21. Cam Newton - Continued development within the pocket should be expected from the second-year phenom. As long as Newton has the drive to be a great player, he will be, but we should expect a dip in his rushing touchdowns with Mike Tolbert on board.
I do like the addition of rookie receiver Joe Adams as a future dynamic slot receiver and, if he’s ready to make an impact in year one, it will greatly help Newton’s odds of performing as an elite quarterback in fantasy leagues again.
22. Andre Johnson - Injuries continue to be an issue for Andre Johnson, even this offseason, but when on the field he’s still a top-five fantasy play at his position. If Lestar Jean is up for a breakout year, it could help Johnson down the stretch as defenses will have another receiver keep in mind.
23. Matthew Stafford - Who knows? Maybe fourth-string running back Joique Bell will move up the ranks and give the Lions a formidable ground game. But it's likely not going to happen, and with Jahvid Best, Mikel Leshoure and Kevin Smith all having health concerns, it’s probable the Lions will lean on Matthew Stafford’s arm again.
I don’t like the Lions' odds of making the playoffs, but they should be in the mix in December, and from a fantasy stand point that’s all that matters. If they do make the postseason, Stafford may have to throw for 6,000 yards this year!
Scary thing is he has the physical tools and players around him to do that if the offensive line is up for giving him consistent pass protection.
24. Steven Jackson - Down but not out, as Steven Jackson is still a quality RB2 in fantasy leagues. We should like what the Rams have put together on defense this offseason and, if they can play well, it will help Jackson’s odds of success.
St. Louis will still have their struggles on offense, mainly in pass protection and in the passing game itself. Then again, Sam Bradford seems to be comfortable with his new offensive coordinator, as the play-calling is closer to that of Pat Shurmer (OC his rookie year), then Josh McDaniels last season.
Converting on key third downs in the passing game is important for any fantasy back because it prolongs drives, thus giving Jackson and the O-line time to get a feel for the run game.
I still like Jackson as a top-fifteen fantasy back and could see him holding down a half-year stretch with low RB1 upside. Just stay healthy big guy!
25. Fred Jackson - Not the fastest cat around, Fred Jackson may be one of the smoothest and clearly has a mind for the game. Jackson has beat out top-15 picks like Marshawn Lynch and C.J. Spiller, and while he’s in his early thirties we shouldn’t count him out.
Spiller will be involved in this offense, but most of his production will come out of the passing game, as maybe the only chess piece defenses will have to fear in the passing attack.
Jackson, on the other hand, will remain as the starting tailback and we should expect another productive season. Maybe he doesn’t play as a top-five fantasy back but I would be surprised to see him as anything lower than a high RB2 this year.
26. Jamaal Charles - The Chiefs are taking it easy with Jamaal Charles this offseason as he comes back from a torn ACL back in September. Charles is expected to be a full go at the start of training camp, but expect him to possibly start out a little slow this year, as the Chiefs may lean on Peyton Hillis more than we realize.
Still, Charles' upside and the weakness of the top-20 running backs in redrafts today makes him a worthy RB2, but I wouldn’t look to him as a RB1. He could play at that level down the stretch, but if he should start out slow, it might mean you have a bad start to the season if you aren’t protected with depth.
27. Michael Turner - Stay away from Michael Turner. At least this high, as even Turner himself has pointed out the Falcons are set to throw the football more this year. With the exception of playing a very weak run defense occasionally, Turner isn’t the type of running back that will excel with around 15 carries a week.
No, he’s more of the traditional foundation back that needs 25 carries in a game to get a feel for the defense and wear them down. Unless you can take Turner as an early mid-round RB3, find other options.
We also need to be fearful of Jacquizz Rodgers taking on an expanded role, as his skill set is a better fit for what the Falcons are looking to do on offense.
28. Doug Martin - Who gives a flip that Doug Martin is a rookie. The guy projects as a three-down back and clearly has the skill set to be a star right off the bat. Martin is better than LeGarrette Blount in pass blocking, receiving skills and especially ball security.
Many seem to have Martin as a low end RB2 for redraft leagues, on my board he’s standing in the top 10 at ninth overall. Take this guy and trust the talent, role and offensive scheme as reasons why he will excel.
Our only main concern for Martin will be game scripts changing, because the team is playing from behind, but as a three-down back he will remain in the game and should pick up extra receptions. Where running backs are today, I’ll take as many foundation RBs I can get my hands on, and I don’t care how many years they’ve been in the league or haven’t for that matter.
29. Brandon Marshall - What appears to be a perfect situation for Brandon Marshall will likely turn out as just that in year one. Marshall is a loose cannon, but as long as he can avoid off-the-field drama (who knows?) he’s a lock for 90-plus receptions as he reunites with Jay Cutler in Chicago.
30. A.J. Green - Expect the second-year phenom to be given all he can handle from opposing defenses as one of the top-five receivers in the game already. Green will create opportunities for other receivers like Armon Binns—should he win the No.2 job—but Green will also get his, as his skill towers over most opponents.
Maybe Green will have a sophomore slump, but it better come by the way of injury because I don’t see it happening otherwise. This kid is the real deal and if you can find a way to snag him in a trade for dynasty leagues, it’s probably worth it.