Category Archives: Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football: Top Five Tight End Tiers




The tight end position in the NFL is ever-changing. They can be players that are one dimensional and only are receivers or are only blocking tight ends. They can be great all-around players (both blocking and receiving), but due to team need stick to one of those skills instead of having a steady balance. They can play as an H-back, can be split out wide, can play along the offensive line, and can also play in the slot. There is almost too much of a variety when it comes to this position. So when “ranking” them for fantasy football purposes, it is important to look at each case individually. Player role, health, and obviously skill will determine the rank, but also it will be influenced by how much I perceive each player will be utilized. For example, a guy like Brent Celek could be ranked fairly high, if not for the fact that the Eagles drafted a tight end in the second round this year (Zach Ertz), picked up another in free agency (James Casey), and still have Clay Harbor who they have previously used on their roster. Compare that to a guy like Dustin Keller or Fred Davis and I know who I’m rolling with. My rankings ahead…

Tier One

Jimmy Graham

Graham finished last season as the number one fantasy tight end, putting up 982 yards and 9 touchdowns. People were disappointed in that production though, because it was worse than his previous year. Graham played with a wrist injury and without his team’s head coach most of the season and still put up solid numbers (despite what fantasy owners think). I think that is floor, and his ceiling is very, very high.

Tier Two

Jason Witten

Witten put up over 1,000 yards in 2012 but only had 3 touchdowns. Witten’s touchdowns have been decreasing the since his career high of 9 in 2010 (5 in 2011, 3 in 2012), so that is definitely something to be a little worried about.

Tony Gonzalez

This hall of fame tight end had 930 yards and 8 touchdowns in the regular season last year. He is the third receiving option on the Falcon’s team, but he is about as dependable as they come, having caught 93 out of his 124 targets last regular season (and 14 of his 15 targets in the postseason).

Rob Gronkowski

The Gronk situation is a very difficult one to predict right now. He would normally be the number one overall tight end, but his multiple surgeries this offseason have put him in danger of missing games. He could even start the season on PUP list and miss the first six games. Still, at some point in your draft even half a season with Gronk plus the production from a waiver wire tight end is worth it. It’s up to you to decide when that gamble pay off.

Tier Three

Vernon Davis

Reports have come out of San Francisco that Davis has been practicing often split out like a wide receiver ever since Michael Crabtree sustained his injury this offseason. This could bode very well for players willing to take a chance on Davis. He’s got an incredible skill set and could easily post numbers to make himself the second best fantasy tight end, but he’s been known to not show up in the regular season, only really producing in the playoffs. Will things change this season?

Greg Olsen

Olsen is the second passing option for Cam Newton and the Panthers. He lead his team in receiving touchdowns last season with 5. During the 2012 season Olsen’s wife was pregnant and they had found out that their unborn son had a heart defect. His son is now born and has been through two open heart surgeries, but is doing well. Having the stress and pain of that situation may help and inspire his play this year.

Kyle Rudolph

Last season Rudolph only had 53 receptions for 493 yards, but made up for it with 9 touchdowns. The 6′ 6″ behemoth should continue to catch a lot of touchdowns, and with the addition of Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson, he may see softer coverage throughout the year to beef up his yardage.

Tier Four

Martellus Bennett

You can tell that Bennet was a big priority for the Bears this offseason just through how well they paid him (4 years, +$20 million). As I’ve stated before, the Bears will throw it a ton this year, and Bennett was a huge redzone threat for the Giants last year, so I expect that to continue. Bennet very likely could be the third receiving option behind Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte.

Brandon Myers

Once an unknown, Myers now is playing in the Big Apple. Eli Manning has made his tight ends fantasy relevant for years. Players like Kevin Boss, Jake Ballard, and Martellus Bennet have seen solid numbers with this team, and Myers is a better pass catcher than any of them. He is not as physically imposing as some tight ends, but he is a reception machine and that should continue in 2013.

Owen Daniels

Daniels is a very serviceable tight end. He had 732 yards and 6 touchdowns in the regular season last year. My concerns lie in the fact that the Texans are very run oriented, and added more of a deep threat in Deandre Hopkins so that may take away even more targets from Daniels in 2013.

