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RADIO: Listen to Russ Bliss and Smitty talk about the upcoming Week 2!

Take a listen to Russ Bliss’ and Smitty talk about the upcoming Week 2 of the 2014 fantasy football season! Take a listen!

The Red Zone With Russ Bliss

Date: 9/9/14

Guest: Smitty

Topics: Cordarrelle Patterson, Bernard Pierce, Ray Rice, Justin Forsett, Jordan Cameron, Pierre Garcon, Roddy White, Josh Gordon, Wes Welker, Michael Floyd, Andre Ellington, Bobby Rainey, Doug Martin, Eddie Lacy, Golden Tate, Percy Harvin, Anquan Boldin, Joique Bell, Chris Ivory, Keenan Allen

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SUNDAY NEWS: Live Feed All Day Long

This Sunday News topic will be updated all Sunday long!!!

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News: 9/7 (8:22pm) Bernard Pierce was benched in Week 1 due to losing a fumble on his sixth attempt.
Take: Justin Forsett stepped in with 16 carries for 84 yards and a TD. Wow. That was quite unexpected that Pierce was slapped with the bench move after the dropped ball, but you have to observe and adapt in this game we call fantasy football, and Forsett is a solid add this week! I do wonder if there is more to this story, though, as it still seems so strange that Pierce was benched so quickly. This is great news for all you Ray Rice owners, as the road back to the starting line-up is not as long as it was projected to be (unless Forsett steps things up even more and makes it tough for the Ravens to limit his workload). Stay tuned.


News: 9/7 (8:14pm) According to Rotoworld, Andre Ellington’s injury is to his peroneus longus, which is a muscle that assists in ankle flexing.
Take: He has a small tear that has the option of rest with the wearing of a boot for 2-3 weeks, or he could play on the injury and see if it gets worse. The good news is that he doesn’t need surgery – for now. That could change, but that sounds like it’s pretty well agreed upon. The decision of resting for 2-3 weeks vs. playing and seeing how things go, well, we’re pretty confident the right decision will be made by that coaching staff and staff of doctors. We will keep you posted, as Ellington remains a game-time decision heading into tomorrow’s Monday night battle against the Chargers.


News: 9/7 (7:25pm) Emmanuel Sanders (thigh) is active for Sunday night’s Week 1 contest against IND.
Take: There wasn’t much concern here, and there isn’t much concern about any big-time Colts or Broncos heading into kickoff. As we just sent out in a Smart Alert, Manning, DT, Sanders, JT, and Ball dominate our Week 1 Power Rankings… this is a big game for fantasy scoring — Buckle-up!


News: 9/7 (4:22pm) Cordarrelle Patterson pulled in 3 receptions for 26 yards while adding 102 rushing yards and 1TD on just 3 carries.
Take: Beast. This is one of those players that can have 100 total yards even when not having a big-time receiving outing. Well, at least he should if MIN continues to use him all over the field and in different roles.


News: 9/7 (4:00pm) Jordan Cameron left his Week 1 contest against the Steelers with a shoulder injury.
Take: Stay tuned for more on this. We will send out a Smart Alerts on this just as soon as we know more.


News: 9/7 (3:26pm) Ben Tate (knee) left his Week 1 contest.
Take: Rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell are battling it out for touches in Tate’s absence. For insight on this situation moving forward, be sure to subscribe to our Smart Alerts, that’s what that feature is all about!


News: 9/7 (3:26pm) Terrance Williams (bruised back) is active for Week 1 against the 49ers.
Take: Williams is a solid start in deep leagues, so this is good news. Be sure to sign-up for Smart Alerts, as we toss in all kinds of exclusive goodness into those Alerts!


News: 9/7 (3:04pm) NFL Red Zone is reporting that Cam Newton has been ruled out for Week 1; Derek Anderson will start Week 1.
Take: Get Cam out of your line up if he is in there. Hopefully this puts him in a strong position to play next week, and play much healthier. Stay tuned.


News: 9/7 (2:02pm) Tyler Eifert left Week 1 with what seems to be a serious right elbow injury.
Take: Dislocation is the thought here. Stay tuned.


News: 9/7 (2:02pm) Jordan Reed (hamstring) left Sunday’s Week 1 contest against HOU and is questionable to return.
Take: Logan Paulsen will see in increased role until Reed, returns, and if he returns. Reed has so much upside, but he clearly cannot stay healthy, which means he cannot be trusted – for now, at least.


