SMITTY: ESPN is reporting that Bishop Sankey will likely lead the team in touches this week with Greene out. We agree, and he is one of our sneaky starts of the week, as most that own him have been putting him on the bench due to lack of touches. There is always risk with these kinds of plays, but Sankeky, Joique Bell, Branden Oliver and Storm Johnson all look like those sneaky-type starts this week. Looking for Week 6 Power Rankings?
According to titansonline, Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt had this to say on the preseason performances of Bishop Sankey: “I think that it was obvious that he’s a talented young man. He ran the ball very well last night, very decisive, made good cuts. We’ve seen growth from him, as well. I think, just like with Zach (Mettenberger), we’ve seen growth with Bishop (Sankey). He’s gotten better, obviously, at his exchanges with the quarterbacks. His course on his footwork has improved. His vision is good. He’s seeing the holes well. His protection, he’s done a nicer job with that as he’s gone through it, so from a young guy that you’re trying to get prepared to contribute during the season, you’ve seen growth, you’ve seen him moving along with that, and that’s what you needed to see. I’m happy with him.”
SMITTY: It really is tough speculating how much work Bishop Sankey is going to get in 2014. Will he get starter-type carries, or will be be used far less than his optimistic owners are hoping? I’d be lying if I said I was super confident that Tennessee will use him like a feature back. I won’t bet against him, I think he is very talented, but it’s in the hands of that unpredictable Titans’ coaching staff. The good news is that Shonn Greene won’t be that hard to separate from. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?
According to tennessean.com, Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said that RB Bishop Sankey got his attention during the team’s preseason opener.
SMITTY:Bishop Sankey was impressive in his debut, totaling 75 yards on 13 touches. While Shonn Greene is expected to be the goal line back, don’t be surprised if Sankey earns more looks in that role by at least mid-season. Some have questioned Sankey’s ability to be an every-down back, but I disagree with all that. I’m not the coach, though, so what matters is what coach Whisenhunt thinks, so hopefully Sankey can capture his attention in these next couple preseason contests. Looking for Fantasy Football Draft Rankings?
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.
According to tennessean.com, the Titans could deploy a running back by committee (RBBC) in 2014.
SMITTY: There is some risk to counting on Bishop Sankey in 2014, as some believe he is not an every-down back. I believe that he can be an every-down back, but we’ve seen coaches ruin a player’s fantasy upside time and time again (think Lamar Miller in Miami last season). Hopefully Tennessee gives him a full and fair shot to command starter-type carries as a Titan. The good news for those that believe in Sankey? His competition are players named Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster, neither of which are capable of being full-time rushers in the NFL. Looking for Week 1 Power Rankings?
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
Ben Tate & Terrance West
Ray Rice / Bernard Pierce
According to the, Titans TE Delanie Walker had this to say on his upcoming 2014 NFL season: “I’ve got to get better,” said Walker. “I’m looking to catch 80 balls this year.”
SMITTY: I think Delanie Walker might be reaching a bit high, but he did quietly drop 60 receptions for 571 yards and 6TDs last year. He is a decent fantasy tight end to grab if you’re in desperate need at the position. Bishop Sankey is going to be a dynamic addition to that Titans’ offense; the rookie has a strong shot at ROY in 2014, and his elusiveness will open up the pass. The key to this offense succeeding in 2014 will rest on the health of Jake Locker, who has always been very capable, he just can’t stay on the field. Kendall Wright enters his third-year breakout wide receiver season and Justin Hunter could be in for a nice surprise-type season. This offense will either sneak up on some people and perform very, very well, but only if Locker stays healthy.
According to ESPN, Falcons RB Steven Jackson enters 2014 as the team’s starter, but the Falcons plan is to groom rookie Devonta Freeman as the future three-down back.
SMITTY: While we still need to see Devonta Freeman take an NFL snap, he is a promising young rookie running back. He isn’t a big runner, as he stands 5-8, 206 pounds, but the position is changing. Smaller backs are the new trend, and I firmly believe Atlanta will give Freeman every opportunity to grab the starting gig by mid-season (if not sooner). Freeman looks like one of the better rookie rushers for 2014, even if some rookie rushers have more long-term upside. If you ask me, Tre Mason is the most talented rookie in this 2014 rookie running back class, but he has Zac Stacy, a top 8-12 caliber fantasy/NFL rusher, sitting in front of him. Now, despite Stacy being a serious talent, I eventually see Mason thriving in this league. Bishop Sankey is really the only rookie rusher walking into a better immediate situation than Freeman. Terrence West, my second favorite rusher from this 2014 rookie class, has Ben Tate (potenital top 10 fantasy rusher this year) sitting in front of him, and Carlos Hyde still has Frank Gore and still-promising Marcus Lattimore sitting in front of him. West and Hyde will both likely thrive in time, maybe even as soon as 2015, but Freeman has strong immediate upside entering this upcoming season. Our 2014 fantasy football cheat sheets are 2014-ready, so see where all these guys rank!
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.
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