Yes, it’s still too early to seriously talk fantasy football. But I’m an addict, so I do a pretty darn good job of convincing myself that that’s actually never the case. In fact, if you ask me, if you’re not thinking about next season before your current season even ends, then you’re not preparing enough.
Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on when it comes to early fantasy prep, it’s June and the NFL is somewhat relevant again. Come to think of it, the NFL has actually found a way to be fairly relevant from June until May now, thanks to the league pushing the NFL Draft back.
Last I checked, that’s pretty much year round.
Point being, if you haven’t started prepping for the 2014 fantasy football season, you might be behind a bit. I’ll try to catch you up as I sort through my early player rankings. I have player notes to help catch up on any of the latest buzz about roles, injuries or expectations, but I’ll also give a couple nuggets about some guys I really like or hate at the main positions, too:
I think the training wheels are coming off of Andrew Luck this year. Indy will throw way more and he could put up his best numbers yet…I’m pretty high on Johnny Manziel, even if the Brownies roll with a run-first system. OC Kyle Shanahan helped RG3 to one of the best rookie seasons we’ve seen in a while and they have similar skill-sets…I’m not ranking him super high but Eli Manning could be in for a huge bounce back season. New York brought in Rashad Jennings to help the running game and Odell Beckham rounds out a pretty deep group of receivers.
I’m not loving Andy Dalton right now. He absolutely has the weapons, but I’ve never totally trusted his arm or consistency and he lost OC Jay Gruden. I’m thinking he regresses a bit…Joe Flacco continues to be a turd. Baltimore got him a bunch of weapons but he’s not a 40+ attempt per game guy. They need to stop trying to make him something he’s not. I’m starting to buy into the idea that Tom Brady is slipping out of the elite grouping. He might still make it into the top-10, but he’s not what he was just two years ago.
I know it won’t be easy to do, but I see little reason not to trust Doug Martin and Arian Foster. Both are elite talents who have monster roles…Bishop Sankey and Tre Mason are your most likely rookie backs to crush it, although we need to keep a close eye on awesome undrafted rookie Isaiah Crowell in Cleveland… Giovani Bernard is on the rise and is going to be the talk of the summer…Toby Gerhart may not be very explosive, but he’s built to mash into other men. He’s going to be a rock solid RB2, if not better.
I’m done with Darren McFadden. That probably means this is the year he finally stays healthy and dominates, but I don’t care…C.J. Spiller and Ray Rice have left a sour taste in my mouth, as well…I hope Trent Richardson makes it happen, but I can’t in good conscience spend an early pick on him.
Jordy Nelson continues to be one of the most underrated fantasy wide receivers. He remains a legit WR1…We witnessed Larry Fitzgerald come back to life in 2013. Had he stayed healthy, he might have been a top-10 receiver. I think he can do it in 2014.
Keenan Allen is a fine talent, but he’s no freak. I am struggling with the idea of some pegging him as some kind of elite WR1 when he’s just not…I understand why Eric Decker and Percy Harvin are ranked fairly high by some, but I don’t trust either of them. Pierre Garcon can absolutely be a stud again, but with DeSean Jackson in town, is it really all that likely?
Kyle Rudolph could explode in Norval Turner’s vertical offense. He just needs to stay healthy…I don’t see how Greg Olsen doesn’t have his best season yet as a Panther. He’s pretty much all Cam Newton’s got…
Jimmy Graham is amazing, but I don’t want to spend a first or second round pick on him. Like every year, I’ll wait until the middle rounds and nab a tight end who will work out just fine…Antonio Gates is the drop off at tight ends. If you don’t have your guy by the time he’s the best available option, you’re banking too hard on a young guy or visibly streaming the position. Thanks to lackluster streaming production last year, I’m not in love with that method right now.
The St. Louis Rams could be getting nasty. The rich got richer in the pass rush department, while they also added some nice pieces to a young secondary. They could contend for a top-5 spot this year…Ditto for the Cleveland Browns.
I had hope for the Dallas Cowboys before Sean Lee went down. Now I don’t.
Note: Keep in mind that I do conduct these rankings via a cool tool via FantasyPros.com, so they won’t always appear current. In other words, they will auto update on the Fantasy Pros website and in their sweet Draft Wizard, which means they will also auto update here. That means that if you look back at this article in August and scoff at how I had rankings a certain way here in June, it’s because the rankings are actually for August now.