Silva's June Top 150Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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This is my June update to the Fantasy Football Top 150. I'll have more extensive writeups on every player and rankings explanations in my July edition, as training camp draws near. We're still in an information-gathering phase of the offseason, with penciled-in depth charts and role expectations.
As for criteria, keep in mind I place special value on non-quarterbacks I believe will be week-to-week difference makers in head-to-head fantasy matchups. Non-QBs who can swing scoring with monster box-score stats. Hence my high ranking of elite tight ends Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, and Rob Gronkowski. Still only 26, I expect Thomas to continue his ascent with Eric Decker's 87-1,288-11 removed from Denver's offense. 25-year-old Gronk's ACL recovery appears to be on or even ahead of schedule. As for 27-year-old Graham? He puts fantasy football teams on his back.
I bump down quarterbacks because they are most replaceable. Almost like a fantasy defense, you can field a championship-caliber squad streaming quarterbacks as matchup plays week to week. Try doing that at other positions and you're liable to end up with zeroes. Would I love to have Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, or Drew Brees on my team? Yes. I'd just rather use my first- and second-round fantasy picks on RB1s and WR1s. Or Graham. Or Thomas. Or Gronk.
There are many ways to win in fantasy football. This is how I think it's best to do it.
1. LeSean McCoy -- Centerpiece of NFL's top rushing attack. 26 in July.
2. Adrian Peterson -- Expect heavy volume as Vikings break in rookie QB.
3. Jamaal Charles -- Splitting hairs between McCoy-AP-Charles at the top.
4. Matt Forte -- Slippery all-purpose bellcow runner in top-three NFL offense.
5. Eddie Lacy -- Fat Eddie's TDs should rise with Aaron Rodgers healthy.
6. Jimmy Graham -- Premier difference maker at fantasy's weakest position.
7. Calvin Johnson -- First, first, third in wideout scoring past three seasons.
8. Dez Bryant -- New pass-happy OC Linehan could vault Dez past Calvin.
9. Demaryius Thomas -- Another serious candidate to be 2014's top WR1.
10. DeMarco Murray -- Ideal fit for wide-open Linehan O. Will crush in PPR.
11. Julio Jones -- Expect big bounce-back season for Falcons pass game.
12. A.J. Green -- 14th, fourth, fourth in receiver scoring since entering NFL.
13. Marshawn Lynch -- 1,002 carries last three years. Could lose 50+ in '14.
14. Montee Ball -- 4.7 YPC as rookie. Set for 20 touches/game in Peyton O.
15. Le'Veon Bell -- Three-down volume RB with high TD & reception ceilings.
16. Arian Foster -- Good bet to bounce back after injury-shortened season.
17. Julius Thomas -- Expect Julius' role to further expand post-Eric Decker.
18. Rob Gronkowski -- Has already risen based on positive health reports.
19. Keenan Allen -- Philip Rivers' clear No. 1 target. 100-reception candidate.
20. Jordy Nelson -- My WR7, but top-five upside with Aaron Rodgers healthy.
21. Brandon Marshall -- Jay Cutler continued to force feed Marshall in 2013.
22. Alshon Jeffery -- Room for TD growth after managing 7 in breakout year.
23. Randall Cobb -- Was on pace for 112/1,547/11 before he got hurt last year.
24. Peyton Manning -- Regression likely but still favorite to be 2014's top QB.
25. Aaron Rodgers -- Should be biggest threat to Peyton with health restored.
26. Zac Stacy -- Bellcow runner on St. Louis team committing to run game.
27. Drew Brees -- Top-two fantasy quarterback in five of his last six seasons.
28. Doug Martin -- Lovie Smith is a run-game believer. Martin is his best back.
29. Andre Johnson -- Going on 33, but enough left to flirt with top-10 WR1 stats.
30. C.J. Spiller -- Game breaker averaged 4.62 YPC despite playing hurt in '13.
31. Antonio Brown -- Fairly volume dependent, but should remain 100-catch guy.
32. Toby Gerhart -- Has three-down tools. Jags will ride him 'til wheels fall off.
33. Pierre Garcon -- Receptions will drop but TDs (5) & YPR (11.9) should rise.
34. Larry Fitzgerald -- Has lost upside for various reasons, but still strong WR2.
35. Giovani Bernard -- Will get vultured at goal line, but total touches will grow.
36. Roddy White -- Easy bounce-back bet was borderline dominant late in '13.
37. Matthew Stafford -- May lose volume post-Linehan, but will gain efficiency.
38. Bishop Sankey -- Lackluster tape, but ideal measurables and opportunity.
39. Alfred Morris -- Suspect fit for new coach Jay Gruden's pass-first offense.
