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Top 150 Rankings: Week 3

Johnny Manziel stinks. The Giants won’t win a game. Andy Dalton is the best QB in football.

We have to be careful not to overreact to the news and developments coming out of the preseason, while at the same time not dismissing red flags that tarnish a players performance on the field.

I will continue to update these as the preseason rolls along and injuries/team identities begin to take shape. In the late round I feel the best strategy is to look for lottery ticket players. Guys who, if the opportunity presents itself, can explode for a Josh Gordon/Alshon Jeffrey-like season due to outstanding talent.

Meaning although Danny Amendola is ranked, even if he stays healthy he isn’t taking your team to a Championship. He is a bye week fill-in type of player. And I wouldn’t stack my bench with many of those players.

Because of this I will have players I like ranked higher than their average ADP in an effort to aggressively target and land them. Conversely, players I don’t like will be ranked lower with the hope that others will take them and push guys I like down the draft board. You can have Steven Jackson at 78.

I do not have kickers and defenses ranked (just because) and these rankings are based on a standard scoring format.

 

Round 1

1. RB LeSean McCoy — Explosive talent in a run first offense. Great in the passing game and has a coach that will scheme ways to get him in space. Still only 26 years old.

2. RB Jamaal Charles — Focal point on an offense that will target him extensively in the passing game. QB does just enough to open up space for him to operate in the box. Would have no problem with taking him #1, although the changes on the offensive line bump him down on my list.

3. RB Matt Forte — Huge first year in a new offense that features excellent WRs on the outside to open up space (and block) for Forte. His work as a receiver allows him to remain productive even against great rush defenses.

4. RB Adrian Peterson — At age 29 you have to worry about what AP has left. QB issues don’t help his cause, nor does his mediocre work as a receiver. Still, I still expect the Vikings to give him the ball 20-25 times a game, and that volume can help mask other issues.

5. TE Jimmy Graham — I’m probably higher on Graham than most, but some people forget how badly he was injured last year. Even so, he outscored other TEs by over 40 points. Only Peyton Manning gave you more of a per game advantage by position. Best player by far at footballs weakest position.  

6. WR Calvin Johnson — Stafford will continue to force feed his best weapon, and the additions of Ebron and Golden Tate should only help open things up for Megatron. I have no problem with someone picking D. Thomas as the first WR off the board, but Calvin’s track record gives him a slight edge for me.

7. WR Demaryius Thomas — Only slightly behind CJ on my board. Only 26 years old and still learning the position, he offers incredibly ability after the catch and in the red zone. With Manning at the helm and without Decker to grab targets, the arrow is still pointing way up.

8. RB Eddie Lacy — After terrible sophomore seasons from D. Wilson, T. Richardson, D. Martin, L. Miller and such last year, I am a bit hesitant to pick Lacy in the top half of the first round until he proves he can do it in back to back season. People are quick to forget the injury history that dropped him the draft and the concussion he suffered last season. But in that offense and with his goal line ability (and underrated receiving talent), he is worth a 1st round pick. You won’t get him here though. 

9. WR Dez Bryant — People who are ranking Dez much higher than this are banking on new OC Scott Linehan being more creative in scheming ways to get Bryant the ball. Last season, there were games where defenses took him completely out of the game. Whether that was scheme or Romo being unwilling to force the ball, it’s enough for me to wait on picking him just a bit.

10. RB DeMarco Murray — Injuries will always be a concern, but new OC Scott Linehan gets his backs the ball out of the backfield, one of Murray’s strengths. That allows him to put up points even if they go down early (that defense is terrible). 6th in points per game last season, and that offensive line should be even better this season.

11. WR AJ Green — His PPG is a tick lower than the elite three, but his talent is right there with them. With a new OC in town I think we will see a more balanced offense, but don’t see his production taking a huge dip. More likely his efficiency goes up. Dalton might not be an elite QB, but if Josh Gordon can be the top WR with Hoyer, Weeden and Co, AJ Green will be just fine.

12. WR Julio Jones — The physical ability is there, but health is a major question mark for Julio Jones. From college to the pros, injuries have always been an issue. However, if he can stay healthy, he is one of the most physically dominant WRs in the NFL with a QB who can still feed him the ball. Word from camp is he has been dominant. If you think he can stay healthy, he is worth the 1st round pick.

Round 2

13. RB Marshawn Lynch — Assault charges have been dismissed as bogus, and until I hear otherwise the news won’t move the needle. After a brief holdout he returns as the focal point of that offense. Yes, he has a lot of milage and talented players behind him, but he is still the identity of that offense. TDs should be there even if the yards and flashy plays aren’t. 

14. WR Brandon Marshall — Jay Cutler is still his QB and these two just love each other. The emergence of Jeffrey only helps and there are plenty of targets to go around. That offense is going to be superb and Marshall will continue to be a focal point. 

15. WR Jordy Nelson — Was fantastic last year when Rodgers was healthy, and pretty darn good when he wasn’t. Packers #1 target on an offense that should be nasty. 11th ranked WR last year despite not having Rodgers for 7 games. 

16. TE Julius Thomas —Can improve on his TD totals with Decker gone. Heck, he can improve on all his totals, as he is still learning the position. Unreal athletic ability in the leagues most explosive offense. Oh, and have you heard that the TE position is weak?

17. RB Le’Veon Bell — Workhorse runner on a team that still values toughness. Volume player that lacks great talent, and won’t rip off long runs much. But has great hands and an opportunity to run behind an improving O-line. Looked leaner and quicker in preseason, which I liked. 

18. WR Randall Cobb — Gets a bump in PPR due to the high volume nature of his role. Was on pace for 110 catches, 1500 yards and 11 TDs after three games last year. Rodgers loves him and with no James Jones or Finley, no reason to think his volume will decrease.  

19. TE Rob Gronkowski — Same story as last year. If he’s healthy (huge if), there isn’t a better fantasy player at the TE position than Gronk (and yes, I’m including Graham). His redzone ability is unmatched. His PPG ability will win you games. Practiced in 11 on 11s this week, which is great news. 

20. WR Alshon Jeffrey — Finished as the 9th best WR last season despite only 7 TDs, and number he has plenty of room to improve on. With Marshall getting a lot of the attention, Jeffrey can continue to use his outstanding size and ball skills to dominant #2 CBs. 

21. RB Montee Ball — Count me as a skeptic (although not much of one since I still have him in the 2nd round). The opportunity is great, but Ball couldn’t beat out Moreno as a rookie. To take an unproven player this high is always a risk. But that offense provides such a unique opportunity. The potential is there for a top 12 season. He also won’t play this preseason due to surgery, and that doesn’t help his stock. Returned to practice this week, which is helpful to see. 

22. QB Peyton Manning — You probably won’t get 55 TDs again… but you could. Manning single handily led a lot of mediocre teams to the championship last season, and on a per game basis gave you a 7 point advantage over all opposing players not named Brees.

23. RB Zac Stacy — Became the workhorse in game 5 and didn’t look back. Not an overwhelming talent, but his work as a pass blocker should allow him to hold off T. Mason. New G/T G. Robinson should only help his cause. Volume over flash. 

24. RB Giovani Bernard — The opposite of Stacy, Gio offers a ton of flash but questionable volume. With Hill and the Law Firm still looming to steal goal line work, I think Bernard will be inconsistent week to week, but with blowup potential each time he hits the field. 

Round 3

25. RB Arian Foster — Will monitor injuries this preseason, but prior to getting hurt Foster was on pace for over 1900 total yards. With no Ben Tate (or Andre Brown), I expect Foster to be the bell cow both rushing and receiving. The risk is there, but getting him at 22 could be a steal. If injuries linger he will drop. Still hasn’t played, which is becoming a concern.

26. RB Alfred Morris — I’m worried about the loss of the Shannahan’s. Was it Morris or the system? We will find out, but he drops for me. Lack of involvement in the passing game also hurts his value. Olandis Gary was a 1000 yard back in that system. Looked good in week one, however, so I’m not writing him off completely.

27. RB Andre Ellington — Rather have Ellington for a 3rd than Gio in the 2nd. Comparable size to McCoy and Charles, and comparable ability as well. They won’t overwork him, but has RB1 potential.

28. WR Antonio Brown — Small, slow and doesn’t catch a lot of TDs. Not a dominant talent, but saw 166 targets last year and that shouldn’t decline with E. Sanders in Denver. 

29. WR Vincent Jackson — Targets will decrease but I expect his efficiency to jump up with the addition of ASJ, Mike Evans and Josh McCown. Dominant in camp and can improve on his 7 TDs. Had no help last year. Tim Wright was the next best pass catching option and Mike Glennon was a 3rd round rookie in over his head.

30. WR Keenan Allen — Got going in week 4 and ended up catching 71 passes in that revamped offense. Still young and developing a report with Rivers, but runs great routes and has great hands. Should keep improving. 

31. QB Aaron Rogers — When he’s healthy he has consistently been a top 2 fantasy QB. Perhaps less receiving weapons now than ever with Finley and Jones gone, but an improved O-line and the power running of E. Lacy should help that offense keep churning. 

32. QB Drew Brees — Just a fantasy machine, he has ranked in the top 3 at his position the past six years. As consistent as they come, you can plug him in for 14 weeks and not even roster a backup (until the bye week). Addition of B. Cooks only helps. 

33. RB Doug Martin — Questions at guard and the addition of both Demps and Sims as 3rd down options lower his value from the unrealistic expectations of 2013. Will still be the feature back on an improved offense. RB1 upside, but boy did that line look terrible last week. 

34. RB CJ Spiller — Played hurt for almost the entire year and still looked explosive. Now healthy, he is a gamble, but the upside is top 5 potential. Crowded backfield hurts value.

35. WR Roddy White — He is the reliable target in that offense, and is finally healthy after battling injuries in 2013. Finished the year on a tear after getting healthy. That defense will be atrocious.  

36. WR Larry Fitzgerald — Concerns about speed and decline. Still a great red zone target who sees a lot of balls coming his way.

Round 4

37. RB Toby Gerhart — Could be the workhorse back who hits 300 carries if Jaguars don’t get blown out every week. But is he any good? Remains to be seen. Not a ton of competition to take carries. Todman and Robinson aren’t feature guys and S. Johnson is an unproven rookie.

38. RB Ryan Matthews — Workload concerns in a crowded backfield, and health is always a worry. Finished 12th last season, and that might be his ceiling in that offense. 

39. WR Andre Johnson — QB issues are a concern once again, but had 109 receptions last year despite QB woes. Bill O’Brian won’t neglect his best player. Johnson has rarely produced TDs, but we may soon find that it was system related. 

40. WR Michael Crabtree — A year removed from the achilles injury, and was on pace for a fantastic year with Kaepernick in 2012 before getting hurt. Crowded depth chart could impact targets, but he has top 10 potential. 

41. RB Reggie Bush — Split time with J. Bell last year, so I’m not worried about statistical regression. But his ceiling is limited with Bell getting goal line work and a lot of carries/catches. 

42. WR Victor Cruz — No Hakeem Nicks means Cruz becomes the focal point of the passing game. May not be a monster TD guy, but playing the Randall Cobb role in Ben McAdoo’s offense should help him hit 90+ receptions provided he stays healthy. That being said, the offense has looked terrible this preseason. 

43. WR Pierre Garcon — Monster targets last year as the team got blown out consistently. They should be better on defense and offense, which means the number of targets will drop. The addition of D. Jackson will also hurt. I think he will be more efficient, but I’m not sure he replicates past success. Struggled to really make an impact down the field last season.

44. RB Frank Gore — Father time probably catches up at some point, but I’m not betting against him just yet. Lead back with a great O-line on a run dominant team. Finished 13th in RB scoring last year. Limited upside. 

