Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Week 1 Rankings

I'll be giving up football for country music this Thursday.
If you saw my last pre-draft rankings, then you know that I'll be in the great state of Texas this week.  In fact, I won't even be watching the Thursday night game because my wife and I will be at a Brad Paisley concert (I know, right?).  So I won't be giving you a recap of how the Seahawks dominated the Packers, and I won't have a Friday rankings update.  I'll try to remedy all of that for Week 2, but for the first week of the season, this is what I'm giving you.  Hey, at least I'm getting these rankings out early!

Let's get right into it, shall we?
1.Peyton Manning
2.Drew Brees
3.Matthew Stafford
4.Andrew Luck
5.Matt Ryan
6.Nick Foles
7.Colin Kaepernick
8.Aaron Rodgers
9.Tom Brady
10.Jay Cutler
11.Cam Newton 
12.Russell Wilson
14.Tony Romo
15.Carson Palmer 
16.Philip Rivers
17.Ben Roethlisberger 
18.Ryan Fitzpatrick
19.Ryan Tannehill
20.Geno Smith 

I'm hoping that my best keeper, Peyton Manning, can show that he's the #1 fantasy quarterback right out of the gate.  He'll be playing against Andrew Luck, and that's exactly who I'm playing against in my fantasy matchup.  I think both of these guys should put up big numbers in this contest, and I have both as top-5 plays this week.  Outside of the top-5 are several big names, most notably is Aaron Rodgers.  He'll be playing at Seattle in the Thursday night game, and that's a tough matchup for me to rank him any higher than 8th.

You may notice guys like Andy Dalton and Alex Smith not even in my top-20.  Look, it's Week 1.  If you have to dig this deep for your starting fantasy QB, then you have problems.

Anyway, if you've read my weekly rankings in previous seasons, you'll know that I usually do a Friday update and give you one player at each position I'm high on and one that I'm down on (versus the ESPN experts).  Well, I'm getting my rankings out too early and will be without a computer while on vacation.  So that will have to wait until next week.  I look forward to seeing who I will be high on and down on versus the experts, but I'll get to all of that in Week 2.

1.LeSean McCoy
2.Jamaal Charles
3.Adrian Peterson
4.Matt Forte
5.Marshawn Lynch
6.Arian Foster
7.Montee Ball 
8.Zac Stacy
9.Eddie Lacy
10.Frank Gore
11.Andre Ellington
12.Doug Martin
13.Alfred Morris
14.Giovani Bernard
15.DeMarco Murray
16.Toby Gerhart
17.Le'Veon Bell
18.Shane Vereen
19.Rashad Jennings
20.Joique Bell 
21.Chris Johnson 
22.Ben Tate
23.Fred Jackson  
24.Bernard Pierce
25.Steven Jackson
26.CJ Spiller
27.Ryan Mathews
28.Reggie Bush
29.Lamar Miller
30.Pierre Thomas
31.Trent Richardson 
32.Stevan Ridley
33.Maruice Jones-Drew
34.DeAngelo Williams
35.Darren Sproles
36.Mark Ingram
37.Knowshon Moreno
38.Bishop Sankey
39.Danny Woodhead
40.Carlos Hyde

My top-4 running backs this week look exactly the same as my pre-draft rankings.  That shouldn't be too surprising because none of them have terrible-looking matchups in Week 1.  But then you'll notice Eddie Lacy and DeMarco Murray fall a little further from their preseason rank because they face tough NFC West run defenses (Seattle and San Fran, respectively).  Speaking of the Niners, I'm going out on a limb and saying that I'll probably have Frank Gore higher than most this week.  I have him as a top-10 RB against the Cowboys, and I'll most likely be rooting for him in a bar somewhere near Houston after the game.  I also have Carlos Hyde rounded out my top-40, as I think San Fran could be pounding it on the ground with both RBs.