News: 9/7 (1:53pm) Allen Hurns, who we Smart Alerted out as being a player to watch/add under the right circumstances, has three receptions for 101 yards and 2TDs so far in the first half of his Week 1 contest against the Eagles.
Take: Hurns, an undrafted receiver, has a ton of talent. Clearly. We liked him a lot going into this game, and even though we sent out an early-morning Smart Alert recommending that he be added in deeper leagues, no one could have saw this kind of production for his first start. We love this kid. Make sure he isn’t on waivers!


News: 9/7 (1:53pm) Toby Gerhart left Week 1 game against PHI with an undisclosed injury.
Take: We will keep you updated. Denard Robinson has taken his place, and would likely see a ton more action should Gerhart’s injury be serious.


News: 9/7 (12:30pm) Santana Moss is a healthy scratch for Week 1.
Take: Yeah, nothing to see here, we know.


News: 9/7 (12:25pm) Bryce Brown is a healthy scratch for Week 1 against the Bears.
Take: This is actually great news for CJ Spiller owners, as Fred Jackson is already looking like a threat to Spiller’s Week 1 touches. Our Smart Alerts touch on Bryce Brown’s future value, though, so sign-up for Smart Alerts!


News: 9/7 (12:18pm) FOX’s Jay Glazer is currently suggesting that sitting Cam Newton (ribs) might be the current plan.
Take: Stay with us on this – Our Smart Alerts will surely update you once we know more. He could still go, this is truly one of those ‘almost too close to call’ situations, but we will attack it as fast as we can for you so that you can make a last-minute move.


News: 9/7 (12:09pm) Michael Crabtree (calf) is fully expected to start Week 1 game against DAL.
Take: No surprise here.


News: 9/7 (12:03pm) Patriots RB James White is a healthy scratch for Week 1 against MIA.
Take: Aaron Dobson is also a healthy scratch, so know that. Brady is a go, Gronk should be (but his time could be super limited, at least that’s what the word is); We expect a huge game out of Shane Vereen this week, and with White rules out, our Smart Alerts have sent out some exclusive analysis on that topic!


News: 9/7 (11:59am) Jaguars WR Allen Hurns is officially replacing Cecil Shorts (hamstring) in Week 1 against PHI.
Take: If super desperate, and I’m talking about you playing in a HUGE league, this guy has some appeal.


News: 9/7 (11:46am) Tre Mason is inactive for the Rams today.
Take: No one should be starting Mason on any level anyway, but this is proof how confident the team is in both Benny Cunningham and Zach Stacy. Cunningham is a serious threat to touches this year, at least as it stands now. That can all change with a big outing by Stacy this week. Then again, that can all change on the flip side if Cunningham responds in a big way to his Week 1 touches.


News: 9/7 (11:46am) Tom Brady is active for Week 1; Aaron Dobson is a healthy scratch.
Take: No surprise with Tom Brady. Rob Gronkowski remains a very iffy play, as he could play very little and still catch a score, or he could see the field a lot less than we all think. He is just a risky start this week, plain and simple.


News: 9/7 (11:42am) Eagles RB Chris Polk (hamstring) is inactive for for Week 1 against JAC.
Take: More action for Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy, so buckle-up!


News: 9/7 (11:40am) Rotoworld is reporting that ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that he and Chris Mortensen are getting a “negative vibe” regarding Andre Ellington (questionable, foot) playing in Week 1 on Monday night against SD.
Take: The tough part about this one is that it’s Monday, so most fantasy owners have to make a call today (unless you have Jonathan Dwyer to plug in last-minute, or let’s say Ryan Mathews or Woodhead). Be sure to sign-up for Smart Alerts for last-minute blasts on this stuff!


News: 9/7 (11:16am) Word is that Ron Rivera is ‘considering’ holding out Cam Newton (ribs) in Week 1.
Take: This one is the ‘almost too close to call’ piece of news this morning. This will literally come down to kickoff, so if Cam is your passer, stay by your email/phone for our Smart Alerts. Derek Anderson could start this one.


News: 9/7 (11:11am) Jordan Reed (thumb, questionable) is expected to play in Week 1 against HOU.
Take: With ‘questionable’ players, though, just be sure to check right up to game-time, as they can aggravate something in warm-ups… but, Reed looks set to play.


News: 9/7 (11:07am) Mike Brown is expected to start Week 1, as he replaces Cecil Shorts (hamstring).
Take: If completely desperate at WR, here is one option, but hopefully your backups are bigger names than Mike Brown.


News: 9/7 (11:04am) Reports suggest that Rob Gronkowski (knee) is expected to play in Week 1, but on a limited basis.
Take: Be sure to stay on this one, as news could change minutes before the game. Gronk is a risky play and risky sit, as he could pull in a TD pretty easily on limited action, but it’s always risky playing a hurt player. Be sure to sign-up for Smart Alerts, where we send out replacement/alternative recommendations!


