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September 27, 2015

2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 3 (Hanson)

With our weekly picks, we assign a confidence rating in the form of units.

Through the first two weeks, I have posted a disappointing 2-3-1 record against the spread, but I am positive in units (+3) as the picks that I've had more confidence in have covered.

Compared to last week, I feel much more confident in the plays that I have selected.

With that said, here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 3 of the 2015 NFL season:

Indianapolis Colts -3.5 over Tennessee Titans (4 units)

Going into the season, the line for this game was likely much higher than 3.5. Since the start of the season, however, the Titans have looked better than expected, and the Colts have looked worse, a lot worse, than expected.

There are some major concerns around Andrew Luck. Of course, Luck himself needs to cut down on turnovers -- no quarterback has more since the start of 2014 -- but the offensive line needs to do a better job with protection and the veteran free-agent additions -- Frank Gore and Andre Johnson -- have looked old.

With all of that said, Luck and the Colts have dominated the AFC South. Over their past 13 division games, the Colts are 12-0-1 against the spread. Also working in the Colts' favor, Indianapolis is 17-2 ATS following a loss (although the second of the "2" was their loss last week to the Jets) and Tennessee has covered only one of their past 14 home games.

I expect the Colts to look much more like the Colts that we expected to see this week and win this game comfortably.

Arizona Cardinals -6.5 over San Francisco 49ers (3 units)

Quick question: Which team leads the NFL in scoring?

Of course, the obvious answer (if you didn't already know) is Arizona. (Why else would I ask that specific question here, right?) Through two games, no team has averaged more points per game than the Cardinals (39.5/G).

We've seen how much the Cardinals offense struggles without Carson Palmer, but Palmer has now won eight consecutive starts. In addition, Palmer has multiple touchdown passes in eight of his past nine games. During that nine-game span, Palmer has posted a 20:5 TD-to-INT ratio and averaged 8.21 Y/A with a passer rating of 99.9.

The Cardinals are 19-7 ATS in their past 26 games and 7-1 ATS in their past eight home games. Meanwhile, the 49ers are 1-6-1 ATS in their past eight games.

Seattle Seahawks -15 over Chicago Bears (3 units)

In the NFL, a 15-point spread is huge. Of course. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if the Seahawks beat the Bears by 30 on Sunday.

After back-to-back road losses, the Seahawks return to CenturyLink Field to take out their frustrations on the injury-plagued Bears. Chicago will be without quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Alshon Jeffrey while running back Matt Forte is listed as questionable. It's certainly possible that the Seahawks get out to a sizable lead early and the Bears shut down Forte in the second half, making it more difficult to mount a comeback or to pull off a back-door cover.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have posted a 14-3-1 ATS record following back-to-back losses. On the other hand, the Bears have only covered 11 of their past 34 games.

This game should be lopsided and perhaps unwatchable (unless you have the 'Hawks to cover).

Denver Broncos -3.5 over Detroit Lions (1 unit)

Compared to how they have played so far this season, the Broncos are fortunate to be 2-0 heading into Week 3. But as Bill Parcells would say, you are what your record says you are.

To be more precise, however, the Broncos defense has looked great; their offense not so much.

On defense, no team has allowed fewer yards than the Broncos (243.5) this season and their pass defense has limited the opposition to only 133.5 passing yards per game with no touchdowns allowed and four passes intercepted. With Matthew Stafford at less than 100 percent, it could be a long day for Detroit's passing offense.

On the other hand, the Lions pass defense hasn't been nearly as stingy. No team has allowed their opponents to complete a higher percentage of pass attempts than the Lions (81.4 percent). There are concerns with the Broncos ability to protect Peyton Manning, who has been sacked seven times through two games, but Manning is 8-4 ATS off a Thursday Night Football game.

With a little extra time to prepare, I like the Broncos to look better on both offense and defense this week and improve to 3-0 with a more convincing victory.

- Note: We will track all of our 2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread here.

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September 26, 2015

Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em - Week 3

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Carson Palmer is listed below as a "start" for Week 3. And I'd feel very comfortable going into Week 3 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Aaron Rodgers and Palmer, you should start Rodgers -- and in turn, bench Palmer.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my fantasy football rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Looking ahead to this weekend's games, here are some players to potentially start in Week 3:

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SF)

Through two games, only Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have scored more fantasy points than Palmer. In those games, Palmer has thrown for 492 yards and seven touchdowns with only one interception. Over his past nine games, Palmer has now thrown multiple touchdowns in eight of those games. Not only do the Cardinals lead the NFL in scoring (39.5 points per game), they are projected to be one of the highest-scoring teams in Week 3 based on Vegas odds.

QB - Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (at BAL)

With the team's top-three pass-catchers all sidelined for multiple games last season, Dalton had a disappointing year as he finished as fantasy's QB18. Before 2014, however, Dalton had posted back-to-back top-12 seasons (QB12 in 2012 and QB5 in 2013). With the breakout of tight end Tyler Eifert and healthy receivers, Dalton is off to a strong start (QB7) in 2015 -- 68.3 completion percentage, 8.1 Y/A and five-to-zero TD-to-INT ratio.

RB - Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (at CLE)

One week after ranking last in the NFL in rushing defense, the Browns once again rank at the bottom of the league in that category, allowing 160.0 rushing yards per game this season. Through two games, Murray has 36 touches including 10 receptions for a total of 167 yards and a score and he has racked up the 11th-most fantasy points among running backs in standard-scoring leagues. While you likely drafted Murray to be your RB2 (or maybe even flex), he is ranked inside my top-six fantasy running backs for the week.

RB - Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (at TEN)

Despite the transition to what should be a more explosive offense, it's been a brutal start for Gore -- and the Colts. Averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, Gore has 23 carries for 88 yards with three receptions for four yards and no touchdowns. After facing stout (run) defenses in back-to-back weeks, Gore and the Colts get a more favorable matchup against the Titans.

RB - Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ATL)

Not only are the Cowboys without Dez Bryant and Tony Romo, but Jason Witten is battling an assortment of injuries even though I expect Witten to play. That said, I'd expect a conservative offensive game plan from the Cowboys. While Randle is averaging a modest 3.4 YPC, he is averaging 19.0 touches per game and no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs in this young season than the Falcons.

RB - Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (vs. OAK)

While the Falcons have surrendered the most fantasy points to opposing running backs, Oakland has given up the second most this season. After a disappointing Week 1 performance against the stingy Jets defense, Crowell had a stronger performance against the Titans -- 15 carries for 72 yards (4.8 YPC) and a touchdown. With another favorable matchup this week, Crowell is inside my top-20 fantasy running backs for the week.

WR - Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at HOU)

Over the past 35 seasons, only three rookies -- Randy Moss (1998), Odell Beckham (2014) and Evans (2014) -- have exceeded 1,000 receiving yards with 12-plus touchdowns. Expectations were high going into his age-21 season, but a hamstring injury sidelined Evans in Week 1 and kept him on a snap count in Week 2. The good news is that Evans has stated that his snap count will be lifted for Week 3 in a game where the Bucs are TD underdogs, which should lead to more pass attempts this week. Perhaps I'm a week early as he returns to health, I expect a big week from Evans after last week's goose egg.

WR - Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (vs. JAX)

Coincidentally, Edelman has exactly 11 catches and 97 yards in each of his first two games of the season although he scored twice in Week 2. In fact, Edelman has an NFL-high 31 targets this season and he's currently fifth among receivers in fantasy points scored. Considering the Pats are two-TD favorites this week, Edelman may not see 19 targets (like last week), but there is a strong chance that he once again finishes as a top-12 fantasy receiver.

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at NE)

In his two games this season, it's been a little boom (6/155/2 in Week 2) or bust (1/27/0 in Week 1) for Robinson. That said, the 21-year-old second-year receiver was highly consistent before his season-ending foot injury as a rookie. Before the injury, he had four-plus catches in nine consecutive games last year. As noted above, the Jaguars are two-TD underdogs so they could find themselves airing it out early and often. There is upside with ARob, but I think his floor is much higher than his Week 1 dud.

WR - Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SF)

One of my favorite value receivers heading into the season, I repeatedly noted this offseason the per-game success that Fitzgerald had when both he and Palmer were healthy. With both healthy to start this year, the duo has even exceeded my expectations. Fitzgerald has 14 catches for 199 yards and three touchdowns through the first two weeks. Early in the season, the 49ers have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers.

TE - Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals (at BAL)

Eifert seemed poised for a breakout last season, but he missed 15 1/2 games due to injury. That said, his breakout is underway as only New England's Rob Gronkowski (44.7) has scored more fantasy points than Eifert (33.3) among tight ends. In the first two games, Eifert has hauled in 13 receptions for 153 yards and three touchdowns. The Ravens have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, but Eifert remains a top-five fantasy tight end for me this week.

TE - Crockett Gillmore, Baltimore Ravens (vs. CIN)

Like the Ravens, the Bengals have been stingy in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends (fourth-fewest) this season. Gillmore followed up a modest Week 1 performance with five catches for 88 yards and two scores last week against the Raiders. As one of the top-two targets in Baltimore's passing game, Gillmore is just inside my top-12 fantasy tight ends for Week 3.

Here are some players to potentially sit in Week 3:

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYJ)

As great as Bradford and the Eagles offense looked in the preseason, it's been the complete opposite through two regular-season games. Bradford is outside the top-30 fantasy quarterbacks in points scored and has thrown more interceptions (four) than touchdowns (two). Unfortunately, this week's matchup against the Jets sets up poorly for a rebound -- only the Broncos and Cowboys (last week's opponent) have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. DEN)

As noted above, no team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Broncos. In fact, they have allowed an average of 2.91 fantasy points per game through two weeks. The Broncos have allowed only 133.5 passing yards per game with no touchdowns and four interceptions in those games. And although he's expected to play this week, Stafford is battled an assortment of injuries that puts him at less than 100 percent in a difficult matchup.

RB - Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (vs. SF)

With Andre Ellington sidelined last week, Johnson led the Cardinals backfield in workload with 20 carries and he should once again get the largest share of the workload. That said, he has averaged just 3.63 YPC on his 30 carries in two favorable matchups this season against the Saints and Bears. In fact, he only finished as the RB27 last week despite getting 20 carries. With rookie David Johnson much more productive on a per-touch basis, Chris may not see 20 touches once again this week even if he gets the largest share.

RB - Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (vs. PIT)

It appears that Gurley will make his NFL debut this week after practicing in full and splitting first-team reps with Tre Mason. Eventually the top-10 draft pick will appear on the Start'em side of these posts, but I'd expect for the Rams to gradually ease him into game action. For now, it's better to take a wait-and-see approach with the highly-talented rookie.

RB - Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (vs. DEN)

Both Bell and teammate Ameer Abdullah are outside my top-24 fantasy running backs this week and Bell is actually my RB46. If Bell finishes as the RB46, it would be his best performance of the season after finishing as fantasy's RB47 and RB63, respectively. Bell has a total of only 10 carries for 16 yards (1.6 YPC) through two games and a difficult matchup against the Broncos this week.

WR - Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. DEN)

Given how few fantasy points the Broncos have allowed to opposing quarterbacks, it's no surprise that they have allowed the fewest to opposing receivers as well. Aside from Jeremy Maclin (four catches for 57 yards), no receiver has more than two catches or 25 yards against them this season. While Tate has 18 targets through two games, he has only 104 receiving yards and has finished as the WR74 and WR44, respectively.

WR - Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans (vs. IND)

One week after posting a 4/101/1 line, Wright was held to just two catches on four targets for 17 yards against the Browns in Week 2. The good news for the Colts defense is that cornerback Vontae Davis is cleared to play although that's not good news for Wright. Wright has never exceeded 80 receiving yards in any of his six games against the Colts and he had a total of seven catches for 64 yards and a touchdown in two games against them last year.

WR - Andre Johnson, Indianapolis Colts (at TEN)

Not only has it been a rough start for Gore, it's been an even worse start for Johnson. So far, Johnson has managed to parlay his 17 targets into only seven catches for 51 yards (7.29 Y/A). Meanwhile, second-year receiver Donte Moncrief has 13/168/2 on 19 targets through two games. Going into Week 3, Johnson is my third-ranked Colts receiver behind T.Y. Hilton and Moncrief.

TE - Owen Daniels, Denver Broncos (at DET)

In an offense that has prominently featured tight ends, Daniels has been nearly invisible through two weeks. With only seven targets, Daniels has just five catches for 24 yards (4.8 Y/A) and no scores.

Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Week 3 DFS Cheat Sheets:

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September 24, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Undervalued PPR Options for Week 3

Week 2 was definitely a boom-or-bust week for my suggested players.

Unfortunately, the busts (one in particular) outweighed the booms. I’m not really too upset about it though, I admit some of them were risky picks and that’s one of the downsides in picking players based on upside – often times their floors are low.

Week 2 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+8.4-13.8-16.2-15.9-37.5
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+11.7+5.1-42.6-4.6-30.4

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- DeAngelo Williams +37.8: Huge week for Williams as he wound up as the No. 1 RB in Week 2. Latavius Murray had a solid outing, but still came up way short of Williams. On the other hand, Jonathan Stewart was a dud, as expected.

Runner up -- Carson Palmer +15.1: Palmer lacked in the yardage category but made up for it with 4 TDs. Matt Ryan turned in a good performance as well, but well below his ECR in Week 2. Tony Romo was injured during the game, but he wasn’t doing all that much before then.

Worst of the week -- C.J. Spiller -51.6: Well, I did mention that this was only a suggestion if he played. Unfortunately for me, he played just enough to qualify for that statement, but not nearly as much as expected. I knew he would be on a pitch count, but seven snaps?! In a game where your offense can’t get anything going?! Why not use one of the most explosive guys on your team to try and get something started? Anyways, the plethora of guys I suggested to bench in favor of Spiller had mixed results. Three of them scored under 10 points, the other three had good showings. The best of the bunch was Dion Lewis – what can I say, I expected LeGarrette Blount to get the majority of work. I got Belichicked.

Runner up -- Charles Johnson -16.1: I still expect Johnson to turn things around soon. You might be able to get him very cheap right now, and it may very well be worth the risk if you can. He’s very talented and I expect the Vikings passing offense to get going sometime in the next few weeks.

On to week 3!

Quarterbacks

Marcus MariotaTennessee Titans
FantasyPros ECR – 13

Mariota was solid again in Week 2 after a stellar first game in the NFL. He managed to put up over 250 yards and 2 TDs against a solid Browns pass defense. Against the Colts this week, I see two potential scenarios – both of which play out well for Mariota’s fantasy numbers. Scenario 1 is that the dumpster fire continues for the Colts and the Titans walk all over their defense. Now, they actually haven’t given up a ton of fantasy points to QBs, but that has a lot to do with the offensive styles of their opponents - the Colts have had the third-lowest pass attempts against them. The Titans like to throw the ball a lot more than the Bills and Jets. And given the Colts rank 29th in defensive pass efficiency, that could equal big numbers for Mariota.

Scenario 2 is that the Colts come out strong in desperation and pour on the points, forcing the Titans to throw a lot to keep up. I can see either scenario playing out, and I want to be on the Mariota train if they do.

Consider starting him over:
- Eli Manning – ECR 10. This is less of an indictment on Manning than it is a belief in Mariota’s upside this week. I could see Manning turning in a good game due to the desperation to avoid 0-3, but he also gets a surprising Redskins defense this week. Washington has gotten off to a very strong start defensively and while its hard to trust, you can’t deny the results so far.

Andy DaltonCincinnati Bengals
FantasyPros ECR – 16

Déjà vu. Dalton was on this list last week and posted a very solid outing, going for 214 yards and 3 TDs. Baltimore represents an odd matchup as it’s difficult to imagine they drop to 0-3, but they just got lit up by a Raiders offense that isn’t as talented as the Bengals offensively. This is the best offense the Bengals have put together in recent memory and they don’t have many weaknesses. I think that gives Dalton a chance to crack QB1 on a weekly basis, this week being no different.

Consider starting him over:
- Drew Brees – ECR 14. If the Saints can’t do anything at home against a putrid Bucs team, to avoid going 0-2, I have no confidence they can do anything against a tough Panthers D. The Saints continue their rapid descent.
- Tyrod Taylor – ECR 15. Taylor has been a very strong fantasy QB so far this season and Miami’s defense has not lived up to expectations. But Taylor is also turnover-prone and I think this is the week Miami shows their potential defensively. They are at home coming off an embarrassing loss to the Jags, which should light a fire under them.

Running Backs

David JohnsonArizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 32

Johnson has impressed in a very limited workload – he ranks 12th in total fantasy points despite only having five carries and two receptions on the season. No one can maintain that level of efficiency, but it shows how impactful he is when he touches the ball. Andre Ellington is not expected back this week and Chris Johnson has been underwhelming, with a 3.6 YPC average. Bruce Arians has already stated Johnson’s workload will increase a little in each week, but I imagine they will be a little more aggressive with his workload than that. Arians can’t ignore the explosiveness Johnson brings to the table, and the impact it has on the rest of the offense’s effectiveness. They face a Niners defense that just gave up the best RB performance of Week 2, so I like Johnson’s chance of performing in the RB2 range.

Consider starting him over:
- Shane Vereen – ECR 29. Vereen has been the Giants best back this year, but he is still in a split-workload situation, operating primarily as the passing-down back. The Redskins have been very good against RBs as receivers so far this season, ranking eighth in efficiency and FPPG. I just think Johnson and Vereen will have a similar amount of touches this week, and Johnson has a better matchup to do something with those touches.
DeMarco Murray – ECR 19. I’m in a wait-and-see mode with almost everyone in Philly right now. Murray is clearly frustrated, and rightfully so, as he has only 11 yards rushing on the season. The interior offensive line is getting blown up consistently and leaving no room for Murray to even get started. The Jets have arguably the best defensive line in the league, so I don’t imagine things improving this week.

Giovani BernardCincinnati Bengals
FantasyPros ECR – 23

Bernard has been very effective so far this season, averaging 6.6 yards per carry and 4.5 catches per game. He has earned a more prominent role in this offense, especially considering Jeremy Hill has struggled. After Hill’s second fumble last week, Bernard got all of the work and showed he is capable of carrying a full workload when needed. As a result, I think we will see a near even split in workload this week. While Baltimore has not given up a lot of fantasy points to RBs, a lot of that has to do with the matchups to this point. The Broncos run game has been ineffective thus far this season behind a new offensive line, and the Raiders are a pass-first team. The efficiency numbers tell a different story, as the Ravens rank 23rd against the run. The Bengals will feed their RBs early and often, and Bernard will get additional work in the passing game. This will be a week where the Bengals expose the Ravens run defense, especially given Terrell Suggs is out for the season.

Consider starting him over:
- Eddie Lacy – ECR 18. Lacy’s injury isn’t serious and there is speculation he may be able to play this week. If he does, I don’t expect him to be anywhere near 100%, which will impact his effectiveness. He already has a tough matchup against a stout Chiefs run defense, being less than 100% isn’t going to do him any favors. On top of all that, James Starks is an effective and trusted RB that the Packers have no concerns with giving a full workload. If Lacy does play, I still expect Starks to get a lot of work to limit Lacy’s workload.
- DeMarco Murray – ECR 19. See above.
- Lamar Miller – ECR 16. Miller is still recovering from an ankle injury and it remains to be seen if he will suit up on Sunday. If he does, I would stay away from him if you can. Miller is a guy who relies on his speed and agility to gain yards, an ankle injury is going to have a greater impact on his effectiveness than it may for other backs. Not to mention he faces a tough Bills defense.

Wide Receivers

Larry FitzgeraldArizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 16

Fitz is in the midst of a renaissance season, at least as long as Palmer is spinning the ball. He has been extremely effective and highly targeted, shedding speculation that he is no longer the best fantasy WR on his own team. The Cardinals get a matchup with the Niners this week, who are less than stellar against the pass. They give up the sixth-most FPPG to WRs, and rank 25th in defensive pass efficiency. Additionally, they rank 30th against WR1’s. This sets up for another WR1 performance for Fitzgerald.

Consider starting him over:
- Jordan Matthews – ECR 14. Matthews has been the lone bright spot for the Eagles, at least from a fantasy perspective. He could produce another good game despite the offensive struggles of the team, but I would venture to guess he cannot keep up the pace until the whole offense turns it around. Again, the Eagles get a strong Jets defense this week. Matthews will see a lot of Revis, and Sam Bradford is going to be under pressure all game. I’m willing to take the chance of sitting him if I have legitimate other options this week.
Calvin Johnson – ECR 12. As a Lions fan, I hope I am wrong about this. But looking at this objectively, I don’t have any evidence that suggests he will have a good week. The Lions offense has been bad so far, against much less imposing defenses than they face this week. The Broncos sport the best CB tandem in the league and if Matthew Stafford has improved anything in his game, it has been his decision making and not forcing the ball to reduce turnovers. I would gladly take the hit in my performance tracking to watch him go off this week, I just don’t see it happening.

Doug BaldwinSeattle Seahawks
FantasyPros ECR – 40

Baldwin is the most consistent receiving threat on the Seahawks, racking up 14 catches on 17 targets the past two weeks. The ‘Hawks will look to get “right” this week against a porous Bears team who rank in the bottom two against the pass by almost any metric you wish to use. While I think that means Jimmy Graham will get more looks this week, I also expect Baldwin to continue his steady play from the slot and rack up catches underneath.

Consider starting him over:
- Mike Wallace – ECR 36. The Vikings passing game has been a disappointment to this point. Wallace has been the best WR of the bunch, but that hasn’t necessarily equated to many fantasy points. The Chargers rank second in FPPG allowed to WRs, and rank sixth in efficiency against WR2’s specifically. While Wallace has been the most effective receiver, he is still considered the No. 2 in Minnesota, at least for the time being.
- Anquan Boldin – ECR 31. Boldin is still getting the targets, but his age is finally catching up to him in terms of his ability to do anything with the catches. The Cardinals rank fourth against WR1’s in terms of efficiency…this may be a long day for Boldin.

Tight End

Eric EbronDetroit Lions
FantasyPros ECR - 14

This may seem a bit odd given my previous statement on Calvin Johnson. However, I think Ebron will be the primary beneficiary of the stout Broncos CBs. While they will be locked up in 1-on-1 coverage with Johnson and Tate, Ebron will have the middle of the field to operate. He has been solid in the first two weeks, posting 15 points in each game. He is obviously much more involved in the passing game this year, and let’s not forget he is an athletic freak. I can see Ebron putting up a big game as the primary target this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Jason Witten – ECR 8. Witten is about as banged up as he can be and has Brandon Weeden at QB. Maybe he becomes Weeden’s security blanket, but Weeden’s MO has never been as a check down guy. He’s a gunslinger, just not a very good one.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 3!

Check out my full Week 3 Fantasy Football PPR Rankings and follow me on twitter @rw11687.

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September 22, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 3 to 16

While the season is still young, we are starting to get a better sense of each team's identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. From this point going forward, however, we will make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 3 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 3-16):

1. Denver Broncos (Peyton Manning): 18.91
1. Tennessee Titans (Marcus Mariota): 18.91
3. Indianapolis Colts (Andrew Luck): 18.44
4. Cincinnati Bengals (Andy Dalton): 18.32
5. Baltimore Ravens (Joe Flacco): 18.11

Five least favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 3-16):

32. New England Patriots (Tom Brady): 14.56
31. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger): 15.25
30. Oakland Raiders (Derek Carr): 15.51
29. New York Giants (Eli Manning): 15.71
28. Green Bay Packers (Aaron Rodgers): 15.83

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

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2015 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 3 to 16

While the season is still young, we are starting to get a better sense of each team's identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. From this point going forward, however, we will make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 3 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 3-16):

1. Denver Broncos (C.J. Anderson, Ronnie Hillman): 20.05
2. Minnesota Vikings (Adrian Peterson): 19.81
3. San Francisco 49ers (Carlos Hyde): 19.70
4. Kansas City Chiefs (Jamaal Charles): 19.37
5. Green Bay Packers (Eddie Lacy): 19.14

Five least favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 3-16):

32. New England Patriots (Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount): 13.19
31. Buffalo Bills (LeSean McCoy): 14.07
30. New York Giants (Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen): 14.48
29. Miami Dolphins (Lamar Miller): 14.86
28. New York Jets (Chris Ivory): 15.51

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

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2015 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 3 to 16

While the season is still young, we are starting to get a better sense of each team's identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. From this point going forward, however, we will make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 3 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 3-16):

1. Cincinnati Bengals (A.J. Green): 24.40
2. Washington Redskins (Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson): 24.27
3. Baltimore Ravens (Steve Smith): 24.18
4. Miami Dolphins (Jarvis Landry): 24.01
5. San Diego Chargers (Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson): 23.93

Five least favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 3-16):

32. Chicago Bears (Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal): 20.00
31. Oakland Raiders (Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree): 20.27
30. Indianapolis Colts (T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief): 20.43
29. Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones, Roddy White): 20.52
28. New Orleans Saints (Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, Brandon Coleman): 20.57

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2015 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 3 to 16

While the season is still young, we are starting to get a better sense of each team's identity.

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. From this point going forward, however, we will make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (our Week 3 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 3-16):

1. Cincinnati Bengals (Tyler Eifert): 11.01
2. Denver Broncos (Owen Daniels, Virgil Green): 10.49
3. Kansas City Chiefs (Travis Kelce): 10.27
4. New York Jets: 10.21
5. Baltimore Ravens (Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams): 10.15

Five least favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 3-16):

32. New York Giants (Larry Donnell): 7.05
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Austin Seferian-Jenkins): 7.26
30. Seattle Seahawks (Jimmy Graham): 7.28
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (Heath Miller): 7.33
28. Atlanta Falcons (Jacob Tamme): 7.37

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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September 21, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Some Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 3

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short- and/or long-term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire.

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add within their position group.]

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 3 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

QB - Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (30 percent)

In any given week, fantasy owners have been unsure of what they'll get from Dalton. Since entering the league in 2011, only eight quarterbacks have more multi-touchdown games than Dalton (33). On the other hand, only Philip Rivers (20) has more multi-interception games during that span.

Last season, the team's most-talented pass-catchers -- A.J. Green (three games), Tyler Eifert (15) and Marvin Jones (16) -- missed a combined 34 games. Before 2014, however, Dalton had posted back-to-back top-12 fantasy quarterback seasons and he's off to a good start this season.

Through two games, Dalton has completed 41-of-60 pass attempts (68.3 percent) for 8.05 yards per attempt and a 5-to-0 TD-to-INT ratio. With continued good health from Green, Eifert and Jones, it's possible that Dalton finishes with his third top-12 season in four years.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (15 percent)

Taylor has now faced Andrew Luck and Tom Brady in his first two NFL starts. After outplaying Luck in Week 1, Taylor nearly scored more fantasy points than Brady, who racked up 466 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Bills. Although Taylor threw three picks, he threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 43 yards and a fourth score.

We may not see any more four-touchdown games from Taylor this season, but his dual-threat abilities give him plenty of weekly upside. And if I'm an owner that lost Tony Romo to a broken collarbone, I'd prefer to add Taylor over Brandon Weeden, especially with Dez Bryant sidelined with his broken foot.

QB - Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (14 percent)

Leading the Raiders to a win over the Ravens on Sunday, Carr completed 30-of-46 pass attempts for 351 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. The Raiders may not score 37 points often, but Carr could once again rank near the top of the league in pass attempts. Only the Colts, Saints and Falcons threw it more often than the Raiders last season.

RB - Matt Jones, Washington Redskins (23 percent)

Highly productive in the preseason with a yards-per-carry average of 6.95, Jones had a modest Week 1 performance -- six carries for 28 yards. In Week 2 against the Rams, however, Jones had more touches (22) and yards from scrimmage (146) than Alfred Morris (20 touches for 72 yards) and scored both of Washington's rushing touchdowns. While he won't necessarily lead the team's backfield in workload or production in most weeks, Washington will continue to lean heavily on both Morris and Jones.

RB - Dion Lewis, New England Patriots (35 percent)

Even though LeGarrette Blount returned from suspension, it was Dion Lewis -- not Blount -- that handled the majority of backfield touches against the Bills. Lewis finished with seven carries for 40 yards and a score in addition to six catches for 98 yards on nine targets. (Lewis had 120 YFS on 19 carries in Week 1.) Against teams with weaker defensive lines and run defenses than the Bills, we will see a much larger role from Blount, but Lewis has become a must-own running back in all formats.

RB - Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (45 percent)

Through two games, Freeman has averaged just 1.95 yards per carry (22 carries for 43 yards with one touchdown). Freeman has been targeted 12 times in the pass game and has converted that into seven catches for 63 yards as well. With Tevin Coleman (ribs) expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks, Freeman should get a significant workload while Coleman is out.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (34 percent)

With Andre Ellington (PCL) out on Sunday, Johnson had another productive outing despite getting limited touches. After turning his lone touch in Week 1 into a 55-yard touchdown, Johnson turned six touches into 45 yards and two scores counting a 108-yard kickoff return in Week 2. Meanwhile, Chris Johnson carried the ball 20 times for 72 yards and now has 30 carries for 109 yards (3.63 YPC). The rookie out of Northern Iowa will see his role expand throughout the season, but Bruce Arians has said that Chris Johnson remains the team's starter heading into Week 3.

RB - Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns (37 percent)

After getting seven carries in Week 1, Johnson saw a larger workload (12 carries for 43 yards) in Week 2. Surprisingly, the versatile rookie has yet to be targeted in the passing game through two games. Eventually, Johnson should carve out a significant role in the passing game, especially given the team's lack of talented pass-catchers, but I'd expect him to average double-digit touches going forward.

RB - James Starks, Green Bay Packers (11 percent)

Starks spot on this list would move up if Eddie Lacy misses Week 3 against the Chiefs. Lacy left Sunday's game early and Starks carried the ball 20 times for 95 yards against the Seahawks. X-rays on Lacy's ankle came back negative so there is optimism that Lacy will be ready to go for Monday night, however.

RB - Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (37 percent)

Through two games, C.J. Anderson has 24 carries for 56 yards (a very modest 2.33 YPC) and Hillman has 21 carries for 75 yards (a modest 3.57 YPC). CJA remains the starter and the team's offensive line is a concern, but Hillman should be owned in more than a third of leagues. And fantasy owners that used an early pick on Anderson should especially add Hillman, if available.

WR - Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders (23 percent)

As noted above, the Raiders ranked fourth in the NFL in pass attempts last season. And on Sunday, Crabtree led the Raiders in targets (16) turning that volume into a 9/111/1 stat line. In most weeks, I'd expect rookie Amari Cooper (7/109/1 on 11 targets in Week 2) to lead team in production, but Crabtree is worth a look, especially in PPR formats.

WR - Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (16 percent)

Jones had two catches for 48 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, but he has just four catches through two games. While he missed all of the 2014 season, Jones now has 11 touchdowns in his past 18 games. That said, Jones is no better than third in line for targets behind Green and Eifert.

WR - Brandon Coleman, New Orleans Saints (42 percent)

After hauling in four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, Coleman added three catches for 33 yards on six targets in Week 2. The Saints' top four wide receivers all had between five to seven targets on Sunday, but the 6-foot-6 Coleman could finish the year as the team's second-best fantasy receiver behind Brandin Cooks. And it wouldn't surprise me if he leads the position group in touchdowns.

WR - Leonard Hankerson, Atlanta Falcons (four percent)

With Roddy White posting a goose egg on one target, Hankerson parlayed his 11 targets into six catches for 77 yards and a score against the Giants on Sunday. Of course, fantasy owners shouldn't expect 11 targets for Hankerson (or just one for White) each week, but he has played 100 (or 67.1 percent of) snaps as the team's No. 3 receiver through two games. With just two catches for 16 yards in Week 1, however, Hankerson will likely be inconsistent from week to week as long as Julio Jones and White are both healthy.

WR - Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (11 percent)

As a rookie, Hurns posted a 51/677/6 line last season and he has had two solid outings so far this year. Hurns had five catches for 60 yards in Week 1 and four catches for 68 yards in Week 2. While Hurns is the team's No. 2 receiver to Allen Robinson, the Jags will often find themselves in catch-up mode, which should allow Hurns to have some productive outings.

TE - Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (16 percent)

Along with Calvin Johnson (17) and Golden Tate (10), Ebron (10) was one of three Lions pass-catchers to get double-digit targets in Week 2. Only half of his targets were converted into receptions as Ebron finished with five receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown. The 2014 top-10 selection has now scored in back-to-back games.

TE - Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers (49 percent)

Through two games, Green has 10 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. For at least two more games, the athletic Green will remain the team's top tight end, but Antonio Gates will return in Week 5. Green should be more involved than he had been in years past even after Gates returns, but his weekly production will likely be inconsistent from Weeks 5 to 17.

TE - Crockett Gillmore, Baltimore Ravens (four percent)

With only two catches for 23 yards in Week 1, Gillmore hauled in five receptions for 88 yards and two scores against the Raiders on Sunday. Given the team's relative weakness among their pass-catchers, Gillmore is the team's best option in the passing game not named Steve Smith.

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September 20, 2015

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 2 Values for DraftKings Contests

In a salary-cap format, finding players that give you a bang for the buck is key to constructing an optimal lineup.

With that said, here are some of my favorite value plays for Week 2:

QB - Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (vs. TB), $7,800

Granted, Brees may not qualify as a value in absolute terms with the third-highest quarterback salary this week, but he is a value in relative terms as my top-ranked signal-caller for Week 2. One week after rookie Marcus Mariota shredded the Bucs secondary for four first-half touchdowns in his NFL debut, the quarterback with half of the 5,000-yard seasons in NFL history is up next. Favored by double digits, one potential concern for the Saints (Brees) is a blowout that leads to the Saints taking their foot off the gas in the second half.

That said, no quarterback has been more prolific than Brees at home. In 72 home games as a Saint, Brees has averaged a 2:49-to-0.92 TD-to-INT ratio with an average of 7.99 Y/A and 68.85-percent completion rate. In addition, Brees has exceeded the 300-yard mark in 42 of those 72 home games.

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. DAL), $6,900

No team is projected to score more points than the Eagles (30.5) this week; the Saints (28.75) are projected for the second most. The Eagles started slowly last week, but they scored 21 second-half points after trailing 20-3 at the half and that momentum should carry over to this week. While Bradford is unlikely to throw it 52 times again this week, he has plenty of upside despite a salary outside of the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks.

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at CHI), $6,700

While Palmer missed 10 games last season, he was productive on a per-game basis — 271.0 Y/G with multiple touchdown passes in five of six games. Picking up where he left off, Palmer opened the season with a 307-yard, three-TD performance against the Saints in Week 1. The Bears gave up the fifth-most fantasy points last week (to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers), but they allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last season as well, giving Palmer another exploitable matchup this week.

RB - Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (at JAX), $5,500

Miller had a modest performance last week with 75 yards from scrimmage on 14 touches, 4.1 yards per carry and no scores. Washington has an excellent front-seven, though, and I expect a better performance from Miller in Week 2 against the Jaguars. Even though the Dolphins don't give him the heavy workloads his per-touch production warrants, Miller was one of the most consistent running back performers last season. Going into this weekend's games, Miller is my seventh-ranked PPR running back and only the 17th-most expensive at the position group.

RB - Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (at PIT), $5,100

Hyde exploded for 168 rushing yards and two scores last week en route to finishing as the top-scoring fantasy running back for Week 1. With Week 2 pricing set prior to that Monday night performance, that outing isn't reflected in Hyde's $5,100 price tag. While there are some concerns with Hyde (high ownership levels, the team being a road underdog and playing on a short week), Hyde should still get a heavy workload regardless of game flow with Reggie Bush out and outproduce his salary.

RB - Chris Ivory, New York Jets (at IND), $4,700

There are a number of factors working Ivory's favor this week that make him attractive at his RB28 salary. Carrying the ball 20 times for 91 yards and two TDs against the Browns, Ivory figures to get a heavy workload once again as the Jets look to control the clock and keep Andrew Luck and the (normally) high-powered Colts offense off the field. And while being a seven-point road underdog certainly isn't ideal for a running back's fantasy outlook, the Colts run defense is one of the league's worst and it's unlikely that 27 running backs outproduce Ivory this week.

RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at CIN), $4,000

Gaining 62 yards on 16 touches (including four receptions), Woodhead scored two touchdowns in Week 1. Not only is Woodhead the team's third-down back, but he clearly has the trust of Philip Rivers in the red zone. In his only healthy season with the Chargers (2013), he had 76 catches and scored eight touchdowns. With the 41st-highest salary among running backs, Woodhead is my 13th-ranked PPR back for Week 2.

RB - Lance Dunbar, Dallas Cowboys (at PHI), $3,000

Playing 32 of the team's 71 offensive snaps last week, Dunbar didn't get any carries, but he racked up eight receptions for 70 yards against the Giants, which was good for 15 DraftKings points (PPR scoring). With Dez Bryant out, Dunbar should once again be heavily involved in the passing attack. The Cowboys are 5.5-point underdogs in the game with this week's highest over/under. Given his position-minimum salary, Dunbar provides the flexibility to load up elsewhere.

WR - Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. DAL), $7,100

As noted earlier, no team is projected to score more points this week than the Eagles and a Bradford-Matthews stack will surely be one of the highest-owned combos. That said, Matthews was highly targeted in Week 1 (10/102 on 13 targets) and I think we could see a similar performance from him again this week. And he's actually $100 cheaper than his $7,200 Week 1 price tag.

WR - Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (vs. STL), $5,000

Not only will DeSean Jackson (hamstring) be sidelined for the next several weeks, but the oft-injured tight end Jordan Reed is questionable with a quad injury. By default, Garcon is in line for a heavy dose of targets in Week 2. Coincidentally, the one game that D-Jax missed last year was against the Rams and Garcon finished that game with nine catches for 95 yards on 11 targets despite the team getting shut out.

WR - Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys (at PHI), $4,200

The broken foot injury for Dez elevates Williams to the No. 1 receiver role for the Cowboys. Although he doesn't possess a WR1 skill set and it increases the attention he'll receive from the Eagles defense, he should see a much larger number of targets during Bryant's absence. At his price, Williams has plenty of upside in the game expected to be the highest-scoring of the week.

WR - Steve Johnson, San Diego Chargers (at CIN), $4,200

In his Chargers debut, Johnson caught all six of his targets for 82 yards and a score. While his price has increased from last week's $3,700 salary, it remains relatively low -- priced as WR46 this week. Especially with Antonio Gates suspended for three more games, Johnson should be the second-most productive pass-catcher for the Chargers behind Keenan Allen.

WR - Brandon Coleman, New Orleans Saints (vs. TB), $3,300

Behind Brandin Cooks (73 snaps), Coleman (58) was on the field for more snaps than Marques Colston (46) in Week 1. As I noted above, Brees is in a great spot to carve up a bad Bucs secondary and historically the Saints offense has been virtually unstoppable at home. Given his size (6-6, 225), it wouldn't surprise me if Coleman scored a touchdown (or two) this weekend and he's priced near the position minimum for the week.

WR - Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys (at PHI), $3,300

Once again, the Bryant injury elevates the involvement of the other pass-catchers and Beazley is priced only $300 above the position minimum. While Williams has a higher ceiling, Beasley should easily exceed value, especially given the PPR-scoring of DraftKings contests. I expect him to finish with five-plus catches for 50-plus yards in Week 2.

TE - Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (at PHI), $4,300

Sticking with the theme of Cowboys' pass-catchers, Witten should see a heavy dose of targets in Philly. Against the Giants last week, Witten had eight receptions (on nine targets) for 60 yards and two scores. It was only the fifth multi-touchdown game in Witten's 192-game career, but he has been productive against the Eagles with an average of 5.8 receptions and 64.9 yards per game.

TE - Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers (at PIT), $3,000

Especially in tournaments, Davis is certainly a viable punt play at only $3,000. Obviously, Davis shouldn't be compared to Rob Gronkowski, who scored three touchdowns against the Steelers last week, but Davis has elite athleticism for the position and the 49ers could find themselves in a situation that leads to more than the 26 pass attempts they had against the Vikings in Week 1. The recipient of roughly one-quarter of the team's targets (six), Davis had three catches for 47 yards in Week 1. And even though he has only two touchdowns since the start of the 2014 season, Davis has scored 13 touchdowns in two separate seasons since 2009.

- Week 2 DFS DraftKings Cheat Sheet

Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings:

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September 19, 2015

2015 NFL Picks Against the Spread (ATS): Week 2 (Beazley)

Here are my picks against the spread (ATS) for Week 2 of the 2015 NFL season:

Chicago Bears +2 over Arizona Cardinals (3 units)

The Bears looked pretty awful Week 1 vs. the Packers, but I think they come out and take care of business vs. the Cardinals. The Cardinals will be without starting RB Andre Ellington, which only leaves the Johnsons (Chris & David) to carry the workload. I think the loss of Ellington will hurt the Cardinals on Sunday. I think the Bears will move the ball with little problem this week. I expect Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffrey, and Martellus Bennett to have big games. The Bears get back on track at home, 24-20.

Pittsburgh Steelers -7 over San Francisco 49ers (3 units)

It's still early in the season, but west coast teams that travel east for a 1 PM start typically don't play well. The 49ers looked extremely good in their home win vs. the Vikings in Week 1. Carlos Hyde was the top fantasy RB on DK last week and he should be near the highest-owned RB this week. I just can't get behind the 49ers this week.

Big Ben is usually money at home, and I love him in this spot Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger is someone I love in DFS and very well could be my cash game QB (currently Sam Bradford) on Sunday. I am also favoring Antonio Brown over Julio Jones as I think this game sets up nicely for a 10/140/2 type of game. The Steelers are 0-5 in their last five games without LeVeon Bell, averaging only 16 points per game in those contests. There are trends and stats that go each way, but in the end you always have to go with your gut. My gut says the Steelers double up the 49ers, 34-17.

New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Over 47.5 (5 units)

The Bucs defense looked absolutely awful last week against a QB making his NFL debut. The Titans don't exactly have a juggernaut offense, but the Saints do. The Saints get some home cooking on Sunday and I expect Drew Brees to connect early and often with Brandin Cooks. Cooks is one of my favorite DFS plays this week. I think he is going to see a dozen targets this week.

The Bucs best WR Mike Evans returns from an injury this week, which should give them a good down field target and open up the running game a bit for Doug Martin. I think this game could be the highest-scoring game of the week and I like the Saints at home, 41-27.

Minnesota Vikings -2 over Detroit Lions (3 units)

I think this will be the game where people really start to talk about Matthew Stafford not being a franchise QB in this league. I have been saying this for the past two seasons. I think the Vikings D at home is a very sneaky GPP option on Sunday. I can see Stafford having a 3-4 turnover game. I like Teddy Bridgewater to get back on track as well. Give me the Vikings at home in an ugly performance by the Lions, 23-13.

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September 17, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Undervalued PPR Options for Week 2

Well, Week 1 was fun, wasn’t it?

There were a lot of unexpected performances, both good and bad, which is pretty typical for the first week in any season. Marcus Mariota had one of the greatest first-game performances I can remember, while the perennial fantasy stud Peyton Manning put up a rather horrific line. Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t crack WR3 numbers, while Percy Harvin and James Jones turned back the clock with top-10 performances.

There were numerous other examples, but one word of advice – don’t overreact to any of these performances. We won’t truly know if these were one-off situations, or a sign of things to come, for at least a few more weeks (with the exception of Bryant). Simply use the Week 1 performance as another data point in your roster building and starting lineup decisions.

If anything, Week 1 should illuminate the importance of maximizing your starting lineup on a weekly basis. While the above examples are on the extreme sides of the spectrum, there are numerous examples of players with strong output that could easily have been justified as starters, but wound up on benches because of draft position. There are very few things that we can actually control in fantasy football, but maximizing your lineup is one of the few. You would be surprised how often the team with the most points scored doesn’t even crack the top 3 of total possible points in any given league.

Maximizing your lineup is what I aim to help with in my weekly article. While rankings are very beneficial, you have to dig deeper to identify the best possible lineup on a weekly basis.

Before heading into this week's underrated PPR players, let’s take a look at the outcome of my picks from last week.

Week 1 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+3.3+18.9-26.4+11.3+7.1
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+3.3+18.9-26.4+11.3+7.1

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over).

Best of the week -- Mark Ingram +23.6: Ingram could have had an even bigger day, but for some reason the Saints abandoned the run early even though the game was close throughout. He also split carries with Khiry Robinson, at least more than expected. However, he made up for it in the pass game, leading the team with nine targets, catching eight of them for 98 yards. Frank Gore didn’t do anything against the Bills and LeSean McCoy was equally underwhelming with a 2.4 YPC.

Runner up -- Heath Miller +11.3: I wrote last week that Miller could see a lot of targets as the check down option in a game that should feature a lot of passing. He ended up with eight catches on 11 targets, second only to Antonio Brown. Meanwhile, Larry Donnell essentially disappeared on Sunday night.

Worst of the week -- Nelson Agholor -15.2: I guess I shouldn’t have bought into the preseason hype. Agholor caught a grand total of one pass and was a non-factor against a weak Dallas secondary. Brandon Marshall had a solid outing against Joe Haden, hats off to him. If the same matchup were tomorrow, I would still pick Haden over Marshall. However, I was right about Sammy Watkins. He posted ZERO points, but when Agholor barely tops a 0 on his own, it doesn’t mean much.

Runner up -- Rueben Randle -7: The Giants were just off offensively most of the night. In a game that scored a total of 53 points, the Giants were surprisingly ineffective, gaining only 289 yards on offense and producing one touchdown, while their defense and special teams put up 19 points. On the other side of the coin, Eric Decker had a decent game primarily due to a TD, while Marques Colston was nearly as bad as Randle.

Quarterbacks

Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals
FantasyPros ECR – 8

Palmer had a very solid outing last week against the Saints, putting up 307 yards and three TDs. Not too bad. This week, he faces a Chicago defense that doesn’t have much of a leg up on the Saints D. Both finished bottom-five in pass defense DVOA last year, and don’t look to have improved much as they rank bottom-three so far this season. Granted, its one week, but neither team showed they were much better than last season. I expect Palmer to have a solid outing and have a chance at a top-five finish this week.

Consider starting him over:
- Matt Ryan – ECR 4. The Giants are going to play with a lot of fire after the variety of mistakes that led to a loss against Dallas. They successfully shut down Dez Bryant well before he left the game in the 4th quarter, and have a solid pair of cornerbacks in Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Ryan is a significantly worse player on the road, averaging 11 points less in passer rating compared to home games.
- Tony Romo – ECR 5. Romo is ranked highly because of the expected game flow against Philly. The O/U currently sits at 55.5. However, I’m not sold on this being a shootout. First, let’s not forget Bryant isn’t playing. Even when he doesn’t produce, he draws a lot of defensive attention. Their other receivers are complementary players and fit well with Bryant on the field, they aren’t guys that can excel when the attention is focused on them. The run game struggled last week as well, averaging 3.5 YPC. This doesn’t set up well for a big outing from the ‘Boys. On top of that, Romo’s combined passer rating in two games against Philly last season equals his second-lowest rating for the year. Finally, I think the Eagles feed DeMarco Murray early and often against his former team, giving the Eagles a longer time of possession than expected.

Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals
FantasyPros ECR – 18

Say what you want about Dalton, but the man can produce fantasy numbers at times. We are not far removed from a season in which he finished as a top-five QB in fantasy points. A.J. Green is healthy and Tyler Eifert’s Week 1 performance was not a fluke, he will be a great safety valve if he stays healthy. Add a dynamic run game for balance, and Dalton appears to be in a great situation. I’m not sold on the Chargers defense despite a good performance against the Lions, especially since they will be traveling to the east coast for an early game on Sunday. Traditionally, teams don’t perform well in those scenarios.

Consider starting him over:
- Cam Newton – ECR 16. Newton was less than mediocre against Jacksonville last week. Not sure I see him improving on that performance against a good Houston defense that has something to prove after giving up 27 points in the first half to the Chiefs.
- Peyton Manning – ECR 13. This may be a risky pick considering competitors like Manning rarely play back-to-back poor games. However, I’m not sure what we saw in Week 1 was an aberration anymore. Manning is getting old and his arm strength has weakened each year for the past few seasons. Kansas City has a solid defense on par with the Ravens, and we saw what they did to Peyton. Not to mention, this is a quick turnaround game as they play Thursday, which means a shorter recovery time.

Running Backs

DeAngelo Williams – Pittsburgh Steelers
FantasyPros ECR – 21

Williams looked great against a strong Patriots run defense. He hit the hole hard and showed good speed and vision. The Steelers are coming off a 10-day rest to host the 49ers, who are coming off a short week and traveling cross country for an early game. I know the Niners held Adrian Peterson to 31 yards, but I would consider that the exception rather than the rule until proven otherwise. This is still a team that lost a lot of talent. Le’Veon Bell returns next week from suspension, so they will have no issue riding Williams on Sunday. I would expect 100-plus yards again with a chance for a TD or two.

Consider starting him over:
- Latavius Murray – ECR 18. The Raiders take on the Ravens, who just shut down C.J. Anderson in Denver. Even without Terrell Suggs, this is a solid run defense. Not to mention, the game flow probably won’t allow for a lot of ground and pound. The Ravens are sure to be upset about their offensive performance last week, so I expect them to jump out early, forcing the Raiders to play catchup via the air.
- Jonathan Stewart – ECR 17. Similar to Cam Newton, bad performance last week with a much better Houston defense on deck this week. Hard to imagine improving on his Week 1 stat line.

C.J. Spiller – New Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 41

Just a quick caveat: this obviously assumes Spiller ends up playing this week. All indications point to that being the case, but just a forewarning to monitor this situation for any news to the contrary. The Saints signed Spiller to fill their passing down back role, similar to a Darren Sproles or Pierre Thomas. Spiller has all the talent in the world and should excel in this role. He is best in space and that is how the Saints plan to utilize him. This is definitely a risk/reward play due to the unknown of how much he will play. But against a Tampa team that just let the Titans walk all over them, he may not need many touches to produce. Regardless, I see too much upside to let him ride the bench this week unless there is an indication he will be on a very limited pitch count.

Consider starting him over:
- Devonta Freeman – ECR 40. Tevin Coleman looks like the better back and should continue to see the majority of work.
- Dion Lewis – ECR 38. Yes, he looked good against the Steelers. But his role will be reduced with the return of LeGarrette Blount. Lewis should have a role spelling Blount and as the third-down back, but it’s always so hard to trust a Patriots back, especially if they aren’t getting the goal-line work.
- Joique Bell – ECR 37. Ameer Abdullah out-touched Bell 11-8 in Week 1. Based on the results of those touches, no reason to think that will change. If anything, Abdullah will see a few more looks given his effectiveness.
- Chris Johnson – ECR 29. Only thing in his favor is potential opportunities. But he is well past his prime and at some point, opportunities don’t mean much if you can’t capitalize on them. David Johnson has been hyped all pre-season, and we saw why last week. His first touch as a pro was a 55-yard TD reception. Arians has said he doesn’t want to throw the rookie into the fire, but Andre Ellington had a role as a rookie, so it could just be coach speak. There is no ignoring the gap in explosiveness between Chris and David Johnson.
- Giovani Bernard – ECR 27. Gio is hard to figure. Hill is definitely the primary back, but Bernard saw a fair share of work and produced against the Raiders. How much of that was due to the score of the game, I don’t know. I would rather bet on Spiller than Bernard given the matchup and role definition.

Wide Receivers

Brandon Coleman – New Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 43

Coleman was the MVP of training camp this offseason and is an intriguing player. At 6’6”, he has incredible length for a wide receiver, which bodes very well in the red zone. Coleman has displaced Marques Colston as the No. 2 WR, out-snapping him by 12 plays in Week 1. As the No. 2 in the Saints offense against the putrid Tampa defense, Coleman has an opportunity to build on a good Week 1 performance, which saw him go 4-41-1.

Consider starting him over:
- Percy Harvin – ECR 40. This is just a reminder that Harvin is still Harvin. I’m not ready to believe in his Week 1 stat line as anything other than an anomaly. Do you think a Pats defense is going to let him run wild coming off a 10-day break?
- Sammy Watkins – ECR 36. Let’s just say I have faith that a Belichick game plan will be enough to expose the Bills offense. The Bills are coming off a big win, which usually leads to a big letdown, especially against a team like the Pats. You think Belichick and Brady have suddenly forgotten the pointed comments Rex Ryan made as the Jets coach? They don’t forgive, and they don’t forget.

Stevie Johnson – San Diego Chargers
FantasyPros ECR – 31

Offseason reports had Stevie Johnson looking rejuvenated and establishing a rapport with Rivers during training camp. That showed in Week 1 as Johnson caught all six of his targets for 82 yards and a TD. As mentioned previously, I expect the Bengals offense to produce this week, which will mean San Diego will need to throw a lot to stay in the game. I wouldn’t expect Keenan Allen to get 17 targets again, so Johnson should see closer to 10 this week. That should give him ample opportunity to post WR2 numbers.

Consider starting him over:
Davante Adams – ECR 29. With the return of James Jones, who obviously still has a rapport with Aaron Rodgers, Adams will become third in line for targets. I know he led the team in targets last week, but he was much less efficient and Rodgers has more trust in Jones and Cobb. The Packers can support three viable WRs, but not in a week where they play an angry Seahawks team looking to avoid an 0-2 start. I expect we will see a strong performance from the Seahawks D, limiting the potential for Adams to produce.
Jeremy Maclin – ECR 27. Alex Smith isn’t going to force the ball to anyone as a game manager, and I don’t see Maclin creating much separation against Chris Harris or Aqib Talib.
Pierre Garcon – ECR 26. Garcon had a respectable performance last week against the Dolphins. But the Dolphins are not in the same league as the Rams, from a defensive standpoint. St. Louis had 6 sacks against a good Seattle offensive line. The Redskins will be under siege all day, and Kirk Cousins isn’t nearly as poised as Russell Wilson under pressure. In fact, Cousins typically turns into a turnover machine when he is uncomfortable. I don’t see their passing game doing much this week.

Charles Johnson – Minnesota Vikings
FantasyPros ECR – 39

Yes, he had a poor Week 1 outing despite all of the preseason hype. But you can bet the Vikings will be looking to rebound from a poor performance, and Johnson has an opportunity to show what all the hype was about. The Lions got picked apart last week by Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson. Their best CB, Darius Slay, is questionable at best to play this week. This is a risk/reward play, but Johnson has potential for a big game.

Consider starting him over:
- Sammy Watkins – ECR 36. See Coleman, Brandon.
- Nelson Agholor – ECR 38. Reversing course after getting burned last week. The Falcons D didn’t represent a difficult matchup, and Agholor produced next to nothing. Looks like it may take some time for him to get comfortable with Bradford and this offense.

Tight End

Austin Sefarian-Jenkins – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FantasyPros ECR - 11

ASJ was the lone bright spot in Week 1 for Tampa. Winston targeted him seven times, which he converted into 110 yards and two TDs. Tampa faces New Orleans this week, who just let some guy named Darren Fells put up 82 yards and a TD against them. There is no reason to expect the flow of this game being any different than last week against the Titans, so Winston should be throwing early and often, leaving ASJ with plenty of opportunity.

Consider starting him over:
- Heath Miller – ECR 10. Miller had a solid Week 1 performance, but the game situation was much different than what I expect this week to be. The Steelers will either be up early and turn to the run game, or this will be a surprisingly low-scoring game. I don’t see the Niners jumping out to a lead and forcing the Steelers to throw a lot. Thus, Miller will not have anywhere near 11 targets again.
- Jordan Reed – ECR 8. Pretty much the same reason I don’t like Pierre Garcon. See Johnson, Stevie.
Thanks for reading and good luck in week 2! Follow me on twitter @rw11687.

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September 14, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Some Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 2

With Week 1 nearly in the books, there are several key injuries that will have an impact on fantasy teams but also open up opportunities for players likely available on your league's waiver wire.

In this post, we attempt to identify players with a positive outlook that could help your fantasy team(s) in either the short or long term.

For a player to make this list, we will exclude any players that are owned in more than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

So, in other words, a player like Cincinnati's Tyler Eifert (86-percent owned) or Tampa's Austin Seferian-Jenkins (60-percent owned) won't appear on this list due to our self-imposed ownership requirements. The goal is to give you recommendations that are likely to be available in your league(s).

With that said, here are some waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 2 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

QB - Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (46 percent)

Things could have not gone better for Mariota in his NFL debut. With a sizable lead, Mariota threw only 16 pass attempts and sat out the fourth quarter, but he finished with a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Completing 13 of his 16 attempts, Mariota threw for 209 yards (13.06 Y/A), four (first-half) touchdowns and no interceptions.

Mariota had the third-most fantasy points among QBs through Sunday's games behind Tom Brady and Carson Palmer even though he ran the ball only twice for six yards. One of the league's most athletic signal-callers, Mariota's dual-threat abilities give him a high weekly ceiling although things likely won't go as easily in future starts.

QB - Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (26 percent)

In his first four NFL seasons, Dalton finished as a top-20 fantasy quarterback every year with two top-12 finishes in 2012 (QB12) and 2013 (QB5). Last year was a disappointing season (QB19), but Dalton's top-three most-talented pass-catchers all missed significant time. One of those players was tight end Tyler Eifert, who finished Sunday's game with a 9/104/2 stat line. With good health for Eifert and A.J. Green, Dalton has a chance to finish as a top-12 fantasy quarterback for the third time in four years, but there will be plenty of variance in his weekly performances.

QB - Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (20 percent)

With Jamaal Charles, Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin, Smith has a talented core group of skill-position players at his disposal. Smith efficiently completed 22-of-33 pass attempts for 243 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 1 against the Texans. In addition, Smith's 685 combined rushing yards in 2013 and 2014 rank fourth among quarterbacks over that span.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (10 percent)

It was a solid debut as Taylor led the Bills to an upset over Andrew Luck and the Colts. Taylor threw only 19 pass attempts, but he also ran the ball nine times. Only Cam Newton ran the ball more times than Taylor in Week 1. While there will be plenty of games with less than 200 passing yards for Taylor this season, his rushing ability gives him some upside for folks in deeper leagues.

RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (50 percent)

Two seasons ago, Woodhead finished with 1,034 yards from scrimmage, 76 receptions and eight touchdowns. While last year was cut short due to injury, Woodhead is healthy again and got the season off to a strong start with 62 YFS, four catches and two touchdowns. Woodhead has finished as a top-30 fantasy running back in three of the past five seasons and it wouldn't surprise me if he did so again this year.

RB - Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans (47 percent)

It's fair to say that Sankey exceeded my Week 1 expectations with 12 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown plus two receptions for 12 yards and another score. While 20-point fantasy performances won't become the norm, Sankey looked good on Sunday and gets a couple of favorable matchups against the Browns and Colts before Tennessee's Week 4 bye.

RB - Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns (44 percent)

Generating plenty of offseason buzz, Johnson ranks as the all-time leading rusher for the Miami Hurricanes, which says plenty about his skill set. The ground game stalled against the Jets on Sunday and Johnson had just seven carries for 22 yards, but better days are ahead for the talented rookie back.

RB - David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (21 percent)

With Andre Ellington sustaining a PCL (knee) injury in the opener, Johnson should see more touches than the one he had on Sunday. Of course, Johnson made the most of that one touch -- a 55-yard touchdown reception. Ellington's PCL injury should sideline him for multiple weeks. While Chris Johnson is expected to get more work initially, I like David's talent and think his role will continue to expand.

RB - Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (31 percent)

Hillman averaged only 3.42 yards per carry against the Ravens on Sunday, but he did get 12 carries in Week 1. Not only is that identical to the carries for starter C.J. Anderson, but Hillman was more effective than CJA (2.42 YPC) on Sunday. At a minimum, Hillman, who had a strong preseason, should be owned by more CJA owners than is currently the case.

RB - Dion Lewis, New England Patriots (16 percent)

With LeGarrette Blount suspended for the season opener, Lewis led the team's backfield with 120 yards from scrimmage on 19 touches including four receptions. Returning from suspension, Blount should lead the backfield in touches the majority of weeks. That said, Lewis has some flex appeal in standard-scoring leagues as he fills the role vacated by Shane Vereen with more upside in PPR formats.

RB - Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams (16 percent)

With Todd Gurley expected to sit another week or two (if not more), Cunningham could be worth a look depending on the expected availability of Tre Mason for Week 2. Starting for the inactive Mason and Gurley, Cunningham racked up 122 yards from scrimmage on 20 touches against the Seahawks in Week 1. His Week 2 matchup against Washington isn't great, but it isn't worse than Sunday's matchup against Seattle.

WR - Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (12 percent)

With T.Y. Hilton (knee) is considered to be day-to-day (aren't we all?), it's possible/likely that he misses a game or two. Per ESPN's Mike Wells, Moncrief is expected to start in two-side sets if Hilton does miss time. The 22-year-old Moncrief had six catches for 46 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets in Week 1.

WR - James Jones, Green Bay Packers (31 percent)

After a disappointing season in Oakland (73/666/6 and a career-low 9.1 Y/A), Jones had a strong start to his first season back in Green Bay with four catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns. Jones has had plenty of red-zone success with the Packers as he led the NFL with 14 touchdowns in 2012 and his established chemistry with Aaron Rodgers is obviously a huge positive.

WR - Percy Harvin, Buffalo Bills (41 percent percent)

Harvin led the Bills receivers with five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown and added nine rushing yards. Given that Taylor only threw the ball 19 times in Week 1, however, it will be difficult to trust this type of production from Harvin on a weekly basis.

WR - Brandon Coleman, New Orleans Saints (27 percent)

Currently the Saints No. 3 receiver, Coleman has excellent size (6-6, 225) and could flourish in the red zone for the Saints this season. In his regular-season debut, Coleman finished with four catches on seven targets for 41 yards and a touchdown.

WR - Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys (eight percent)

With Dez Bryant breaking his foot and expected to miss four-to-six weeks, Terrance Williams (57-percent owned) and Beasley should both see a larger volume of targets over the next month. The fantasy schedule for the Cowboys receivers sets up favorably as well with their next three games against the Eagles, Falcons and Saints, all three of whom gave up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing receivers last year.

WR - Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (30 percent)

One of the most exciting playmakers in the game, Lockett has more value in dynasty formats than re-draft leagues. And while it's unlikely that he sees enough volume in the passing game to make a huge fantasy impact this season, he's worth a stash given his talent. In his regular-season debut, Lockett caught four passes for 34 yards and returned a punt for a score.

TE - Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (49 percent)

With Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant suspended in Week 1, Miller finished with eight receptions for 84 yards on 11 targets against the Patriots. Bell and Bryant remain suspended for one and three more games, respectively, so Miller should be a top-12 fantasy tight end for the next few games, at least, and I expect him to finish as a top-12 fantasy tight end in PPR formats this season.

TE - Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers (19 percent)

With Antonio Gates suspended for the first four games of the season, Green will have an opportunity to seize a larger role for himself following Gates' return with a strong performance during this stretch. So far, so good for Green, who converted six targets into five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.

TE - Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions (eight percent)

A top-10 selection in last year's draft, Ebron has had issues with drops and had another in Week 1, but he also finished with four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers.

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September 13, 2015

2015 NFL Division Predictions: NFC West

In an annual excercise in futility, I went through the NFL schedule for all 256 regular-season games and picked a winner for each game.

Based on a team's strength of schedule, it means that all teams with identical records are not viewed the same. In other words, one team with a projected 8-8 record may be much better than another team with a projected 8-8 record, as an example.

Although I'm posting this after one game is already in the books, I did correctly pick the winner of the season opener as part of my weekly picks against the spread.

With that said, here are my 2015 predictions for the NFC West:

1. Seattle Seahawks: 11-5

They say it's a game of inches. For the Seahawks, they were a yard (and a play) away from repeating as back-to-back Super Bowl champions. The addition of Jimmy Graham gives them their best red-zone option (outside of Marshawn Lynch) in the Russell Wilson era. Tyler Lockett gives the special teams juice as he has provided the type of big plays in the preseason that they expected when they traded for Percy Harvin. This is a young talented team that currently stands as the co-favorite (according to Vegas) to win Super Bowl 50.

2. Arizona Cardinals: 11-5

Only a head coach for two-plus years (including his unexpected interim head-coaching stint with the Colts), Bruce Arians has won the AP NFL Coach of the Year award twice. Injuries overall and at quarterback specifically derailed last year's strong start. If Carson Palmer can stay healthy for 16 games, the Cardinals can challenge for the division.

3. St. Louis Rams: 7-9

The Rams used a top-10 pick on franchise running back Todd Gurley, who is returning from a torn ACL. At the moment, it appears he'll miss at least the first three games of the season. Eventually, Gurley and Tre Mason will give their rushing attack a talented duo. Their defense is one of the league's best with arguably the best defensive line in football. Ultimately, the play of Nick Foles could determine whether the Rams have another mediocre season or take a step forward to challenge for a playoff spot.

4. San Francisco 49ers: 4-12

If the offseason is any indication of what's to come for the Niners this season, it's going to be a long year. I can't ever remember a team go through the amount of offseason changes at key spots for a variety of reasons (retirement, free agency, off-field issues, etc.) as the 49ers have over the past nine months. There were few bright spots in the preseason and the offense really struggled as Colin Kaepernick completed just 38.5 percent of his pass attempts for a 3.1 Y/A average.

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September 12, 2015

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Week 1 Values for DraftKings Contests

The long wait to the 2015 NFL season is over. We have one (high-scoring) game in the books and 255 regular-season games to go.

With DFS sites like DraftKings setting their Week 1 salaries prior to the preseason, there are a number of values for this weekend's slate of games due to injuries opening up opportunties for their (healthy) teammates or players earning larger/starting roles for themselves.

Finding lower-priced options is key to being able to afford higher-priced studs in your lineups so I'll attempt to identify some players that I feel are undervalued — priced lower than expectations — for Week 1.

In general, the players listed in this post will have lower salaries, but I am looking for relative values — not only absolute values.

With that said, here are some of my favorite value plays for Week 1:

QB - Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (vs. NYG), $7,300

With the 12th-highest salary among QBs this week, Romo is my fourth-ranked fantasy QB and one of my top-three QBs (Tom Brady) has already played this week. In two games against the Giants last season, Romo threw only 49 pass attempts combined, but he threw seven touchdowns to only one interception and averaged 11.31 yards per attempt. Only the Eagles have a higher projected point total for this weekend's games than the Cowboys. In what should be one of the week's highest-scoring affairs, Romo should carve up a depleted Giants defense in primetime.

QB - Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (at ATL), $6,900

Speaking of high-scoring contests in primetime, Bradford and the Eagles will take on the Falcons in the first of Monday's two night games. We've seen how productive the Eagles quarterbacks can be in Chip Kelly's system over the past two years and Bradford is the most talented of the group that Kelly has had thus far. Ranking last in the NFL in pass defense (279.9 YPG) in 2014, the Falcons may offer little resistance to the Eagles' fast-paced offense.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (vs. IND), $5,000

If you want to punt the position, Taylor is viable option at the position-minimum salary. Earning the starting gig this preseason, Taylor has upside even if the Bills play conservatively on offense due to his dual-threat abilities. While the other quarterback in this game will have to face an elite defense, Taylor gets to face a defense that is anything but elite.

RB - Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. TEN), $4,500

I love some higher-priced studs like Eddie Lacy and Jeremy Hill and I've paired those guys with a lower-priced option like Martin in many of my lineups. Since a dominant rookie season (1,926 YFS and 12 TDs) in 2012, it's been a disappointing and injury-plagued two seasons for Martin, but things are pointing up with a strong offseason and preseason. Opening the season against the Titans, who ranked 31st last year in run defense, Martin gets a soft matchup in a game where he should get a heavy volume of work as their rookie quarterback makes his NFL debut.

RB - Christopher Ivory, New York Jets (vs. CLE), $4,100

The only team that allowed more rushing yards than the Titans last season was the Browns. While their run defense will be better than last year with the first-round selection of Danny Shelton, it's still a favorable matchup for Ivory and the Jets backfield. Ivory finished as a top-24 fantasy running back in PPR formats last season and I expect an increase in workload from the 13.5 touches per game he averaged in 2014.

RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (vs. DET), $3,700

Woodhead's 2014 season was cut short due to injury, but he was one of the better fantasy running backs in PPR formats in his first season with the Chargers. In 2013, Woodhead had 1,034 YFS, 76 receptions and eight touchdowns. Even though the Chargers drafted Melvin Gordon with a top-15 selection, Woodhead will get the bulk of third-down snaps with many snaps inside the red zone as well.

WR - Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (at WAS), $5,600

Except for his former LSU teammate Odell Beckham, Landry had more receptions than all other rookie receivers in 2014. Going into 2015, Landry is the only constant among the team's top pass-catchers and Landry finished with 84/758/5 as a rookie. Over the final nine games of the season, Landry had a minimum of five receptions in every game and averaged 6.55/55.89/0.50 per game over that stretch. Last season, Washington allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers (PPR scoring).

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. CAR), $5,400

One of my favorite breakout players for 2015, Robinson just turned 22 last month and quietly had a strong rookie season before a Week 10 foot injury ended his season prematurely. Before the injury, Robinson had a minimum of four catches in eight consecutive games in an offense that otherwise struggled. While they signed free-agent Julius Thomas to a large contract in the offseason, Thomas will miss the first several games and Robinson should be heavily targeted in Week 1. With the 37th-highest salary among wideouts, Robinson is my 12th-ranked receiver for this week.

WR - Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (at CHI), $4,400

With his playing time increasing down the stretch last season, Adams strong offseason suggested he would take a big step forward in 2015. With the season-ending ACL injury to Jordy Nelson, that improvement became certain with good health as Adams now will start opposite Randall Cobb in two-WR sets. Although Adams is ranked inside my top-24 receivers for the week, he's priced as the WR49 in DraftKings contests this week.

WR - Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers (vs. DET), $3,700

There are 64 receivers priced higher than Johnson, who should be able to easily exceed value this week. Johnson will take over the role vacated by Eddie Royal, a player that I like this week as well and who finished as the WR32 in PPR leagues last season. And with the four-game suspension of Antonio Gates, there's another reason to like Johnson this week.

TE - Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears (vs. GB), $4,300

It appears that Alshon Jeffery will play on Sunday, but calf injuries are fairly easy to aggravate. But with Brandon Marshall traded this offseason and Jeffery at less than 100 percent, Bennett should figure prominently into the game plan with the Bears being a touchdown underdog. In two games against the Packers last season, Bennett, who led all tight ends in receptions (90) in 2014, had 11 catches for 179 yards (16.27 Y/A) on 17 targets.

TE - Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals (at OAK), $3,500

Eifert is one of my favorite breakout players at tight end this season and I think his breakout would have happened last season were he not injured in Week 1. With a solid matchup, Eifert is one of my favorite tight end plays this weekend.

- Check out our DraftKings DFS Cheat Sheet for Week 1

Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings:

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September 10, 2015

7 Undervalued Options in PPR Leagues for Week 1

Welcome to a brand new season! I can’t tell you how excited I am that the season is finally upon us, seems like it took ages to get through the preseason. I am equally excited and honored to return for my second season with EDSFootball. I want to thank Kevin Hanson for allowing me the opportunity to continue contributing as a fantasy analyst.

For those that are new to the article, I publish a weekly breakdown of undervalued PPR players. I select a few players from each skill position who I believe to be undervalued for the given week. In addition, I will identify a few players currently ranked ahead of them, for which I would bench in favor of the undervalued player. All rankings are based on the FantasyPros.com Expert Consensus Ranking (ECR).

Finally, I will also be tracking my performance each week. Performance will be measured by comparing the points scored by the undervalued player against the points scored by each player I recommend benching. The results will be calculated on a weekly and year-to-date basis. With so much fantasy advice available these days, it can be hard to know who to trust. Many analysts make bold predictions or identify sleepers, but without an established track record of performance, it’s hard to know who to trust. My goal is to own my performance, for better or for worse. The performance tracking will be available beginning in Week 2!

Now, on to Week 1. To me, the first week of any season represents one of the most challenging weeks as an analyst. As the season goes on, there is more relevant information to base decisions on. Week 1 has very little recent information to work with, the preseason can only be trusted to a very limited extent. Most of the information is based on 2014 performances and pure speculation of circumstance. With the countless changes in personnel, head coaches, and coordinators, it definitely makes for a unique challenge in projecting Week 1 performances. But, I have always enjoyed a good challenge, so here we go!

