Fantasy Fox: NFL's top 100 fantasy playmakers, Vol. I
MAY 12, 2014 2:43p ET
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.
After all ... it's only May 12.
1. RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
2. RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles
3. QB Peyton Manning, Broncos
4. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
5. RB Doug Martin, Buccaneers
6. QB Drew Brees, Saints
7. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
8. RB Eddie Lacy, Packers
9. RB Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
10. WR Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
11. TE Jimmy Graham, Saints
12. RB C.J. Spiller, Bills
13. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
14. RB Zac Stacy, Rams
15. RB Matt Forte, Bears
16. RB Arian Foster, Texans
17. RB Le'Veon Bell, Steelers
18. WR A.J. Green, Bengals
19. WR Brandon Marshall, Bears
20. RB Alfred Morris, Redskins
21. RB Chris Johnson, Jets
22. WR Dez Bryant, Cowboys
23. QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
24. WR Julio Jones, Falcons
25. QB Robert Griffin III, Redskins
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
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
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.
Jay Clemons can be reached via Twitter, day or night, at @FOX_JayClemons.