Here's our 3.0 version of the Top 100 Fantasy Playmakers For 2014 -- a countdown that once again excludes kickers and defense/special teams ... for the simple reason that no kicker or defense should be a consideration in the first 10 rounds of a 12-team, standard-scoring draft.
1. RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
2. RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles
3. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
4. RB Matt Forte, Bears
5. QB Peyton Manning, Broncos
6. RB Eddie Lacy, Packers
7. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
8. TE Jimmy Graham, Saints
9. WR Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
10. QB Drew Brees, Saints
11. RB Doug Martin, Buccaneers
12. RB Le'Veon Bell, Steelers
13. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
14. RB Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
15. RB C.J. Spiller, Bills
16. WR A.J. Green, Bengals
17. RB Zac Stacy, Rams
18. WR Brandon Marshall, Bears
19. RB Alfred Morris, Redskins
20. WR Dez Bryant, Cowboys
21. RB Arian Foster, Texans
22. WR Antonio Brown, Steelers
23. RB Chris Johnson, Jets
24. WR Alshon Jeffery, Bears
25. RB Reggie Bush, Lions
1. It's crazy to expect Jamaal Charles (1,980 total yards) to replicate last year's 19 touchdowns, considering he had only 24 scores from 2008-12. But he's still a viable candidate for double-digit TDs ... and maybe 2,000 yards from scrimmage.
2. The odds of Peyton Manning matching or eclipsing last season's tallies with passing yards (5,477) and TD passes (55) are astronomically long, factoring in the Broncos' difficult schedule (Patriots, Jets, Colts, Bengals, six outings against the AFC West and four against the NFC West -- the NFL's toughest division).
That aside, Peyton's still no worse than the No. 7 overall pick -- even if your league awards only four points per touchdown pass.
3. Eddie Lacy (1,435 total yards, 11 TDs) logged 17 or more touches 11 times last season -- a superb number for a rookie back in a pass-first offense. Year 2 could yield a bump in touchdowns.
4. Matt Forte (1,933 total yards) is easily the biggest "risk" of the top-5 assets, since University of Arizona tailback Ka'Deem Carey (2,058 total yards, 20 TDs for 2013) could potentially cut into the fantasy star's overall touches in 2014.
Of course, of his last seven games -- including a 157-yard, three-TD explosion against the Packers in Week 17 -- Forte (363 touches last year) racked up 100-plus total yards six times.
5. It's weird how Lacy stands as a consensus top-7 choice in standard-scoring and PPR drafts ... and yet, Le'Veon Bell (1,259 total yards, eight TDs in 13 games as a rookie) gets universally acknowledged as a Round 2 selection.
Of his final 11 outings, Bell notched 98 total yards and/or one TD nine times.
6. Marshawn Lynch has averaged 1,592 total yards and 13 TDs over the last three seasons, with yearly tallies of 329 touches. Eventually, that kind of absurd workload catches up to backs in their late 20s. One prime example: Heading into his age-28 season (2007), the Chiefs' Larry Johnson had just completed back-to-back campaigns of 2,000 total yards and 40 total touchdowns. After that, he would never accrue more than 800 total yards or five TDs in a season.
Plus, Seattle backups Christine Michael and Robert Turbin are seemingly poised for substantial carries, and that transition may stealthily take shape this year.
7. Injury risk Arian Foster (725 total yards, two TDs) is a reluctant pick at 21st overall; but heading into his age-28 season, the Texans dynamo has one major stat in his favor:
Against Grade-A defenses like the Seahawks, 49ers and Rams last year (three straight weeks) -- before going down with a substantial back injury -- Foster notched 487 total yards and one TD.
8. Alshon Jeffery (89 catches, 1,421 yards, seven TDs) stands as the highest-ranking WR2 in the countdown.
His 2013 highlights include: Two 200-yard games, 11 outings of eight-plus targets (five in double digits) ... and he's a decent bet for 80-90 rushing yards per year.
By | Jay Clemmons