Author Archive for FFStarters

IDP Rankings Cheat Sheet – September

Below are IDP Rankings (Cheat Sheet) created by content contributor BuckysGT.

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Article: 2014 Third-Year Breakout Wide Receivers

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Each and every fantasy football season, a group of third-year receivers finally reach their ultra-productive point. Fantasy worlds call these players the Third-Year Breakout Wide Receivers. Below is one that really stands out to me: T.Y. Hilton.

Third-Year Breakout Wide Receivers

TY Hilton’s current ADP is at the back of the fifth-round at 58 overall. Hilton has shown an increase in production in each of his first two seasons, though his average yards-per-catch declined in 2013. Still, his overall stat line last year was 82/1083/5TDs, which proved to be a respectable WR2 (221 pts), and he was a 7th-round pick at that time (August of 2013).

We know the Colts are going to score points this coming year. A number of factors point to Hilton increasing his production in 2014. First, he falls into the “Third-Year WR Breakout” theory. Sometimes receivers breakout sooner, like AJ Green, Alshon Jeffery, or Anquan Boldin in year’s past, and other times a receiver just needs two full seasons under his belt before reaching that next level of production (ex: Dez Bryant, who went from 63/928/9TDs during his second year to 92/1382/12 during his third-year breakout season). Now couple all that with consistency, as Hilton enters 2014 with the same coach, quarterback and quick-strike offense that he has matured in. Thirdly, he won’t face many double coverages in 2014 with notable peers Reggie Wayne and newly-acquired Hakeem Nicks requiring attention.

When Reggie Wayne went down last year, Hilton filled the void admirably, producing better-than-expected results, yet I still believe the loss of Wayne impeded Hilton’s overall production. I took note of a recent report that stated that Hilton was working out of all four wide-receiver position during the Colts’ mini-camp. This was interesting, as this could make it tough for defenses to scheme him from week to week, but of course this would also require the presence of a healthy Reggie Wayne, and/or a version of Hakeem Nicks that can adapt to the offense.

I have nothing but respect for Reggie Wayne, but I have a difficult time believing that a 35-year-old NFL wide receiver can be productive the season following knee surgery. History suggests a negative impact. I’m not sure where he is in his rehab, but at his age, he won’t be able to pull off what Adrian Peterson did, where he was running lateral drills in a sand pit 9 months removed from his LCL, ACL, and MCL surgery. Sorry, Reggie, I won’t expect that from a 35-year-old receiver. I will expect to see more of LaVon Brazill.

Where Hakeem Nicks will fit into that Colts’ offense remains to be seen. Staying healthy is still a concern for Nicks, but the combination of Wayne and Nicks is sure to leave Hilton in some good spots all over the field in 2014. Plus, I expect to see the Colts’ 3rd-round draft pick, Donte Moncrief, stretch the field often in 2014; he has both size and speed and should be a great red-zone target, even as a rookie.

Hilton might be sitting at #58 overall right now, but come August, I anticipate him moving up fantasy draft boards. Dynasty league owners should start trying to acquire him now while he maintains low trade value.

2014 Projections: I have T.Y Hilton pulling in 92 receptions for 1,250 yards and 9TDs this upcoming year.

Full List of 2014 Third-Year Breakout Wide Receivers

Below are players already playing like studs and/or suspended:

Alshon Jeffery (already broke out in 2013)
Michael Floyd (already broke out in 2013)
Josh Gordon (already broke out in 2014; facing possible suspension in 2014)
• Justin Blackmon WR, JAC (suspended indefinitely)

  1. TY Hilton WR, IND
  2. Kendall Wright WR, TEN (semi breakout in 2013)
  3. Marvin Jones WR, CIN (semi breakout in 2013)
  4. Jarrett Boykin WR, GB
  5. Rueben Randle WR, NYG
  6. Jermaine Kearse WR, SEA
  7. Andre Holmes WR, OAK
  8. Stephen Hill WR, NYJ
  9. Rod Streater WR, OAK
  10. Cole Beasley WR, DAL
  11. Brian Quick WR STL
  12. Ryan Broyles WR, DET
  13. Mohamed Sanu WR, CIN

NEWS: Marshawn Lynch considering retirement?

According to numerous reports, Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch is considering retirement; Lynch would be walking away from $8.5 million if he did decide to retire.

SMITTY: Look, no one really expects Lynch to retire just yet, especially given the fact that this story began around Lynch wanting more money. Walking away from a boatload of cash is the exact opposite of wanting more money. While it’s always possible the Seahawks toy with the idea of extending Lynch before next season, most all reports on the matter expect Seattle to release Lynch next year and hand the keys over to dynasty gem Christine Michael, who is one of our favorite dynasty players in all of fantasy football.