Hopefully you have better options than Sankey for Week 1.
Speaking of rookie running backs, Bishop Sankey is a dicey pick for Week 1, but I feel like he'll get enough touches to be top-40 worthy.  I guess we'll have to wait and see though.  Also, Jeremy Hill is borderline here, as he just misses making the rankings this week.  The Bengals are expected to run the ball more this year, and it seems like Hill will be a big part of that.  It's very possible he'll crack my list next week when Cincy hosts Atlanta for their home-opener.  I'm also holding off on guys like Andre Williams and LeGarrette Blount.  I drafted both in my league, but I think both will be very touchdown-dependent for fantasy points.  I'm going to wait and see how they're used in Week 1 before considering them for my top-40 RBs.
1.Calvin Johnson
2.DeMaryius Thomas
3.Dez Bryant 
4.Brandon Marshall
5.Julio Jones
6.AJ Green
7.Alshon Jeffery
8.Roddy White
9.Andre Johnson
10.Victor Cruz  
11.Larry Fitzgerald
12.Antonio Brown
13.Keenan Allen
14.Jordy Nelson
15.Vincent Jackson
16.Randall Cobb
17.Wes Welker
18.Pierre Garcon
19.Michael Crabtree
20.Michael Floyd
21.Percy Harvin
22.Cordarrelle Patterson
23.Torrey Smith
24.TY Hilton   
25.Eric Decker 
26.Emmanuel Sanders  
27.Mike Wallace
28.DeSean Jackson
29.Marques Colston 
30.Julian Edelman 
31.Golden Tate
32.Jeremy Maclin
33.Kendall Wright
34.Brandin Cooks
35.Cecil Shorts
36.Riley Cooper
37.Terrance Williams
38.Reggie Wayne
39.DeAndre Hopkins
40.Kelvin Benjamin

Cooks could make for a decent Flex play in Week 1...
In case you were wondering, my #41 guy is Markus Wheaton, but I couldn't quite rank him this week.  I lowered Antonio Brown a bit based on the fact that he'll be facing the Iron Haden most of the day though, and I have a feeling Wheaton could have a big first game this season.  You'll notice I have Wes Welker well into my top-20, but it's still no certainty he even plays on Sunday night.  If he doesn't, then Emmanuel Sanders needs to be bumped up at least 10 spots or so...

Another guy I like but couldn't quite fit into the rankings is Rueben Randle.  I think he'll have a big year, and it could start right away in Detroit this week.  You'll notice I haven't ranked Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins just yet either.  If you drafted either of those guys, you're braver than I am if you plan to start them in Week 1.  I'd at least wait a week or two and see how they handle the NFL game.  On the other hand, I did rank rookie wideouts Kelvin Benjamin and Brandin Cooks.  I think both could be a big part of their offenses right away.

1.Jimmy Graham
2.Julius Thomas 
3.Vernon Davis
4.Jordan Cameron 
5.Greg Olsen
6.Rob Gronkowski
7.Kyle Rudolph
8.Jason Witten
9.Jordan Reed
10.Dennis Pitta
11.Zach Ertz
12.Martellus Bennett 
It's tough to only rank 12 tight ends for Week 1, but there it is.  Guys just barely not making the list include: Charles Clay, Heath Miller, Antonio Gates, and Ladarius Green.  Both of the Charger TEs you ask?  Yeah, Arizona's defense last year was THAT bad against that position.  I think both of them could have solid games.  

The toughest guy to rank this week had to be Gronk.  He's questionable to even suit up, but if he does then I'm still unsure as to how effective he'll even be.  I think he fits somewhere in the middle of the top-12 for Week 1, but if he produces then he could easily be right at the top for Week 2.


I wanted to put the Saints in my top-12, but I just couldn't do it.  They're away from home and playing the team from Hard Knocks.  I watch the Falcons on a weekly basis, and there's just too much bias built in for me to think the Saints can stop that offense in Week 1.  I guess we'll see what happens.

Surprisingly, I only ranked two of the four AFC North defenses this week.  All of these teams play each other to kickoff their seasons, so I could see some low-scoring affairs.  But I don't know.  I'll have to check out those and others when I catch the highlights.

Good luck to everyone in Week 1!  
(Except you, David...)


