With the 2014 NFL Fantasy Draft fast approaching more and more people are searching the web trying to get an idea of who the sleepers and busts are going to be this season. Hopefully this article will help you out a little: here is a list of the top three quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers, along with a few sleepers and busts for the 2014 NFL Fantasy season:
1. Peyton Manning: This shouldn’t come as any surprise. The 38-year-old pocket passer is outplaying everyone. Manning knows that this may very well be his final season and that he needs to win a Super Bowl this season, so you can bet he’ll come to play. On top of that Manning will finally have a defense that will get stops and turnovers after the Denver Broncos brought in free agents T.J. Ward and Demarcus Ware. Don’t expect another 5,477 yard 55 touchdown season, but you can definitely count on another great season from “The Sheriff.”
2. Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers always seems to be a safe pick (provided he stays healthy). Rodgers is in the prime of his career and leads a Green Bay Packers team with one of the best receiving cores in the league. On top of that Eddie Lacy has emerged as a running threat, only further opening up the passing attack of Rodgers. You can expect consistent numbers from Rodgers as always.
3. Matthew Stafford: Stafford’s yardage totals are outstanding every year. Recently Stafford has had some problems finding the end zone, but with all the offseason improvements the Detroit Lions have made both for Stafford and his receiving core, he should be able to fix that. And on top of that the Lions still have Calvin Johnson to make Stafford’s job that much easier. Expect Stafford to put up big passing numbers as always.
Sleeper pick: Robert Griffin III. Griffin rushed back too soon after his surgery last season. With an entire offseason to work with his new receivers and coaches as well as to get more comfortable with his movements you may want to consider giving Griffin a second chance this season.
1. Adrian Peterson: This should be obvious. Peterson is an absolute freak of nature, nothing has been able to slow him down yet and don’t expect anything different this season. Peterson’s numbers fell slightly last season because of the lack of a passing threat, but with the addition of Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner and first round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater there will be a new scheme in Minnesota which should open up the power running game for him. Peterson should have no problem eclipsing 1,500 yards this season.
2. Matt Forte: Forte has been one of the more consistent running backs in the NFL since he was drafted. With very few injury problems; large, consistent yardage; and a career year behind him Forte is looking good for this coming season. If you’re looking for a reliable and consistent running back, Forte is a no-brainer.
3. Jamaal Charles: Charles is another safe pick because he gets yardage in both the running game and the passing game. In fact, Charles was involved in one-third of the Kansas City Chiefs total offensive yardage last season. Quarterback Alex Smith very often resorts to dumping the ball off to Charles and letting him do his thing. Don’t expect another 19 touchdowns this season, but Charles will most certainly provide your team with some big numbers and a few really big games.
Notable Mention: LeSean McCoy. McCoy led the league in rushing yards this past season; however, with the addition of speedster Darren Sproles, McCoy may not hear his name called quite as often this season. McCoy will have a great year, but don’t expect another 1,600 yards in 2014.
Busts: Knowshon Moreno. Moreno was considered a bust until Peyton Manning showed up in Denver. Moreno only did well this year because Manning’s immense passing game opened up the running game for him. Moreno really had an easy job in Denver, but he made the mistake of leaving and signing with the Miami Dolphins. Don’t expect much from Moreno without Manning at quarterback.
1. Calvin Johnson: No explanation needed. The 6’5 wideout is unstoppable. Calvin Johnson has finished top three in fantasy points among receivers ever year since 2010, and don’t expect this year to be any different. It doesn’t matter how many people you put on him, “Megatron” is simply too good and too much of a matchup problem for defenses to stop.
2. Dez Bryant: Bryant gets the second spot over A.J. Green simply because I trust Tony Romo more than I trust Andy Dalton. Bryant is Romo’s favorite target for good reason. The Dallas Cowboys are going to be passing the ball a lot this season, and you can expect a good amount of those passes to go Bryant’s way. Bryant has had double digit touchdowns each of the last two seasons, and there is nothing to suggest that he’ll slow down at all this season. Bryant is one of the safest first round picks you can make this season.
3. A.J. Green: Like I mentioned, Green falls to third only because I don’t trust Dalton. With that being said, Green was the most targeted receive in the league this past season behind only Pierre Garcon and Andre Johnson. Drafting a quarterback’s favorite receiver is always a good choice: Dalton may not be the best quarterback in the NFL, but you can expect a lot of yards out of Green simply because the ball is thrown his way so many times. Also, Dalton always looks Green’s way in the red zone, so double digit touchdowns should not be a problem for Green this season.
Sleeper picks: Roddy White/Julio Jones. Let’s not forget about the Atlanta Falcons dynamic receiving duo. The Falcons 2013 season was a mess due to injuries, with both White and Jones missing multiple games due to injury. In their absence, people seem to have forgotten how good these two are. They’re both coming off their injuries ready to get back to winning, and with Matt Ryan throwing them the ball they’ll have no problem racking up some big yardage. Don’t sleep on the Atlanta Falcons or their two star receivers in 2014.