45. WR Torrey Smith — Remarkebly inefficient throughout his career. Never a great route runner or hands catcher, and Flacco’s wild accuracy and decision making made it just an okay year. Kubiak feeds his top WRs, but Smith is no Andre Johnson. Still, arrow pointing up.

46. TE Jordan Cameron — TE pool really drops off after Cameron. Elite talent at the position with the worst depth.

47. WR Cordarrelle Patterson — Has the measurables of a breakout candidate, but boy is he still raw in the receiving game. The Vikings will manufactures ways to get him the ball, however, and few are more explosive in the open field. Can score from anywhere.

48. RB Shane Vereen — Big bump in PPR, but averaged almost 11 PPG last year when healthy. Backfield touches are an issue, but was on a 11 TD pace last season.  Constant mismatch he shouldn’t be as susceptible to the Patriots week to week game planning.

Round 5

49. RB Joique Bell — 3.9 YPC a bit concerning, even for a guy getting a lot of short yardage work. Splits carries but could get a lot of TDs. Valuable piece, but I want more volume for a top back.

50. WR Marques Colston — A tad inconsistent last season, but had some huge games in the second half of the season as he recovered from a knee injury. Went for 11-144-1 in the playoffs against the vaunted Seahawks. I think he’s underrated. 

51. WR Michael Floyd — Room to improve in TDs (5) and a great size/speed prospect. As Fitz declines, Floyd will ascend.

52. WR TY Hilton — Early word has him as the WR1 for the Colts. Wayne is coming off torn ACL, Nicks hasn’t impressed. I’m buying a more open offense with Hilton playing a big role. WR2 with WR1 upside.

53. QB Matthew Stafford — Upgraded weapons should improve his efficiency, even if he throws less. Best of the next “tier” of QBs.

54. TE Jordan Reed — One concussion away from IR, but with the talent deficiency at TE is worth the gamble.

55. RB Stevan Ridley — L. Blount and his 153 carries are gone, and if Ridley can hold onto the ball those are his to lose. J. White hasn’t done much to justify the camp hype, but Ridley has also struggled with fumbles yet again. Situation to monitor.  

56. WR Mike Wallace — Misused last year and expect him to have a bounce back year in a new offense with more efficient QB play. Top wideout on that team that will be more creative with how they get him the ball. 

57. RB Lamar Miller — Undervalued this year after being way overhyped last year. O-line is a major concern, but he is the lead back and is showing well in camp. 

58. RB Ben Tate — West is getting all the hype, but Tate has the edge in experience and pass protection, which can mean a lot early in the season. He scares me though. I’d rather have West at the cheaper price.

59. RB Bishop Sankey — This is lower than his ADP, but it reflects my skepticism of his run talent and ability on the goal line. McCluster could also take much of the passing game reps. Could rise with a strong preseason, but I like his situation more than his ability.

60. WR DeSean Jackson — Inconsistency and redzone targets are the biggest concerns. But a talented player on an offense that should improve dramatically.

Round 6

61. WR Jeremy Maclin — Desean Jackson is gone and he inherits the role. Tough to have high expectations for players coming off torn ACL, but with his talent and in that offense I have high hopes. Could be a strong WR2.

62. WR Eric Decker — The Geno Smith/Mike Vick QB situation looks rough, and statistical regression is expected. But he is the top target in that offense, and volume counts. 

63. RB Chris Johnson — He’s going too high for my taste. Will lose goal line work to Ivory, has a weak offensive line, and the QB situation may have gotten worse. That said, he could get volume, which is a plus.

64. QB Matt Ryan — Threw for 4500 yards and 26 TDs while getting killed behind a terrible line and with limited weapons. White and Jones are healthy, the defense is bad, and the offensive line can’t be worse.

65. WR Kendall Wright — Gets a boost in PPR but is an undersized target who doesn’t attack the deep parts of the field. If Locker is healthy he could still catch 70-80 balls, but upside appears limited.

66. TE Vernon Davis — I don’t expect him to replicate his 13 TDs last season, and with the added targets to that passing attack I expect his volume to be capped. Still a mismatch with his speed, but without TDs he will be an inconsistent play.

67. QB Andrew Luck — I think the Colts will take the reins off him a bit this season, and the supporting cast improves drastically with a healthy D. Allen, the return of Wayne and the development of their young pass catchers. Upside is high if the coaches let him throw.

68. RB Trent Richardson — Last chance to impress, and the Colts will give him that opportunity. Preseason will be telling in terms of his weight/explosiveness. So far, it doesn’t look good. 

69. RB Bernard Pierce — Gets 2 starts to prove he can be the guy. Seems to be a great fit for the zone blocking scheme being added, but was terrible last year behind that line. Could run away with the job if he starts hot.

70. QB Cam Newton — He lost all his receivers, but most of them weren’t any good anyway. Adds the massive K. Benjamin and still has the running ability to produce a top 6 season. 

71. WR Percy Harvin — Most talented player on that offense, but injuries and volume are major issues. There is upside with Golden Tate gone, but it is hard to imagine him being anything more than a WR3.

72. WR Golden Tate — He may be the 2nd WR, but he isn’t the 2nd option. Upside potential in a system that favors throwing the ball, but limited TD potential with so many monster targets surrounding him.

Round 7

73. RB Terrance West — Ben Tate is the starter, but he can’t stay healthy. Many scouts and coaches have praised West, and he could take over sooner rather than later. But I’d watch for a RBBC. Still, lots of upside.

74. RB Andre Williams — R. Jennings is the starter and will be drafted ahead of Williams, but I want no part of Jennings. Williams is already getting goal line work, is quicker and a better player. May not work as much in the passing game, and that offensive line is a big question mark.

75. QB Tom Brady — If Gronk is healthy, he bumps up. If not, he is a better real life QB than fantasy option. Lack of a redzone threat will cap his value. This team may be more run dominant to play to their strengths.

76. QB Tony Romo — Dallas might be the worst defense in football and Romo might have the most pass happy coach in the game. They will throw and throw often. The only reason I don’t love him is the back injuries seemingly limiting him in camp.

77. QB Colin Kaepernick — Running the ball is the identity of the 49ers, and I don’t think that changes. But with better weapons and a year of growth Kaepernick has serious upside. We may say that his entire career, though.

78. QB Jay Cutler — He has to stay healthy, but with redzone weapons all over the place and a coach that maximizes his QBs potential, I expect a breakout year. That defense will be bad again and points will be necessary. Could wind up in the top 6 at his position. Great value at his ADP.

79. QB Robert Griffin III — Major breakout potential as he possesses more talent (when healthy) than Andy Dalton, who Jay Gruden turned into a top fantasy QB last year. Key is health, and it is a major question mark. He refuses to protect himself.

80. RB Ray Rice — Suspended for 2 games and doesn’t seem like a great fit for the zone blocking scheme. Were struggles last year injury related? Could be a surprise if healthy, motivated and in better shape (i.e. lighter). He looked quicker in week 1 of the preseason.

81. TE Jason Witten — Don’t expect a top 5 season, but Witten is about as consistent as they come. Won’t win you many games, but won’t lose you many either.

82. WR Kelvin Benjamin — The upside is double digit TDs in an offense devoid of receiving talent. Cam has to throw to someone. Extremely raw, though, and it may take time to develop.

83. WR Emmanuel Sanders — The Peyton Manning factor is always in play, but I tend to think that with all the mouths to feed, Sanders will get lost in the shuffle and post modest numbers. Receiver 4-5 with upside.

84. RB Devonta Freeman — Would love to own him on every team. S. Jackson is already injured and was ineffective last year when healthy. Freeman offers a quickness that can counteract the bad blocking he will see. Arrow pointing way up.

Round 8

85. QB Nick Foles — This is still a run dominant team that can’t expect Foles to never turn the ball over again. With so many great QBs to chose from I am okay taking a wait and see approach on him.

86. RB Rashad Jennings — Ugh. Current ADP is 43 and I will consistently have him lower than that. Average in every phase, but consistent. Andre Williams has more burst and run talent, but Jennings will factor in early due to his understanding of the pass game. Won’t score TDs.

87. TE Dennis Pitta — Gary Kubiak uses his TEs (especially in the redzone) and Pitta is one of the more talented ones in the league. Could catch double digit TDs.

88. WR Reggie Wayne — Any player coming off an ACL injury is a major risk, especially those on the plus side of 30. Could still be solid in PPR formats, but expect yards and TDs to be limited due to his lack of explosiveness.

89.TE Kyle Rudolph — Lacks the athleticism to be elite, but has the size and opportunity in Norv Turner’s offense to be a solid TE option. Will rise if he shows dropped weight has improved his quickness.

90. WR Riley Cooper —Current ADP is low because people see him as a situational player. But in my opinion he has the talent to be a solid WR2. He has speed, great hands and a QB that trusts him. Better player than people think.

91. WR Rueben Randle — Serious breakout potential as the only tall target on the team. but the coaches don’t seem sold on him, and that has to be concerning. If you are playing him you are banking on TDs.

92. RB Jeremy Hill — TD vulture in a RBBC with Gio Bernard. Could be a week to week fill in, but probably won’t get the volume needed to be consistent. OC Hue Jackson likes power running. That’s Hill’s specialty.

93. WR Wes Welker — One concussion away from being a non factor, I’m souring on him this year. TDs inflated value last year, and the volume won’t be what it once was. Sell.

94. WR Terrance Williams — I still view Williams as a one trick pony with less upside than people think. Great deep threat with okay hands that may not be an every down player. Inconsistent future ahead.

95.  WR Justin Hunter — Wrote about his serious upside here. If you are looking for the next Alshon Jeffrey, Hunter might be that guy. Great size/speed combination that coaches are talking up.

96. WR Sammy Watkins — EJ Manuel was not pretty against the Giants and this is still a run first team. WRs rarely develop consistency as rookies, although Watkins has the ability to be one of the outliers. Don’t overdraft on hype.

Round 9

97. WR Brandon Cooks — The training camp hype train is in full swing with Cooks, but I think we are looking at a better NFL weapon than fantasy option. PPR would give him a boost, but in standard leagues he is splitting targets with some great players. Could rise if the Saints continue to showcase him in preseason.

98. WR Josh Gordon — If the suspension is 8 games this would still be a steal. Top 5 WR talent who has a shot at seeing action this year. A gamble, but one I would consider in round 9.

99. RB Fred Jackson — Old faithful will keep churning out 8-10 points a game with limited touches. But with Spiller healthy and Bryce Brown added, the real life value is probably more than the fantasy value.

100. WR Anquan Boldin — Took advantage of Crabtree’s absence to post great numbers last season, but could be the third option on a run first team this year behind V. Davis and Crabtree. Limited upside.

101. QB Philip Rivers — Another QB I’d be just fine landing. He may not surpass last years numbers, but I see no reason why he can’t replicate them. Another reason why you can wait to draft a QB.

102. WR Julian Edelman — Everyone got hurt last year and he caught a ton of underneath passes. People are healthy this year, and without getting 100+ catches he loses a lot of value in my opinion.

103. WR Dwayne Bowe — Had moments down the stretch but Alex Smith has never made a WR into a consistent fantasy contributor. Not expecting that to change. Will be an inconsistent WR3. Suspended for the first game.

104. TE Zach Ertz — Another breakout candidate on a team that keeps hyping him up, especially as a red zone target. And at 6’5, it’s not hard to see why.

105. TE Greg Olson — We kinda know what he is by now, which is a low ceiling TE1. As literally the only receiver left in Carolina he may get a small boost, but I don’t expect career numbers.

106. QB Andy Dalton — Inconsistently productive last year, but should regress as the team moves to a more balanced attack under Hue Jackson. Not much upside, but could be a good bye week fill in.

107. RB Steven Jackson — Wrong side of 30 with a lot of wear on the tires, Jackson struggled even when he played last year. Not the type of players I generally jump up and down for, starters or not.