Quarterbacks

Typically, I like to pick 2 QBs, but there are not many this week that deviate significantly from the ECR. So, instead of trying to conjure up another player, I stuck with just the one this week.

Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins
FantasyPros ECR – 8

Tannehill is setup to have a big season, and a matchup with the Washington Redskins in Week 1 should be a fine launching pad. The Redskins are a mess, and haven’t made any significant improvements to a defense that gave up the most FPPG to QBs last year, and finished last in pass defense DVOA. Tannehill was a bit raw coming out of college, but has steadily improved each season and looks to be coming into form. He will be more comfortable in the offense entering the second season with OC Bill Lazor, who runs a pass-happy, up-tempo offense. Pair that with an underrated receiving corps and you have a QB that could crack the top 3 in Week 1.

Consider starting him over:
Peyton Manning – ECR 6. Baltimore’s defense isn’t great, but much better than the Redskins. Kubiak wants a much more balanced offense and they will try to preserve Manning throughout the season to avoid the late-season slump, so I see Manning’s pass attempts descending again this year.
Andrew Luck – ECR 2. Crazy? Probably, but it’s a calculated risk. I still like Luck as the No. 1 overall QB this year, but this is a tough opening matchup. The Bills were the No. 1 team in pass defense DVOA, and third in FPPG allowed to QBs. Luck’s passer rating is 7 points lower on the road than at home. Still a top-10 QB this week, but I don’t think he will go gangbusters.

Running Backs

Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 17

Ingram finished as a top-15 back last year, despite only playing in 13 games. He displayed the talent we all expected from him earlier in his career, but better late than never. With C.J. Spiller out for Week 1, Ingram will play an expanded role and likely become a three-down back. Ingram has been recognized this offseason for improving his receiving skills, which will give him more opportunities to produce this week. While the Arizona defense is solid, the Saints offense is still really good and will be able to move the ball. I expect we will see 20-plus touches from Ingram, with a handful of catches sprinkled in. That, combined with the goal-line work, gives him RB1 upside this week.

Consider starting him over:
Frank Gore – ECR 14. Again, tough matchup. The Bills were sixth in FPPG against RBs last year, and their D may even be better this season. Indy has already indicated he will be on a pitch count to open the season, and let’s not forget he is 32 with a lot of wear on the tires. He may be in a top offense, but there are enough concerns to make me weary of him this week.
LeSean McCoy – ECR 13. The Bills passing game doesn’t scare anyone, and Indy has the talent in the secondary to play one-on-one and allow them to stack the box. McCoy likely won’t be 100 percent and may even share some of the load as a result. I expect closer to RB2 numbers than RB1 this week.

Darren McFadden – Dallas Cowboys
FantasyPros ECR – 36

By now, we all know this much – McFadden’s risk isn’t about talent, it’s about health. Well, he’s at least healthy for Week 1 – how long that will last is another story. Reports are stating he will be the starter, and that he will not be on a pitch count. I would still expect a split of some sort, but regardless, this is still a talented back running behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. Last year, the Giants ranked 27th in run defense DVOA and gave up the eighth-most FPPG to RBs. Even if he is limited to 15 carries, McFadden has the opportunity to produce well, as long as he is healthy. He’s worth a look as a flex.

Consider starting him over:
Tre Mason – ECR 35. Not much of a stretch in terms of ECR difference, but if you are deciding between the 2 players, go with McFadden. Mason is hurt and going up against a Seattle defense that is still one of the best against the run.
Joseph Randle – ECR 33. A lot of people handcuffed Randle with McFadden. If McFadden does end up getting the start, this is a week where you want to start him, even if Randle was drafted higher.

Wide Receivers

Jarvis Landry – Miami Dolphins
FantasyPros ECR – 13

As mentioned previously, the Redskins stink against the pass. Landry is the unquestioned No. 1 WR on this team and has a strong rapport with Tannehill. The ‘Skins ranked 29th against WR1's in DVOA last season and gave up the second-most FPPG. This sets up very favorably for Landry to crack the top 10 this week.

Consider starting him over:
DeAndre Hopkins – ECR 9. I get that Hopkins produced well despite his QB situation last season, but it still hasn’t gotten much better. At least Andre Johnson and Arian Foster prevented defenses from focusing their sole attention on Hopkins last year. He doesn’t have that luxury this week, so expect KC to take Hopkins away and let Cecil Shorts/Nate Washington/Alfred Blue try to beat them.
Alshon Jeffery – ECR 12. There are just too many unknowns to feel confident in Jeffery as a sure fire WR1 this week. We don’t know how healthy he will be, we don’t know how the new offense will impact him, and we don’t know which Jay Cutler will show up. Similar to Hopkins, Jeffery loses a player that helped take attention away in Brandon Marshall. Not sure the Packers are all that scared of Eddie Royal, so I expect them to shadow Jeffery with a safety over the top.

Nelson Agholor – Philadelphia Eagles
FantasyPros ECR – 31

Agholor is the clear-cut No. 2 in a top-notch offense that can definitely support multiple fantasy WRs. He also gets to start his NFL career against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. The Falcons were bottom-six in DVOA and FPPG against WRs in 2014, and I don’t expect much to change. In addition, while the Falcons were terrible against the pass in general, they actually defended opponents No. 1 WRs pretty well, ranking eighth in DVOA. Conversely, they were 28th against WR 2's. Jordan Matthews will draw the top coverage from Atlanta, which could leave Agholor with a lot of opportunity.

Consider starting him over:
Brandon Marshall – ECR 25. Marshall will draw Joe Haden, one of the best corners in the league. Cleveland isn’t nearly as strong on the other side, where the Jets have a more than capable Eric Decker. On top of all this, its not like this will be a high-scoring game. Both teams will lean on their defense throughout, and given Cleveland’s ineptitude on offense, the Jets won’t need to do much offensively.
Sammy Watkins – ECR 27. Tyrod Taylor is his QB and he will draw Vontae Davis. Not a situation that gets me too excited.

Rueben Randle – New York Giants
FantasyPros ECR – 44

I’m a little baffled by his current ranking. Victor Cruz isn’t likely to play this week, leaving Randle wide open for No. 2 duties on a pass-friendly offense. While Randle didn’t breakout to the level some expected last season, he still showed improvement, especially late in the season. He was talented coming out of college, but needed some time to adjust to the NFL. While Dallas was better than expected defensively last year, they still ranked in the bottom third in pass defense DVOA. While they were middle of the road against WR1’s, they were downright awful against No. 2’s. Brandon Carr is a solid DB who will shadow OBJ, and I expect a safety over the top for much of the game. Randle will see plenty of single coverage against a defense that ranked 29th in DVOA against WR2’s, and that was before Orlando Scandrick was placed on IR.

Consider starting him over:
Eric Decker – ECR 35. While I mentioned Decker as having a favorable matchup previously, the expected flow of the game works against him.
Marques Colston – ECR 42. Colston has been running as the WR3 in the preseason and his age is creeping upward. It seems we will continue to witness a decline in production from him, as he is no longer a top option on this offense.

Tight End

Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers
FantasyPros ECR - 11

Admittedly, there weren’t many undervalued TEs this week. My rankings only vary slightly from the ECR, so there was no one that significantly stood out. But, I wanted to at least provide one option. So, I went with Heath Miller as his situation gives him a good opportunity. This game projects to be a high-scoring affair with the second highest O/U on the week at 51 total points. This makes sense as both offenses are strong, finishing in the top-seven PPG in 2014.

Additionally, both defenses have some question marks. The Steelers were mediocre last season and had some eye-raising performances in the preseason. Namely, letting the combination of Tyrod Taylor/Matt Cassel/EJ Manuel drop 43 points on them in the preseason dress rehearsal. While it is tough to glean much from the preseason, it says a lot about their talent on the defensive side of the ball. From New England’s perspective, they were very good last season, but lost both starting cornerbacks to free agency. It’s reasonable to expect some regression, at least early in the season.

All that said, Miller could have a lot of targets in this high-scoring game. The Patriots struggled against TEs last season, giving up the ninth-most FPPG and ranking 30th in DVOA. Big Ben trusts Miller and even though the Patriots secondary has a lot of question marks, their pass rush should be very good, forcing Ben to get rid of the ball quickly. Miller could see a number of balls in the short to intermediate levels for solid PPR production.

Consider starting him over:
Larry Donnell – ECR 10. Donnell had a strong start to the season last year, but faded away as the season wore on. Over the last eight games, Donnell only topped 10 points twice, including a Week 12 game against Dallas where he scored 4.4 points.

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 1! Follow me on Twitter @rw11687.

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September 08, 2015

DraftKings GPP Lineup Construction for NFL Week 1

If you have watched television or listened to the radio recently, you have seen a commercial -- or a 1,000 of them -- for DraftKings or FanDuel this year. This is going to be the biggest year of daily fantasy sports ever.

DraftKings has an amazing $10 million guaranteed tournament for Week 1 alone, which is the richest prize pool ever. This is going to attract a lot of new players, which is great for people that have been playing for a few years.

If you are one of these new players, the key is research, research, and then more research. Read articles on game theory and recommended plays and they will help you in the long run. Join cheap H2H contests against some of the top players in the industry to see what type of lineups they are playing. Deconstructing lineups is probably the best tool most people overlook. Subscribe and listen to podcasts. There are about a dozen podcasts I listen to during football season. These will give you some great insight on which players to pick on Sunday.

My general strategy in large tournaments -- called Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs) -- is to pick a core group of players I really like and then to build teams around them.

Use Vegas as a guide. The higher the over/under, the more points you can expect to see. It's a fairly simple concept, but it's often overlooked by new players. (Note: We track weekly Vegas odds here.)

Excluding the Thursday Night Football matchup, we have three games this weekend that are projected above 50: Green Bay at Chicago, NY Giants at Dallas and Philly at Atlanta. I'd be willing to bet that the majority of GPP winners will have at least 1-2 players from these games. Games like Cleveland at NY Jets or Carolina at Jacksonville can be safely ignored this week for position players unless you are rolling out 20+ GPP lineups.

Here is my core group I like for Week 1.

WR - Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers, $4,400: Adams is the chalkiest play on the board for Week 1, but I'm not going to be contrarian just to be contrarian. There is a lot of value to fading Adams, because if he gets hurt or if Aaron Rodgers targets Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis or any of the TEs (more than Adams), then all of the non-Adams players have a leg up on the rest of the field. I just don't see that happening against the Bears defense. If I'm entering 20+ contests, I'd definitely throw some non-Adams lineups out there, but for newer players or people playing a small number of lineups, going 100 percent Adams is a great move.

WR - Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons, $9,300: At the $9300 price tag, Jones is the most expensive player on DK Week 1. I'm not sure exactly what his ownership level will be, but I think it could be very high with all the savings you can find elsewhere. Jones gets to match up vs. the Eagles defense that was awful against the pass last year. Paying up $9,300, you need to get around 30+ points from him to get value in a tournament and I think he is as safe of a bet as there is, barring injury.

RB - Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $4,500: I wrote Doug Martin up on our DFS Roundtable this week. Martin has a very juicy matchup vs the Titans week 1. He has looked explosive this pre-season and should be the primary back this season for the Bucs.

[Note: Our DFS Roundtable post will be up Wednesday night.]

TE - Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears, $4300: With Gronk playing Thursday night, that leaves the TE position with only a few solid choices. My usual strategy is to pay up for an elite player like Gronk or punt the position. I think this week I'm paying up for the fifth-most expensive TE. As I mentioned above, targeting players from the highest O/U games is something you should do. Bennett is a good red-zone target, and could get some extra targets with Alshon Jeffrey banged up, and Brandon Marshall in NY.

QB - I usually will never have a core QB in my lineups. I like to pair different QBs with WRs in each of my GPP lineups. There are many times where an outside-the-box combo like Ryan Fitzpatrick and DeAndre Hopkins (last year) could win you a tournament.

With those four core players, that's a salary of $22,500, which leaves us a nice $27,500 to play with five positions left.

Here is a look at how I will spend from this point. I'm targeting a defense next. My general rule of thumb is picking a defense at home vs. a sh%#{y offense. The one that stands out this week is the NY Jets at $2,900. There are some other defenses I like that I will sprinkle in on some of my lineups like Miami and Tampa Bay, but the Jets will probably be used in 50% of my GPP lineups. This leaves me with $24,600 for four players (or $6150 per player).

I can go a number of different routes at this point. I can pair my WRs (above) with their starting QBs --Rodgers at $8,600 or Matt Ryan $7,500 -- or I can try to find another QB/WR combo. For this example, I'm going to draft Matt Ryan at $7,500, leaving me with an average of $5,700 each for a RB/WR/Flex. Ryan should have a monster game vs the Eagles defense.

I want to get a piece of the NY Giants/Dallas game. I am going to take Dallas RB Joseph Randle at $5,900. The Cowboys have the best offensive line in football, and I expect a lot of people to be off Randle after the success that Darren McFadden had this preseason. Randle could be a very low-owned steal with an incredibly high ceiling. I'm left with $5,600 per player at this point.

I could go the even route and find two players near the same salary or try and go big with a sleeper and a more consistent player, who should have a higher floor. I'm all for winning GPPs or placing as high as possible so I'm going boom or bust.

WR - Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears, $3,900: The Bears should be down and Royal should have a fair number of targets vs. the Packers.

RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals, $7,100: The Raiders run defense is pretty bad, and I think a lot of people will shy away from Hill Week 1. Hill has an incredible ceiling Week 1.

In this lineup, six out of eight players come from highest total games.

Here is another sample lineup without QB/WR combo.

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills, $5,000: Taylor is at the site minimum and makes for a very sneaky GPP play. The Bills defense has improved this offseason, but they face arguably the best offense in the NFL this week. The Bills could be playing from behind in 3+ WR sets which would force Indy to play a lot of 5-6 DB sets. This would give Taylor a lot of space to run the ball. A modest game of 200 passing yards, 50 rush yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs gives Taylor plenty of value to pay off his price tag. This leaves me with $6533 left per player.

WR - Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, $8,700: I get another elite WR who has 30+ scoring potential.

WR - Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles, $7,200: The Eagles #1 WR should have a field day vs the leagues worst passing defense last year.

RB - Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles, $3,600 Punt play and high upside. I'm projecting the Eagles to score 40+ points on Monday night.

6 out of 8 players come from highest total games.

A more contrarian lineup with my core group

QB - Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts, $8,300: Luck has a very tough matchup vs Buffalo on the road, and I think he will get overlooked and be very low owned week 1. Sometimes you just play elite players regardless of matchup.

RB - Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals, $6,400: Ellington has a very soft matchup at home vs. the Saints. For only $300 more, you can snag DeMarco Murray in a game where I project their to be 60+ points. Ellington makes a pretty solid pivot to Murray.

WR - Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers, $3,700: It wouldn't shock me to see Johnson return to fantasy fame this year. He has a pretty good matchup vs. Detroit and the price is right.

Flex - Andre Johnson, Indianapolis Colts, $6,100 Luck/Johnson combo could reward you big time if Buffalo finds a way in slowing down T.Y. Hilton.

With this lineup i only have 3 of 8 players coming from the highest total games.

Typically the contrarian lineup will net you a bigger win than a chalkier lineup like 1 and 2, but you need to be prepared to lose the majority of the time with these lineups.

There is no right or wrong way in constructing a roster. You need to always tweak your strategy to stay ahead of the rest of the pack.

Best of luck to everyone this season.

Find me on Twitter at @Xtremedynasty.

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Preseason Rankings: Quarterbacks

It was the first time it happened (or should I say didn't happen?) in a decade.

Three of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation -- Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees -- all finished outside the top-three fantasy quarterbacks in 2014. From 2005 to 2013, at least one of those three quarterbacks had finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback every season.

Could that happen for a second year in a row? Based on my rankings, my answer is yes.

With that said, here are my fantasy football quarterback rankings for 2015:


1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Throwing for 4,761 yards and a league-leading 40 touchdowns, both of which were career highs, Luck's 40 TDs last season nearly equalled his total from his first two seasons combined (46 TDs). During the season, Luck had the second-longest streak of 300-yard games (eight) in NFL history. Not only does Luck lead one of the league's most prolific passing offenses, but he gets a boost from his mobility with at least 255 rushing yards each year and a total of 12 rushing scores.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

The reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, Rodgers was also the top-scoring fantasy quarterback as well. Since becoming Green Bay's starting quarterback seven years ago, Rodgers has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback in six of seven seasons with the lone exception due to injury (broken clavicle, 2013). Over the past four seasons, Rodgers has compiled a 139:25 TD-to-INT ratio with an average of 8.5 yards per attempt, 112.6 passer rating and 67.0 completion percentage.

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

A top-three fantasy quarterback in 2014, Wilson rushed for 849 yards and six touchdowns, both of which were career highs, and netted fantasy owners an average of 7.56 fantasy points per game from rushing stats alone. While he won't post gaudy passing statistics in Seattle's run-dominant offense, Wilson is the first quarterback in league history to throw 20-plus touchdowns with 10 or fewer interceptions in each of his first three NFL seasons, per Pro Football Reference. Wilson's volume of pass attempts may not spike in 2015, but the Seahawks pulled off a blockbuster trade for tight end Jimmy Graham, which significantly upgrades the team's weapons in the red zone.

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

After three consecutive 5,000-yard seasons, Brees fell just shy of that mark in 2014 but still tied for the league lead with 4,952 passing yards and threw 33 touchdowns. For the first time since signing with the Saints in 2006, Brees finished outside the top-five fantasy quarterbacks (sixth) in 2014. And while he has thrown at least 650 pass attempts in five consecutive seasons and he led the league in pass attempts per game (41.2) last season, a transition to a more run-based offense could begin given their offseason moves.

5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

With Judge Berman nullifying the four-game suspension for Brady, it's great to have a resolution (sort of, sans the NFL's appeal) to the Deflategate drama. After a slow start last season as Rob Gronkowski worked his way back from a torn ACL, only Peyton Manning (31) threw more touchdowns than Brady (29) from Weeks 5 to 17. During that span, Brady scored the fifth-most fantasy points among QBs on a per-game basis. Assuming continued good health for Gronk, Brady could finish as a top-five fantasy QB in 2015.

6. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Based on his 2014 average draft position (ADP), Roethlisberger was one of the biggest draft values last season. Only four quarterbacks scored more fantasy points and he threw for a career-high 4,952 yards, which tied Drew Brees last season for the league lead, and 32 touchdowns, which tied a previous career high. With continuity on the offensive line and one of the league's best group of pass catchers, it wouldn't surprise me if Big Ben posted another top-five finish in 2015.

7. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

Manning finished the year as the QB4 (312.68 fantasy points) behind Rodgers (354.14), Luck (350.74) and Wilson (327.6). In the first 11 games of the season, Manning averaged 23.96 fantasy points per game (323.45 YPG, 34 TDs and nine INTs). In the final five games of the season, however, he averaged just 9.83 FPPG (233.8 YPG, five TDs and six INTs) and never scored more than 13.02 fantasy points in any of those games. Much of the decline can be attributed to last year's thigh injury, but Manning's passing production also tends to slow as the weather turns colder. In a more balanced offense with some issues on the offensive line, it's possible that Manning fails to produce a top-five fantasy season.

8. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill posted career highs in passing yards (4,045), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (66.4) with a career low in interceptions (12) in his first year playing for new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. In addition, he rushed for a career-high 311 yards, which ranked fifth among all quarterbacks last season. Starting in Week 6, Tannehill finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in six of 11 weeks, but he finished with the eighth-most fantasy points over the full season. The team's group of top pass-catchers was entirely turned over except for Jarvis Landry, but Tannehill has some upside for those that wait on quarterback in 2015.

9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Ryan has more than 4,500 passing yards in three consecutive seasons with the third-most (13,928) over that span. In addition, he has 26-plus touchdowns in five consecutive seasons and the sixth-most (143) during that span. The good news is that Ryan has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in four of the past five years, which makes him a solid mid-QB1 option to target. That said, he has yet to finish as a top-six fantasy quarterback in his career.

10. Eli Manning, New York Giants

In the first six games of the season, Eli finished outside the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in all but one game. Over the final 10 games of the season, however, Manning posted five weekly top-five performances. With better health from his wide receivers and the free-agent addition of Shane Vereen, a talented receiver out of the backfield, plus more comfort and familiarity with Ben McAdoo's offense, Eli has the potential to post career numbers in 2015. In addition, only Tampa and Washington have a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule than Eli does.

- My full 2015 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Preseason Rankings: Running Backs

Among fantasy football's major positions, running back is arguably the most difficult to predict.

While I generally prefer to draft at least two running backs within my first three picks, plenty of late(r)-round selections will pay huge dividends for fantasy owners. Of course, identifying them is a little more difficult.

That said, four of the top-12 fantasy running backs last season were drafted, on average, outside the top-30 fantasy running backs last year — Lamar Miller (No. 9, ADP: RB31), Jeremy Hill (No. 10, ADP: RB42), C.J. Anderson (No. 11, ADP: RB65) and Justin Forsett (No. 8, ADP: Undrafted).

With that said, here are my fantasy football running back rankings for 2015:

1. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

Unfortunately for Bell (and his fantasy owners), he's suspended for the first two games of the season (although that was cut from his initial three-game ban). Once he returns, however, Bell's versatility makes him a true three-down back and his production won't vary much based on game flow. Named 2014 AP First-Team All-Pro Team, Bell racked up 1,361 rushing yards, 83 receptions for 854 yards and 11 total touchdowns in his second season. Bell broke single-season franchise records for yards from scrimmage and receptions by a running back. Over the course of last year, he averaged 17.97 fantasy points per game although his production spiked to 24.7/G with LeGarrette Blount out of the picture down the stretch.

2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

One of the league's all-time best running backs, Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards back just a couple of seasons ago coming of a torn ACL. Assuming that he plays all 16 games (or close to it), the 30-year-old Peterson should finish as a top-three (or better) fantasy back in 2015.

3. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers

Starting slowly while facing three elite rush defenses to start the season, only DeMarco Murray and Le'Veon Bell scored more fantasy points than Lacy did from Weeks 4 to 17. Over those final 13 games of the season, he averaged 18.92 touches for 108.85 YFS per game and scored a total of 13 touchdowns. The benefit of playing with Aaron Rodgers means that opposing defenses are less likely to stack the box to (try to) slow down Lacy. After averaging a relatively modest 4.15 yards per carry as a rookie, Lacy averaged 4.63 YPC last season (and 4.89 YPC over final 13 games).

4. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

Despite a somewhat disappointing season, Charles finished with the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs in 2014. The 28-year-old back rushed for 1,033 yards, his fifth 1,000-yard season, and added 40 catches for 291 yards while scoring a total of 14 touchdowns. Despite a year-over-year decline in all of those numbers, the biggest concern was his reduction in workload. After 320-plus touches in back-to-back seasons, Charles had just 246 touches -- 15 running backs had more -- in 2014. Perhaps we won't see Charles get in the 320-range ever again, but it would be a surprise to see him as low as 246 again this season.

5. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

In his four full seasons in Seattle, Lynch has rushed for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in those seasons. During that four-year span, no player has more rushing yards (5,357), rushing touchdowns (48) and or total touchdowns (56). Beast Mode's production hasn't slowed at all, but his physical running style (granted, he seems to dish out more punishment than he receives), heavy workload (league-high 1,479 regular-season and playoff touches over that four-year span) and age (turned 29 in April) is at least somewhat concerning. That said, Lynch seems to be a lock for another 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in one of the league's most run-dominant offenses.

6. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos

From Week 10 to 17 last year, Anderson finished as a top-five fantasy running back in six of eight games. In the other two games, he was still very productive as the RB10 and RB16 for those given weeks. With a new coaching staff entering 2015, CJA is set to begin the season in a featured-back role. In his mailbag column, Troy Renck of the Denver Post projects Anderson to average 18 carries per game as the team's "bellcow" and to "roll for 1,400 yards."

7. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals

Over the final nine games of the season, Hill had 22-plus carries and 100-plus rushing yards five times including the final three games of the regular season. During that nine-game span, Hill had 172 carries for 929 yards and six touchdowns and no running back had more rushing yards than Hill during that stretch. (Lynch was second with 824 yards.) Going into the 2015 season, Hill is clearly the team's lead back with Giovani Bernard back as the change-of-pace option.

8. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears

Not only did Forte lead all running backs in receptions (102) last year, but only three players had more -- Antonio Brown (129), Demaryius Thomas (111) and Julio Jones (104) -- as he broke the single-season record for receptions by a running back. With the coaching change, Forte isn't likely to see anywhere close to triple-digit receptions again, but he could certainly finish in the neighborhood of 60-70 catches. And although Forte averaged less than four yards per carry for the first time since 2009, he has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons and has exceeded 1,400 yards from scrimmage in all seven of his NFL seasons. Only the Raiders (337) and Bucs (353) ran the ball less than the Bears (355) last season and I'd expect the Bears to be more committed to the run in 2015 to limit Jay Cutler's turnovers.

9. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles

Murray has always been productive on a per-game, per-touch basis. Before last season's career year, Murray averaged 4.95 yards per carry in his first three seasons combined. The issue with Murray (before 2014) was durability as he missed multiple games in each of those three seasons. With a total of 497 touches including the playoffs last year, durability remains Murray's biggest concern in 2015 as well. Even though the team added another talented (and injury-prone) running back (Ryan Mathews) in free agency, I'd expect Murray to still get close to 20 touches per game, when healthy. But will he hold up for another full season?

10. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

Barely finishing as a top-12 fantasy running back last season, McCoy finished third in the league in rushing (1,319 yards) and was one of only two 300-carry backs. Not only did he average nearly a yard per carry less in 2014 than 2013, however, McCoy also saw his receptions (52 in 2013) and touchdowns (11 in 2013) drop roughly in half to 28 and five, respectively. Despite running behind an inferior offensive line (compared to Philadelphia's), McCoy should see a healthy volume of work within Buffalo's ground-and-pound offense, like last year, but will his per-touch effectiveness bounce back in a less-efficient offense? In addition, his Week 1 status isn't clear.

-> 2015 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Preseason Rankings: Wide Receivers

A wide receiver has scored 250-plus fantasy points 12 times in the history of the NFL.

Nearly half of those 250-point seasons belong to one player, Jerry Rice (five). Only four of them have occurred since the turn of the century — Randy Moss (2003 and 2007), Calvin Johnson (2011) and now Antonio Brown (2014).

Amazingly, Brown never finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in any given week throughout the 2014 season. (In fact, that applies to both standard- and PPR-scoring formats.) Yet no wide receiver had more fantasy points over the course of the season -- in either format -- than Brown.

Over the past two seasons, Brown has a combined 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also has 17 rushing yards and two return touchdowns. More impressive than his overall level of production, however, has been his consistency.

Brown had at least five receptions and 70 yards in all 17 games (counting their playoff loss) last season. Going back to the start of 2013, Brown has at least five catches and 50 yards in 33 consecutive games.

One of the things that you'll often hear in fantasy football is that you can't win your league in the first round, but you can lose it. With Brown's production and consistency, there isn't a safer first-round pick.

Here are my fantasy football wide receiver rankings for 2015:

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

See above.

2. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys

Targeted only 136 times, a three-year low, Bryant finished with 88 receptions for 1,320 yards and a career-high and league-leading 16 touchdowns. Dez now has at least 88 catches, 1,233 yards and 12 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. And aside from Marshawn Lynch, Bryant is the only other player with at least 50 total touchdowns over the past four seasons.

3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Jones finished with 104 catches for 1,593 yards, both of which shattered his previous career highs, and six touchdowns in 2014. After scoring 0.62 TD/G on 74.4 YPG in his first two seasons, Jones has averaged just 0.40 TD/G despite a jump to 1087.7 YPG over the past two seasons. With plus size and speed, Jones should bounce back in terms of red-zone production and could put together a 100/1,500/10 season in 2015 with good health.

4. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

Despite his slow start, Thomas reached the 100-yard mark in 10 of his final 13 games and finished with a full-season stat line of 111 catches and 1,619 yards, both of which were career highs, and 11 touchdowns. A fourth consecutive year of 90-plus receptions, 1,400-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns seems like a strong possibility with Peyton Manning back for (at least) one more year.

5. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

Including playoff appearances, Megatron has more 200-yard games (six) than any other receiver in league history. And while he still has as much potential as any receiver to take over a given game, he has missed a total of five games in 2013 and 2014. Johnson also appeared in a few games as a decoy, which can be even worse for fantasy owners than missed games. With five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, however, Megatron has averaged a stat line of 90/1,467/11 during that span.

6. Odell Beckham, New York Giants

Closing the season with nine consecutive games of 90-plus yards, Beckham racked up a massive stat line of 81/1,199/9 on 115 targets during that stretch. In fact, only 11 other receivers had more yards in all of 2014 than OBJ had in his final nine games. And as impressive as that sounds, he was even more dominant over his final four games -- 43/606/7 on 63 targets. While ODB is far from being the biggest receiver, his combination of hands, route-running ability, speed and elusiveness makes him nearly impossible to cover especially in today's age of offense-friendly rules.

7. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Injuries kept Green from building upon his 2013 numbers (98/1,426/11), but he extended his streak of 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career to four. Only Megatron (6,214), Brown (5,092) and Demaryius (5,034) have more yards during that four-year span than Green (4,874). With good health, Green is a good bet for 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns in 2015.

8. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

Recently turning 25, Cobb re-signed with the Packers prior to the official start of NFL free agency. Of course, playing in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense helps to maximize his fantasy value this year and going forward. Cobb finished the season with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, all of which set career highs, but I would be surprised if he scored 12 touchdowns again in 2015. That said, the season-ending ACL injury to Jordy Nelson means that Cobb should finish as a top-eight fantasy receiver in 2015.

9. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

With the Bears trading Brandon Marshall to the Jets and using a top-seven pick on West Virginia's Kevin White, Jeffery now takes over as the team's clear No. 1 wide receiver. Despite year-over-year dips in both receptions (85) and receiving yards (1,133), Jeffery posted a career high in touchdowns (10) and finished with the 11th-most fantasy points among wide receivers last season. Jeffery has been sidelined with a calf injury for the past several weeks, but it appears that he'll be ready for the start of the season.

10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Not only was he one of three rookie receivers to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, but Evans was one of just five receivers to score at least 12 touchdowns last year. From Weeks 9 to 11, he gave us a glimpse of what we can expect when things really click as he posted a massive 21/458/5 line over that three-game stretch. Evans, who turned 22 in August, should take a step forward in 2015 although there may be some early-season inconsistency playing with a rookie quarterback.

-> 2015 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Preseason Rankings: Tight Ends

While most fantasy football drafts are in the books, a few still have some drafts to go and therefore I've made a final update to my preseason fantasy football rankings.

Here are my fantasy football tight end rankings (standard scoring):

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

When it comes to fantasy tight ends, he's in a tier all by himself. Named the 2014 AP Comeback Player of the Year after two injury-plagued seasons, Gronkowski posted an 82/1,124/12 stat line over 15 games. Scoring 184.4 fantasy points, Gronk had 30.3 points (or 19.66 percent) more than Antonio Gates, who had the second-most among tight ends. Not only dominant over a full season, but Gronk was consistent as well finishing as a top-five weekly scorer at the position in eight of 15 games and a top-11 scorer in all but two games.

2. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks

Slowed by a shoulder injury, Graham had 54 yards or less in six of his final seven games last season and finished with only 889 yards, a four-year low. Over his past four seasons, however, Graham has averaged 89 catches, 1,099 yards and 12 touchdowns per year. With his trade to the Seahawks, Graham goes from an offense that averaged 41.2 pass attempts per game, second-most in the NFL last year, to one that averages the fewest (28.4/G).

3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Kelce played only 52.3 percent of the team's offensive snaps from Weeks 1 to 10, but that percentage jumped to 86.7 percent from Weeks 11 to 17. Despite his snap-count limits during the first half of the season, Kelce still finished with 67 receptions, 862 yards and five touchdowns and the ninth-most fantasy points (sixth-most in PPR formats) among tight ends last season. With good health, the sky is the limit for Kelce in 2015.

4. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

Posting career highs of 84 catches for 1,008 yards last season, Olsen now has at least 69 receptions and 816 yards while finishing as a top-seven fantasy tight end in each of the past three seasons. Over that three-year span, Jimmy Graham (3,086) is the only tight end with more yards than Olsen (2,667) and only Graham (256) and Jason Witten (247) have more receptions than Olsen (226). He's never scored more than eight touchdowns in a season, but he has at least five scores for seven consecutive seasons. In addition, Olsen is extremely durable having played all 16 games in seven consecutive seasons.

5. Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears

Setting career highs across the board in 2014 with 90 receptions, 916 yards and six touchdowns, Bennett finished as a top-five scorer among tight ends and led the position in receptions. With the Bears trading Brandaon Marshall to the Jets and the injury to top pick Kevin White, Bennett has the potential to come close to those numbers this season.

6. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

Other than his rookie season, Witten's 64 receptions and 703 yards last year set or tied career lows. Witten lacks upside at this point in his career, but he's a solid option that should come close to last year's top-10 performance once again.

7. Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins

In 2013, Cameron had a breakout season with 80 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. When healthy, he is clearly a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Unfortunately, Cameron missed six games last season and has a history of concussions. Perhaps no injury is more worrisome from a fantasy outlook given the greater susceptibility and unpredictability of a recurrence. If Cameron plays 16 games in 2015, however, he has top-five upside.

8. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals

Eifert's 2014 season ended almost as soon as it began with a dislocated elbow injury in Week 1. As a rookie and part of a timeshare with Jermaine Gresham, Eifert posted a solid 39/445/2 line in 2013. With Gresham now gone and Eifert healthy, Eifert will be counted on to be a significant part of their passing attack. Provided he stays healthy, it wouldn't surprise me if the former first-round pick finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end in 2015.

9. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

Walker set career highs in both receptions (63) and yards (890) and led the team in both categories last season. It may be difficult for Walker to repeat that production with a rookie quarterback, but he could once again finish as a top-10 fantasy tight end.

10. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

Ertz saw a year-over-year jump from 36 catches and 469 yards as a rookie to 58 catches for 702 yards, 11th-most among tight ends last season. With Jeremy Maclin leaving Philadelphia for Kansas City, however, Ertz should become even more involved in the passing game. That said, he was still working with the second-team offense before undergoing a surgery to repair a groin tear and it's unclear if he'll be ready to go Week 1 against the Falcons.

- My full 2015 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings

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September 07, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 7

Here are Round 7 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft:

7.01 - Sean Beazley (Team I): LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots

As we've seen from Blount in the postseason, he can go from one yard on three carries (vs. BAL) one week to 30 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns (vs. IND) the next week. Blount's carries in his final six games through the Super Bowl were as follows: 20, eight, 10, three, 30 and 14. While we can't always count on consistent running back workloads from Belichick, Blount figures to be the "guy" in the Patriots' backfield. And Blount has been dominant at the goal line for the Patriots with 15 rushing scores in his past 15 games (including playoffs) with the Pats.

7.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

Woodhead missed all but three games last season, but prior to the 2014 season, he had finished as a top-30 fantasy running back in three of his previous four seasons. In his first full season with the Chargers (2013) which also coincided with the only full season for Ryan Mathews, Woodhead had 1,034 yards from scrimmage, 76 receptions and eight total touchdowns. Even though Melvin Gordon will get the largest share of the early-down work, Woodhead should get the majority of third-down snaps.

7.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins

Despite the revolving door at quarterback, Jackson was one of the few bright spots for Washington's offense in 2014. D-Jax finished with 56 catches for 1,169 yards and six touchdowns and he led the NFL in yards per reception (20.9). Even though he finished as the 23rd-highest scoring fantasy wide receiver, the big drawback of owning Jackson is his boom-or-bust nature. Jackson finished as a top-20 fantasy wide receiver in eight of 15 games last year; in six of the other seven games, he finished as the WR50 or worse.

