2014 Early Fantasy Football First Round Picks

Feb 6, 2014

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Jamaal Charles running
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By Matt Southall, @mattsouthall2
2014 Offseason Fantasy Football: News, Updates…
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With the 2013 regular season in the rearview mirror, it’s never too early to peek through the curtain at 2014′s fantasy landscape. This is my (slightly) early look at who might go in the first round of your 2014 Fantasy Football draft.
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For this article I used standard, non-ppr scoring format when considering player rankings , projections, and draft spots.
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1. Jamaal Charles, RB- No matter the format of your league, Charles should be the first guy selected in every 2014 fantasy draft. In his first year in Andy Reid’s offense, the former Longhorn racked up 1,287 yards on the ground in 259 attempts. That is a staggering 4.97 yards per carry, good for sixth among running backs with at least 100 carries. He also caught 70 passes (5th among RBs) for 693 yards (1st among RBs) from quarterback Alex Smith. I can easily see a similar, or dare I say better, 2014 season. There is no question that Jamaal Charles should be the first overall selection.
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2. Adrian Peterson, RB- AD, AP, or purple people-eater, call him whatever you like. He needs no introduction. It pains me to not have him in the top spot, but when I look at the numbers he simply cannot keep up with Charles in the receiving category. That being said he is still one of the best in the game, and will continue to get one of the heaviest workloads at the position. We also have to take into consideration that the Vikings may be looking to move on from the trio of quarterbacks used this year, and instability at that position generally bodes well for stud running backs.
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3. LeSean McCoy, RB- The Eagles running back absolutely shredded defenses in 2013 in Chip Kelley’s new, fast-paced system for a league-leading 1607 yards on the ground, and 539 yards through the air. Oh and those 1607 yards came on 314 carries, good for 5.1 yards-per-carry (4th among RBs with at least 100 carries). McCoy was so productive that talented back-up Bryce Brown was only allotted 75 carries for the season, or roughly four touches per contest. The 2014 outlook could not be any more tasty for McCoy who will almost certainly be given the same opportunities to shine in this offense that was programmed for someone with his capabilities.
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4. Calvin Johnson, WR- The one-and-only Megatron pieced together another impressive season in 2013, catching 84 balls for 1,492 yards despite sitting out weeks five and 17. The lack of a potent number two threat also bodes well for Johnson’s potential target total. There is no doubting his frame, speed, and leaping ability, and the likelihood of him holding most of the individual records at his position are not only possible, but probable. So long as Stafford remains under center in the Motor City, Megatron will reign supreme among the NFL’s pass-catchers.
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5. Peyton Manning, QB- He is arguably obviously the best to ever play the position, and he continues to amaze even the most vehement skeptics. Do I even have to list his record-breaking numbers from 2013? The Sheriff tossed 55 passes for touchdowns to go along with his 5,477 yards. To forecast another record-breaking 2014 campaign would be silly, but is it really? The data suggests that his third year in Denver, with the same weapons at his disposal, could be even better than his historic 2013 season. Despite the Broncos’ abysmal performance in the Super Bowl. Yes, really.
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6. Marshawn Lynch, RB- The workhorse of the run-dependent Seattle Seahawks proven his worth again in 2013, Beast Mode trudged for 1,257 yards on the ground, 316 yards receiving, and found the endzone 14 times. Pete Carrol’s Seahawks were the NFL’s most run-dependent team in 2013, rushing over 52 percent of their plays. Compare that to the most pass-dependent team in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons, which ran the ball on only 31 percent of their offensive snaps. Beast-Mode is entering his eighth year in the pros, but at only 28 years old he should have his best seasons directly in front of him.
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7. Josh Gordon, WR- Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Gordon did shock the hell of out everyone this year by sky-rocketing to the top of the wide receiver rankings after missing the Browns’ first two games due to suspension, but he did it in a fashion in which no expected him to do so. In his second year out of Baylor, Gordon led the league in receiving with 1,646 yards and scored nine touchdowns on 87 grabs. You simply cannot overlook his weeks 11 and 12, in which he turned 24 catches into 498 yards and three touchdowns. No receiver had ever had back-to-back 200 yards receiving yard games, but Gordon did. The thing that we must keep in consideration while looking back at Gordon’s 2013 season is the fact that he managed to do all of this with a rotation of quarterbacks that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Interesting Josh Gordon fact; only one of his 14 career touchdowns has come from inside the 20 yard line. Oh and he also has a pretty sweet ride. This kid is a stud, if he somehow falls into the second, or for-all-that-is-sweet-and-holy third, round, do not hesitate to pull the trigger on this very talented up-and-comer.
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8. Jimmy Graham, TE- “He ain’t no tight end,” is how my best, although not exactly eloquent, buddy describes the Saints’ all-pro tight end. Graham put together the best season of his already lustrous career by amassing 1,215 yards to go along with his 16 touchdowns. It’s a widely known fact that every player deals with injury at some point in the season, and Graham was no different. Graham tweaked his foot in the week five game versus Chicago, and while his number don’t indicate any deviation from his norm, the tape shows otherwise. So if we take into account that he wasn’t at 100 percent and he still put up career-best type numbers, why wouldn’t you take him in the first round? He outscored the likes of (just to name a few): Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson, and A.J. Green. Get the point? Graham was targeted 18 more times than DeSean Jackson. He was targeted more times than Demaryius Thomas!
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Click here to see the rest of the first round and Matt’s analysis.
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One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Trenton Newton
    February 13th, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles. Charles was one of the few first-round running backs who panned out this year. He led the league with 19 touchdowns from scrimmage, was second to rushing champ LeSean McCoy with 1,980 scrimmage yards and led all RBs with 693 receiving yards and seven TD catches on his 70 receptions. Charles is a more conventional No. 1-overall pick than Manning for next year, especially in PPR leagues, but it’ll be a toss-up between him and McCoy.

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