Fantasy Football 2014 Top 200: Lacy Cracks The Top Five
By Jake Ciely
The NFL combine is over, which means our NFL focus is all over the place like a squirrel on crack. What better time to break out the never-too-early 2014 fantasy Top 200? Before you scream at your screen or slowly nod in agreement as you the ranks, make sure to read through the breakdown below.
|1||Jamaal Charles||KC||RB1||101||Darren McFadden||OAK||RB39|
|2||LeSean McCoy||PHI||RB2||102||Hakeem Nicks||NYG||WR39|
|3||Adrian Peterson||MIN||RB3||103||Marvin Jones||CIN||WR40|
|4||Matt Forte||CHI||RB4||104||LeGarrette Blount||NE||RB40|
|5||Eddie Lacy||GB||RB5||105||Darren Sproles||NO||RB41|
|6||Montee Ball||DEN||RB6||106||Steve Johnson||BUF||WR41|
|7||Calvin Johnson||DET||WR1||107||DeAndre Hopkins||HOU||WR42|
|8||Marshawn Lynch||SEA||RB7||108||Jeremy Maclin||PHI||WR43|
|9||Jimmy Graham||NO||TE1||109||James Jones||GB||WR44|
|10||Le'Veon Bell||PIT||RB8||110||Zach Ertz||PHI||TE10|
|11||Zac Stacy||STL||RB9||111||Andy Dalton||CIN||QB16|
|12||DeMarco Murray||DAL||RB10||112||Kyle Rudolph||MIN||TE11|
|13||Demaryius Thomas||DEN||WR2||113||Mike Williams||TB||WR45|
|14||Doug Martin||TB||RB11||114||Anquan Boldin||SF||WR46|
|15||A.J. Green||CIN||WR3||115||Ben Roethlisberger||PIT||QB17|
|16||Josh Gordon||CLE||WR4||116||Steve Smith||CAR||WR47|
|17||Arian Foster||HOU||RB12||117||Martellus Bennett||CHI||TE12|
|18||Alfred Morris||WAS||RB13||118||Bernard Pierce||BAL||RB42|
|19||Giovani Bernard||CIN||RB14||119||Jarrett Boykin||GB||WR48|
|20||Dez Bryant||DAL||WR5||120||Jonathan Stewart||CAR||RB43|
|21||Brandon Marshall||CHI||WR6||121||Greg Jennings||MIN||WR49|
|22||Julio Jones||ATL||WR7||122||Riley Cooper||PHI||WR50|
|23||Peyton Manning||DEN||QB1||123||Danny Amendola||NE||WR51|
|24||Jordy Nelson||GB||WR8||124||Brian Hartline||MIA||WR52|
|25||Alshon Jeffery||CHI||WR9||125||Seattle Seahawks||DST1|
|26||Pierre Garcon||WAS||WR10||126||David Wilson||NYG||RB44|
|27||Reggie Bush||DET||RB15||127||Rashad Jennings||OAK||RB45|
|28||Drew Brees||NO||QB2||128||Golden Tate||SEA||WR53|
|29||Ryan Mathews||SD||RB16||129||Shonn Greene||TEN||RB46|
|30||Aaron Rodgers||GB||QB3||130||Marcus Lattimore||SF||RB47|
|31||Antonio Brown||PIT||WR11||131||Eli Manning||NYG||QB18|
|32||Randall Cobb||GB||WR12||132||Tyler Eifert||CIN||TE13|
|33||C.J. Spiller||BUF||RB17||133||Kenny Stills||NO||WR54|
|34||Keenan Allen||SD||WR13||134||BenJarvus Green-Ellis||CIN||RB48|
|35||Ray Rice||BAL||RB18||135||Aaron Dobson||NE||WR55|
|36||Frank Gore||SF||RB19||136||Knile Davis||KC||RB49|
|37||Chris Johnson||TEN||RB20||137||Charles Clay||MIA||TE14|
|38||Larry Fitzgerald||ARI||WR14||138||Robert Woods||BUF||WR56|
|39||Julius Thomas||DEN||TE2||139||Christine Michael||SEA||RB50|
|40||Andre Johnson||HOU||WR15||140||Alex Smith||KC||QB19|
|41||Victor Cruz||NYG||WR16||141||Mark Ingram||NO||RB51|
|42||Vincent Jackson||TB||WR17||142||Emmanuel Sanders||PIT||WR57|
|43||Andre Ellington||ARI||RB21||143||Coby Fleener||IND||TE15|
|44||Michael Crabtree||SF||WR18||144||Ryan Tannehill||MIA||QB20|
|45||Rob Gronkowski||NE||TE3||145||Rashard Mendenhall||ARI||RB52|
|46||Vernon Davis||SF||TE4||146||San Francisco 49ers||DST2|
|47||Ben Tate||HOU||RB22||147||Rod Streater||OAK||WR58|
|48||Matthew Stafford||DET||QB4||148||Delanie Walker||TEN||TE16|
|49||Percy Harvin||SEA||WR19||149||Carolina Panthers||DST3|
|50||Cam Newton||CAR||QB5||150||James Starks||GB||RB53|
|51||Tom Brady||NE||QB6||151||Sam Bradford||STL||QB21|
|52||Wes Welker||DEN||WR20||152||Khiry Robinson||NO||RB54|
|53||Reggie Wayne||IND||WR21||153||Joe Flacco||BAL||QB22|