7.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions

Scoring the 13th-most fantasy points among running backs (PPR) in 2014, Bell finished with 223 carries for 860 yards, both of which were career highs, as well as 34 receptions for 322 yards and eight total touchdowns. That said, it was the second consecutive season that Bell has averaged under 4.0 YPC.

While I expect Bell to lead the team's backfield in touches in 2015, second-round rookie Ameer Abdullah weakens Bell's grip on the featured-back role and it wouldn't surprise me if Abdullah emerged as the lead back at some point during the season, but I like his value as the RB32.

7.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Smith's first season as a Raven went better than expectations as he posted a 79/1,065/6 full-season stat line. With all four of his 100-yard games occurring in the first six games of the season, Smith was much less effective over the final 10 games. That said, he did have at least five catches in each of the final four games for a total of 25 catches during the final month of the season. Now 36 years old, it's unlikely that Smith posts another 1,000-yard season in what will be his final NFL season, but he has made a career out of disproving his doubters.

7.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Over his past three seasons, Romo's pass attempts have dropped from 648 (2012) to 535 (2013) to 435 (2014). Despite the drop in volume, Romo threw 34 touchdowns, the most for him since 2007, with only nine interceptions, a four-year low. In addition, Romo led the league in Y/A (8.5), completion percentage (69.9), touchdown percentage (7.8) and passer rating (113.2) last year.

Assuming the team stays committed to the run game without DeMarco Murray, who signed a free-agent deal with the Eagles, Romo's upside could be somewhat limited with a relatively modest uptick in pass attempts. Even with his career year in efficiency, Romo still finished just outside the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks last season.

7.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Mathews has struggled with durability as he has played a full 16-game season only once in his five-year career. That said, he has been productive when on the field with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons under his belt and a career 4.40 YPC average. While he enters 2015 second on the depth chart behind last year's rushing champion, Murray has his own durability concerns as he is coming off a massive 497-touch season counting the playoffs.

7.08 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Since entering the league as a top-four pick, McFadden has largely disappointed fantasy owners due to durability issues or lack of production. Back in 2010 and 2011, he gave owners a glimpse of what could be with an average of 121.6 YFS per game and 5.27 YPC over 20 games played. For the first six seasons of his career, however, he missed at least three games every season and averaged only 11.17 games per year before finally playing a full 16-game season in 2014. In addition, McFadden has averaged just 3.34 YPC over the past three seasons combined. Having just turned 28, McFadden has some upside if he can stay healthy and get a significant share of the committee's workload. That said, the trade this weekend for Christine Michael lowers relatively modest optimism for McFadden.

7.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

Ryan has more than 4,500 passing yards in three consecutive seasons with the third-most (13,928) over that span. In addition, he has 26-plus touchdowns in five consecutive seasons and the sixth-most (143) during that span. The good news is that Ryan has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in four of the past five years, which makes him a solid mid-QB1 option to target. That said, he has yet to finish as a top-six fantasy quarterback in his career. He's the QB9 in this mock.

7.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill posted career highs in passing yards (4,045), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (66.4) with a career low in interceptions (12) in his first year playing for new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. In addition, he rushed for a career-high 311 yards, which ranked fifth among all quarterbacks last season. Starting in Week 6, Tannehill finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in six of 11 weeks, but he finished with the eighth-most fantasy points over the full season. The team's group of top pass-catchers was entirely turned over except for Jarvis Landry, but Tannehill has plenty of upside heading into 2015.

7.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Fitzgerald had 63 receptions for 784 yards and a career-low two touchdowns last season and his 784 yards were only four more than the career low he had as a rookie. Given the injuries to Carson Palmer and then Drew Stanton, the decline certainly wasn't solely the fault of Fitzgerald, who also missed two games. In the 22 games that Carson Palmer and Fitzgerald have played together over the past two seasons, Fitzgerald has averaged 5.18 receptions, 65.32 yards and 0.55 touchdowns per game. That's a 16-game pace of 83/1,045/9.

7.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Even though the 49ers have the second-fewest passing yards over the past two seasons, Boldin has back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Niners. In addition, both of his yardage totals (1,179 and 1,062, respectively) were higher than any of his previous six seasons. Boldin is unlikely to blow up for 150 yards and two touchdowns in any given week, but he provides owners with consistent production -- 50-plus receiving yards in 12 of 16 games last season.

> Continue to Round 8 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 6 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft


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2015 Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Weekly Movement: Sept. 7th Update

Every Monday this offseason, we posted an update in players that have had the biggest moves — both up and down — in fantasy football average draft position (ADP) from the previous week. (Given that the NFL season starts in three days, this will be the final weekly update.)

With this information, we can get a better sense of changes in the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters); in essence, it's a version of fantasy stock up/down for players. If a player is moving up the ADP chart, it may lead us to using a higher pick than his current ADP to make sure we secure a targeted player.

Of course, a player's ADP (and movement) is just one (small) piece in determining who to draft and our strategy used to assemble a fantasy roster.

For purposes of our weekly comparison(s), we use ADP data from 12-team mock drafts from Fantasy Football Calculator.

Biggest weekly gainers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots: -17.3 (81.7 on 9/1 to 64.4 on 9/7)
  2. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles: -10.9 (91.8 to 80.9)
  3. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: -4.7 (154.1 to 149.4)

Running Backs:

  1. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders: -11.3 (91.6 to 80.3)
  2. Matt Jones, Washington Redskins: -10.5 (143.2 to 132.7)
  3. Arian Foster, Houston Texans: -7.2 (46.2 to 39.0)

Wide Receivers:

  1. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins: -10.7 (126.9 to 116.2)
  2. Eric Decker, New York Jets: -10.1 (113.6 to 103.5)
  3. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans: -9.5 (121.0 to 111.5)

Tight Ends:

  1. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: -13.0 (102.7 to 89.7)
  2. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals: -9.7 (107.9 to 98.2)
  3. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: -8.3 (126.5 to 118.2)

Biggest weekly fallers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: +8.7 (153.2 on 9/1 to 161.9 on 9/7)
  2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: +5.8 (55.9 to 61.7)
  3. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers: +5.3 (140.8 to 146.1)

Running Backs:

  1. Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns: +10.8 (98.6 to 109.4)
  2. Andre Williams, New York Giants: +9.4 (138.3 to 147.7)
  3. Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans: +8.9 (89.7 to 98.6)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints: +11.5 (109.8 to 121.3)
  2. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders: +11.2 (132.0 to 143.2)
  3. Jeff Janis, Green Bay Packers: +7.7 (152.0 to 159.7)

Tight Ends:

  1. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars: +37.2 (87.8 to 125.0)
  2. Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: +5.5 (149.6 to 155.1)
  3. Owen Daniels, Denver Broncos: +4.8 (80.6 to 85.4)

[Note: Negative numbers mean the player's ADP is improving (i.e., being drafted earlier) and vice versa.]

- Fantasy Football ADP Risers/Fallers: See full grid of player changes in ADP over past week

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2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 6

Continuing the 2015 PPR Mock Draft that we began last week, another round is in the books.

Here are Round 6 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft:

6.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

After three consecutive 5,000-yard seasons, Brees fell just shy of that mark in 2014 but still tied (with Ben Roethlisberger) for the league lead with 4,952 passing yards and threw 33 touchdowns. For the first time since signing with the Saints in 2006, however, Brees finished outside the top-five fantasy quarterbacks (sixth) in 2014. And while he has thrown at least 650 pass attempts in five consecutive seasons and he led the league in pass attempts per game (41.2) last season, a transition to a more run-based offense could begin given their offseason moves.

6.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

With Judge Berman nullifying the four-game suspension for Brady, it's great to have a resolution (sort of, sans the NFL's appeal) to the Deflategate drama. After a slow start last season as Rob Gronkowski worked his way back from a torn ACL, only Peyton Manning (31) threw more touchdowns than Brady (29) from Weeks 5 to 17. During that span, Brady scored the fifth-most fantasy points among QBs on a per-game basis. Assuming continued good health for Gronk, Brady could finish as a top-five fantasy QB in 2015.

6.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers

Posting career highs of 84 catches for 1,008 yards last season, Olsen now has at least 69 receptions and 816 yards while finishing as a top-seven fantasy tight end in each of the past three seasons. Over that three-year span, Jimmy Graham (3,086) is the only tight end with more yards than Olsen (2,667) and only Graham (256) and Jason Witten (247) have more receptions than Olsen (226). He's never scored more than eight touchdowns in a season, but he has at least five scores for seven consecutive seasons. In addition, Olsen is extremely durable having played all 16 games in seven consecutive seasons.

6.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears

Setting career highs across the board in 2014 with 90 receptions, 916 yards and six touchdowns, Bennett finished as a top-five scorer among tight ends and led the position in receptions. With the Bears trading Brandaon Marshall to the Jets and the injury to top pick Kevin White, Bennett has the potential to come close to those numbers this season.

6.05 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Inactive for the first six games, Bryant went on a scoring spree in his first four NFL games with a total of six touchdowns during that span. After that point, however, Bryant had just 12 catches for 239 yards and two touchdowns in the final six games of the season. Not only does he currently project as the team's No. 3 receiver, Bryant will miss the first four games of the season due to league suspension. It's a bit of a surprise that Sean took Bryant this early given his suspension, but he took receivers with his first two picks -- Demaryius Thomas and A.J. Green -- as his starters and Bryant certainly has upside once he returns from suspension.

6.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Just a couple of seasons ago, Martin racked up 1,926 yards from scrimmage, 49 receptions and 12 touchdowns in 16 games as a rookie when he finished the year as fantasy's RB2. Over the past two seasons (combined), Martin has missed 15 games while totalling only 1,080 YFS, 25 receptions and three touchdowns. Going into 2015, however, Martin is in line for the largest share of the backfield's workload and he has looked impressive this offseason and preseason (5.9 YPC).

6.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets

Although he averaged a career-low 4.1 YPC, Ivory once again rushed for more than 800 yards and set a career high with six touchdowns. Despite any of the additions to the Jets' backfield, Ivory is the clear favorite to lead the team's backfield in both workload and fantasy production. More productive than most probably realized, Ivory finished as a top-24 fantasy running back (PPR) last season.

6.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys

Other than his rookie season, Witten's 64 receptions and 703 yards last year set or tied career lows. Witten lacks upside at this point in his career, but he should come close to last year's top-10 performance once again. If I don't get one of the top-five fantasy tight ends, however, I'd rather wait for a high-upside guy like Tyler Eifert as opposed to using a pick here on Witten.

6.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Better suited for his return to a change-of-pace role, Bernard should still have the opportunity to be productive as a solid RB2 in PPR leagues. As an example, Jeremy Hill carried the ball 22-plus times for 100-plus yards in the team's final three regular-season games. In those same games, Bernard finished as a weekly top-12 fantasy running back in PPR-scoring formats.

As beat writer Paul Dehner Jr. noted earlier this offseason, "... once settling into a complementary role the final three weeks, [Bernard] returned to the explosive, multi-dimensional player the Bengals team envisioned."

6.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Based on his 2014 average draft position (ADP), Roethlisberger was one of the biggest draft values last season. Only four quarterbacks scored more fantasy points and he threw for a career-high 4,952 yards, which tied Brees last season for the league lead, and 32 touchdowns, which tied a previous career high. With continuity on the offensive line and one of the league's best group of pass catchers, it wouldn't surprise me if Big Ben posted another top-five finish in 2015.

6.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Landing in Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense bodes well for Agholor's short- and long-term fantasy outlook. While the Eagles lost Jeremy Maclin (6-0, 198, 4.48 forty) in free agency, Agholor (6-0, 198, 4.42 forty) has earned comparisons to the departed receiver. An excellent route runner, Agholor has the ability to play both inside and outside and finished with a 104/1,313/12 stat line last year for USC.

6.12 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Charles Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Possessing an impressive combination of size (6-2, 225) and athleticism (sub-4.4 forty), Johnson was reunited with Norv Turner in Minnesota after being released by the receiver-deficient Browns last offseason. In the final six games of the season, Johnson was on the field for all but 19 of the team's offensive snaps. And over his final seven games, Johnson posted 25 receptions for 415 yards and two touchdowns. With a full offseason and the continued development of second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Johnson should pick up where he left off last season.

> Continue to Round 7 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 5 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft


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September 05, 2015

Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Projections: San Francisco 49ers

In addition to viewing our 2015 Fantasy Football Projections by position, we have posted our preseason projections per team.

Below you find our 2015 fantasy football projections for the San Francisco 49ers:

Quarterbacks

PlayerComp.Att.YardsTDINTRushYardsTDPoints
Colin Kaepernick320516381822.712.9914782.1291.02
Kaepernick averaged fewer yards per attempt (7.0), threw fewer touchdowns (19) and more interceptions (10) than he did in 2013 (7.7 Y/A, 21 TDs and eight INTs) despite throwing more pass attempts (478 in 2014 vs. 416 in 2013). Given the changes to the roster and coaching staff, the 49ers should find themselves trailing (and throwing) more often in 2015. Meanwhile, the addition of Torrey Smith gives the 49ers a vertical threat that can take advantage of Kaepernick's strong arm. He also set career highs in rush attempts (105) and rushing yards (639) even though he rushed for only one touchdown last year (after nine touchdowns in the previous two years combined). While I wouldn't want to count on him as my every-week starter, few QB2 options have as much upside as Kaepernick. With all of that said, it was a less-than-inspiring preseason for Kaepernick, who had more rushing yards (62) than passing yards (40) as he completed just five of 13 pass attempts (38.5 percent, 3.1 Y/A).

More Fantasy Football QB Resources:

Running Backs

PlayerAtt.YardsTDRec.YardsTDPoints
Carlos Hyde23510348.5201300.4169.8
With Frank Gore signing with the Colts, Hyde sits atop the 49ers depth chart at running back going into his second season. With Gore ahead of him on the depth chart last year, Hyde had just 83 carries for 333 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. Not only will his workload expand significantly, but I expect his effectiveness on a per-carry basis to increase from last year's 4.0 yards-per-carry average. Even though the offense has sputtered in general, Hyde has looked good this preseason (5.6 YPC).
Reggie Bush743072.9513641.794.7
Coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, Bush missed five games and gained a total of only 550 yards from scrimmage (50.0 per game) while averaging just 3.9 yards per carry and scoring just two touchdowns. Released by the Lions, Bush signed with the 49ers and will at least own a change-of-pace role to unproven second-year back Carlos Hyde.
Kendall Hunter632842.31068049
Mike Davis351471428023.5
Jarryd Hayne21880.5320013.8
While he's unlikely to make a fantasy impact, the ex-rugby star has made his share of highlights in the preseason including this "hit" in the preseason finale:

More Fantasy Football RB Resources:

Wide Receivers

PlayerRec.YardsTDRushYardsTDPoints
Anquan Boldin7610125.2140132.8
Even though the 49ers have the second-fewest passing yards over the past two seasons, Boldin has back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Niners. In addition, both of his yardage totals (1,179 and 1,062, respectively) were higher than any of his previous six seasons. Boldin is unlikely to blow up for 150 yards and two touchdowns in any given week, but he provides owners with consistent production -- 50-plus receiving yards in 12 of 16 games last season.
Torrey Smith528687.2000130
Overall, it was a disappointing season for Smith, who either set or tied career lows with 49 receptions for 767 yards. On a positive note, however, Smith set a career high with 11 touchdowns and he was much more productive from Week 6 to 17. During that span, Smith averaged 3.8/59.1/0.9 per game and scored the 14th-most fantasy points among receivers on a per-game basis. One of the league's more dangerous vertical threats, Smith fills a void for the 49ers, but his weekly production could remain relatively volatile.
Jerome Simpson15209100026.9
Quinton Patton172070.800025.5
Bruce Ellington9970.65260.217.1
DeAndre Smelter5610.40008.5

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Tight Ends

PlayerRec.YardsTDPoints
Vernon Davis42554585.4
After a 4/44/2 game to open the season, it was all downhill for Davis from there. Last season's 245 yards, 9.4 Y/R and two touchdowns either set or tied career lows for Davis, who had 792-plus yards in four of his previous five seasons with a total of 44 touchdowns during that span.
Vance McDonald101300.113.6
Blake Bell4460.25.8
Rory Anderson2240.13

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September 04, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 5

Here are Round 5 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft:

5.01 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins

Among rookies, only his ex-LSU teammate Odell Beckham (91) had more receptions than Landry (84) last season. Over the final nine games of the season, Landry had a minimum of five receptions every game and racked up a total of 59 catches over that span. In addition, he had at least nine targets in six of his final eight games. Better in PPR formats, Landry, the WR23 in this mock, should improve upon his 84/758/5 rookie numbers.

5.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

After a boost in playing time down the stretch and a strong offseason, all signs pointed to Adams taking a step forward in year two. That said, no player benefits more the ACL injury to Jordy Nelson (from a fantasy perspective) than Adams, who finished with 38/446/3 numbers as a rookie, as he enters the starting lineup in two-WR sets.

5.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Kelce played only 52.3 percent of the team's offensive snaps from Weeks 1 to 10, but that percentage jumped to 86.7 percent from Weeks 11 to 17. Despite his snap-count limits during the first half of the season, Kelce still finished with 67 receptions, 862 yards and five touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points (PPR formats) among tight ends last season. With good health, the sky is the limit for Kelce in 2015.

5.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

A top-three fantasy quarterback in 2014, Wilson rushed for 849 yards and six touchdowns, both of which were career highs, and netted fantasy owners an average of 7.56 fantasy points per game from rushing stats alone. While he won't post gaudy passing statistics in Seattle's run-dominant offense, Wilson is the first quarterback in league history to throw 20-plus touchdowns with 10 or fewer interceptions in each of his first three NFL seasons, per Pro Football Reference. Wilson's volume of pass attempts may not spike in 2015, but the Seahawks pulled off a blockbuster trade for tight end Jimmy Graham, which significantly upgrades the team's weapons in the red zone.

5.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions

At only 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds, Abdullah may lack the ideal size to be a bellcow back, but he has been impressive in both offseason workouts and the preseason. In addition, Abdullah posted three consecutive 1,100-yard seasons including back-to-back 1,600-yard campaigns at Nebraska. Among running backs at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, Abdullah finished first in the vertical jump (42.5 inches), broad jump (10-10), 3-cone drill (6.79) and 20-yard shuttle (3.95). Abdullah should begin the season behind Joique Bell on the depth chart, but his role within the offense should expand as the season progresses.

5.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

After sitting out all of 2013 with a torn ACL, Maclin returned to the Eagles on a one-year deal and posted a career-best season (85/1,318/10) in Chip Kelly's offense. He then parlayed that success into a massive five-year deal to reunite with his former coach.

While the transition from Kelly's up-tempo offense to one with a quarterback that rarely challenges defenses down the field isn't a positive, the Chiefs have made a concerted effort to get the ball in Maclin's hands during the preseason. As an example, Maclin had seven catches for 65 yards and a score in the Week 3 preseason dress rehearsal.

5.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The good news is that Jackson eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth consecutive season and sixth time in the past seven years -- the exception was his holdout-shortened 2010 season. The bad news is V-Jax had just two touchdowns, the lowest of his career since his three-catch rookie season (2005). Jackson should score more touchdowns in 2015, but the 32-year-old receiver is clearly the No. 2 receiver to Mike Evans.

5.08 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

Manning finished the year as the QB4 (312.68 fantasy points) behind Rodgers (354.14), Luck (350.74) and Wilson (327.6). In the first 11 games of the season, Manning averaged 23.96 fantasy points per game (323.45 YPG, 34 TDs and nine INTs). In the final five games of the season, however, he averaged just 9.83 FPPG (233.8 YPG, five TDs and six INTs) and never scored more than 13.02 fantasy points in any of those games. Much of the decline can be attributed to last year's thigh injury, but Manning's passing production also tends to slow as the weather turns colder. In a more balanced offense with some issues on the offensive line, it's possible that Manning fails to produce a top-five fantasy season.

5.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): C.J. Spiller, RB, New Orleans Saints

While Spiller may never rush for 1,000 yards again, Payton and the Saints coaching staff should maximize his production on a per-touch basis. Since Payton took over in New Orleans in 2006, the Saints have roughly one-third (six of 19) of the 70-reception seasons by running backs and Spiller figures to lead the backfield in receptions. One concern entering the season, however, is Spiller's recent arthroscopic knee surgery, but the expectation has been that he will be ready for Week 1.

5.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Selected with a top-36 pick in this year's draft, Yeldon has excellent size (6-1, 225) and goes to the front of the line in terms of the team's backfield depth chart. General manager David Caldwell said that he sees Yeldon as "a three-down back." Playing in an offense that ranked in the bottom two in both scoring and total offense last year could limit Yeldon's fantasy upside as a rookie, but he could end up leading rookie backs in touches in 2015.

5.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills

The fourth overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, Watkins finished his rookie campaign with 65 receptions for 982 yards and six touchdowns. While Watkins had four 100-yard games including a career-high 157 yards against his new head coach's former team, he also had nine games with 35 receiving yards or less. In a run-first offense with a less-than-ideal quarterback situation, there will still be plenty of weekly inconsistency from Watkins, but his overall numbers should improve on a year-over-year basis and has some upside as the WR27 in this mock.

5.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins

Morris averaged a career-low 4.1 YPC last season, but he rushed 265 times for 1,074, respectable numbers but also career lows, and eight touchdowns. Washington's offensive line struggled last year, but the team used the fifth-overall pick on Brandon Scherff and the addition of Bill Callahan to the coaching staff is certainly a positive for the team's offensive line play and rushing attack overall.

> Continue to Round 6 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft

View earlier rounds:
> Go back to Round 1 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 2 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 3 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 4 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 4

Earlier this week, four of our contributors started a new "slow" 2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft and we are now one-third of the way through it.

Here are Round 4 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft:

4.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

Earlier today (Sept. 3rd), Judge Berman nullified the four-game suspension of Tom Brady, which obviously bodes well for all of the Patriots pass-catchers. After his breakout 2013 season (105/1,056/6), Edelman actually averaged slightly more receptions (6.57 in 2014 vs. 6.56 in 2013) and yards (69.43 in 2014 vs. 66.0 in 2013).

4.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals

The good news is that Ellington averaged more than 20 touches per game last season. The bad news, I suppose, is that Ellington averaged more than 20 touches per game last season. Given Ellington's size (5-9, 199), it wasn't a huge (no pun intended) surprise that Ellington didn't hold up for a full season and missed the final four regular-season games.

With the substantial bump in workload, Ellington underwhelmed as his yards-per-carry average plummeted from 5.5 YPC as a rookie to 3.3 on 201 carries last season. That said, the foot injury he battled all of last season is now healed and the Cardinals improved their offensive line in free agency and the draft.

4.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets

It was a year to forget for Marshall (and the Bears) as he posted his lowest totals for both receptions (61) and yards (721) since his rookie season, but he gets a fresh start after being traded to the Jets this offseason. A return to his 2012 or 2013 numbers appear unlikely, but I expect a bounce-back season in the 1,000-yard range. Before last year, Marshall had seven consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

4.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

Not only did the Texans lead the NFL in rushing attempts (551), Foster is one of the league's few true workhorse backs, when healthy. Although Foster missed three games in 2014, he averaged 95.8 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry, both of which were four-year highs, and scored double-digit touchdowns (13). Not only did Foster finish as a top-five fantasy running back last season, he also finished as a top-12 fantasy running back in 10 of 13 weeks last season.

There is growing optimism that Foster will only miss a few games as opposed to half the season following his recent groin surgery. This could turn out to be a steal if he only misses three or so games.

4.05 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas Cowboys

While he had only 51 carries in 2014, 11 (21.6 percent) of those 51 carries resulted in runs of more than 10 yards and he averaged 6.73 yards per carry on the season. More than anything, that production is a result of running behind one of the best offensive lines in football, which should be even better this year. His YPC average will certainly decline with a bump in volume, but Randle is expected to get the largest share of the workload within the team's committee backfield.

4.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers

With Frank Gore signing with the Colts, Hyde sits atop the 49ers depth chart at running back going into his second season. With Gore ahead of him on the depth chart last year, Hyde had just 83 carries for 333 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. Not only will his workload expand significantly, but I expect his effectiveness on a per-carry basis to increase from last year's 4.0 yards-per-carry average. Even though the offense has sputtered in general, Hyde has looked good this preseason (5.6 YPC).

4.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions

Tate had a career year with 99 catches for 1,331 yards and four touchdowns plus 30 rushing yards. From Weeks 4 to 8, Calvin Johnson missed three games and was a decoy in two other games (19 total yards). During that same five-game span, Tate averaged 119.8 yards per game and scored three of his four touchdowns. So, in other words, if Megatron is healthy for the entire season, Tate is unlikely to repeat last year's career numbers, but he's otherwise a solid WR2 for Dan.

4.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers

Over the final five games of the season, Stewart, who recently turned 28, rushed for 486 yards on 91 carries (5.34 YPC) and only DeMarco Murray (491) had more rushing yards during that span. With the team ready to rely on Stewart to carry the load, he has a ton of upside at this point in the draft. Durability is a real concern for Stewart, however, as he has played only 28 games over the past three seasons combined.

4.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks

Slowed by a shoulder injury, Graham had 54 yards or less in six of his final seven games last season and finished with only 889 yards, a four-year low. Over his past four seasons, however, Graham has averaged 89 catches, 1,099 yards and 12 touchdowns per year. With his trade to the Seahawks, Graham goes from an offense that averaged 41.2 pass attempts per game, second-most in the NFL last year, to one that averages the fewest (28.4/G). That said, I think he's a tremendous value at the end of Round 4.

4.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

While his season was cut short by a Week 10 foot injury, Robinson was quietly off to a strong rookie season. From Weeks 2 to 10, Robinson averaged 5.22 receptions and 60.89 yards per game with a minimum of four receptions every game during that span. With good health, Robinson is poised for a breakout season in 2015 especially given the hand injury that will sideline Julius Thomas for the next month.

4.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

While his receptions increased from 71 to 77 in 2014, Allen's yardage (1,046 to 783) and touchdowns (eight to four) both dropped and he barely finished as a top-40 fantasy wide receiver in PPR formats last season. Allen turned 23 this spring and should have a bounce-back season as Brendan's WR2.

4.12 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams

Arguably the best running back prospect since Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Gurley ended the drought of first-round running backs and possesses all of the physical tools to be a dominant RB1-type back for years to come. With his combination of size and speed, Gurley has the ability to run over and/or outrun opposing tacklers. Recovering from his torn ACL, however, Gurley sat out of the preseason and should be eased into what will eventually be a featured-back role.

> Continue to Round 5 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 3 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft


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September 03, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 5th Pick, Super Flex

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 5 pick, point-per-reception (PPR) scoring, QB-eligible flex
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (QB, RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.05 - Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: It was a somewhat disappointing season for Charles even though he finished with the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs. After back-to-back seasons of 320-plus touches, Charles saw that number cut to 246 in 2014 although that number will increase in 2015 barring injury. And among the 184 players with 1,000-plus carries (via PFR), none have averaged more YPC than Charles (5.49); Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown is second (5.22) on that list.

2.08 - Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Jones shattered previous career highs with 104 catches and 1,593 yards last season although he has eight touchdowns in 20 games over the past two seasons. That said, I see Jones posting a 100/1,500/10 season and he's my second-ranked receiver in PPR formats.

3.05 - Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: With his four-game suspension overturned, Brady should play all 16 games this season even though the NFL has appealed Judge Berman's decision. After a slow start last season, Brady finished with the fifth-most fantasy points per game from Weeks 5 to 17 last year. Assuming continued good health from Rob Gronkowski in 2015, Brady could finish as a top-five fantasy QB this season.

4.08 - Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts: If there's a concern with Gore, it's his age (32). Over the past four seasons, however, Gore has not missed any games while rushing for 1,100-plus yards each season. Not only does he get a boost playing in an Andrew Luck-led offense, but the Colts view Gore as a three-down back, which should lead to more receptions than he's had in recent years.

5.05 - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings: Perhaps the most important thing with a rookie quarterback is the progress he makes over the course of the season and Bridgewater finished the year strong. Building upon last year's strong finish, he looked sharp in the preseason and he has a stronger supporting cast to help him take a big step forward in 2015.

6.08 - Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Limited to slightly more than half of the team's snaps through the first 10 games, Kelce still finished with the sixth-most fantasy points among tight ends in PPR formats. With better health (excluding his "slightly sprained ankle"), the sky's the limit for Baby Gronk in 2015.

7.05 - Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets: It was a year to forget for Marshall, but he'll get a chance to start over with the Jets this season. We likely won't see the numbers he posted in his first couple of seasons with the Bears, but I expect him to bounce back with a 1,000-yard season in 2015.

8.08 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: With growing optimism that he avoids short-term IR, Foster may only miss a few games to start the season following last month's groin surgery. Missing three games last season, Foster scored the fifth-most fantasy points among running backs and he has huge upside at this spot.

9.05 - Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: With no 1,000-yard seasons over the past three years, the drought can partly be attributed to the team's quarterback play and injuries. Fitzgerald's 16-game pace in games played with Carson Palmer is 83/1,045/9.

10.08 - Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Freeman should be part of a committee backfield with rookie Tevin Coleman, but he provides me some depth especially while Foster is sidelined.

11.05 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have the second-fewest passing yards over the past two seasons behind the Jets, but Boldin has still managed to post back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns.

12.08 - Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins: With his stats nearly cut in half (68/752/3) after leading the NFL with 113 receptions in 2013, Garcon should be more involved in the passing offense in 2015.

13.05 - Knile Davis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Once Foster is healthy, the trio of Charles, Foster and Gore form a strong backfield nucleus for this squad. Davis provides insurance should Charles miss time and we've seen how productive he can be in those situations.

14.08 - New England Patriots D/ST

15.05 - Dan Bailey, K, Dallas Cowboys

- View full mock draft results here

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2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 3

Earlier this week, we began a new 12-team Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft.

Our mock will run 12 rounds and we will post the picks as each round is completed. We are now one-quarter of the way through our mock.

Here are Round 3 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft:

3.01 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Playing only 65.0 percent of the team's offensive snaps as a rookie, that ratio will undoubtedly spike in his second season as the team lost Jeremy Maclin via free agency. In his first season in the league, Matthews finished with 67 receptions for 872 yards and eight touchdowns and finished as a top-25 fantasy wide receiver.

3.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins coaching staff has seemed reluctant to give Miller as much work as his fantasy owners would have liked, but Miller was highly productive on a per-touch basis (5.09 YPC, 7.24 Y/R). With more than 15 carries in only four games last season, Miller still managed to post his first-ever 1,000-yard season (1,099 rushing yards). In addition, Miller was very consistent throughout the season as he finished as a top-20 fantasy running back in 12 of 16 weeks.

3.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts

The only real concern with Gore is his age (32). That said, Gore has been durable with no missed games over the past four seasons, a span during which he has rushed for more than 1,100 yards each season. Not only does he get a huge offense and quarterback upgrade, but the coaching staff views Gore as an every-down back, which means he should be much more involved as a receiver than he has been over the past four seasons (average of 18 catches per season) in San Francisco.

3.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints

Before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 11, Cook's 53 receptions led all rookie receivers. Generating plenty of buzz in the offseason and an excellent preseason, Cooks is poised for a major breakout as the focal point of the team's passing attack with the offseason trades of Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills.

3.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Not only was he one of three rookie receivers to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, but Evans was one of just five receivers to score at least 12 touchdowns last year. From Weeks 9 to 11, he gave us a glimpse of what we can expect when things really click as he posted a massive 21/458/5 line over that three-game stretch. Evans, who turned 22 in August, should take a step forward in 2015 although there may be some early-season inconsistency playing with a rookie quarterback.

3.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos

In his first season with the Broncos, Sanders blew his previous career highs (67/740/6) out of the water. Sanders finished with 101 receptions for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns. The Broncos offense will be more balanced this season, but Sanders is a solid mid-tier WR2 option heading into 2015.

3.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

The reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, Rodgers was also the top-scoring fantasy quarterback as well. Since becoming Green Bay's starting quarterback seven years ago, Rodgers has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback in six of seven seasons with the lone exception due to injury (broken clavicle, 2013). Over the past four seasons, Rodgers has compiled a 139:25 TD-to-INT ratio with an average of 8.5 yards per attempt, 112.6 passer rating and 67.0 completion percentage. Even without Jordy Nelson (ACL), Rodgers should once again finish as a top-two fantasy quarterback.

3.08 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers

For re-draft purposes, I expect Gordon to be the most productive rookie running back in 2015. MG3 has drawn some comparisons to Jamaal Charles and enters a favorable situation with the injury-prone Ryan Mathews no longer in San Diego. The Bolts should give Gordon the bulk of the early-down work as I have him projected for 270 touches as a rookie.

3.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

Once again, Ingram missed multiple games and has now missed a total of 14 games over his four-year career. That said, Ingram set career highs -- 226 carries, 964 rushing yards, nine touchdowns and 29 receptions -- in the 13 games he did play in 2014. Re-signing with the Saints, Ingram should lead the team in carries. And given the team's offseason moves, a transition to more of a run-based offense appears to be in the offing.

3.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders

Loaded with potential and upside, Murray is a physical freak that runs a sub-4.4 forty at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds. Murray finally got a chance to showcase what he could do down the stretch last season as he gained 478 yards from scrimmage over his final five games on a total of 83 touches (72 carries and 11 receptions). With the changes to the team's backfield, Murray will be given every opportunity to be the team's lead back in 2015.

3.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts

After back-to-back 1,400-yard seasons, Johnson finished with 85 receptions for just 936 yards and three touchdowns in 2014. Johnson's 62.4 Y/G and 11.0 Y/R were his lowest since 2005. Released by the Texans this offseason, Johnson gets a major upgrade in quarterback situation with Andrew Luck. Johnson, who turned 34 in July, may never record another 1,400-yard season, but Reggie Wayne finished with 106 catches for 1,355 yards in his age-34 season when Luck was a rookie.

3.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

No rookie receiver is more pro-ready than Cooper, the first Biletnikoff winner in Alabama history. Cooper racked up 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns last season and should become Derek Carr's go-to receiver immediately for a team that ranked fourth in the league in pass attempts per game (39.3) in 2014.

> Continue to Round 4 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft
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2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 2

Another round of our new 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft is in the books. This mock draft uses point-per-reception (PPR) scoring and we'll post each round as they are complete.

Here are Round 2 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft:

2.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Murray has always been productive on a per-game, per-touch basis. Before last season's career year, Murray averaged 4.95 yards per carry in his first three seasons combined. The issue with Murray (before 2014) was durability as he missed multiple games in each of those three seasons.

With a total of 497 touches including the playoffs last year, durability remains Murray's biggest concern in 2015 as well. Even though the team added another talented (and injury-prone) running back (Ryan Mathews) in free agency, I'd expect Murray to still get close to 20 touches per game, when healthy. And if he plays a full season for a second straight season, he has the upside to finish as fantasy's top scorer.

2.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Over the final nine games of the season, Hill had 22-plus carries and 100-plus rushing yards five times including the final three games of the regular season. During that nine-game span, Hill had 172 carries for 929 yards and six touchdowns and no running back had more rushing yards than Hill during that stretch. (Lynch was second with 824 yards.) Going into the 2015 season, Hill is clearly the team's lead back with Giovani Bernard back as the change-of-pace option.

2.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants

Closing the season with nine consecutive games of 90-plus yards, Beckham racked up a massive stat line of 81/1,199/9 on 115 targets during that stretch. In fact, only 11 other receivers had more yards in all of 2014 than OBJ had in his final nine games. And as impressive as that sounds, he was even more dominant over his final four games -- 43/606/7 on 63 targets.

While ODB is far from being the biggest receiver, his combination of hands, route-running ability, speed and elusiveness makes him nearly impossible to cover especially in today's age of offense-friendly rules.

2.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

Including playoff appearances, Megatron has more 200-yard games (six) than any other receiver in league history. And while he still has as much potential as any receiver to take over a given game, he has missed a total of five games in 2013 and 2014. Johnson also appeared in a few games as a decoy, which can be even worse for fantasy owners than missed games. With five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, however, Megatron has averaged a stat line of 90/1,467/11 during that span and he has WR1 upside if he can stay healthy.

