Big Board: Kicking '15 off in Beast Mode

Marshawn Lnch: He's just about that action, boss.  (Getty)
Marshawn Lnch: He's just about that action, boss. (Getty)

 
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Big Board 50: Football

1. Marshawn Lynch (SEA)

RB

+4

No signs of a slow down, run-heavy environment in SEA - Among RBs, he's probably the safest choice to deliver 1,500+ YFS and 12+ TDs

2. Jamaal Charles (KAN)

RB

0

Elite athleticism and versatility perfect for an Andy Reid system - has yet to average less than 5.0 YPC in his career, and has 12 TD catches over past 2 seasons

3. Eddie Lacy (GNB)

RB

+1

Only Lynch and Charles have more TDs among RBs in past 2 seasons than Lacy (24) - role in the passing game on the rise as he's proven to be much better in that regard than many expected

4. Adrian Peterson (MIN)

RB

-3

HC Zimmer has indicated that he'll give AP a huge workload - before last season, AP had streak of 7 straight seasons w/ 10+ TDs, 1,100+ YFS

5. Le'Veon Bell (PIT)

RB

-2

He'd be No. 1 here if not for his 2-game suspension - most lethal run/catch combo skills among RBs

6. Demaryius Thomas (DEN)

WR

+3

Led NFL in Red Zone targets (39) last season, and now TE Julius Thomas is gone - DT has to be odds-on favorite to lead WRs in TD catches

7. Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)

WR

+4

Top fantasy WR in the span of the 12 games he played as a rookie (Week 5 thru Week 17) - so much to like, but especially his hands and his ability to retain top speed through his routes

8. Antonio Brown (PIT)

WR

-2

No. 1 fantasy WR in '15 has combined for 36 more catches than any other NFL player over the past 2 seasons - has 70+ receiving yards in 18 straight games

9. Jeremy Hill (CIN)

RB

+5

Had 105 more rushing yards than any other RB from Weeks 9-17 - Cincy loves to run close to the goal line, which should make Hill a shoo-in for double-digit scores

10. Rob Gronkowski (NWE)

TE

-3

Has 54 TDs in 65 career games - a healthy Gronk should easily reach 1,000 yards and 12 TDs, which will likely lap the rest of the TE field

11. Dez Bryant (DAL)

WR

-3

Still only 26, has finished 3rd, 5th, 3rd among WRs in fantasy PPG in past 3 seasons, averaging 91 catches, 1,312 rec. yards and 13.7 TDs in that span

12. Andrew Luck (IND)

QB

+9

Blew away the QB field last season, and he's now another year seasoned and loaded with the best arsenal he's ever had

13. Calvin Johnson (DET)

WR

0

Perhaps still the most upside of any WR, but health (5 DNPs past 2 seasons) issues starting to become a trend

14. Julio Jones (ATL)

WR

-2

6 TDs in '14 was disappointing, but not the 104 catches and 106 YPG - has averaged 112 YPG in his past 21 NFL games

15. Aaron Rodgers (GNB)

QB

+7

Top 2 in FAN PPG at QB in every full season he's played since becoming a starter in '08 (which is all of them save injury-shortened'13, when he finished 3rd in FAN PPG in his 8 full games)

16. C.J. Anderson (DEN)

RB

-6

DEN likely to run more under zone blocking run-game guru Gary Kubiak - Anderson was 2nd-best fantasy RB over final 6 weeks of '15 regular season

17. DeMarco Murray (PHI)

RB

-2

Leaves the best O-line in the NFL, but Philly has a solid line, as well, and the Eagles have been among the most run-heavy teams in the league under HC Chip Kelly

18. Matt Forte (CHI)

RB

-2

100+ catches not likely repeated with Trestman gone, but hopefully pass game remains a major factor for Forte because his run numbers took a big dip in '14 (3.9 YPC)

19. A.J. Green (CIN)

WR

0

Talent is on par with any WR in the league, but gets dinged by CIN conservative system - reports that Bengals will open it up this year could make Green a draft-day bargain

20. LeSean McCoy (BUF)

RB

-3

While his offensive team environment was downgraded with the move to BUF, he should at least return to being a major pass-game weapon as a safety net for the Bills' woeful QBs

21. Justin Forsett (BAL)

RB

+2

BAL likely to try to reduce his carry load a little, but he could easily set a career high in receptions in a Trestman system that netted Matt Forte 102 catches last season

22. Jordy Nelson (GNB)

WR

-4

16-game averages over the past 4 seasons: 80 catches, 1,291 yards, 11.5 TDs

23. Mike Evans (TAM)

WR

+2

12 TDs in final 13 games as a rookie despite a dire Glennon/McCown situation at QB - rookie Jameis Winston should be much better at the jump ball passes where Evans can dominate

24. Frank Gore (IND)

RB

+3

Take a featured role in arguably the best offense in the NFL, one that will likely get Gore back into the passing game mix, something he excelled at early in his career

25. Alshon Jeffery (CHI)

WR

-5

Top 12 WR past 2 seasons - Now, with B-Marsh gone, he becomes a legit go-to WR option in a system that, even with Trestman jumping to BAL, will still likely throw it plenty

26. Russell Wilson (SEA)

QB

+15

No. 3 fantasy QB in '14 is likely to dial it back a bit in the run game, but that should be offset by a big boost in Red Zone production, thanks to the addition of TE Jimmy Graham

27. Randall Cobb (GNB)

WR

-3

Despite small stature, surprising TD production (24 TDs in 37 games over past 3 seasons) - given system and strong rapport with QB Rodgers, a 90/1200/8 is a safe projection if healthy

