Big Board: Ringing the Bell for '15

The Big Board takes into consideration past returns, current performance and expected future gains in determining who should be included among the top 50 fantasy football players. Essentially, the Big Board is a cheat sheet designed for an owner who is planning to participate in a draft today. Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football default scoring settings are used as the baseline for the Big Board, which is updated on a regular basis during the season.

Note: "Rank" shows where a player was ranked at his position in '14 in terms of fantasy points per game (min. 6 games).

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Big Board 2015: Football
Player Pos Rank Comment
1. Le'Veon Bell (PIT) RB 2 Has Forte-like versatility and Arian-like patience/vision - saved his best for the fantasy playoff run (27.6 FPPG from Weeks 11-16)
2. DeMarco Murray (UFA) RB 1 After epic No. 1 fantasy RB run in '14, heads into offseason as a free agent - '15 value dependent on his landing place, but none would likely be better than a DAL return
3. Jamaal Charles (KAN) RB 7 2014 didn't start well (4.6 FAN PTS combined in Weeks 1-2) or end well (19.2 FAN PTS combined in Weeks 15-17), but from Weeks 4-14, no RB scored more FAN PTS
4. Eddie Lacy (GNB) RB 6 After a bumpy start to '14, Steady Eddie settled into a groove in which he scored 11.5-plus FAN PTS in 12 of 13 games from Week 4 on - has low mileage and a great offense on his side
5. Marshawn Lynch (SEA) RB 4 Cap number/age makes return to SEA uncertain, but after blowing away RB competition in Missed Tackles en route to best FAN season yet, hard to imagine SEA letting Beast-Mode go
6. Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG) WR 1 Yep, my No. 1 WR for '15 (and the top FAN WR from Weeks 5-17) - plays the game on a Neo/Matrix-like level
7. Demaryius Thomas (DEN) WR 5 Has 90+ catches, 1,400+ yards, 10+ TDs in 3 straight seasons, and the only way he doesn't get add a 4th straight season is if Father Time swallows QB Peyton Manning whole in '15
8. Antonio Brown (PIT) WR 2 Top WR of '14 was a PPR dream, and his worst standard scoring effort (8/74/0 in Week 10) wasn't too shabby - lacks great size, but that is about the only attribute that isn't off-the-charts
9. Calvin Johnson (DET) WR 10 From a combine perspective, he still stands out in the WR crowd, but he hasn't finished 1st among WRs in FAN PTS or FAN PPG in either of past 2 years - 2-3 DNPs has become the norm
10. Matt Forte (CHI) RB 5 Will hit 30 years old in December of '15, so mileage becoming a factor - so is loss of HC Trestman, as Forte enjoyed best 2 fantasy seasons of career in his pass-happy system
11. Dez Bryant (UFA) WR 4 Jerry Jones says there's no way Dez will hit '15 free agency, which is smart considering (at age 26) he's in his prime and coming off 3rd straight season of 1,200+ yards, 12+ TDs
12. Julio Jones (ATL) WR 6 Battled through ankle and hip issues (not his surgically-repaired broken foot) but still a top 6 WR in FAN PTS despite mid-season 7-game TD drought - has No. 1 WR upside going into '15
13. Jordy Nelson (GNB) WR 3 Topped 90+ catches for 1st time in '14 as he's becoming more a true go-to guy for QB Rodgers, but big play still a major part of arsenal (led NFL w/ 5 catches of 60+ yards)
14. Arian Foster (HOU) RB 3 Vintage form in '14, finishing 2nd to Murray at RB in FAN PPG (18.1) and also missing 3 games because of injury - odometer/health history makes him very high-risk/high-reward pick for '15
15. Rob Gronkowski (NWE) TE 1 54 career TDs and he's still only 25 years old - if you could guarantee 16 games from Gronk in '15, he'd justify a high Round 1 pick, but can you really count on 2 straight healthy campaigns?
16. Adrian Peterson (MIN) RB NA He'll likely be somewhere besides MIN in '14, but there's no such thing as a bad fit for AP's talents - if he's in uniform, you're most likely going to be happy with his fantasy results