2.05 - Sean Beazley (Team III): A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Injuries kept Green from building upon his 2013 numbers (98/1,426/11), but he extended his streak of 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career to four. Only Megatron (6,214), Antonio Brown (5,092) and Demaryius Thomas (5,034) have more yards during that four-year span than Green (4,874). With good health, Green is a good bet for 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns in 2015.

2.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers

Recently turning 25, Cobb re-signed with the Packers prior to the official start of NFL free agency. Of course, playing in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense helps to maximize his fantasy value this year and going forward.

Cobb finished the season with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, all of which set career highs, but I would be surprised if he scored 12 touchdowns again in 2015. That said, the season-ending ACL injury to Jordy Nelson means that Cobb should finish as a top-eight fantasy receiver in 2015.

2.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Arguably the biggest surprise in fantasy football last season, Forsett scored more fantasy points than all but seven other running backs in 2014. Forsett, who re-signed with the Ravens this offseason, rushed for a career-high 1,266 yards last season and averaged an RB-high 5.4 YPC while adding 44 receptions for 263 yards. With Marc Trestman hired to run the offense, Forsett should set new career highs in receptions.

2.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

Barely finishing as a top-12 fantasy running back last season, McCoy finished third in the league in rushing (1,319 yards) and was one of only two 300-carry backs. Not only did he average nearly a yard per carry less in 2014 than 2013, however, McCoy also saw his receptions (52 in 2013) and touchdowns (11 in 2013) drop roughly in half to 28 and five, respectively.

Despite running behind an inferior offensive line (compared to Philadelphia's), McCoy should see a healthy volume of work within Buffalo's ground-and-pound offense, but will his per-touch effectiveness bounce back in a less-efficient offense? And there is at least some doubt about his Week 1 status.

2.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears

With the Bears trading Brandon Marshall to the Jets and using a top-seven pick on West Virginia's Kevin White, who will miss at least the first six games, Jeffery now takes over as the team's clear No. 1 wide receiver. Despite year-over-year dips in both receptions (85) and receiving yards (1,133), Jeffery posted a career high in touchdowns (10) and finished with the 10th-most fantasy points (PPR) among wide receivers last season.

2.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Hilton had a breakout 82/1,345/7 season last year and that breakout would have been even better if he weren't limited down the stretch by a hamstring injury. Playing with Andrew Luck in one of the league's most high-powered offenses, Hilton could set new career highs in both receptions provided he stays healthy.

2.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

Emerging as the team's most productive wide receiver last season, Hopkins took a huge step forward in his second season with a 76/1,210/6 stat line. If there's any concern when it comes to Hopkins taking another step forward in his third season, it's the team's less-than-inspiring quarterback play, but he's a borderline WR1/WR2 option in fantasy leagues heading into 2015.

2.12 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Throwing for 4,761 yards and a league-leading 40 touchdowns, both of which were career highs, Luck's 40 TDs last season nearly equalled his total from his first two seasons combined (46 TDs). During the season, Luck had the second-longest streak of 300-yard games (eight) in NFL history. Not only does Luck lead one of the league's most prolific passing offenses, but he gets a boost from his mobility with at least 255 rushing yards each year and a total of 12 rushing scores.

> Continue to Round 3 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back to Round 1 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft


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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 2nd Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 2 pick, standard scoring
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.02 - Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: In his age-22 season, Bell broke franchise record for most receptions (83) by a running back and most yards from scrimmage (2,215) in a season. Even though he's suspended for the first two games, Bell is projected to score the most fantasy points among running backs in my 2015 fantasy football projections.

2.11 - Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts: With the upgrade in offense and quarterback (Andrew Luck), the only concern with Gore is his age (32). That said, he has not missed a game over the past four seasons, in which he has rushed for more than 1,100 yards each season.

3.02 - T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Hilton finished with a career-high 1,345 yards in his third season as he battled a hamstring injury over the final few games. From Weeks 1 to 14, only Julio Jones (1,428) and Antonio Brown (1,375) had more yards than Hilton (1,295).

4.11 - Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Healthy entering the 2015 season, there are still some concerns about Ellington's ability to hold up to the workload that the Cardinals will likely give him. If he can stay healthy, however, he should bounce back from last year's disappointing 3.3 YPC.

5.02 - Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce posted strong numbers despite playing roughly half of the team's offensive snaps over the first 10 games. While he's dealing with an ankle injury that doesn't appear serious, the sky's the limit for Kelce in 2015 provided he stays healthy.

6.11 - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: Along with Kelce, Maclin will be the focal point of Kansas City's passing attack. Coming off a career season (85/1,318/10), Maclin won't repeat last year's production, but the Chiefs appear determined to manufacture touches for him in 2015.

7.02 - Arian Foster, WR, Houston Texans: With growing optimism that Foster will miss only a few games and avoid IR designated to return, you could argue that Foster should go MUCH higher than this. After all, Foster missed three games last season, but he still scored the fifth-most fantasy points last season.

8.11 - Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald has finished with less than 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, but the team's quarterback (injuries) situation has been largely/partly to blame. If he maintained his current per-game average with Carson Palmer, Fitzgerald would finish with 1,045 yards and nine touchdowns over 16 games.

9.02 - Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: Losing Kelvin Benjamin to a torn ACL obviously hurts Newton's fantasy outlook, but he finished as a top-four fantasy QB in all three seasons without Benjamin. Newton has exceeded 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in all four NFL seasons.

10.11 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have the second-fewest passing yards over the past two seasons yet Boldin has finished with 1,000-plus yards in back-to-back seasons.

11.02 - Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Floyd had a disappointing season to follow up his breakout sophomore campaign, but again, the injuries at quarterback impacted the overall passing game last season.

12.11 - Terrance West, RB, Cleveland Browns: While I like him less than the team's two other running backs, West provides some depth as my RB5.

13.02 - Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams: Quick started strong last season with four top-25 weekly finishes in his first four games, but his season was cut short at the midway point due to a torn rotator cuff. With good health, perhaps his breakout season happens in 2015.

14.11 - Miami Dolphins D/ST

15.02 - Steven Hauschka, K, Seattle Seahawks


- View full mock draft results here

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September 02, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 1

Four of our contributors -- Sean Beazley, Brendan Donahue, Dan Yanotchko and yours truly -- have begun a new 2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft and we will post the rounds as they are finished.

In addition, I will post comments along with all of the picks.

This mock uses point-per-reception (PPR) scoring with four points per passing touchdown, six points per rushing or receiving touchdown, one point per 25 passing yards, one point per 10 rushing or receiving yards and one point per reception.

Here are Round 1 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft:

1.01 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Unfortunately for Bell (and his fantasy owners), he's suspended for the first two games of the season (although that was cut from his initial three-game ban). Once he returns, however, Bell's versatility makes him a true three-down back and his production won't vary much based on game flow.

Named 2014 AP First-Team All-Pro Team, Bell racked up 1,361 rushing yards, 83 receptions for 854 yards and 11 total touchdowns in his second season. Bell broke single-season franchise records for yards from scrimmage and receptions by a running back. Over the course of last year, he averaged 23.16 PPR points per game although his production spiked to 29.37/G with LeGarrette Blount out of the picture down the stretch.

And even though he'll miss the Patriots and 49ers games to start the season, I have Bell projected to lead all running backs in fantasy points.

1.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Playing in only the first game last year, it was a lost season for Peterson in 2014. Given his high volume of work over his career (19.75 carries per game), it may bode well for him on the football field in 2015. Assuming that he plays all 16 games (or close to it), the 30-year-old Peterson should finish as a top-five (or better) back in 2015. Just a couple of seasons, Peterson nearly broke the single-season rushing record with 2,097 yards despite coming off a torn ACL.

1.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Despite a somewhat disappointing season, Charles finished with the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs in 2014. The 28-year-old back rushed for 1,033 yards, his fifth 1,000-yard season, and added 40 catches for 291 yards while scoring a total of 14 touchdowns.

Despite a year-over-year decline in all of those numbers, the biggest concern was his reduction in workload. After 320-plus touches in back-to-back seasons, Charles had just 246 touches -- 15 running backs had more -- in 2014. Perhaps we won't see Charles get in the 320-range ever again, but it would be a surprise to see him as low as 246 again this season.

1.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers

Starting slowly while facing three elite rush defenses to start the season, Lacy scored the fourth-most fantasy points (PPR scoring) among running backs from Weeks 4 to 17. Over those final 13 games of the season, he averaged 18.92 touches for 108.85 YFS per game and scored a total of 13 touchdowns. The benefit of playing with Aaron Rodgers means that opposing defenses are less likely to stack the box to (try to) slow down Lacy. After averaging a relatively modest 4.15 yards per carry as a rookie, Lacy averaged 4.63 YPC last season (and 4.89 YPC over final 13 games).

1.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Surprisingly, Brown never finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in any given week in 2014. (In fact, that applies to both standard- and PPR-scoring formats.) Yet no wide receiver had more fantasy points over the course of the season -- in either format -- than Brown.

Over the past two seasons, Brown has a combined 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. More impressive than his overall level of production, however, is his consistency. Counting the playoffs, Brown has at least five catches and 50 yards in 33 consecutive games.

1.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos

From Week 10 to 17 last year, Anderson finished as a top-seven (PPR) fantasy running back in seven of eight games. (The exception was still a solid week, RB17, as well.) With a healthy backfield and new coaching staff entering 2015, there is perhaps some uncertainty about how the workload will be allocated, but it appears that CJA is set for a featured-back role. The Denver Post's Troy Renck projected Anderson to average 18 carries per game as the team's "bellcow" and to "roll for 1,400 yards."

1.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Targeted only 136 times, a three-year low, Bryant finished with 88 receptions for 1,320 yards and a career-high and league-leading 16 touchdowns. Dez now has at least 88 catches, 1,233 yards and 12 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. And aside from Marshawn Lynch, Bryant is the only other player with at least 50 total touchdowns over the past four seasons.

1.08 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos

Despite his slow start, Thomas reached the 100-yard mark in 10 of his final 13 games and finished with a full-season stat line of 111 catches and 1,619 yards, both of which were career highs, and 11 touchdowns. A fourth consecutive year of 90-plus receptions, 1,400-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns seems like a strong possibility with Peyton Manning back for (at least) one more year.

1.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

My second-ranked PPR wide receiver, Jones finished with 104 catches for 1,593 yards, both of which shattered his previous career highs, and six touchdowns in 2014. After scoring 0.62 TD/G on 74.4 YPG in his first two seasons, Jones has averaged just 0.40 TD/G despite a jump to 1087.7 YPG over the past two seasons. With plus size and speed, Jones should bounce back in terms of red-zone production and could put together a 100/1,500/10 season in 2015 with good health.

1.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks

In his four full seasons in Seattle, Lynch has rushed for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in those seasons. During that four-year span, no player has more rushing yards (5,357), rushing touchdowns (48) and or total touchdowns (56). Beast Mode's production hasn't slowed at all, but his physical running style (granted, he seems to dish out more punishment than he receives), heavy workload (league-high 1,479 regular-season and playoff touches over that four-year span) and age (turned 29 in April) is at least somewhat concerning. That said, Lynch seems to be a lock for another 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in one of the league's most run-dominant offenses.

1.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

When it comes to fantasy tight ends, he's in a tier all by himself. Named the 2014 AP Comeback Player of the Year after two injury-plagued seasons, Gronkowski posted an 82/1,124/12 stat line over 15 games. Scoring 266.4 fantasy points (PPR), Gronk had 36.5 points (or 15.88 percent) more than Jimmy Graham, who had the second-most among tight ends. Not only dominant over a full season, but Gronk was consistent as well finishing as a top-five weekly scorer at the position in eight of 15 games and a top-11 scorer in all but one game (Week 2).

1.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

Not only did Forte lead all running backs in receptions (102) last year, but only three players had more -- Antonio Brown (129), Demaryius Thomas (111) and Julio Jones (104) -- as he broke the single-season record for receptions by a running back. With the coaching change, Forte isn't likely to see anywhere close to triple-digit receptions again, but he could certainly finish in the neighborhood of 60-70 catches.

And although Forte averaged less than four yards per carry for the first time since 2009, he has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons and has exceeded 1,400 yards from scrimmage in all seven of his NFL seasons. Only the Raiders (337) and Bucs (353) ran the ball less than the Bears (355) last season, but I'd expect the Bears to be more committed to the run in 2015 to limit Jay Cutler's turnovers.

> Continue to Round 2 of our PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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September 01, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 12

We have now completed the 12-round, 12-team 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft that we began on August 22nd.

Although the season is less than 10 days away, we have begun a new PPR mock draft and we will post those results as rounds are completed, so stay tuned.

For now, here are Round 12 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

12.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers

Winning the Comeback Player of the Year award in 2013, Rivers followed up his bounce-back season with 4,286 yards and 31 touchdowns but he also threw 18 interceptions. Dealing with a back injury, Rivers threw seven of those interceptions in the final three games of the season. Rivers should be a relatively safe bet for 4,000-plus yards and around 30 touchdowns once again in 2015. If Sam Bradford (11.12) stays healthy, Sean will have two potential top-12 fantasy quarterbacks to play based on matchups.

12.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Phillip Dorsett, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Dorsett appears to be ahead of Donte Moncrief for the team's No. 3 receiver role and the first-round rookie from The U. has speed to spare. That said, there will likely be plenty of inconsistency from Dorsett on a weekly basis unless there is an injury to T.Y. Hilton or Andre Johnson.

12.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants

Randle set career highs in his age-23 season with 71 catches for 938 yards as both Odell Beckham (four games) and Victor Cruz (10 games) missed a total of 14 games last year. It's unlikely that Randle will exceed last year's production without an injury to Cruz or OBJ, though.

12.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins

Jones has looked great this preseason -- 20 carries for 139 yards (7.0 YPC) -- and the third-rounder out of Florida should earn the third-down role behind Alfred Morris with the potential to steal some early-down touches from Alf as well.

12.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Percy Harvin, WR, Buffalo Bills

Wearing out his welcome in Minnesota and Seattle, it's a positive that he followed Rex to Buffalo after a brief stint together over the second half of last season. That said, Harvin is the third option, at best, in the low-powered Buffalo offense.

12.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts

Fleener finished with 774 yards and eight touchdowns, both of which were career highs, on 51 receptions last season. Unsurprisingly, Fleener's best games last season came in games that Dwayne Allen was out. In the four games that Allen missed or left early due to injury, Fleener had 355 yards and four touchdowns. In the other 12 games, he had just 419 yards and four touchdowns.

12.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings

Bridgewater improved throughout his rookie season, which is something you always want to see with a young quarterback. All four of his games with a completion percentage of at least 70 percent occurred within the final five games of the season. In addition, Bridgewater posted a 1:5 TD-to-INT ratio in his first four games but improved to a 13:7 TD-to-INT ratio for the remainder of the season. With the attention that Adrian Peterson commands from opposing defenses, it should open up the passing offense for Bridgewater in year two.

Through four preseason games, Bridgewater has been extremely efficient, completing 82.9 percent of his pass attempts (29 of 35) for 295 yards although he has thrown just one touchdown.

12.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers

The backup to one of the league's best running backs, Starks (Sean's RB6) isn't going to get a heavy workload barring an injury to Eddie Lacy. As much as the team blows out their opponents, however, there is the potential for him to get some fourth-quarter carries in addition to providing a breather for Lacy.

12.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Ty Montgomery, WR, Green Bay Packers

The season-ending knee injury to Jordy Nelson has moved Davante Adams into the team's starting lineup opposite Randall Cobb and opens the door for someone to emerge as the No. 3 receiver. I'd prefer Jeff Janis due to his upside, but the rookie out of Stanford started ahead of Janis in three-wide sets on Saturday.

12.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Andre Williams, RB, New York Giants

As a rookie, Williams led the team in carries (217), rushing yards (721) and rushing touchdowns (seven), but he averaged just 3.3 YPC and exceeded 3.5 YPC in only three games. Over the final four games of the season, the 230-pound back had 83 carries for 328 yards (3.95 YPC) and two touchdowns. Williams may only be the third-most productive fantasy back behind Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen, but he could be first in line for goal-line carries. Plus, Jennings' shaky durability could lead to a few big games for Williams.

12.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): Roy Helu, RB, Oakland Raiders

In four seasons, Helu has been relatively productive on a per-touch basis (4.4 YPC, 8.9 Y/R). At a minimum, Helu will get a lot of work as the team's third-down back, but there is upside with unproven Latavius Murray as the featured back.

12.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots

Even though Amendola played a full 16-game season last year, he finished with only 200 yards and one touchdown. He was more involved down the stretch -- 23 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns over the final five games counting the playoffs -- and it's possible that Brandon LaFell (foot) ends up on the reserve/PUP list.

> Go back Round 11 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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2015 Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Weekly Movement: Sept. 1st Update

Every Monday this offseason (although Tuesday this week), we post an update in players that have had the biggest moves — both up and down — in fantasy football average draft position (ADP) from the previous week.

With this information, we can get a better sense of changes in the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters); in essence, it's a version of fantasy stock up/down for players. If a player is moving up the ADP chart, it may lead us to using a higher pick than his current ADP to make sure we secure a targeted player.

Of course, a player's ADP (and movement) is just one (small) piece in determining who to draft and our strategy used to assemble a fantasy roster.

For purposes of our weekly comparison(s), we use ADP data from 12-team mock drafts from Fantasy Football Calculator.

Biggest weekly gainers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles: -17.0 (108.8 on 8/24 to 91.8 on 9/1)
  2. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: -9.0 (97.4 to 88.4)
  3. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: -7.8 (161.0 to 153.2)

Running Backs:

  1. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos: -37.2 (152.7 to 115.5)
  2. Arian Foster, Houston Texans: -17.6 (63.8 to 46.2)
  3. Matt Jones, Washington Redskins: -16.0 (104.1 to 89.7)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers: -41.2 (76.4 to 35.2)
  2. Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers: -38.9 (125.7 to 86.8)
  3. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers: -18.2 (110.8 to 92.6)

Tight Ends:

  1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals: -9.5 (117.4 to 107.9)
  2. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts: -4.5 (144.9 to 140.4)
  3. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: -4.3 (130.8 to 126.5)

Biggest weekly fallers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: +9.5 (103.9 on 8/24 to 113.4 on 9/1)
  2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: +6.1 (53.0 to 59.1)
  3. Eli Manning, New York Giants: +5.0 (94.4 to 99.6)

Running Backs:

  1. David Cobb, Tennessee Titans: +16.3 (89.1 to 105.4)
  2. Jonas Gray, New England Patriots: +14.1 (116.1 to 130.2)
  3. Reggie Bush, San Francisco 49ers: +12.2 (123.5 to 135.7)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Breshad Perriman, Baltimore Ravens: +24.6 (112.0 to 136.6)
  2. Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots: +20.8 (100.1 to 120.9)
  3. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins: +19.6 (111.7 to 131.3)

Tight Ends:

  1. Josh Hill, New Orleans Saints: +12.7 (143.3 to 156.0)
  2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: +10.0 (122.5 to 132.5)
  3. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars: +6.7 (81.1 to 87.8)

[Note: Negative numbers mean the player's ADP is improving (i.e., being drafted earlier) and vice versa.]

- Fantasy Football ADP Risers/Fallers: See full grid of player changes in ADP over past week

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August 31, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 11th Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 11 pick, point-per-reception (PPR) scoring
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.11 - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos: In three seasons playing with Peyton Manning, Thomas has exceeded 90 catches and 1,400 yards with double-digit touchdowns each season. Repeating last year's career numbers (111/1,619/11) may not happen, but Thomas should post a fourth consecutive 90/1,400/10 line.

2.02 - Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears: Forte set the running back single-season record with 102 receptions last season. With the coaching change(s), Forte won't come close to 100 catches this year, but 60-plus catches seems reasonable. Forte has 1,400-plus yards from scrimmage in all seven of his NFL seasons.

3.11 - Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts: It's unlikely that Johnson bounces back to his 2013 numbers (109 catches for 1,407 yards), but I do expect better numbers in 2015 from Johnson. Although he recently turned 34, Johnson gets a significant quarterback (Andrew Luck) and offensive upgrade with the Colts.

4.02 - Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots: Edelman hasn't played in the preseason, but he should be ready to go for the season opener next week. Soon we should know whether or not Tom Brady will be under center for that game (or any of the first four). If he is, that is obviously better news for Edelman, but he has averaged 6.6 receptions per game for 67.6 yards over the past two seasons.

5.11 - Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce finished with 67 receptions for 862 yards and five touchdowns with the sixth-most fantasy points (PPR) among tight ends last season. With no health restrictions or snap counts, the sky's the limit for Baby Gronk in 2015.

6.02 - T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Sooner or later, Yeldon figures to become Jacksonville's every-down back even if it isn't the case in Week 1.

7.11 - Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Even though Jeremy Hill enters 2015 as the team's lead back, there is value, especially in PPR formats, with Bernard as a change-of-pace back. As an example, Hill carried the ball 22-plus times for 100-plus yards in each of the three final games in 2014, but Bernard finished as a top-12 fantasy RB (PPR) in those same games.

8.02 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: There is growing optimism that Foster will miss only a few games to start the season. Missing three games in 2014, Foster finished as a top-five fantasy running back and he has a ton of upside here.

9.11 - Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: Manning started slowly but finished strong -- five top-five weekly finishes in his last 10 games (only Aaron Rodgers had as many). With healthier receivers and more comfort in the offensive scheme, Manning should build upon last year's success.

10.02 - Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers: With Melvin Gordon likely to get the majority of early-down work, Woodhead should handle the bulk of third-down snaps. In his last full season, he finished with 76 catches, 1,034 YFS and eight touchdowns.

11.11 - Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams: Off to a great start last season, Quick missed the second half of the season after tearing his rotator cuff. Provided he can stay healthy for the full season, perhaps this will be his breakout season.

12.02 - Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Failing to build upon his 2013 breakout season, the quarterback situation (injuries) was (were) at least partly to blame. At a lower draft-day cost, Floyd has upside as my WR5.

13.11 - Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Wheaton barely finished as a top-60 fantasy receiver last season, but Ben Roethlisberger has predicted a breakout season for him and the four-game suspension of Martavis Bryant helps his fantasy outlook as well.

14.02 - Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants: Aided by injuries to Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, Randle set career highs of 71 receptions for 938 yards in his age-23 season. More than likely, it will take an injury to Cruz and ODB for Randle to exceed last year's numbers, but he has upside here.

15.11 - Miami Dolphins D/ST

16.02 - Steven Hauschka, K, Seattle Seahawks:

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August 30, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 4th Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 4 pick, standard scoring
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.04 - Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers: One week after losing Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL, the Packers were nearly dealt another major injury with Randall Cobb, who escaped with a sprained AC joint. With Aaron Rodgers keeping opposing defenses honest, Lacy has rushed for 1,100-plus yards and scored double-digit touchdowns in each of his first two seasons and is a good bet to do so again this year.

2.09 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Assuming the lead-back role down the stretch, no player rushed for more yards than Hill (929) over the final nine games of the season. Lacy and Hill are my RB2 and RB7, respectively, so I'm thrilled to get both to start this mock.

3.04 - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans: In his age-22 season, Hopkins took a big step forward with 76 catches for 1,210 yards and six touchdowns. Although he's limited by poor quarterback play, Hopkins should build upon last year's success and he finished as fantasy's WR15 in 2014.

4.09 - Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers: Gordon is off to a slow start this preseason (20 carries for 45 yards), but he figures to handle the bulk of the team's early-down carries. I'd be comfortable with him as my RB2 so I obviously like him more as my flex.

5.04 - Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: The most pro-ready receiver in this year's draft class, Cooper became Alabama's first-ever Biletnikoff Award winner. Not only will Cooper enter the season as Oakland's No. 1 receiver, but only three teams threw the ball more often than the Raiders last season.

6.09 - Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears: Bennett posted career highs of 90 receptions, which led all tight ends last season, for 916 yards and six touchdowns. With Brandon Marshall traded and the injury to Kevin White, Bennett has a chance to come close to last year's numbers.

7.04 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: It's unclear how many games Foster will miss following his groin surgery, but there is plenty of optimism that he may only miss a few games. Last year, Foster missed three games yet finished as a top-five fantasy running back on the team that led the NFL in rush attempts (551).

8.09 - Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Although Fitzgerald is 0-for-3 in 1,000-yard seasons over the past three years, he has averaged 5.18/65.32/0.55 in the 22 games that both he and Carson Palmer have appeared. If both stay healthy for 16 games and maintain their same pace, it's a 16-game equivalent of 83/1,045/9.

9.04 - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins: Tannehill set career highs across the board last season and finished with the eighth-most fantasy points among QBs last season. Tannehill has looked sharp this preseason and has upside from his QB12 spot in this mock.

10.09 - Charles Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings: Emerging in the second half of last season (with his third team in two NFL seasons), Johnson has a chance to build upon last year's late-season success with offseason continuity. Even though the Vikings traded for Mike Wallace, I expect Johnson to lead the team's receivers in fantasy points this season.

11.04 - Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Smith started slowly, but he finished strong as he scored 10 touchdowns in the final 11 games of the season. Even though I have Brian Quick ranked higher, I took Smith first given the likelihood (via FantasyPros pick predictor: see below) that I'd have a better chance to get both if I selected them in that order.

12.09 - Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams: Quick started the season strong with four consecutive weekly top-25 finishes, but his season ended prematurely due to a torn rotator cuff. Provided he can stay healthy for a full season, perhaps his breakout comes this year.

13.04 - James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers: Even if Lacy got hurt, the trio of Hill, Foster and MG3 means that Starks may not find his way into my starting lineup in that scenario. That said, what RB available in Round 13 would?

14.09 - Baltimore Ravens D/ST

15.04 - Steven Hauschka, K, Seattle Seahawks

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 11

We are now heading into the final round of our new 12-round 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft as the first 11 rounds are now complete.

Here are Round 11 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

11.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins

Garcon has now played full 16-game seasons in back-to-back years for the first time in his career. Things weren't all positive for Garcon, however, as his production was nearly cut in half to 68 catches for 752 yards and three touchdowns. (Garcon had 113/1,346/5 in 2013.) That said, the team is expected to make a more concerted effort to get the ball into Garcon's hands in 2015.

11.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

A big back (6-1, 224) with excellent receiving skills, Johnson had over 200 receiving yards in the game against Iowa last season. By signing Chris Johnson to a one-year deal, the third-round rookie isn't a lock to get the second-most touches among the team's backs this season. That said, it's fair to question Andre Ellington's ability to hold up for a full 16-game season, which gives (I suppose either) Johnson some upside.

11.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Generating plenty of buzz prior to the draft highlighted by a pair of sub-4.3's run at the UCF Pro Day, Perriman is the son of ex-NFL receiver Brent Perriman, who has a 1,400-yard season under his belt with the Lions. Much bigger than his father, Perriman (6-1, 212) has had some issues with drops and needs to improve as a route-runner, but he's a big play waiting to happen (when healthy). Coming off a career-best 50/1,044/9 season, Perriman has averaged more than 20.0 Y/R over the past two seasons and is an excellent fit to replace Torrey Smith as a vertical threat in this offense (again, when healthy).

11.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins

Stills set career highs with 63 receptions for a team-high 931 yards in his second season with the Saints, but he was traded to the Dolphins this offseason. One of the areas in which Ryan Tannehill has struggled is with downfield accuracy, which doesn't necessarily bode well for the speedy Stills.

11.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Owen Daniels, TE, Denver Broncos

Daniels had 48 catches for 527 yards and four touchdowns last season in Baltimore and he has once again followed Coach Kubiak to Denver this offseason. While I don't expect 12 touchdowns from Daniels, which the departed Julius Thomas had done in each of the past two years in Denver, I would expect an improvement across the board from his 48/527/4 line from last season.

11.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Jonas Gray, RB, New England Patriots

It's not often that a running rushes for 201 yards with four touchdowns one week and is a healthy scratch the next. So what to make of Gray's projected workload is anyone's guess. Of course, that's the norm with Bill Belichick and the workloads given to New England's running backs.

11.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Tennessee Titans

Receiving some pre-draft comparisons to Calvin Johnson, DGB isn't nearly as athletic as Megatron, but he has sub-4.5 speed with tremendous size (6-5, 237). Green-Beckham, the No. 1 overall high school recruit in 2012 (via Rivals.com), has the upside and potential to emerge as the best fantasy receiver out of this year's draft class long term, but his immediate impact could be limited after sitting out the 2014 college season.

11.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Carolina Panthers

The biggest appeal with taking Artis-Payne late is the durability of Jonathan Stewart -- or lack thereof. The Daily Show was one of the league's most productive backs down the stretch and he enters 2015 as the team's featured back, but he has missed 20 games over the past three seasons. If Stewart misses time, CAP should lead the team in touches in those games.

11.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

Eifert's 2014 season ended almost as soon as it began with a dislocated elbow injury in Week 1. As a rookie and part of a timeshare with Jermaine Gresham, Eifert posted a solid 39/445/2 line in 2013. Now healthy and with Gresham gone, Eifert will be counted on to be a significant part of their passing attack. Provided he stays healthy, it wouldn't surprise me if the former first-round pick finished as a top-12 fantasy tight end in 2015.

11.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

Missing two games and at less than 100 percent for much of the season, it was a down year for Newton. That said, Newton has now exceeded 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in all four of his NFL seasons. Over those four seasons, he has averaged 3,606 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns per season as well as 643 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Despite the down year, Newton finished seventh in fantasy points per game (17.78) among QBs. And before last season, Newton finished as a top-four fantasy quarterback in his first three NFL seasons. Before the injury to Kelvin Benjamin, I was much higher on Newton, but I still expect him to finish as a top-10 fantasy QB in 2015.

11.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins

Tannehill posted career highs in passing yards (4,045), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (66.4) with a career low in interceptions (12) in his first year playing for new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. In addition, he rushed for a career-high 311 yards, which ranked fifth among all quarterbacks last season. Starting in Week 6, Tannehill finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in six of 11 weeks, but he finished with the eighth-most fantasy points over the full season. The team's group of top pass-catchers was entirely turned over except for Jarvis Landry, but Tannehill is a high-upside QB2 for Brendan behind Drew Brees.

11.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

In five NFL seasons since being drafted first overall by the Rams, Bradford has played a total of 49 games -- and only seven of 32 games in the past two years. If, a big if, Bradford starts 16 games for the Eagles, however, he has the potential to finish as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in 2015. The duo of Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez combined to throw 4,581 yards, 27 touchdowns and 21 interceptions last season and score 258.74 fantasy points, which would have placed them 14th among quarterbacks last year.

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 10

Last weekend, we began a "slow" Fantasy Football Mock Draft and we are now down to the final two rounds of our 12-round mock.

Here are Round 10 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

10.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants

With his season cut short after six games due to a torn patellar tendon, Cruz averaged just 56.2 yards per game, a four-year low, with only one touchdown. While he avoided the PUP list to start the season, there is still significant separation between Cruz and and the team's new No. 1 wide receiver, Odell Beckham.

10.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Overall, it was a disappointing season for Smith, who either set or tied career lows with 49 receptions for 767 yards. On a positive note, however, Smith set a career high with 11 touchdowns and he was much more productive from Week 6 to 17. During that span, Smith averaged 3.8/59.1/0.9 per game and scored the 14th-most fantasy points among receivers on a per-game basis. One of the league's more dangerous vertical threats, Smith fills a void for the 49ers, but his weekly production could remain relatively volatile.

10.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

In the first six games of the season, Eli finished outside the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in all but one game. Over the final 10 games of the season, however, Manning posted five weekly top-five performances. No quarterback had more top-five finishes during that span; only Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers had as many.

With better health from his wide receivers and the free-agent addition of Shane Vereen, a talented receiver out of the backfield, plus more comfort and familiarity with Ben McAdoo's offense, Eli has the potential to post career numbers in 2015. In addition, only Tampa and Washington have a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule than Eli does.

10.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Floyd opened (5/119) and closed (8/153/2) the season with a bang, but there weren't many bright spots in between. Floyd had zero, one or two receptions in eight games last season and finished the year with a 47/841/6 line after his breakout second season (66/1,054/5). Given the team's quarterback injuries, however, it's no surprise that we didn't see Floyd take another step forward in 2014. With less buzz entering 2015 drafts, Floyd has some bounce-back appeal at a lower draft-day cost than in 2014.

10.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Replacing LeSean McCoy with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews means that Sproles goes from second in line for touches to third. That said, Chip Kelly should continue to find ways to get Sproles the ball in space and recently described him as a "Swiss army knife." While he isn't exactly a handcuff for Murray, who Dan selected at 1.08, Sproles' weekly value will rise considerably in the games that Murray (or Mathews) misses.

10.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis Colts

With eight touchdowns on only 29 receptions in 13 games, Allen is one of the league's better red-zone options at the position. In weeks he doesn't score, however, Allen's lack of volume (2.23 catches per game) will lead to mostly boom (scores a touchdown) or bust (doesn't score a touchdown) outcomes.

10.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints

On a per-game basis, Colston's 3.69 receptions, 6.25 targets and 56.38 yards per game were all career lows. One positive for Colston personally, not the offense in general, is that the team traded away both Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills so perhaps his targets and production will see a slight bump in 2015.

10.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos

Hillman had a couple of very productive games last season and he has a shot to earn the RB2 role behind C.J. Anderson. Hillman has run the ball well -- 16 carries for 120 yards (7.5 YPC) -- and has garnered praise from head coach Gary Kubiak this preseason.

10.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sims, who rushed for 3,465 yards in college but also added 203 receptions for 2,108 yards, was less than impressive as a rookie (2.8 YPC). While Doug Martin enters the season atop the depth chart and has looked much better than he has the past two seasons, he has missed 15 games over the past two seasons.

10.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Wheaton barely finished as a top-60 fantasy receiver (either format) last year with his 53/644/2 slash line, but he should improve upon those numbers in year three (perhaps by quite a bit). Per NFL Network's Albert Breer, Wheaton "[probably] had best offseason of the Steelers WRs." And Big Ben has predicted a breakout season for Wheaton, who will start opposite Antonio Brown. In addition, second-year receiver Martavis Bryant will be suspended for the first four games of the season.

10.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team I): Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams

Tearing his rotator cuff in Week 8 last season, Quick played just seven games, but he started the season strong. In the first four games of the year, Quick had a total of 21 receptions for 322 yards and three touchdowns and finished as a top-25 fantasy wide receiver in all four games. Although he had just four catches for 53 yards in his other three games, Quick was on his way to a breakout season. Depending on his ability to stay healthy, that breakout season could come for the former Appalachian State receiver in 2015.

10.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Williams has had some really productive NFL seasons -- 1,515 rushing yards and 18 rushing scores in 2008, as an example -- and has averaged 4.78 YPC over his career. Now 32 years old, Williams won't be the featured back for his new team (starting in Week 3). With Le'Veon Bell suspended for the first two games, however, Williams is expected to lead the team's backfield in touches during that span. After that point, however, Williams would do well to average five carries per game over the final 14 games.

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Tight End (TE) Rankings

Here are my fantasy football tight end rankings (standard scoring):

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots: When it comes to fantasy tight ends, he's in a tier all by himself. Named the 2014 AP Comeback Player of the Year after two injury-plagued seasons, Gronkowski posted an 82/1,124/12 stat line over 15 games. Scoring 184.4 fantasy points, Gronk had 30.3 points (or 19.66 percent) more than Antonio Gates, who had the second-most among tight ends. Not only dominant over a full season, but Gronk was consistent as well finishing as a top-five weekly scorer at the position in eight of 15 games and a top-11 scorer in all but two games.

2. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks: Slowed by a shoulder injury, Graham had 54 yards or less in six of his final seven games last season and finished with only 889 yards, a four-year low. Over his past four seasons, however, Graham has averaged 89 catches, 1,099 yards and 12 touchdowns per year. With his trade to the Seahawks, Graham goes from an offense that averaged 41.2 pass attempts per game, second-most in the NFL last year, to one that averages the fewest (28.4/G).

