It’s late July, so it’s time to reevaluate the 2014 Fantasy Football Rookies. Below is a one-player taste of our Premium 2014 Rookie Rankings with Analysis, so if you aren’t a 2014 STARTERS Subscriber, get access right after you read this sample (who is #5 on our Rookie Rankings)… after you read this, there are 11 more rookie write-ups just like it waiting for you, along with a complete ranking of my top 50 rookies… here we go!
5. Jordan Matthews | PHI WR
This 2014 rookie receiving class is just flat-out phenomenal, as we are talking about the 4th receiver ranked, and this receiver can be a fantasy WR1 if he develops properly. Jordan Matthews is 6-3, 212 pounds, but he plays like he is 6-5, 225 pounds. He has a long reach and has phenomenal spacial awareness. View this exact play right here to see what I mean… if you watched that play, you should have noticed not only Matthews’ timing pulling in the reception, but his innate ability to use his body to defend the area around the football. It’s an instinct most players don’t develop until their second or third NFL season, but Matthews has a natural instinct to use his body to position the defender where he wants the defender. It’s masterful if you take the time to watch him in acton. Like Brandin Cooks, Matthews couldn’t have landed in a more potent offense. And, in Matthews’ case, the Eagles are in need of a big-time possession receiver, and it appears Chip Kelly is going to immediately lean on the rookie. Don’t be surprised if Matthews makes a strong case for Rookie of the Year in 2014! It wouldn’t be shocking if the guy pulled in 55-60 receptions for 900-1000 yards and 6-7 scores as a rookie. The rookie receiver position is changing, and these guys are maturing much faster than they use to.
ESPN’s Tania Ganguli expects Texans WR Andre Johnson “to be back in the fold for the Texans despite his current holdout.”
SMITTY: We expect the same, as Andre Johnson, turning 33 this month, has no leverage. Houston won’t likely trade him, nor could they at a value that helps the Texans. We don’t see AJ holding out long at all. While it could take until his third season, DeAndre Hopkins might have a sophomore breakout similar to Michael Floyd’s second-year jump. During his second NFL season, Michael Floyd dropped 66/1054/5TDs, something Hopkins almost sniffed as a rookie (52/802/2TDs). Floyd now enters 2014 with a real nice chance of hitting a stat line like 80/1100/8-10TDs. Don’t be surprised if Hopkins follows Floyd’s exact blueprint to elite, but again keep in mind he could end up taking an extra year to get to Floyd’s level, you never know. The player I’m most excited about on that Texans roster is Arian Foster, who might have a big-time bounce-back season this upcoming year. Earlier last month, coach Bill O’Brien said that Foster would fill the roles played by Kevin Faulk and Danny Woodhead back in New England. That could mean 50-60 receptions for Foster in 2014, and he could still see anywhere between 250-280 carries, which could have him producing 1,100-1,200 yards and potentially double-digit touchdowns. I know, Foster has tons of mileage, right? Here are some interesting stats: Matt Forte = 1,892 regular-season touches; Marshawn Lynch = 1,955 regular-season touches…. How many regular-season touches does Foster have? Try just 1,320! See what we have projected for all these players via our 2014 Full-Season Fantasy Football Projections.
According to houstontexans.com’s Drew Dougherty, Texans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has been named the team’s starting quarterback.
SMITTY: This was expected, but keep an eye on Tom Savage for the long-term. Look for the Texans to run a ton early on in 2014, which is exactly what Arian Foster owners want to hear. Foster is setup to have a huge bounce-back season – he just has to stay healthy. While fantasy owners of both Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins might not be jumping for joy over the thought of Fitzpatrick starting in 2014, he is very capable of 3,400-3,800 yards and 24TDs… when playing roughly 16 games, that’s exactly where his numbers fall, which will easily provide enough targets for Johnson to warrant low-end fantasy WR1-type numbers. DeAndre Hopkins has strong WR3-type upside entering 2014.