17. A.J. Green (CIN) WR 13 Injuries cost him a few games in '14, but when healthy, he belongs in an upper class w/ WRs like Dez and Julio - a slam dunk top 8 WR pick for '15
18. LeSean McCoy (PHI) RB 17 TDs and receptions were elusive for Shady in '14 and his 4.2 YPC nearly a career low - capable of big rebound in this high-powered offense, but not if goal line and passing downs out of picture
19. Jimmy Graham (NOR) TE 3 Injuries derailed Top Jimmy's hopes of being TE king in '14, but will go into '15 drafts looking like his usual 1,000-yard, 10-TD self, which makes him once again a Round 2 consideration
20. Jeremy Hill (CIN) RB 13 Ran away with the CIN backfield lead role after teammate Bernard suffered hip injury - was 1 of 4 RBs (J. Charles, L. Miller and Justin Forsett) to avg. 5+ YPC (min 100 carries)
21. C.J. Anderson (DEN) RB 8 Fire plug was a revelation in DEN backfield and really helped pick up offense down stretch - strong, versatile back sitting in a RB catbird seat, but Hillman/Ball could figure in mix a bit
22. Andrew Luck (IND) QB 1 Had a lot of garbage time help in '14, but can't turn nose at his easy No. 1 fantasy QB finish - Indy led NFL w/ 660 pass attempts - hitting his prime, has good shot at No. 1 repeat
23. Aaron Rodgers (GNB) QB 2 Fizzled in Weeks 15-16 w/ fantasy titles on the line, but had epic run to carry owners into fantasy postseason (avg. 289 pass and accounted for 35 TDs to just 2 INTs from Weeks 2-14)
24. Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) WR 8 Yards have tapered off down stretch in '14 as QB Manning struggled - it's of concern for '15 drafts, but as a top 7 fantasy WR in '14, there's too much upside to ignore for too long
25. Drew Brees (NOR) QB 5 NOLA was a hot mess in '14, losing 5 homes games, and the stink sometimes emanated from Brees, but the fantasy was better than the reality as he was once again a top 4 QB
26. Jeremy Maclin (UFA) WR 9 Big plays led to top 10 fantasy WR campaign in '14, though he was better off w/ Foles at QB (top 5 fantasy WR) than with Sanchez behind center (No. 19 fantasy WR)
27. T.Y. Hilton (IND) WR 12 Being QB Luck's go-to guy has its privileges - led NFL with 17 catches of 25+ yards
28. Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) WR 19 Next year's drafts could be a splitting hairs exercise between the 2 top monolithic rookie WRs of '14 (Benjamin and Mike Evans) - I'll lean Benjamin since he's tied to the better QB arm (Newton)
29. Mike Evans (TAM) WR 11 Even w/ messy QB situation that saddled Evans w/ lots of 40-60-yard receiving days, the rookie still tallied 12 TDs - given jump-ball talents, a sure bet for 10+ TDs again in '15
30. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) QB 6 Probably not a coincidence that Big Ben was No. 2 fantasy QB from moment rookie WR Bryant hit the field (Week 7) - offense (w/ RB Bell, WRs Brown, Bryant) extremely QB-friendly
31. Tom Brady (NWE) QB 9 Lots of mileage (37 years), but he just turned in the 5th-best fantasy season of career, and injuries (other than '08) still a non-issue - have Gronk, will travel back into QB1 upper class in '15
32. Russell Wilson (SEA) QB 3 56 (often jaw-dropping) YPG on the ground helped offset modest pass numbers - considering he takes bigger hits in the pocket than on the run, count on the rush to be there again in '15
33. Peyton Manning (DEN) QB 4 Going to be a lightning rod on draft day in '15 as he looked every bit his age (38) down stretch in '14 - while his numbers were still elite, the career cliff feels like it could be just around the corner
34. Lamar Miller (MIA) RB 12 MIA led NFL in RZ trips in '14, which helped propel Miller into RB top 10 - return of HC Philbin negates concerns of how a new coaching regime might impact Miller Time
35. Alshon Jeffery (CHI) WR 14 Left his owners smiling in '14 w/ a top 5 fantasy WR run from Weeks 11-16, and likely passed B-Marsh as CHI go-to WR, but loss of pass-friendly Trestman system is a downer