Tier Five

Jermichael Finley

Aaron Rodgers has said repeatedly this offseason how impressed he’s been with Jermichael Finley. His route running and catching have improved and he has been much more focused. Finley is in a contract year this year and may finally put it all together, but the Green Bay line is falling apart so I worry that he may be asked to block more (or at least stay back and chip before getting out on his routes). It’s a risk, but in the later rounds it could really reward you.

Fred Davis

Davis was suspended in 2011 for drug use, and in 2012 he suffered an Achille’s tear and missed nine games. In his first preseason game back this year Kirk Cousins hit Davis for 3 yard touchdown. Davis has upside in this offense, but he also could have his fair share of struggles. Hopefully RGIII and Davis strike up some chemistry and he finally stays on the field a whole season.

Jared Cook

Many people had high expectation for Cook last year in Tennessee. Whether it was the fault of Cook, the coaching staff, or the young Jake Locker no one knows, but the Rams paid Cook richly and reports are out that Sam Bradford has said that his confidence is growing in Cook each time the two step on the field together. He is a veteran receiver for that St. Louis team, and could find himself as the primary receiver.

When it comes to fantasy football defenses and kickers should be scooped up at the tail end of the entire draft. Defenses can earn you plenty of points from time to time, but it is too tough to predict the best units. Some teams are easier to predict (49ers, Seahawks) but just one or two injuries and even those teams can falter. I always play it safe and just take the best available defense as late as possible and attempt to play the matchup game via the waiver wire when necessary. Kickers can become rather streaky, so it important to pay attention to free agents on your waiver wire that are earning many kicking opportunities.

Top Ten Defensive Units

1. Seattle Seahawks- This is a defense that is solid at every position. No weaknesses. And a team with a great run game always helps the defense by eating up the clock, and not allowing the opponent’s offense to have time on the field.

2. San Francisco 49ers- Solid defense, but a shaky secondary. They’ll cover up that trouble with their great pass rush. Not a real problem.

3. Houston Texans- JJ Watt. Need I say more? Ok, I will. Just like Seattle, Houston run game will greatly help their defense kill the clock and maintain low scoring games.

4. Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals have premier defensive tackle Geno Atkins, and a solid linebacking corps. They’ve consistently been a good defense for years thanks to Mike Zimmer.

5. St. Louis Rams- The Rams have been drafting stud defensive players for years (James Laurinaitis, Chris Long, Robert Quinn, Janoris Jenkins, Alec Ogletree, Michael Brockers) and with the addition of Cortland Finnegan last year they took a big step forward. Their defense may win them (and you) a few games this year.

6. Baltimore Ravens- The loss of Ray Lewis will hurt, but this team has some major veterans on it. Ladarius Webb returning healthy plus the addition of Elvis Dumervil really helps.

7. Arizona Cardinals- The Cardinals recently signed John Abraham to boost their defense, but it’s the jump from Patrick Peterson that should truly help them out. Also, his return game can only help fantasy owners.

8. Chicago Bears- The Bears let go of Brian Urlacher this season, and that is a good thing. They have two good cornerbacks, linebackers ready to step up, and Julius Peppers. Plus Devin Hester. Don’t sleep on him.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Revis Island. I don’t know if this team will be able to muster up a pass rush, but they have good linebackers, safeties, and Revis. That’s gotta count for something.

10. Denver Broncos- Trindon Holliday may have a chip on his shoulder after getting cut by the Texans last year. He was great on special teams, and should be again. Von Miller and Champ Bailey will anchor this unit.

Keep an eye on: New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Top Ten Kickers

1. Blair Walsh

2. Sebastian Janikowski

3. Greg Zuerlein

4. Matt Bryant

5. Stephen Gostkowski

6. Matt Prater

7.Lawrence Tynes

8. Dan Bailey

9. Justin Tucker

10. Josh Brown

Check back next week for my quarterback tiers and my list of 20 sleepers that may help you steal your draft!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fantasy Football: Top Five Wide Receiver Tiers


Keeping up with the theme of placing fantasy players in tiers, today I’ll be covering the wide receiver group. Next week I will continue my “tiers segment” with the tight end position as well as ranking the top ten kickers and defenses as I see them. In two weeks I will finish my tiers off with the quarterbacks, along with sleepers for fantasy football. Once we are a few weeks into preseason games I will do a recap of my tiers, and I’m sure that there will have been some movement. Now on to the main attraction.

