Continuing my one-man 2014 fantasy football mock draft, here is how Round 5 of a fantasy football draft would unfold if I were drafting for each team:
Playing only 10 regular-season games over the past two seasons, the concern with Harvin is his durability. When he's on the field, however, Harvin is one of the most electric receivers in the NFL.
By adding Golden Tate in free agency, Stafford has a significantly better option at the team's second wide receiver position than he had last year. In addition, both Bush and Joique Bell are talented receivers out of the backfield. If the Lions trade up for Sammy Watkins (as some project they will try to do), Stafford could be in store for his best season yet.
Even though Jackson is only 27 years old and had a career-best season (82/1,332/9) in 2013, the Eagles released him outright without receiving any compensation in turn. While there may be some concerns off the field and in the locker room, Jackson is a difference maker on the football field.
One of the benefits about signing with Washington, Robert Griffin III throws an accurate deep ball and D-Jax has the explosiveness to take the top off a defense. With last year's NFL leader in receptions on the other side, however, Jackson could/should see a modest reduction in targets in 2014.
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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.
Patterson tops the list of receivers with the potential to breakout in 2014. After watching Josh Gordon have a huge sophomore campaign with Norv Turner last year, it would be unrealistic to expect Gordon's league-leading numbers for Patterson but perfectly reasonable to expect a big year-over-year jump for Patterson in Turner's offense.
One of the league's most dangerous players in the open field, Patterson led the NFL in kickoff return average (32.4 Y/R). In the final eight games of the season, Patterson had 29 receptions for 323 yards, 10 carries for 156 yards and a total of seven touchdowns.
As the featured back in Denver's high-powered offense, Moreno ranked fifth in fantasy points among running backs last season. Transitioning from Denver to Miami, it's unlikely that Moreno produces anywhere close to the numbers he had last year, but I expect him to enter the season as the Phins' first-team back.
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.
In 13 games with the Broncos last season, Welker finished with 73 receptions on 110 targets for 778 yards, all of which were seven-year lows, and a career-high 10 touchdowns. With Eric Decker out and Emmanuel Sanders in, Welker should see an increase in targets per game in 2014.
Barring a few big games, Luck mostly had modest production on a weekly basis. In the final half of the season, Luck had more than 15 fantasy points only twice, but he was missing Reggie Wayne (torn ACL). Even so, Luck finished fourth in fantasy points among quarterbacks last season.
Not only did T.Y. Hilton have some monster games after the bye last year, but the Colts will have Wayne back from his ACL injury. In addition, I wouldn't be surprised if Hakeem Nicks outperforms the expectations most have for him as he plays out his one-year contract for his next deal.
Last season was a year to forget for the Falcons. Not only were Julio Jones, Roddy White and Steven Jackson sidelined or slowed by injury for significant parts of the season, but Ryan was sacked a career-worst 44 times in 2013. Throwing a career-high 651 times, Ryan threw for 4,515 yards, which is the second-highest total of his career, but he posted a four-year low in touchdowns (26) and a career high in interceptions (17).
While Tony Gonzalez has retired (and will stay retired, I think), Jones was having a career-best season before the injury. In the five games he played to start the season, Jones averaged 116.0 receiving yards per game. On the other hand, White finished the season strong with 502 yards in his final five games.
Provided Jones and White can stay healthy and the Falcons address their offensive line issues via the NFL Draft next month, Ryan should have a bounce-back season in 2014 and he's currently the QB6 in my fantasy rankings.
Finishing 10th in the league in targets (151), Edelman's full-year numbers were 105 receptions, which was fourth-most in the NFL, for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. That's more than he had in his first four NFL seasons combined (69/714/4).
In Edelman's final eight games counting both playoff games, he had a minimum of six receptions and 64 yards in every game. During that span, he racked up a stat line of 69/729/5. Purely to illustrate how productive he was over the past half-season, maintaining that pace for a full 16-game season would equate to a stat line of 138/1,458/10!
One of the league's faster receivers, Smith set career highs in receptions (65) and yards (1,128) but a career low in touchdowns (four) last season. In addition, Smith was nearly as productive in his first five games (27/556/1 — 20.49 Y/R) as he was in the final 11 games (38/572/3 — 15.05 Y/R).
Meanwhile, Joe Flacco had a career-worst season: 19-to-22 TD-to-INT ratio, 73.1 rating, 6.4 yards per attempt and 48 sacks. All of those numbers were the worst of his career. Provided the Ravens are able to improve their protection of Flacco, he should bounce back some, which could help Smith sustain stronger production throughout the entire season.
Our early 2014 Fantasy Football rankings:
- 2014 Fantasy Football QB rankings
- 2014 Fantasy Football RB rankings
- 2014 Fantasy Football WR rankings
- 2014 Fantasy Football TE rankings