August 01, 2014

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (August 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 - Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
3.08 - Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans
4.05 - Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
5.08 - Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
6.05 - Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
7.08 - Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
8.05 - Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets
9.08 - Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
10.05 - Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
11.08 - Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
12.05 - Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
13.08 - Cincinnati Bengals D/ST
14.05 - Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianapolis Colts
15.08 - Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta Falcons

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

  • QBs: Perhaps I should have waited on QB and used my fifth-round pick on a second wide receiver. In hindsight, I could have taken Cam Newton in the ninth round. That said, Stafford has a loaded group of skill-position players as Golden Tate and rookie Eric Ebron join Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. One of a handful of quarterbacks to ever throw for 5,000 yards in a season, Stafford may have his best opportunity this year to duplicate that feat.

  • RBs: The trio of Lacy, Bell and Gerhart could amass 1,000 touches this season although I have them projected for slightly less — 962 touches including 132 receptions. Less of a workhorse, Thomas led NFL running backs in receptions (77) last season and fellow 70-catch back Darren Sproles is now in the City of Brotherly Love. Based on my PPR rankings, all four of these running backs rank in my top 14. Freeman has more appeal in dynasty leagues than re-draft leagues, but he is only a Steven Jackson injury away from a featured role.

  • WRs: When healthy, Johnson has been an absolute stud. In each of his last four full 16-game seasons, Johnson has posted 100-plus catches and 1,400-plus yards. Of all this team's starting positions, WR2 is the weakest, but I have several WR3/WR4 types that hopefully step up — Decker, Bowe, Cooks, Shorts and Nicks.

  • TEs: Obviously, the concern with Reed is his durability. Not only did he miss extended time with a concussion last year, but he has had numerous concussions over his career going back to his days at Florida. If he can stay healthy, however, he could be a steal. Based on his production over nine games last year, Reed was on pace for 80 catches and 887 yards. As I've noted in the past, only two rookie tight ends have ever reached 887 yards — Mike Ditka and Jeremy Shockey.

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Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

Tomorrow's mock draft will be a 10-team point-per-reception (PPR) scoring and a super flex (QB-eligible flex) with the No. 2 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.



2014 Fantasy Football Rankings (August 1st update): Tight End (TEs)

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. That said, he was not was placed on the PUP list to start training camp and all indications are that he will be active for Week 1 after tearing his ACL last December.

Missing games to start and end last season, Gronk played in only seven games, but he averaged 84.6 yards per game and 15.2 yards per reception, both of which were career highs. More than anything, Gronkowski is a dominant force in the red zone as he has a total of 43 touchdowns in 50 career games.

3. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos

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Among tight ends, there was no bigger fantasy bargain than Denver's Julius Thomas as TE23 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.

Of course, Thomas won't be nearly as cheap (or cheap at all) in 2014 after last year's breakout season. 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 last year.

4. 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.

5. 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 potentially (almost definitely) facing a season-long ban, however, it should open up the opportunities for Cameron to produce TE1 numbers on a more consistent basis.

6. 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 to gain that 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 should once again lead the team in receiving.

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9. 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.

10. 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 him in 2014.

11. 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.

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 68/751/5.

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. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

Walker set career highs last year with 60 catches for 571 yards and six touchdowns and he expects bigger things for himself in 2014. He recently said on NFL Network that he's looking to do something only three other tight ends did last season: "I’m looking to catch 80 balls this year."

15. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers

We saw a glimmer of Green's upside last year when he had nine catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns in a three-game span. Especially with the relative lack of depth at receiver behind Keenan Allen, Green has the potential for a breakout season in 2014.

More TEs: Continue to TEs 16-50

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2014 Fantasy Football Rankings (August 1st update): Wide Receivers (WRs)

Exceeding even 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 a 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 due to suspension.

Not only did Gordon have 100-plus yards in exactly half of his 14 games last season, he had at least 67 yards in all but two games in 2013. In addition, he became the first player in NFL history to have back-to-back 200-yard receiving games as he broke the team's single-game receiving record (as Buggin' Out once said, "two times").

