Fantasy Football 2014: Mock Draft Tips, Strategy and Cheat Sheet

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Fantasy Football 2014: Mock Draft Tips, Strategy and Cheat Sheet
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You asked for it—actually, I don't think anyone specifically requested this article—and now you have it: Timothy (call me Tim, please) Rapp's ultimate cheat sheet, strategy and mock draft guide. We probably could have crammed a few more enticing phrases in the title, but I'm pretty sure we have your attention. 

Below, I'm going to slap you in the face with a flurry of fantasy information. Sleepers? We've got sleepers. Rankings? I've got some of those, too. Links to other fantasy articles I've written? You better believe it. Random thoughts? More than you would either want or need.

This is the real deal, folks. So kick back, have a beer (or a cup of tea, whatever floats your boat) and get your knowledge on. 

Notes: Average draft position were determined by using the Fantasy Pros' aggregate ranking of average draft position from ESPN, CBS, NFL.com and Yahoo leagues. The following content is for standard-scoring leagues only, because I have serious philosophical issues with PPR leagues. Sorry, not sorry.

 

Top 30 Players

Fantasy Rankings
Draft Slot Player Team Position
1 LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles RB
2 Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings RB
3 Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs RB
4 Matt Forte Chicago Bears RB
5 Peyton Manning Denver Broncos QB
6 Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks RB
7 Jimmy Graham New Orleans Saints TE
8 Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions WR
9 Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers RB
10 Drew Brees New Orleans Saints QB
11 Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers QB
12 Arian Foster Houston Texans RB
13 A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals WR
14 Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos WR
15 Doug Martin Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB
16 Zac Stacy St. Louis Rams RB
17 Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys WR
18 Brandon Marshall Chicago Bears WR
19 DeMarco Murray Dallas Cowboys RB
20 Alfred Morris Washington RB
21 Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons WR
22 Matt Stafford Detroit Lions QB
23 Cam Newton Carolina Panthers QB
24 Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers RB
25 Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers WR
26 Montee Ball Denver Broncos RB
27 Randall Cobb Green Bay Packers WR
28 Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers WR
29 Julius Thomas Denver Broncos TE
30 Alshon Jeffery Chicago Bears WR

 

Favorite Value Sleepers

Top Value Sleepers
Player Position Team ADP
Cam Newton QB Carolina Panthers 52
Robert Griffin III QB Washington 55
Ryan Mathews RB San Diego Chargers 37
Rashad Jennings RB New York Giants 50
Ray Rice RB Baltimore Ravens 69
Trent Richardson RB Indianapolis Colts 72
Stevan Ridley RB New England Patriots 81
Wes Welker WR Denver Broncos 41
Victor Cruz WR New York Giants 43
Jeremy Maclin WR Philadelphia Eagles 76
Jordan Cameron TE Cleveland Browns 60

 

Favorite Breakout Sleepers

Top Breakout Sleepers
Player Position Team ADP
Johnny Manziel QB Cleveland Browns 134
Toby Gerhart RB Jacksonville Jaguars 48
Bishop Sankey RB Tennessee Titans 58
Ben Tate RB Cleveland Browns 63
Michael Floyd WR Arizona Cardinals 62
T.Y. Hilton WR Indianapolis Colts 68
Kendall Wright WR Tennessee Titans 85
Terrance Williams WR Dallas Cowboys 97
Jordan Reed TE Washington 88
Zach Ertz TE Philadelphia Eagles 123

 

Favorite Deep Sleepers 

Top Deep Sleepers
Player Position Team
Latavius Murray RB Oakland Raiders
John Brown WR Arizona Cardinals
Markus Wheaton WR Pittsburgh Steelers
Kelvin Benjamin WR Carolina Panthers
Ladarius Green TE San Diego Chargers
Devonta Freeman RB Atlanta Falcons
Teddy Bridgewater QB Minnesota Vikings

Don't stress over ADP here, save these players for late in your draft or even the waiver wire.

 

And Now, My Blatant Self-Promotion Section

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Give me a self! "SELF!" Give me a promotion! "PROMOTION!" What's that spell? "PAYING THE BILLS!"