|54||Shane Vereen||NE||RB23||154||Justin Hunter||TEN||WR59|
|55||Torrey Smith||BAL||WR22||155||Harry Douglas||ATL||WR60|
|56||Steven Jackson||ATL||RB24||156||Bilal Powell||NYJ||RB55|
|57||Knowshon Moreno||DEN||RB25||157||Bryce Brown||PHI||RB56|
|58||Stevan Ridley||NE||RB26||158||Ladarius Green||SD||TE17|
|59||Nick Foles||PHI||QB7||159||Jordan Todman||JAC||RB57|
|60||Cordarrelle Patterson||MIN||WR23||160||Tim Wright||TB||TE18|
|61||Andrew Luck||IND||QB8||161||Marlon Brown||BAL||WR61|
|62||Roddy White||ATL||WR24||162||Markus Wheaton||PIT||WR62|
|63||DeSean Jackson||PHI||WR25||163||Antonio Gates||SD||TE19|
|64||Tony Romo||DAL||QB9||164||Owen Daniels||HOU||TE20|
|65||Eric Decker||DEN||WR26||165||Mike Glennon||TB||QB23|
|66||Kendall Wright||TEN||WR27||166||Carson Palmer||ARI||QB24|
|67||Michael Floyd||ARI||WR28||167||Daniel Thomas||MIA||RB58|
|68||Matt Ryan||ATL||QB10||168||E.J. Manuel||BUF||QB25|
|69||Colin Kaepernick||SF||QB11||169||Kansas City Chiefs||DST4|
|70||Jason Witten||DAL||TE5||170||Denarius Moore||OAK||WR63|
|71||Jordan Reed||WAS||TE6||171||Mike Tolbert||CAR||RB59|
|72||Andre Brown||NYG||RB27||172||Ahmad Bradshaw||IND||RB60|
|73||T.Y. Hilton||IND||WR29||173||Jacquizz Rodgers||ATL||RB61|
|74||Mike Wallace||MIA||WR30||174||Da'Rick Rogers||IND||WR64|
|75||Fred Jackson||BUF||RB28||175||Jake Locker||TEN||QB26|
|76||Marques Colston||NO||WR31||176||Cincinnati Bengals||DST5|
|77||Lamar Miller||MIA||RB29||177||Bobby Rainey||TB||RB62|
|78||Maurice Jones-Drew||JAC||RB30||178||Arizona Cardinals||DST6|
|79||Trent Richardson||IND||RB31||179||Roy Helu||WAS||RB63|
|80||Christopher Ivory||NYJ||RB32||180||Jermichael Finley||GB||TE21|
|81||Dwayne Bowe||KC||WR32||181||Joseph Fauria||DET||TE22|
|82||Jordan Cameron||CLE||TE7||182||Heath Miller||PIT||TE23|
|83||Justin Blackmon||JAC||WR33||183||Marquise Goodwin||BUF||WR65|
|84||Dennis Pitta||BAL||TE8||184||Brandon LaFell||CAR||WR66|
|85||Joique Bell||DET||RB33||185||Geno Smith||NYJ||QB27|
|86||Robert Griffin III||WAS||QB12||186||Vick Ballard||IND||RB64|
|87||Jay Cutler||CHI||QB13||187||Johnathan Franklin||GB||RB65|
|88||Donald Brown||IND||RB34||188||Jeremy Kerley||NYJ||WR67|
|89||Cecil Shorts||JAC||WR34||189||Dennis Johnson||HOU||RB66|
|90||Julian Edelman||NE||WR35||190||Marcel Reece||OAK||RB67|
|91||Philip Rivers||SD||QB14||191||Kendall Hunter||SF||RB68|
|92||Rueben Randle||NYG||WR36||192||Dwayne Allen||IND||TE24|
|93||Terrance Williams||DAL||WR37||193||Stephen Hill||NYJ||WR68|
|94||Greg Olsen||CAR||TE9||194||Toby Gerhart||MIN||RB69|
|95||Danny Woodhead||SD||RB35||195||St. Louis Rams||DST7|
|96||DeAngelo Williams||CAR||RB36||196||Dion Lewis||CLE||RB70|
|97||Russell Wilson||SEA||QB15||197||Jerrel Jernigan||NYG||WR69|
|98||Pierre Thomas||NO||RB37||198||Stepfan Taylor||ARI||RB71|
|99||Tavon Austin||STL||WR38||199||Robert Turbin||SEA||RB72|
|100||Latavius Murray||OAK||RB38||200||Jared Cook||STL||TE25|
Yes, you read correct, I have Matthew Stafford fourth. That shouldn’t be too surprising after Stafford finished the 2013 season (yup) fourth overall in PPG. Back in 2011, Stafford finished fifth and in his 2012 “off year” was 10th. Stafford still has Reggie Bush, or even Joique Bell, out of the backfield to catch plenty of short passes. Plus, he also has some guy named Calvin Johnson. Supposedly, he's good and stuff. Joe Lombardi, the new offensive coordinator, should help Stafford iron out his kinks (see: sidearm sickness). After all, he did some nice work in New Orleans with Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham.
