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Face the Future: 2014’s Biggest Draft Values

With the fantasy football season wrapped up now for the vast majority of leagues, we’re taking a way too early look at the 2014 draft. Over the last couple weeks we’ve discussed what the
2014 First Round

will look like and also where will
this year’s biggest busts get drafted next season

.

This week we’re concluding our “Face the Future” series with a preview of what next season’s biggest draft values will be. To put together this list, the first thing I looked at was which studs got injured in the 2013 season but should be healthy and productive next season. I’ve intentionally left out some big names like
Rob Gronkowski

and
Percy Harvin

, who could still be major values in 2014.

The reason I did this was because I no longer believe in either player. There comes a point in fantasy football, after the umpteenth injury, where I’m no longer willing to roll the dice on a player, no matter how potentially explosive they could be. With Gronkowski, now about to have his eighth surgery in four years, this time to repair his torn ACL/MCL, I’m just not willing to take a chance on him anymore. Sure, we’re already getting
reports

that he may be ready for the 2014 season but I’m just not interested, not for a player who’s missed 14 games the last two seasons.

As far as
Percy Harvin

goes, with
rumors

that the Seattle Seahawks might put him on Injured Reserve because he can’t recover from offseason hip surgery, he’s another player that just can’t seem to stay healthy. Similar to Gronkowski, Harvin’s missed a lot of time over the last two seasons, 21 games for those keeping score at home. Last season he doomed many owners’ seasons by missing the final month of the season, including the fantasy football playoffs. This season he just couldn’t get healthy enough to start playing for his new team. Similar to Gronkowski again, I’m sure we’re going to get reports that he’s looking great in training camp but I just don’t trust him with his recent injury-prone track record.

Besides players coming back from injuries, another way to get on the 2014 draft value list is to be a player that may see increased opportunities next season. The reason for this could be that these players will be playing for a new team next season or that they showed enough in the latter part of the season to get more playing time in 2014.

This is the criteria I’ve used to make up this list and now let’s talk about which players will be 2014’s biggest draft values.

Julio Jones

I’m putting
Julio Jones

at the top of this list for a reason and it’s not just because he plays for my beloved Atlanta Falcons. Let’s not forget that
Julio Jones

was leading the NFL in receiving yards during the first month of the season. He’s an amazing, game-breaking talent and was on pace to record 1,856 receiving yards on 131 catches before he got hurt. If he can recover from his fractured foot and prove he’s healthy in the offseason, this is a top-3 receiver, who will probably get drafted in the second/third round but could have first-round value.

Colin Kaepernick

Barely making the top-20 in scoring for fantasy quarterbacks, this season has definitely been a major disappointment for the
tortoise-loving

quarterback from San Francisco. I’ve already mentioned that many of the names on this list are coming off of injuries from the 2013 season but that does not apply to Kaepernick, who did have his No. 1 receiver,
Michael Crabtree
,
hurt for most of the year. The impact Crabtree’s injury had on Kaepernick can’t be understated and having his favorite option back should greatly improve his numbers for the 2014 season. With a healthy Crabtree back in the lineup, plus
Anquan Boldin

and
Vernon Davis
,
Kaepernick will have one of the best receiving corps in the league. I’d expect top-10 numbers from Kaepernick but for him to get drafted late. This is probably the best value you’ll ever get for Kaepernick going forward, my friends.

Doug Martin

I mentioned
Doug Martin


last week

as the player with the best chance to make a comeback in 2014, among the 2013 first-round busts. With a new coach and hopefully a new quarterback, Martin should be able to recapture some of his 2012 magic that had him as the second-leading RB scorer in fantasy football. With a career 4.3 yards per carry average and 13 touchdowns in 22 games, he still has ginormous potential. He’s not someone you want to reach for, but if he’s available in the third round, owners need to put him on the top of their priority list.

Ryan Mathews

There’s a large section of the fantasy football community who will never forgive Mathews for being one of the game’s biggest busts in his 2012 season. Most of these owners probably had Mathews on their teams so it’s understandable that they would be leery of drafting the previously injury-prone running back. For those owners of a more forgiving nature, they’ll notice that Mathews has put together the best season of his career and is in the
top-12

at his position this year. He has nearly 1,300 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns this season and has been especially good in the fantasy playoffs the last two weeks, averaging 18 points a game. I’m willing to give him another try as a RB2 who you can probably get at a good value next August because of owners remembering his 2012 season and ignoring what he’s done in 2013.

All Green Bay Packers besides Eddie Lacy

You’re not going to get a good deal on Lacy next August. He’s ranked in the top-7 among running backs and he’s probably going to go in the early parts of the second round. The rest of the Green Bay Packers’ skill position players should give owners great value in 2014.
Aaron Rodgers

has missed half of the season with a broken collarbone but should be fully healed by next season. Rodgers should be the third quarterback off the board after
Peyton Manning

and
Drew Brees

but his injury might make owners wait on him a little more. This is a perfect opportunity for owners to get Rodgers at a bargain price in the third round. Rodgers is good enough to be a first-round pick and anything below that is a solid value.

Besides Rodgers, owners should target
Jordy Nelson

and
Randall Cobb
.
Despite having to play with some real mediocre quarterbacks after Rodgers’ injury, Nelson has been having an excellent fantasy season and has stayed healthy throughout, a key concern coming into this season. Before Rodgers got hurt, Nelson was a
top-3

fantasy receiver and you can expect him to come close to those numbers next season. His numbers have understandably dropped without Rodgers but this should make him a nice value in 2014 drafts.

After breaking his leg earlier in the season,
Randall Cobb

has been steadily
improving in practice

and has the possibility of even playing this Sunday. When healthy, he’s a solid WR2 but will probably be undervalued going into the 2014 draft season because of owners being scared off by his leg injury.

Joique Bell

Set to be a restricted free agent in 2014, there’s a real possibility
Joique Bell

will be a starting running back for a new team next season. He’s flourished when given the opportunity to start in Detroit, even when he was just a complementary back to
Reggie Bush
.
On the season, he has 1,141 total yards, 49 catches and eight touchdowns. If he can be a starter next season, he’s an excellent all around back whose great at the goal line and also can catch the ball. In the right situation, he’s a player with RB2 potential.

Jordan Todman

If
Maurice Jones-Drew

leaves Jacksonville and
Jordan Todman

becomes the starter, we could have a new fantasy stud in the making. In Week 15, with Jones-Drew hurt, Todman put on a star-making performance, going for more than 150 total yards, showing that he can be the guy, if needed. The sample size with him is too small to draft Todman as a starter but I love him as a RB3 with loads of potential, if Jones-Drew leaves Jacksonville.

Good Hunting!

Ed Bonfanti

Friend me on Facebook
here

.

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