That's the good news. The bad news, however, is that it is unclear whether Gordon will even play at all this year ever again.

Failing another drug test this offseason, Gordon is facing a year-long suspension and his appeal hearing is set for the end of the month. To make matters worse, Gordon was arrested on DWI charges over the July 4th holiday weekend.

Gordon will meet with league officials today (August 1st) and we should soon find out whether or not Gordon will be suspended for a full season — or perhaps less. Stay tuned ...

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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. Only Hall-of-Famer Lance Alworth has as many career games with 200 receiving yards as Johnson (five). Over the past three seasons, Johnson has averaged a statistical line of 101/1,712/11.

2. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

In his second 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.

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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.

Despite some (im)maturity concerns (e.g., walking off the field in the Packers game), Bryant is one of the most physically-gifted players in the league and should be a lock for another 1,200-yard season with double-digit touchdowns.

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 likely been even 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 the fact that opposing defenses will focus on slowing 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. Only one player (Laverneus Coles) in league history had a longer streak of 5/50 games, but that streak spanned two seasons (2002-03).

10. 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 huge 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.

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

Having never missed a game in his NFL career, White did not allow a high-ankle sprain suffered last preseason to keep him out of the lineup in Week 1. That said, he wasn't himself and was more of a decoy for the first half of the season. Eventually White sustained a knee injury as well and missed a few games.

While the injuries kept White from having one of his typical seasons, he 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.

12. 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, it is shocking that 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

More WRs: Continue to WRs 16-30

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2014 Fantasy Football Rankings (August 1st update): Running Backs (RBs)

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

1. 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, LeSean McCoy scored a league-high 20 touchdowns and then followed that up with just five total touchdowns in 2012.

It certainly wouldn't be a knock on Charles if he does not repeat last year's scoring fest and I'm not projecting a drop to five total touchdowns for him. That said, what he did last season is rare as the only running backs with 19-plus touchdowns in the past seven seasons are: Charles (2013), McCoy (2011) and DeAngelo Williams (2008).

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.

2. 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 should 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 a healthy 330 touches in 2014.

3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

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 (most) 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. Based on PFF grades, Marshall and Jeffery were the best and ninth-best blocking wide receivers, respectively, last season.

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. From Week 5 through the end of the regular season, only McCoy (1,139) had more rushing yards than Lacy (1,127).

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. 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. Ironically, his injury — and subsequent reduction in workload — may help to keep him healthy and fresh in 2014..

7. 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.

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

Seemingly out of nowhere, Knowshon Moreno finshed as a top-five scorer among running backs in fantasy points 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).

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. Before the draft, coach Marvin Lewis referenced the jump in workload and production that Ray Rice had from his rookie to second season and hopes Bernard "can take those same steps."

While the team drafted LSU's Jeremy Hill in the second round, they will likely move on from The Law Firm and I still expect Bernard's touches to increase from last season. With the change in offensive scheme (from Jay Gruden to Hue Jackson), the Bengals should be much more of a run-first team in 2014.

10. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

In 13 games as a rookie, Bell got nearly 300 touches (244 carries and 45 receptions) and had 20-plus touches in all but two games. That said, Bell averaged only 3.52 yards per carry on the season. On a positive note, he averaged at least 4.0 YPC in four of his final five games after doing so only twice in his first eight games.

Even though the team added LeGarrette Blount, who was productive for the Patriots down the stretch, Bell should remain the team's workhorse back.

11. 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.

Even though he did not receive any new money, Lynch has ended his roughly week-long holdout from training camp on Thursday. More than likely, the Seahawks will get Christine Michael, their talented second-round pick from 2013, more involved in the offense this year.

12. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams

With only one carry in the team's first four games, Stacy was given 250 of them in the final 12. In the final nine games of the season, Stacy had exactly 200 carries for 759 yards (only 3.80 yards per carry), 20 receptions for 96 yards and a total of seven touchdowns.

Stacy should get a larger (overall) workload in 2014. GM Les Snead was quoted as saying in February that Stacy "should be more productive (in '14) because he should have more carries."