News: 9/7 (11:01am) Garrett Graham (back) is not expected to play in Week 1 against WAS.
Take: Get Graham out of your line-up. Be sure to sign-up for Smart Alerts, where we send out replacement/alternative recommendations!


News: 9/7 (3:45am) WGR 550 believes that Buffalo might not use C.J. Spiller as originally anticipated this season.
Take: C.J. Spiller can’t be sat unless you’re just stacked at RB. If you are, good for you, but still get on our forums for last-minute help. That said, it’s do or die for Spiller this year, he has to perform well when given the shot or his carries/touches could shrink. Make plays, C.J.!


News: 9/7 (3:42am) Antonio Gates (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Monday night’s Week 1 opener against Arizona.
Take: Ladarius Green could put up borderline TE1-type numbers right out of the gate in Week 1 if Gates sits.


News: 9/7 (3:40am) Larry Fitzgerald (knee) is listed as probable for Monday night’s Week 1 opener against San Diego.
Take: Larry Fitzgerald is a go, and is a strong fantasy WR2 heading into Week 1.


News: 9/7 (3:31am) Keenan Allen (ribs) is probable for Monday night’s Week 1 opener against AZ.
Take: Get ready for the Keenan Allen show, it starts on Monday night!


NEWS: Robert Turbin rips of 81 and 1TD in Week 2 preseason outing; Keenan Allen pulls in a TD.

Seahawks RB Robert Turbin ran the ball 12 times for 81 yards and 1TD during his Week 2 preseason contest against the Chargers. Christine Michael ran the ball eight times for 45 yards. Russell Wilson looked strong in this game, completing 11-of-13 passes for 121 yards (to go along with four rushes for 31 yards and 1TD). Keenan Allen pulled in a 13-yard TD in the contest.

SMITTY: Robert Turbin looked good, I won’t lie, but everything he did in this contest, Christine Michael would have done better and faster. I keep emphasizing buy-low when talking about sleepers, because coaches can ruin fantasy upside. If Seattle doesn’t let go of the idea of using Turbin, this could leave fantasy owners extremely disappointed in 2014, as Turbin could play a significant back-up role in 2014. Do I think that will happen? Probably not, as Michael is just too explosive to keep off the field. Still, when trading for players, you have to buy low and buy at value that will have you earning your investment dollars back even on a disappointing campaign. At this point, I still expect Michael to be starting in 2015. As for this preseason contest, it was great seeing Keenan Allen pulling in a score – He looks so crisp with his routes and footwork. I still have Allen as one of my favorite underrated studs heading into 2014. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?

NEWS: Philip Rivers looks sharp in preseason opener; Ladarius Green impressive as well.

In the Chargers preseason opener against the Cowboys, Philip Rivers completed all four of his passes for 61 yards, while Ladarius Green pulled in 26 yards on two receptions; Ryan Mathews ran the ball five times for 19 yards.

SMITTY: Philip Rivers is very undervalued heading into August, as his ADP is in the 9th-round, yet he can easily score with QBs getting selected in the 6th-round (he has top 6-8 ability in fantasy this season). He has Keenan Allen set to breakout in 2014, yes more than he already did last season (when he pulled in 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and 8TDs). Rivers also has Ladarius Green looking like a nice breakout candidate this upcoming season. Yep, Rivers looks decent when you compare his draft/trade value to his potential ceiling value. Checkout where we have all these guys ranked heading into Week 1.

NEWS: Ladarius Green ready to take that next step; Keenan Allen a fantasy WR1?

According to ESPN, Ladarius Green “appears to have taken another step in his development after showing the ability to create big plays last season.”

SMITTY: While it’s entirely possible that Ladarius Green could be another year away from fully breaking out, he should show flashes of what is to come all year long. Antonio Gates is clearly on the downside of his career, but his lingering presence could slow Green’s 2014 rise. Still, even slowed, he is 6-6, 240 pounds — those flashes I just mentioned should be brushes up against low-end fantasy TE1 numbers. Philip Rivers, who has a very underrated fantasy WR1 in Keenan Allen, is getting no rankings love right now in any scoring format… I’m not saying Rivers will come close to competing with the top 5QBs this season, but finishing as a top 7-8 guy isn’t all that hard to imagine. Want to checkout some jaw-dropping 2014 Keenan Allen Projections?

NEWS: Keenan Allen moving at a different speed than ever before.

According to utsandiego.com, Chargers WR Keenan Allen is moving an entirely “different speed” than ever before. He has also added 6 pounds and considers himself more dynamic entering his second NFL season. “I’m a deep threat now,” Allen said with a smile.

