carolina Panthers D/ST
13.09 - Benny Cunningham, RB, St. Louis Rams
14.06 - Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
15.09 - Shayne Graham, K, New Orleans Saints

Some notes about my team (view full mock here):

  • QBs: Once again, it's Brady on my fantasy team. While there is a clear-cut top-three fantasy QBs, it's wide open after those three elite options. For me, I have Brady projected to score the fourth-most fantasy points among QBs. Not only does Brady benefit from the likelihood that Rob Gronkowski will be available in Week 1, but he has had another year to develop chemistry with their new receivers (either rookies or free-agent signings last year) and the most-recent addition of Tim Wright in the role of their move tight end. Brady was the QB8 in this mock, but QBs 9-12 were off the board before my next pick as well.

  • RBs: Yet to play a full season, Murray played a career-high 14 games last year and finished as fantasy's RB7 in the process. Especially strong down the stretch, Murray scored the third-most fantasy points from Weeks 10 to 16 with six consecutive games of double-digit fantasy points (and half with 20-plus). One of my favorite running back values, Gerhart will have an opportunity as the Jags' three-down workhorse. I have Gerhart projected for close to 300 touches and 1,500 YFS. With Ray Rice serving a two-game suspension to start the season, Pierce will be the team's featured back in Weeks 1 and 2. If he secures the largest share of their RB duo in the process, it wouldn't surprise me. As noted, Murray has been injury prone; Dunbar provides some insurance. Either way, Dunbar figures to be more involved in the offense and could finish as a top-50 back even if Murray plays a full season. The gap between Zac Stacy and the team's No. 2 back, which appears to solidly be Cunningham, isn't as large as initially thought. He's worth a flier in Round 13 as my RB5.

  • WRs: If there is any concern with Jones, it's his foot injury that sidelined him for 11 games last season and led to his second surgery on that foot. That said, he was leading the league with 116.0 YPG before the injury and he gives me a top-five wideout as my starter. Floyd broke out last year as he led the Cardinals in receiving yards and Wallace has bounce-back potential in Bill Lazor's up-tempo offense to give me a solid WR2/Flex tandem. Benjamin has great size (6-5, 240, nearly 35-inch arms) to become a dominant force in the red zone. Boldin is a solid WR5 that actually saw his numbers increase when Michael Crabtree returned from his Achilles injury last year. Matthews is the all-time SEC leader in catches/yards and it wouldn't be crazy for him to develop into the most productive Eagles receiver as the season progresses.

  • TEs: One of the more talented young tight ends in the league, Ertz is poised for a breakout in his second season after a solid rookie campaign. Starting quarterback Nick Foles recently compared Ertz to Gronk, Foles' college teammate, in terms of athleticsm and ability to create mismatches.

Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free. And/or go pro and use the FantasyPros Draft Assistant in your live drafts.

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Tomorrow's mock draft will be a 16-team league using standard scoring and I have the No. 3 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.


















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