Drafting Auburn's Tre Mason in the third round won't do anything to help Stacy's fantasy value, but Stacy should remain the team's workhorse back in 2014. What should help Stacy is that St. Louis also drafted Mason's teammate, Greg Robinson, the best run-blocking prospect in this year's draft class.

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

Being second on the depth chart behind Adrian Peterson, it was no surprise that Gerhart did not get as many opportunities to carry the ball as you would expect a running back drafted in the second round to get. Over four seasons, Gerhart had a total of 276 carries for 1,305 yards (4.7 YPC) and five touchdowns. In addition, he had 77 receptions for 600 yards and three touchdowns.

By signing a three-year deal with the Jaguars, Gerhart will get an opportunity to be the team's featured back. Coach Gus Bradley has said that Gerhart could get 15-20 touches per game. More recently, the team's offensive coordinator said that Gerhart will be the team's "workhorse."

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.

15. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals

Coach Bruce Arians obviously exaggerated Ellington's potential workload ("25-30 touches per game") and Ellington added roughly 8-10 pounds in the offseason.

Last season, he outproduced Rashard Mendenhall, who has since retired, on a per-carry basis — and by a lot. In 2013, Ellington gained 652 yards on 118 carries (5.5 YPC) and added 39 receptions for 371 yards and four total touchdowns.

More RBs: Continue to RBs 16-30

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2014 Fantasy Football Rankings (August 1st update): Quarterbacks (QBs)

With training camps all open and the first preseason game only 48 hours away, it's a perfect time to update our 2014 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

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. 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.

Based on my 2014 fantasy football projections, the gap between QB3 (Brees) and QB4 (Stafford) is projected to be 25.84 fantasy points. With that being essentially identical to the gap between QB4 and QB13 (Matt Ryan), Stafford is unlikely to end up on any of my re-draft fantasy rosters considering the depth of the position — and more importantly, the similarity in projections between Stafford and the guys next in these rankings.

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 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. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

Poised for a bounce-back season with better health (thank you, Shanny) and the free-agent addition of DeSean Jackson (thank you, Chip), it's possible that Griffin III finishes as a top-five fantasy producer. If tight end Jordan Reed (concussions) can stay healthy, RG3 has one of the league's better young trios of pass-catchers with Pierre Garcon, D-Jax and Reed. After all, Andy Dalton finished as the No. 5 fantasy quarterback in Jay Gruden's offense last year.

7. 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.

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 and draft.

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 he indeed finishes as the No. 8 fantasy scorer at QB this year, it will be the first time he has finished outside of the top five.

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). 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.

9. 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. All indications point toward Gronk being ready for the season opener, which is excellent news for Brady's fantasy outlook.

10. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

Entering the season as the team's backup, Foles did not throw his first pass until Week 4 against the Broncos. With a near flawless season, Foles did not throw his first interception until Week 14 against the Lions in a weekend that was full of inclement weather around the league. Foles had entered that game with a 19:0 TD-to-INT ratio.

Even though he threw only 317 passes, Foles finished the season with 27 touchdowns, eighth-most in the NFL, and just two interceptions. 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. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

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. With more familiarity of Trestman's offense, Cutler provides plenty of upside for those that wait on QB.

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 and Scott Linehan calling the plays, Romo could be in store for a huge season. I would at least expect him to finish (much) closer to his 4,903 yards from 2012 than his 3,828 yards from 2013.

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 and 26 touchdowns on a career-high 651 pass attempts. In addition to poor offensive line play, Ryan was without Julio Jones for 11 games and Roddy White was slowed by injuries until the final month of the season.

Jones was having a breakout season — 116.0 YPG through five games — before a foot injury ended his season. 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. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

In the team's final nine games last season, the Steelers used the no-huddle offense with greater frequency and we should expect to see more no huddles from the Steelers in 2014. In those final nine games, the Steelers scored 10.36 more points per game than he did in their first seven games.

That change could lead to increased production from Roethlisberger, who threw for 4,261 yards and 28 touchdowns last year. Both of those totals were the second-highest of his career.