108. RB Pierre Thomas — Role continues to diminish with the emergence of K. Robinson, the presence of M. Ingram and the hype of B. Cooks. Not sure where he fits in.

Round 10

109. WR DeAndre Hopkins — He is probably one year away from being an effective fantasy player, especially with the QB concerns. But if Andre Johnson goes down, he has the talent to produce.

110. TE Ladarius Green — Potential to be the next Julius Thomas/Jimmy Graham/Jordan Cameron type. 6’6 240 and just learning how to play. If he gets unleashed, watch out. Wrote about him here.

111. RB Carlos Hyde — Feature back potential in a run first system with an aging starter in front of him. Could blow up if given the chance.

112. RB Maurice Jones-Drew — I really want no part in drafting him, but if he falls this far I might consider it. Still solid in the passing game and on the goal line, and he did have 800 yards last year in a lost season.

113. WR Kenny Britt — Still only 25 and Bradford could use a #1 target. If he is clued in both mentally and physically he could be in for a bounce back year. Reports are promising.

114. WR Mike Evans — Another rookie with TD potential, but no one is sure how aggressive this offense will be. If they stay balanced his upside is capped without an injury to Vincent Jackson.

115. WR Cecil Shorts — Yes, the rookies have talent and Shorts hasn’t stayed out of the training room, but the guy is talented, experienced and has had his moments. Could be a valuable WR3 if he can get healthy.

116. QB Ben Roethlisberger — 4400 yards and 25-30 TDs is a great season, and that’s probably what you’re going to get. He won’t blow up, but barring injuries he is another consistent QB you can plug in on a weekly basis.

117. RB Robert Turbin — Overlooked as the less talented backup to M. Lynch. And while C. Michael is a more explosive player, Turbin is trusted by his coaches and is no slouch when it comes to ability.

118. RB DeAngelo Williams — This is a team that still loves to run the ball, and he offers flex potential if he stays healthy. That O-line is a mess, however, and a RBBC caps his overall value.

119. RB Danny Woodhead — PPR monster whose value is capped in standard formats. Low upside flex play who likely won’t be on any of my rosters.

120. RB Darren Sproles — In the right system to maximize his talents, but struggled last year as the season wore on and it looks like age might be a factor. PPR bump, but limited value in standard formats.

Round 11

121. RB James Starks — Fantastic season last year in spot duty, averaging 5.5 YPC. Lacy was an injury risk in college and runs reckless, and Starks is the handcuff to own.

122. RB Knile Davis — Talented back who is a great handcuff to J. Charles (if you like handcuffing). Would blow up if Charles got hurt and has RB1 potential if that were to happen.

123. RB Chris Ivory — Ticketed for goal line work behind Chris Johnson, which gives him some value. However, Ivory’s relentless style will appeal more to Rex Ryan if Johnson continues to shy away from contact.

124. RB Christine Michael — Major upside in the event of a M. Lynch injury. One of the most physically talented backs in the league on one of the most run heavy teams. Lottery ticket stash. Wrote about him here.

125. QB Carson Palmer — He has the weapons and the coach to really put up great numbers. 4500 yards and 25-30 TDs is well within reach, and I expect him to cut down on his INT totals from last year.

126. RB Bryce Brown — Not sure how he gets carries but has dynamic talent if he does. Within the realm of possibility that Spiller gets hurt and Jackson gets old.

127. RB Ahmad Bradshaw — It’s probably a compliment to say that Trent Richardson struggled last year, and with Vick Ballard lost for the season, Bradshaw is next in line if Richardson doesn’t improve. Did well last year before getting injured. Still only 28.

128. RB Roy Helu — Alfred Morris had a great start to his career under the Shanahan system. But that system makes stars out of everyone.  If Morris struggles in the new system, Helu has the passing game chops to take the reins.

129. WR Jerricho Cotchery — Mediocre talent who just seems to get open and catch passes. That reliability could make him a top target for Cam Newton. Not a lot of upside, but could be a solid flex play with the right matchup.

130. RB Jonathan Stewart — 27 years old and injured all the time, but he’s the most talented back on the roster. Showed well in OTAs before missing all of camp to this point with a hamstring injury. Situation to monitor, but what a disappointing career for the talented back.

131. WR James Jones  — I tend to think Jones is more a product of Aaron Rodgers than a true #1 WR. Could have some solid weeks, but with the attention coming his way I think he disappoints in a mediocre passing attack. Garbage time points could help if the Raiders are as bad as many think they will be.

132. RB Ronnie Hillman —Enters the rankings after the injury to CJ Anderson. Still not sure the team trusts him enough to give him a ton of carries if M. Ball were to struggle or remain injured, but they may not have a choice.

Round 12

133. WR Kenny Stills — Not much more than a deep threat, so consistency will be an issue. But will put up some good numbers every so often when he gets open for deep TDs.

134. TE Dwayne Allen —Solid rookie season before getting hurt last year. Luck loves throwing to TEs and he is a better all around player than C. Fleener. Could surprise.

135. TE Martellus Bennett — He’s a low upside player who has never been as dominant as he should be. With M. Wilson out for a while his stock takes a jump. Could be great in the redzone, but never has been.

136. WR Greg Jennings — The consistent chain mover in that offense that lacks upside. More quality at the QB position would help, and he is nothing more than a bye week fill in.

137. WR Danny Amendola — If he stays healthy… nah.

138. WR Markus Wheaton — I loved him in the draft and think he has the potential to really surprise people this year. Whether that translates into legitimate fantasy points isn’t clear. I will be watching for preseason chemistry with Big Ben.

139. TE Charles Clay —Breakout year in 2013 and has some upside, but questions about his role in the offense make me wary about drafting him as a TE1. Versatile option, however, in that new offense.

140. WR Miles Austin — When he’s healthy, he has been a good (and even great) player. Perhaps this is the year he stays healthy? With no Josh Gordon early on, they will need him.

141. WR Brian Hartline — Quietly had 1000 yards the last two years, but his upside and potential is pretty limited. Not a bad WR5 if that offense is better and more creative in 2014.

142. WR Jordon Matthews — There is a lot of uncertainty at the WR position for the Eagles, but the team invested a lot in Matthews. Has the chance in the slot to produce more and more as the season goes on.

143. TE Travis Kelce — Kelce continues to show explosive ability this preseason. If you are drafting Gronk or have concerns and want an upside talent at TE, Kelce is a guy to monitor. Alex Smith loves throwing to TEs.

144. RB CJ Anderson —Back at practice after a concussion scare. He is still a guy I would bet on to get the bulk of the carries if Monte Ball fails or misses time.

Round 13

145. WR Andre Holmes — More explosive and talented than Jones, and thus is the higher upside play. The team could throw a lot if the defense struggles (which it probably will), and Holmes would be a beneficiary.

146. RB James White — The talk of camp, he is a Ridley fumble away from getting some serious play in that offense. Pats tend to ride the hot hand at RB, so if he plays he will still be boom/bust, but the team does love to run the ball.

147. WR  Brian Quick — Many WRs make strides in year 3, and Quick has had a great camp. Has the size/speed to really be a great option if he can learn how to be an NFL WR. Upside.

148. TE Eric Ebron — Struggling in camp but has great size and speed for the position in a pass first offense. If he can catch the ball he has some upside, but TEs often start slow.

149. WR Aaron Dobson — The most physically gifted of the Pats WRs, but he hasn’t practiced and might start the season on the PUP list, which would cost him the first 6 games. Upside exists, but he has to get on the field.

150. RB Khiry Robinson — More talented than Mark Ingram, but the coaching staff is stubborn. This will be a RBBC, but Robinson has the most upside of the trio.

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Preseason Breakdown: News & Notes from Week 2

CARDINALS v. VIKINGS

Stefan Taylor got three chances inside the 5 and couldn’t convert. J. Dwyer looked much better in his limited time on the field. Ellington was given a goal line touch and gained 3 or so yards, but Dwyer came in to finish it off.

Kyle Rudolph isn’t the physical freak that some other TEs are, but he has an offensive coordinator who will get him the ball. Has a great chance to be a consistent scorer this season in the TE 4-8 range. Great game as he went for 4-89-1.

Matt Cassel has played well this preseason and has earned the chance to start. But Bridgewater will get his chance at some point this season. He looked fantastic. Granted, it was against scrubs, but he is clearly the future and the future looks bright.

BRONCOS v. 49ERS

Feel confident drafting anyone on that offense with the last name Thomas. Both Julius and Demaryius were targeted often as the starting offense got more run than most would have thought for a 2nd preseason game. They looked to be in midseason form.

I still believe that CJ Anderson is the handcuff for M. Ball. He has a more powerful, durable frame and is more consistent in pass protection than Hillman. The latter shows more speed and agility and is the better receiver, but I don’t think he becomes a feature player if Ball misses time.

Blaine Gabbert is terrible…

Kaepernick hasn’t looked particularly comfortable throwing to his new weapons in Lloyd and Johnson. While he hasn’t been bad, he has yet to show that he is ready to take a major step forward. He is moving slowly down my QB rankings. He might have the most upside, but this is still going to be a power running offense.

Frank Gore is still the back to own. The expectation year after year is that he is going to break down, but it hasn’t really happened yet. This is still an elite offensive line and he is their feature back. Hyde is a good backup to own, but Gore is the guy.

FALCONS v. TEXANS

Julio Jones looked fast and explosive. If he stays healthy he is a difference maker and a top 4 WR.

DeAndre Hopkins has impressive hands and body control. Plays like Larry Fitzgerald, but he doesn’t have the size to consistently shield and play as big as he needs too. I’m not sure he is ever more than a low end WR2 in fantasy football.

Alfred Blue looked impressive early as a runner, but Grimes also made plays as both a runner and a pass protector. It’s his work as the latter that will likely earn him the job as Foster’s backup. That being said, this offense looks like it could be a mess at the QB position, and I’m not sure I would roster either unless it becomes clear Foster will miss time.

Davonta Freeman is one of my favorite rookie RBs in this class. Presses the hole aggressively and churns his legs to play bigger than his size would suggest. Has been impressive this preseason and could supplant S. Jackson if injuries or ineffectiveness persist.

You have to be moderately concerned about the offensive line in Atlanta. With Baker out for the season, an already weak unit got worse. If they can’t keep Matt Ryan upright or open lanes for the RBs, the skill position players could suffer. Something to watch going forward, although Ryan has looked just fine so far.

J. Clowney is a monster.

DOLPHINS v. BUCCANEERS

Tampa Bay dominated the line of scrimmage and gave Miami’s RBs nothing to work with. Miller flashed open field ability in the passing game, but he still doesn’t run with much aggression or urgency. His usage is promising, and the offensive will be more creative in how they use him, but he doesn’t look like a feature back. Keep an eye on RB Damien Williams.

Ryan Tannehill will have his best season this year, but whether that will translate to fantasy relevance remains to be seen. I am skeptical that he has the team around him to sneak into the top 12, but he has been sharp this preseason and could be a solid bye week fill in depending on the matchup.

Tampa’s offense line played better this week, but still is far from being a strength. Doug Martin ran well when he was given an opening, and the team used him in the passing game as well. With C. Sims on the shelf for the first half of the season, look for Martin to be more active in the passing game. Receiving isn’t a strength, but Rainey and Demps don’t offer much improvement. Rainey is the clear handcuff.

Josh McCown looked more comfortable against the Dolphins, but still struggled when his protection broke down. That being said, Vincent Jackson will benefit from having him under center. He looked very accurate when he had time to throw.

Mike Evans flashed his potential on the night, catching two passes and almost scoring on a brilliant catch and run. He doesn’t look fast until you realize he is pulling away from defenders with those long strides. He needs to protect the ball, of course, and his fumble at the goal line was a good preseason lesson. His ability in the redone could allow him to be a WR4 this year, but consistency will be an issue.

