As the fantasy football draft comes closer and closer for all of us degenerates, just a quick reminder to all: it’s ok, it’s all gonna be ok.
The amount of “information” out there about “sleepers” and “late-round steals” is mind-boggling and enough even to make Matthew Berry say, ok that’s enough already.
I’m going into this article assuming you aren’t a complete shit-sipper-chalupa and at least have enough sense to make it through the early rounds of a fantasy draft without going cross-eyed, pissing your pants and microwaving tin foil while singing the Roling Stones’ “Paint it Black”.
Having said that, here is the official CoLA edition of the fantasy football guide to drafting well….with a few different nuances:
- The term “Sleeper” will not be used. It’s dumb. No one is a sleeper anymore, there’s too much info out there.
- I’ll stick to players to keep in mind for the later rounds, I’m talking about AFTER everyone’s favorite players are picked and the REAL drafting begins. (You’re not a genius for picking Odell Beckham Jr. in early rounds)
- I’ll give you two categories of players to keep an eye on, these are the only real categories you need and anything beyond this will be an example of you blindly swinging for the fences in round 15, 16 and 17 (if you even pick that many rounds).
Guys you should know, but probably forgot about
Starting with Running Backs:
- Frank Gore – Running Back – Indianapolis Colts
- Better team, better QB, better results? He’s 32 years old now, but still the best option the Colts have in the back field. He should get plenty of touches to be worth a RB2 look.
- CJ Spiller – Running Back – New Orleans Saints
- Once again, better team, better QB, better results? He’s STILL one of the fastest and most talented RBs in the league. The pass-heavy, spread the field Saints should plug him in quickly and efficiently. Oh, and someone’s gotta get the touches that Jimmy Graham left behind.
- Rashad Jennings – Running Back – New York Giants
- Sure he’s had some injury problems, BUT he’s a key part of what should be an explosive offense. He’s positioned to have a great year, as long as Eli’s mouth-breathing stench doesn’t knock Rashad out when he’s handed the ball.
- Latavius Murray – Running Back – Oakland Raiders
- He’s the clear-cut #1 running back in Oakland, is that good? But seriously, he should get a heavy workload this season and showed strong signs of talent and break-out STAR potential.
- Tre Mason – Running Back – St. Louis Rams
- Even though the Rams selected Todd Gurley to compete for reps, Tre Mason proved in small doses last season that he has some serious talent for big plays and was rewarded by making the All-Rookie Team. But he also sees the challenge ahead of him to prove that he deserves the ball with Gurley on his heels.
- Chris Johnson – Running Back – Arizona Cardinals
- Yes, THAT Chris Johnson. The once Superman of running backs has been kryptonited by father time, injuries and tired legs. BUT, he must still have some gas left in the tank otherwise the Cardinals wouldn’t have signed him to push the envelope with Andre Ellington. By the way, did I mention that Chris got SHOT in a drive-by during the off-season? That’s gotta be a good sign right?
- Devonta Freeman – Running Back – Atlanta Falcons
- I know what you’re thinking, how many Falcons running backs have made the
sleeper“players poised to make a splash” list over the last few years that DIDN’T pan out…Steven Jackson, Jaquizz Rodgers etc. BUT, Freeman is the only guy left. He’s the last man standing. With a rookie behind him, he should get the majority of the workload until inevitably the Falcons crash and burn into the turf.
- I know what you’re thinking, how many Falcons running backs have made the
- Jonathan Stewart – Running Back – Carolina Panthers
- After walking away from “The Daily Show” only a few weeks ago, it’s been a quick turn-around back into pads and back to where it all began for Mr. Stewart….wait. Wrong guy. This Jonathan Stewart has a little more than the comedy genius to prove moving forward from last season. BUT, if he’s healthy (huge IF) he’ll be the clear-cut #1 running back in Carolina. De-Angelo Williams is gone.
- Reggie Bush – Running Back – San Francisco49ers
- How many of you knew he was in SF? Don’t lie. The 49ers have like, at most, 4 players total from last year’s roster. Their offense will consist of Colin Kaepernick running for his life when he’s not chucking the ball off to Carlos Hyde or throwing 10-yard outs to Anquan Boldin. Reggie is definitely gonna get some touches.
- Danny Woodhead – Running Back – San Diego Chargers
- He was injured almost all of last season (done week 3), but this season he will be back to his big role as a third-down back and a constant threat out of the backfield. Not to mention, Ryan Matthews is gone and the only other running backs are Branden Oliver and the rookie: Melvin Gordon.
- Brandon LaFell – Wide Receiver – New England Patriots
- Talk about a guy who is ready to explode this season, he had a career year in 2014 and is a SOLID #2 option behind Gronk going into this year.
- DeAndre Hopkins – Wide Receiver – Houston Texans
- He’s the only option now that Andre Johnson is gone and Arian Foster has gone down with a groin injury. He’s shining brightly so far in the preseason according to HBO’s Hard Knocks as well. Which is the only reason anyone would pay attention to the Texans.
- John Brown – Wide Receiver – Arizona Cardinals
- He’s go some serious down-field speed and ability, averaging 14.5 yards per catch last season. This could be his TY Hilton-type break-out year.