More QBs: Continue to QBs 16-40

More early 2014 Fantasy Football rankings:

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July 31, 2014

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (July 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 - Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
2.14 - Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
3.03 - Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
4.14 - Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns
5.03 - Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
6.14 - Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
7.03 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
8.14 - Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants
9.03 - Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
10.14 - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennnessee Titans
11.03 - Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
12.14 - Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
13.03 - Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams
14.14 - Buffalo Bills D/ST
15.03 - Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta Falcons

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

  • QBs: With Michael Crabtree missing the majority of the season with an Achilles injury, Kaepernick posted modest passing numbers — 12 games with less than 200 yards including the team's three playoff games. With a healthy Crabtree and the addition of Stevie Johnson, Kaepernick has a much improved receiving corps and Vernon Davis is a mismatch at tight end. Counting last year's playoffs, Kaepernick rushed for 767 yards (40.37 YPG and 6.5 YPC) and five TDs, which averages to 5.62 fantasy points per game from rushing alone. Long story short, I'm happy to get my QB7 as the QB11 in this mock. Bradford provides some depth and he was off to an excellent start before last year's season-ending injury.

  • RBs: By taking former teammates Peterson and Gerhart in the first and third round, respectively, I have two RB1's in this 16-team league. While I'd take both Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy before Peterson, you could argue that AD should be the No. 1 overall pick. As Peterson's former backup, Gerhart steps into a workhorse role with the Jags. I have him projected for close to 300 touches and 1,500 YFS. Better in PPR formats, PT is still a huge bargain at 6.14 and Jeremy Hill should get a significant volume of carries behind Giovani Bernard. With the injuries in the 49ers backfield, Hyde becomes the No. 2 behind 31-year-old incumbent Frank Gore.

  • WRs: In most cases, it's impossible to be strong at every position in deep leagues (16+ teams). I feel like I am in the top half at QB, RB and TE compared to other teams. While Cobb is a talented, dynamic and versatile playmaker and legitimate No. 1 fantasy WR, I am relatively weak (on paper ... or pixels, I guess) at my WR2 spot. Many like Randle for his upside, more so than I do, but there certainly is upside with the transition in offensive scheme. Hunter is one of my favorite late-round receivers as he's a physical freak (6-foot-4 with 4.4 speed) and he's added 15 pounds of muscle to his (previously) thin frame this offseason. Nobody would claim that Benjamin has a thin frame, but he has a chance to make an immediate red-zone impact in an offense devoid of elite receivers. I like Baldwin as a WR5 in 12-team leagues so obviously I like him as a WR5 in larger league sizes, but he's a solid late-round option if some of my upside guys turn out to be more bust than boom.

  • TEs: With the NFL expected to uphold Josh Gordon's full-season extension, Cameron is clearly the team's best option in the passing game and it wouldn't surprise me if he led the position in targets. Cameron had a breakout season in 2013, but he faded down the stretch: 49/596/6 (first eight games) vs. 31/321/1 (second eight games). Assuming Gordon is sidelined all year, Cameron should have more consistency throughout the entire season.

Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free.

Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

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



Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch to end his holdout

Less than one week into his holdout, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch will end his holdout and report to camp within the next 24 hours, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Over the past three seasons, Lynch has carried the ball 901 times for 4,051 yards and added 87 catches for 724 yards with a total of 39 touchdowns. In each of the those seasons, Lynch has exceeded 1,200 rushing yards and scored double-digit touchdowns.

No running back has more rushing TDs over that span and only Minnesota's Adrian Peterson has more yards (4,333).

As productive as he has been over the past several seasons, Lynch, my 11th-ranked fantasy running back (in my so-to-be-updated rankings), is likely to cede a few touches to Christine Michael (and Robert Turbin).



