Fantasy Fox: Top 100 fantasy playmakers, Vol. II

The Fantasy Fox details his second listing of the Top 100 Playmakers For 2014, a countdown that relies heavily on running backs in the first 12 picks.

Cam Newton (far left -- 3,964 total yards, 30 TDs last year), Montee Ball (second from left -- the Broncos' likely starter), tight end Rob Gronkowski (second from right -- 39 TDs from 2010-12) and Matt Forte (far right -- 1,933 total yards, 12 TDs) are all primed for big campaigns in 2014.

Sam Sharpe/Ron Chenoy/Stew Milne/Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports

Here's our 2.0 version of the Top 100 Fantasy Playmakers For 2014 -- a countdown that intentionally minimizes the fantasy impact of kickers and defense/special teams. For now.

(We'll worry about those groups in August.)


1. RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
2. RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles
3. QB Peyton Manning, Broncos
4. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
5. RB Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
6. QB Drew Brees, Saints
7. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
8. RB Eddie Lacy, Packers
9. RB Doug Martin, Buccaneers
10. WR Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
11. TE Jimmy Graham, Saints
12. RB Matt Forte, Bears
13. RB Le'Veon Bell, Steelers
14. RB C.J. Spiller, Bills
15. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
16. RB Zac Stacy, Rams
17. WR A.J. Green, Bengals
18. RB Arian Foster, Texans
19. WR Brandon Marshall, Bears
20. RB Alfred Morris, Redskins
21. WR Dez Bryant, Cowboys
22. RB Chris Johnson, Jets
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 -- even if your league awards only four points per touchdown pass.

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 bump in touchdowns.

4. Matt Forte (1,933 total yards) remains a no-brainer Round 1 pick for Points Per Reception leagues, but University of Arizona tailback Ka'Deem Carey (2,058 total yards, 20 TDs for 2013) could potentially cut into the fantasy star's overall chances in 2014.

Of course, of his last seven games -- including a 157-yard, three-TD explosion against the Packers -- Forte (363 touches last year) racked up 100-plus total yards six times.

5. Arian Foster (725 total yards, two TDs) is a risky pick at 18th overall; but heading into his age-28 season, the Texans dynamo has earned the benefit of the doubt here.

Here's why: 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. WR Antonio Brown, Steelers
27. RB Reggie Bush, Lions
28. WR Alshon Jeffery, Bears
29. WR Wes Welker, Broncos
30. RB DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
31. RB Ryan Mathews, Chargers
32. WR Jordy Nelson, Packers
33. RB Giovani Bernard, Bengals
34. WR Randall Cobb, Packers
35. RB Rashad Jennings, Giants
36. RB Montee Ball, Broncos
37. WR Keenan Allen, Chargers
38. WR Pierre Garcon, Redskins
39. QB Cam Newton, Panthers
40. WR Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
41. WR T.Y. Hilton, Colts
42. RB Frank Gore, 49ers
43. TE Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
44. QB Andy Dalton, Bengals
45. QB Tom Brady, Patriots
46. QB Matt Ryan, Falcons
47. TE Julius Thomas, Broncos
48. WR Andre Johnson, Texans
49. QB Andrew Luck, Colts
50. RB Steven Jackson, Falcons


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. 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 total yards.

But let's hold off on deifying him as a shoo-in for double-digit touchdowns -- like Knowshon Moreno from last year.

3. On paper, the Panthers' wideout corps of Kelvin Benjamin (Carolina's Round 1 draft pick), Jason Avant, Jerricho Cotchery, Tavarres King and Tiquan Underwood looks brutal. But in respect to the fantasy prowess of QB Cam Newton (3,964 total yards, 30 TDs) ... does that really matter?

After all, Newton still has Greg Olsen at tight end, and last year's receivers (inclding Steve Smith -- 64 catches, 745 yards, four TDs) were mediocre, at best.

In other words, what kind of dip are we looking at? Will there even be a drop-off for Newton, who has averaged 31.7 touchdowns per season in the pros?

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, mid-40s seems fair.

5. 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.


51. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
52. WR Michael Crabtree, 49ers
53. WR Eric Decker, Jets
54. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers
55. WR DeSean Jackson, Redskins
56. WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
57. TE Jordan Cameron, Browns
58. WR Victor Cruz, Giants
59. RB Ray Rice, Ravens
60. RB Ben Tate, Browns
61. WR Marques Colston, Saints
62. QB Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
63. RB Stevan Ridley, Patriots
64. QB Jay Cutler, Bears
65. WR Torrey Smith, Ravens
66. QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
67. RB Bishop Sankey, Titans
68. WR Kendall Wright, Titans
69. WR Percy Harvin, Seahawks
70. WR Anquan Boldin, 49ers
71. RB Lamar Miller, Dolphins
72. QB Nick Foles, Eagles
73. RB Trent Richardson, Colts
74. QB Joe Flacco, Ravens
75. TE Vernon Davis, 49ers


1. Ben Tate's quality ranking stems from the Browns presumably going without Josh Gordon (the NFL's leading receiver last year) for the entire season. They need someone to fill the interminable time gap between Cleveland's first game ... and Johnny Manziel's first pro start.

It also helps that memories of Tate's 102-yard, three-TD demolition of the Patriots (last December) remains fresh in the mind.

2. Last season, Bears quarterbacks Jay Cutler (2,621 yards passing, 19 TDs in 11 starts) and Josh McCown combined for 4,450 yards passing and 32 TDs.

So, there's a chance that both Cutler and McCown (now the starter in Tampa Bay) are being undervalued for this countdown. Perhaps things will change in August.

3. I'll gladly take Ray Rice (981 total yards, four TDs last year) in Round 8 or 9 in standard-scoring and PPR drafts -- preferably as a RB4.

On the field, Rice has earned the right to escape criticism from one bad season. Off the field, he'll undoubtedly walk a straight-and-narrow path, given that high-profile transgression with his then-girlfriend/now-wife in Vegas.

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. RB Andre Ellington, Cardinals
77. RB Darren Sproles, Eagles
78. WR Michael Floyd, Cardinals
79. RB Joique Bell, Lions
80. RB Toby Gerhart, Jaguars
81. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
82. QB Russell Wilson, Seahawks
83. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders
84. WR Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
85. WR Mike Wallace, Dolphins
86. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
87. QB Tony Romo, Cowboys
88. TE Jordan Reed, Redskins
89. RB Danny Woodhead, Chargers
90. RB LeGarrette Blount, Steelers
91. WR Julian Edelman, Patriots
92. RB Knowshon Moreno, Dolphins
93. WR Riley Cooper, Eagles
94. WR Roddy White, Falcons
95. QB Alex Smith, Chiefs
96. QB Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
97. WR Denarius Moore, Raiders
98. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Raiders
99. WR Stevie Johnson, 49ers
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 remains Jacksonville's top rushing option (on paper).

3. I will be shocked if Mike Wallace (73 catches, 930 yards, five TDs last year) doesn't rebound for 85 catches and/or 1,000 yards with the Dolphins. He posted seven outings of double-digit targets ... and scored four times in the final six games.

4. Knowshon Moreno (1,586 total yards, 13 TDs last year/offseason arthroscopic knee surgery) might have garnered a higher 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).

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