Tom Brady easily had his worst season since 2006, but even with numerous questions throughout that offense, I expect a bounceback year after never finishing lower than seventh since that 2006 season (outside of his 2008 injury year).
Nick Foles is an enigma. We certainly can't expect that touchdown to interception ratio to continue, but how much of a drop-off are we talking about? Given Chip Kelly’s offensive success, I don't expect much, meaning if you have Foles as a keeper, you have every right to go all Nintendo 64 Christmas kid on your league.
Tony Romo? He narrowly missed the Top 10 while playing only 15 games. The only thing keeping Robert Griffin out of the Top 10 is health concerns, but I'd still take the gamble over Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers, who bring a different type of risk. Andy Dalton saw an 11 percent jump in his attempts and had his point total skewed by five big games. Dalton also put up five games with 11 points or less. If the Giants can piece together some semblance of an offensive line and if Rueben Randle steps forward (or they bring in a replacement for Hakeem Nicks), Eli Manning should bounce back. That is a lot of "ifs" though.
Eddie Lacy finished sixth overall, which included shared carries in Week 1 and two games missed (basically) due to a concussion. In fact, if you take Lacy’s games after the Packers bye, Lacy would have finished fifth in PPG in between Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson. Aaron Rodgers under center for a full season won’t hurt Lacy, as seen with his 21 carries and a touchdown in Week 17. Lacy is a good bet for double-digit touchdowns again in 2014.
I was also high on Montee Ball, even though I caught plenty of heat as the season wore on. The late-season flashes and likely departure of Knowshon Moreno are enough to move him into RB1 territory.
I expect Le'Veon Bell to take that next step too. After all, like Lacy, Bell missed time and still finished in the Top 15. Bell averaged 13.2 PPG, ranking him 10th… for those of us not including PPG numbers for Jonathan Grimes or Matt Asiata. Even if Doug Martin is 100 percent, there is uncertainty with his workload and even production after last year. Bell is the Steelers Bell-cow RB (yes, he gets the capital "B" for a terrible pun) and could easily near Top Five status.
As long as the Rams don't mess with success, Zac Stacy is locked into being a RB1. I was a fan coming out of Vanderbilt, as to quote myself, "Any time you can run for 1,000-plus in back to back seasons at Vandy, you're doing something right." I would have ranked Ray Rice higher, but we now have concerns over his playing status. Andre Ellington, if getting the majority share in Arizona, will crack the Top 25… at least. Lamar Miller is the Dolphins leader for carry potential, for now. Latavius Murray is nice overlooked running back to keep your eyes on. If Darren McFadden walks – or should I say limps – this offseason, Murray has more potential than Rashad Jennings as the Raiders main option.
Let's see. Eric Decker likely out of town, less options for Manning, more targets for Demaryius Thomas… yep, No. 2 overall sounds about right. I waffled quite a bit on Josh Gordon. On one hand, his numbers appear unrepeatable in that offense. Then again, even with a drop-off, his two missed games could make it a wash. Although, his quarterback situation is still a mess. But to be fair, it was last year. Bah, Gordon cracks my Top Five. How can he not? As you can see, I fully expect returns to greatness for Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
I don't expect an enormous season for Eli Manning, especially if they don't fix that offensive line, but I do believe he'll bounce back, and that points to Victor Cruz doing the same. Finding a better running mate than Hakeem Nicks, even if it's Rueben Randle stepping up, will also help Cruz.
Percy Harvin proved – once he finally played a full game – that he is still as explosive and dangerous as they come. However, how can you rank him any higher with an injury history that makes Grant Hill look like an iron man? I still might move DeSean Jackson lower. I'm simply not enamored with his low target total after Nick Foles returned in Week 9. From then on, Jackson only saw more than six targets once (his monster game versus the Vikings), and averaged just 6.4 per, even with that game – 5.3 without. Jeremy Maclin returning (likely) hurts DJax's stock even more, as Maclin should develop a nice chemistry with Foles.
Is there any receiver duo with a higher collection of talent and level of uncertainty than Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts? Terrance Williams joins Randle as young receivers with plenty of opportunity in 2014. DeAndre Hopkins, James Jones, Anquan Boldin and Golden Tate could all rise or fall depending on offseason moves.
Forget Harvin, it's Rob Gronkowski that takes the injury cake. Yet, tell me how you can rank him any lower than third? It's impossible. Jordan Reed and Jordan Cameron will continue to show they're two of the best young tight ends in the league. And no, I'm not just saying that because I'm a Bulls fan or that my niece's first name is the same. You want a third young budding star? Look no further than Zach Ertz. Tyler Eifert could easily make this a four-way, but until the Bengals stop involving Jermaine Gresham in the passing game, Eifert's upside is limited. Jermichael Finley could vault up the list with good health reports and a favorable landing spot. Hey look, there's Jared Cook. I've blasted the guy yearly, but there will still be someone who wants to talk about his upside… sigh.