NEWS: Ben Tate not worried about Terrance West?

According to the Ohio.com, Browns running back Ben Tate is not worried about third-round rookie running back Terrance West stealing touches in 2014. “I’m not worried about that because I know when I’m on my game — I respect every running back here — but there’s no one that can really touch me or that’s close to what I do,” Tate said. “So honestly, I mean I’m not worried really about that. I battled in and out every day with what some people consider the best running back in the league — Arian Foster. I’ve seen the best. I went against him every day. I battled it. So this around here to me is really not anything,” he added. West had this to say on the matter: “That’s what I’m here to do. I want to play. I want to be the starter, and I’m going to practice like a starter.”

SMITTY: The tough part about attacking this from a fantasy perspective is that both of these running backs are ultra-talented. I think Ben Tate still has a huge opportunity in Cleveland, and when on the field, I’m confident he can play like a top 5-10 fantasy running back. On the other hand, you would be hard-pressed to find a fantasy analyst higher on Terrance West than I, as I had him ranked as my #2 rookie rusher well before the NFL Draft took place. The bottom line here is that if you plan to own Tate this year, you better also own West. With Josh Gordon looking at a lengthy suspension (possibly year-long), the Browns will turn to the run early and often in 2014 — Assuming a total RBBC doesn’t emerge, whomever starts for the Browns this season will get a ton of work. It’s also important to note that Tate, who can’t seem to shake his “injury-prone” tag, is currently sitting out 11-on-11 drills due to being “nicked up.”

Using YOUR league’s exact scoring, find out what we have projected for both Terrance West and Ben Tate.

NEWS: Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford look sharp in camp

According to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, the play of the day on Tuesday was when Matthew Stafford tossed “a 50-plus yard pass to Calvin Johnson that resulted in a touchdown during 11-on-11 drills.”

SMITTY: Being involved in a big play during camp isn’t news, but it’s nice to report that Calvin Johnson (finger and knee) looks fully healthy. Stafford looking sharp is great to hear as well, as he could be having a cup of coffee with the top 5-6 fantasy quarterbacks all season long in 2014. In redraft, Calvin is clearly a top 1-3 receiver, if not plain old No. 1. In dynasty, it’s never a bad idea to test out the good old trade waters when it comes to a player like Calvin, who is sitting at max value and turning 29. Selling is only wise if you’re getting tremendously-good value in return. The key word is “test” the trade waters… Need trade help? Go here:

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NEWS: Marshawn Lynch not to be used in a RBBC in 2014?

According to John Boyle of the Everett Herald, the Seattle Seahawks will not be deploying a “running-back-by-committee” approach in 2014, as some recent reports have suggested. OC Darrell Bevell said last week that the offense would use more of a RBBC approach in 2014, however, according to Boyle, OC Darrell Bevell is now downplaying his RBBC comment saying that the comment was angled at OTAs.

SMITTY: There is no denying that Marshawn Lynch will still be a top 5-10 fantasy football running back every single time he starts a game in 2014. However, Lynch has 1753 regular-season carries to his name, he could also face a suspension due to his recent guilty plead (to reckless driving in connection with his 2012 DUI arrest), and he has Christine Michael, already thought to be one of the most physically-gifted runners in the NFL, waiting for a chance to shine. Anyone expecting a healthy Lynch to get unseated as the team’s starter in 2014 might be extremely disappointed. All that said, 1753 carries (1953 total regular-season touches) is a grip of mileage, which makes Michael the most valuable 2014 handcuff in all of fantasy football. If ever starting in 2014, whether it is one game, four games, six games, I’m very confident that Michael will perform like an elite stud. As for the future, Lynch will be 29 next offseason and will be owed $7.5 million (not guaranteed); sources all around the NFL have already suggested that Seattle could move on from Lynch next off-season and save a ton of cash in the process. Anything can happen between now and the “Christine Michael Unleashing Party”, but I will say right now that there might be no greater dynasty gem in fantasy football. Our 2014 projections for both runners can be found using our Draft Analyzer, which is geared around your specific scoring! Find it here:
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Article: Top 25 Fantasy Football Players (‘Hardcore’ Dynasty Angle)

Below are my Top 25 Fantasy Football Dynasty Players heading into 2014 and beyond; however, these rankings won’t necessarily match any kind of site rankings that we have up, as these rankings below look toward the long-term in hardcore fashion! So, keep this in mind, as you’d typically see a Marshawn Lynch and Matt Forte ranking in the top 6-12 overall in both yearly-league and conservative-like dynasty rankings. This set of rankings is not either of those; with the below, we’re looking more toward 2015-2017! For example, while Lynch has top 5-10RB upside heading into just 2014, you’d be hard pressed to trade him away for even a mid second-round talent in an existing ‘future-geared’ dynasty league. Dynasty and redraft are truly that different, especially leagues that are more “future” focused. With all that said, let’s get to it!