3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce played only 52.3 percent of the team's offensive snaps from Weeks 1 to 10, but that percentage jumped to 86.7 percent from Weeks 11 to 17. Despite his snap-count limits during the first half of the season, Kelce still finished with 67 receptions, 862 yards and five touchdowns and the ninth-most fantasy points (sixth-most in PPR formats) among tight ends last season. With good health, the sky is the limit for Kelce in 2015.

4. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers: Posting career highs of 84 catches for 1,008 yards last season, Olsen now has at least 69 receptions and 816 yards while finishing as a top-seven fantasy tight end in each of the past three seasons. Over that three-year span, Jimmy Graham (3,086) is the only tight end with more yards than Olsen (2,667) and only Graham (256) and Jason Witten (247) have more receptions than Olsen (226). He's never scored more than eight touchdowns in a season, but he has at least five scores for seven consecutive seasons. In addition, Olsen is extremely durable having played all 16 games in seven consecutive seasons.

5. Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears: Setting career highs across the board in 2014 with 90 receptions, 916 yards and six touchdowns, Bennett finished as a top-five scorer among tight ends and led the position in receptions. With the Bears trading Brandaon Marshall to the Jets and the injury to top pick Kevin White, Bennett has the potential to come close to those numbers this season.

6. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: Ertz saw a year-over-year jump from 36 catches and 469 yards as a rookie to 58 catches for 702 yards, 11th-most among tight ends last season. With Jeremy Maclin leaving Philadelphia for Kansas City, however, Ertz should become even more involved in the passing game. That said, he was still working with the second-team offense before undergoing a surgery to repair a groin tear.

7. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars: Slowed by injuries, Thomas followed up a breakout 2013 season with only 43 catches for 489 yards, but he once again scored 12 touchdowns. Signing a massive free-agent deal with the Jaguars, Thomas is unlikely to approach that red-zone success again this year. Aside from the Browns (12), no other team threw fewer touchdowns than the Jaguars (15) last season.

8. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: Other than his rookie season, Witten's 64 receptions and 703 yards last year set or tied career lows. Witten lacks upside at this point in his career, but he's a solid option that should come close to last year's top-10 performance once again.

9. Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins: In 2013, Cameron had a breakout season with 80 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. When healthy, he is clearly a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Unfortunately, Cameron missed six games last season and has a history of concussions. Perhaps no injury is more worrisome from a fantasy outlook given the greater susceptibility and unpredictability of a recurrence. If Cameron plays 16 games in 2015, however, he has top-five upside.

10. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans: Walker set career highs in both receptions (63) and yards (890) and led the team in both categories last season. It may be difficult for Walker to repeat that production with a rookie quarterback, but he could once again finish as a top-10 fantasy tight end.

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver (WR) Rankings

A wide receiver has scored 250-plus fantasy points 12 times in the history of the NFL.

Nearly half of those 250-point seasons belong to one player, Jerry Rice (five). Only four of them have occurred since the turn of the century — Randy Moss (2003 and 2007), Calvin Johnson (2011) and now Antonio Brown (2014).

Amazingly, Brown never finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in any given week throughout the 2014 season. (In fact, that applies to both standard- and PPR-scoring formats.) Yet no wide receiver had more fantasy points over the course of the season -- in either format -- than Brown.

Over the past two seasons, Brown has a combined 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also has 17 rushing yards and two return touchdowns. More impressive than his overall level of production, however, has been his consistency.

Brown had at least five receptions and 70 yards in all 17 games (counting their playoff loss) last season. Going back to the start of 2013, Brown has at least five catches and 50 yards in 33 consecutive games.

One of the things that you'll often hear in fantasy football is that you can't win your league in the first round, but you can lose it. With Brown's production and consistency, there isn't a safer first-round pick.

Here are my fantasy football wide receiver rankings for 2015:

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: See above.

2. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys: Targeted only 136 times, a three-year low, Bryant finished with 88 receptions for 1,320 yards and a career-high and league-leading 16 touchdowns. Dez now has at least 88 catches, 1,233 yards and 12 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. And aside from Marshawn Lynch, Bryant is the only other player with at least 50 total touchdowns over the past four seasons.

3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: Jones finished with 104 catches for 1,593 yards, both of which shattered his previous career highs, and six touchdowns in 2014. After scoring 0.62 TD/G on 74.4 YPG in his first two seasons, Jones has averaged just 0.40 TD/G despite a jump to 1087.7 YPG over the past two seasons. With plus size and speed, Jones should bounce back in terms of red-zone production and could put together a 100/1,500/10 season in 2015 with good health.

4. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos: Despite his slow start, Thomas reached the 100-yard mark in 10 of his final 13 games and finished with a full-season stat line of 111 catches and 1,619 yards, both of which were career highs, and 11 touchdowns. A fourth consecutive year of 90-plus receptions, 1,400-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns seems like a strong possibility with Peyton Manning back for (at least) one more year.

5. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: Including playoff appearances, Megatron has more 200-yard games (six) than any other receiver in league history. And while he still has as much potential as any receiver to take over a given game, he has missed a total of five games in 2013 and 2014. Johnson also appeared in a few games as a decoy, which can be even worse for fantasy owners than missed games. With five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, however, Megatron has averaged a stat line of 90/1,467/11 during that span.

6. Odell Beckham, New York Giants: Closing the season with nine consecutive games of 90-plus yards, Beckham racked up a massive stat line of 81/1,199/9 on 115 targets during that stretch. In fact, only 11 other receivers had more yards in all of 2014 than OBJ had in his final nine games. And as impressive as that sounds, he was even more dominant over his final four games -- 43/606/7 on 63 targets. While ODB is far from being the biggest receiver, his combination of hands, route-running ability, speed and elusiveness makes him nearly impossible to cover especially in today's age of offense-friendly rules.

7. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals: Injuries kept Green from building upon his 2013 numbers (98/1,426/11), but he extended his streak of 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career to four. Only Megatron (6,214), Brown (5,092) and Demaryius (5,034) have more yards during that four-year span than Green (4,874). With good health, Green is a good bet for 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns in 2015.

8. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers: Recently turning 25, Cobb re-signed with the Packers prior to the official start of NFL free agency. Of course, playing in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense helps to maximize his fantasy value this year and going forward. Cobb finished the season with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, all of which set career highs, but I would be surprised if he scored 12 touchdowns again in 2015. That said, the season-ending ACL injury to Jordy Nelson means that Cobb should finish as a top-eight fantasy receiver in 2015.

9. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears: With the Bears trading Brandon Marshall to the Jets and using a top-seven pick on West Virginia's Kevin White, Jeffery now takes over as the team's clear No. 1 wide receiver. Despite year-over-year dips in both receptions (85) and receiving yards (1,133), Jeffery posted a career high in touchdowns (10) and finished with the 11th-most fantasy points among wide receivers last season.

10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Not only was he one of three rookie receivers to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark last year, but Evans was one of five receivers to score at least 12 touchdowns. From Weeks 9 to 11, he gave us a glimpse of what we can expect when things really click as he posted a massive 21/458/5 line over that three-game stretch. Only 21 years old (turns 22 in August), Evans should take a step forward in 2015 despite playing with a rookie quarterback.

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August 29, 2015

Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Running Back (RB) Rankings

Among fantasy football's major positions, running back is arguably the most difficult to predict.

While I generally prefer to draft at least two running backs within my first three picks, plenty of late(r)-round selections will pay huge dividends for fantasy owners. Of course, identifying them is a little more difficult.

That said, four of the top-12 fantasy running backs last season were drafted, on average, outside the top-30 fantasy running backs last year — Lamar Miller (No. 9, ADP: RB31), Jeremy Hill (No. 10, ADP: RB42), C.J. Anderson (No. 11, ADP: RB65) and Justin Forsett (No. 8, ADP: Undrafted).

With that said, here are my fantasy football running back rankings for 2015:

1. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers: Unfortunately for Bell (and his fantasy owners), he's suspended for the first two games of the season (although that was cut from his initial three-game ban). Once he returns, however, Bell's versatility makes him a true three-down back and his production won't vary much based on game flow. Named 2014 AP First-Team All-Pro Team, Bell racked up 1,361 rushing yards, 83 receptions for 854 yards and 11 total touchdowns in his second season. Bell broke single-season franchise records for yards from scrimmage and receptions by a running back. Over the course of last year, he averaged 17.97 fantasy points per game although his production spiked to 24.7/G with LeGarrette Blount out of the picture down the stretch.

2. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers: Starting slowly while facing three elite rush defenses to start the season, only DeMarco Murray and Le'Veon Bell scored more fantasy points than Lacy did from Weeks 4 to 17. Over those final 13 games of the season, he averaged 18.92 touches for 108.85 YFS per game and scored a total of 13 touchdowns. The benefit of playing with Aaron Rodgers means that opposing defenses are less likely to stack the box to (try to) slow down Lacy. After averaging a relatively modest 4.15 yards per carry as a rookie, Lacy averaged 4.63 YPC last season (and 4.89 YPC over final 13 games).

3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: One of the league's all-time best running backs, Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards back just a couple of seasons ago. Assuming that he plays all 16 games (or close to it), the 30-year-old Peterson should finish as a top-five (or better) back in 2015.

4. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs: Despite a somewhat disappointing season, Charles finished with the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs in 2014. The 28-year-old back rushed for 1,033 yards, his fifth 1,000-yard season, and added 40 catches for 291 yards while scoring a total of 14 touchdowns. Despite a year-over-year decline in all of those numbers, the biggest concern was his reduction in workload. After 320-plus touches in back-to-back seasons, Charles had just 246 touches -- 15 running backs had more -- in 2014. Perhaps we won't see Charles get in the 320-range ever again, but it would be a surprise to see him as low as 246 again this season.

5. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks: In his four full seasons in Seattle, Lynch has rushed for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in those seasons. During that four-year span, no player has more rushing yards (5,357), rushing touchdowns (48) and or total touchdowns (56). Beast Mode's production hasn't slowed at all, but his physical running style (granted, he seems to dish out more punishment than he receives), heavy workload (league-high 1,479 regular-season and playoff touches over that four-year span) and age (turned 29 in April) is at least somewhat concerning. That said, Lynch seems to be a lock for another 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in one of the league's most run-dominant offenses.

6. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos: From Week 10 to 17 last year, Anderson finished as a top-five fantasy running back in six of eight games. In the other two games, he was still very productive as the RB10 and RB16 for those given weeks. With a healthy backfield and new coaching staff entering 2015, there is perhaps some uncertainty about how the workload will be allocated, but it appears that CJA is set for a featured-back role. In his mailbag column, Troy Renck of the Denver Post projects Anderson to average 18 carries per game as the team's "bellcow" and to "roll for 1,400 yards."

7. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals: Over the final nine games of the season, Hill had 22-plus carries and 100-plus rushing yards five times including the final three games of the regular season. During that nine-game span, Hill had 172 carries for 929 yards and six touchdowns and no running back had more rushing yards than Hill during that stretch. (Lynch was second with 824 yards.) Going into the 2015 season, Hill is clearly the team's lead back with Giovani Bernard back as the change-of-pace option.

8. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears: Not only did Forte lead all running backs in receptions (102) last year, but only three players had more -- Antonio Brown (129), Demaryius Thomas (111) and Julio Jones (104) -- as he broke the single-season record for receptions by a running back. With the coaching change, Forte isn't likely to see anywhere close to triple-digit receptions again, but he could certainly finish in the neighborhood of 60-70 catches. And although Forte averaged less than four yards per carry for the first time since 2009, he has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons and has exceeded 1,400 yards from scrimmage in all seven of his NFL seasons. Only the Raiders (337) and Bucs (353) ran the ball less than the Bears (355) last season and I'd expect the Bears to be more committed to the run in 2015 to limit Jay Cutler's turnovers.

9. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles: Murray has always been productive on a per-game, per-touch basis. Before last season's career year, Murray averaged 4.95 yards per carry in his first three seasons combined. The issue with Murray (before 2014) was durability as he missed multiple games in each of those three seasons. With a total of 497 touches including the playoffs last year, durability remains Murray's biggest concern in 2015 as well. Even though the team added another talented (and injury-prone) running back (Ryan Mathews) in free agency, I'd expect Murray to still get close to 20 touches per game, when healthy. But will he hold up for another full season?

10. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills: Barely finishing as a top-12 fantasy running back last season, McCoy finished third in the league in rushing (1,319 yards) and was one of only two 300-carry backs. Not only did he average nearly a yard per carry less in 2014 than 2013, however, McCoy also saw his receptions (52 in 2013) and touchdowns (11 in 2013) drop roughly in half to 28 and five, respectively. Despite running behind an inferior offensive line (compared to Philadelphia's), McCoy should see a healthy volume of work within Buffalo's ground-and-pound offense, like last year, but will his per-touch effectiveness bounce back in a less-efficient offense?

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Quarterback (QB) Rankings

It was the first time it happened (or should I say didn't happen?) in a decade.

Three of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation -- Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees -- all finished outside the top-three fantasy quarterbacks in 2014. From 2005 to 2013, at least one of those three quarterbacks had finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback every season.

Could that happen for a second year in a row? Based on my rankings, my answer is yes.

With that said, here are my fantasy football quarterback rankings for 2015:

1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: Throwing for 4,761 yards and a league-leading 40 touchdowns, both of which were career highs, Luck's 40 TDs last season nearly equalled his total from his first two seasons combined (46 TDs). During the season, Luck had the second-longest streak of 300-yard games (eight) in NFL history. Not only does Luck lead one of the league's most prolific passing offenses, but he gets a boost from his mobility with at least 255 rushing yards each year and a total of 12 rushing scores.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: The reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, Rodgers was also the top-scoring fantasy quarterback as well. Since becoming Green Bay's starting quarterback seven years ago, Rodgers has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback in six of seven seasons with the lone exception due to injury (broken clavicle, 2013). Over the past four seasons, Rodgers has compiled a 139:25 TD-to-INT ratio with an average of 8.5 yards per attempt, 112.6 passer rating and 67.0 completion percentage.

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: A top-three fantasy quarterback in 2014, Wilson rushed for 849 yards and six touchdowns, both of which were career highs, and netted fantasy owners an average of 7.56 fantasy points per game from rushing stats alone. While he won't post gaudy passing statistics in Seattle's run-dominant offense, Wilson is the first quarterback in league history to throw 20-plus touchdowns with 10 or fewer interceptions in each of his first three NFL seasons, per Pro Football Reference. Wilson's volume of pass attempts may not spike in 2015, but the Seahawks pulled off a blockbuster trade for tight end Jimmy Graham, which significantly upgrades the team's weapons in the red zone.

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: After three consecutive 5,000-yard seasons, Brees fell just shy of that mark in 2014 but still tied for the league lead with 4,952 passing yards and threw 33 touchdowns. For the first time since signing with the Saints in 2006, Brees finished outside the top-five fantasy quarterbacks (sixth) in 2014. And while he has thrown at least 650 pass attempts in five consecutive seasons and he led the league in pass attempts per game (41.2) last season, a transition to a more run-based offense appears set to begin with their offseason moves.

5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: Based on his 2014 average draft position (ADP), Roethlisberger was one of the biggest draft values last season. Only four quarterbacks scored more fantasy points and he threw for a career-high 4,952 yards, which tied Drew Brees last season for the league lead, and 32 touchdowns, which tied a previous career high. With continuity on the offensive line and one of the league's best group of pass catchers, it wouldn't surprise me if Big Ben posted another top-five finish in 2015.

6. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: With a slow finish to the season, Manning finished the year as the QB4 (312.68 fantasy points) behind Rodgers (354.14), Luck (350.74) and Wilson (327.6). In the first 11 games of the season, Manning averaged 23.96 fantasy points per game (323.45 YPG, 34 TDs and nine INTs). In the final five games of the season, however, he averaged just 9.83 FPPG (233.8 YPG, five TDs and six INTs) and never scored more than 13.02 fantasy points in any of those games. Much of the decline can be attributed to last year's thigh injury, but Manning's passing production also tends to slow as the weather turns colder. In a more balanced offense with some issues on the offensive line, it's possible that Manning fails to produce a top-five fantasy season.

7. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: Ryan has more than 4,500 passing yards in three consecutive seasons with the third-most (13,928) over that span. In addition, he has 26-plus touchdowns in five consecutive seasons and the sixth-most (143) during that span. The good news is that Ryan has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in four of the past five years, which makes him a solid mid-QB1 option to target. That said, he has yet to finish as a top-six fantasy quarterback in his career.

8. Eli Manning, New York Giants: In the first six games of the season, Eli finished outside the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in all but one game. Over the final 10 games of the season, however, Manning posted five weekly top-five performances. With better health from his wide receivers and the free-agent addition of Shane Vereen, a talented receiver out of the backfield, plus more comfort and familiarity with Ben McAdoo's offense, Eli has the potential to post career numbers in 2015. In addition, only Tampa and Washington have a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule than Eli does.

- Mock Drafts: Check out our latest 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft

9. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: Missing two games and at less than 100 percent for much of the season, it was a down year for Newton. That said, Newton has now exceeded 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in all four of his NFL seasons. Over those four seasons, he has averaged 3,606 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns per season as well as 643 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Despite the down year, Newton finished seventh in fantasy points per game (17.78) among QBs. And before last season, Newton finished as a top-four fantasy quarterback in his first three NFL seasons. Before the injury to Kelvin Benjamin, I was much higher on Newton, but I still expect him to finish as a top-10 fantasy QB in 2015.

10. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: Tannehill posted career highs in passing yards (4,045), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (66.4) with a career low in interceptions (12) in his first year playing for new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. In addition, he rushed for a career-high 311 yards, which ranked fifth among all quarterbacks last season. Starting in Week 6, Tannehill finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in six of 11 weeks, but he finished with the eighth-most fantasy points over the full season. The team's group of top pass-catchers was entirely turned over except for Jarvis Landry, but Tannehill has some upside for those that wait on quarterback in 2015.

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 9

We're closing in on the end of our new 12-round 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft that we started last weekend.

Here are Round 9 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

9.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys

Other than his rookie season, Witten's 64 receptions and 703 yards last year set or tied career lows. Witten lacks upside at this point in his career, but he's a solid option that should come close to last year's top-10 performance once again.

9.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

Woodhead missed all but three games last season, but prior to the 2014 season, he had finished as a top-30 fantasy running back in three of his previous four seasons. (Woodhead's the RB42 in this mock.) In his first full season with the Chargers (2013), which also coincided with the only full season for Ryan Mathews, Woodhead had 1,034 yards from scrimmage, 76 receptions and eight total touchdowns. Even though Melvin Gordon should get the bulk of early-down work, Woodhead should get the majority of third-down snaps.

9.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Since entering the league as a top-four pick, McFadden has largely disappointed fantasy owners due to durability issues or lack of production. Back in 2010 and 2011, he gave owners a glimpse of what could be with an average of 121.6 YFS per game and 5.27 YPC over 20 games played. For the first six seasons of his career, however, he missed at least three games every season and averaged only 11.17 games per year before finally playing a full 16-game season in 2014. In addition, McFadden has averaged just 3.34 YPC over the past three seasons combined. Having just turned 28, McFadden has some upside if he can stay healthy and get a significant share of the committee's workload.

9.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

Slowed by injuries, Thomas followed up a breakout 2013 season with only 43 catches for 489 yards, but he once again scored 12 touchdowns. Signing a massive free-agent deal with the Jaguars, Thomas is unlikely to approach that red-zone success for a third straight year. Aside from the Browns (12), no other team threw fewer touchdowns than the Jaguars (15) last season.

9.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans

One year after his 94/1,079/2 breakout season in 2013, Wright's production dropped year over year to 57/715/6 although the issues at quarterback were at least partly to blame. And even though the Titans lost 14 games and nine of them by double digits, Wright saw 10 targets in only one game last season. While it's unlikely that Wright bounces back to his 2013-level production, chemistry between Mariota and Wright have been positive so far so he should improve upon last year's disappointing numbers.

9.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears

Royal posted a 62/778/7 line last year with the Chargers and finished as a top-32 fantasy wide receiver (both scoring formats). Reunited with Jay Cutler via free agency this offseason, Royal's best season was his rookie campaign (91/980/5 with 109 rushing yards) with Cutler as his quarterback. With positive reports all summer and the injury to Kevin White, Royal has plenty of upside.

9.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Reggie Bush, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, Bush missed five games and gained a total of only 550 yards from scrimmage (50.0 per game) while averaging just 3.9 yards per carry and scoring just two touchdowns. Released by the Lions, Bush signed with the 49ers and will at least own a change-of-pace role to unproven second-year back Carlos Hyde.

9.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Jordan Cameron, TE, Miami Dolphins

In 2013, Cameron had a breakout season with 80 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. When healthy, he is clearly a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Unfortunately, Cameron missed six games last season and has a history of concussions. Perhaps no injury is more worrisome from a fantasy outlook given the greater susceptibility and unpredictability of a recurrence. If Cameron plays 16 games in 2015, however, he has top-five upside.

9.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

Ertz saw a year-over-year jump from 36 catches and 469 yards as a rookie to 58 catches for 702 yards, 11th-most among tight ends last season. With Jeremy Maclin leaving Philadelphia for Kansas City, however, Ertz should become even more involved in the passing game. That said, he was still working with the second-team offense before undergoing a surgery to repair a groin tear, both of which dampen his outlook.

9.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns

The all-time rushing leader at The U., Johnson's production is especially impressive considering the school's alumni of talented backs (Frank Gore, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, etc.). While I like Johnson's skill set and his longer-term outlook, there could be some week-to-week variability in Johnson's rookie-season production. With that said, few running backs have generated as much buzz during the offseason and he appears set for a prominent role as a rookie.

9.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets

Unsurprisingly, Decker's first year with the Jets (74/962/5) was worse than his two previous seasons with the Broncos (and Peyton Manning), but he still finished as a top-30 fantasy wide receiver in both standard- and PPR-scoring formats. Both of Decker's 100-yard games came in the final three weeks of the season including a massive 10/221/1 line against the Dolphins in Week 17. Given the team's quarterback situation, Decker's upside is capped, but the addition of Brandon Marshall as a true No. 1 wide receiver should take the attention off of Decker.

9.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Knile Davis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

The best handcuff among fantasy running backs, Davis had some big games when given the opportunity as he finished as a top-eight fantasy running back four times last season. With Jamaal Charles leaving Week 2 early (only two carries) and missing Week 3, Davis had a combined 60 touches for 237 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in those two games.

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August 28, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 8

We're now two-thirds of the way complete through our new 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

Four of our contributors started a 12-round mock draft on Saturday and we have completed the first eight rounds.

Here are Round 8 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

8.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers

With the season-ending ACL injury to Kelvin Benjamin, no player benefits more from a fantasy perspective than Funchess. That said, it's highly unlikely that Funchess follows in Benjamin's steps and exceeds 1,000 yards as a rookie, but he moves into the WR3 mix due to his expanded role.

8.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Bishop Sankey, RB, Tennessee Titans

Not only was Sankey the first running back selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, but he seemed (at least on paper) to have the clearest path to a sizable workload. While it's too early to call a player entering his second season a "bust," it's more than fair to say that his rookie campaign was a disappointment. Averaging only 3.7 YPC, Sankey finished with 170 total touches and only 702 yards from scrimmage. While I expect improved numbers from him in 2015, it wouldn't surprise me if rookie David Cobb is a more productive fantasy back in 2015.

8.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Averaging just 3.8 yards per carry as a rookie, Freeman had eight or fewer carries in all but one game, but he also finished with 30 receptions. Playing on just 21.5 percent of Atlanta's offensive snaps last season, Freeman will see a huge bump in snaps, touches and production in 2015 as he and Tevin Coleman form a committee backfield.

8.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Even though the 49ers have the second-fewest passing yards over the past two seasons combined, Boldin has back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Niners. In addition, both of his yardage totals (1,179 and 1,062, respectively) were higher than any of his previous six seasons. Boldin is unlikely to blow up for 150 yards and two touchdowns in any given week, but he provides this team with consistent production -- 50-plus receiving yards in 12 of 16 games last season.

8.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Mike Wallace, WR, Minnesota Vikings

The Dolphins certainly had some buyer's remorse after signing Wallace to a big free-agent contract two offseasons ago and traded him to the Vikings this offseason. Wallace has three consecutive mediocre seasons of less than 1,000 yards and has averaged just 13.1, 12.7 and 12.9 Y/R over the past three seasons, respectively. Perhaps the change of scenery and Norv Turner's vertical-passing attack will help Wallace live up to his potential and exceed his draft spot. With three other receivers on his roster already, Dan won't have to rely on Wallace each week so it's worth a roll of the dice here.

8.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Over his past three seasons, Romo's pass attempts have dropped from 648 (2012) to 535 (2013) to 435 (2014). Despite the drop in volume, Romo threw 34 touchdowns, the most for him since 2007, with only nine interceptions, a four-year low. In addition, Romo led the league in Y/A (8.5), completion percentage (69.9), touchdown percentage (7.8) and passer rating (113.2) last year.

Assuming the team stays committed to the run game without DeMarco Murray, who signed a free-agent deal with the Eagles, Romo's upside could be somewhat limited as I project 20-plus QBs to throw more pass attempts this year. Even with his career year in efficiency, Romo still finished just outside the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks last season.

8.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

With the NFL upholding Brady's four-game suspension, it's still unclear how many games Brady will miss as both sides are set to meet again in court on August 31st. Brady had a slow start last season, but only Peyton Manning (31) threw more touchdowns than Brady (29) from Week 5 through the end of the season. With good health once again for Rob Gronkowski, Brady could post top-five production on a per-game basis. How many games will Sean get from Brady?

8.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): David Cobb, RB, Tennessee Titans

As noted earlier in this round, Sankey was a disappointment for the Titans last year. Coach Ken Whisenhunt described Cobb as a potential three-down back and I'd personally prefer Cobb over Sankey.

8.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams

Brendan selected Todd Gurley (4.09) earlier than I would have, but I think it's smart to pair Gurley with Mason. Mason didn't get his first carry until Week 6 last year, but he averaged 18.11 touches per game from Week 9 on. While Gurley should emerge as the lead back for the Rams at some point this season, Mason will occupy that role initially as the team eases Gurley in. From Weeks 9 to 17, Mason had the 14th-most fantasy points among running backs.

8.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Brandon LaFell, WR, New England Patriots

According to some reports, LaFell (foot) could potentially land on the reserve/PUP list, which would cost him the first six games of the season. In his first year with the Patriots, LaFell had his best NFL season, by far, as he set career highs in receptions (74), yards (953) and touchdowns (seven). As solid as LaFell's overall numbers were, there was plenty of weekly inconsistency as he had four weekly top-12 finishes but he finished outside the top-36 eight times.

8.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Coming off a disappointing season, White still averaged a respectable 5.71 catches and 65.79 yards per game with seven touchdowns. Had he not missed two games, he was on a 16-game pace of 91/1,053/8. With White undergoing "minor" elbow surgery this month, turning 34 in November and Julio Jones now the clear-cut No. 1 wideout on the team, I have White projected for only 946 yards and six touchdowns. But that's good enough to place him among the top-35 fantasy wide receivers.

8.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

No quarterback underachieved expectations more last season than Stafford, who finished as the QB15 in 2014. Even with the free-agent signing and breakout season from Golden Tate (99/1,331/4), Stafford threw for only 4,247 yards, a four-year low, and 22 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. With better health from Calvin Johnson, who missed a few games and was a decoy in others, Stafford should post better numbers in 2015.

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 7

Last weekend, we began a new 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft with four of our contributors including yours truly.

We are posting the rounds as they are complete and another round is in the books.

Here are Round 7 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

7.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The good news is that Jackson eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth consecutive season and sixth time in the past seven years -- the exception was his holdout-shortened 2010 season. The bad news is V-Jax had just two touchdowns, the lowest of his career since his three-catch rookie season (2005). Jackson should score more touchdowns in 2015 although the 6-foot-5 receiver has never scored double-digit touchdowns.

7.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

The Texans led the NFL with 551 rush attempts last season and Foster is one of the league's few true workhorse backs, when healthy. Although Foster missed three games in 2014, he averaged 95.8 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry, both of which were four-year highs, and scored double-digit touchdowns (13). Not only did Foster finish as a top-five fantasy running back last season, he also finished as a top-12 fantasy running back in 10 of 13 weeks last season.

Unfortunately, Foster recently had groin surgery, which means he'll miss some time to begin the season. That said, there is growing optimism that Foster will only miss a few games as opposed to half the season. Once Foster returns, he'll immediately become a starter for this team along with Le'Veon Bell (1.02).

7.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Charles Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Possessing an impressive combination of size (6-2, 225) and athleticism (sub-4.4 forty), Johnson was reunited with Norv Turner in Minnesota after being released by the receiver-deficient Browns last offseason. In the final six games of the season, Johnson was on the field for all but 19 of the team's offensive snaps. And over his final seven games, Johnson posted 25 receptions for 415 yards and two touchdowns. With a full offseason and the continued development of second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Johnson should pick up where he left off last season.

7.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Small but ultra quick, Brown had a solid rookie season especially given the team's injuries at quarterback and finished with 48 receptions for 696 yards and five touchdowns. Improved year-over-year production should be expected, but his personal outlook is less bullish than it would have been without Larry Fitzgerald back in Arizona.

7.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Speaking of Fitzgerald, he had 63 receptions for 784 yards and a career-low two touchdowns last season and his 784 yards were only four more than the career low he had as a rookie. Given the injuries to the team's quarterbacks, the decline certainly wasn't solely the fault of Fitzgerald, who also missed two games.

In the 22 games that Carson Palmer and Fitzgerald have played together over the past two seasons, Fitzgerald has averaged 5.18 receptions, 65.32 yards and 0.55 touchdowns per game. That's a 16-game pace of 83/1,045/9 so perhaps Fitz ends the drought of 1,000-yard seasons if both he and Palmer stay healthy.

7.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Mathews has struggled with durability as he has played a full 16-game season only once in his five-year career. That said, he has been productive when on the field with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons under his belt a career 4.40 YPC average. While he enters 2015 second on the depth chart behind last year's rushing champion, DeMarco Murray has his own durability concerns as he is coming off a massive 497-touch season counting the playoffs. And if Murray misses time, Mathews becomes an RB1-type fantasy back in those games.

7.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Smith's first season as a Raven went better than expectations as he posted a 79/1,065/6 full-season stat line. With all four of his 100-yard games occurring in the first six games of the season, Smith was much less effective over the final 10 games. That said, he did have at least five catches in each of the final four games for a total of 25 catches during the final month of the season. Now 36 years old, it's unlikely that Smith posts another 1,000-yard season in what will be his final NFL season, but he has made a career out of disproving his doubters.

7.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

Ryan has more than 4,500 passing yards in three consecutive seasons with the third-most (13,928) over that span. In addition, he has 26-plus touchdowns in five consecutive seasons and the sixth-most (143) during that span. The good news is that Ryan has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in four of the past five years, but he has yet to finish as a top-six fantasy quarterback in his career.

7.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Based on his 2014 average draft position (ADP), Roethlisberger was one of the biggest draft values last season. Only four quarterbacks scored more fantasy points and he threw for a career-high 4,952 yards, which tied Drew Brees last season for the league lead, and 32 touchdowns, which tied a previous career high. It wouldn't surprise me if Big Ben posted another top-five finish in 2015 so I like getting him as the QB7 in this mock.

7.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns

On a positive note, the coaching staff wants to lean on the rushing attack and the Browns have one of the better run-blocking offensive lines, when healthy. On a less positive note, the coaching staff's allocation of carries was unpredictable on a weekly basis. Adding Duke Johnson to the mix only creates more uncertainty in projecting how things will shake out in Cleveland's backfield, but I still expect Crowell to lead the backfield in touches and (fantasy) production.

7.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Shane Vereen, RB, New York Giants

Vereen is one of the league's better receiving backs and he set career highs last year with 52 catches for 447 yards. Especially with both Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams likely to get more carries, Vereen is a better fantasy running back in PPR formats, but he should be in the flex mix on a weekly basis in standard-scoring formats as well.

7.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

The biggest home run threat in college football last year, Coleman rushed for 2,036 yards on 270 carries with four 200-yard games and eight 60-yard runs, most in both categories. Clearly, that won't be repeated at the NFL level, but it illustrates his big-play ability as he joins one of the league's better offenses. With a committee approach between Coleman and second-year back Devonta Freeman expected to start the season, Coleman is likely to see his usage expand as the season develops.

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 6

Over the weekend, four of our contributors including yours truly began a "slow" 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft and we are posting each round as we complete them.

We are now at the midway point of our 12-round mock draft as Round 6 is complete.

Here are Round 6 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

6.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers

Posting career highs of 84 catches for 1,008 yards last season, Olsen now has at least 69 receptions and 816 yards while finishing as a top-seven fantasy tight end in each of the past three seasons. Over that three-year span, Jimmy Graham (3,086) is the only tight end with more yards than Olsen (2,667) and only Graham (256) and Jason Witten (247) have more receptions than Olsen (226). He's never scored more than eight touchdowns in a season, but he has at least five scores for seven consecutive seasons. In addition, Olsen is extremely durable having played all 16 games in seven consecutive seasons.

With the season-ending ACL injury to Kelvin Benjamin, Olsen clearly enters the season as the team's top pass-catcher should rank near the league lead in targets among tight ends.

6.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

After three consecutive 5,000-yard seasons, Brees fell just shy of that mark in 2014 but still tied with Ben Roethlisberger for the league lead with 4,952 passing yards and threw 33 touchdowns. For the first time since signing with the Saints in 2006, Brees finished outside the top-five fantasy quarterbacks (sixth) in 2014. And while he has thrown at least 650 pass attempts in five consecutive seasons and he led the league in pass attempts per game (41.2) last season, a transition to a more run-based offense appears set to begin with their offseason moves. My fourth-ranked fantasy quarterback heading into 2015, Brees is the fifth quarterback off the board in this mock.

6.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets

A lot went wrong for Marshall and the Bears offense last season as he missed multiple games, was limited in others, Jay Cutler struggled and was benched, etc. Marshall posted his lowest totals for both receptions (61) and yards (721) since his rookie season, but he was traded to the Jets in the offseason and gets a fresh start. A return to his 2012 or 2013 numbers appear unlikely, but I expect a bounce-back to the 1,000-yard range.

6.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Better suited for his return to a change-of-pace role, Bernard can still be productive as the flex for this squad. As an example, Jeremy Hill carried the ball 22-plus times for 100-plus yards in the team's final three regular-season games. In those same games, Bernard finished as the weekly RB11, RB17 and RB13, respectively, in standard-scoring formats. As beat writer Paul Dehner Jr. noted earlier this offseason, "... once settling into a complementary role the final three weeks, [Bernard] returned to the explosive, multi-dimensional player the Bengals team envisioned."

6.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills

The fourth overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, Watkins finished his rookie campaign with 65 receptions for 982 yards and six touchdowns. While Watkins had four 100-yard games including a career-high 157 yards against his new head coach's former team, he also had nine games with 35 receiving yards or less. In a run-first offense with a less-than-ideal quarterback situation, there will still be plenty of weekly inconsistency from Watkins even though his overall numbers should improve on a year-over-year basis.

6.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

After sitting out all of 2013 with a torn ACL, Maclin returned to the Eagles on a one-year deal and posted a career-best season (85/1,318/10) in Chip Kelly's offense. He then parlayed that success into a five-year deal to reunite with his former coach. Few players, if any, have seen their fantasy stock drop more in free agency than Maclin as he transitions to an offense with a quarterback incapable and/or unwilling to challenge opposing defenses down the field. That said, he's a solid WR3 behind Dan's first two receivers -- Brandin Cooks and Amari Cooper.

6.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins

Among rookies, only his ex-LSU teammate Odell Beckham (91) had more receptions than Landry (84) last season. Over the final nine games of the season, Landry had a minimum of five receptions every game and racked up a total of 59 catches over that span. In addition, he had at least nine targets in six of his final eight games. Landry should improve upon his 84/758/5 rookie numbers, but he's a much better option in point-per-reception (PPR) formats.

6.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions

Scoring the 14th-most fantasy points among running backs in 2014, Bell finished with 223 carries for 860 yards, both of which were career highs, as well as 34 receptions for 322 yards and eight total touchdowns. That said, it was the second consecutive season that Bell has averaged under 4.0 YPC.