July 30, 2014

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (July 30th): 10 teams, 2-QB League, PPR, No. 4 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 10-team, 2-QB league using point-per-reception (PPR) scoring and I have the No. 4 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.04 - Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
2.07 - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
3.04 - Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
4.07 - Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
5.04 - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
6.07 - Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
7.04 - Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
8.07 - Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
9.04 - Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
10.07 - Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins
11.04 - Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
12.07 - Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
13.04 - Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
14.07 - Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans
15.04 - Denver Broncos D/ST
16.07 - Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta Falcons

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

  • QBs: Even though it seemed a bit unlikely, my hope was to land Colin Kaepernick at 4.07 when I took Newton at 3.04. In fact, I have Kaepernick ranked one spot higher than Cam and figured there would be no chance to get both if I took Kaepernick first. A virtual sniping took place with Kaep going at 4.06 ... ugh! Even so, I'm happy with Newton/Cutler as my starters considering how loaded I am at other positions. Newton has yet to finish outside the top-five QBs in his young career and the Cutler/McCown duo finished with what would have been a top-three finish if you combine their 2013 fantasy points. Locker provides some depth and although he has struggled with accuracy, he has some upside as a QB3.

  • RBs: With Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning off the board before my first pick, it pushed my No. 1 overall player down to me at No. 4, which feels a little like hitting the jackpot. Charles is unlikely to score 19 touchdowns again this season, but he set career highs in receptions (70) and YFS (1,980) as well and he could come close to those numbers again as the centerpiece of KC's offense. Going from a little-used backup in Minnesota, Gerhart will be a workhorse in Jacksonville and I would have been comfortable taking him several rounds earlier. Thomas led all RBs with 77 receptions last season and I have him projected to once again lead the position group in receptions (fantasy RB projections). Once his two-game suspension concludes, Rice has the potential for a bounce-back season on the field as he has shed some weight and he looks more elusive on the practice field according to reports.

  • WRs: Thomas has been remarkably consistent in his two seasons with Peyton —94/1434/10 in 2012 and 92/1430/14 in 2013. White was as good as nearly any WR last December (43/502/2 in five games) as only Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery had more yards during that month. I expect him to bounce back in 2014. The quartet of Wallace, Colston, Tate and Bowe all provide me some WR3/flex with WR2 upside. (In fact, Wallace is ranked inside my top-20 fantasy WRs.)

  • TEs: Durability — 14 missed games and more than a handful of surgeries over past two years — is the obvious concern with Gronk, but he has been dominant in the red zone (43 TDs in 50 career games) and he even posted career highs in yards per game (84.6) and yards per reception (15.2) last year when he was on the field. One of the benefits of two-QB leagues is that talented players (non-QBs) like Gronk sometimes slip too far.

Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free.

Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

Tomorrow's mock draft will be a 16-team standard scoring and the No. 13 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.



July 29, 2014

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (July 29th): 12 teams, No. 1 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 12-team league using standard scoring and I have the No. 1 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.01 - Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
2.12 - Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
3.01 - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
4.12 - Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions
5.01 - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
6.12 - Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts
7.01 - Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots
8.12 - Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianapolis Colts
9.01 - Terrance West, RB, Cleveland Browns
10.12 - Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
11.01 - Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
12.12 - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans
13.01 - Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans
14.12 - Kenny Stills, WR, New Orleans Saints
15.01 - Cincinnati Bengals D/ST
16.12 - Robbie Gould, K, Chicago Bears

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

  • QBs: Brady may have had a disappointing season in 2013, but I expect him to be much better this season. Much more productive with Gronkowski (than without him, of course), the good news is that Gronk should be ready to go Week 1. In addition, the wide receiver corps should be better overall with most of the group having (at least) a year under their belts in this offense. Either way, Brady is a huge bargain at 11.01 as he's typically going several rounds earlier in most drafts.

  • RBs: Charles will likely score much fewer TDs than he had last season, but he's still the No. 1 fantasy RB for me in 2014. As such an integral part of the offense, Charles set a career high in YFS with 1,980 last season as well. Expected to get an even larger workload this year, Bell was a top-20 fantasy running back last season and is a solid RB2. Frustrating RBs to own in 2013, T-Rich and Ridley have upside as the 72nd/73rd players selected, respectively. Fortunately, the Charles/Bell duo means less reliance on production from them for this team. I'd take West as my RB5 any day of the week; it wouldn't be a surprise if he ends up being more productive than Ben Tate this season.

