In April we took an early look at our projected top 10 fantasy football draft picks for 2014. After our rankings summit and some preseason developments there are few changes to our initial rankings. Most updates are because of a change in a players’ situation and Josh Gordon dropped off the list as he is likely facing a season-long suspension. Below are the updated top 10 overall picks followed by a justification for their movement up or down from their previous rankings.
1. Jamaal Charles
Everyone thought Andy Reid would boost the fantasy value for Jamaal Charles but he exceeded expectations. Charles is coming off career highs in total yards, touchdowns, and receptions and there is no reason to think Coach Reid will not feature him again this season. He is a top player in any format, but in point per reception leagues there is an outside chance he even builds on his 70 catches from 2013 making him even more appealing.
Update: Charles has signed an extension that runs until 2017, he is reporting to camp on-time and primed for another great season. He did however, lose three starting offensive linemen during the off-season which does makes us a little nervous.
2. Matt Forte
He can fall into the end zone! After three years of not getting any goal line carries the Bears finally let Forte punch it in and he rewarded them with his highest touchdown total (12 total). Pair that with the fact he caught an amazing 74 balls and almost had 2,000 total yards he has to be considered a top pick in 2014. The offense will be the same and having those stud wide receivers opens things up for Forte quite a bit, expect another monster year.
Update: Previously our number three ranked player, Forte got a bump one spot after our rankings summit. Marc Trestman’s offense certainly was a perfect fit for Forte last year so in year two we could only see improvements.
3. LeSean McCoy
The experiment certainly worked, the Chip Kelly offense yielded a ton of points and McCoy was a big benefactor from the schemes he ran. Averaging over 100 rushing yards a game McCoy proved again he is a fantasy stud. The quick offense really allows McCoy to show off all of his talent and we expect his numbers to only grow this season as Foles will be locked in from the very first start in 2014.
Update: McCoy got a bump down with the signing of Darren Sproles to the Eagles. The Chip Kelly offense is a perfect fit with Sproles’ skill set and the fact of the matter is that offense wants to rotate backs in and out. When the Eagles lost Brown they found an upgrade in Sproles. So that helps the Eagles overall but hurts McCoy’s fantasy outlook.
4. Peyton Manning
What can be said about Manning? Greatest statistically season out of any quarterback in the history of the NFL. Now, a ton of sites will tell you that Brady did not repeat a great year after his 50 touchdown season, that Manning is one year older, that the quarterback position is deep so why burn a first round pick on it, but Manning is a solid pick. He has the motivation to give it his all again in this off-season and that offense is so stellar that he could repeat what he did last year. Take a look at the top seed heading into the playoffs in your league last year, I bet they had Peyton on their team.
Update: After breaking down the numbers of all the quarterbacks last season we just had to bump up Peyton Manning overall. The fact he was 50 points better than Drew Brees (the number two ranked QB in 2013) was impressive but he was 100 points better than the 3rd ranked QB! He consistently puts up monster numbers and even if his schedule is a little tougher this year we still see him running away with being the best quarterback again this 2014 season.
5. Adrian Peterson
As far as pure talent goes Peterson is the best player (second best back of all-time in my opinion, behind Berry Sanders) on this list but fantasy stats do not come from talent alone. Peterson is still dealing with the fact he has no kind of quality quarterback making defenses not stack the box against him. Still, two years ago he shredded the NFL coming close to breaking all kinds of records and still could break the all-time single season rushing record in any given season.
Update: Some websites have Peterson as the overall number one player but we just cannot get behind Teddy Bridgewater being the answer to open up running lanes for Peterson. He will still see a stacked box every single time he is on the field.
6. Jimmy Graham
The only tight end worth taking early is Jimmy Graham and that is because he is more of a wide receiver in a giant human’s body. He was targeted an incredible 142 times last year catching 86 balls and scoring 16 touchdowns. There is no reason to think any of those numbers will decrease in 2014 and having Graham as your Tight End is a difference maker on any given week.
Update: We bumped Jimmy Graham above Calvin Johnson for one simple reason. As a pass catcher Graham rivals Johnson for the best in fantasy football. Put into the mix that wide receiver is so deep this year made us give Jimmy the nod. Furthermore, he will be coming into the season happy after he got a contract to make him the highest paid tight end in the NFL history.
7. Calvin Johnson
Megatron will head into 2014 as our top wide receiver for a fourth straight year. You know what you get with Calvin Johnson, high yardage and high catch totals. Also he proved he does not always have to get tackled on the one yard line (happened what felt like 20 times in 2013) and found pay dirt 12 times in 2013.
Update: He is still our top wideout and while some could say he might start to slip this year we think he is primed for his best season. The addition of Golden Tate should help out Calvin just enough to take a dot of pressure off him. Side note, love the Lions this season, I see them finishing second in total points scored only behind Denver.
8. Montee Ball
Ball was not listed in our top ten the last time we published this article but the fact that Knowshon Moreno is in Miami paired with all the love Ball is getting from the Denver coaching staff (aka Peyton Manning) makes us believe in him. We all know that all defenses will have to worry about the passing game so Ball should have great running lanes. A load in the red zone, Ball could lead the league in rushing touchdowns this year.
Update: Previously, Marshawn Lynch was in our top ten but the holdout, the number of carries he has had over the past few seasons, and the reports that his backups are looking great all point towards a down year for Beast Mode. We still have Lynch as a solid second rounder but Ball is primed for a breakout year.
9. Eddie Lacy
The offensive rookie of the year really stepped up once Aaron Rodgers went down last season. So with a healthy Rodgers in 2014 he might not touch the ball as much but when he does there should be less people in the box trying to tackle him. We just loved the way he ran and it looks like Lacy is going to be a fantasy star for many years to come.
Update: Lacy moved a couple of spots down and was jumped by Montee Ball. Some might think we are crazy but his value should not be exactly the same as it was last year. As stated above a healthy Rodgers actually hurts his value but not stated is the fact that Randall Cobb is back and healthy as well. That means the Packers should go back to a pass first offense.
10. Demaryius Thomas
I do not think we have ever had three players on the same team make our top ten but never has an offense been as amazing as Denver’s was last year. Even if Thomas does not build on his 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns he is still worthy of this ranking.
Update: This spot was previously held by Josh Gordon and it is a real shame what has happened to him. It looks as if he is going to appeal his suspension (citing second hand smoke) but we believe he will not step on the field this season. Regardless, he clearly had to be bumped out of our top 10.