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Real Football Predictions for 2014

The final preseason games are tonight, but then it'll be time for some real football!  For the last couple of years, I've sat down and tried to predict the winner of every NFL game on the schedule with a highly sophisticated system that involves eeny, meeny, miny, and moe.  It's a fun exercise, so I thought I'd do it again.

Here's what my simulation looks like for 2014...

14-2 4-12 5-11 7-9
8-8 8-8 9-7 6-10
6-10 7-9 3-13 8-8
7-9 9-7 13-3 3-13
6-10 9-7 8-8 7-9
12-4 9-7 8-8 6-10
8-8 11-5 10-6 7-9
13-3 12-4 7-9 7-9

A healthy Gronk will help the Pats a TON! 
In 2012, I predicted 6 of the 8 division winners, but last year I only got half of them right.  This year I'm going to try to go 8 for 8 (yeah right!).  Here is some commentary on my predicted standings:

AFC East: So yeah, I like New England this year.  The Patriots will continue to dominate a weak division, but I think they'll dominate the rest of the league along the way too.  Not only will Tom Brady play like an MVP at age 37, but the defense is going to play their part too.  I'm not giving the Jets enough credit with my 5-11 prediction, and if Geno Smith takes a step forward and the defense plays like they can, the Jets could push for a Wild Card spot.

AFC North: I think this division will get back to producing two playoff teams this season.  I'm hoping the other is Baltimore, but I could realistically see it being any of them.  Like last year, I think Cincinnati will make the playoffs and the Ravens might be on the outside looking in.  Unlike last year, I think the Steelers will improve on defense and somehow win this division for the first time since 2010, when they made it all the way to the Super Bowl.

Yep. You guys will win the AFC South
AFC South: Last season I said Indy wouldn't win this division for at least another year in the Andrew Luck Era.  Boy, was I wrong!  This year I'm going out on a limb and not sticking with Indy, even though I think the rest of the division is likely to still be weak (especially the Jags).  That being said, I think Houston could be better than the 6 wins I've given them, and I won't be surprised if Ken Whisenhunt brings some magic to Tennessee.  If Locker can stay healthy, maybe it'll be the Titans (and not the Texans) who become this year's surprise division winner.

AFC West: As long as Peyton Manning is healthy, this will be Denver (and it's not even close).  I also think the Chiefs will make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since...probably before I even played fantasy football.  If Manning misses time due to injury, it'll probably crush my fantasy team.  It also would open the door wide open for KC to take the division.

NFC East: I'm probably being conservative with 9 wins for the Eagles, but I think they'll take the division again no matter how many wins they end up with.  But their first Super Bowl?  I don't think so...

NFC North: I don't doubt Green Bay will win this division for the 4th year in a row, but Detroit could be really close to Da Bears.  In fact, my simulation has the Lions losing to the Panthers in Week 2, but if I switch the result of just that one game then they're in the playoffs.  Sure, why not?

NFC South: I was way off with the Falcons last year, and I'm rolling with the Saints in 2014.  I think this will be one of the toughest divisions in the league this season, and I actually think the Panthers will end up 9-7 somehow (not 10-6 as my simulation predicted...maybe it's the Lions game).
I think another Super Bowl is a real possibility for Brees and the Saints in 2014

NFC West: San Fran and Seattle will continue to steamroll the league with their defenses.  Both will make the playoffs, but I'll take the Niners to win the division.  I did this simulation before Sam Bradford went down again, but I'll just stick with it as is.  Maybe the Rams finish with only 5 or 6 wins, but I don't think Arizona will be that second NFC Wild Card.