Tier One

Calvin Johnson

Six times. Six times he was tackled at the one yard line last year. If you were getting cute and thinking of taking another wide receiver ahead of Megatron, think again. He is the focal point for a team that throws a ton, and it doesn’t hurt that he is one of the best receivers to ever play the game.

Tier Two

Dez Bryant

Dez hit his stride in the last half of the season, and it became apparent he is an elite receiver. I’m looking for the Cowboys to lean on him, especially when they’re in shootouts due to their lousy defense. If he can keep up his production all year he might reach 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Brandon Marshall

Brandon Marshall caught 118 receptions last year, which was tied for second with Wes Welker (behind Calvin Johnson’s 122). With new head coach Marc Trestman leading the attack the Bears will be throwing more. Marshall is a lock to get +115 receptions, and he’ll make them count.

A.J. Green

A.J. Green scored a touchdown in nine consecutive games last year. He did have a dry spell for a few weeks, but with the Bengals’ new offensive weapons (Tyler Eifert, Giovanni Bernard, and whoever emerges as the number two receiver) defenses should be kept at bay giving Green more open looks throughout the season.

Demaryius Thomas

Thomas had 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. Last season was his big breakout season, this year I look for him and Peyton Manning to make him a household name across the country. I believe this guy is still perfecting his role and refining his skills, and with a teacher like Manning he may see a lot of improvement.

Julio Jones

Jones struggled with a few injuries last year but still ended up with 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns. He missed one full game, but I can remember multiple times of him leaving the game for a quarter, only to come back out and light his opponents up. The Falcons will have a well balanced offense with Julio, Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White, and Steven Jackson, but Jones has become Matt Ryan’s go to receiver, so his production will most definitely grow.

Larry Fitzgerald

Carson Palmer. Bruce Arians. Michael Floyd. Eric Winston. Rashard Mendenhall. Those are all reasons to look Larry Fitz this year. The guy is hungry for some wins. He wants to carry this team. There are no stats or anything to give good reason for him being in this group, but there is a strong chance he could finish as a top five wide receiver. In math terms, Palmer + Arians+ Fitz= Many yards and many touchdowns. My prediction is he tops 1,200 yards and has 14 touchdowns.

Tier Three

Victor Cruz

Cruuuuuuuz is back in town! Vic had over 1,000 yard and 10 touchdowns last season, and that’s a reasonable expectation for this year as well. The Giants have one of the most well-rounded offenses in the league so no defense will be able to lock down #80. Eli will spread the ball around to receivers like Vic, Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle, and new tight end Brandon Myers, and the tandem running attack of David Wilson and Andrew Brown will keep defenses on the toes. I look for Cruz to catch around 7-10 passes a game and contribute consistently for fantasy players.

Randall Cobb

Aaron Rodgers recently said that he expects Cobb to catch 100 passes this year. SOLD! Cobb is a playmaker that the Packers utilize in many, many ways. They like to line him up in the backfield, in the slot, and on the outside, and Rodgers loves to throw to him. Cobb had 954 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns last season, and I’d look for that to increase to 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns (plus some extra rushing yards).

Andre Johnson

Andre was once locked in as a first round pick in fantasy. A few things are building up against him to knock him down this far in the last few years: 1) Arian Foster is the bell cow for the Texans’ offense, 2) he is now 32 years old and is falling out of his prime, and 3) when the Texans get into the red zone they do not throw the ball.  Johnson had only 4 touchdowns last year. Maybe that number will increase up to 7 or 8 this year, but that is his ceiling. Albeit with 1,600 yards attached to that number, that’s a great ceiling.

Roddy White

The other half of the Falcons wide receivers is still a major fantasy receiver. White posted 1,351 yards and 7 touchdowns last season (compared to Julio’s 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns). White is less dynamic than Jones, and will not be as utilized on the offense as Jones was with reverses, screens, and such, but he gathers up yards like crazy. The two receivers definitely play off of each other’s strengths well.

Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson only caught about half of his targets (72 out of 147), but he was obviously being targeted down field more due to his higher average yards per catch which was 19.2 (second most was Cecil Shorts and Danario Alexander at 17.8). He had 1,384 yards in 2012 on 72 catches. That’s pretty outstanding when other receivers are needing at least 90 catches to reach that same plateau.

Tier Four

Wes Welker

Peyton Manning once made Brandon Stokely and Austin Collie very usable fantasy receivers. Enter Wes Welker. Manning and Welker will form a new tandem in the league similar to Brady and Welker. I think Welker may be more of focus with Manning running the show, and even though the Broncos have Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker already, I think Wes catches over 110 balls this year and puts over 1,100 yards.