Top 25 Fantasy Football Dynasty Players

1. LeSean McCoy RB PHI
Just like last year, the handcuff is critical, as concusions are still a worry. The upside is far too great to ignore if you can in fact handcuff (Sproles for 2014… maybe even Chris Polk – the future handcuff is probably a future rookie).
2. Jamaal Charles RB KC
He had 1,980 regular-season yards and 12TDs last year, but he only received 259 carries. This means being overworked isn’t a concern. Like McCoy, at least 2 more elite seasons could be on the horizon, maybe more.
3. Julio Jones WR ATL
No receiver has more upside than Jones; his only downside is the foot/injury-risk. That’s literally the only downside!
4. AJ Green WR CIN
Since his sophomore season, he averages 97.5 receptions, 1,388 yards and 11TDs per campaign. He will only get better and is the definition of consistency.
5. Calvin Johnson WR DET
While he might have slipped past Jones and Green in this article, 2-3 more years of top 1-4WR numbers makes you almost a steal at No. 5.
6. Dez Bryant WR DAL
Being 25 and entering a contract year, we should see Dez drop one of his best seasons ever as a pro. This will have him ranking high heading into 2015 and beyond. Hopefully he stays healthy during this contract year!
7. Demaryius Thomas WR DEN
Because it’s unclear how long Peyton Manning has left in the NFL, Thomas just can’t be ranked above the receivers upward, at least in my eyes. His “default” drop in value due to this issue, well, that makes him a bargain here, which is good news for those liking this value here at the seven spot.
8. Montee Ball RB DEN
Even if Manning isn’t under center for a grip of years longer, I maintain my stance that Ball is both elite and in a great situation. Many just share the view about his situation being ideal. Top 5RB numbers is in the cards in 2014, and I think he can dance in that top 5-10 range for a handful more seasons – at least. He is that special, a stance I’ve maintained since he was an incoming rookie.
9. Adrian Peterson RB MIN
At some point we have to drop Peterson down a few notches, right? Ok, maybe some really believe he is Superman. He might be for a few more years, but since these rankings are aggressively pointing toward the future more so than 2014, I think this is a fair spot. Even with an aggressive look to the future vs. the now, I still consider 2-3 years a long time in dynasty. It is entirely possible Peterson plays like a top 2-4RB in 2014, and then remains top 5-10 worth for 1-2 more seasons. If anyone can do this, it’s AP.
10. Eddie Lacy RB GB
I don’t hide that I was super critical of Lacy heading into his rookie season, and I still worry about his longevity. However, if I’m being fair, even with some injury concerns relating to his foot (yes, some will call them unfair concerns, I get that), 2-3 years is a long time, and I think he can last that long. This means, in that GB offense, he holds top 8-12 overall dynasty value. I admit that I was wrong about Lacy – He looks beast-like for that short 2-3 years, no question. Handcuffing him is wise, though.
11. Jimmy Graham WR NO
He is only 27, so 3-4 more seasons of 80 receptions, 1,000+ yards and 10+ touchdowns seems more than reasonable, which makes ranking him 11-14 reasonable as well. I am not big on drafting TEs this high, so my ranking here might not match where I’d take the guy, but that doesn’t make the strategy the only one. There are all kinds of ways to draft, and going TE early is a strategy many love.
12. Giovani Bernard RB CIN
Some worry about the presence of Jeremy Hill, but Gio is a big-time receiver, so denting his upside and future value is almost impossible when you’re talking about a pure runner like Hill. Gio had 1,209 total yards, 56 receptions and 8TDs during his rookie campaign, one where he didn’t get starters carries. Any questions?
13. Alshon Jeffery WR CHI
One could rank Brandon Marshall here, or Jeffery. Honestly, I could go either way with a 2014- and 2015-only outlook. But, since I’m looking a bit more toward the future with these ranks, Jeffery gets the nod here.
14. Aaron Rodgers QB GB
While many would wait on a passer, and draft-wise I would as well, there are roughly three quarterbacks that have 40TD upside for the now and future. Again, I would probably draft guys like A-Rod, Nick Foles and Andrew Luck a round later, but as I said, rankings don’t always parallel ADPs, thus, all three QBs will be steals in all start-up drafts!
15. Brandon Marshall WR CHI
He just turned 30, so if looking “hardcore” toward the future, Marshall has to fall below a few younger studs like the players up above. But, this feels about as far as I can let him drop given his upside for the next couple seasons.
16. Nick Foles QB PHI