While I expect Bell to lead the team's backfield in touches in 2015, second-round rookie Ameer Abdullah weakens Bell's grip on the featured-back role and it wouldn't surprise me if Abdullah emerged as the lead back at some point during the season. With Bell coming off a pair of offseason surgeries, he's still not practicing although he is expected to be ready for the opener.

6.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Just a couple of seasons ago, Martin racked up 1,926 yards from scrimmage, 49 receptions and 12 touchdowns in 16 games as a rookie when he finished the year as fantasy's RB2. Over the past two seasons (combined), however, Martin has only 1,080 YFS, 25 receptions and three touchdowns in 17 games. Going into 2015, Martin appears to be in line for the largest share of the backfield's workload.

6.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears

Setting career highs across the board in 2014 with 90 receptions, 916 yards and six touchdowns, Bennett finished as a top-five scorer among tight ends and led the position in receptions. With the Bears trading Marshall to the Jets and the injury to top pick Kevin White, Bennett has the potential to come close to those numbers this season.

6.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins

Despite the revolving door at quarterback, Jackson was one of the few bright spots for Washington's offense in 2014. D-Jax finished with 56 catches for 1,169 yards and six touchdowns and he led the NFL in yards per reception (20.9).

Even though he finished as the 16th-highest scoring fantasy wide receiver, the big drawback of owning Jackson is his boom-or-bust nature. Jackson finished as a top-17 fantasy wide receiver in eight of 15 games last year; in all seven of the other games, he finished as the WR53 or worse. Stated differently, Jackson had zero games within the range of WR18 and WR52 in a given week last year.

6.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Alfred Blue, RB, Houston Texans

Blue averaged just 3.1 YPC as a rookie last season and he backs up one of the league's few workhorses in Arian Foster, but he finished as a top-40 fantasy running back in 2014. The Texans were more committed to the run than any other team in the league and Foster, who missed three games last season, is always a candidate to miss a game or two. In fact, Foster will miss at least some games to begin the season following groin surgery.

At this point, however, I'd actually prefer Foster over Blue. There is some optimism that Foster may only miss a few games as opposed to half the season as initially expected.

> Continue to Round 7 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

View previous rounds:
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> Go back Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back Round 4 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back Round 5 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 5

Four of our contributors began a new "slow" 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft over the weekend and another round is complete and posted.

Here are Round 5 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

5.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions

Tate had a career year with 99 catches for 1,331 yards and four touchdowns plus 30 rushing yards. From Weeks 4 to 8, Calvin Johnson missed three games and was a decoy in two other games (19 total yards). During that same five-game span, Tate averaged 119.8 yards per game and scored three of his four touchdowns. If Megatron is healthy for the entire season, Tate is unlikely to repeat last year's career numbers, but he's otherwise a solid low-end WR2 in 2015. In this case, he's a WR3 for Dan's team with T.Y. Hilton and Julian Edelman ahead of him.

5.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Kelce played only 52.3 percent of the team's offensive snaps from Weeks 1 to 10, but that percentage jumped to 86.7 percent from Weeks 11 to 17. Despite his snap-count limits during the first half of the season, Kelce still finished with 67 receptions, 862 yards and five touchdowns and the ninth-most fantasy points among tight ends last season. With good health and no playing time limitations, the sky is the limit for Kelce in 2015.

5.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

A top-three fantasy quarterback in 2014, Wilson rushed for 849 yards and six touchdowns, both of which were career highs, and netted fantasy owners an average of 7.56 fantasy points per game from rushing stats alone. While he won't post gaudy passing statistics in Seattle's run-dominant offense, Wilson is the first quarterback in league history to throw 20-plus touchdowns with 10 or fewer interceptions in each of his first three NFL seasons, per Pro Football Reference. Trading for Jimmy Graham gives Wilson an elite red-zone option for the first time in his young career.

5.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

With a slow finish to the season, Manning finished the year as the QB4 (312.68 fantasy points) behind Aaron Rodgers (354.14), Andrew Luck (350.74) and Wilson (327.6). In the first 11 games of the season, Manning averaged 23.96 fantasy points per game (323.45 YPG, 34 TDs and nine INTs). In the final five games of the season, however, he averaged just 9.83 FPPG (233.8 YPG, five TDs and six INTs) and never scored more than 13.02 fantasy points in any of those games.

Much of last year's decline can be attributed to his thigh injury, but Manning's passing production also tends to slow as the weather turns colder. In a more balanced offense with some issues on the offensive line, it's possible that Manning fails to produce a top-five fantasy season. (He's the QB6 currently in my rankings.)

5.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

After a boost in playing time down the stretch and a strong offseason, all signs pointed to Adams taking a step forward in year two. In addition, no player benefits more by the ACL injury to Jordy Nelson (from a fantasy perspective) than Adams, who finished with 38/446/3 numbers as a rookie.

5.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Inactive for the first six games, Bryant went on a scoring spree in his first four NFL games with a total of six touchdowns during that span. After that point, however, Bryant had just 12 catches for 239 yards and two touchdowns in the final six games of the season. Not only does he currently project as the team's No. 3 receiver, Bryant will miss the first four games of the season due to league suspension.

[Note: Sean made this selection prior to the news of Bryant's pending suspension.]

5.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots

As we've seen from Blount in the postseason, he can go from one yard on three carries (vs. BAL) one week to 30 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns (vs. IND) the next week. Blount's carries in his final six games through the Super Bowl were as follows: 20, eight, 10, three, 30 and 14. While we can't always count on consistent running back workloads from Belichick, Blount figures to be the "guy" in the Patriots' backfield. And Blount has been dominant at the goal line for the Patriots with 15 rushing scores in his past 15 games (including playoffs) with the Pats.

5.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets

Although he averaged a career-low 4.1 YPC, Ivory once again rushed for more than 800 yards and set a career high with six touchdowns. The Jets signed Stevan Ridley in free agency and traded a seventh-round pick for Zac Stacy, but Ivory should lead the team's backfield in both workload and fantasy production. More productive than most probably realized, Ivory finished as a top-20 fantasy running back last season.

5.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

With Antonio Brown and Nelson as my first two picks, the injury to Nelson hurts what I expected to be this mock's best receiving corps. Quietly off to a strong rookie season before a Week 10 foot injury ended his season, Robinson averaged 5.22 receptions and 60.89 yards per game with four-plus catches per game from Weeks 2 to 10. Assuming good health in 2015, Robinson is poised for a breakout season.

5.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): C.J. Spiller, RB, New Orleans Saints

Following his breakout 2012 season, the Bills (new and since ousted) coaching staff failed to utilize Spiller correctly over the past two seasons. That's certainly not a concern in 2015 as Payton & Co. should maximize Spiller's production on a per-touch basis.

Since Payton took over in New Orleans in 2006, the Saints have roughly one-third (six of 19) of the 70-reception seasons by running backs. One concern entering the season, however, is Spiller's recent arthroscopic knee surgery, but he is expected to ready for Week 1.

5.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Landing in Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense bodes well for Agholor's short- and long-term fantasy outlook. While the Eagles lost Jeremy Maclin (6-0, 198, 4.48 forty) in free agency, Agholor (6-0, 198, 4.42 forty) has earned comparisons to the departed receiver. An excellent route runner, Agholor has the ability to play both inside and outside and finished with a 104/1,313/12 stat line last year for USC. With that said, there are several receivers still on the board that I'd take before Agholor (WR25 in this mock).

5.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants

Dealing with multiple injuries, Jennings played in just 11 games in his first season with the Giants. Second-year back Andre Williams will steal some goal-line opportunities and Shane Vereen will steal some of his passing-down work, which limits the weekly upside of the soon-to-be 30-year-old Jennings.

On a positive note, the Giants used the ninth-overall pick on Ereck Flowers, one of the best run-blocking offensive linemen in this year's draft class. Only the Cardinals (3.3) and Chargers (3.4) averaged fewer YPC than the Giants (3.6) last season and at least part of those struggles can be attributed to the line play.

> Continue to Round 6 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 4

Another round of our new 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft is complete. Four of our contributors are conducting a "slow" draft and we are posting updates as the rounds are complete.

With that said, another round is in the books.

Here are Round 4 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

4.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers

With Frank Gore signing a free-agent deal with the Colts, Hyde enters 2015 atop the 49ers depth chart at running back. With Gore ahead of him last year on the depth chart, Hyde had just 83 carries for 333 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. Not only will his workload expand significantly, but I expect his effectiveness on a per-carry basis to increase from last year's 4.0 yards-per-carry average. On a positive note, Hyde has shed some weight and is now in the "mid 220-pound range," which should improve his elusiveness yet still allow him to flourish near the goal line.

4.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos

With previous career highs of 67/740/6, Sanders blew those numbers out of the water in his first season in Denver with 101 receptions for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014. Given a new coaching staff and more balanced philosophy, repeating a 101/1,404/9 line appears unlikely, but Sanders is a solid WR2 behind Dez Bryant (1.10) for Brendan.

4.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

I'm thrilled that Matthews made it to me at 4.03. Playing only 65.0 percent of the team's offensive snaps as a rookie, that ratio will undoubtedly spike in his second season as the team lost Jeremy Maclin via free agency. In his first season in the league, Matthews finished with 67 receptions for 872 yards and eight touchdowns and finished as a top-25 fantasy wide receiver. With Maclin gone, it wouldn't surprisie me if he posted top-10 numbers (like Maclin last year) as the No. 1 receiver in such a high-volume offense.

4.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers

Over the final five games of the season, Stewart, who recently turned 28, rushed for 486 yards on 91 carries (5.34 YPC) and only DeMarco Murray (491) had more rushing yards during that span. Entering 2015 as the team's clear featured back, Stewart will finally get the opportunity to carry the load for a full season. Well, the "full" season part is the only concern with him as Stewart has played only 28 games over the past three seasons. If, a big if, he can stay healthy for a full season, he has legitimate top-10 fantasy upside.

4.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

While his receptions increased from 71 to 77 in 2014, Allen's yardage (1,046 to 783) and touchdowns (eight to four) both dropped and he finished as only the 48th-highest scoring wide receiver last season. Allen turned 23 this spring and should have a bounce-back season in 2015.

4.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

No rookie receiver is more pro-ready than Cooper, the first Biletnikoff winner in Alabama history. Cooper racked up 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns last season and should become Derek Carr's go-to receiver immediately for a team that ranked fourth in the league in pass attempts per game (39.3) in 2014.

4.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas Cowboys

While he had only 51 carries in 2014, 11 (21.6 percent) of those 51 carries resulted in runs of more than 10 yards and he averaged 6.73 yards per carry on the season. More than anything, that production is a result of running behind one of the best offensive lines in football, which should be even better this year. His YPC average will certainly decline with a bump in volume, but Randle is expected to get the largest share of the workload within the team's committee backfield. The upside certainly warrants a selection higher than this and MG3/Randle give Sean two quality backs despite waiting until Rounds 3/4 to draft his first two running backs.

4.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts

After back-to-back 1,400-yard seasons, Johnson finished with 85 receptions for just 936 yards and three touchdowns in 2014. Johnson's 62.4 Y/G and 11.0 Y/R were his lowest since 2005. Now 34 years old, Johnson may never have another 1,400-yard season, but he goes from a team with one of the league's worst quarterback situations to one of the best with Andrew Luck.

4.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams

Arguably the best running back prospect since Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Gurley ended the drought of first-round running backs and possesses all of the physical tools to be a dominant RB1-type back for years to come. With his combination of size and speed, Gurley has the ability to run over and/or outrun opposing tacklers. Recovering from his torn ACL, however, Gurley will be eased in slowly before eventually settling on a featured-back role. That said, there a few running backs still available that I'd prefer over Gurley including the guy that Brendan took next ...

4.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders

Loaded with potential and upside, Murray is a physical freak that runs a sub-4.4 forty at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds. Murray finally got a chance to showcase what he could do down the stretch last season as he gained 478 yards from scrimmage over his final five games on a total of 83 touches (72 carries and 11 receptions). With Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew out and Trent Richardson and Roy Helu in, Murray will be given every opportunity to be the team's lead back in 2015.

4.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Selected with a top-36 pick in this year's draft, Yeldon has excellent size (6-1, 225) and immediately goes to the front of the line in terms of the team's backfield depth chart. General manager David Caldwell said that he sees Yeldon as "a three-down back." Playing in an offense that ranked in the bottom two in both scoring and total offense last year could limit Yeldon's fantasy upside as a rookie, but he could end up leading rookie backs in touches in 2015.

4.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

After his breakout 2013 season (105/1,056/6), Edelman actually averaged slightly more receptions (6.57 in 2014 vs. 6.56 in 2013) and yards (69.43 in 2014 vs. 66.0 in 2013). I'd prefer a few receivers before Edelman, but he is in the low-end WR2/high-end WR3 range for standard-scoring leagues and is the WR20 in this mock.

> Continue to Round 5 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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> Go back Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 12th Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 12 pick, point-per-reception (PPR) scoring
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.12 - Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants: Closing the season with 90-plus yards in his final nine games, Beckham averaged 9/133/1 on nearly 13 targets per game over that span. Those historic numbers won't be repeated, but ODB enters the season as a top-five fantasy receiver.

2.01 - Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks: No player has more rushing yards (5,357) or touchdowns (56) than Lynch over the past four seasons. In addition, Lynch has at least 36 receptions in each of the past two seasons.

3.12 - Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals: It was a disappointing season for Ellington, who saw his yards-per-carry average plummet to 3.3 in 2014 from 5.5 YPC. There are questions about his ability to hold up for a full season, but Ellington enters the season healthy after a foot injury limited him all year.

4.01 - Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: The Biletnikoff recipient in college football, Cooper enters the NFL as the most pro-ready receiver and he'll be counted on early and often as Oakland's go-to receiver. Last year, the Raiders ranked fourth in the NFL in most pass attempts (39.3 per game).

5.12 - Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Playing roughly half of the team's snaps in the first 10 games, Kelce still posted full-year stats of 67/862/5 to finish as fantasy football's TE6 in PPR formats in 2014. Without any health limitations or snap counts, the sky's the limit for Kelce in 2015.

6.01 - Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: It's unlikely that Wilson repeats his 849 rushing yards with six rushing scores again, but he has 308 runs for 1,877 yards and 11 touchdowns over three seasons. With 72 passing touchdowns over those three seasons, Wilson finally has an elite red-zone option (Jimmy Graham).

7.12 - Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Even though Bernard enters 2015 as the change-of-pace option to featured back Jeremy Hill, there is the potential for both backs to be productive, especially in PPR formats. As an example, Hill rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the final three games of last season while Bernard finished as a top-12 PPR back in each of those games.

8.01 - T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: At some point, the Jaguars will count on Yeldon to be their three-down back and it wouldn't surprise me if he led all rookie running backs in touches. Playing in the low-powered Jags offense may limit his upside, but he's a nice value in Round 8.

9.12 - Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins: Two seasons ago, Garcon led the NFL in receptions (113). Last year, his numbers were nearly cut in half (68/752/3). He should fall somewhere in between in 2015.

10.01 - Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints: Setting per-game career lows in targets, receptions and yards in 2014, Colston has an opportunity to bounce back (some) given the team's offseason moves.

11.12 - Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Floyd failed to build upon his 2013 breakout season, but the team's quarterback situation (injuries) had a limiting effect on the entire passing offense. There is optimism that Floyd will be ready for Week 1.

12.01 - Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys: McFadden, who just turned 28, has averaged 3.4 YPC or less in each of the past three seasons and durability has been a consistent issue for him. That said, he has value here if he can stay healthy as part of a committee backfield that gets to run behind the Cowboys' elite offensive line.

13.12 - Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants: Randle set career highs of 71 receptions and 938 yards in his age-23 season, but it may be difficult to repeat those numbers if the team's other pass catchers stay healthy.

14.01 - Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Williams saw his receptions (37) and yardage (621) decline as the Cowboys threw it much less in 2014 although he caught a career-high eight touchdowns. I expect better overall numbers from him in 2015, but he remains the third option in the passing offense behind Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.

15.12 - New York Jets D/ST

16.01 - Stephen Gostkowski, K, New England Patriots

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August 27, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 3

Four of our contributors recently began a new "slow" 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft and another round is now complete.

Here are Round 3 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

3.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Hilton had a breakout 82/1,345/7 season last year. And that breakout year would have been even better if he weren't limited down the stretch by a hamstring injury. With good health, Hilton could set new career highs in both receptions and yards this season.

3.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Throwing for 4,761 yards and a league-leading 40 touchdowns, both of which were career highs, Luck's 40 TDs last season nearly equalled his total from his first two seasons combined (46 TDs). During the season, Luck had the second-longest streak of 300-yard games (eight) in NFL history. Not only does Luck lead one of the league's most prolific passing offenses, but he gets a boost from his mobility with at least 255 rushing yards each year and a total of 12 rushing scores.

Quarterback is deep and I usually like to wait on the position, but there is a clear-cut top tier with Luck and Aaron Rodgers and I'd be willing to take either in the third round.

3.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts

With the exception of an 11-game season in 2010, Gore has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in eight of his past nine seasons with at least 1,100 rushing yards in four consecutive seasons. Coach Pagano has said that he still views Gore as an every-down back, which means he should get the opportunity to extend that streak. One of the league's better pass-catching backs earlier in his career, Gore should be much more involved as a receiver with the Colts than he has been over the past four seasons (average of 18 catches per season) in San Francisco.

3.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

Emerging as the team's most productive wide receiver last season, Hopkins took a huge step forward in his second season with a 76/1,210/6 stat line and the team has subsequently released Andre Johnson in the offseason. If there's any concern when it comes to Hopkins taking another step forward in his third season, however, it's the team's less-than-inspiring quarterback play, but he's a strong WR2 option for Brendan behind his WR1 (Randall Cobb).

3.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins

Morris averaged a career-low 4.1 YPC last season, but he rushed 265 times for 1,074, respectable numbers but also career lows, and eight touchdowns. Washington's offensive line struggled last year, but the team used the fifth-overall pick on Brandon Scherff and the addition of Bill Callahan to the coaching staff is certainly a positive for the team's offensive line play and rushing attack overall.

3.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers

With significant injuries to the team's running backs, the Chargers ran the ball only 39.45 percent of the time last season (compared to 46.66 percent, eighth highest, in 2013). Assuming a healthy backfield, I'd expect the Chargers to be closer to 46 percent than 39 percent this season. A top-15 selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, Gordon should get the bulk of the early-down work for the Chargers with Ryan Mathews now in Philadelphia.

3.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints

Before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 11, Cook's 86.3 fantasy points ranked 25th among all wide receivers and his 53 receptions led all rookie receivers. Once again generating plenty of buzz in the offseason, Cooks is poised for a major breakout with the offseason trades of Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills.

3.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

Once again, Ingram missed multiple games and has now missed a total of 14 games over his four-year career. That said, Ingram set career highs -- 226 carries, 964 rushing yards, nine touchdowns and 29 receptions -- in the 13 games he did play in 2014. Re-signing with the Saints, Ingram should lead the team in carries. And given the team's offseason moves, a transition to more of a run-based offense appears to be in the offing.

3.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins coaching staff has seemed reluctant to give Miller as much work as his fantasy owners would have liked, but Miller was highly productive on a per-touch basis (5.09 YPC, 7.24 Y/R) last season. With more than 15 carries in only four games last season, Miller still managed to post his first-ever 1,000-yard season (1,099 rushing yards).

In addition, Miller was very consistent throughout the season as he finished as a top-21 fantasy running back in 12 of 16 weeks. Although they didn't draft Jay Ajayi until the fifth round, his presence could cap Miller's upside in 2015 but I still expect his touches to be fairly close year over year.

3.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints

Slowed by a shoulder injury, Graham had 54 yards or less in six of his final seven games last season and finished with only 889 yards, a four-year low. With his trade to the Seahawks, Graham goes from an offense that averaged 41.2 pass attempts per game, second-most in the NFL last year, to one that averages the fewest (28.4/G).

Over his past four seasons, however, Graham has averaged 89 catches, 1,099 yards and 12 touchdowns per year. I think it's unlikely that reaches the 89/1,099 this season, but I do think he could score double-digit touchdowns as the Seahawks clear best red-zone (receiving) option.

3.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions

There is a lot to like about Abdullah, but this is a little too rich for my blood. Highly productive at Nebraska with back-to-back 1,600-yard campaigns, Abdullah finished first in the vertical jump (42.5 inches), broad jump (10-10), 3-cone drill (6.79) and 20-yard shuttle (3.95) among running backs at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. Provided Joique Bell is ready for Week 1, however, Abdullah will likely begin the season behind Bell on the depth chart, although his role within the offense should expand as the season progresses.

3.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals

The good news is that Ellington averaged more than 20 touches per game last season. The bad news is that Ellington averaged more than 20 touches per game last season. Given Ellington's size (5-9, 199), it wasn't a huge (no pun intended) surprise that Ellington didn't hold up for a full season and missed the final four regular-season games.

With the substantial bump in workload, Ellington underwhelmed as his yards-per-carry average plummeted from 5.5 YPC as a rookie to 3.3 on 201 carries last season. That said, the foot injury he battled all of last season is now healed and the Cardinals improved their offensive line this offseason.

> Continue to Round 4 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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August 26, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 8th Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 7 pick, point-per-reception (PPR) scoring
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.08 - Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks: No player has more rushing yards or touchdowns over the past four seasons than Lynch, who has rushed for at least 1,200 yards and scored double-digit touchdowns each season during that stretch. In addition, Beast Mode has become more productive as a receiver with at least 36 receptions in each of the past two seasons.

2.05 - A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Green missed three games last season, but he extended his streak of 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career to four. With better health in 2015, Green should finish with 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns (or better).

3.08 - Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts: The biggest concern with Gore is his age (32), but he has rushed for 1,100-plus yards in four consecutive seasons with no missed games during that stretch. Transitioning to the high-powered Andrew Luck-led Colts offense is only a positive for Gore.

4.05 - Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers: Over the final five games of the season, only DeMarco Murray rushed for more yards than Stewart. While durability is a concern (20 missed games over past three seasons), there is plenty of upside here if he can play a full (or close to it) season.

5.08 - Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Robinson quietly posted a strong rookie season with four-plus catches in nine consecutive games before his season was cut short with a Week 10 foot injury. Going into his age-22 season, Robinson is poised for a breakout season.

6.05 - Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Not only did Big Ben set a career high in passing yards, but he tied Drew Brees for the NFL lead. Big Ben finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback last season and is the QB5 in my rankings this year as well.

7.08 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: Even though Foster won't be ready for Week 1, there is a chance that he'll be back on the field by the end of September. Either way, he becomes an immediate starter once he's healthy.

8.05 - Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles: Ertz posted a 58/702/3 line in his second season and he should improve upon those numbers in 2015, but two concerns are his groin surgery this month and his spot on the depth chart (second to Brent Celek).

9.08 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have the second-fewest passing yards over the past two seasons, but Boldin still has back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns in his two seasons with the 49ers.

10.05 - Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Smith exceeded 1,000 yards in his first season with the Ravens and although he has announced this will be his final NFL season, he enters 2015 as the team's No. 1 receiver.

11.08 - Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints: Setting per-game career lows in targets, receptions and yards, Colston has some bounce-back appeal given the team's offseason moves.

12.05 - Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins: At a minimum, Jones will get many snaps as the change-of-pace to Alfred Morris, but Jones has looked really good this preseason -- averaging more than six yards per carry.

13.08 - Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals: After a breakout sophomore campaign, Floyd's production declined year over year to 47/841/6, but at least part of that dip was due to the team's injuries at quarterback.

14.05 - Carolina Panthers D/ST

15.08 - Connor Barth, K, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

- View full mock draft results here

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August 24, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 3rd Pick, 2-QB League

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 3 pick, standard scoring, 2-QB league
  • Starting lineup: 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.03 - Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers: With Andrew Luck (my QB1) and Le'Veon Bell (my RB1) off the board, the choice came down to Lacy (my RB2) or teammate Aaron Rodgers (my QB2). Through two NFL seasons, Lacy has racked up 3,001 yards from scrimmage and 24 touchdowns.

2.10 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: One of my favorite running backs this season, Hill was dominant in the second half last season. No player had more rushing yards than Hill (929) over the final nine games and he enters the season as the team's clear lead back.

3.03 - Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: With a torn ACL sidelining Newton's top weapon, it certainly delivers a blow to his fantasy outlook. That said, I still have Newton projected as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in large part due to his rushing stats -- minimum of 539 yards and five touchdowns in all four seasons.

4.10 - Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: Poised for a breakout season, Matthews enters his sophomore campaign as the team's top receiver after finishing last season as fantasy football's WR25 in 2014. Even though I have him ranked outside my top 10 receivers, Matthews has the potential to do what Jeremy Maclin last season and finish as a top-10 fantasy receiver.

5.03 - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings: Bridgewater's development throughout his rookie season was impressive. Over the final five games of the season, he completed 72.14 percent of his pass attempts with eight touchdowns and five interceptions and he has looked sharp in the preseason.

6.10 - Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets: It was a lost season for the Bears and Marshall, who was traded this offseason to the Jets. It's not necessarily an ideal landing spot for a bounce back, but I do expect Marshall to finish with roughly 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015.

7.03 - Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions: It's certainly possible that the talented second-round back overtakes Joique Bell at some point during his rookie season for the lead back role. Either way, he's a solid flex option for this team (with upside for much more).

8.10 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: There is continuing optimism that Foster may not miss eight games, which was initially feared. Once he returns, he turns a stacked fantasy backfield into an even more stacked fantasy backfield.

9.03 - Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Even if he enters the season as the team's No. 3 receiver, Bryant has more talent than the incumbent No. 2 (Markus Wheaton) and gives me a high-upside WR3.

10.10 - Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Unfortunately, Bridgewater and Newton share the same bye week (Week 5). Due to his rushing ability and better offensive weapons, however, Bortles has some upside as my QB3.

11.03 - Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals: Eifert's sophomore season ended only soon after it began, but there has been nothing but positive buzz for him heading into 2015. Provided he stays healthy, Eifert has the potential to finish as a top-12 fantasy tight end this season.

12.10 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Despite the team's weak passing attack, Boldin has finished with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Even though he turns 35 in October, he has value in the 12th round as my WR4.

13.03 - Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins: After leading the NFL in receptions in 2013, Garcon's numbers were nearly cut in half, but the team has talked up his increased involvement for 2015.

14.10 - James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers: Considering how stacked my running back group is, Starks provides some insurance in the event of a Lacy injury.

15.03 - New York Jets D/ST

16.10 - Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta Falcons

- View full mock draft results here

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2015 Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Weekly Movement: August 24th Update

Every Monday this offseason, we post an update in players that have had the biggest moves — both up and down — in fantasy football average draft position (ADP) from the previous week.

With this information, we can get a better sense of changes in the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters); in essence, it's a version of fantasy stock up/down for players. If a player is moving up the ADP chart, it may lead us to using a higher pick than his current ADP to make sure we secure a targeted player.

Of course, a player's ADP (and movement) is just one (small) piece in determining who to draft and our strategy used to assemble a fantasy roster.

For purposes of our weekly comparison(s), we use ADP data from 12-team mock drafts from Fantasy Football Calculator.

Biggest weekly gainers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: -7.2 (156.6 on 8/17 to 149.4 on 8/24)
  2. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: -6.6 (142.6 to 136.0)
  3. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: -5.7 (159.5 to 153.8)

Running Backs:

  1. Jonas Gray, New England Patriots: -23.2 (139.3 to 116.1)
  2. David Cobb, Tennessee Titans: -15.2 (104.3 to 89.1)
  3. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers: -13.3 (108.1 to 94.8)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers: -49.7 (160.5 to 110.8)
  2. Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears: -30.9 (131.0 to 100.1)
  3. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers: -19.9 (96.3 to 76.4)

Tight Ends:

  1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals: -16.5 (133.9 to 117.4)
  2. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: -8.0 (138.8 to 130.8)
  3. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: -7.4 (104.6 to 97.2)

Biggest weekly fallers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: +31.1 (72.8 on 8/17 to 103.9 on 8/24)
  2. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +8.9 (150.4 to 159.3)
  3. Nick Foles, St. Louis Rams: +3.0 (158.5 to 161.5)

Running Backs:

  1. Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans: +14.4 (89.7 to 104.1)
  2. C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints: +10.6 (50.1 to 60.7)
  3. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals: +6.7 (122.6 to 129.3)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals: +11.5 (113.5 to 125.0)
  2. Percy Harvin, Buffalo Bills: +11.1 (137.7 to 148.8)
  3. Breshad Perriman, Baltimore Ravens: +8.4 (103.6 to 112.0)

Tight Ends:

  1. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: +23.9 (98.6 to 122.5)
  2. Josh Hill, New Orleans Saints: +17.7 (125.6 to 143.3)
  3. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts: +8.3 (136.6 to 144.9)

[Note: Negative numbers mean the player's ADP is improving (i.e., being drafted earlier) and vice versa.]

- Fantasy Football ADP Risers/Fallers: See full grid of player changes in ADP over past week

Our 2015 fantasy football rankings:

More of our content:

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle

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August 23, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 7th Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 7 pick, standard scoring, individual defensive players (IDP)
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST, Flex (RB, WR or TE) and one IDP
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.07 - Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Over the past two seasons, Brown has 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. More impressive than his overall production is his consistency as Brown now has at least five catches and 50 yards in 33 consecutive games counting a playoff game.

- Poll: Will Brown post 5+ catches and 50+ yards in all 16 games this season?

2.06 - Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions: Megatron has missed five games over the past two seasons and was a decoy in a few others, but he has the ability to take over any game when healthy. While I prefer to at least have my first running back by my second-round pick, Johnson was my top-ranked player available and this format starts three receivers.

3.07 - Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Gore has four consecutive 1,100-yard seasons and has not missed a game during that span. His age (32) is a bit of a concern, but the team views him as a three-down back and signing with the Colts is a huge boost in offense.

4.06 - T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Yeldon figures to become the team's three-down back sooner rather than later and it wouldn't surprise me if led all rookie backs in touches. The only real concern with Yeldon is the team's relative lack of offensive production, which could limit his scoring opportunities.

5.07 - Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills: At this point, the debate was Davante Adams or Watkins, but fortunately I ended up with both. There is no denying Watkins talent, but there is certainly concern about the team's quarterback situation.

6.06 - Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams: All signs point to the Rams taking things slow with Gurley, who is about nine months removed from a torn ACL. At some point, however, he should emerge as the team's lead back and he's one of the most talented backs to enter the league in years.

7.07 - Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers: While the loss of Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL obviously hurts the Packers, no player benefits more than Adams, who should start opposite Randall Cobb in two-wide sets. Being the No. 2 receiver in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense is obviously a good thing.

8.06 - Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: Finishing as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2014, Manning build plenty of momentum as he gained comfort within a new offensive scheme. Not only will he have more comfort in year two, but the team's skill-position players are healthy/better heading into 2015.

9.07 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: Even if Foster misses eight games, which seems to be a worst-case scenario, I'd be more than comfortable taking him here, but there appears to be a decent chance that he misses less. Once he returns, however, he immediately becomes this team's best fantasy running back.

10.06 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Despite ranking 31st in the league in passing yards over the past two years, Boldin has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns.

11.07 - DeAndre Levy, LB, Detroit Lions: Levy is coming off a career season (121 tackles) and played every defensive snap last season for the Lions.

12.06 - Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans: Walker set career highs of 63 catches and 890 yards in his second season in Tennessee. There may be more weekly inconsistency with a rookie quarterback, but it's also possible that he sees more targets as Mariota's safety valve.

13.07 - Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers: The season-ending ACL injury to Kelvin Benjamin opens the door for Funchess to lead the team's receiving corps in targets in 2015. While I don't expect him to post Benjamin-like numbers from last season, he should outperform his draft slot in this mock.

14.06 - Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants: Randle posted career highs of 71 catches for 938 yards in his age-23 season. Depending on the health of the team's other receivers, it may be difficult for him to exceed those numbers, but he has upside as my WR7.

15.07 - Carolina Panthers D/ST

16.06 - Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions: Especially if I draft a top-four fantasy tight end, I'll draft only one tight end in a 12-team league. Having waited this time, however, Ebron is an ideal (high-upside) TE2. Based on talent and athleticism, it's possible that he breaks out this season, but if he doesn't, I have a solid low-end TE1 in Walker.

17.07 - Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta Falcons

- View full mock draft results here

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 2

This weekend, four of our contributors began a new 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

Although it is a "slow" mock, we are posting the picks as they occur and another round is now complete.

Here are Round 2 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

2.01 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants

Closing the season with nine consecutive games of 90-plus yards, Beckham racked up a massive stat line of 81/1,199/9 on 115 targets during that stretch. In fact, only 11 other receivers had more yards in all of 2014 than OBJ had in his final nine games. And as impressive as that sounds, he was even more dominant over his final four games -- 43/606/7 on 63 targets.

While ODB is far from being the biggest receiver, his combination of hands, route-running ability, speed and elusiveness makes him nearly impossible to cover especially in today's age of offense-friendly rules.

2.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Over the final nine games of the season, Hill had 22-plus carries and 100-plus rushing yards five times including the final three games of the regular season. During that nine-game span, Hill had 172 carries for 929 yards and six touchdowns and no running back had more rushing yards than Hill during that stretch. (Marshawn Lynch was second with 824 yards.)

Going into the 2015 season, Hill is clearly the team's lead back with Giovani Bernard back as the change-of-pace option. Considering that the Bengals ranked in the top-five in run-play percentage last season, it's possible that Hill challenges for the league lead in rush attempts in 2015.

2.03 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Jones finished with 104 catches for 1,593 yards, both of which shattered his previous career highs, and six touchdowns in 2014. After scoring 0.62 TD/G on 74.4 YPG in his first two seasons, Jones has averaged just 0.40 TD/G despite a jump to 1087.7 YPG over the past two seasons. With plus size and speed, however, Jones should bounce back in terms of red-zone production and could put together a 100/1,500/10 season in 2015 with good health.

2.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

The only receiver to score more fantasy points than Nelson last season was Antonio Brown, coincidentally Nelson's teammate to start this squad. While he may not finish as a top-two fantasy receiver once again, Nelson posted a 98/1,519/13 line last season and has scored a total of 43 touchdowns over the past four seasons.

Granted, the duo of Brown/Nelson means I'll have one of this league's strongest receiving corps, I tend to dislike how my teams turn out when I fail to secure my RB1 in one of the first two rounds. I'll be cautiously optimistic as I wait to see who falls to me in the next couple of rounds.

2.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

Including playoff appearances, Megatron has more 200-yard games (six) than any other receiver in league history. And while he still has as much potential as any to take over a given game, he has missed a total of five games in 2013 and 2014 while appearing as a decoy in some others. With five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Megatron has averaged a stat line of 90/1,467/11 during that span. And if he does play a full 16-game season, it wouldn't be a surprise if he finished the year as the WR1 (or at least higher than his WR7 draft slot).

2.06 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Arguably the biggest surprise in fantasy football last season, Forsett scored more fantasy points than all but seven other running backs in 2014. Forsett, who re-signed with the Ravens this offseason, rushed for a career-high 1,266 yards last season and averaged an RB-high 5.4 YPC while adding 44 receptions for 263 yards. With Marc Trestman hired to coordinate the offense, Forsett is virtually guaranteed to set a new career high in receptions, but it's perhaps a bit of a concern that the soon-to-be 30-year-old journeyman back has a new coordinator after last year's career year.

2.07 - Sean Beazley (Team II): A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Injuries kept Green from building upon his 2013 numbers (98/1,426/11), but he extended his streak of 1,000-yard seasons to begin his career to four. Only Megatron (6,214), Antonio Brown (5,092) and Demaryius Thomas (5,034) have more yards during that four-year span than Green (4,874). With good health, Green is a good bet for 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns in 2015.

2.08 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

The reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, Rodgers was also the top-scoring fantasy quarterback as well. Since becoming Green Bay's starting quarterback seven years ago, Rodgers has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback in six of seven seasons with the lone exception due to injury (broken clavicle, 2013).