BILLS v. STEELERS

EJ Manuel still looks shaky. This team will run the ball a lot and throw short passes. Sammy Watkins should be fine in PPR, but in standard formats he might be overdrafted. Talented player, but the hype is probably going to exceed the production with this QB.

The Bills usage of their RBs continues to frustrate Spiller fans who are hoping for a RB1. He has that talent, but I doubt he gets the touches to approach those numbers. Fred Jackson started and got a majority of the early touches. Neither had much room to run, but Spiller did look explosive when he touched the ball.

Robert Woods just makes plays. He is still buried on the depth chart, but by my eyes he should be starting next to Watkins. He is just a tough player who catches everything thrown his way.

We officially have a RBBC in Pittsburgh, with L. Blount getting more and more work with the 1st team offense each week. Bell offers so much more in the passing game and should see the bulk of the work, but it is hard to feel excited about his upside with the coaching staff using Blount so often. If Bell loses goal line work to Blount (which the coaching staff indicated he would), it could be difficult for him to find the endzone given his long speed limitations.

Antonio Brown is small and slow and probably the most underrated weapon in football because of it. He knows how to play football and is in for another big year in 2014. He looked fantastic in this game. His running mate Wheaton, however, struggled to get separation and it doesn’t look like he will get enough targets to be valuable this year. Had a nice catch in the endzone, but wasn’t much of a factor otherwise.

GIANTS v. COLTS

Eli Manning has been terrible this preseason, and it is officially time to worry. The new offense was supposed to rejuvenate him, but he has struggled with accuracy and his offensive line has been atrocious. Not worth a roster spot outside deep leagues.

Both R. Jennings and A. Williams have had their moments in the preseason, but not tonight. The Giants front was outplayed and neither has the lateral agility or quickness to create on their own. I’m staying far away from Jennings at his ADP. Williams could have value later in drafts.

All Corey Washington does is catch game winning TDs. The 6’4 rookie from Newberry College has opened eyes this preseason, and I’m considering rostering him in dynasty leagues and deep formats. The team never seems to trust R. Randle, and no other receiver on this roster offers the size and leaping ability that Washington does. Squarely on the watch list.

TY Hilton and Reggie Wayne were healthy scratches for this game, so it was the Hakeem Nicks show against his former team. Nicks has a strength and physicality to his game that the other two don’t, and that was on full display tonight. If he can stay healthy he will be another strong weapon for this team, although not one I am rostering in fantasy at this point.

With so many passing game weapons (D. Rogers is also an impressive young player), consider me a believer that this team will throw the ball more this season. The offensive line is still subpar  and can’t get any kind of push in the running game. So whether by necessity or design, I expect Andrew Luck and Co to boast a top 6 passing game.

Trent Richardson had no room to run behind a poor line. He seemingly lacks the creativity to create on his own, and this offense isn’t giving him much to work with. He continues to tip toe to the “hole”, and is seemingly met by a wave of defenders each time. He is dropping fast in my rankings.

COWBOYS v. RAVENS

Tony Romo showed no ill effects from his offseason back surgery, and was given plenty of time to throw the ball by what looks to be one of the best offensive lines in football. He was accurate and, aside from one botched handoff, looked like a top fantasy QB in this new offense.

Demarco Murray got all the work with the first team and was involved in both the running game and the passing game. Injuries are the only thing that stand between him and a great season. While not an elite talent at RB, he has enough ability to produce RB1 numbers in this offense. Lance Dunbar was first off the bench, but I think this is a committee in the event of an injury with Randle carrying the bulk of the load and Dunbar as the 3rd down back.

Dez Bryant was dominant against a banged up Ravens secondary. What I loved to see, however, was how involved he was in the game plan. This offense will force feed the ball to their best player. WR1 who could lead the league in receiving.

Former 2nd round pick Ryan Williams looked fantastic for the second straight week off the bench. He is buried on this depth chart, but he is someone to watch if he doesn’t make this team. He is putting a lot of good things on tape.

Joe Flacco continues to demonstrate his inability to produce efficiently. Accuracy, decision making and scheme all seem to play a role, but this is a team that is destined to have a lot of 3 and outs with the way that he struggles to make the simple throws. And this was against a bad Dallas defense. Not fantasy relevant in standard 12 team leagues.

Flacco’s struggles will seemingly make Torrey Smith and Steve Smith boom/bust players this year. If they hit on a big play or a touchdown they will be great. Neither will be strong WR2 options, and I strongly disagree with those who think T. Smith can elevate to a WR1 level. He did make a great TD catch on one of his two targets in the first half.

Ray Rice got dinged up after looking great on his only two carries. He’s not a natural one-cut runner (dances a bit at the line instead of pressing), but he still has the vision to be a difference maker in this system. He looks ready for a bounce back year if he can return healthy after his two game suspension.

Bernard Pierce doesn’t have the vision or agility of Rice, but he is a natural one-cut runner who can hit the cutback at full speed. Didn’t show his ability in the passing game, but he should be a solid option for the first two weeks of the season. And in the event that he runs well, the possibility exists that the Raven’s could stick with the hot hand beyond that point.

Dennis Pitta only had two targets in the first half, which was extremely disappointing. I want to see him more involved in their next game before I would see him as a breakout candidate in this offense.

Deep sleeper Lorenzo Taliaferro looked strong on his 16 carries, but I doubt we will see him make an impact in 2014.

BENGALS v. JETS

Andy Dalton looks fantastic. If you miss out on the top three QBs or want to wait to pick one, he looks much better than his current ADP would suggest. I still like the upside of other QBs more, but no one is playing better this preseason. He was accurate on both short and deep attempts.

Gio Bernard was given red zone chances, and converted his goal line carry into a TD (albeit with a strong push from his teammates). This team looks poised to expand his role, and he has a lot of upside.

With Marvin Jones out, M. Sanu came in and performed admirably. He still has limited upside in this offense without a AJ Green injury, but is capable of putting up a decent line here and there. Just don’t expect any kind of consistency.

The TEs didn’t make much of an impact in this game, and were rarely targeted outside a mediocre screen to Gresham. It’s hard to feel confident about the impact he or Eifert will make when we haven’t seen a scheme that makes them a weapon.

Chris Johnson showed he can still gain yards in a hurry when the blocking is great, but didn’t show much creativity when there wasn’t a lane or room to bounce it outside. He is always a threat to go the distance, but he doesn’t make things happen on his own. Still, there are worse players to have as a third RB.

CHARGERS v. SEAHAWKS

Not much to see here other than the Christine Michael hype train may be slowing just a bit. Robert Turbin continues to be productive as the primary backup to Lynch. While Michael may have more talent, this likely becomes a committee in the event that Lynch misses time. In Dynasty leagues the guy to own is Michael.

Percy Harvin was also heavily involved in the game plan, which was great to see. If he stays healthy and is involved in the offense at this pace, it could be a career season for the talented receiver.

LIONS v. RAIDERS

Stafford showed a clear chemistry with new WR Golden Tate, who will get a boost in my rankings. Tate has always been talented, but it remains to be seen how many targets he will get in this offense behind Calvin Johnson, Bush, Bell and the TEs. With Megatron not playing, Tate caught all three of his targets in limited action.

Stafford looked confident and accurate in throwing two TDs. If he can find a comfort level throwing the ball to people not named Calvin Johnson, he can improve his efficiency and make a huge jump in both real life and fantasy. That’s what we saw against the Raiders.

Reggie Bush should still be a PPR monster, garnering 3 targets on screen passes in his limited time on the field. Granted, they didn’t amount to much as the defense wasn’t fooled and he had no where to run. But he is still a focal point in the passing game for the offense.

Matt Schaub shouldn’t start for very long. He didn’t throw a pass further than 10 yards down the field that I saw, and made terrible decisions when pressured (which was often. The Lions blitzed a ton for a preseason game). Without the ability to back off safeties there was little room for the RBs to operate, and the DBs sat on the underneath routes.

D. Carr will start this season. He probably isn’t ready, but he showed a willingness to throw the ball downfield and challenge the defense. That’s what they need to stay competitive. He also didn’t wilt under pressure like Schaub.

This is going to be a RBBC. MJD will start, but DMC will play as well. I am avoiding this backfield, but McFadden looked more explosive when running north and south. I would avoid.

This is also shaping up to be a WRBC, with Jones, Streeter and the kids (Butler and Holmes) also factoring in. But with Schaub in the game I doubt any of them have value. I am avoiding this whole offense except in deep dynasty leagues, where Butler and Holmes might have some future value.

TITANS v. RAIDERS

Cats out of the bag on this Justin Hunter fellow. His ADP is only going up after posting 4-111-2 on five targets. He has the talent to be this years Alshon Jeffrey/Josh Gordon, although it is safe to wonder where the targets will come from. Given his ability, though, he might force coaches to make him a bigger part of the offense. I’m buying.

I have been and remain a Jake Locker fan. With improved weapons, better coaching and a top tier offensive line I wouldn’t be surprised if he took a big jump this season, although I’m not sure that would make him relevant in standard 12-team leagues. But if I need a bye week sub or am in a deeper league, he is someone I am targeting. He looked good against the Saints, showing accuracy and the ability to scan the defense. He is also a much better runner than many think.

This is another RBBC, and I wouldn’t be to quick to dismiss S. Greene just because he is S. Greene. The knee is problematic, but behind that offensive line he can be effective. Sankey and McCluster will round out the committee, but I’m not overdrafting the rooking on the assumption that he will be a feature player.

For the Saints, Jimmy Graham is good, Ingram looks improved, and they will spread the ball around with the WRs. Outside of Graham and maybe Colston, I’m not sure anyone will provide much fantasy consistency (and that would include rookie sensation B. Cooks). Ingram (a guy I have always disliked) seems to be lighter/quicker, and he is rising in my rankings.

PATRIOTS v. EAGLES

Foles redeemed himself in this outing… sort of. He held the ball too long and took a few sacks, but he also didn’t have Riley Cooper or Jeremy Maclin in this game. He was able to move the offense and he didn’t make terrible decisions. There are still QBs I like a lot more though. High upside in that offense, but a lot of risk as well.

Jordan Matthews looked good in extended action, but did most of his damage against the 2nd and 3rd strings. They will involve him this year, but I wouldn’t be expecting much ROI in redraft leagues this year.

Tom Brady took what the defense gave him, which was a lot of underneath routes to his slot receivers. I think his value is severely stunted without an outside threat or a dominant TE. He will still be a great NFL QB, but his fantasy value is limited if Gronk doesn’t play. They could use the emergence of Dobson or Thompkins as well.

Ridley is still the starter and the power back this team wants, but he fumbled again and just seemingly can’t be trusted. J. White has been a popular sleeper name, but has yet to show his ability to run against NFL defenses. The camp noise has been nice, but nothing in the preseason has shown he could contend for major carries. Vereen didn’t get a carry, and his value seems very limited outside PPR leagues.

BEARS v. JAGUARS

Jay Cutler has been the most impressive QB this preseason not named Andy Dalton. And I’m buying the hype. If he stays healthy, he could be a top 6 QB. If I don’t land one of the top 3 QBs, he is the guy I am waiting on.

K. Carey was thought to be the clear handcuff to M. Forte when he was drafted, but he has been thoroughly unimpressive on the field. S. Draughn is the guy who will likely end up as the backup RB.

Toby Gerhart is still a guy I don’t trust that much. The opportunity seems promising, but is he really talented enough to shoulder the workload everyone seems to be predicting? If his talent isn’t up to par, he won’t get 300 carries, and that volume is what people are counting on. He averaged only 3 YPC in his first game back against a weak Bears defense. D. Robinson and S. Johnson look like backs who could cut into his workload.

The Jaguars schemed ways to get M. Lee the ball, and I could see him having value in PPR leagues. I’m not getting too excited, however, as the offense is still likely to struggle. Henne has earned the right to start, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the impressive Bortles plays this sooner rather than later.

