July 24, 2014

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (July 24th): 14 teams, No. 6 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 using standard scoring and I have the No. 6 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.06 - Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
2.09 - Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
3.06 - Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals
4.09 - Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
5.06 - Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions
6.09 - Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
7.06 - Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
8.09 - Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings
9.06 - Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams
10.09 - Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
11.06 - Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants
12.09 - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans
13.06 - Cleveland Browns D/ST
14.09 - Dan Bailey, K, Dallas Cowboys
15.06 - Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings

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

  • QBs: The 12th QB off the board, Kaepernick is my sixth-ranked fantasy quarterback in 2014. With elite rushing ability for a quarterback, Kaep enters the season with a much better group of pass-catchers than he had last season. Not only is Michael Crabtree healthy, the team added Stevie Johnson via trade and Bruce Ellington, Andre's cousin, via the draft. Based on my fantasy football projections, there is only 13.62-point (less than one fantasy point per game) difference between my QB4 (Matthew Stafford) and QB10 (Tom Brady). In other words, I'd be happy with any in that group — or more specifically, the one that I can get the latest.

  • RBs: Too bad this league didn't use PPR scoring as my top-four backs — Gio, Ellington, Bell and Thomas — would be even more valuable. Especially considering I went Megatron in Round 1, I'm happy with that foursome in non-PPR leagues as well. Bernard, Ellington and Bell are all set to see expanded workloads, and perhaps substantially larger ones. Mason provides some depth late as my RB5.

  • WRs: Megatron and Roddy give me two top-11 wideouts based on my fantasy rankings so I'm feeling really good about this duo. Of course, Megatron and should always form one of the top duos in any fantasy league. As I've noted numerous times, White was dominant in December as only two receivers had more yards than he did over those five games to close out the season. Bowe has lost some weight and should be better in 2014. Both Randle and Hunter have upside as late-round picks and Jennings provides some additional depth.

  • TEs: While he has had success in the red zone (12 TDs in his past 24 games), Rudolph is a prime breakout candidate in Norv Turner's TE-friendly offense.

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 a super flex (QB-eligible flex) and the No. 7 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.

Ravens RB Ray Rice to get two-game suspension

Arrested in February after a domestic assault incident in an Atlantic City casino, Ravens running back Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the NFL season, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Even though this is his first violation of the league's personal-conduct policy, Rice is getting off easier than anyone would have expected.

Rice's two-game suspension means he will miss games against the Bengals (Sept. 7th) and Steelers (Sept. 11th) and return for Week 3 against the Browns on Sept. 21st — see Ravens 2014 schedule.

On the field, Rice and teammate Bernard Pierce both struggled behind a bad offensive line last season.

After four straight seasons of 1,100-plus rushing yards and 1,600-plus yards from scrimmage, Rice set lows as a starter with 660 rushing yards on 214 carries and only 981 YFS. Not only did he average a career-low 3.1 yards per carry, but Rice ranked 49th of 49 running backs that played at least 25 percent of his team's snaps in elusiveness, per PFF. Pierce ranked 38th.

Both Rice and Pierce have shed some weight this offseason and should be better on a per-carry basis in 2014.

Justin Blackmon arrested for marijuana possession

Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon's 2013 season ended how it began — on suspension.

Blackmon missed the first four games, racked up 29 catches for 415 yards in the next four games and then he was suspended for the final eight games on an indefinite suspension.

The Jaguars have already indicated that they did not expect Blackmon to play this season and the latest news won't help his chances to get back on the field soon.

Per News 9 in Oklahoma, Blackmon was arrested for marijuana possession in Edmond (OK) on Wednesday night after being stopped for a traffic violation.

As a top-five pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Blackmon has a ton of talent, but it's another example of a sad story getting sadder.

Josh Gordon to meet with league officials on Aug. 1st

In early May, we found out that Browns receiver Josh Gordon was facing a one-year suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

It's been a long wait to find out the status of Gordon's appeal — or if the suspension will be less than a year although that appears unlikely.

While the wait isn't yet over, we now know when that meeting will occur. Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Gordon will meet with league officials on August 1st.

Last season, Gordon led the NFL and set a franchise record with 1,646 receiving yards even though he missed the first two games due to suspension. He also became the first player in the NFL with back-to-back 200-yard games and set the franchise's single-game receiving mark.

Considering his DWI arrest over 4th of July weekend, Gordon has done nothing to help argue his case for a reduced suspension, but at least we now have a time table for resolution.

Roddy White, Falcons agree to four-year extension

About to enter the final year of his deal, wide receiver Roddy White has agreed to a four-year extension with the Falcons, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

A high-ankle sprain and knee injury led to a disappointing overall season last year as White finished with 63 receptions for 711 yards and three touchdowns as he missed three games, the first three of his nine-year career. At the beginning of the season, he was as much of a decoy as anything else, but White finished the season strong.