You either believe in Foles or you don’t. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground on this issue. I think a 40TD passer is in the making, especially in PHI under Chip Kelly. Get on board!
17. Andrew Luck QB IND
Top 3QB numbers are surely approaching. He could dance in that 3-5 zone for 2014, then be everyone’s favorite QB to believe in come 2015, or he could thrive in elite fashion right out of the gate this upcoming season. Either way, his future is bright. Like I said above under Rodgers’ write-up, ranking him this high does not mean I’d draft him this high. Use ADPs!
18. Josh Gordon WR CLE
On one hand, how do you toss aside the potential that this guy has? On the other hand, you have to calculate in some future risk into his rank. This even feels a bit high, but surely he is capable of such a ranking. Comment on this ranking below, there are not wrong or right ways to rank Gordon right now.
19. Keenan Allen WR SD
Some doubt him, some call him too small.. I see a tremendous athlete that will easily be his team’s top-targeted receiver for handfuls of years. He had 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and 8TDs as a rookie. I’m not sure why many still doubt Allen. He is a fantasy WR1, and a bargain one at that.
20. Sammy Watkins WR BUF
This feels like a safe place to rank Watkins, but he certainly has upside to be better than this. No question!
21. Bishop Sankey RB TEN
Like with Watkins, this seems like a very safe place to slot Sankey, who isn’t quite as special as let’s say a Tre Mason, but he is still plenty good enough to be a top 5-10 fantasy RB if given the workload. Don’t get me wrong, he is very talented, and some players get so much better once they enter the pros and learn the game – I love his ability mixed with his situation, and his ability can surely grow into elite. This feels very safe with lots of room for upside!
22. Matt Forte RB CHI
A decline in production could strike as early as 2014; the upside Forte has makes it tough to push him down any further than this, though. Remember, in more casual dynasty rankings, he would rank higher; these are a bit more ‘future’ aggressive, though!
23. Doug Martin RB TB
The presence of Charles Sims is a concern, sure, but that’s why D-Martin is a 23rd overall-type pick and not a top 5RB. He has value and upside of a top 5-10RB, and the risk is literally built into his current valuation (in any format).
24. Randall Cobb WR GB
A top 5-7 fantasy WR that many will just overlook as such. He has injury risk, so he makes a better early third-round pick vs a late second-round pick – know that and use ADPs!
25. Andre Ellington & LeVeon Bell & DeMarco Murray
I made this a three-way tie at No. 25 because it was just too hard to leave some names out of this top 25… Is Ellington cracking the top 25 Bold? Sure. Could he be worth very little 2-3 years from now? Absolutely. He could also be a top 5-10RB staple. It’s a tough business predicting breakouts when coaches don’t make the right decisions. Even when players like Ellington feel 100% “Can’t Miss” to me, part of the prediction/analysis is on the coaching staff’s ability to recognize what fantasy worlds are recognizing. It’s amazing how some players never reach their potential under some leaderships. Arizona has a history of underutilizing their running backs, but at what point do you accept that Bruce Arians had nothing to do with any of that trending? I’m cautious, as I would NEVER draft Ellington this high (no. 25 overall); but, I feel his ceiling is much higher than this, so ranking him here with the intention of drafting him a bit later, well, that feels solid at this point in the off-season. Remember, even if he is not given the rushes we all would like to see him get, Ellington pulled in 39 receptions as a rookie, so he could be well on his way to 45-50 receptions in 2014, and more from then on out!
Missed The Cut

Missed The Cut

Of course guys like Drew Brees, Zac Stacy, Marshawn Lynch, CJ Spiller, Trent Richardson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Mike Evans, and even Arian Foster deserve consideration for placement up in that top 18-25. So, if you’re thinking, “how did Le’Veon Bell not crack that top 25? Or, if you’re thinking the same thing about DeMarco Murray, it’s close enough that I could easily swap either, or both, out and place them into that 22-25 range. It’s just that close, and a call had to be made. And, Marshawn Lynch not being in the top 25 feels crazy, I know, but again, he would have been if this was more of a “now” and “future” dynasty analysis vs. a more hardcore look at the future… so, given that the guy has 1,955 total regular-season touches, it screams ‘breakdown’ on the horizon. How quickly will he fall apart? That’s tough to say, and we could be a year early predicting a decline, no question. But, isn’t being safe better than being a year late?