CHIEFS v. PANTHERS

Travis Kelce continues to impress and his 4-63-1 performance against the Panthers has moved him from deep sleeper to well known sleeper. Which kinda stinks for those of us who were trying to sneak him on our roster. He is an incredibly talented TE prospect playing with a QB who loves throwing to his TE.

Cam Newton started very slowly and struggled with his accuracy before settling in as the game went along. The talent at receiver may actually be improved, but it was clear there is still chemistry to be built. I expect Newton to struggle out of the gate this season.

Jonathan Stewart sighting! He is still an incredibly talented back and if he can stay healthy, he looked well worth a late round flier. It was fun to see him playing so well!

Kelvin Benjamin can be dominant in this league, but he still seems lazy at times on the field. Still, he is the most talented option they have at WR and his physical skills could allow him to be a TD scorer for this team.

REDSKINS v. BROWNS

RG3 won’t stay healthy for long if he plays the way he did against the Brown’s. In a meaningless preseason game he took so many unnecessary shots because he doesn’t know how to slide or protect himself. Even when he tried to slide he would awkwardly twist his knee. His accuracy and decision making under pressure was below average, and he is falling in my rankings. A lot of upside, but could easily be a bust.

Lache Seastrunk is forcing the team to make some hard decisions at RB. He is just lightning quick with the ball and offers the team something the other backs on the roster don’t have: speed. Not likely to be a factor in 2014, however, and he needs to show ability in the passing game.

Desean Jackson is still fast. Really fast. He will be a good addition for this team, but that may not result in great fantasy numbers. He will also cut into Garcon’s numbers as well. I expect a regression from both, even if they are still good players on the field.

Johnny Manziel is coming off my top 150. He just isn’t ready mentally or physically for this level of football. He is outclassed athletically and isn’t advanced enough as a passer to make up for it. I’m passing.

Ben Tate had a good showing in this game, but I still believe West will take over at some point in the season as the primary ball carrier. Whether that is due to injury or performance (or both) I’m not sure, but he just looks to have more talent than Tate. He is the better value pick based on ADP.

PACKERS v. RAMS

Eddie Lacy looks fantastic as both a runner and a receiver. If he stays healthy, he is in for a big year. He does run a bit recklessly, but he is a weapon this offense will utilize early and often.

Aaron Rodgers is still a top 3 QB. He was fantastic in this game, and his offense line looked much improved.

I’m not sure there is one backup WR to have in this offense like there was with James Jones. Sure, those targets have to go somewhere, but I think it will be split between multiple TEs, Boykin, Adams and perhaps the fast rising Jeff Janis (a name for those looking for a deep sleeper).

Sam Bradford was poised and accurate in this game, and perhaps this is the year he really develops consistency. This isn’t a top 12 QB, but in deep leagues he will have value.

Tre Mason isn’t ready to play in the passing game, so I don’t think he will be taking many touches from Stacy early this season. But he definitely is more explosive in short areas, and you can see glimpses of why he was an early pick.

That offensive line hasn’t moved people around yet, and it is a bit of a concern for Stacy. However, I’m not too concerned. Stacy is a volume runner in this offense who will produce even if his YPC isn’t impressive in the first quarter.

In two games no WR has stood out for the Rams as the player to own. I might take a stab at K. Britt late in drafts, but nothing we have seen would indicate he is ready to be productive again.

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Top 150 Rankings: Week 2

Week one of the preseason is in the books and there are a few things we know for sure:

  1. Rashad Jennings is the best RB in the NFL
  2. Logan Thomas will be the next Tom Brady
  3. Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson will both run for 1000 yards

We have to be careful not to overreact to the news and developments coming out of the preseason, while at the same time not dismissing red flags that tarnish a players performance on the field.

I will continue to update these as the preseason rolls along and injuries/team identities begin to take shape. In the late round I feel the best strategy is to look for lottery ticket players. Guys who, if the opportunity presents itself, can explode for a Josh Gordon/Alshon Jeffrey-like season due to outstanding talent.

Meaning although Danny Amendola is ranked, even if he stays healthy he isn’t taking your team to a Championship. He is a bye week fill-in type of player. And I wouldn’t stack my bench with many of those players.

Because of this I will have players I like ranked higher than their average ADP in an effort to aggressively target and land them. Conversely, players I don’t like will be ranked lower with the hope that others will take them and push guys I like down the draft board. You can have Steven Jackson at 78.

I do not have kickers and defenses ranked (just because) and these rankings are based on a standard scoring format.

 

Round 1

1. RB LeSean McCoy — Explosive talent in a run first offense. Great in the passing game and has a coach that will scheme ways to get him in space. Still only 26 years old.

2. RB Jamaal Charles — Focal point on an offense that will target him extensively in the passing game. QB does just enough to open up space for him to operate in the box. Would have no problem with taking him #1, although the changes on the offensive line bump him down on my list.

3. RB Matt Forte — Huge first year in a new offense that features excellent WRs on the outside to open up space (and block) for Forte. His work as a receiver allows him to remain productive even against great rush defenses.

4. RB Adrian Peterson — At age 29 you have to worry about what AP has left. QB issues don’t help his cause, nor does his mediocre work as a receiver. Still, I still expect the Vikings to give him the ball 20-25 times a game, and that volume can help mask other issues.

5. TE Jimmy Graham — I’m probably higher on Graham than most, but some people forget how badly he was injured last year. Even so, he outscored other TEs by over 40 points. Only Peyton Manning gave you more of a per game advantage by position. Best player by far at footballs weakest position.  

6. WR Calvin Johnson — Stafford will continue to force feed his best weapon, and the additions of Ebron and Golden Tate should only help open things up for Megatron. I have no problem with someone picking D. Thomas as the first WR off the board, but Calvin’s track record gives him a slight edge for me.

7. WR Demaryius Thomas — Only slightly behind CJ on my board. Only 26 years old and still learning the position, he offers incredibly ability after the catch and in the red zone. With Manning at the helm and without Decker to grab targets, the arrow is still pointing way up.

8. RB Eddie Lacy — After terrible sophomore seasons from D. Wilson, T. Richardson, D. Martin, L. Miller and such last year, I am a bit hesitant to pick Lacy in the top half of the first round until he proves he can do it in back to back season. People are quick to forget the injury history that dropped him the draft and the concussion he suffered last season. But in that offense and with his goal line ability (and underrated receiving talent), he is worth a 1st round pick. You won’t get him here though. 

9. WR Julio Jones — The physical ability is there, but health is a major question mark for Julio Jones. From college to the pros, injuries have always been an issue. However, if he can stay healthy, he is one of the most physically dominant WRs in the NFL with a QB who can still feed him the ball. Word from camp is he has been dominant. If you think he can stay healthy, he is worth the 1st round pick. 

10. RB DeMarco Murray — Injuries will always be a concern, but new OC Scott Linehan gets his backs the ball out of the backfield, one of Murray’s strengths. That allows him to put up points even if they go down early (that defense is terrible). 6th in points per game last season, and that offensive line should be even better this season.

11. WR Dez Bryant — People who are ranking Dez much higher than this are banking on new OC Scott Linehan being more creative in scheming ways to get Bryant the ball. Last season, there were games where defenses took him completely out of the game. Whether that was scheme or Romo being unwilling to force the ball, it’s enough for me to wait on picking him just a bit.

12. WR AJ Green — His PPG is a tick lower than the elite three, but his talent is right there with them. With a new OC in town I think we will see a more balanced offense, but don’t see his production taking a huge dip. More likely his efficiency goes up. Dalton might not be an elite QB, but if Josh Gordon can be the top WR with Hoyer, Weeden and Co, AJ Green will be just fine.

Round 2

13. RB Marshawn Lynch — Assault charges have been dismissed as bogus, and until I hear otherwise the news won’t move the needle. After a brief holdout he returns as the focal point of that offense. Yes, he has a lot of milage and talented players behind him, but he is still the identity of that offense. TDs should be there even if the yards and flashy plays aren’t. 

14. WR Brandon Marshall — Jay Cutler is still his QB and these two just love each other. The emergence of Jeffrey only helps and there are plenty of targets to go around. That offense is going to be superb and Marshall will continue to be a focal point. 

15. WR Jordy Nelson — Was fantastic last year when Rodgers was healthy, and pretty darn good when he wasn’t. Packers #1 target on an offense that should be nasty. 11th ranked WR last year despite not having Rodgers for 7 games. 

16. TE Julius Thomas —Can improve on his TD totals with Decker gone. Heck, he can improve on all his totals, as he is still learning the position. Unreal athletic ability in the leagues most explosive offense. Oh, and have you heard that the TE position is weak?

17. RB Le’Veon Bell — Workhorse runner on a team that still values toughness. Volume player that lacks great talent, and won’t rip off long runs much. But has great hands and an opportunity to run behind an improving O-line. Looked leaner and quicker in preseason, which I liked. 

18. WR Randall Cobb — Gets a bump in PPR due to the high volume nature of his role. Was on pace for 110 catches, 1500 yards and 11 TDs after three games last year. Rodgers loves him and with no James Jones or Finley, no reason to think his volume will decrease.  

19. TE Rob Gronkowski — Same story as last year. If he’s healthy (huge if), there isn’t a better fantasy player at the TE position than Gronk (and yes, I’m including Graham). His redzone ability is unmatched. His PPG ability will win you games. 

20. WR Alshon Jeffrey — Finished as the 9th best WR last season despite only 7 TDs, and number he has plenty of room to improve on. With Marshall getting a lot of the attention, Jeffrey can continue to use his outstanding size and ball skills to dominant #2 CBs. 

21. RB Montee Ball — Count me as a skeptic (although not much of one since I still have him in the 2nd round). The opportunity is great, but Ball couldn’t beat out Moreno as a rookie. To take an unproven player this high is always a risk. But that offense provides such a unique opportunity. The potential is there for a top 12 season. He also won’t play this preseason due to surgery, and that doesn’t help his stock. 

22. RB Arian Foster — Will monitor injuries this preseason, but prior to getting hurt Foster was on pace for over 1900 total yards. With no Ben Tate (or Andre Brown), I expect Foster to be the bell cow both rushing and receiving. The risk is there, but getting him at 22 could be a steal. If injuries linger he will drop. 

23. RB Zac Stacy — Became the workhorse in game 5 and didn’t look back. Not an overwhelming talent, but his work as a pass blocker should allow him to hold off T. Mason. New G/T G. Robinson should only help his cause. Volume over flash. 

24. RB Giovani Bernard — The opposite of Stacy, Gio offers a ton of flash but questionable volume. With Hill and the Law Firm still looming to steal goal line work, I think Bernard will be inconsistent week to week, but with blowup potential each time he hits the field. 

Round 3

25. QB Peyton Manning — You probably won’t get 55 TDs again… but you could. Manning single handily led a lot of mediocre teams to the championship last season, and on a per game basis gave you a 7 point advantage over all opposing players not named Brees.

26. RB Alfred Morris — I’m worried about the loss of the Shannahan’s. Was it Morris or the system? We will find out, but he drops for me. Lack of involvement in the passing game also hurts his value. Olandis Gary was a 1000 yard back in that system. Looked good in week one, however, so I’m not writing him off completely. 

27. RB Andre Ellington — Rather have Ellington for a 3rd than Gio in the 2nd. Comparable size to McCoy and Charles, and comparable ability as well. They won’t overwork him, but has RB1 potential. 

28. WR Vincent Jackson — Targets will decrease but I expect his efficiency to jump up with the addition of ASJ, Mike Evans and Josh McCown. Dominant in camp and can improve on his 7 TDs. Had no help last year. Tim Wright was the next best pass catching option and Mike Glennon was a 3rd round rookie in over his head.