SMITTY: We have been talking up Keenan Allen since February 1, and you can read our jaw-dropping predictions for the receiver right here. With Allen set to explode in 2014, and with Ladarius Green also pegged to breakout, Philip Rivers is looking quite underrated entering early August drafts.

2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft In July (Redraft, PPR)

Below is a 2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft (in July), and below each round you will find my commentary/take on that round. This mock draft took place on our forums, so it’s a great indicator of current/true player values. The scoring for this fantasy football mock draft was assumed to be PPR, and it was done with a ‘redraft’ (2014 only) frame of mind. Thanks to all who participated. Enjoy.

Round One
1.01 – LeSean McCoy RB
1.02 – Jamaal Charles RB
1.03 – Adrian Peterson RB
1.04 – Calvin Johnson WR
1.05 – Eddie Lacy RB
1.06 – Matt Forte RB
1.07 – AJ Green WR
1.08 – Demariyus Thomas WR
1.09 – Julio Jones WR
1.10 – Jimmy Graham TE
1.11 – Marshawn Lynch RB
1.12 – Dez Byrant WR

Smitty’s Take: There weren’t very many surprises in round one, and their usually aren’t. Sure, a case can be made for Peyton Manning being round one worthy, but it’s not surprising to see him fall to 2.01. LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson are spot on in my book, and I can’t argue a bit with 1.04-1.12 (aside from pushing Manning into that 1.09-1.12 range, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea).

Round Two
2.01 – Peyton Manning QB
2.02 – Monte Ball RB
2.03 – Aaron Rodgers QB
2.04 – Rob Gronkowski TE
2.05 – Doug Martin RB
2.06 – Brandon Marshall WR
2.07 – Antonio Brown WR
2.08 – Randall Cobb WR
2.09 – Demarco Murray RB
2.10 – Arian Foster RB
2.11 – Leveon Bell RB
2.12 – Julius Thomas TE

Smitty’s Take: Ok, so this is where one draft will look completely different than another draft (even if that mock draft took place on the same exact forum 10 minutes later). I love the value of Montee Ball, even though his value has climbed higher than most expected (aside from us, as we predicted the climb). This is a redraft mock, but we’ve been pimping Ball since last season, and he and Nick Foles (and Christine Michael) have been our top “go get” players all off-season long. This was when Foles was still in most everyone’s bottom-half of their top ten-ranked passers, and this was before Ball started sniffing second-round value (he was even a 4th-round player on average back in February). In redraft, though, don’t shy away from making Ball your second-drafted player, as he is very likely to crank out top 1-5RB numbers in that extremely-potent Denver offense. I wouldn’t even shy away from grabbing him ahead of Lynch in round one. Crazy? Well, let’s talk come season’s end.

Aaron Rodgers probably seems high to some, and not high to others. Frankly, how high QBs go depends on your league and league trends, so anyone suggesting that Rodgers at 2.03 is too early, or too late, is obviously speaking based on trends that they see league-wide. His 2.03 slotting above is neither too early or too late, as he can easily earn top 15 overall value. Doug Martin has a touch more risk than upside at his 2.05 slotting above, but if you can handcuff him to Charles Sims, you can minimize most of that risk. But, if drafting at that spot, I would have let him slide to the 2.10-2.12 range, which is where I’m more comfortable snagging Martin in 2014; he has tons of talent, but he also has an injury label that he needs to shake, plus he has a potential sharing situation heading his way. Arian foster has awesome value heading into 2014, as he constantly falls in that late second-round range. He may go in the first-round in some leagues, as again, every league is different with players like this (faced injury the prior season and has some overworked concerns). He has top 5RB upside, so 2.10 is low-risk/high-reward in my opinion.

Round Three
3.01 – Giovani Bernard RB
3.02 – CJ Spiller RB
3.03 – Nick Foles QB
3.04 – Jordy Nelson WR
3.05 – Victor Cruz WR
3.06 – Drew Brees QB
3.07 – Keenan Allen WR
3.08 – Zac Stacy RB
3.09 – Bishop Stankey RB
3.10 – Cordarrelle Patterson WR
3.11 – Andre Johnson WR
3.12 – Pierre Garcon WR