Two players that intrigue me a lot despite one being super young (and not in a position to start yet) and one being a bit older age-wise (but set to thrive in his role): Christine Michael and Joique Bell. Both of these rushers have crazy-sneaky Top 25 Overall Dynasty Appeal, even for the deep future.

2014 Projections & Analyzers Are Ready!

We here at Fantasy Football Starters are excited to announce that our 2014 NFL Fantasy Football Projections are ready, which means that our fantasy football Analyzers are ready as well! Our famously-accurate Draft Analyzer, Lineup Analyzer, Trade Analyzer and Team Analyzer are already loaded with well over 400 NFL Player Projections.

Your 2014 fantasy football draft help is at your finger tips – Get started below:



Note: Our Analyzers are The Original Fantasy Football Analyzers, and they crank out Custom Cheat Sheets based on YOUR Scoring System. That’s right, they are custom just for your league(s). You can add up to five teams in your FFStarters Roster Management area, then each of our Draft, Trade, Lineup and Team Analyzers adapt to each league separately. With over 1.7 Million fantasy football teams analyzed since 2004, we offer a money back guarantee. No software to download. Get started!

NEWS: Toby Gerhart to be used on all three downs?

The Florida Times-Union is reporting that the Jaguars like Toby Gerhart’s “ability to gain yards after contact and thrive on third down.”

SMITTY: Look, there are several reasons to like Toby Gerhart right now, but there are even more reasons to sell-high in dynasty formats. Don’t sell-low, I’m not predicting that Gerhart will for sure be a bust, but given that fantasy worlds seem to be settling into the idea that this guy holds steady RB2-type value, I say package Gerhart in a more complex deal and upgrade another runner into stud territory (or make a lateral move into a safer-type player, one that you’d be just fine with should Gerhart even go on to prove to be the real deal). And, as far as redraft leagues go, I’m not sure about you guys, but now that Gerhart is pulling in ADP data around names like Andre Johnson, Trent Richardson, Chris Johnson, and even Cordarrelle Patterson, I’m staying clear of the Jaguars’ rusher (at those prices at least)… I even love me some Joique Bell over Gerhart heading into yearly-league drafts! If you roll with Gerhart in any format, though, Jordan Todman is a must-own handcuff! Our Draft Analyzer, which will certainly help you maneuver through such dilemmas, will be 2014-ready soon!

Source: Florida Times-Union

NEWS: Ray Rice looking at a three-game suspension?

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, NFL Insiders indicated on Friday that Ray Rice could be looking at three-game suspension (possibly longer) resulting from his recent assault charge. “They’re [Ravens] preparing for him to miss, I think, at least three games,” Mortensen said.

SMITTY: Honestly, everyone is in “guess mode” with this situation, which includes the length of Rice’s suspension, as well as how Kubiak will utilize his other runners should Rice face a suspension. However, the Rice/Pierce duo is a relatively-undervalued RB2 heading into 2014, and Pierce has some strong dynasty appeal all by himself; the Ravens also recently inked rookie rusher Lorenzo Taliaferro. If forced to take a stab at this guessing game, I’m going to say that Rice misses at least weeks 1 and 2, and I’ll also predict that Pierce has a very strong start to the season, which will make it tough for Kubiak to take Pierce off the field upon Rice’s return. Now, Pierce struggled last year, but so did every other running back in Baltimore, which also needs to be considered if you’re in the camp that feels Rice is no longer capable of elite fantasy numbers. Under Kubiak, that Baltimore rushing attack will be much improved… it should produce, it’s just a matter of steering through this unpredictable situation. If it weren’t for Rice’s recent off-the-field issues, I think we’d be looking at a big bounce-back candidate. Things are what they are, though, and the situation has opened the door for the ultra-talented Pierce, who is capable of top 5-10 fantasy running back numbers per start. Forget about last year, Pierce is that good! Navigate through this situation carefully, though, and only do “buying” and “investing” (in terms of the BAL running backs) on the “cheap”. If you can get the Rice/Pierce combo at a cost that is less than a mediocre RB2, I think the risk is minimal and the upside is huge. Want to know how specific trades around these players impact your 2014 scoring outlook? Our Trade Analyzer has you covered.