All data is gathered from annual drafts since Aug. 15 on myfantasyleague.com. Obviously there have been some changes since then but this will give you a good idea of how the masses value these players.
Eddie Lacy – No. 22 RB, No. 51 overall.
He is picked in the same neighborhood as David Wilson, Lamar Miller, Ryan Mathews, etc. As a general rule, I want to have my running back position locked up before Wilson falls off the board. After that, if the price is right. I have questions about his talent and health, but there’s no doubt he is the man in Green Bay this year given what’s happened to others around him. I just don’t trust him beyond a flex in 2013.
Montee Ball – No. 25 RB, No. 64 overall.
Prove me wrong on someone else’s team. In dynasty, I actually like Ball more than Lacy. However, playing with John Fox and Peyton Manning, rookie running backs do not seem like a winning proposition.
Giovani Bernard – No. 26 RB, No. 67 overall.
I changed the way I did my tiers this year; I named them. Bernard’s tier was labeled – ‘if I screwed up and don’t have a running back yet.’ I really like him, but he is going to be held back by BenJarvus Green-Ellis and size concerns. He’s going to have several big games, but also a few 10-12-touch, 50-yard games. Hopefully, the weeks you need him are the big weeks.
Le’Veon Bell – No. 31 RB, No. 85 overall.
Don’t like him as a prospect and I think Pittsburgh is rushing him back from injury, which usually leads to another injury. He’s one of those types I’ll consider after his value bottoms out in a year or two, a la Mark Ingram late 2012.
Christine Michael – No. 53 RB.
A must handcuff to Marshawn Lynch and a worthwhile flier in deep leagues. He has Top 10 potential with a Lynch injury and in blowout wins could serve as a very solid flex play. Long-term, if he stays on the straight, he could be their bell cow and a future first-round pick.
Stepfan Taylor – No. 72 RB.
Want a sleeper? Here you go. I don’t trust Rashard Mendenhall as far as I can throw him and Ryan Williams almost lost his roster spot; let alone him being a meaningful contributor on offense. Taylor is not a ‘wow’ prospect, but he has a game that is very reminiscent of Alfred Morris; workman-like technician.
Tavon Austin – No. 29 WR, No. 81 overall.
At his current rate? Give me T.Y. Hilton instead. Return readers understand how infatuated I am with Austin, but I have doubts about how successful he will be in fantasy this year. St. Louis ‘is hiding how they will use him’ in the preseason. That’s code for, ‘we don’t know how we will use him, but we will figure it out as we go.’ Jeff Fisher, while a great coach, is no offensive mastermind and unfortunately neither is their offensive coordinator.
Kenbrell Thompkins – No. 41 WR, No. 115 overall.
Despite the secondary issues in Buffalo, I don’t want to start him in Week 1. I probably don’t want to in Week 2, either. As my first option off the bench though? I’m on board … if someone lets him fall far enough.
DeAndre Hopkins – No. 42 WR No. 116 overall
, this week’s FanDuel play. San Diego’s secondary is porous, and, despite missing time this preseason with a concussion, the Texans will want to feature their new toy on national TV. They gave him a starting job before August even began for a reason, he’s about to take off. I prefer him to Thompkins; short- and long-term and the price is comparable. I don’t know if he has the ability to be a consistent Top 5 option, but he has a low-end WR1 ceiling. He is the best bet to make it in this class. If he doesn’t fall far enough, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Emmanuel Sanders and Vincent Brown usually do. There are lots of options late in drafts at wide receiver.
Cordarrelle Patterson – No. 50 WR, No. 139 overall
. Simply put
– Rueben Randle is available later. I’ll pick him instead of Patterson. Patterson is a raw prospect and he is playing with the worst downfield quarterback in the league. He’s going to get his looks in the 2012 Percy Harvin role, but his upside is capped until he develops.
Markus Wheaton – No. 63 WR.
The first of three sleepers. He has all of the ability as Mike Wallace, he just has two guys and an organization known for taking it slow with rookies in his way. The latter being the bigger issue. I think he is a much more likely target in 2014, but I will be watching him on waivers this year.
Robert Woods – No. 67 WR
. Between him and Wheaton, I am more optimistic about Woods this year; other way around long-term. Woods has some serious quarterback issues, but his game is well-rounded enough that he can be productive even if his signal caller is struggling. On a team that should be playing from behind often, he could be a sneaky WR3.
Keenan Allen – No. 74 WR
. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. From a potential Top 10 pick to a third-round afterthought on a lousy team without much at wide receiver … and he is still struggling to find the field. The culprit is a nagging knee injury. Will he overcome it? Who knows, but if he does and becomes the player most thought he was this time last year, there’s starter material here. Monitor only, but closely.