For my full take on evaluating sleepers and how you should approach this staple of fantasy drafting, click here

For my article identifying one sleeper per every round of fantasy drafts (minus the first three rounds in 10-team leagues), click here.

For my general draft strategy for this season, click here.

For the way I generally feel after shamelessly plugging my own work, click here.

 

Random Thoughts

Scott Halleran/Getty Images
He just wants to be the best fantasy football teammate he can be.

You've got quite the cheat sheet lined up thus far, I'd say. Now, I'll hit you with some random thoughts about fantasy (and probably some other things, too) that hopefully will help you this season. 

If ever there was a year to draft running backs with your first two picks, this is the year. There is a ton of depth at quarterback and wide receiver, but there is uncertainty at running back after last year was such a fickle season for the position and more and more teams take the running-back-by-committee approach. I'm not saying you should reach for a running back in those rounds, but don't be afraid to go RB-RB to start your draft.

If you are more in favor of drafting players who maximize value over others at their position, Jimmy Graham should absolutely be a top-six pick. In 12-man leagues last year, Graham averaged 8.1 more points per week than the best bench player at his position, Coby Fleener (here, "bench player" is defined as the 13th-best tight end in fantasy, since that player ideally wouldn't be started in fantasy leagues). Only Jamaal Charles (11.7), Peyton Manning (10.3), LeSean McCoy (9.7) and Matt Forte (9.0) had higher marks in 2013. 

Guardians of the Galaxy was the most fun I've had going to the movies in a long time. It managed to pull off the rare feat of poking fun at the superhero genre while being an entertaining film in its own right. If you haven't seen it, please do—I'm guessing you'll find it quite refreshing, too.

There are a lot of players that either suffered injuries or had down seasons last year who could really make your fantasy team strong this year. I'm really intrigued to see how Arian Foster, Doug Martin, Victor Cruz, Robert Griffin III, Jeremy Maclin, Julio Jones and C.J. Spiller respond. Most of them can be had at really good values.

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Oh yeah, Julio Jones does stuff like that. I forgot how freaking amazing he was.

I don't know if the Arizona Cardinals can realistically get Andre Ellington 20 touches a game, but I love him as one of the biggest breakout candidates this season.

Is anybody else really hyped for the release of Destiny? Or FIFA 15? Or, course, Madden 15? Where my gamers at?

I think Marshawn Lynch's production will regress this year. He scares me as a top-10 pick. At some point, the wear and tear catches up to running backs.

Why would I take Julius Thomas over Rob Gronkowski? Because I no longer trust that the Gronk can consistently stay healthy. He's fast becoming the Darren McFadden of tight ends.

Preseason football is the worst. And yet I can't help but watch. This is a rough reenactment of what I look like while I do.

If all of the rookie quarterbacks ended up as their team's starters, this is the order I would put them in for fantasy purposes:

  1. Johnny Manziel
  2. Teddy Bridgewater
  3. Blake Bortles
  4. Derek Carr
  5. There is no No. 5 you need to be concerning yourselves with.

Bishop Sankey will be the Fantasy Football Rookie of the Year.

Latavius Murray, a running back with the Oakland Raiders, will be the Waiver Wire MVP. 

LeSean McCoy will be the Fantasy Football MVP. I mean, the man eats, sleeps and dreams of football:

I don't know about you, but I'm still heartbroken about Robin Williams. He was the very definition of unique, the very definition of talented, the very definition of brilliant. He'll be sorely missed.

Andy Dalton will not be a top-five fantasy quarterback this season. He won't be a QB1 at all, in fact. The addition of Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator will make the team more balanced and they'll lean on the running game more than they did a year ago. Oh, and the following tweet from Peter Schrager of Fox Sports doesn't help:

It's always safer to draft players from consistently prominent offenses than teams who are generally poor. If you have a stockpile of Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints (just not the running backs!), Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and New England Patriots, you should be just fine.

No, I don't have any thoughts on coffee I'd like to share with you.

 

Have fantasy questions? Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer them and make some corny jokes, too. It's more fun than the ice-bucket challenge (but not not as rewarding). 

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