Jordy Nelson

Due to injury, Nelson only played 12 games last season. He tallied up 745 yards and 7 touchdowns though. In 2011 Nelson played all 16 games and had 1,263 yards and 15 (!!!) touchdowns. I do not expect him to have 15 touchdowns even if he stays healthy all year this year. My expectation is around 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Hakeem Nicks

Nicks is the number one receiver for the New York Giants, even if your friends tell you that it’s Victor Cruz. Nicks has the ability to make incredible plays, but he lacks the ability to stay healthy all year. Nicks played injured for over half of the season in 2012 and it showed. The Giants are even taking it slowly with him right now in training camp. In 2012 he only played in 13 games, he had 692 yards, and 3 touchdowns. His preseason form will really let us know what to expect come September.

Danny Amendola

Amendola is the fantasy poster child for high risk, high reward. He is Tom Brady’s number one wide receiver and replaces Wes Welker, who caught 118 passes from Brady last year. As long as he can stay healthy, which is a huge question mark, he will produce number one fantasy receiver stats. I just don’t know if it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Pierre Garcon

Pierre Garcon played with a foot injury last year (when he actually did play). He only played in ten games and had 644 yards and 4 touchdowns. He showed great chemistry with RGIII, and Mike Shannahan made a point to get Garcon the ball. If he can stay healthy before my draft he’s a mid-round receiver I’m willing to take a flier on.

Dwayne Bowe

The Chiefs have had a lot of change this offseason. Bowe now has pass-happy head coach Andy Reid calling the plays, and Alex Smith is his new QB. The Chiefs have few options when it comes to receivers. Tony Moeaki, Jonathan Baldwin, and Dexter McCluster have been underwhelming. It’s up to Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe to pick up the slack.

Marques Colston

Colston has been very consistent over the last four years. Here are his basic stats since 2009:

2009- 1,074 yards, 9 touchdowns (16 games played)

2010- 1,023 yards, 7 touchdowns (15 games played)

2011- 1,143 yards, 8 touchdowns (14 games played)

2012- 1,154 yards, 10 touchdowns (16 games played)

I think the stats say it all. I’d take that production in the fourth round and feel great about it.

Tier Five

Reggie Wayne

Bruce Arians is gone from the Colts and so Andrew Luck may not be throwing it deep all day. Reggie Wayne was highly targeted last season with 194 targets (behind only Calvin Johnson), and that is a sure bet to decrease. The Colts have said that they are going to focus on the run, and with another offseason on the young receivers’ resumés T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener, and Dwayne Allen are sure to be more involved. Wayne will be good, just don’t expect the same as last season.

Steve Smith

Steve Smith gained 1,174 yards and 4 touchdowns last season, and nothing has changed with the Panthers offense, so I do not expect anything to change with Smith’s stats. In 2011 he did have 200 more yards and 3 more touchdowns, so know there is room for improvement, just not too much.

Eric Decker

The Broncos have 3 good receivers in Demaryius Thomas, Decker, and Wes Welker. Decker is still number two on that list, but the rock will definitely be spread around more. He may still get 1,000 yards this year, but I do not see him getting anywhere close to the 15 touchdowns he had last year.

Cecil Shorts

Cecil Shorts biggest downfall is that he plays for the Jaguars. His quarterback will either be Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne. Luckily, Maurice Jones-Drew is coming back healthy this year so defenses will have to stop Pocket Hercules first, and Shorts may be able to take advantage of that. Shorts averaged 17.8 yard per catch, behind only Vincent Jackson. He also trained heavily with Larry Fitzgerald this offseason and has looked great in camp. If he had a good QB I’d put him in tier three.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson had 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns last season, but is changing offensive systems, head coaches, quarterbacks, and even the receivers around him are changing. There are a lot of unknowns here, but his talent is real. Hopefully whoever emerges as the starting quarterback is competent enough to get Johnson the ball often.

Miles Austin

As Dez Bryant emerges, Miles Austin falls into the limelight. Austin is the second and sometimes third option behind Bryant and Witten, but still produces well. He had 943 yards last year and 6 touchdowns. He was only targeted 118 times in 16 games, but he is going late in drafts and is definitely a good plug-and-play receiver.

Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon is gaining a ton of hype this offseason as he really emerged on the Browns during the second half of last season and his new coach, Rob Chudzinski, likes to throw deep. Gordon makes a living going deep. He will be suspended for the first two games of the season, but after that I expect the Browns to lean heavily on Gordon in their passing attack.

Feel free to leave your comments and let me know how you disagree or what you enjoyed about this post. Thanks for reading and make sure to come back next Thursday for my tight end tiers and my defense and kicker rankings!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fantasy Football: Top Five Running Back Tiers

11971049-largeI am a true fanatic of not just football, but fantasy football. The game within the game. But fantasy football is more than a game for most, it’s a lifestyle. It brings people together. It brings joy to saddened hearts (It also sometimes saddens joyful hearts, so there’s that). It is trivial most of the time, but for a lot of people it helps them keep their heads above water when things like work, health, or relationships are bringing them down. I plan on doing my own “rankings” and tiers here for the next couple of weeks, posting about players whose upside is looming large, and other players who may go overlooked for whatever reason. Of course the top pickups (i.e. Adrian Peterson, Drew Brees, Calvin Johnson) will get tossed around, but I hope to bring out some new perspectives on various “underground” players if you will.

Today I’d like to start with a simple Tier system for running backs across the NFL. I feel as if running backs are the easiest to diagnose from year to year due to their consistency (or lack thereof sometimes). The hardest thing to predict with this position would be the health factor. Guys like Darren McFadden, Demarco Murray, and even Ryan Matthews could all be great players for fantasy if their health would allow it. With that caveat aside, health is what it is and each player’s injury history will influence where I rank them.

Without further ado, here are my top 5 running back tiers…

Tier One

Adrian Peterson

He stands alone. He had the second most rushing attempts last year, rushed for over 2,000 yards (!!!), and he had by far the most runs of over 20 yards with 27 of them (next highest was C.J. Spiller with 12). I would take him number one even if he had Blaine Gabbert as his quarterback… not that Christian Ponder is Peyton Manning or anything…

Tier Two

Doug Martin

Dougie Fresh is the real deal. He had 319 carries last year, which put him at fourth in the NFL. He had 11 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown last year. With one of the best offensive lines in the league, I expect Martin to pick right up where he left off.

Jamaal Charles

With the the huge changes to the Chiefs organization this offseason, the biggest constant has been Jamaal Charles. He will be the focus for the Chiefs, whether on the ground or through the air. Charles only tallied 35 receptions last year, but this year under Andy Reid I expect that number to nearly double and be around 60-70 receptions.

Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson has been the workhorse for his team for years. With one year under his belt I expect him to notch up the touchdowns totals from 12 to closer to 15. Also, Norv Turner (Browns offensive coordinator) has recently said he expects Richardson to get around 300 carries this year (he received 267 in 2012).

C.J. Spiller

Spiller was tied among running backs for most rushing yards per attempt at 6.0 with Adrian Peterson. With a run first head coach in place Spiller should finally be utilized the correct way. The only question is, can he do it with Kolb or Manuel at quarterback?

Tier Three

Ray Rice

I am lower on Rice than most due to the emergence of Bernard Pierce for the Ravens, and the loss of Vonta Leach. If Leach does come back to his old team, I would definitely bump Rice up to tier two. Rice is still an elite back having rushed for over 1,100 yards and 9 touchdowns last year, but I expect the Raven’s backfield to be a 70-30 split in Rice’s favor.

Marshawn Lynch

Last year Beast Mode reached 1,590 yards, which put him at the third most yards in the regular season among running backs. It will be really interesting to see how his team’s improved receiving corps and Russell Wilson help keep defenses balanced and in return open running lanes for him.

Arian Foster

Foster has been a dominant force for a few years now, but towards  the end of 2012 we started to see his decline. His yards per game, receptions, and yards per reception all have dropped enough to matter since 2010. The question is, is this Foster’s downfall or is it really an another factor such as the ability and skill of his offensive line. Since losing Eric Winston the right side of his O-Line has not been up to par. Either way, I’m not so sure he’s a risk I want to take in fantasy this year.

Alfred Morris

I am pleased to say Alfred led me to second place in one of my fantasy leagues last year! I got lucky enough to grab him in the preseason just when the hype was beginning, and it really paid off. Morris is a bruising back in a high octane offense. The Redskins would be wise to stop rushing RGIII when they get close to the goal line, and that could potentially increase Morris’ touchdown total from the 13 he had last year.