  • WRs: Nelson, who recently signed a four-year extension, is one of three wide receivers with at least 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns over the past three years. Assuming good health for Aaron Rodgers, Nelson is a solid WR1. Entering his second season, Patterson is a high-upside guy in Norv Turner's offense. Nicks could be a bounce-back candidate with a change of scenery as it's another walk year for him, but the presence of T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne suppresses that bounce-back appeal some. I'd prefer for Nicks to be bench depth as opposed to my WR3. That said, the trio of Cooks, Hunter and Stills all have plenty of upside and could find their way into my starting lineup as my WR3 at some point.

  • TEs: Durability is the obvious concern with Gronk, but he has been dominant in the red zone (43 TDs in 50 games) and he even posted career highs in yards per game (84.6) and yards per reception (15.2) last year. Not placed on the PUP list, he should be ready to go for the start of the season, but it makes sense to add a backup considering he has missed 14 games and has had more surgeries than I can count on one hand over the past two years. Walker had a career-best season (60/571/6) in 2013 and the team's new offense could allow him to have an even better season in 2014.

Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free.

Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

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



Pats WR Aaron Dobson had permanent screw inserted in March foot surgery

When Patriots second-year wide receiver Aaron Dobson had foot surgery in March, the timetable for his return was two to three months.

Four and a half months later, Dobson has yet to be cleared for training camp, but the surgery was more significant than initially thought as Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald notes:

For Dobson, sources revealed a new detail about the March 10 surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. The surgery actually required the insertion of a permanent screw to aid the healing process, which speaks to the magnitude of the procedure.

The initial timetable was estimated at 2-3 months, but that is now an overly optimistic projection. Dobson didn’t even begin running until July, and that progression ultimately leads to aggressive planting and cutting. The second-year wideout and potential starter has been conditioning off to the side of the first four training camp practices, but his change-of-direction work hasn’t been showcased much out in the open.

Because stress fractures come with a high re-injury risk before a completed healing process — the injury popped twice on him last season — the Patriots medical staff is making sure Dobson is able to handle the rigors of the job before allowing him on the field.

Dobson is currently going in the 12th round (via FFC), on average, in fantasy drafts behind fellow Patriots wide receivers Julian Edelman (sixth round) and Danny Amendola (10th round).



July 28, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 10

We are in the final stretches of our new PPR fantasy football mock draft with only four rounds to go.

Here are Round 10 results:

10.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots

The Patriots signed Amendola to replace Wes Welker a.k.a. The Slot Machine (one of my favorite athlete nicknames), but things did not turn out as well as anyone could have hoped. While Amendola had a few big games including the season opener (10/104 vs. BUF), injuries slowed him from the start and he never really got back on track. Instead, it was Julian Edelman that posted a career season. Durability will always be a concern with Amendola, but things should go much better in 2014 if, a big if, he can stay healthy.

10.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Terrance West, RB, Cleveland Browns

Granted, there is an enormous jump in level of competition between Towson to the NFL, but the big back (5-foot-9, 225 pounds) was über productive at the FCS level and running back is the easiest fantasy positions for a rookie to make an impact. Last season, West ran for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns!

The expectations are that it will be a fairly close position battle between West and Ben Tate, who has played only 40 games in his four NFL seasons. With Tate's ability to stay healthy being his biggest obstacle to the lead role, West could find himself with a prominent opportunity in this offense. Either way, the Browns will be a run-heavy team that should allow more than one running back to have fantasy relevance.

10.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): 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, Hunter has plenty of breakout appeal going into his sophomore campaign. I was hoping he'd last another round (or two) ...

10.04 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers

With better health from Michael Crabtree, who missed most of last season with a torn Achilles, and the addition of Stevie Johnson from a trade with the Bills, Boldin is unlikely to duplicate last year's numbers (85/1179/7). That said, he was productive once Crabtree returned and he had 38 receptions for 549 yards and four touchdowns in the team's final six regular-season games.

10.05 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): 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. Coach Jeff Fisher says that the Rams will "do a better job of using him now that we know what he’s capable of doing. Kind of looking forward to see him improve from year one to year two."