29. WR Antonio Brown — Small, slow and doesn’t catch a lot of TDs. Not a dominant talent, but saw 166 targets last year and that shouldn’t decline with E. Sanders in Denver. 

30. WR Keenan Allen — Got going in week 4 and ended up catching 71 passes in that revamped offense. Still young and developing a report with Rivers, but runs great routes and has great hands. Should keep improving. 

31. QB Aaron Rogers — When he’s healthy he has consistently been a top 2 fantasy QB. Perhaps less receiving weapons now than ever with Finley and Jones gone, but an improved O-line and the power running of E. Lacy should help that offense keep churning. 

32. QB Drew Brees — Just a fantasy machine, he has ranked in the top 3 at his position the past six years. As consistent as they come, you can plug him in for 14 weeks and not even roster a backup (until the bye week). Addition of B. Cooks only helps. 

33. RB Doug Martin — Questions at guard and the addition of both Demps and Sims as 3rd down options lower his value from the unrealistic expectations of 2013. Will still be the feature back on an improved offense. RB1 upside, but boy did that line look terrible last week. 

34. RB CJ Spiller — Played hurt for almost the entire year and still looked explosive. Now healthy, he is a gamble, but the upside is top 5 potential. Crowded backfield hurts value.

35. WR Roddy White — He is the reliable target in that offense, and is finally healthy after battling injuries in 2013. Finished the year on a tear after getting healthy. That defense will be atrocious.  

36. WR Larry Fitzgerald — Concerns about speed and decline. Still a great red zone target who sees a lot of balls coming his way.

Round 4

37. RB Toby Gerhart — Could be the workhorse back who hits 300 carries if Jaguars don’t get blown out every week. But is he any good? Remains to be seen. Not a ton of competition to take carries. Todman and Robinson aren’t feature guys and S. Johnson is an unproven rookie.

38. RB Ryan Matthews — Workload concerns in a crowded backfield, and health is always a worry. Finished 12th last season, and that might be his ceiling in that offense. 

39. WR Andre Johnson — QB issues are a concern once again, but had 109 receptions last year despite QB woes. Bill O’Brian won’t neglect his best player. Johnson has rarely produced TDs, but we may soon find that it was system related. 

40. WR Michael Crabtree — A year removed from the achilles injury, and was on pace for a fantastic year with Kaepernick in 2012 before getting hurt. Crowded depth chart could impact targets, but he has top 10 potential. 

41. RB Reggie Bush — Split time with J. Bell last year, so I’m not worried about statistical regression. But his ceiling is limited with Bell getting goal line work and a lot of carries/catches. 

42. WR Victor Cruz — No Hakeem Nicks means Cruz becomes the focal point of the passing game. May not be a monster TD guy, but playing the Randall Cobb role in Ben McAdoo’s offense should help him hit 90+ receptions provided he stays healthy.

43. WR Pierre Garcon — Monster targets last year as the team got blown out consistently. They should be better on defense and offense, which means the number of targets will drop. The addition of D. Jackson will also hurt. I think he will be more efficient, but I’m not sure he replicates past success. Struggled to really make an impact down the field last season.

44. RB Frank Gore — Father time probably catches up at some point, but I’m not betting against him just yet. Lead back with a great O-line on a run dominant team. Finished 13th in RB scoring last year. Limited upside. 

45. WR Marques Colston — A tad inconsistent last season, but had some huge games in the second half of the season as he recovered from a knee injury. Went for 11-144-1 in the playoffs against the vaunted Seahawks. I think he’s underrated. 

46. TE Jordan Cameron — TE pool really drops off after Cameron. Elite talent at the position with the worst depth.

47. WR Cordarrelle Patterson — Has the measurables of a breakout candidate, but boy is he still raw in the receiving game. The Vikings will manufactures ways to get him the ball, however, and few are more explosive in the open field. Can score from anywhere.

48. RB Shane Vereen — Big bump in PPR, but averaged almost 11 PPG last year when healthy. Backfield touches are an issue, but was on a 11 TD pace last season.  Constant mismatch he shouldn’t be as susceptible to the Patriots week to week game planning.

Round 5

49. RB Joique Bell — 3.9 YPC a bit concerning, even for a guy getting a lot of short yardage work. Splits carries but could get a lot of TDs. Valuable piece, but I want more volume for a top back.

50. WR Torrey Smith — Remarkebly inefficient throughout his career. Never a great route runner or hands catcher, and Flacco’s wild accuracy and decision making made it just an okay year. Kubiak feeds his top WRs, but Smith is no Andre Johnson. Still, arrow pointing up.

51. WR Michael Floyd — Room to improve in TDs (5) and a great size/speed prospect. As Fitz declines, Floyd will ascend.

52. WR TY Hilton — Early word has him as the WR1 for the Colts. Wayne is coming off torn ACL, Nicks hasn’t impressed. I’m buying a more open offense with Hilton playing a big role. WR2 with WR1 upside.

53. QB Matthew Stafford — Upgraded weapons should improve his efficiency, even if he throws less. Best of the next “tier” of QBs.

54. TE Jordan Reed — One concussion away from IR, but with the talent deficiency at TE is worth the gamble.

55. RB Stevan Ridley — L. Blount and his 153 carries are gone, and if Ridley can hold onto the ball those are his to lose. Camp buzz on J. White is concerning, but Ridley should be the goal line back. Situation to monitor. 

56. WR Mike Wallace — Misused last year and expect him to have a bounce back year in a new offense with more efficient QB play. Top wideout on that team that will be more creative with how they get him the ball. 

57. RB Lamar Miller — Undervalued this year after being way overhyped last year. O-line is a major concern, but he is the lead back and is showing well in camp. 

58. RB Ben Tate — West is getting all the hype, but Tate has the edge in experience and pass protection, which can mean a lot early in the season. He scares me though. I’d rather have West at the cheaper price.

59. RB Bishop Sankey — This is lower than his ADP, but it reflects my skepticism of his run talent and ability on the goal line. McCluster could also take much of the passing game reps. Could rise with a strong preseason, but I like his situation more than his ability.

60. WR DeSean Jackson — Inconsistency and redzone targets are the biggest concerns. But a talented player on an offense that should improve dramatically.

Round 6

61. WR Jeremy Maclin — Desean Jackson is gone and he inherits the role. Tough to have high expectations for players coming off torn ACL, but with his talent and in that offense I have high hopes. Could be a strong WR2.

62. WR Eric Decker — The Geno Smith/Mike Vick QB situation looks rough, and statistical regression is expected. But he is the top target in that offense, and volume counts. 

63. RB Trent Richardson — Last chance to impress, and the Colts will give him that opportunity. Preseason will be telling in terms of his weight/explosiveness. So far, it doesn’t look good. 

64. QB Matt Ryan — Threw for 4500 yards and 26 TDs while getting killed behind a terrible line and with limited weapons. White and Jones are healthy, the defense is bad, and the offensive line can’t be worse.

65. WR Kendall Wright — Gets a boost in PPR but is an undersized target who doesn’t attack the deep parts of the field. If Locker is healthy he could still catch 70-80 balls, but upside appears limited.

66. TE Vernon Davis — I don’t expect him to replicate his 13 TDs last season, and with the added targets to that passing attack I expect his volume to be capped. Still a mismatch with his speed, but without TDs he will be an inconsistent play.

67. QB Andrew Luck — I think the Colts will take the reins off him a bit this season, and the supporting cast improves drastically with a healthy D. Allen, the return of Wayne and the development of their young pass catchers. Upside is high if the coaches let him throw.

68. RB Bernard Pierce — Gets 2 starts to prove he can be the guy. Seems to be a great fit for the zone blocking scheme being added, but was terrible last year behind that line. Could run away with the job if he starts hot.

69. RB Terrance West — Ben Tate is the starter, but he can’t stay healthy. Many scouts and coaches have praised West, and he could take over sooner rather than later. But I’d watch for a RBBC. Still, lots of upside.

70. QB Cam Newton — He lost all his receivers, but most of them weren’t any good anyway. Adds the massive K. Benjamin and still has the running ability to produce a top 6 season. 

71. WR Percy Harvin — Most talented player on that offense, but injuries and volume are major issues. There is upside with Golden Tate gone, but it is hard to imagine him being anything more than a WR3.

72. TE Dennis Pitta — Gary Kubiak uses his TEs (especially in the redzone) and Pitta is one of the more talented ones in the league. Could catch double digit TDs.

Round 7

73. RB Chris Johnson — He’s going WAY too high for my taste. Will lose goal line work to Ivory, has a weak offensive line, and the QB situation may have gotten worse. That said, he could get volume, which is a plus.

74. RB Andre Williams — R. Jennings is the starter and will be drafted ahead of Williams, but I want no part of Jennings. Williams is already getting goal line work, is quicker and a better player. May not work as much in the passing game, and that offensive line is a big question mark.

75. QB Tom Brady — If Gronk is healthy, he bumps up. If not, he is a better real life QB than fantasy option. Lack of a redzone threat will cap his value. This team may be more run dominant to play to their strengths.

76. QB Colin Kaepernick — Running the ball is the identity of the 49ers, and I don’t think that changes. But with better weapons and a year of growth Kaepernick has serious upside. We may say that his entire career, though.

77. QB Robert Griffin III — Major breakout potential as he possesses more talent (when healthy) than Andy Dalton, who Jay Gruden turned into a top fantasy QB last year. Key is health, and it is a major question mark.

78. QB Jay Cutler — He has to stay healthy, but with redzone weapons all over the place and a coach that maximizes his QBs potential, I expect a breakout year. That defense will be bad again and points will be necessary. Could wind up in the top 6 at his position. Great value at his ADP.

79. QB Tony Romo — Dallas might be the worst defense in football and Romo might have the most pass happy coach in the game. They will throw and throw often. The only reason I don’t love him is the back injuries seemingly limiting him in camp.

80. RB Ray Rice — Suspended for 2 games and doesn’t seem like a great fit for the zone blocking scheme. Were struggles last year injury related? Could be a surprise if healthy, motivated and in better shape (i.e. lighter). He looked quicker in week 1 of the preseason. 

81. TE Jason Witten — Don’t expect a top 5 season, but Witten is about as consistent as they come. Won’t win you many games, but won’t lose you many either.

82. WR Kelvin Benjamin — The upside is double digit TDs in an offense devoid of receiving talent. Cam has to throw to someone. Extremely raw, though, and it may take time to develop.

83. WR Emmanuel Sanders — The Peyton Manning factor is always in play, but I tend to think that with all the mouths to feed, Sanders will get lost in the shuffle and post modest numbers. Receiver 4-5 with upside.

84. RB Devonta Freeman — Would love to own him on every team. S. Jackson is already injured and was ineffective last year when healthy. Freeman offers a quickness that can counteract the bad blocking he will see. Arrow pointing way up.

Round 8

85. QB Nick Foles — This is still a run dominant team that can’t expect Foles to never turn the ball over again. With so many great QBs to chose from I am okay taking a wait and see approach on him.

86. RB Rashad Jennings — Ugh. Current ADP is 43 and I will consistently have him lower than that. Average in every phase, but consistent. Andre Williams has more burst and run talent, but Jennings will factor in early due to his understanding of the pass game. Won’t score TDs.

87.WR Golden Tate — He may be the 2nd WR, but he isn’t the 2nd option. Upside potential in a system that favors throwing the ball, but limited TD potential with so many monster targets surrounding him.

88. WR Reggie Wayne — Any player coming off an ACL injury is a major risk, especially those on the plus side of 30. Could still be solid in PPR formats, but expect yards and TDs to be limited due to his lack of explosiveness.

89. WR Dwayne Bowe — Had moments down the stretch but Alex Smith has never made a WR into a consistent fantasy contributor. Not expecting that to change. Will be an inconsistent WR3.