Using my simulation as a guide, here's what I'm predicting for 2014:

AFC East: New England Patriots
AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC South: Tennessee Titans
AFC West: Denver Broncos
AFC Wild Card1: Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Wild Card2: Cincinnati Bengals
[New England over Denver in AFC Championship Game]

NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
NFC North: Green Bay Packers
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers
NFC Wild Card1: Seattle Seahawks
NFC Wild Card2: Detroit Lions
[New Orleans over Seattle in NFC Championship Game]

Super Bowl Prediction: New England over New Orleans


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Rankings v4.0

Now that my main league's draft weekend is over, I'm shuffling up my rankings quite a bit for my fun league.  It's always down to the last-minute with that league, but I'm pretty sure we'll be drafting on Labor Day.  I guess we'll see if that happens, but either way I'll now have a top-200 if it does.  If not, this list should help me with my Week 1 rankings (which I'll try to have out by Monday evening).

I'd love to wait until next Wednesday or so to get my Week 1 rankings done, but my wife and I will be on vacation in Texas.  So I'll try to get them out early (way earlier than all of the expert lists, I'm sure).  It should be a true test for the first week of the NFL season.  Speaking of which, we'll be capping off our week at NRG Stadium in Houston to hopefully watch my Redskins destroy the Texans (look for us on tv!).

For now, here's my updated pre-draft rankings.  I tried to make comments next to players I moved around, but there are so many that I'm not sure I got them all.