In the five games in December, White had 43 catches for 502 yards and two touchdowns. Only Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery had more yards during that span; only Julian Edelman had more receptions.

Before last season, however, White was extremely productive and consistent with no fewer than 83 catches or 1,153 in the previous six seasons as he averaged a stat line of 94/1296/8 during that stretch.

Ranked No. 11 in my fantasy wide receiver rankings, White should bounce back provided he stays healthy. Even though Julio Jones has emerged as the team's top threat, the retirement of tight end Tony Gonzalez helps ensure a healthy amount of targets for both Jones and White.

July 23, 2014

Lions WR Golden Tate (shoulder) placed on PUP list

The Detroit Lions have placed three players on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Wednesday — wide receivers Golden Tate and T.J. Jones as well as defensive end Ziggy Ansah, per Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit News.

Sitting out of the team's minicamp in June with shoulder soreness, Tate said at the time that he would be "100 percent" by training camp. At the time, he also said that he "would probably find a way to play" if it were game week.

Tate, who signed a five-year deal in free agency, is the most talented receiver the team has ever had opposite Calvin Johnson.

As the WR28 in my fantasy wide receiver rankings, Tate finished last season with 64 catches for 898 yards, both of which were career highs, and five touchdowns.

With as much attention as Megatron commands on the opposite side, Tate should once again set career highs as he transitions from Seattle's run-centric offense to Detroit's pass-first offense.

Terrance West placed on NFI list, but tweets he's "ready to go"

Browns rookie running back Terrance West was placed on the team's non-football injury (NFI) list today, but it appears that it will be a short stint on the NFI list for him.

Per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, West will practice on Friday and West has tweeted that he's "healthy" and "ready to go."

While the Browns signed Ben Tate in free agency, they used a third-round pick on West in this year's draft and signed former five-star recruit Isaiah Crowell, who went undrafted due to character concerns.

With Josh Gordon likely suspended for the entire season, the Browns will lean heavily on their ground game.

Even if both Tate and West are healthy, it appears that West will give Tate a run for his money when it comes to getting touches. That said, Tate has played only 40 games over his four NFL seasons.

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs agree to deal; short-lived "holdout" over

A report yesterday indicated that Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles would hold out "as long as it takes."

Well, it didn't take long.

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Chiefs and Charles have agreed to a deal and Charles is on his way to camp. Per ESPN's Chris Mortensen, it's a two-year extension that will make Charles the second-highest paid running back after Adrian Peterson.

With two years left on his deal, Charles felt that he had outplayed that contract. As the focal point of the Chiefs' offense, Charles set career highs with 1,980 yards from scrimmage, 70 receptions and 19 touchdowns last season.

Charles is our top-ranked fantasy running back and owners that select him first overall can rest easier.

2014 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 7

With our new fantasy football PPR mock draft going 14 rounds (no kickers / team defenses), we are now officially halfway through it as Round 7 is now in the books.

Here are Round 7 results:

7.01 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets

Decker had 172 receptions for 2,352 yards and 24 touchdowns over the past two seasons combined. In each of those seasons, he has finished with at least 85 receptions, 1,000-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns. In fact, only two other receivers had a line of at least 172/2,352/24 over the past two years: teammate Demaryius Thomas (186/2,864/24) and Dez Bryant (185/2,615/25).

That's the good news. Not only does Decker go to an offense that is much less explosive, however, his new role as a team's No. 1 wide receiver means he will draw a more difficult assignment every week.

7.02 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins made a splash in free agency two offseasons ago by signing 60 Minutes, but he failed to live up to expectations and his monster contract last year. Wallace had a career-high 73 catches, but he averaged a career-low 12.7 yards per reception and failed to reach 1,000 receiving yards for a second year in a row. While he is one of the league's fastest receivers, Wallace and Ryan Tannehill never seemed to get on the same page.

Wallace has another year/offseason to develop better chemistry with Ryan Tannehill, who was sacked a league-worst 58 times last year. Not only should the the Dolphins protect Tannehill better, but new OC Bill Lazor has brought his up-tempo offense from Philadelphia and early reports have been positive for Wallace.

7.03 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots

With more value in standard-scoring formats, Ridley has some upside appeal as an RB3 in either format. One season after rushing for 1,263 yards, seventh-most in 2012, and 12 touchdowns, Ridley fumbled his way to a reduced role within the Patriots backfield rotation in 2013. Provided he doesn't drop the ball (literally), Ridley at least has the talent as a runner to put up numbers like he had in 2012. Whether he gets that opportunity remains to be seen.

7.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions

Going from a run-first offense in Seattle to Detroit's pass-first offense could lead to a significant boost in fantasy production for Tate. Without a real (healthy) No. 2 receiver opposite Calvin Johnson for several seasons, Tate helps take some pressure off Megatron. But, of course, Megatron's presence on the other side will open things up more so for Tate, who should always see single coverage.

