2014 fantasy football drafting guidelines


September 2, 2014

With the onset of fall comes the start of the NFL season, and with it, fantasy football.

This year, running backs have become a hot commodity among first round picks, the big three of which are LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, and Jamaal Charles. McCoy is coming off a season in which he led the NFL in rushing yards. If you aren’t able to pick up one of the top tier running backs you can also find stars in the second year players. Eddie Lacy is coming off a 1,178-yard season and is primed for a breakout year with a healthy Aaron Rodgers. Giovanni Bernard and Andre Ellington are both in for an increased workload after 600-yard rookie seasons.

The wide receiver class took a big hit when it lost Josh Gordon due to a year suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The top five wide receivers coming into the season are Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, A.J. Green, and Brandon Marshall. My late round receiver sleeper is the Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins, the second round receiver out of Clemson. With an aging Andre Johnson, Hopkins is bound to get more looks from newly acquired quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The quarterback position has a different look than recent years. If you can’t pick Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, or Drew Bree’s early, you’re better off waiting until later rounds to grab your starter. Jay Cutler is primed for a breakout year, if he can stay healthy. He has some major weapons on offense, including one of the best receiver duos in the league in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

Tight ends are becoming a make or break position for many teams. Jimmy Graham was the top tight end by far last season acquiring 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns. However, if Rob Gronkowski is able to stay healthy, he could surpass Graham’s production. Jordan Reed is a mid-round pick who could pay off. He showed great ability in the games he was healthy for; however, he suffered a concussion late in the season. With Jay Gruden running the offense and a healthy Robert Griffin, he could be in for a big year.

Wait for the later rounds to acquire your defense and kicker. Top-tier defenses include Seattle and Carolina. Kicker is always a tough position to judge. Steven Gostkowski and Steven Hauschka are ranked as the top two.

Stick to your game plan, and don’t always let projections change your choice. Good luck this season!

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