I’m pleased to announce this morning we released our first full set of player projections, plus updated cheatsheet rankings from our initial cheatsheets published two weeks ago. We were releasing projections on a team-by-team basis with our team reports that included the rankings, projections and player capsules / fantasy outlooks (we tend to switch back and forth what to call them).
Over the last week we finished projecting all teams, and also reviewed every team in detail for the projections and rankings, and made a lot of changes to get us up to date as of today. I’m going to go back to the 10 team reports already released and update the projections in each so they all match up . . . although don’t expect that with every projection update!In a related note, and something you may not realize, Draft Buddy is now available to purchase. Check the features of our custom ranking and draft tracking tool. It is $12.95 (increases to $16.95 on August 1) including all updates to the start of the season. It includes player projections from FF Today as in prior years. I will however make a copy of Projection Pal available with our projections so you can easily add them to Draft Buddy.
The following are notes I made for every team updating the projections and rankings which I hope you will find useful and insightful to see who moved, plus how and why we have certain players ranked where they are. If you have any questions, then post a comment below or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks, and enjoy!
- Who is the backup RB to own in the desert? We like the young guy Stepfan Taylor and have him ranked amongst other handcuffs, mostly due to the fact we’ve seen enough of Jonathan Dwyer. Rarely see Taylor’s name mentioned in fantasy circles.
- Larry Fitzgerald seems low relative to the names around him in the rankings. Looks like he deserves an uptick into Tier 3 or top of Tier 4.
- WR John Brown generating some early buzz. Need a little more to add him to our Not Ranked – On Fantasy Radar section of the cheatsheets.
- Love Julio Jones, but given he is recovering from a significant injury, it is risky having him in Tier 1 relative to the other four, and Brandon Marshall behind him. Swapping Jones and Marshall.
- After the Top 20 or so TE, buddy Dave Stringer says we should rank the TE based on upside. Per Dave, “Is anybody really taking Levine Toilolo over Eric Ebron or Jared Cook?” I think probably some are. It is pick your poison down in this section of the TE rankings.
- I’ve read some thoughts that if Ray Rice is suspended and doesn’t start the season, then Bernard Pierce could keep the job even after Rice returns if he’s successful. Its plausible. We could maybe more Pierce up but trying to be conservative on both of them. Recent speculation is Rice could get suspended 4-6 or more games. Unlikely to move him down significantly until we learn something more concrete.
- Our projections for Mike Williams seem high to me, and Robert Woods maybe a little low. The E.J. Manuel projections look reasonable, but tough forecasting how to split up the receptions. Moved Williams’ projections down.
- If the Bills season doesn’t go as they hope it does, then we should see more Bryce Brown, less Fred Jackson in the second half.
- Cam Newton is much more talented than the 17th ranked QB, but there are multiple red flags and rankings like ours are essentially a message to not draft him. No, he didn’t have great receivers in the past either, but I get concerned using a QB who needs to rely so much on rushing yards and scores to earn fantasy points.
- Even if this is the year for Jonathan Stewart, finally, I’m fine letting someone else gamble on that windfall. That said, I pushed the projections between him and DeAngelo Williams a lot closer to an even split.
- One of the easiest skill position depth charts to figure out. Small buzz about Marquess Wilson being relied on, as expected, to be the third wide receiver.
- Feel a lot better about Brandon Marshall’s targets than Alshon Jeffery from Jay Cutler. Jeffery performed better with Josh McCown under center last season. Moving Brandon Marshall up to Tier 1, expanding Tier 2 and moving Jeffery down a bit.
- No one is in love with Andy Dalton, ourselves included, but he projects out to a value again this year where he is getting drafted. We have him ranked as a fringe starter.
- We have Giovani Bernard ranked 8th, but last year’s RB8 meant 1,500 yards and 10 TD. Dave questions whether he can get there. Moving him down in the rankings, closer to bottom of Tier 2.
- We don’t have Jeremy Hill or BenJarvus Green-Ellis in our rankings. Hill should at least be on the radar. Some speculation LawFirm will get released, but possibly not if the team truly wants to decrease pass attempts and run the ball more.
- News reports indicate this is Brian Hoyer‘s show while Johnny Manziel sits, watches and learns. The players love Hoyer and performed for him last year before he was injured.
- Ben Tate says he isn’t worried about rookie Terrance West, but he probably should be a little. Browns want to run a lot. Tate might not be durable enough.
