Fantasy Fox: NFL's top 100 fantasy playmakers, Vol. I
The Fantasy Fox details his post-draft rankings for the Top 100 Fantasy Playmakers For 2014 -- a countdown that, for the time being, purposely omits the fantasy impact of kickers and defense/special teams.
Peyton Manning (far left -- 55 TDs), Jamaal Charles (second to left -- 19 TDs), Alshon Jeffery (second to right) and Cam Newton (far right) could all incur a touchdowns dip in the 2014 fantasy season.
Matthew Emmons/John Rieger/Dennis Wierzbicki/Jeremy Brevard / USA TODAY Sports
By Jay Clemons
Here are my early, early post-draft rankings for the Top 100 Fantasy Playmakers For 2014 -- a countdown that, for the time being, purposely minimizes the fantasy impact of kickers and defense/special teams.
1. It's crazy to expect Jamaal Charles (1,980 total yards) to replicate last year's 19 touchdowns, considering he had only 24 scores from 2008-12. But he's still a viable candidate for double-digit scores ... and maybe 2,000 yards from scrimmage.
2. The odds of Peyton Manning matching or eclipsing last season's tallies with passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) are astronomically long, factoring in the Broncos' difficult schedule (four games vs. NFC West, four against AFC East, etc.).
That aside, he's still no worse than the No. 3 overall pick -- depending on your league's scoring rules.
3. Eddie Lacy (1,435 total yards, 11 TDs) logged 17 or more touches 11 times last season -- a superb number for a rookie back in a pass-first offense. Year 2 could yield a tiny bump in touchdowns.
4. Matt Forte (1,933 total yards) remains a no-brainer Round 1 pick for Points Per Reception leagues, but Arizona tailback Ka'Deem Carey (2,058 total yards, 20 TDs for 2013) will likely cut into the fantasy star's overall chances. (Forte logged 363 touches in 2013.)
5. Arian Foster (725 total yards, two TDs) is a risky pick at 16th overall; but heading into his age-28 season, the Texans dynamo has earned the benefit of the doubt here. Against the Seahawks, 49ers and Rams last year (three straight weeks) -- before going down with a substantial back injury -- Foster notched 487 total yards and one TD.
26. RB Reggie Bush, Lions 27. WR Antonio Brown, Steelers 28. WR Alshon Jeffery, Bears 29. WR Wes Welker, Broncos 30. RB Ryan Mathews, Chargers 31. RB Giovani Bernard, Bengals 32. RB DeMarco Murray, Cowboys 33. RB Knowshon Moreno, Dolphins 34. WR Jordy Nelson, Packers 35. QB Andy Dalton, Bengals 36. WR Randall Cobb, Packers 37. RB Rashad Jennings, Giants 38. WR Keenan Allen, Chargers 39. WR Pierre Garcon, Redskins 40. RB Montee Ball, Broncos 41. WR Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers 42. QB Tom Brady, Patriots 43. QB Matt Ryan, Falcons 44. TE Julius Thomas, Broncos 45. WR Andre Johnson, Texans 46. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals 47. WR T.Y. Hilton, Colts 48. RB Frank Gore, 49ers 49. QB Andrew Luck, Colts 50. TE Rob Gronkowski, Patriots Quick Hitters
1. Alshon Jeffery (89 catches, 1,421 yards, seven TDs) is the highest-ranking WR2 in this countdown (one slot ahead of Wes Welker). His 2013 highlights include: Two 200-yard games, 11 outings of eight-plus targets (five in double digits) ... and he's a decent bet for 80-90 rushing yards per year.
2. Knowshon Moreno (1,586 total yards, 13 TDs) would have garnered a higher post-draft ranking with any other NFL team. But the Dolphins are still a major work-in-progress along the offensive line -- even with the high-round draft selections of Ju'Wuan James (Round 1) and Billy Turner (Round 3).
3. Subsequently, Montee Ball (704 total yards, four TDs on just 140 touches last year) has a clear path to fantasy greatness with the Broncos -- in the neighborhood of 1,200 yards/eight TDs for 2014.
But for now, No. 40 is a rock-solid ranking.
4. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will be ranked in the top 30 overall come August, if he's a viable candidate to play against either Miami (Week 1) or Minnesota (Week 2). In the meantime, the back end of the 40s seems fair.
51. QB Cam Newton, Panthers 52. RB Steven Jackson, Falcons 53. WR Michael Crabtree, 49ers 54. WR Eric Decker, Jets 55. RB Ben Tate, Browns 56. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers 57. TE Jordan Cameron, Browns 58. WR DeSean Jackson, Redskins 59. WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings 60. WR Victor Cruz, Giants 61. RB Ray Rice/Bernard Pierce, Ravens 62. WR Marques Colston, Saints 63. QB Colin Kaepernick, 49ers 64. QB Jay Cutler, Bears 65. WR Torrey Smith, Ravens 66. QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers 67. WR Anquan Boldin, 49ers 68. WR Percy Harvin, Seahawks 69. RB Stevan Ridley, Patriots 70. RB Bishop Sankey, Titans 71. QB Nick Foles, Eagles 72. RB Trent Richardson, Colts 73. QB Joe Flacco, Ravens 74. RB Joique Bell, Lions 75. WR Kendall Wright, Titans Quick Hitters
1. Panthers QB Cam Newton (3,964 total yards, 30 TDs) is likely getting hosed with this ranking, especially since he was an early-20s selection for the last two drafts. Bottom line: A wideout corps of Kelvin Benjamin (Carolina's Round 1 draft pick), Jason Avant, Jerricho Cotchery, Tavarres King and Tiquan Underwood looks brutal, on paper.
2. Let's take the positive from Steven Jackson's injury-plagued first year with the Falcons (734 total yards, seven TDs): In his final six games, Jackson logged 16 or more touches in each outing ... and collected six total touchdowns in that span.
3. Who knows what lies ahead for Ray Rice (981 total yards, four TDs last year) this summer, once the NFL concludes its investigation with that Vegas incident involving Rice's then-girlfriend/current wife.
For now, let's assume the suspension covers at least six games (hence the low ranking).
4. Titans tailback Bishop Sankey draws the highest ranking of any rookie playmaker -- the dual result of his immense talent (LeSean McCoy clone) ... and Tennessee needing a home-run, full-time back to take the place of the departed Chris Johnson (now with the Jets).
5. Speaking of the Titans ... wide receiver Kendall Wright (94 catches, 1,079 yards, two TDs) is an easy Round 5 pick for PPR leagues. But Wright (93 targets in his final 10 outings) will have to sing for his proverbial supper in standard-scoring leagues.
76. TE Vernon Davis, 49ers 77. RB Darren Sproles, Eagles 78. WR Michael Floyd, Cardinals 79. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys 80. QB Russell Wilson, Seahawks 81. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders 82. WR Jeremy Maclin, Eagles 82a. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts 83. QB Tony Romo, Cowboys 84. TE Jordan Reed, Redskins 85. RB Danny Woodhead, Chargers 86. RB LeGarrette Blount, Steelers 87. RB Andre Ellington, Cardinals 88. RB Lamar Miller, Dolphins 89. WR Riley Cooper, Eagles 90. RB Toby Gerhart, Jaguars 91. WR Roddy White, Falcons 92. WR Julian Edelman, Patriots 93. QB Alex Smith, Chiefs 94. QB Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins 95. WR Denarius Moore, Raiders 96. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Raiders 97. WR Stevie Johnson, 49ers 98. WR Mike Wallace, Dolphins 99. RB Fred Jackson/Bryce Brown, Bills 100. WR James Jones, Raiders
1. Let's have some perspective on Russell Wilson: Of his 16 regular-season games last year, the Seahawks QB and Super Bowl champion tallied just zero or one touchdown eight times.
2. Love the Jaguars' draft from the weekend (QB Blake Bortles, WR Marqise Lee, WR Allen Robinson, RB Storm Johnson) ... loathe that Toby Gerhart (free-agent signee) remains Jacksonville's top rushing option (on paper).
Of Gerhart's four career outings of 19-plus touches (with the Vikings) ... he amassed 100 total yards just once.