1. LeSean McCoy: I moved Shady up to the top spot, but you can't go wrong with any of the first 3...
2. Jamaal Charles
3. Adrian Peterson
4. Matt Forte
5. Eddie Lacy
6. Jimmy Graham
7. Calvin Johnson
8. Demaryius Thomas: He's right behind Megatron.  I think he's in for a HUGE year with Decker gone.
9. Marshawn Lynch: Down a couple of spots. The over-usage in recent years is a bit of a concern.
10. DeMarco Murray
11. Montee Ball
12. Giovani Bernard: Getting goal line work in the preseason.  Moved him back up a bit.
13. Dez Bryant
14. A.J. Green
15. Peyton Manning
16. Drew Brees
17. Aaron Rodgers
18. Doug Martin: Swapped him with Foster. Not as much of an injury concern, but maybe a lower ceiling.
19. Alfred Morris
20. Arian Foster
21. Zac Stacy: Down a couple of spots too, though I think he's still the undisputed #1 RB for the Rams.
22. Andre Ellington: Moved up quite a few spots. Has the potential to be "bellcow" in Arizona.
23. Le'Veon Bell: Lowered considerably, thinking Blount gets a decent share of the workload.
24. Brandon Marshall
25. Julio Jones
26. Jordy Nelson
27. Antonio Brown
28. Alshon Jeffery
29. Randall Cobb
30. Julius Thomas: Moved Thomas above Gronk.  Less injury concern, maybe similar production.
31. Rob Gronkowski
32. Rashad Jennings
33. Toby Gerhart
34. Victor Cruz: After doing my "Redeem Team" article, I realized I needed to move Cruz up a bit.
35. Roddy White: Same with Roddy.  His numbers before last year were insane, and I think he'll be fine.
36. Pierre Garcon
37. Keenan Allen
38. Andre Johnson
39. Larry Fitzgerald
40. Vincent Jackson
41. Frank Gore: In a non-keeper league, I felt the need to move Gore up considerably.
42. Joique Bell
43. Ben Tate: As long as he's healthy, I think he'll get at least 75% of the RB work in Cleveland.
44. Ryan Mathews
45. Reggie Bush
46. Shane Vereen
47. Cordarelle Patterson: Moved him and Torrey up together a little bit.
48. Torrey Smith
49. C.J. Spiller: He goes down a little with no keeper potential to factor in.
50. Bishop Sankey: Same here. In fact, I might need to lower more rookies.
51. Matthew Stafford: He and Luck are back up a bit because I'll need a QB without Peyton as a keeper.
52. Andrew Luck
53. Chris Johnson: Bumped him up slightly.  Ivory can't stay healthy, and the Jets will run a lot.
54. Lamar Miller
55. Ray Rice
56. Steven Jackson
57. Trent Richardson: His production in the preseason doesn't look any different than last year.
58. DeSean Jackson
59. Michael Crabtree
60. Michael Floyd: Moved him up to this tier.  He has elite WR potential.
61. Percy Harvin
62. Jordan Cameron
63. Fred Jackson: Wow.  I moved the old man up about 25 spots.  He still could be the #1 fantasy RB for the Bills.
64. Maurice Jones-Drew: Another older guy who is a boring pick, but solid at this point in a draft.
65. Wes Welker: Concussion has me moving Wes down a lot, maybe not far enough.
66. TY Hilton
67. Emmanuel Sanders: And because of the Welker injury, Sanders gets a big bump in value.
68. Golden Tate
69. Marques Colston
70. Terrance Williams
71. Mike Wallace: In Bill Lazor's offense, Wallace could put up much better numbers.
72. Julian Edelman: Down slightly. Other weapons in New England are healthy again.  At least for now...
73. Kendall Wright: He slid down this WR tier just a little bit too.
74. Pierre Thomas
75. Stevan Ridley
76. Cam Newton
77. Tom Brady
78. Matt Ryan
79. RGIII: Starting to get a little worried about my QB here, and I put him below Matty Ice for fantasy drafts.
80. Riley Cooper
81. Eric Decker
82. Vernon Davis
83. Greg Olsen
84. DeAngelo Williams: Moved DWill up slightly, along with some of these rookie RBs.
85. Carlos Hyde
86. Andre Williams  
87. Terrance West
88. Nick Foles
89. Russell Wilson
90. Colin Kaepernick
91. Cecil Shorts: He and Maclin/Bowe down several spots to this WR tier.
92. Jeremy Maclin
93. Dwayne Bowe
94. DeAndre Hopkins
95. Brandin Cooks
96. Reuben Randle: He breaks into the top-100 and this WR tier as well.
97. Jason Witten
98. Kyle Rudolph: He and Jordan Reed move up to this level.  TEs went fast in my last draft, so I'm moving some up.
99. Jordan Reed
100. Tony Romo: His back injury has me concerned and moving him down slightly but still in top-100.
101. Mike Evans
102. Sammy Watkins
103. LaGarrette Blount: Moved him up a ton.  Should get plenty of work, including goal line carries.
104. Bernard Pierce: Up slightly. Suffered a concussion against the Skins in preseason, but should be good for Week 1.
105. Jeremy Hill
106. Devonta Freeman
107. Chris Ivory
108. Dennis Pitta: Again, a couple of TEs moving slightly up the list.
109. Zach Ertz
110. Justin Hunter: And a couple of WRs who have risen in the rankings due to preseason hype/results.
111. Kelvin Benjamin
112. Knowshon Moreno: Dolphins now being coy about who the starter will be.  Moreno maybe too low even here.
113. Darren Sproles
114. Danny Woodhead
115. Mark Ingram: Has sort of been the #1 RB in preseason, so I had to at least put him above Khiry.
116. Darren McFadden
117. Jonathan Stewart: Looking good (and healthy) in preseason, so I have him up near top-100.
118. Lance Dunbar: Also looking like a change of pace back in Linehan's offense.  Could mean decent numbers.
119. Khiry Robinson
120. Reggie Wayne
121. Anquan Boldin
122. Danny Amendola
123. Markus Wheaton: It looks like he'll be the #2 WR for the Steelers, as he's been very active in the preseason games.
124. Andrew Hawkins
125. Martellus Bennett
126. Charles Clay: Moved him into the rankings, as I needed some more tight ends!
127. Dexter McCluster: Also new to the rankings, he could be this year's Danny Woodhead.
128. Ronnie Hillman: It's looking more and more like he'll have a role in Denver's offense.
129. Shonn Greene
130. Ahmad Bradshaw: Moved down to this RB tier, as I'm not sure how effective he could actually be.
131. Joanthan Grimes: Goodbye Andre Brown, hello opportunity for Grimes. You must handcuff him if you have Foster!
132. Jay Cutler
133. Philip Rivers
134. Andy Dalton
135. Johnny Manziel
136. Tavon Austin: Has been virtually non-existent in the preseason.  I worry he'll never do much in the NFL.
137. James Jones
138. Hakeem Nicks
139. Doug Baldwin
140. Jordan Matthews: Another newcomer to the list. He looks like he'll be active in Philly's busy offense.
141. Aaron Dobson: Should be the best bet for a breakout year of the Patriot wideouts (other than Edelman).
142. Mohamed Sanu: With the Marvin Jones injury, Sanu is instantly an interesting #2 WR option.
143. Marqise Lee: Allen Robinson remains injured, and the #2 WR job is Lee's for the taking.
144. Robert Woods: I'll bring him back into the rankings as another interesting #2 WR.
145. Josh Gordon: Leaving him here as a placeholder, but I wouldn't take a chance before here with the unknown.
146. Delanie Walker: I'm going to stop with the comments here because I'm adding a lot of people between here and Ds.
147. Ladarius Green
148. Stepfan Taylor
149. Christine Michael
150. Donald Brown
151. Tre Mason
152. Bobby Rainey
153. Jordan Todman
154. Lorenzo Taliaferro
155. Kenny Britt
156. Jerricho Cotchery
157. Kenny Stills
158. Greg Jennings
159. Jarrett Boykin
160. Miles Austin
161. Harry Douglas
162. Rod Streater
163. Cody Latimer
164. Ben Roethlisberger
165. Josh McCown
166. Ryan Tannehill
167. Alex Smith
168. Roy Helu
169. Benjarvis Green-Ellis
170. James White
171. Brian Hartline
172. Steve Smith
173. John Brown
174. Marvin Jones
175. Heath Miller
176. Travis Kelce
177. Seahawks DEFENSE
178. 49ers DEFENSE
179. Patriots DEFENSE: Yeah I moved them to a top-3 defense.  What?  I like them this year!
180. Panthers DEFENSE
181. Chiefs DEFENSE: Looking at their schedule, I moved them back up into the top-5 defenses.
182. Bengals DEFENSE
183. Saints DEFENSE: I think they have one of the easiest-looking schedules, and their D will improve.
184. Rams DEFENSE: With Bradford out, I think that only hurts this defense.
185. Broncos DEFENSE
186. Ravens DEFENSE
187. Bucs DEFENSE
188. Texans DEFENSE: The Cardinals fell out of the rankings for me, so I'm putting Houston in here.
189. Stephen Gostkowski
190. Justin Tucker
191. Matt Bryant
192. Dan Bailey
193. Phil Dawson
194. Adam Vinatieri
195. Blair Walsh
196. Mason Crosby
197. Nick Novak
198. Robbie Gould
199. Shaun Suisham
200. Alex Henery