Smitty’s Take: I love the value of Gio Bernard at 3.01, but I don’t think you will see him fall that far on average. I could be wrong, and I sure hope that I am wrong, as I’d love this value in all my real upcoming 2014 fantasy football drafts. Gio Bernard is fantasy RB1-capable, yet he landed at 3.01 above… that’s crazy-good value, and again, that’s why I think that this won’t happen on average (he will more often be a 2.04-2.08 range player). Cordarrelle Patterson is now creeping into the 3rd-round in a lot of early 2014 mock drafts… expect this trend to continue, possibly even in the upward direction. He can earn that value, though, he has WR1-type upside, I just wonder if that production is still a year away. It might not be, but it gets a bit risky when you’re talking 3rd-round vs. 4th-round is all (I like him a lot in the 4th). Keenan Allen is another player that is climbing mock draft boards as of late, and let me tell you, I see the guy producing borderline low-end fantasy WR1-type numbers this year. He often falls into the 4th-round outside of STARTERS/DraftCalc communities, so snag him in the 4th-round where you can, as he can crush that value! Nick Foles is another player that ranks and gets drafted higher in DraftCalc and FFStarters worlds, so know that he often falls to the 4th-round, or even the 5th-round… and if I consider the 3rd-round still a steal (in terms of what he can do by season’s end), you can imagine how big of a steal he is to me at 4th- and 5th-round value. Use ADP data to your advantage and don’t draft Foles in the 3rd-round if you don’t have to, but I think we’re about to see Foles drop a top 3 fantasy QB season (with appearances with the top 1-2 on lots of occasions).

Round Four
4.01 – Andre Ellington RB
4.02 – Alshon Jefferey WR
4.03 – Matthew Stafford QB
4.04 – Alfred Morris RB
4.05 – Michael Floyd WR
4.06 – Vincent Jackson WR
4.07 – Wes Welker WR
4.08 – Frank Gore RB
4.09 – Andrew Luck QB
4.10 – Kendall Wright WR
4.11 – Percy Harvin WR
4.12 – Shane Vereen RB

Smitty’s Take: Not a lot of surprises in terms of players falling into this round, but I will say that Andre Ellington is the only running back left that has top 5-10 fantasy running back upside. He has almost no risk as a 4th- to 5th-round pick, because he pulled in 39 receptions as a rookie, and 40-50 receptions feels like a given entering his first season as a starter. Ellington has HUGE, HUGE upside! I can’t wait to watch him breakout!

Just Missed The Cut

Now, a 4th-round argument can be made for any of the below players, especially Ben Tate (if handcuffed to Terrance West), Tom Brady, and Chris Johnson.

Larry Fitzgerald
Reggie Bush
Sammy Watkins
Ben Tate & Terrance West
Trent Richardson
Toby Gerhart
Chris Johnson
Rashad Jennings
Joique Bell
Cam Newton
Tom Brady
RG3
Ryan Mathews
Mike Evans
Vernon Davis
Ray Rice / Bernard Pierce
Jordan Cameron
Michael Crabtree
Eric Decker
Lamar Miller
Mike Wallace
Matt Ryan
Tony Romo
Hakeem Nicks
Julian Edelman

NEWS: Ladarius Green working with first-team; Philip Rivers underrated in 2014?

According to utsandiego.com, Chargers TE Ladarius Green has been working with the first-team during minicamp, as Antonio Gates deals with a personal matter.

SMITTY: It’s great that Green is building a much-needed rapport with Philip Rivers, a very underrated low-end fantasy QB1 entering 2014. Keenan Allen is quite possibly going to throw down fantasy WR1-type numbers in 2014 (yeah, I said it), and Green is possibly on the verge of breaking out, so I think a lot of fantasy owners are going to be a bit surprised by Rivers this season. He won’t outplay any of the top 5 fantasy passers, but he could dance around 6-7 all year long, which makes him a low-risk/high-reward kind of grab near his 9th- to 10th-round ADP. Oh, and if you want to spit up your coffee, look at where we have Keenan Allen ranked for 2014:
draft analyzer

NEWS: Keenan Allen improving speed?

According to ESPN’s Eric Williams, Chargers WR Keenan Allen has focused on improving his speed during the off-season.

SMITTY: You’re looking at a potential fantasy WR1 right here, folks, yet he is being valued like a fantasy WR2 — That’s value right there. For some reason, a grip of fantasy owners doubt Allen entering his sophomore season. The guy just dropped one of the best rookie seasons for a wide receiver in NFL history (71/1046/8TDs), yet I’ve seen some NFL analysts suggest that Allen has already reached max value. As a rookie? I say to those folks: “Enjoy the Keenan Allen show in 2014!” I also think Philip Rivers is getting unfairly-ranked by fantasy owners entering 2014 – With both Allen and Ladarius Green set to breakout, and with Danny Woodhead remaining a big receiving threat, I’m not sure why fantasy worlds don’t see a potential top 6-8 fantasy QB in Rivers this season. Want 2014 Projections? Run this tool based on your scoring!
draft analyzer

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.