36. Randall Cobb (UFA) WR 7 Given size, surprise among RZ target leaders in '14, though he wasn't able to cash in from Week 11-16 (0 TDs vs. 10 TDs from Weeks 1-10) - a borderline WR1 assuming GB return
37. Brandon Marshall (CHI) WR  25 Until injuries (ankle/lung) took him out, appeared headed for another 1,000-yard, 10-TD season - even at 30, and giving up go-to role to Jeffery, still 1000/10 upside here (health permitting)
38. Melvin Gordon (TBD) RB  NA Expected top RB pick in '15 NFL draft reminds of Jamaal Charles, and he comes from a zone-blocking scheme that so many NFL teams run - should be top 50 pick no matter where he lands
39. Carlos Hyde (SFO) RB 65 Entire fantasy community wanted to see more of Hyde's special (Lacy-like) talents in '14 - with Gore another year older, and HC Harbaugh gone, we're likely to finally get our wish
40. Matt Ryan (ATL) QB 7 Was a top 7 fantasy QB despite rarely having both WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White healthy - upgrade at TE and a youth infusion at RB (more Freeman) in '15 should only help
41. Alfred Morris (WAS) RB 18 The Butler served his owners much better w/ RG3 (and the read option) in play in '14, which bodes well for '15 as RG3 is expected to return to his lead role behind center in WAS
42. Sammy Watkins (BUF) WR 31 All-or-nothing rookie campaign w/ messy BUF QB situation in '14 (8 games under 4 FAN PTS) - any kind of upgrade at QB should propel game-breaking talent into WR top 15 in '15
43. Martavis Bryant (PIT) WR 15 Given size/athletic ability, has upside (in a vacuum) of fellow rookie WRs Evans & Benjamin, but unlike those two, he'll be playing third fiddle in offense behind RB Bell and WR Brown
44. DeSean Jackson (WAS) WR 16 Proved that his elite speed plays anywhere as he eclipsed 100-yards 6 times in 1st season w/ WAS
45. DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) WR 18 Wilted down stretch as HOU replacement QB Keenum ill-fitted to Hopkins' down-field, big-play strengths - w/ QB upgrade in '15, Hopkins should enjoy true 3rd-year breakout
46. Golden Tate (DET) WR 17 Will have to fight for RZ looks when Megatron is healthy, but he's a great complement to Calvin between the 20s and ample yardage should be key to another top 20 fantasy WR finish in '15
47. Andre Ellington (ARI) RB  15 Averaged 94.8 YFS before foot injury derailed his season - ARI likely to draft a RB, but Ellington likely to open as starter, and should have prominent role again alongside QB Palmer
48. Latavius Murray (OAK) RB 40 Got chance to flash his freaky athleticism down the stretch (95.6 YFS from Weeks 12-17), and is likely to get 1st shot at lead RB role for the new OAK coaching regime
49. Joique Bell (DET) RB 16 Opportunity is king for Bell in DET as he's not a special player, but his versatility and tough between-the-tackles talents adds up nicely in fantasy, especially in a potent offense like DET
50. Josh Gordon (CLE) WR NA After No. 1 fantasy WR run in '13, proved to not be worth wait coming off suspension in '14 (out of shape, QB issues, party issues) - huge talent, major question mark - stay tuned

(QBs) Eli Manning, NYG; Tony Romo, Dal; Cam Newton, Car; Matthew Stafford, Det; Philip Rivers, SD; Ryan Tannehill, Mia; Nick Foles, Phi
(RBs) Mark Ingram, FA; Giovani Bernard, Cin; Justin Forsett, FA; Rashad Jennings, NYG; Tre Mason, StL; Jonathan Stewart, Car; Terrance West, Cle; Ryan Mathews, FA
(WRs) Jordan Matthews, Phi; Kenny Stills, NO; Brandin Cooks, NO; Mike Wallace, Mia; Jarvis Landry, Mia; Brandon LaFell, NE; Roddy White, Atl; Andre Johnson, Hou;

Anquan Boldin, SF; Julian Edelman, NE; Eric Decker, NYJ; Torrey Smith, FA; Steve Smith, Bal; Vincent Jackson, TB; Michael Floyd, Ari; Keenan Allen, SDG; Victor Cruz, NYG
(TEs) Antonio Gates, SDG; Julius Thomas, FA; Martellus Bennett, Chi; Greg Olsen, Car; Dwayne Allen, Ind; Travis Kelce, KC

Note: You can check out where the rest of the fantasy expert community ranks players on the Big Board at FantasyPros.