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2014 Fantasy Redeem Team

I mentioned in my last rankings update that it would probably be my last update before my own draft.  Well, I think I'm going to stick to that.  My draft is now just 3 days away and I'm going to keep my final tweaks offline (sorry, Carl).  I'll get another rankings update out there before the final preseason games, but for now I thought I'd give you this year's edition of the Fantasy Redeem Team.  

This team was all hype in 2013, but what about 2014...?
If you read this article in previous years, you know what this is all about.  To the first timers, here's the deal.  I'm going to give you a team who is ready to atone for their 2013 fantasy sins.  These are players who underperformed based on their draft day value, and I'm trying to ignore players who missed a considerable amount of time due to injury (so you won't see guys like Doug Martin or Julio Jones on this list).  What I am creating is a team of guys who had a pretty high 2013 ranking and ADP versus how they finished the season.  This could also be seen as a 2013 Hindsight All-Hype Team.

The 2013 team featured guys who I was spot on with like LeSean McCoy and Ryan Mathews, but it also included misses like Eli Manning and Dwayne Bowe.  They can't all be winners, but it's a fun exercise nonetheless.  I feel like all of these guys have the potential for a serious bounce-back year, and I'll tell you why.

Below you'll find each player's 2012 stats, 2013 stats, and my bold projected 2014 stats for them.  Instead of doing 2013 ADP vs. 2014 ADP, I decided to show you where they were being ranked/drafted (by position) in 2013 vs. 2014.  Then I'm comparing that to where I have each player in my personal rankings.  Hopefully this will simplify what is bound to be an overload of numbers as it is.  Enjoy!