10.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers

At one point, running back actually seemed like a very deep position for the team, but has solidified his role as the team's No. 2 back behind 31-year-old running back Frank Gore as the injuries mount in the team's backfield. Hyde, the team's second-round pick, was my top-ranked running back out of college. Considering Gore's age and cumulative workload, Hyde is a high-upside backup running back.

10.07 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

In his second season in the league, Jones took a big step forward with 51 receptions for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns. Going into 2014, Jones will have an excellent opportunity to improve on the receptions and yards totals as he is clearly the team's No. 2 receiver behind A.J. Green, but he won't repeat the double-digit touchdowns.

10.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins

If you told someone a year ago that Moreno would finish the 2013 season as a top-five fantasy running back, that person would have scoffed at such a suggestion. But that's exactly what happened. Even after last season's top-five finish, others would probably laugh even harder if you made such a suggestion for 2014.

Transitioning from Denver to Miami, it's unlikely that Moreno produces anywhere close to the numbers he had last year. Initially, it seemed likely that he would at least lead the team in snaps, touches and production, but his start with the club has gotten off to a rocky start — poor conditioning, knee surgery, etc.

10.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings

While Cordarrelle Patterson should easily lead the team's receivers in fantasy points, Jennings has solid, if boring, value as a later-round receiver due to the Vikings' changes in quarterback and offensive coordinator. Jennings had 68 catches for 804 yards last season.

10.10 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): 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.

While he was his most productive on a per-touch basis last season, it's certainly possible that he finishes third among the team's running backs in touches this year.

10.11 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

The Panthers-at-Ravens matchup on Sept. 28th will be one of the most intriguing matchups of the season. Smiff's warning: "put your goggles on cause there’s going to be blood and guts everywhere."

From a fantasy perspective, things are much less exciting and interesting when it comes to Smith's outlook as he's nothing more than low-ceiling, late-round fantasy option at this point.

10.12 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Russell Wilson, QB, 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.

> Continue to Round 11
> Go back to Round 9

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Fantasy Football ADP (July 28th Update): Biggest Weekly Risers/Fallers

Every Monday, 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 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 7/21 to 7/28 in parenthesis) by position:

Quarterbacks

  1. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: -26.5 (185.2 on 7/21 to 158.7)
  2. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans: -10.0 (190.4 to 180.4)
  3. Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns: -4.4 (193.6 to 189.2)

Running Backs

  1. David Wilson, New York Giants: -7.5 (130.0 to 122.5)
  2. Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings: -6.7 (187.0 to 180.3)
  3. Stepfan Taylor, Arizona Cardinals: -6.5 (189.0 to 182.5)

Wide Receivers

  1. Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders: -6.6 (186.7 to 180.1)
  2. Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans: -6.2 (149.2 to 143.0)
  3. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans: -5.8 (118.1 to 112.3)

Tight Ends

  1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals: -7.4 (184.9 to 177.5)
  2. Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams: -7.2 (199.3 to 192.1)
  3. Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts: -5.2 (183.4 to 178.2)

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

* Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free.

Below are the three biggest fallers over the past week (ADPs on 7/21 to 7/28 in parenthesis) by position:

Quarterbacks

  1. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings: +5.2 (181.5 on 7/21 to 186.7 on 7/28)
  2. Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +3.8 (143.6 to 147.4)
  3. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: +3.7 (180.3 to 184.0)

Running Backs

  1. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders: +8.6 (180.8 to 189.4)
  2. LeGarrette Blount, Pittsburgh Steelers: +3.8 (119.6 to 123.4)
  3. (Tie) Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans: +3.1 (180.7 to 183.8); Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills: +3.1 (95.4 to 98.5); Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals: +3.1 (97.0 to 100.1)

Wide Receivers

  1. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns: +18.7 (148.3 to 167.0)
  2. (Tie) Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +3.5 (104.4 to 107.9); Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers: +3.5 (117.1 to 120.6)