90. WR Riley Cooper —Current ADP is low because people see him as a situational player. But in my opinion he has the talent to be a solid WR2. He has speed, great hands and a QB that trusts him. Better player than people think.

91. WR Rueben Randle — Serious breakout potential as the only tall target on the team. but the coaches don’t seem sold on him, and that has to be concerning. If you are playing him you are banking on TDs.

92. RB Jeremy Hill — TD vulture in a RBBC with Gio Bernard. Could be a week to week fill in, but probably won’t get the volume needed to be consistent. OC Hue Jackson likes power running. That’s Hill’s specialty.

93. WR Wes Welker — One concussion away from being a non factor, I’m souring on him this year. TDs inflated value last year, and the volume won’t be what it once was. Sell.

94. WR Terrance Williams — I still view Williams as a one trick pony with less upside than people think. Great deep threat with okay hands that may not be an every down player. Inconsistent future ahead.

95.  WR Justin Hunter — Wrote about his serious upside here. If you are looking for the next Alshon Jeffrey, Hunter might be that guy. Great size/speed combination that coaches are talking up.

96. WR Sammy Watkins — EJ Manuel was not pretty against the Giants and this is still a run first team. WRs rarely develop consistency as rookies, although Watkins has the ability to be one of the outliers. Don’t overdraft on hype.

Round 9

97. WR Brandon Cooks — The training camp hype train is in full swing with Cooks, but I think we are looking at a better NFL weapon than fantasy option. PPR would give him a boost, but in standard leagues he is splitting targets with some great players. Could rise if the Saints continue to showcase him in preseason.

98. WR Josh Gordon — If the suspension is 8 games this would still be a steal. Top 5 WR talent who has a shot at seeing action this year. A gamble, but one I would consider in round 9.

99. RB Fred Jackson — Old faithful will keep churning out 8-10 points a game with limited touches. But with Spiller healthy and Bryce Brown added, the real life value is probably more than the fantasy value.

100. WR Anquan Boldin — Took advantage of Crabtree’s absence to post great numbers last season, but could be the third option on a run first team this year behind V. Davis and Crabtree. Limited upside.

101. QB Philip Rivers — Another QB I’d be just fine landing. He may not surpass last years numbers, but I see no reason why he can’t replicate them. Another reason why you can wait to draft a QB.

102. WR Julian Edelman — Everyone got hurt last year and he caught a ton of underneath passes. People are healthy this year, and without getting 100+ catches he loses a lot of value in my opinion.

103. TE Kyle Rudolph — Lacks the athleticism to be elite, but has the size and opportunity in Norv Turner’s offense to be a solid TE option. Will rise if he shows dropped weight has improved his quickness.

104. TE Zach Ertz — Another breakout candidate on a team that keeps hyping him up, especially as a red zone target. And at 6’5, it’s not hard to see why.

105. TE Greg Olson — We kinda know what he is by now, which is a low ceiling TE1. As literally the only receiver left in Carolina he may get a small boost, but I don’t expect career numbers.

106. QB Ben Roethlisberger — 4400 yards and 25-30 TDs is a great season, and that’s probably what you’re going to get. He won’t blow up, but barring injuries he is another consistent QB you can plug in on a weekly basis.

107. RB Steven Jackson — Wrong side of 30 with a lot of wear on the tires, Jackson struggled even when he played last year. Not the type of players I generally jump up and down for, starters or not.

108. RB Pierre Thomas — Role continues to diminish with the emergence of K. Robinson, the presence of M. Ingram and the hype of B. Cooks. Not sure where he fits in.

Round 10

109. WR DeAndre Hopkins — He is probably one year away from being an effective fantasy player, especially with the QB concerns. But if Andre Johnson goes down, he has the talent to produce.

110. TE Ladarius Green — Potential to be the next Julius Thomas/Jimmy Graham/Jordan Cameron type. 6’6 240 and just learning how to play. If he gets unleashed, watch out. Wrote about him here.

111. RB Carlos Hyde — Feature back potential in a run first system with an aging starter in front of him. Could blow up if given the chance.

112. RB Maurice Jones-Drew — I really want no part in drafting him, but if he falls this far I might consider it. Still solid in the passing game and on the goal line, and he did have 800 yards last year in a lost season.

113. WR Kenny Britt — Still only 25 and Bradford could use a #1 target. If he is clued in both mentally and physically he could be in for a bounce back year. Reports are promising.

114. WR Mike Evans — Another rookie with TD potential, but no one is sure how aggressive this offense will be. If they stay balanced his upside is capped without an injury to Vincent Jackson.

115. WR Cecil Shorts — Yes, the rookies have talent and Shorts hasn’t stayed out of the training room, but the guy is talented, experienced and has had his moments. Could be a valuable WR3 if he can get healthy.

116. RB Khiry Robinson — More talented than Mark Ingram, but the coaching staff is stubborn. This will be a RBBC, but Robinson has the most upside of the trio.

117. RB Christine Michael — Major upside in the event of a M. Lynch injury. One of the most physically talented backs in the league on one of the most run heavy teams. Lottery ticket stash. Wrote about him here.

118. RB DeAngelo Williams — This is a team that still loves to run the ball, and he offers flex potential if he stays healthy. That O-line is a mess, however, and a RBBC caps his overall value.

119. RB Danny Woodhead — PPR monster whose value is capped in standard formats. Low upside flex play who likely won’t be on any of my rosters.

120. RB Darren Sproles — In the right system to maximize his talents, but struggled last year as the season wore on and it looks like age might be a factor. PPR bump, but limited value in standard formats.

Round 11

121. RB James Starks — Fantastic season last year in spot duty, averaging 5.5 YPC. Lacy was an injury risk in college and runs reckless, and Starks is the handcuff to own.

122. RB Knile Davis — Talented back who is a great handcuff to J. Charles (if you like handcuffing). Would blow up if Charles got hurt and has RB1 potential if that were to happen.

123. RB Chris Ivory — Ticketed for goal line work behind Chris Johnson, which gives him some value. However, Ivory’s relentless style will appeal more to Rex Ryan if Johnson continues to shy away from contact.

124. QB Andy Dalton — Inconsistently productive last year, but should regress as the team moves to a more balanced attack under Hue Jackson. Not much upside, but could be a good bye week fill in.

125. QB Carson Palmer — He has the weapons and the coach to really put up great numbers. 4500 yards and 25-30 TDs is well within reach, and I expect him to cut down on his INT totals from last year.

126. RB Bryce Brown — Not sure how he gets carries but has dynamic talent if he does. Within the realm of possibility that Spiller gets hurt and Jackson gets old.

127. RB Ahmad Bradshaw — It’s probably a compliment to say that Trent Richardson struggled last year, and with Vick Ballard lost for the season, Bradshaw is next in line if Richardson doesn’t improve. Did well last year before getting injured. Still only 28.

128. RB Roy Helu — Alfred Morris had a great start to his career under the Shanahan system. But that system makes stars out of everyone.  If Morris struggles in the new system, Helu has the passing game chops to take the reins.

129. WR Jerricho Cotchery — Mediocre talent who just seems to get open and catch passes. That reliability could make him a top target for Cam Newton. Not a lot of upside, but could be a solid flex play with the right matchup.

130. WR Andre Holmes — More explosive and talented than Jones, and thus is the higher upside play. The team could throw a lot if the defense struggles (which it probably will), and Holmes would be a beneficiary.

131. WR James Jones  — I tend to think Jones is more a product of Aaron Rodgers than a true #1 WR. Could have some solid weeks, but with the attention coming his way I think he disappoints in a mediocre passing attack. Garbage time points could help if the Raiders are as bad as many think they will be.

132. RB Ronnie Hillman —Enters the rankings after the injury to CJ Anderson. Still not sure the team trusts him enough to give him a ton of carries if M. Ball were to struggle or remain injured, but they may not have a choice. 

Round 12

133. WR Kenny Stills — Not much more than a deep threat, so consistency will be an issue. But will put up some good numbers every so often when he gets open for deep TDs.

134. TE Dwayne Allen —Solid rookie season before getting hurt last year. Luck loves throwing to TEs and he is a better all around player than C. Fleener. Could surprise.

135. TE Martellus Bennett — He’s a low upside player who has never been as dominant as he should be. With M. Wilson out for a while his stock takes a jump. Could be great in the redzone, but never has been.

136. WR Greg Jennings — The consistent chain mover in that offense that lacks upside. More quality at the QB position would help, and he is nothing more than a bye week fill in.

137. WR Danny Amendola — If he stays healthy… nah.

138. WR Markus Wheaton — I loved him in the draft and think he has the potential to really surprise people this year. Whether that translates into legitimate fantasy points isn’t clear. I will be watching for preseason chemistry with Big Ben.

139. TE Charles Clay —Breakout year in 2013 and has some upside, but questions about his role in the offense make me wary about drafting him as a TE1. Versatile option, however, in that new offense.

140. WR Miles Austin — When he’s healthy, he has been a good (and even great) player. Perhaps this is the year he stays healthy? With no Josh Gordon early on, they will need him.

141. WR Brian Hartline — Quietly had 1000 yards the last two years, but his upside and potential is pretty limited. Not a bad WR5 if that offense is better and more creative in 2014.

142. WR Jordon Matthews — There is a lot of uncertainty at the WR position for the Eagles, but the team invested a lot in Matthews. Has the chance in the slot to produce more and more as the season goes on.

143. TE Travis Kelce — It was only 2 catches but boy did Kelce look explosive! If you are drafting Gronk or have concerns and want an upside talent at TE, Kelce is a guy to monitor. Alex Smith loves throwing to TEs. 

144. RB CJ Anderson —Drops for now due to concussion concerns. But he is still a guy I would bet on to get the bulk of the carries if Monte Ball fails or misses time. 

Round 13

145. RB Jonathan Stewart — 27 years old and injured all the time, but he’s the most talented back on the roster. Showed well in OTAs before missing all of camp to this point with a hamstring injury. Situation to monitor, but what a disappointing career for the talented back.

146. RB James White — The talk of camp, he is a Ridley fumble away from getting some serious play in that offense. Pats tend to ride the hot hand at RB, so if he plays he will still be boom/bust, but the team does love to run the ball.

147. WR  Brian Quick — Many WRs make strides in year 3, and Quick has had a great camp. Has the size/speed to really be a great option if he can learn how to be an NFL WR. Upside.

148. TE Eric Ebron — Struggling in camp but has great size and speed for the position in a pass first offense. If he can catch the ball he has some upside, but TEs often start slow.

149. WR Aaron Dobson — The most physically gifted of the Pats WRs, but he hasn’t practiced and might start the season on the PUP list, which would cost him the first 6 games. Upside exists, but he has to get on the field.

150. QB Johnny Manziel — Whether or not he develops as a good NFL QB is not the question. In fantasy, his ability to run and make big plays will make him valuable. 

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Team by Team Deep Sleepers: NFC Edition

Every team has one or two players deep on their depth charts that have the talent and potential to make waves during a season. These “rise from obscurity” stories can be immensely valuable in dynasty/keeper formats, but can also have value as well in redraft leagues.

Before the 2010 season very few people had heard the name Jimmy Graham. He was a mid-round draft pick who was more basketball player than tight end. That year he posted a modest 31-356-5 line that put him on the radar. But if you were in a dynasty league, it was probably too late. In 2011 he broke out with a 99-1300-11 line and claimed the title as Fantasy Football’s premier TE. The key is finding these players a year early rather than a year late. You have similar stories with players like Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas. Or now Ladarius Green. And it’s not just the TEs. Arian Foster, Alfred Morris, Andre Ellington, Pierre Garcon, Victor Cruz, Marques Colston, Bryce Brown and Russell Wilson would all qualify as being deep sleepers before their breakout years.