QB: Tom Brady
2012 Stats: 16 GP,  4827 Pass Yds,  34 Pass TDs, 8 INTs, 4 Rush TD
2013 Stats: 16 GP,  4343 Pass Yds,  25 Pass TDs, 11 INTs, 0 Rush TD
My 2014 Projection:  16 GP,  4685 Pass Yds,  33 Pass TDs,  10 INTs, 1 Rush TD
2013 QB rank: 4
2014 QB rank: 10
My 2014 QB rank: 7

Tom and Bill at Redskins Training Camp in Richmond.
I'm pretty sure I actually have Brady ranked higher than any of the ESPN or Yahoo experts, but feel free to verify for yourself.  I guess they all prefer the potential of guys like RGIII and Matt Ryan, but not me.  After seeing Tommy Boy in person at Redskins training camp, he made me a believer all over again.  With guys like Gronk, Amendola, and Vereen potentially back to full health, Brady will also be back to his old self in no time.  Not only that, but guys like Thompkins and Dobson have a year under their belts now, and Julian Edelman has proven that he can make all kinds of plays for the Patriots.  With all of those weapons, I think I might actually be conservative with my 2014 projections.  But we also know that injuries happen (especially with some of those guys).  I just think Brady will overcome them, and his ceiling is well into 5000+ passing yards and who knows how many TDs if all of his weapons do stay healthy all year!

RB: Ray Rice
2012 Stats: 16 GP,  1143 Rush Yds,  9 Rush TDs, 478 Rec Yds, 1 Rec TD
2013 Stats: 15 GP,  660 Rush Yds,  4 Rush TDs, 321 Rec Yds, 0 Rec TDs
My 2014 Projection: 14 GP,  942 Rush Yds,  6 Rush TDs, 515 Rec Yds, 1 Rec TD
2013 RB rank: 3
2014 RB rank: 25
My 2014 RB rank: 26

The experts have various opinions on Ray Rice this year.  Some have him ranked inside their top-20 RBs, while others have him all the way down in the high 30s.  I have him ranked right around his ADP, but I may move him up my board depending on whether or not I draft a RB early.  You see, the major problem with Ray Ray this year is that he'll be missing the first two games due to suspension.  Some people think Bernard Pierce could solidify himself a large role in those two weeks (and they see that as the bigger problem), but I think Rice will come back and be the top dog.  I'm sure Pierce will have a role, as nearly every team has a committee with their running backs now.  But assuming he's healthy for the rest of the 14 games, I think Rice will get closer to his 2012 numbers rather than last season's forgettable stats.  We'll have to wait until Week 3 to see if he truly is a good fit for Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking system.  But if he is, he could be a steal as the #25 RB in fantasy drafts this season.

RB: Trent Richardson
2012 Stats: 15 GP,  950 Rush Yds,  11 Rush TDs, 367 Rec Yds, 1 Rec TD
2013 Stats: 16 GP,  563 Rush Yds,  3 Rush TDs, 316 Rec Yds, 1 Rec TD
My 2014 Projection: 16 GP,  907 Rush Yds,  8 Rush TDs, 433 Rec Yds, 2 Rec TDs
2013 RB rank: 8
2014 RB rank: 24
My 2014 RB rank: 28

I thought about going with CJ Spiller as my other RB here, but I thought I'd play it safe with Richardson.  HA!  This is anything but safe.  Do you see those 2013 numbers?!?  I'm actually surprised at how high ESPN has TRich ranked (Yahoo is closer to my ranking), but you have to like his situation in Indy.  With his biggest threat to playing time coming from Ahmad Bradshaw, Richardson should have every opportunity to thrive in the Colts offense once again.  I'm not sure if he'll be able to run the ball in it, but maybe he'll make up for it with receiving yards and goal line TDs.  That's what I'm counting on with my projection, and hopefully the mentoring from Edgerrin James will help him out this preseason.