Tate set career highs in receptions (64) and yards (898) to go along with five touchdowns last season, but I would expect the 25-year-old receiver to set new career highs in 2014.

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7.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Matt Ryan, QB, 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.)

7.06 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Robert Griffin III, QB, 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.

7.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Steven Jackson, RB, Atlanta Falcons

There are a couple of reasons to be concerned about Jackson: (1) Jackson turns 31 in July and (2) nearly 3,000 touches (2,552 carries and 440 receptions) in his career. On a positive note, the Falcons took some steps to improve their offensive line by drafting Jake Matthews with the sixth-overall pick. They also drafted his likely long-term replacement in Devonta Freeman, however, who is a back that has been compared some to Frank Gore.

If Jackson stays healthy for the full season, something he didn't do last year, there is the potential for upside. Given his age and cumulative workload, however, I wouldn't bank on a full 16 games from S-Jax in 2014.

7.08 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): 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 will turn 36 in November, Wayne has a chance to reach the 1,000-yard milestone once again provided he stays healthy. The good news is that Wayne received medical clearance from his torn ACL already even though the team will likely limit his work during camp.

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7.09 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills

The most complete rookie receiver in this year's draft class, Watkins has big-time speed, great hands and is a dangerous runner in the open field. While he should lead the Bills in targets and production, it's disappointing that he ends up in a cold-weather environment with a less-than-ideal quarterback situation on a run-firsts team. After all, it's already difficult for rookie receivers to make significant impacts in Year 1.

7.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): 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.

7.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

One of the league's better receiving backs and therefore better in PPR formats, Woodhead had a career-high 76 receptions last season and totaled 1,035 yards from scrimmage with eight total touchdowns. The only running back with more receptions than Woodhead last season was Pierre Thomas (77).

7.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Once again, Nicks finds himself in a contract year. Without question, Nicks was disappointed with the financial terms offered to him in free agency as he settled for a one-year deal with the Colts.

Will we get a motivated and rejuvenated Nicks similar to the guy we saw in 2010 and 2011? Or the one that was a major disappointment in 2012 and 2013? I think Nicks could be in store for a bounce-back season, but the presence of Hilton and Wayne could all limit each other's upside.

> Continue to Round 8
> Go back to Round 6

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49ers TE Vernon Davis reports to training camp on time

Whether or not 49ers tight end Vernon Davis would report to training camp on time was anyone's guess considering some inconsistencies between his comments and actions earlier this offseason.

After skipping all OTAs and the team's mandatory minicamp last month, Davis has reported to training camp on time (via teammate C.J. Spillman's Instagram account).

Last season, Davis had 52 catches for 850 yards and 13 touchdowns, which tied a previous career high.

Saints' Jimmy Graham (16) was the only TE with more TDs last season and Demaryius Thomas (14) and Dez Bryant (13) were the only other players with as many receiving TDs as Davis. As productive as he was/is in the red zone, Davis reached five receptions in only three of his 15 games last season.

Davis is ranked fifth in my preseason fantasy football tight end rankings.

Colts WR Reggie Wayne (ACL) cleared for camp

Like teammate Vick Ballard, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne is recovering from a torn ACL last season and has been cleared for training camp, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star.

Before last year's injury, Wayne had been extremely durable as he played all 16 games every year from 2002 to 2012.

Turning 36 years old in November and returning from a significant injury, the odds are stacked against Wayne reaching 1,000 yards, but I think he will come close. In my fantasy wide receiver projections, I have Wayne projected for a stat line of 75/964/5.

While Jerry Rice has done it three times and as old as 40, a 36-year-old has reached 1,000 receiving yards only five times in NFL history, according to Pro Football Reference. The other two receivers to do so were Joey Galloway and Jimmy Smith, both at age 36.

Although it benefits quarterback Andrew Luck, the presence of Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and free-agent addition Hakeem Nicks could limit the upside of all three receivers, who all fall between the 30th and 36th receiver in my projections.

One of nine NFL players to reach the 1,000-reception career milestone, Wayne (1,006) is currently eighth on the all-time list and 96 receptions away from tying former teammate Marvin Harrison, who is third all-time with 1,102 catches.

Colts RB Vick Ballard (ACL) has been cleared for camp

Colts running back Vick Ballard (ACL) has been cleared medically and will be on the field to start training camp, according to ESPN's Mike Wells.

After carrying the ball 211 times for 814 yards as a rookie, Ballard tore his ACL in the team's opener against the Raiders last season.

Third on the team's depth chart for touches, Ballard is 77th in my fantasy running back rankings, but he has a bit of upside for those in deep leagues.

With Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw ahead of him on the depth chart, Ballard could see his workload expand if T-Rich is once again ineffective and/or Bradshaw struggles to stay healthy.

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