40. Torrey Smith -- Will play the Andre Johnson role in Gary Kubiak's system.
41. Vincent Jackson -- Josh McCown will love throwing V-Jax 50:50 jump balls.
42. Victor Cruz -- Will be ex-Packers assistant Ben McAdoo's Randall Cobb.
43. Marques Colston -- Last ten games of '13 put him on pace for 98/1,213/8.
44. Michael Crabtree -- Contract year. Will reemerge as Niners' No. 1 wideout.
45. Vernon Davis -- TD scorer should continue to hover around 50-55 catches.
46. Ryan Mathews -- Chargers seem intent on limiting usage to keep him fresh.
47. Percy Harvin -- Great talent, but volume a concern with run-first Seahawks.
48. Joique Bell -- I expect Bell to bypass Reggie Bush as Lions carry leader.
49. Jordan Cameron -- Becomes clear focus of pass game post-Josh Gordon.
50. Reggie Bush -- Expect Sproles role under ex-Saints assistant Joe Lombardi.
51. Andre Ellington -- 5.53 YPC as rookie. Can he hold up as true feature back?
52. Jordan Reed -- Big breakout candidate, albeit with major medical red flags.
53. Shane Vereen -- Higher ceiling in PPR. In standard, Vereen is an RB2/flex.
54. Rueben Randle -- I expect Randle to emerge as Giants top outside receiver.
55. Frank Gore -- 31 now. Likely to be early-season asset who gradually fades.
56. Jeremy Maclin -- Will be Eagles' primary replacement for DeSean Jackson.
57. DeSean Jackson -- Annual reception average was 55 before Chip Kelly (82).
58. Mike Wallace -- Hope is ex-PHI assistant Bill Lazor uses Wallace like D-Jax.
59. Stevan Ridley -- Can reenter RB2 mix by simply not fumbling. Blount gone.
60. Wes Welker -- I worry the Broncos may think Welker is very close to done.
61. Dennis Pitta -- Should get lots of volume in Gary Kubiak's TE-friendly offense.
62. Matt Ryan -- Expect big bounce-back year along with Julio and Roddy White.
63. Tony Romo -- Plus weapons + Linehan + bad defense = box score success.
64. Jay Cutler -- Elite supporting cast. Entering year two of Trestman's system.
65. Cam Newton -- Still locked-in QB1, but weak weapons and line are concerns.
66. Andrew Luck -- Shaky coaching and support make Luck mid- to low-end QB1.
67. Nick Foles -- Is otherworldly '13 efficiency sustainable? Lost DeSean Jackson.
68. Trent Richardson -- Worth a sixth-round stab. His opportunity is hard to ignore.
69. Michael Floyd -- Ascending third-year receiver with some '14 blowup potential.
70. Jeremy Hill -- Double-digit TD potential. Will rise if BenJarvus Green-Ellis is cut.
71. Rashad Jennings -- Three-down tools; Should open season as Giants starter.
72. Chris Johnson -- Will be lead part of RBBC with Chris Ivory for run-heavy Jets.
73. Robert Griffin III -- QB11 too conservative? Could take off with pass-first Gruden.
74. Golden Tate -- Should be solid WR3 with WR2 ceiling in pass-happy Detroit.
75. Terrance Williams -- James Jones-ish talent. Should settle in as startable WR3.
76. Steven Jackson -- Littered with breakdown red flags, but worth mid-round stab.
77. Tom Brady -- Pats becoming power-run team. Gronk's health a big issue here.
78. Jason Witten -- He's fading in passing game, but Dallas is going to air it out.
79. DeAndre Hopkins -- Expectation is '14 step forward before blowup year in '15.
80. Russell Wilson -- Passable QB1 with upside limited by Seattle run-heavy attack.
81. Bernard Pierce -- Miserable '13, but likely gets first crack at Ravens lead RB job.
82. Cordarrelle Patterson -- Boom or bust. His '13 touches had to be manufactured.
83. Lamar Miller -- Best running talent on Dolphins team that will run far more often.
84. Kendall Wright -- Volume-dependent slot weapon. Better PPR than standard pick.
85. Terrance West -- I think West will be Browns feature RB sooner rather than later.
86. Sammy Watkins -- Run-first offense & poor QB are concerns for hyped rookie.
87. Dwayne Bowe -- Shaky WR3 bet in Kansas City's running back-centric offense.
88. Eric Decker -- Enormous QB downgrade, but may still push for 7-9 touchdowns.
89. T.Y. Hilton -- Targets will nosedive with Nicks in Indy, and Wayne and Allen back.
90. Aaron Dobson -- Enticing breakout possibility in muddy Patriots receiver corps.
91. Zach Ertz -- Prime year-two breakout candidate with legit top-five TE1 potential.
92. Kyle Rudolph -- Should emerge as rookie Teddy Bridgewater's go-to safety valve.
93. Greg Olsen -- Panthers painfully thin at wideout. Reliable TE1 with capped ceiling.
94. Brandin Cooks -- 70-catch candidate will help replace both Sproles & Lance Moore.
95. Ben Roethlisberger -- QB11, QB10 in per-game scoring in two years of OC Haley.
96. Philip Rivers -- Chargers increasingly run-based mindset is biggest concern here.