- Brandin Cooks – Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints
- He’s now officially the #2 option at wide receiver behind Marques Colston, and with Jimmy Graham gone…..that’s a lot of passing opportunities that could come Brandin’s way in 2015.
- Martavis Bryant – Wide Receiver – Pittsburgh Steelers
- In 2014 he had 8 TDs on only 26 receptions! Talk about production in the second half of the season! With another off-season under his belt and now a bulls-eye on his chest, Big Ben will have more than just Antonio Brown to throw the ball to.
- Sammy Watkins – Wide Receiver – Buffalo Bills
- I know Sammy doesn’t have a QB, I know he was hurt almost every other week of last season, but he may be a little overshadowed by the incredible wide receiver class of 2014. If you can get him in the later rounds, get him. He’s still the fastest dude on the field MOST days.
- Davanta Adams – Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers
- He’ll be the #3 receiver behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, Devante showed he’s ready for more action after a handful of 5+ catch-days last season totaling 3 TDs and 446 yards for the season. Not bad for a rookie who was basically the 4th option in 2014.
- Jordan Matthews – Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles
- He’s the #1 receiver now in Philly, READ THAT AGAIN. The Eagles have overhauled their roster, and Matthews looks to be the receiver ready to cash in on it. He went for 67 catches, 872 yds and 8 TDs last year as a rookie with noodle-arm Mark Sanchez throwing to him a couple games. If Sam Bradford stays healthy (that’s a big-ass IF) and Philly runs the ball the way they seemingly will with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, then Jordan should see something over the top quite often in this potentially high-powered Chip Kelly offense.
Potential long-shots, but don’t count on em right away
- Andre Johnson – Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts
- Does he have anything left in the tank? Will he become a solid 2nd or 3rd receiver option with Andrew Luck? Or will he just kinda fade away like Hakeem Nicks did last year??
- Donte Moncreif – Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts
- I know what you’re thinking, two WRs from the same team on the same list?? So here’s the dilemma, which one of these two guys will become the receiver to get touches behind TY Hilton to make it worth it? Don’t forget they have a solid TE in Dwayne Allen and Frank Gore in the back field. PLUS, it’s fairly obvious that Luck likes to spread the wealth, so who’s getting rich in 2015!?!?
- Kevin White – Wide Receiver – Chicago Bears
- He’s a rookie with a lot of buzz around him. With Brandon Marshall gone, Alshon Jeffery and newly acquired Eddie Royal will pick up the pieces but can Kevin step in and pull a Kelvin Benjamin on em all?
- Chris Matthews – Wide Receiver – SeattleSeahawks
- He’s 6’5″, he had a great performance in the Super Bowl and the idea is that with Jimmy Graham causing problems in the middle of the field, it’ll open up things for the receivers. It’s a nice theory.
- Charles Johnson – Wide Receiver – Minnesota Vikings
- He’s the #1 receiver in Minnesota (whatever that means). He did average 15.3 yards per catch last season, but who the hell knows what to expect in Minnesota.
- Blake Bortles – Quarter Back – Jacksonville Jags
- I mean, he’s kinda got some weapons on the field with him now: TE – Julius Thomas, WR – Allen Hurns, WR – Allen Robinson, PG – Allen Iverson (HA! just seeing if you’re paying attention). If Bortles is your ONLY option at QB at the beginning of the season, I’d say you’re in bad shape. But keep an eye out, he may actually put up some good numbers this season.
- Travis Kelce – Tight End – Kansas City Chiefs
- He had 67 catches last season and lead the team in receiving yards (862) and receiving TDs (5). He was also the only player NOT named Jamaal Charles or Anthony Fasano to catch more than 2 TDs all year. Did I mention that not a single wide receiver caught a TD last season for the Chiefs? HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN!?!? Travis makes this part of the list because I don’t understand what the Chiefs are doing on offense, it just doesn’t compute, their offensive playbook reads, “screen-door on a battleship” on the front of it.
- Ameer Abdullah – Running Back – Detroit Lions
- He’s got HYPE all around him right now, they’re loving him in Detroit. He’s set as the #2 running back on the depth chart, but I would bet he’s the #1 back taking all the snaps by week 3 at this rate. BUT, he’s a rookie. AND it’s the Lions.
- Chris Ivory – Running Back – New York Jets
- Normally I wouldn’t put a Jets player on any list that wasn’t titled, “doomed to be a dumpster fire”. But Chris Ivory is in fact their #1 running back and considering their starting QB has a broken jaw and now Ryan Fitzpatrick is gonna beard-sling the ball all over the field for 4-6 weeks, I mean what the hell right? Ivory SHOULD get some serious touches. I saw some crazy gorilla-math stat saying that Chris Ivory is statistically the 3rd most “elusive” running back in the league by successfully breaking 52 tackles on 198 carries last season. All that says to me is that the Jets offensive line sucks balls and Chris Ivory got hit a WHOLE EFF-ING BUNCH of times last year. Good luck buddy.
Good luck to you all this fantasy football season, may your draft be swift, may your lineup-tinkering be mighty, and may your balls… be plentiful.