To find them, you look for a certain profile. Perhaps off the field issues, inexperience or health caused them to fall off the radar, but their size/speed/ability suggests that with the right development and opportunity they can really explode. These are the guys you target late in drafts or keep tabs on throughout the season to see if opportunity might come their way. In deeper leagues or dynasty leagues they play a big role in separating the good owners from the great ones.

Let’s take a look at each team in a division by division look to identify some possible deep sleepers.

 
NFC West:
 
49ers – TE Vance McDonald: This roster is stacked and there isn’t a lot of sleeper value to be found. McDonald has struggled with drops and may never develop into what his athletic profile would allow, but there is an opportunity for him in this offense. I’m keeping an eye on him in dynasty leagues.
 
Other to watch: WR L. Washington
 
Seahawks – TE Luke Willson: An athletic freak at 6’5, 250, Willson could emerge as a dominant TE if the Seahawks decide to open their offense up a bit. Targets appear limited in that system at this point, but Pete Carroll knows how to maximize talent and Willson has plenty of it. He is a favorite of mine in terms of pure talent at TE.
 
Other to watch: RB Spencer Ware
 
Rams – WR Brian Quick: Laugh all you want. You would be justified. But coming out of Appalachian State we should have known Quick wouldn’t adjust… quickly (ugh, sorry). Word out of camp is he looks fantastic, his ADP is undrafted, and his size/speed/hands indicate he has special ability. He’s still only 25, and at 6’3, 220 he’s worth monitoring in all formats.
 
Other to watch: RB Benny Cunningham
 
Cardinals – WR John Brown: After his fantastic preseason debut, perhaps he is a sleeper no longer. Brown isn’t very big at 5’11 180, but his quickness is elite and allows him to get separation at any level of the field. He might not get enough targets in that offense to be a strong fantasy contributor this year, but he has the ability to be a TY Hilton type moving forward. 
 
Other to watch: TE Troy Niklas
 
 
NFC South
 
Saints – WR Nick Toon: At 6’4, 220 he certainly has the body of an NFL wide receiver. He doesn’t, however, possess the deep speed to challenge a defense over the top, but that’s not where he wins. His ability to shield and make contested catches in traffic make him a Colston-like prospect he may be in line to replace him as he gets older. Toon has great hands and leaping ability and with Cooks and Stills threatening defenses with speed, he could do a lot of damage over the middle.
 
Panthers – TE Brandon Williams – Another one of those basketball turned football type of prospects, Williams is 6’4 250 of raw potential. On a team desperate for receiving weapons, he has a shot to really make a difference in the next few years as he learns the position. Timed in the 4.5s, his talent is undeniable. Whether he can learn to be a football player at this level in a short amount of time is the question. Judging by his outstanding preseason performance, he is well on his way.
 
Other to watch: RB Kenjon Barner
 
Buccaneers – WR Tommy Streeter: Streeter has always been one of those athletic freaks who never had to develop the finer points of playing receiver. At 6’5 215 he ran in the 4.4s at the NFL Combine, but his inability to learn how to run routes ended his short stint on the Ravens. He has good hands and the ability to out jump most NFL corners, but if he doesn’t learn how to maximize his talents he may never contribute in the NFL. He has been great in training camp, however, and has a shot to play in 3 WR sets in Tampa with Jackson and Evans.
 
Other to watch: RB Jeff Demps
 
Falcons: RB Davonte Freeman: His name is popping up more and more in fantasy circles with the health/age/effectiveness issues surrounding Steven Jackson. At 5’8 208 and with 4.5 wheels, he doesn’t possess the elite measurables of many on this list, but he runs with vision, decisiveness and toughness that allow him to make the most of his skill set. He played very well in his first preseason games, and although he is listed as 4th on the depth chart, I expect he will rise pretty quickly.
 
 
NFC North
 
Packers – WR Jeff Janis – The Packers offense always seems to produce players at the WR position, and Janis could be one who comes out of nowhere to surprise. While D. Adams and J. Boykin have struggled to impress during camp, Janis has consistently made plays when given the opportunity. His is a 6’3, 220 pound prospect with explosive leaping ability and 4.42 speed, but he played his college ball at Saginaw Valley State. The transition will be difficult but he has the talent to figure it out and a quarterback who could use a few extra targets after losing J. Finley and J. Jones.
 
Other to watch: TE Richard Rodgers
 
Bears – WR Marquess Wilson: The news came out recently that Wilson has a fractured collarbone which will keep him out likely for the first half of the season. Still, the buzz has been building each week for this 6’4, 185 pound prospect. He had great production and elite measurable at Washington State, but walked out on the team after complaints regarding the way head coach Mike Leach treated players. Maturity issues caused him to drop in the draft despite his talent. I’m not sure this offense (or any offense) can support three WRs, but if Jeffrey or Marshall were to get injured, Wilson could be in for an impact year once he returns.
 
Vikings – RB Jerick McKinnon: A workout monster who is converting from QB in a triple option offense to an NFL RB. Blew up the NFL combine, but finds himself third on a depth chart that includes Adrian Peterson. Touches may be hard to come by without an injury to the superstar, but if the opportunity presents itself McKinnon is a talented player who could take advantage. Not overly big at 5’9, 210, but he is strong (32 reps on the bench) and fast (4.41 40). There will be an adjustment as he learns the position, but the talent is undeniable.
 
Lions – RB Theo Riddick: Not the workout monster like others on this list, but Riddick is incredibly versatile, playing both running back and receiver in college for Notre Dame. Exceptionally quick with good hands and an understanding of how to run routes out of the backfield, he is a Swiss Army Knife for this offense to use in different ways. Sure the depth chart is crowded, but his ability to impact the game from multiple positions will get him on the field, and an injury could make him a great play in PPR leagues.
 
 
NFC East
 
Cowboys – WR Devin Street: While Street doesn’t possess the deep speed to back safeties off, his ability to pluck and extend on underneath routes and beat smaller corners outside could be potent on an offense that will need to score points. Pitt’s all-time leading receiver stands 6’3 200 pounds and had a 37-inch vertical at the combine. If he could add some strength to his frame he could be a fantastic WR2 in that offense, with T. Williams moving to his more natural deep threat role.
 
Other to watch: TE Gavin Escobar
 
Redskins – RB Lache Seastrunk: We saw in his first preseason action the kind of dynamic ability Seastrunk can bring to the table. But like many young NFL backs, his deficiencies in pass protection could keep him off the field. Still, when he touches the ball you hold your breath and he possesses dynamic ability in the open field. Had the best vertical jump and broad jump at the NFL Combine, demonstrating some of that elite athleticism that could make him a weapon in that offense. If he can develop in the passing game, watch out.
 
Eagles – WR Ifeanyi Momah – Full disclosure: I can’t pronounce his name. And I’ve never heard it mentioned by analysts. But it was difficult to find an Eagles skill position player who would qualify as a “sleeper” (we all know Ertz and Polk), so I had to dig deep. When I started watching Momah, he stuck out. Mainly because he’s 6’7 240 (not a misprint) and ran in the 4.4s. Chances are he won’t make the team, but he started the first preseason game due to injuries at the position, which leads me to believe he has a shot. He is a intriguing prospect, but is probably several years away from seeing the field.  
 
Giants – WR Corey Washington: It’s not often that wide receivers from Newberry College make waves in training camp, but Washington is proving to be the exception. At 6’4 215 with 4.5 speed he has the athletic traits that can turn heads, but this preseason he has been making plays to back up that hype. With the coaching staff seemingly down on Rueben Randle every year, Washington possesses something no other receiver on the roster has: size. And the Giants have experience developing small school WRs into NFL caliber players with Victor Cruz emerging just a few seasons ago. I’m taking a flier on him in deep leagues this year.
 
 
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Preseason Breakdown: Falcons v. Dolphins

FALCONS

Matt Ryan – With no Julio Jones on the field, the Falcons under Ryan worked the underneath routes and drove efficiently down the field. The offense looked crisp and with the defense likely to struggle, Ryan and the offense might have to carry a big load. With a healthy supporting cast Ryan could put up big numbers.

Roddy White – The ankle injury is behind him and White looked like he will be a big part of this passing game, particularly on the underneath routes. Ryan looked at him early and often and he created enough separation to make plays. Top end WR2. 

Running backs – Quizz Rodgers started the game, but we’ve seen enough of him to know he isn’t more than a COP guy. Antone Smith came in next and looked explosive, having a 81 yard run called back due to holding. To be honest he looked better than Rodgers, although I’m not sure he makes the team. 

 

DOLPHINS

Ryan Tannehill – The new offense looked remarkably more creative than last years version (perhaps a little too creative), and Tannehill looks like he could be poised for a breakout season. Perhaps not fantasy relevant, but he is a good fit for this system and I expect him to have a solid year.  He was accurate and efficient on the night. 

Lamar Miller – Started and ran hard, so that was nice to see. Didn’t do anything noteworthy other than get 6 touches, so the needle doesn’t move. 

Others to watch – Mike Gillislee and Damien Williams both had moments during the game, and this RB situation is one to watch. Miller hasn’t proven anything, and this offense has the chance to be run heavy (obviously think Eagles). Situation to continue to monitor this preseason. 

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Preseason Breakdown: Bears v. Eagles

BEARS

Matt Forte – With the Bears down several starters on the offensive line, it is tough to fault Forte for a rough outing. He had little room to run on the right side where both starters were missing. But when he had space he looked great, and he is poised for a top 5 season. 

Jay Cutler – When he is on his game he makes it look as easy as any QB in the league. If he stays healthy he is poised for a great season. 

Brandon Marshall – Should remain a PPR monster and his chemistry with Cutler was on full display. Was used in the slot often and did most of his damage within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, so the yards per catch wasn’t all that impressive. But is still looked at often in the red zone and is a WR1.

Alshon Jeffrey – More impressive than his numbers suggest (had a big catch called back for holding), Jeffrey got open deep and underneath and showed no indication that he couldn’t build off of last years breakout season. 

 

EAGLES

Nick Foles – The starting offense was fast and ineffective. Foles caved under pressure and threw passes up for grabs and sometimes no where near an Eagles receiver. It was a rough outing that didn’t lend confidence to those banking on a top 8 season from him. With such a deep crop of QBs this year, Foles is one I am happy to pass on. 

LeSean McCoy – Looked as quick and explosive as always. My top RB in that run first offense. 

Zach Ertz – Got most of his run with the 2nd team and looked great. But this game led me to believe that the team is really going to target a lot of people evenly instead of relying on a few dominant weapons in the passing game. I’m not sure how much you can trust consistent production from Ertz or any of the weapons. Situation to continue watching. 

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Preseason Breakdown: Buccaneers v. Jaguars

BUCCANEERS

Offensive Line – This had to be one of the most atrocious performances from a unit I have seen all preseason. They got no push in the run game and couldn’t block anyone in the pass protection. McCown was under constant pressure which made it difficult to evaluate him and his receivers. The guard play was especially troubling, and it’s hard to feel comfortable drafting Doug Martin at this point. 

Vincent Jackson – Looked fantastic when McCown had time to get a pass off his way. I think he is underrated in fantasy circles. He had no help last year and was catching passes from a rookie 3rd rounder who was in over his head. If McCown gets better protection than he did last night, Jackson could have a top 10 year. 

Mike Evans – Was targeted but was overthrown both times. Won’t have much of a chance if the QB doesn’t have time to throw the ball. 

 

JAGUARS

Blake Bortles – Looked calm and composed, but had a clean pocket for most of the night. Showed accuracy and touch and enough arm strength to make throws in tight windows. In short, he was impressive. Much more so than Chad Henne. This coaching staff might have to rethink redshirting Bortles if he continues to play like this. 

Storm Johnson – Todman started the game, but he still profiles more as a COP back. If there is a player to watch if Gerhart struggles in his first starting job, it’s Johnson. Looked good at times, but ran a bit tentatively and didn’t seem creative behind lesser blocking. On the watch list. 

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