The NFL season is right around the corner and with that comes fantasy football. With many drafts fast approaching here’s a look at the top ten NFL fantasy draft targets for 2014. The annual running back versus quarterback debate is in full force once again. Although Peyton Manning put together the greatest passing season in NFL history, value in fantasy football is driven by running backs. Here’s a look at this year’s top draft targets:
1. Adrian Peterson: The best running back in the NFL is still the top overall running back and top overall fantasy pick. Although he didn’t replicate his extraordinary 2012 season, Peterson had nearly 1300 yards and ten touchdowns last season, with an outstanding 4.5 yards per carry. “All Day” has been Mr. Consistent during his NFL career, topping ten touchdowns in every NFL season and rushing for over 1200 yards in six of his seven NFL seasons. In an era of past-first offenses the Minnesota Vikings are a run-first organization. This season Peterson will get the opportunity to play for one of the top offensive coordinator minds in the NFL in former San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner. Look for Peterson to have another massive season in a deep NFC North.
2. Jamaal Charles: The veteran Chief had a tremendous season in 2013 in his first season under new Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid. Charles didn’t carry the ball as much as previous seasons, but had as many touches as in the past due to his receiving ability in Reid’s west coast offense. Charles had 19 total touchdowns, 12 on the ground and 7 through the air. With a new contract and the threat of a holdout no longer in the offering, Charles should have another outstanding season via the rush and the pass.
3. LeSean McCoy: McCoy had a massive season in 2013 in his first season under Chip Kelly and there’s no reason to think the NFL’s leading rusher last season won’t repeat this coming season. To go along with his 1607 rushing yards McCoy had 11 total touchdowns. Under the innovative Kelly the Eagles will continue to put up points and feature McCoy, although there has to be some concern whether or not Nick Foles can repeat his surprising season from a year ago at quarterback. If Foles somehow struggles it could affect McCoy.
4. Eddie Lacy: The second-year Alabama running back is one of the fastest risers in fantasy football. Lacy had a solid rookie season that included 1178 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in a season where the Packers played nearly have the regular season without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With a healthy Rodgers back under center and the return of right tackle Bryan Bulaga and Randall Cobb from injury the Packers should once again have one of the top offenses in the NFL. Look for Lacy to have a massive season, topping both his 2013 totals in rushing yards and touchdowns. With 35 catches in 2013 Lacy also proved better than expected in the passing game and should have more receptions this coming season. If the Packers offense is as good as expected Lacy could be the top player in fantasy by the end of the upcoming season.
5. Peyton Manning: Conventional wisdom still makes drafting a running back the most sound fantasy draft decision due to the value of the position. From a sheer point scoring dominance though, Peyton Manning had one of the most remarkable fantasy seasons in history last year. Manning shredded the NFL record book with 55 passing touchdowns and should have another dominant season in 2014, even with the loss of wide receiver Eric Decker to the New York Jets. Manning will be hard pressed to match the 55 touchdowns he threw a year ago, but should lead the league in touchdown passes once again.
6. Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers had a frustrating 2013 season after going down with a broken collarbone and missing half the regular season. When healthy Rodgers is a proven fantasy performer whose led the NFl in fantasy points in the past. With a healthy Randall Cobb and the presence of Eddie Lacy the Packers offense should once again be one of the best in football. Look for Rodgers to have a big season throwing the football, with an outside chance for 40 touchdowns, as well as a two or three rushing touchdowns.
7. Matt Forte: The Chicago Bears standout has quietly been one of the best running backs in the NFL for the past several seasons. Last year, his first under head coach Marc Trestman, Forte has yet another outstanding season with nearly 2000 combined yards and 12 touchdowns. Forte is a true every-down back, with 74 receptions in 2013. With a healthy Jay Cutler the Bears offense should be dynamic once again, with Forte leading the way.
8. Calvin Johnson: Megatron is head and shoulder above the rest of the receiving crop in the NFL. In a year where he battled multiple injuries Johnson still managed nearly 1500 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. Although he was just the third ranked fantasy receiver in 2013, Johnson had arguably the worst luck of any NFL fantasy player last season, getting stopped at the one-yard line on numerous occasions. The league’s most talented receiver should have another massive season.
9. Marshawn Lynch: While Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy get all the headlines, Lynch has been the most productive NFL running back over the past three seasons from a scoring standpoint, with 35 total touchdowns. The defending Super Bowl champs are loaded once again and should have a big season, with Lynch leading the way.
10. Drew Brees: The New Orleans Saints are loaded once again and Drew Brees should put together yet another massive season in 2014. The future Hall of Famer passed for over five-thousand yards for the 3rd consecutive season, en route to 39 touchdown passes and (5) thirty-point fantasy games. The resurgent Saints have a favorable schedule this coming season so look for Brees to put together yet another massive season. BY:
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