Lesean McCoy

The Eagles were a complete mess last year, and as a Giants fan I loved every second of it. Lesean McCoy though, has always been the most dangerous player on the Eagles squad and I am not looking forward to seeing what Chip Kelly may do with him this year. He will definitely bounce back from his paltry 840 yards and 5 touchdowns last year (only 2 rushing touchdowns, 3 were receiving). Kelly will get creative with his best offensive weapon.

Tier Four

Steven Jackson

Michael Turner had 10 touchdowns in the Atlanta offense last year, and Steven Jackson is better than Turner. He is 30 years old now and doesn’t have a lot of tread left on his tires, but in a high flying offense with Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez the only question is are there enough touches to go around.

Maurice Jones-Drew

Back from his Lisfranc injury I expect MJD to be the focus once again for the Jaguars. In 2011 Jones-Drew had 343 carries for 1,606 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 43 receptions for 374 yards and 3 touchdowns. If he can come anywhere near that he will be a total steal in the second round of a draft.

Reggie Bush

Reggie Bush did fine last year as a primary back in Miami, picking up 986 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns, and also 292 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. Now he’s in a skyrocket offense that throws the ball more than any other team, and has Calvin Johnson. The Lions and Reggie Bush were made for each other. I expect him to have over 1,000 rushing yards and around 350 receiving yards.

Matt Forte

Marc Trestman, new coach of the Chicago Bears, has raved about Forte’s skillset this offseason. I expect the Bears to throw the ball a lot with an uptempo offense featuring Brandon Marshall and Forte. With the tall and fast receivers the Bears have in Marshall, Martellus Bennet, and Alshon Jeffrey, I expect a lot of the short yardage passes to be wide open for Matt Forte on runs, draw plays, screens, and passes.

Chris Johnson

CJ2K(?) has a revamped offensive line and with the addition of Shonn Greene at tailback you’d think the Titans plan on pounding the ball down their opponent’s throat. He is still as fast as ever and we all know it only takes one 60 yard touchdown run to save the fantasy day!

Stevan Ridley

No Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Lloyd, and possibly Rob Gronkowski for a few weeks. The Patriots leaned on their running game last year more than you might imagine, and I expect them to do so even more this year. Ridley had over 1,200 yard and 12 touchdowns rushing last year and I expect the yardage to rise, but not too much because the Shane Vereen hype is rising faster and faster…

Tier Five

David Wilson

Wilson has the ability to be a top ten running back if he can put it all together. He is already splitting carries with Andre Brown, and I expect it to be a 60-40 split in favor of Wilson, but he is plenty capable of being a goal line and feature back. He just needs to improve in pass protection, catching, and route running. And maybe he already has…

Darren McFadden

The Raiders do not seem to have any true direction with their personnel lately, and this may contribute to a fantasy boost for McFadden. Having abandoned the zone-blocking scheme, the Raiders will let DMC do his own thing and it will produce better results. He NEEDS to stay healthy this year though. The stats haven’t been there lately to prove he is elite, but with that team maddeningly in flux can you really blame McFadden?

Chris Ivory

Going from the New Orleans Saints to the New York Jets is going to be a change of football culture, but Ivory will finally get the chance to be a feature back. He has run hard his career when given the opportunity and seems like a mini Marshawn Lynch. If he stays healthy he can definitely outproduce his average draft position of the 6th round (via

Darren Sproles

Sproles had 667 reception yards and 7 reception touchdowns last season, and only 244 rushing yards. With Payton back coaching we will see if the rushing yards start going to Mark Ingram or if they stay with an aerial attack and continue using Sproles the way they have been.

Demarco Murray

Demarco Murray is brittle. He is a great running back and if he could stay healthy for a season could reach 1,000 rushing yard, around 8 rushing touchdowns, and 250 receiving yards. I just highly doubt he can stay healthy. If he does he’ll be great. That’s a big if though.

A few clarifications: these tiers are just groups of players I see as “equals” for fantasy, and they are not ranked as they are listed from top to bottom. Also the stats I’ve used have been found on These are my predictions. I have read many other predictions and studied players, and things will surely change once preseason games start showing glimpses of true NFL game simulation.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and feel free to leave me your rankings.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,