WR: Victor Cruz
2012 Stats: 16 GP,  1092 Rec Yds, 10 Rec TDs
2013 Stats: 14 GP,  998 Rec Yds, 4 Rec TDs
My 2014 Projection: 16 GP,  1128 Rec Yds, 8 Rec TDs
2013 WR rank: 11
2014 WR rank: 15
My 2014 WR rank: 16

Victor only did the salsa in the endzone 4 times last season, and he missed the 1000-yard mark for the first time in his young career.  Of course he would have eclipsed that mark had he played in either of the final two games of the season, but a knee injury kept him from doing so.  With Hakeem Nicks off to Indy, Rueben Randle likely slides right into his position.  I like Randle to have a solid season, but Cruz should still get the bulk of the targets (I'm thinking around 150).  The Giants #1 receiver finished 2013 outside of the top-25 fantasy WRs, but this year he should threaten to get back into the top-10.

WR: Roddy White
2012 Stats: 16 GP,  1351 Rec Yds, 7 Rec TDs
I think Roddy will be doing more flips in 2014.
2013 Stats: 13 GP,  711 Rec Yds, 3 Rec TDs
My 2014 Projection: 16 GP,  1267 Rec Yds, 7 Rec TDs
2013 WR rank: 10
2014 WR rank: 19
My 2014 WR rank: 17

Right behind Cruz is where I've ranked Roddy as my #17 WR.  And now that I'm looking at my 2014 projection for each, I realize I might need to flip-flop the two.  Roddy got PAID recently, as the Falcons signed him on for 4 more years (which would have him playing his last NFL season at age 37).  He was the NFL WR version of an ironman until last season, when he finally missed his first NFL start due to a high ankle sprain.  It took him a long time to get healthy, but the second half of his season was much better. This year should be even more productive with attention going back to a healthy Julio Jones.  If both can stay healthy, I like for each to easily eclipse the 1000-yard mark and both could push for double-digit TDs as well.

TE: Kyle Rudolph
2012 Stats: 16 GP,  493 Rec Yds, 9 Rec TDs
2013 Stats: 8 GP,  313 Rec Yds, 3 Rec TDs
My 2014 Projection: 16 GP,  822 Rec Yds, 6 Rec TDs
2013 TE rank: 11
2014 TE rank: 9
My 2014 TE rank: 8

Along with Gronk and Pitta, Kyle Rudolph was also injured for a good part of last season.  So none of these guys really fit the category, but I had to pick one because no one else really fit the category either.  I'm going with Rudolph as a post-hype sleeper, and it looks like I'm all-in on him this year.  I already wrote about him a bit in my "Guys Ready for the Next Level", and I think the Norv Factor is going to put him over the top this season.  If you look at Jordan Cameron's numbers last season in Norv's offense (117 targets, 917 Rec Yds, 7 Rec TDs), I think we could see something close to that for Rudolph this year.  I'll be ready to jump on him late in a draft if I don't end up with Graham, Gronk, or Orange Julius.

FLEX: Lamar Miller
2012 Stats: 13 GP,  250 Rush Yds,  1 Rush TD, 45 Rec Yds, 0 Rec TDs
2013 Stats: 16 GP,  709 Rush Yds,  2 Rush TDs, 170 Rec Yds, 0 Rec TDs
My 2014 Projection: 16 GP,  886 Rush Yds, 5 Rush TDs, 411 Rec Yds, 2 Rec TDs
2013 RB rank: 20
2014 RB rank: 33
My 2014 RB rank: 30

Knowshon could be No Factor in Miami...
I'm not ready to say Lamar Miller will become Shady McCoy in Bill Lazor's offense, but the change should definitely help his stat line.  As you can see, rushing touchdowns isn't exactly where Miller has shown much value in his first two years in the league anyway.  And even though Knowshon is still working his way back from a knee scope, I'd imagine he'll be the goal line back when healthy.  Doesn't matter for Miller's potential value this season.  I think he'll get twice as many receptions, which will increase his value a ton.  I also believe he'll have improved rushing stats as well, and the potential for a feature back role keeps his ceiling high for 2014.

That's it until next week, folks!