2.09 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers

Prior to the official start of NFL free agency, Cobb re-signed with the Packers. Of course, playing in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense helps to maximize his fantasy value this year and going forward. Cobb finished his age-24 season with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, all of which set career highs, but I would be surprised if he scored 12 touchdowns again in 2015.

2.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Not only was he one of three rookie receivers to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark last year, but Evans was one of five receivers to score at least 12 touchdowns. From Weeks 9 to 11, he gave us a glimpse of what we can expect when things really click as he posted a massive 21/458/5 line over that three-game stretch. Turning just 22 this month, Evans should take a step forward in 2015 although playing with a rookie quarterback could lead to some early-season inconsistency.

2.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears

With the Bears trading Brandon Marshall to the Jets, Jeffery now takes over as the team's clear No. 1 wide receiver. Despite year-over-year dips in both receptions (85) and receiving yards (1,133), Jeffery posted a career high in touchdowns (10) and finished with the 11th-most fantasy points among wide receivers last season. Jeffery is the 11th receiver off the board in this mock.

2.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

Barely finishing as a top-12 fantasy running back last season, McCoy finished third in the league in rushing (1,319 yards) and was one of only two 300-carry backs. Not only did he average nearly a yard per carry less in 2014 than 2013, McCoy also saw his receptions (52 in 2013) and touchdowns (11 in 2013) drop roughly in half to 28 and five, respectively.

Despite running behind an inferior offensive line (compared to Philadelphia's), McCoy should still see a healthy volume of work within Buffalo's ground-and-pound offense due to philosophy and necessity (poor QB situation). In fact, I have McCoy projected to lead all running backs in carries. But will his per-touch effectiveness bounce back in a less-efficient offense?

> Continue to Round 3 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft
> Go back Round 1 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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August 22, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Round 1

Four of our site's contributors — Kevin Hanson, Brendan Donahue, Sean Beazley and Dan Yanotchko — have begun a new 12-team, 12-round 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

Although this is a slow draft, we will post picks as they occur, along with comments from yours truly, as opposed to waiting for the entire mock draft to be completed.

Here are Round 1 results of our 2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft:

1.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team I): Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Despite a somewhat disappointing season, Charles finished with the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs in 2014. The 28-year-old back rushed for 1,033 yards, his fifth 1,000-yard season, and added 40 catches for 291 yards while scoring a total of 14 touchdowns.

Despite a year-over-year decline in all of those numbers, the biggest concern was his reduction in workload. After 320-plus touches in back-to-back seasons, Charles had just 246 touches -- 15 running backs had more -- in 2014.

1.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Unfortunately for Bell (and his fantasy owners like me), he's suspended for the first two games of the season (although that was cut from his initial three-game ban). And despite that two-game ban, I have Bell projected to score more fantasy points than all other running backs.

Once he returns, however, Bell's versatility makes him a true three-down back and his production won't vary much based on game flow. Bell broke single-season franchise records for both yards from scrimmage (2,215) and receptions (83) by a running back.

1.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team I): Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

One of the league's all-time best running backs, Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards back just a couple of seasons ago. Assuming that he plays all 16 games (or close to it), the 30-year-old Peterson should finish as a top-five (or better) back in 2015.

1.04 - Brendan Donahue (Team II): Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers

Starting slowly while facing three elite rush defenses to start the season, only DeMarco Murray and Bell scored more fantasy points than Lacy from Weeks 4 to 17. Over those final 13 games of the season, Lacy averaged 18.92 touches for 108.85 YFS per game and scored a total of 13 touchdowns.

The benefit of playing with Aaron Rodgers means that opposing defenses are less likely to stack the box to (try to) slow down Lacy. After averaging a relatively modest 4.15 yards per carry as a rookie, Lacy averaged 4.63 YPC last season (and 4.89 YPC over final 13 games).

1.05 - Sean Beazley (Team I): Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks

In his four full seasons in Seattle, Lynch has rushed for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in each of those seasons. During that four-year span, no player has more rushing yards (5,357), rushing touchdowns (48) and or total touchdowns (56).

Beast Mode's production hasn't slowed at all, but his physical running style (granted, he seems to dish out more punishment than he receives), heavy workload (league-high 1,479 regular-season and playoff touches over that four-year span) and age (turned 29 in April) is at least somewhat concerning. That said, Lynch seems to be a lock for another 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in one of the league's most run-dominant offenses.

1.06 - Sean Beazley (Team II): Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

When it comes to fantasy tight ends, Gronkowski is in a tier all by himself. Named the 2014 AP Comeback Player of the Year after two injury-plagued seasons, Gronkowski posted an 82/1,124/12 stat line over 15 games. Scoring 184.4 fantasy points, Gronk had 30.3 points (or 19.66 percent) more than Antonio Gates, who had the second-most among tight ends.

Not only dominant over a full season, but Gronk was consistent as well finishing as a top-five weekly scorer at the position in eight of 15 games and a top-12 scorer in all but two games.

1.07 - Dan Yanotchko (Team II): Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

With the coaching change, Forte isn't likely to see anywhere close to triple-digit receptions he had last season, but he could certainly finish in the neighborhood of 60-70 catches. And although Forte averaged less than four yards per carry for the first time since 2009, he has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons and has exceeded 1,400 yards from scrimmage in all seven of his NFL seasons.

Only the Raiders (337) and Bucs (353) ran the ball less than the Bears (355) last season and I'd expect the Bears to be more committed to the run in 2015 to limit Jay Cutler's turnovers.

1.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team III): DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Murray has always been productive on a per-game, per-touch basis. Before last season's career year, Murray averaged 4.95 yards per carry in his first three seasons combined. The issue with Murray (before 2014) was durability as he missed multiple games in each of those three seasons.

With a total of 497 touches including the playoffs last year, durability remains Murray's biggest concern in 2015 as well. Even though the team added another talented (and injury-prone) running back (Ryan Mathews) in free agency, I'd expect Murray to still get close to 20 touches per game, when healthy.

If he holds up for 16 games, he certainly could finish as a top-seven running back like his draft slot in this mock, but will he hold up for another full season?

1.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team II): Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Surprisingly, Brown never finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in any given week in 2014. (In fact, that applies to both standard- and PPR-scoring formats.) Yet no wide receiver had more fantasy points over the course of the season -- in either format -- than Brown.

Over the past two seasons, Brown has a combined 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. More impressive than his overall level of production, however, is his consistency. Counting the playoffs, Brown has at least five catches and 50 yards in 33 consecutive games.

1.10 - Kevin Hanson (Team III): C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos

From Week 10 to 17 last year, Anderson finished as a top-five fantasy running back in six of eight games. In the other two games, he was still very productive as the RB10 and RB16 for those given weeks. With a healthy backfield and new coaching staff entering 2015, there is perhaps some uncertainty about how the workload will be allocated, but it appears that CJA is set for a featured-back role.

In his mailbag column, Troy Renck of the Denver Post projects Anderson to average 18 carries per game as the team's "bellcow" and to "roll for 1,400 yards."

1.11 - Brendan Donahue (Team III): Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Targeted only 136 times, a three-year low, Bryant finished with 88 receptions for 1,320 yards and a career-high and league-leading 16 touchdowns. Dez now has at least 88 catches, 1,233 yards and 12 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. And aside from Marshawn Lynch, Bryant is the only other player with at least 50 total touchdowns over the past four seasons.

1.12 - Sean Beazley (Team III): Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos

Despite his slow start, Thomas reached the 100-yard mark in 10 of his final 13 games and finished with a full-season stat line of 111 catches and 1,619 yards, both of which were career highs, and 11 touchdowns. A fourth consecutive year of 90-plus receptions, 1,400-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns seems like a strong possibility with Peyton Manning back for (at least) one more year.

> Continue to Round 2 of our Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 10 Teams, 1st Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 10 teams, No. 1 pick, point-per-reception (PPR) scoring
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.01 - Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Ideally, I'd prefer for the No. 1 overall pick to not be suspended for the first two games of the season, but I still have Bell projected to score more in 14 games than any other running back will score in 16 games.

2.10 - Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers: Nelson is coming off a career season (98/1,519/13) and has scored 43 touchdowns over the past four seasons. The only wide receiver with more receiving touchdowns during that span is Dez Bryant.

3.01 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: One of my favorite running backs heading into the 2015 season, Hill was dominant down the stretch. Not only did he have five 100-yard games in his final nine contests, but no player rushed for more yards over that span than Hill (929).

4.10 - Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts: With a disappointing season following back-to-back 100/1,400 campaigns, Johnson should at least post better numbers year over year in a high-powered offense led by Andrew Luck.

5.01 - Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Playing a tad more than half of the team's offensive snaps in his first 10 games, Kelce still posted a 67/862/5 line and finished as a top-six fantasy tight end in PPR formats last year. With no health restrictions or snap counts, the sky's the limit for Kelce in 2015.

6.10 - Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Regardless of any concerns you may have about Ellington, he's an excellent value at 60th overall. Healthy heading into 2015 and running behind an upgraded offensive line, Ellington's numbers should improve on a per-touch basis after last year's disappointing season.

7.01 - Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Quietly off to a strong rookie season, Robinson averaged 5.22 catches and 60.89 yards from Weeks 2 to 10 before having his season cut short by a foot injury. With good health in 2015, Robinson is poised for a breakout season.

8.10 - Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants: Durability remains a concern for the 30-year-old Jennings, but he should lead the team's backfield in both touches and fantasy production when he's healthy.

9.01 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: While it's unclear how many games Foster will miss, it appears that eight is the maximum and the best-case scenario is that doesn't land on short-term IR and misses only a couple of games. As this team's RB5, Foster has tremendous upside once he returns.

10.10 - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins: As the 13th QB off the board, Tannehill is a solid value. Tannehill posted career highs across the board -- 4,045 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns and 311 rushing yards -- and finished as a top-eight fantasy QB in 2014.

11.01 - Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald has posted less than 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, but part of the problem has been the team's quarterback situation/health. Assuming they aren't down to their third-stringer by the end of the year, perhaps Fitzgerald ends the drought this year.

12.10 - Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins: One season after leading the NFL in receptions, Garcon's numbers were nearly cut in half. The coaching staff has said that they plan to make a more concerted effort to involve Garcon although a return to his 113 receptions in 2013 is unlikely.

13.01 - Brandon LaFell, WR, New England Patriots: Offering plenty of value as my WR5, LaFell had a career season -- 74 catches, 953 yards and seven touchdowns -- in his first with Tom Brady and the Patriots as he finished as the WR22 in PPR leagues.

14.10 - New York Jets D/ST

15.01 - Stephen Gostkowski, K, New England Patriots

- View full mock draft results here

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August 21, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 9th Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 10 pick, standard scoring
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.09 - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: No player is more dominant atop his position group than Gronkowski, who scored 15.9 percent more fantasy points (PPR) than Jimmy Graham (TE2) last season. And with Graham traded to the run-dominant Seahawks this offseason, the gap between Gronk and Graham has widened heading into 2015. In my 2015 fantasy football projections, I have Gronk projected to score 22.98 percent more PPR fantasy points than Graham in 2015.

2.04 - Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks: Had this mock started three receivers, this pick would have been Jordy Nelson (my top-ranked available receiver). And I still strongly considered Nelson, but I tend to dislike the overall composition of my team when I don't draft a running back with a top-30 pick. Lynch has rushed for 1,200-plus yards with double-digit scores in four consecutive seasons and he has at least 36 receptions in back-to-back seasons.

3.09 - Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints: The biggest beneficiary of Graham's trade to Seattle is Cooks. Before sustaining a season-ending injury last season, Cooks had led all rookie receivers in receptions through that point and he's poised for a breakout season provided he stays healthy in 2015.

4.04 - Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Johnson had a disappointing year with 85 catches for 936 yards, but he posted 100-plus catches for 1,400-plus yards in each of the previous two seasons. Turning 34 last month, I don't expect a return to 100/1,400 for Johnson, but the upgrade in offense and quarterback (Andrew Luck) means there is a strong chance that he bounces back with a top-20 fantasy season in 2015.

5.09 - Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: One of my favorite breakout candidates in 2015, Robinson was quietly off to a strong rookie season. Despite poor quarterback play and offense, Robinson had a streak of nine games (before the injury) with four-plus catches last year and Robinson turns just 22 in a couple of days as he enters 2015 as the team's top receiver.

6.04 - Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: Brees has half of the eight 5,000-yard seasons in NFL history and although he ended a three-season streak last year, he tied Ben Roethlisberger for the league lead in passing yards (4,952) last season. The loss of Graham (and Kenny Stills) dampens the outlook some, but I still expect Brees to finish as a top-five QB in 2015.

7.09 - T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars drafted Yeldon with a top-36 pick for him to ultimately become the team's three-down back. While the team's modest offensive production puts a cap on his upside to a certain degree, I like the skill set and the volume of work he should receive.

8.04 - Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants: Jennings has struggled with durability over his career and that's the biggest concern with the 30-year-old back. That said, I expect him to lead the team in touches and fantasy production when he is healthy.

9.09 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: It's unclear how many games Foster will miss (eight appears to be the max should he land on short-term IR), but he immediately emerges as one of my starting running backs once he's back on the field. If he were healthy, he'd be a first-round fantasy pick so as long as this team at least treads water until his return, Foster could put my team over the top.

10.04 - Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald has fallen shy of 1,000 yards for three consecutive seasons, but a huge part of last year's (limited) production is tied to injuries at quarterback. In the 22 games that Carson Palmer and Fitzgerald have played together over the past two years, Fitzgerald has averaged 83/1,045/9 per 16 games.

11.09 - Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Smith has announced that 2015 will be his last season and he enters 2015 as the team's clear-cut top receiving option with Torrey Smith signing a free-agent deal with the 49ers. Smith had a 79/1,065/6 bounce-back season last year and the addition of Marc Trestman to call the offense is a positive for his fantasy outlook.

12.04 - David Cobb, RB, Tennessee Titans: As much as Bishop Sankey disappointed last season, it would not be a surprise if Cobb leads the team's backfield in fantasy production in 2015.

13.09 - Arizona Cardinals D/ST

14.04 - Stephen Gostkowski, K, New England Patriots

15.09 - Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Smith started last season slowly and I expect Anquan Boldin to score more fantasy points than him this year, but he's a high-upside, TD-dependent option that should have some big weeks throughout the year.

- View full mock draft results here

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August 20, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 10 Teams, 6th Pick, QB-Eligible Flex

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 6 pick, point-per-reception (PPR) scoring, Super Flex
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and QB-eligible Flex (QB, RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.06 - Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Despite a drop in touches from 329 to 246 last season, Charles now has 33 touchdowns and 3,304 yards from scrimmage in 30 games over the past two seasons combined. Three QBs -- Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning -- before my pick here.

2.05 - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos: Thomas posted career highs of 111 catches and 1,619 yards last season with 11 touchdowns and now has three consecutive seasons of at least 90 catches, 1,400 yards and double-digit touchdowns.

3.06 - Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers: Like Thomas, Nelson set career highs in both receptions (98) and yards (1,519) last season and he now 43 touchdowns over the past four seasons.

4.05 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: No player rushed for more yards over the final nine games of the season than Hill (929) last season. Entering the season as the team's featured back, Hill should improve upon his RB11 finish in PPR formats last season.

5.06 - Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Without question, Johnson gets a major upgrade in quarterback play and offense and should bounce back from his 85/936/3 season. Before last year, Johnson exceeded 100 catches and 1,400 yards in each of his previous two seasons.

6.05 - Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts: The only concern with Gore is his age (32). Other than that, he's been durable -- no missed games over the past four seasons with 1,100-plus rushing yards each year during that span. Like Johnson, the transition to the Colts is significant improvement in offense.

7.06 - Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers: Olsen is coming off a career season (84/1,008/6) and now has three consecutive 800-yard seasons. Jimmy Graham is the only tight end with more yards during that span and Olsen's reliance in the passing attack is increased with the season-ending ACL injury to Kelvin Benjamin.

8.05 - Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers: Only DeMarco Murray rushed for more yards than Stewart over the final five games of the season. While durability is a concern with Stewart, there is plenty of upside in Round 8 as Stewart finally enters a season as the team's unquestioned lead back.

9.06 - Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants: Like Stewart, Jennings has some durability concerns, but he is a strong RB4 and should lead the Giants backfield in both touches and fantasy production in 2015.

10.05 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: There is little risk with Foster here as my RB5, but he could be a top-five fantasy running back once he returns from injury through the end of the season.

11.06 - Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald has fallen short of 1,000 yards for three consecutive seasons, but he has averaged 1,045 yards per 16 games when playing with Carson Palmer.

12.05 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Even though the 49ers have the second-fewest passing yards over the past two seasons, Boldin has back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns for the 49ers and is a nice value as my WR5.

13.06 - Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: Wanting to see how my team would turn out if I waited on QB, Dalton has a decent amount of upside as the 19th QB off the board. Aside from QB, however, Draft Analyzer shows the strength of my team at every other position:

14.05 - St. Louis Rams D/ST

15.06 - Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans: Mariota provides me with a high-upside QB2 due to his rushing ability for my QB-elgible flex spot.

16.05 - Mason Crosby, K, Green Bay Packers:

- View full mock draft results here

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August 18, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: 12 Teams, 10th Pick

Using the Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator (powered by FantasyPros), we continue our Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day Series for the 2015 season.

From May 28th through Labor Day weekend, we will complete one mock draft per day and post the results.

[Follow @EDSFootball on Twitter for updates.]

Here are the league settings (all customizable) for today's mock:

  • 12 teams, No. 10 pick, point-per-reception (PPR) scoring
  • Starting lineup: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, TE, K, D/ST and Flex (RB, WR or TE)
  • Six bench spots, any position

With that said, here is my roster from today's mock draft:

1.10 - Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Jones shattered previous career highs last season with 104 catches on 163 targets for 1,593 yards in 15 games. Assuming good health in 2015, Jones could post a 100/1,500/10 as Atlanta's clear-cut top receiver.

2.03 - Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: No running back rushed for more yards over the final nine games of the season than Hill (929). Entering the 2015 season as the team's featured back, Hill should improve upon his RB11 (PPR) finish in 2014.

3.10 - Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: Finishing his rookie season as fantasy's WR25, Matthews has top-10 upside with the free-agent departure of Jeremy Maclin this offseason.

4.03 - Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Perhaps the signing of Chris Johnson gives fantasy owners one additional thing to worry about with Ellington, who struggled with durability last season. That said, we should see better production on a per-touch basis from Ellington with better health (at least, entering the season) and blocking (OL upgrades via both free agency and the draft).

5.10 - Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets: It was certainly a year to forget for Marshall as he posted eight-year lows of 61 receptions and 721 yards as he missed three games. If he stays healthy, however, I expect him to bounce back with a 1,000-yard season and finish as a top-20 fantasy receiver.

6.03 - Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers: Olsen is coming off a career season, but he has exceeded 800 yards in three consecutive seasons and Jimmy Graham is the only tight end to have more yards than Olsen during that span. With plenty of question marks after the top-four tight ends, Olsen provides me with a durable, productive and consistent option at tight end.

7.10 - Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants: In six NFL seasons, Jennings has missed a total of 32 games including five of them last season. Durability remains a concern for the 30-year-old back, but I expect him to lead the team's backfield in touches and production in 2015.

8.03 - Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald has failed to reach the 1,000-yard mark in each of the past three seasons, but the team's quarterback situation (injuries) and his own injuries (two missed games last year) contributed to that. If both Carson Palmer and Fitzgerald can stay healthy for 16 games, perhaps he ends the drought given his 16-game pace of 83/1,045/9 in games both players appeared.

9.10 - Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: In what appears to be a worst-case scenario (missing eight games), I'd be comfortable taking Foster here. That said, there is reason for some optimism that he'll avoid IR designated for return. Either way, he immediately becomes an every-week starter once he's back and can put this team over the top down the stretch.

10.03 - Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: One of my favorite values at quarterback, Manning finished as fantasy's QB10 despite a slow start in a new offense with two of his top receivers missing 14 combined games. With more comfort in the offense plus healthier (and new) skill players, Manning could be even better in Ben McAdoo's system in year two.

11.10 - Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: While Sproles is third on the RB depth chart behind DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, the versatile Sproles will line some as receiver as well. In addition, both Murray and Mathews have historically struggled with durability, which could open up some opportunities of increased usage for Sproles.

12.03 - Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Despite the 49ers ranking 31st in the NFL in passing offense over the past two seasons combined, Boldin has back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Even though he turns 35 this season, the 49ers should pass more often given their offseason personnel changes.

13.10 - Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints: Following a year in which he set per-game career lows in targets, receptions and yards, there is some bounce-back appeal for Colston giving the offseason trades of Graham and Kenny Stills.

14.03 - Arizona Cardinals D/ST

15.10 - Blair Walsh, K, Minnesota Vikings:

- View full mock draft results here

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August 17, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Weekly Movement: August 17th Update

Every Monday this offseason, we post an update in players that have had the biggest moves — both up and down — in fantasy football average draft position (ADP) from the previous week.

With this information, we can get a better sense of changes in the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters); in essence, it's a version of fantasy stock up/down for players. If a player is moving up the ADP chart, it may lead us to using a higher pick than his current ADP to make sure we secure a targeted player.

Of course, a player's ADP (and movement) is just one (small) piece in determining who to draft and our strategy used to assemble a fantasy roster.

For purposes of our weekly comparison(s), we use ADP data from 12-team mock drafts from Fantasy Football Calculator.

Biggest weekly gainers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles: -2.9 (116.1 on 8/11 to 113.2 on 8/17)
  2. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: -1.6 (110.5 to 108.9)
  3. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: -1.4 (75.8 to 74.4)

Running Backs:

  1. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions: -16.4 (56.8 to 40.4)
  2. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers: -16.3 (124.4 to 108.1)
  3. Jonas Gray, New England Patriots: -13.9 (153.2 to 139.3)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears: -24.3 (155.3 to 131.0)
  2. Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers: -10.9 (133.4 to 122.5)
  3. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams: -7.8 (165.4 to 157.6)

Tight Ends:

  1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals: -14.0 (147.9 to 133.9)
  2. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: -3.9 (142.7 to 138.8)
  3. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions: -3.5 (156.1 to 152.6)

Biggest weekly fallers in ADP.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: +3.5 (153.1 on 8/11 to 156.6 on 8/17)
  2. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: +2.4 (157.1 to 159.5)
  3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: +1.6 (57.9 to 59.5)

Running Backs:

  1. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins: +16.4 (140.1 to 156.5)
  2. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals: +16.0 (106.6 to 122.6)
  3. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons: +8.7 (73.2 to 81.9)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals: +22.4 (131.3 to 153.7)
  2. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals: +12.6 (100.9 to 113.5)
  3. Kevin White, Chicago Bears: +10.7 (93.9 to 104.6)

Tight Ends:

  1. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: +10.2 (88.4 to 98.6)
  2. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: +3.8 (148.3 to 152.1)
  3. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers: +3.3 (154.5 to 157.8)

[Note: Negative numbers mean the player's ADP is improving (i.e., being drafted earlier) and vice versa.]

- Fantasy Football ADP Risers/Fallers: See full grid of player changes in ADP over past week

Our 2015 fantasy football rankings:

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings

It was the first time it happened (or should I say didn't happen?) in a decade.

Three of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation -- Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees -- all finished outside the top-three fantasy quarterbacks in 2014. From 2005 to 2013, at least one of those three quarterbacks had finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback every season.

Could that happen for a second year in a row? Based on my rankings, my answer is yes.

With that said, here are my fantasy football quarterback rankings for 2015:

1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Throwing for 4,761 yards and a league-leading 40 touchdowns, both of which were career highs, Luck's 40 TDs last season nearly equalled his total from his first two seasons combined (46 TDs). During the season, Luck had the second-longest streak of 300-yard games (eight) in NFL history. Not only does Luck lead one of the league's most prolific passing offenses, but he gets a boost from his mobility with at least 255 rushing yards each year and a total of 12 rushing scores.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
The reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, Rodgers was also the top-scoring fantasy quarterback as well. Since becoming Green Bay's starting quarterback seven years ago, Rodgers has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback in six of seven seasons with the lone exception due to injury (broken clavicle, 2013). Over the past four seasons, Rodgers has compiled a 139:25 TD-to-INT ratio with an average of 8.5 yards per attempt, 112.6 passer rating and 67.0 completion percentage.

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
A top-three fantasy quarterback in 2014, Wilson rushed for 849 yards and six touchdowns, both of which were career highs, and netted fantasy owners an average of 7.56 fantasy points per game from rushing stats alone. While he won't post gaudy passing statistics in Seattle's run-dominant offense, Wilson is the first quarterback in league history to throw 20-plus touchdowns with 10 or fewer interceptions in each of his first three NFL seasons, per Pro Football Reference. Wilson's volume of pass attempts may not spike in 2015, but the Seahawks pulled off a blockbuster trade for tight end Jimmy Graham, which significantly upgrades the team's weapons in the red zone.

4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Missing two games and at less than 100 percent for much of the season, it was a down year for Newton. That said, Newton has now exceeded 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in all four of his NFL seasons. Over those four seasons, he has averaged 3,606 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns per season as well as 643 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Despite the down year, Newton finished seventh in fantasy points per game (17.78) among QBs. And before last season, Newton finished as a top-four fantasy quarterback in his first three NFL seasons.

5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
After three consecutive 5,000-yard seasons, Brees fell just shy of that mark in 2014 but still tied for the league lead with 4,952 passing yards and threw 33 touchdowns. For the first time since signing with the Saints in 2006, Brees finished outside the top-five fantasy quarterbacks (sixth) in 2014. And while he has thrown at least 650 pass attempts in five consecutive seasons and he led the league in pass attempts per game (41.2) last season, a transition to a more run-based offense appears set to begin with their offseason moves.

6. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Based on his 2014 average draft position (ADP), Roethlisberger was one of the biggest draft values last season. Only four quarterbacks scored more fantasy points and he threw for a career-high 4,952 yards, which tied Drew Brees last season for the league lead, and 32 touchdowns, which tied a previous career high. With continuity on the offensive line and one of the league's best group of pass catchers, it wouldn't surprise me if Big Ben posted another top-five finish in 2015.

7. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
With a slow finish to the season, Manning finished the year as the QB4 (312.68 fantasy points) behind Rodgers (354.14), Luck (350.74) and Wilson (327.6). In the first 11 games of the season, Manning averaged 23.96 fantasy points per game (323.45 YPG, 34 TDs and nine INTs). In the final five games of the season, however, he averaged just 9.83 FPPG (233.8 YPG, five TDs and six INTs) and never scored more than 13.02 fantasy points in any of those games. Much of the decline can be attributed to last year's thigh injury, but Manning's passing production also tends to slow as the weather turns colder. In a more balanced offense with some issues on the offensive line, it's possible that Manning fails to produce a top-five fantasy season.

8. Eli Manning, New York Giants
In the first six games of the season, Eli finished outside the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks in all but one game. Over the final 10 games of the season, however, Manning posted five weekly top-five performances. With better health from his wide receivers and the free-agent addition of Shane Vereen, a talented receiver out of the backfield, plus more comfort and familiarity with Ben McAdoo's offense, Eli has the potential to post career numbers in 2015. In addition, only Tampa and Washington have a more favorable fantasy strength of schedule than Eli does.

9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan has more than 4,500 passing yards in three consecutive seasons with the third-most (13,928) over that span. In addition, he has 26-plus touchdowns in five consecutive seasons and the sixth-most (143) during that span. The good news is that Ryan has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in four of the past five years, which makes him a solid mid-QB1 option to target. That said, he has yet to finish as a top-six fantasy quarterback in his career.

10. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill posted career highs in passing yards (4,045), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (66.4) with a career low in interceptions (12) in his first year playing for new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. In addition, he rushed for a career-high 311 yards, which ranked fifth among all quarterbacks last season. Starting in Week 6, Tannehill finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in six of 11 weeks, but he finished with the eighth-most fantasy points over the full season. The team's group of top pass-catchers was entirely turned over except for Jarvis Landry, but Tannehill has some upside for those that wait on quarterback in 2015.

- Our Full 2015 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings

Among fantasy football's major positions, running back is arguably the most difficult to predict.

While I generally prefer to draft at least two running backs within my first three picks, plenty of late(r)-round selections will pay huge dividends for fantasy owners. Of course, identifying them is a little more difficult.

That said, four of the top-12 fantasy running backs last season were drafted, on average, outside the top-30 fantasy running backs last year — Lamar Miller (No. 9, ADP: RB31), Jeremy Hill (No. 10, ADP: RB42), C.J. Anderson (No. 11, ADP: RB65) and Justin Forsett (No. 8, ADP: Undrafted).

With that said, here are my fantasy football running back rankings for 2015:

1. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Unfortunately for Bell (and his fantasy owners), he's suspended for the first two games of the season (although that was cut from his initial three-game ban). Once he returns, however, Bell's versatility makes him a true three-down back and his production won't vary much based on game flow. Named 2014 AP First-Team All-Pro Team, Bell racked up 1,361 rushing yards, 83 receptions for 854 yards and 11 total touchdowns in his second season. Bell broke single-season franchise records for yards from scrimmage and receptions by a running back. Over the course of last year, he averaged 17.97 fantasy points per game although his production spiked to 24.7/G with LeGarrette Blount out of the picture down the stretch.

2. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Starting slowly while facing three elite rush defenses to start the season, only DeMarco Murray and Le'Veon Bell scored more fantasy points than Lacy did from Weeks 4 to 17. Over those final 13 games of the season, he averaged 18.92 touches for 108.85 YFS per game and scored a total of 13 touchdowns. The benefit of playing with Aaron Rodgers means that opposing defenses are less likely to stack the box to (try to) slow down Lacy. After averaging a relatively modest 4.15 yards per carry as a rookie, Lacy averaged 4.63 YPC last season (and 4.89 YPC over final 13 games).

3. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Despite a somewhat disappointing season, Charles finished with the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs in 2014. The 28-year-old back rushed for 1,033 yards, his fifth 1,000-yard season, and added 40 catches for 291 yards while scoring a total of 14 touchdowns. Despite a year-over-year decline in all of those numbers, the biggest concern was his reduction in workload. After 320-plus touches in back-to-back seasons, Charles had just 246 touches -- 15 running backs had more -- in 2014. Perhaps we won't see Charles get in the 320-range ever again, but it would be a surprise to see him as low as 246 again this season.

4. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
One of the league's all-time best running backs, Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards back just a couple of seasons ago. After last year's lost season, it was unclear where he would play in 2015, but the draft has come and gone and Peterson reported to the team. Assuming that he plays all 16 games (or close to it), the 30-year-old Peterson should finish as a top-five (or better) back in 2015.

5. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
In his four full seasons in Seattle, Lynch has rushed for 1,200-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns in those seasons. During that four-year span, no player has more rushing yards (5,357), rushing touchdowns (48) and or total touchdowns (56). Beast Mode's production hasn't slowed at all, but his physical running style (granted, he seems to dish out more punishment than he receives), heavy workload (league-high 1,479 regular-season and playoff touches over that four-year span) and age (turned 29 in April) is at least somewhat concerning. That said, Lynch seems to be a lock for another 1,200 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns in one of the league's most run-dominant offenses.

6. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
From Week 10 to 17 last year, Anderson finished as a top-five fantasy running back in six of eight games. In the other two games, he was still very productive as the RB10 and RB16 for those given weeks. With a healthy backfield and new coaching staff entering 2015, there is perhaps some uncertainty about how the workload will be allocated, but it appears that CJA is set for a featured-back role. In his mailbag column, Troy Renck of the Denver Post projects Anderson to average 18 carries per game as the team's "bellcow" and to "roll for 1,400 yards."

7. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
Over the final nine games of the season, Hill had 22-plus carries and 100-plus rushing yards five times including the final three games of the regular season. During that nine-game span, Hill had 172 carries for 929 yards and six touchdowns and no running back had more rushing yards than Hill during that stretch. (Lynch was second with 824 yards.) Going into the 2015 season, Hill is clearly the team's lead back with Giovani Bernard back as the change-of-pace option.

8. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Not only did Forte lead all running backs in receptions (102) last year, but only three players had more -- Antonio Brown (129), Demaryius Thomas (111) and Julio Jones (104) -- as he broke the single-season record for receptions by a running back. With the coaching change, Forte isn't likely to see anywhere close to triple-digit receptions again, but he could certainly finish in the neighborhood of 60-70 catches. And although Forte averaged less than four yards per carry for the first time since 2009, he has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in three consecutive seasons and has exceeded 1,400 yards from scrimmage in all seven of his NFL seasons. Only the Raiders (337) and Bucs (353) ran the ball less than the Bears (355) last season and I'd expect the Bears to be more committed to the run in 2015 to limit Jay Cutler's turnovers.

9. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles
Murray has always been productive on a per-game, per-touch basis. Before last season's career year, Murray averaged 4.95 yards per carry in his first three seasons combined. The issue with Murray (before 2014) was durability as he missed multiple games in each of those three seasons. With a total of 497 touches including the playoffs last year, durability remains Murray's biggest concern in 2015 as well. Even though the team added another talented (and injury-prone) running back (Ryan Mathews) in free agency, I'd expect Murray to still get close to 20 touches per game, when healthy. But will he hold up for another full season?

10. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
Barely finishing as a top-12 fantasy running back last season, McCoy finished third in the league in rushing (1,319 yards) and was one of only two 300-carry backs. Not only did he average nearly a yard per carry less in 2014 than 2013, however, McCoy also saw his receptions (52 in 2013) and touchdowns (11 in 2013) drop roughly in half to 28 and five, respectively. Despite running behind an inferior offensive line (compared to Philadelphia's), McCoy should see a healthy volume of work within Buffalo's ground-and-pound offense, like last year, but will his per-touch effectiveness bounce back in a less-efficient offense?

- Our Full 2015 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings

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Updated 2015 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings

A wide receiver has scored 250-plus fantasy points 12 times in the history of the NFL.

Nearly half of those 250-point seasons belong to one player, Jerry Rice (five). Only four of them have occurred since the turn of the century — Randy Moss (2003 and 2007), Calvin Johnson (2011) and now Antonio Brown (2014).

Amazingly, Brown never finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in any given week throughout the 2014 season. (In fact, that applies to both standard- and PPR-scoring formats.) Yet no wide receiver had more fantasy points over the course of the season -- in either format -- than Brown.

Over the past two seasons, Brown has a combined 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also has 17 rushing yards and two return touchdowns. More impressive than his overall level of production, however, has been his consistency.

Brown had at least five receptions and 70 yards in all 17 games (counting their playoff loss) last season. Going back to the start of 2013, Brown has at least five catches and 50 yards in 33 consecutive games.

One of the things that you'll often hear in fantasy football is that you can't win your league in the first round, but you can lose it. With Brown's production and consistency, there isn't a safer first-round pick.

Here are my fantasy football wide receiver rankings for 2015:

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
Surprisingly, Brown never finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in any given week in 2014. (In fact, that applies to both standard- and PPR-scoring formats.) Yet no wide receiver had more fantasy points over the course of the season -- in either format -- than Brown. Over the past two seasons, Brown has a combined 239 receptions for 3,197 yards and 21 touchdowns. More impressive than his overall level of production, however, is his consistency. Counting the playoffs, Brown has at least five catches and 50 yards in 33 consecutive games.

2. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Targeted only 136 times, a three-year low, Bryant finished with 88 receptions for 1,320 yards and a career-high and league-leading 16 touchdowns. Dez now has at least 88 catches, 1,233 yards and 12 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. And aside from Marshawn Lynch, Bryant is the only other player with at least 50 total touchdowns over the past four seasons.

3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Jones finished with 104 catches for 1,593 yards, both of which shattered his previous career highs, and six touchdowns in 2014. After scoring 0.62 TD/G on 74.4 YPG in his first two seasons, Jones has averaged just 0.40 TD/G despite a jump to 1087.7 YPG over the past two seasons. With plus size and speed, Jones should bounce back in terms of red-zone production and could put together a 100/1,500/10 season in 2015 with good health.

4. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Despite his slow start, Thomas reached the 100-yard mark in 10 of his final 13 games and finished with a full-season stat line of 111 catches and 1,619 yards, both of which were career highs, and 11 touchdowns. With the Broncos using their franchise tag on Thomas, he's yet to