- Not much to alter for the Cowboys. If I was a Dez Bryant owner, I’d feel less concerned about Tony Romo‘s back if Kyle Orton is the backup. Latest is Orton is still considering retirement.
- I still don’t entirely trust Montee Ball as the bell cow, but what choice do we have looking at the depth chart? Bumping Arian Foster and Ball from Tier 3 to 2, based on projected touches.
- Not an Emmanuel Sanders fan but have to respect the Peyton Manning led offense, and think we have him ranked appropriately as a result.
- Dave thinks Wes Welker is too high. I like him ranked where we have him, and higher than his projections dictate, as he represents a very safe choice. As long as he – and Peyton – stay healthy the receptions and touchdowns will come.
- Haven’t reviewed a ton of fantasy rankings, but seems like many pundits are too bullish on Joique Bell, sometimes having Bell ahead of Reggie Bush. We don’t agree, and don’t think it is that close. Bush is more talented.
Green Bay Packers
- Really like Randall Cobb the player, but just don’t think he’s durable enough to hold up. We have him ranked lower than numerous options typically drafted later than Cobb.
- We were watching and waiting to add TE Colt Lyerla to NR – On The Radar. Now a new name has popped up, Richard Rodgers. Packers traditionally use the TE, but along with these two are Brandon Bostick and Andrew Quarless. I don’t think Jermichael Finley is coming back, but there are still too many unknowns to sift through here to be able to figure this out. Pass.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick named the starting quarterback but expect to see either Case Keenum or rookie Tom Savage at some point this season.
- As mentioned earlier, Arian Foster due an uptick based on a lot of projected usage, if he’s not worn out. Poor passing game also a potential concern for Foster.
- Not a believer in Trent Richardson, ranked 26th. Don’t have a good handle on whether this team wants to be primarily a running team or passing team. With Andrew Luck and a nice set of receivers, not sure why the Colts seem to struggle with this.
- Agree with Tony’s overvalued / undervalued article. T.Y. Hilton should be downgraded.
- Fantasy experts are getting really excited about Toby Gerhart based on projected carries and his early ADP. The ADP is going to rise dramatically. Memories of Kevan Barlow preseason fantasy hype years ago. Hey, maybe he will pan out, but Dave and I won’t have him on our teams where he’ll be going come draft time.
- Marcedes Lewis missed most of the first half of last season, and produced pretty well from Week 13 to the end. A lot of similarly ranked TE but we need to add him in the mix.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Alex Smith set career highs across the board last year. No surprise with head coach Andy Reid. He could do it again this year.
- No good press for Knowshon Moreno through organized team activities. We were patient keeping him ahead of Lamar Miller, but latest now is he requires knee surgery and will miss 4-6 weeks. Swapping projections and rankings for these two.
- Mike Wallace scored 4 TD in final six weeks last season. Going to move him up. Could be a nice bounce back candidate.
- Another unsettled QB situation that looks to come down to Matt Cassel vs. rookie Teddy Bridgewater. If Bridgewater is remotely ready the Vikings should go with him, and we have him ranked amongst the starters.
- Dave and I disagree somewhat on the Cordarrelle Patterson ranking. Dave wants to be conservative and move him down. I can’t help but compare what Vikings OC Norv Turner did for Josh Gordon last year. Risk-reward seems appropriate in the mid-teens.
- Turner also has a good record with tight ends, but Kyle Rudolph is so dependent on touchdowns and there are plenty of other upside TE options. I wouldn’t go out of my way to acquire Rudolph.
New England Patriots
- Probably more uncertainty ranking the Patriots than most teams. I’ve seen Rob Gronkowski ranked as if he is perfectly healthy, and also really, really low. We have him ranked 4th on the assumption he plays 12-14 games. It still seems high given the risk. I wouldn’t want to pay a late-3rd round pick for him right now, but I can still justify the 4th ranking based on his projected PPG when he does return.
- Julian Edelman is another player who is tough to predict. On one hand, he still appears to be Tom Brady‘s most reliable receiver and should be ranked similar to how he performed last year. On the other hand, as Dave says, “yeah, but he’s Julian Edelman.”
New Orleans Saints
- We are buying into Tony’s observation that Pierre Thomas is underrated based on the volume of work he could receive in the passing game. Moving him up into Tier 4.
- Note however that recent reports indicate Drew Brees expects rookie Brandin Cooks to pick up some slack to compensate for the departure of Darren Sproles. For now Cooks is Not Ranked – On The Radar.