28. Brandin Cooks (NOR)

WR

+7

Huge opportunity in '15 with Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills out of the picture - NO plans to feature him in many different ways which will likely lead to 90-100 catches

29. Drew Brees (NOR)

QB

+23

Loses key aerial outlets in Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills, but no doubt he'll still air it out, and CJ Spiller, Josh Hill, Brandin Cooks are all talented receivers that can help fill the void

30. C.J. Spiller (NOR)

RB

+23

70+ catch RBs have been commonplace under HC Sean Payton - NO has led NFL in RB catches in 7 of Payton's 9 years in NO. Expect Stiller to be a PPR monster

31. Latavius Murray (OAK)

RB

+9

OAK should run more under OC Musgrave, and T-Rich is no competition for the 2-down RB role - Murray is a physical freak who was 17th at RB in FAN PPG from Week 11-17 for a lousy team

32. DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)

WR

-2

Has the physical tools to be among the top WRs in NFL - went 76/1210/6 in '14 despite being No. 2 to Andre Johnson and dealing with revolving door at QB

33. Melvin Gordon (SDG)

RB

-2

Inexperience as a receiver and struggles in pass pro mean that he's not likely to be a true 3-down RB, which caps his upside, though his rushing skills are immense

34. Andre Ellington (ARI)

RB

+10

Have to ignore down production in '14 as he dealt with a very painful toe injury all year (if anything, credit him for toughness) - healthy again, should be a YFS dynamo in Arians system

35. Kelvin Benjamin (CAR)

WR

+1

Finished 6th in WR targets as rookie despite lack of polish - basically like Mike Evans in that his size/athleticism makes him a matchup nightmare - should push 10+ TDs annually for a long time

36. Jonathan Stewart (CAR)

RB

+3

Averaged over 100 YFS in final 7 games of '14 (playoffs included) - finally free of platoon with DeAngelo, should see career-high workload

37. Jimmy Graham (SEA)

TE

-5

SEA was 9th in Red Zone scoring attempts per game, but just 20th in coverting RZ trips into TDs - that changes with Graham in mix. He should push 10+ TDs even if catches, yards take a hit in SEA

38. Ty Hilton (IND)

WR

-12

Impressive numbers past 2 seasons, but tends to be too peak-and-valley from week-to-week, and additions of Andre Johnson and rookie Phillip Dorsett crowds things up a bit

39. Mark Ingram (NOR)

RB

-11

Finished 8th in FAN PPG at RB position in '14 - may have to share equally with Spiller in NO backfield, but never a shortage of RB touches under HC Payton's guidance

40. Lamar Miller (MIA)

RB

-6

No. 9 fantasy RB in '14 is playing '15 with an eye toward a big deal in free agency - worries that rookie RB Ajayi will mount a serious threat to Miller's PT this season are overblown

41. Joseph Randle (DAL)

RB

+18

He's nota household name yet, but DAL O-line can certainly make him into one if he gets the lead role vacated by D. Murray - given competition, hard not to think he will

42. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)

QB

+15

Only A. Rodgers was better fantasy QB over final 10 weeks of '14 - has arguably the top RB and WR in the NFL to work with, and that doesn't include towering TD magnet Martavis Bryant

43. Matt Ryan (ATL)

QB

+20

Safe and solid is what you get with Ryan - you can write his 16 games played, 28-30 TD passes and 4,500+ yards in pen

44. Todd Gurley (STL)

RB

+4

Has kind of truly special RB talents that can transcend bad environment (STL), and health reports on ACL rehab all arrowing in a positive direction

45. Andre Johnson (IND)

WR

-3

Caught 85 passes in one of the worst QB situations in the NFL last season - at 34, he finally is paired with an elite QB that can take advantage of his unique size/skill combo

46. Alfred Morris (WAS)

RB

-17

He offers little wow factor and is a dud in PPR formats, but there's no reason to think he can't once again deliver his usual 1,100+ rush yards and roughly 8 TDs

47. Carlos Hyde (SFO)

RB

-9

Like another Bay Area back (L. Murray) expected to get 1st and 2nd down work on a team likely to struggle in '15 - that said, Hyde was strong in Yards After Contact and should make a solid fantasy impact despite tough situation

48. Ameer Abdullah (DET)

RB

+20

Given the continuing dire reports on RB Joique Bell, I've boosted Ameer up the charts considerably - love the fireplug's talent, and PT opportunity looks like it will knock early

49. Golden Tate (DET)

WR

+7

Even alongside MegaTron for a full season, Tate can be a top 15-20 WR as DET throws often and there's not much else for QB Stafford to look at among team's WRs and TEs

50. T.J. Yeldon (JAC)

RB

-5

Not an extra-special talent, but likely to have a 3-down role and JAC wasn't terrible in run game in '14, it just lacked volume because of blowouts - that should be a little less of an issue in '15

Note: "vs. ECR" compares my rank to the Expert Consensus Rank (ECR) as compiled by FantasyPros.

Dropped Out: Arian Foster, Hou, RB (groin)

ON THE BUBBLE:
(QBs) Eli Manning, NYG; Peyton Manning, Den; Tony Romo, Dal; Cam Newton, Car; Tom Brady, NE (suspended)
(RBs) Duke Johnson, Cle; Giovani Bernard, Cin; LeGarrette Blount, NE; Isaiah Crowell, Cle
(WRs) Martavis Bryant, Pit; Jordan Matthews, Phi; Emmanuel Sanders, Den; DeSean Jackson, Was; Brandon Marsahll, NYJ; Roddy White, Atl;
Julian Edelman, NE; Sammy Watkins, Buf; Amari Cooper, Oak
(TEs) Greg Olsen, Car; Travis Kelce, KC