Tight Ends

  1. Owen Daniels, Baltimore Ravens: +3.0 (182.9 to 185.9)
  2. Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: +2.7 (196.9 to 199.6)
  3. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles: +2.6 (185.5 to 188.1)

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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Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (July 28th): 16 teams, No. 3 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 16-team league using point-per-reception (PPR) scoring and I have the No. 3 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.03 - Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
2.14 - Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans
3.03 - Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
4.14 - Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins
5.03 - Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
6.14 - Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens
7.03 - Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
8.14 - Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianapolis Colts
9.03 - Roy Helu, RB, Washington Redskins
10.14 - Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11.03 - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans
12.14 - Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
13.03 - Kansas City Chiefs D/ST
14.14 - Rod Streater, WR, Oakland Raiders
15.03 - Nick Novak, K, San Diego Chargers

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

  • QBs: I am higher on Kaepernick than many and have him ranked as my QB6. But as I have noted in previous posts, the difference for me between QB4 (Matthew Stafford) and QB10 (Tom Brady) is less than one fantasy point per week, which is one of the reasons why I'm more than willing to wait on quarterback. It's not just that the position is deep; it's that I don't project much of a difference between those QBs that fall into that second tier after the top tier of Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Much of Kaepernick's production last year was due to his rushing ability, but he has a much-improved group of pass-catchers this year with a healthy Michael Crabtree and the addition of others via trade/draft.

  • RBs: As an ideal fit within Trestman's offense, it's no surprise that Forte flourished last year as he set career highs across the board: 70 receptions, 1,933 YFS and 12 TDs. There's no reason he can't produce similar numbers this year and he's actually my RB2 in PPR formats. No longer as cheap as he once was, Gerhart has tons of upside as a three-down back in an offense that will try to be run-heavy. (FYI: Here's my 2014 fantasy football profile for Gerhart that I posted yesterday.) While I agree with the majority that thinks Rice deserved a much longer suspension, the relatively minor two-game suspension is a positive for his fantasy value. In addition, he's reportedly lighter and more elusive heading into this season. Helu had 49 receptions as a rookie and even set the franchise record with 14 receptions in a game against the 49ers that year. As a change-of-pace back to Alfred Morris in Gruden's offense, it wouldn't be an upset if Helu finished with 50 catches in 2014.

  • WRs: In hindsight, I wish I had added an RB5 and/or a QB2 as well, but wide receiver is so deep that there tends to be several wide receivers I like late. Johnson is an absolute stud when healthy — four consecutive seasons of 100+ catches and 1,400+ yards in years he's played all 16 games. Despite missing the 1,000-yard mark in back-to-back seasons, Wallace is a bounce-back candidate in Bill Lazor's up-tempo offense. Nicks has struggled over the past two seasons, but he should be highly motivated as he once again enters a contract year. Rookie wideouts tend to struggle, but Evans has the size to be a post-up threat/red-zone weapon from the start. Hunter is a freak athlete that has added 15 pounds of muscle and generated positive buzz this offseason. Although the Seahawks employ a run-first offense, Baldwin should see improved numbers as the team's No. 2 wideout.

  • TEs: Many expected a breakout campaign for Pitta last year, but those hopes were dashed prior to the start of the season due to a hip injury that nearly cost him the entire season. Fast forward one year, I expect Pitta to have the breakout season many had expected for him last year.

Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free.

Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

Tomorrow's mock draft will be a 12-team league using standard scoring with and the No. 1 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.



July 27, 2014

Kyle Rudolph, Vikings agree to 5-year extension

The Minnesota Vikings and tight end Kyle Rudolph have agreed to a five-year extension worth $36.5 million, per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports.

Missing the second half of last season with a foot injury, Rudolph finished with 30 catches for 313 yards and three touchdowns in eight games last season. In 2012, Rudolph scored nine touchdowns, which tied Jimmy Graham for second among tight ends behind Rob Gronkowski (11).

Although he has had some red-zone success, the 24-year-old Rudolph should be primed for a career-best season in Norv Turner's TE-friendly offense.

Rudolph is currently my 10th-ranked fantasy tight end, but he has plenty of upside for those that wait on tight ends in their fantasy drafts.


















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