New York Giants
- New York Giants GM claims Rashad Jennings is a workhorse running back. Disagree. He’s had long enough to show that potential and I’m not seeing it. In other news, David Wilson seems to be progressing well in his rehab as he expects to be cleared for contact soon. If it looks like a committee and smells like a committee. . .
- Some difference in opinion amongst fantasy players between Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. as to which one will see more targets. There are good arguments for each side. We initially had Beckham ranked higher than Randle, but going to switch that and lean to the veteran, although they remain close to one another and I’m not overly excited to draft either one.
New York Jets
- Geno Smith seems to have the inside track to be the starting quarterback, although Michael Vick is still a decent speculative add as a third QB in large leagues with deep rosters.
- Eric Decker is going to find out pretty quickly it isn’t nearly as easy catching passes from Smith or Vick compared to Peyton Manning. He should see a lot of targets though. If your league mates let him drop ridiculously low, you could do worse.
- Per the Oakland media, rookie QB Derek Carr has pushed past Matt McGloin for the backup spot and may challenge Matt Schaub for the starter’s spot at some point. The smart call would be to make him be patient and learn, since the Raiders are not a playoff bound team. Chances of Raiders making smart call however are 50/50. Carr moves into our Not Ranked – On the Radar section.
- Denarius Moore seems to be falling out of favor in Oakland. At this time Rod Streater should start opposite James Jones, and Andre Holmes is next man up. Removing Moore from the rankings.
- Although Mychal Rivera did okay at tight end last season for fantasy owners as a midseason pickup, David Ausberry is the projected starter this season.
- As more and more positive reports surface on rookie WR Jordan Matthews, feeling more bearish on Riley Cooper. Projections and rankings changes – Matthews up, Cooper down.
- Not much to change for the Steelers from our initial rankings. Ben Roethlisberger is ranked and projected a little lower than consensus because of uncertainty in his receivers after Antonio Brown. Departed Jerricho Cotchery caught 10 touchdowns last season.
San Diego Chargers
- Fantasy players are ready to anoint Ladarius Green ahead of Antonio Gates. I’m sure Gates will have something to say about that, but we do have Green projected and ranked higher based on upside.
San Francisco 49ers
- We have Colin Kaepernick ranked 15th but his numbers project out to about 10th amongst quarterbacks. He is inconsistent week to week, but may be due a move up the rankings down the line.
- Some uncertainty who, if any, will be the primary backup to Frank Gore between Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore and rookie Carlos Hyde. Hunter is not really worth drafting even though we have him ranked in the late 50s due to the possibility of him being the guy. Lattimore and Hyde are somewhat higher based on upside, but basically next to each other given no one knows right now who has the upper hand.
- Some buzz about Christine Michael having a more decent role in the running game this season. It is still Marshawn Lynch‘s show, but the touches are piling up for him. Michael is ranked near the top of a tier of key RB handcuffs.
St. Louis Rams
- This whole team is worth monitoring closely through training camp. First, rookie Tre Mason may challenge Zac Stacy for carries. We have Stacy more conservatively ranked than many fantasy sites. Second, there is no clear indication which receivers, if any, are worth drafting. Finally, Sam Bradford is returning from injury that caused him to miss half of last season.
- FYI, Dave is a Rams homer and will be on top of this situation as much as anyone.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- We initially had Doug Martin ranked 5th in Tier 1 at RB, expecting a big bounce back season as the bell cow behind a really good offensive line. Based on numerous reports about limiting Martin’s workload (not that we entirely buy into them) we will move him out of Tier 1.
- There are only two receivers projected on this team, Vincent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans. This could be a very similar situation as QB Josh McCown dealt with last year in Chicago, but lets keep in mind head coach Marc Trestman had a lot to do with that success.
- Kendall Wright moves up a tier in the rankings after a solid sophomore season that only saw him score 2 touchdowns. We have similar catches and receiving yards projected, plus a still modest 5 TD. There continues to be room for some upside here.
- We have nearly a 60-40 split in the projected rushing carries between rookie Bishop Sankey and veteran Shonn Greene. It could be adjusted even more in Sankey’s favor, but still need to be cautious getting too optimistic about a rookie running back.
- There are a lot of mouths to feed in Washington between Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed and the running game, so it may be difficult to keep everyone happy. I am moving Reed up however based on his stellar rookie season, even though it was cut short. He is a risky pick however based on his concussion history.
- We still view Garcon as the lead dog at WR ahead of newly acquired Jackson thanks to the rapport Garcon has developed with Robert Griffin III.